More than 200 cruise ships due to visit Tallinn have been canceled

Cruise ships at the Port of Tallinn. These are barred at least until the start of May.
Cruise ships at the Port of Tallinn. These are barred at least until the start of May. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

So far more than 200 cruise ships which were due to dock in Tallinn have been canceled this year. On Monday, the first large cruise ship arrived in Tallinn - without passengers.

Despite the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions in Estonia, the cruise ship tourism industry has not bounced back. In normal years, late July is the peak of the cruise ship tourist season.

On Monday, the "Aidaaura" cruise ship arrived at the Old Port of Tallinn with 87 crew members but without a single passenger on board. Usually, the ship would carry approximately 1,200 tourists.

Siim Seeman, deputy harbor master of the Old Port of Tallinn, said this is the first visit by a cruise ship this year: "The ship arrived in Tallinn to upgrade their equipment. There will be minor repairs. Unfortunately, it has no passengers on it."

Another ship, Aidacara will arrive in Tallinn tomorrow also without tourists. It is doubtful whether cruise ships with tourists will arrive in Tallinn this summer at all.

Seeman said: "In the current schedule, we can see the first cruise ship with passengers may arrive on August 2, but considering most of the visits have been canceled, the cruise ship sails will be canceled one by one. We fear that this visit will also be canceled."

So far, 209 visiting cruise ships to Tallinn have been cancelled. Last year, the cruise ships brought approximately 635,000 passengers to the city.

Tallinn Airport is experiencing a similar situation. More than 63,000 passengers visited passed through the airport July but in the same month in 2019, the airport served more than 319,000 passengers.

On Monday, the government decided not to start direct flights to Moscow until September. It was initially planned to resume the flights on August 8. There is no thought of resuming a direct connection between Estonia and Sweden any time soon. In addition to that, there are no direct flights from Tallinn to Bulgaria and Croatia.

Jane Kallaste, communications specialist at Tallinn Airport, said flights between Tallinn and Istanbul will resume in August. She added: "The opening of these new routes and the number of passengers depend on the pandemic situation in both countries of destination."

The most detailed information on travel restrictions can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Reopen Europe web pages.


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Editor: Katriin Eikin Sein, Helen Wright

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