Taking you further for over 160 years
EUROPEAN CRUISE SERVICE has been the main provider of cruise services for foreign cruise ships calling Norwegian ports and fjords for more than 160 years. The company traces its origins back to the 1850ies when Thomas Bennett established the second travel agency in the world, Bennett Reisebureau A/S, in Christiania (modern day Oslo). Today, European Cruise Service offers high quality shore excursions and ships agency services in Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and Denmark. As we continue to grow, our aim is to expand into new geographic destinations.
The cruise service business emerged in Norway during the last decades of the 19th century with increasing cruising along the Norwegian coast and into the fjords of Western Norway. In the summer of 1887, M/S "St.Sunniva" set out on her maiden voyage, the first vessel in the world that had been designed and built specifically as a cruise ship. For the next 20 years, "St. Sunniva" sailed to the fjords and Northward to the Lofoten Islands and the North Cape letting her passengers see the magic of the sun that never set. From this time on Norway was known as "the land of the Midnight Sun". In fact, most of the cruise destinations we know today where firmly established by 1914.
The cruise business reached its preliminary peak just prior to the outbreak of World War I. No one could have found a better salesman for Norway than Kaiser Wilhelm II. Inspired by him, many Germans cruised the Norwegian coast. In 1909 the port of Geiranger recorded 112 cruise ship calls, a record that was not broken before 1991!
After World War I the business regained momentum in the twenties and thirties and the cruise service business of Bennett Reisebureau became a vital component of the company. Not least thanks to the managing director at the time, Wilhelm Rosasco, who managed the company from Bergen where he developed Bennett's cruise services into a fine art.
During the period between 1960-1990 Bennett Cruise Service, under the management of the legendary Trygve Kordt, became a world-leading company in its field. During this period the cruise industry went through a revolutionary development becoming a common leisure product both in Europe and the USA. The Bennett Cruise Service Division parted ways with Bennett's travel agency in 1996. The name was changed to European Cruise Service in January 2001 under its new Managing Director, Mr. Arthur Kordt.
The name change symbolizes the company's ambitions to extend its field of operation, as the world gradually grows smaller. Today, with the new CEO - Andreas Storl, ECS is continuing to expand its field of operation, from significant growth in the UK & Ireland (taking over Morrison Tours) and Sweden as well as opening new offices in St. Petersburg, Russia at the beginning of 2015.
EUROPEAN CRUISE SERVICE remains the market leader in shore excursion operations and ships agency services rendered to cruise ships calling upon ports in Scandinavia and aim to strengthen this position and expand to other areas in the years to come.