The 2017 cruise season begins on Wednesday 3 May with the arrival of Astor to the Katajanokka Quay next to the Allas Sea Pool in the centre of Helsinki.
The upcoming cruise season is expected to even busier than last summer. On the basis of advance bookings, Helsinki expects to welcome 270 international cruise ships in 2017. They will carry with them an estimated 440,000 visitors, who will get to enjoy the cultural activities and services on offer this summer in the Finnish capital.
“Cruise visitors really liven up the city centre in summertime. The busiest day this summer will be Wednesday 31 May, when no less than five cruise ships arrive in Helsinki: Norwegian Getaway at the Melkki Quay, the German cruise ship AIDAmar and the Italian cruise ship MSC Magnifica in Hernesaari, and the luxury cruise ships Le Soleal and Ocean Dream in the South Harbour. Altogether these five cruise ships will bring over 11,000 cruise visitors to Helsinki in a single day,” says Jenny Taipale, Project Manager at Helsinki Marketing.
Santa Claus in Hernesaari
Cruise ships will arrive at four different harbours in Helsinki: Katajanokka, the South Harbour, Hernesaari and the West Harbour (Melkki Quay). Hernesaari and the West
Harbour will serve over 80 percent of cruise visitors, and Santa Claus will be on hand to welcome them this summer in Hernesaari.
“We will also be introducing a new digital sign system this summer in Hernesaari. The system is designed to further improve the visitor experience and to make it easier for cruise visitors to find their way around. The project is being carried out together with Samsung and the Cruise Baltic network,” Taipale explains.
Last summer Helsinki Marketing produced the entertaining “Helsinki Talk Show” together with the Cruise Baltic network and the Princess cruise operator. Special guests from Helsinki entertained passengers onboard by talking about Helsinki as a city and travel destination. The special guests included Professor Marja Makarow (Millennium Technology Prize), fashion designer Marita Huurinainen and Laura Aalto (Development Director, Helsinki Marketing).
“The talk show was a big success among audiences, so the cruise operator has asked us to do it again this summer. This year’s special guests will include designer Noora Delage,” Taipale says.
“One of the ideas behind the programme was to strengthen the image of Helsinki as an unmissable cruise destination and potential turnaround port,” Taipale adds.
Altogether six cruise ships will be visiting Helsinki for the first time this summer:
- 4 May: Viking Sky
- 20 May: MSC Magnifica
- 22 May: Norwegian Getaway
- 25 June: Seven Seas Explorer
- 28 July: Columbus
- 31 July: Mein Schiff 6
The last visit of the 2017 cruise season will be made by AIDAvita on 20 October.
Growing number of cruise visitors from Asia
Last year the biggest incoming markets for cruise passengers were Germany, the USA and Great Britain. This year the biggest growth is expected to come in the number of visitors from Asia.
“Already last year the number of cruise visitors from China increased by 24 percent,” Taipale says.
Cruise Baltic expects the number of cruise visitors to the Baltic Sea region to increase by 13 percent and the number of cruise ship visits by 15 percent this year.
According to the European 2014 Cruise Passenger and Crew Survey, the average cruise visitor generates 65 euros of tourism income for income. The figure is slightly higher, 87 euros, for cruise visitors who take part in tours. A new survey will be carried out this summer and its results published at the end of the year.