Close to 50 cruise ships dock in Tallinn through 2021 season

First cruise ship of 2021 arrives in Tallinn.
First cruise ship of 2021 arrives in Tallinn. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Over 60,000 cruise ship tourists visited Tallinn during the summer season this year, in spite of the ongoing pandemic.

While 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, saw 338 cruise ship visits, disgorging 656,087 passengers, arrive in Tallinn, 2020 saw the grand total of zero such arrivals, with just one cruise arriving in Estonia through the whole year – to Saaremaa.

This year, 63,164 passengers arrived in the capital, from 45 cruise ships – less than a tenth of the 2019 figure, BNS reports. No cruises reached Saaremaa this year.

August was the peak year, with 16 arrivals, followed by September (13) and July (10), while six cruise vessels berthed in Tallinn in October.

The deteriorating weather conditions and Estonia's rocketing coroanvirus figures mean that no more cruises are likely to arrive for the rest of this year and into early 2022, BNS reports, though towards the end of the season, vaccinated passengers were allowed out and about in Tallinn without the need for an organized tour guide.

Mein Schiff 1 (pictured), operated by TUI Cruises, in fact bookended the season, making the first trip on July 2 and the final one on October 21, with a total of 13 different vessels docking at some point in between, the Port of Tallinn (Tallinna Sadam) told BNS.

The cruise lines mostly catered from the German market, whose citizens made up 80 percent of visitors this year, though cruise lines serving primarily U.K. and U.S. customers, as well as citizens from France, Italy and Spain, were also represented, BNS reports.

Due to their immense size, and individual cruise vessel can often bring considerably larger numbers of passengers than the regular ferries which ply their trade between Tallinn and Helsinki - in the latter case the numbers would be more in the hundreds, rather than the thousands.

The Port of Tallinn says that it is optimistic for more growth next year, both in Tallinn and Saaremaa.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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