Cruise operators not giving up on possible late-season trips to Estonia ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Crusie ship in Saaremaa. Photo is illusrative.
Crusie ship in Saaremaa. Photo is illusrative. Source: Margus Muld/ERR

More than 300 cruise ships were scheduled to call on ports in Estonia this season. While all calls through the end of July remain canceled, some cruise operators are still interested in Tallinn as a destination this season.

According to Port of Tallinn marketing and communications director Sirle Arro, prior to the coronavirus crisis, a total of 334 cruise ship calls were scheduled for this season.

"Currently, all calls through the end of July, many in August and some even in September and October are canceled," Arro said. "Unfortunately, we are continuing to see new cancellations each week."

Nonetheless, she noted, some companies focused on European travelers have already begun to inquire regarding whether and under what conditions cruise ships could still call on the Port of Tallinn this season.

"We don't have any specific confirmations yet," Arro said. "In any case, cruise operators are working on preparations and working out new and more strict health and safety requirements for their ships."

Among these requirements are restrictions on traveler numbers, requirements for clean bills of health, measuring temperatures, disinfection, maintaining minimum distances, and regarding dining services and other issues which must provide travelers and crew members alike with a sense of security. The same will apply to ports as well.

"Whether any ships will still reach us this year will apparently depend on several factors: what the infection rate is in destination countries and travelers' countries of origin, whether people are willing to travel again, whether travelers are prepared to spend nearly a week on board a cruise ship, whether and which countries in addition to Estonia are prepared to receive cruise ships and so on," Arro said.

Between April 27 and October 19 last year, 75 cruise ships called on Tallinn a total of 338 times, bringing a record 656,087 travelers to the Estonian capital, over 21,000 more than during the previous cruise season.

One third of cruise tourists to visit Tallinn were from Germany, one fifth from the United States and one tenth from the United Kingdom. Tourists from a total of 175 different countries visited the Estonian capital.

Last season, cruise ships called on the Port of Tallinn-operated Port of Saaremaa a total of seven times, bringing 3,836 tourists to the western island; a majority of these travelers were likewise from Germany.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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