MS Silja Europa, a ship of listed Estonian shipper Tallink which typically operates on its Tallinn-Helsinki route, is set to carry out the company's test cruise from Helsinki to Riga and back at the beginning of next week.
Silja Europa is set to depart from Helsinki West Harbour at 5 p.m. on Sunday and arrive in Riga at 11:30 a.m. on Monday morning, the company's Finnish website stated. The vessel will then depart from Riga at 7:30 p.m. on Monday and arrive in Helsinki at 2:30 p.m. the next day.
"The first journey is scheduled to take place at the end of the week and ticket sale indicate a keen interest in the given route," AS Tallink Grupp sales and marketing director Margus Hunt told BNS on Wednesday. "As the Visby route experiences great demand during the summer period, there are people who want to take advantage of the opportunity to visit Riga as well."
Hunt noted, however, that the company believed that there was no market for a permanent Helsinki-Riga route. "It must be taken into account that this trip does nto allow for passengers to unload their cars in Riga; basically, passengers are able to park their cars on the ship for convenience," said.
At the end of last year, when the new ruling government coalition revealed plans to increase excise duty on alcohol in Estonia more rapidly than originally planned, Tallink stated that it was not planning on introducing a route between Riga and Helsinki.
Editor: Aili Vahtla