The city’s friendly ambassadors

CMP focuses on some of its collaborative partners, which are the reason that, time after time, the port is able to pick up awards and recognition as the best cruise port and destination. The cruise visitors love Copenhagen, and in the high season the city’s tourist guides are kept busy showing them around the capital

As the cruise visitors wend their way down the quaysides in CMP, in all probability the first person they meet is a smiling guide. He or she is also usually the person with whom they have the most contact during their short stay in Copenhagen. The role as ambassador also entails a responsibility.

“We have a major responsibility that our visitors have a good experience, but also that they get round the city safely”, says the head of the Association of Authorised Tourist Guides (TFF), Kirsten Wedgwood.

She is in charge of 260 knowledgeable and hospitable tourist guides, who have completed a tourist guide diploma at Roskilde University. Together they offer 26 languages, and they are busy when the cruise season is under way.

“The cruises represent a large part of our job in the summer months. I became fully qualified as a tourist guide in 1997, and at that time there were a couple of cruise ships a week. Today there are several arrivals a day and our guides are present for just about all of them.

The guided tours can be by bus, bicycle or on foot. And it is the classic sights that attract the majority of the tourists.

The classic sights
Most cruise visitors are only here for a maximum of 8 hours, and so it is the classic sights they want to see. A guided tour lasts for an average of 3 hours. It might be royal Copenhagen with Rosenborg Castle and the Crown Jewels, the royal reception rooms at Christiansborg, Amalienborg Castle, etc. Many of the tours include a visit to the Tivoli fun fair. A tour to the city’s trendy new districts does not have the same interest.

“There has – unfortunately it has to be said – not been the major development in what they want to experience”, Kirsten says.

A walk around the city departing from the ship is popular, particularly when the ship is docked at Langelinie. It might end at somewhere like Amager Square in the city centre, for example, with the visitors finding their own way back to the ship. But it is the guided cycle tours in particular where there is growth.  

Manageable groups
“There are a maximum of 15 participants in a cycling tour group, or 23 on a walking tour. We have a major responsibility that nothing happens, and want to avoid the groups getting too big. It is not good for road safety”, Kirsten Wedgwood says.

The guides are typically booked by a Danish incoming agency, which collaborates with the shipping company concerned.  But bookings also arrive from abroad, via a travel agency which is looking for a guide for its guests.

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