Saaremaa Harbor visited by one of this season's two cruise ships
The Western Estonian island of Saaremaa was visited on Monday by one of just two cruise ships scheduled to call at Saaremaa Harbor this season, bringing 350 tourists to the island for half a day.
The 199-meter, or 653-foot, MS Europa brought over 350 German tourists to Saaremaa on Monday, reported ETV's nightly news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera."
Saaremaa Harbor is celebrating its tenth birthday this year, but expectations regarding the potential of crusie ship tourism were greater than how things have panned out in reality.
This year's season, with just two cruise ships visiting, is one of the weakest in its history; more cargo ships than cruise ships will call at Saaremaa Harbor this year. Next year, however, promises a vast improvement over the current season, with seven cruise ships already scheduled to call at the Estonian island's harbor.
"Over the course of ten years, cruise ships have called at Saaremaa Harbor a total of 66 times," said the Port of Tallinn's Marketing and Communication Department Director Sirle Arro, noting that Monday's visit was the harbor's 67th. "These ships have brought 35,600 tourists to Saaremaa."
Arro added that it was not actually that easy for such small places to attract visits from large cruise ships. "Considering that the Baltic Sea is bordered by ten countries and over 30 destinations, and a cruise is seven to ten days in length, then such small countries as Estonia have a difficult time getting cruise ships [to stop] here."