First Cruise Ships to dock in Estonia in July

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Port of Tallinn (Tallinna Sadam) hopes the cruise season this year will not be off completely and a few dozen cruise ships will arrive in Estonia in July.

Tallink currently organizes cruises on the Baltic Sea, but passengers are not allowed to leave the ship in the ports. This rule could change at some point in July according to reports.

Port of Tallinn is currently developing a new cruise terminal to accommodate the growing number of cruise ships on the Baltic. Once restrictions on Coronaviruses have been eased, the first cruise ships will be able to dock in the terminal in July.

“We actually have a rather concrete inquiry from MSC Cruises, who would like to make their first visit to Tallinn in July. Of course, there are still cruises from pre-coronavirus times in the schedule, but they are successively cancelled,” said Port of Tallinn marketing manager Sirle Arro.

The inquiry in question has to do with 14 trips from July to October. The number of cruise ships visiting Estonia in the summer of 2019 was 334, but the port is scared to believe that the port will host such a large volume.

“These numbers can certainly not be compared to times before the coronavirus. Rather, we are talking of maybe 30 ship visits, no more. Rather less than more and the second half of summer is when we expect them,” Arro said.

Cruise company Tallink is currently arranging cruises, but it does not allow travellers to leave the ship ashore at any destination.

“Everyone who wishes can come on five-hour cruises on ships Megastar and Star – go from Tallinn to Helsinki and back or from Helsinki to Tallinn. It is used quite a lot. Finns especially, who are used to buying goods in Tallinn, now these purchases are made on the ship and they do not go on the ground in Tallinn. From the start of June, Silja Serenade will go from Helsinki to Tallinn, which is a 22-hour cruise for the Finnish market,” said Tallink chairman of the board Paavo Nõgene.

Starting in July, Tallink will offer domestic cruises between Stockholm and Visby and Nystad and Visby. In N*gene’s opinion, it is still too early for an announcement as to whether a line between Tallinn and Stockholm will open in the second half of the summer.

Viru Jehe, the owner of Pegasus restaurant in Tallinn’s Old Town, said that restaurants could not survive without tourists.

“You have to remember that this crisis has taken restaurants to a situation where they have lost all stock and if you look at their balances, they have loans or debts in the form of state taxes up to €100,000. You need two or three good summers to make up for this crisis period,”

Jehe said.

“If we look at the effect of tourists, it makes up 60-70 per cent of revenue for restaurants in Tallinn in summers,” he added.

However, Jehe said he is looking forward to tourists who stay in Estonia for a longer period as cruise visitors do not have much time to visit restaurants.

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