The three major shipping lines which operate ferries and cruises docking in Tallinn have outlined their strategies for the coming summer, with ongoing coronavirus restrictions in mind. These include cruises to Finland and Sweden, as well as those confined to Estonia's waters.
Finnish line Eckerö, which in normal times operates two vessels between Tallinn and Helsinki, is planning additional cruises within Finnish waters.
Katrin Sirk Aun, head of Eckerö's Estonian branch, told ERR that: "According to the initial plans, Eckerö Line will make three cruises, from Helsinki to Hanko."
Meanwhile Estonian line Tallink says that if Estonia's coronavirus rates fall sufficiently to reopen the border between it and Finland, it too will offer limited cruises from as early as next month.
Tallink spokesperson Katri Link said the company's summer cruise and route plans are constantly changing, taking into account coronavirus trends, restrictions and infection rates.
Link said: "As early as in winter, scenarios 'A, B, C, D' and more were put in place so that, according to the situation in April-May, we would be able to launch the corresponding scenario immediately and quickly."
"Last week, we made such decisions and we have initially started selling cruises for June and July on the Finnish and Swedish markets. These are domestic, and therefore quarantine-free, trips, and we can be satisfied with the sales figures of the first days," Link went on.
Scenarios also exist for opening routes between Finland and Sweden and between Estonia and Sweden under suitable conditions, she added.
"To do this, however, we need to reach agreements and joint action plans, plus processes which are simple, clear and specific," she said.
Viking Line says it will also lay on special cruises this summer, whose destinations are likely to be different from those offered in previous years, though the company says it, too, is monitoring the COVID-19 situation.
Inno Borodenko, the CEO of Viking Line Estonia, said: "As of today we are waiting for a decision from the [Finnish city of] Kotka municipal government on a 'sea days' venue, then we will decide on the requirements applicable to the voyage."
Tallink added it will sell five-hour cruises from Tallinn, to Estonian passengers, who will not disembark during the trip.
Some cancellations will still face, and have already faced, cancellations, however, Katri Link at Tallink said.
Nonetheless the interest was there, she added.
"Our latest customer surveys in both Finland and Sweden show that there is a great deal of interest in travel among customers," Link said.
Irina Borodenko of Viking noted that restrictions were till applied, including paying attention to the complement of passengers in any vessel, as well as testing requirements and local regulations in the destination country.
Editor: Andrew Whyte