Kotka consolidating its position as a cruise port13.03.2018
The status and image of Kotka as a port of call for international cruise ships will strengthen further in the coming summer. Kotka will be visited by five cruise ships, or in fact four different ships, because the Saga Sapphire of the British company Saga Holidays will visit Kotka on two occasions.
The Saga Pearl II, another vessel of the same British company, will come to Kotka once. Moreover, the Serenissima of the shipping company Noble Caledonia has confirmed that it will visit Kotka in the coming summer. The fifth cruiser is still uncertain, because the passengers of the vessel Braemar owned by Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines have the power to vote between two alternative ports in each country of destination. In Finland, the alternative for Kotka is Helsinki.
All cruise ships will bring British tourists to Kotka. The number of the tourists will not be as high as last summer, because this time the vessels are smaller. The ships can accommodate 500 to 700 passengers.
In the coming summer, all cruisers will berth at the Kantasatama Harbour in the centre of Kotka. Petra Cranston, who is responsible for the sales and marketing of the cruises, says that it is much easier to make the practical arrangements when the ships arrive in the centre of the town. It is also easy for the guests to see the town, and there is no need to use transit buses like in the summer of 2017.
Petra Cranston says that many volunteers will be needed to take care of the cruise guests in this summer, too. However, the number of the volunteers will be smaller than last summer, when thousands of visitors came to Kotka at the same time. The total number of visitors in 2017 was 8,000 on four cruise ships.
Like last summer, the ships will stay in Kotka for the whole day. Some of the passengers are independent travellers while others embark on trips specifically arranged for them. Petra Cranston cannot yet say where the trips will take place, but they will be in the Kotka-Hamina region.
- "We are working hard with local businesses and business associations to elevate the services even further,” Petra Cranston says.
Petra Cranston is looking into the coming summer with a confident mind. The feedback received of the cruises last summer was highly positive. In the Kotka-Hamina region, travellers are especially interested in history (era of rule under the Russian Tsar, industry, seafaring), the natural environment (activities and peace of quiet), parks, security, good service as well as happy and warm-hearted people.
The news about the success of Kotka last summer have spread among cruise companies. Petra Cranston says that many shipping companies are actually regretting that they have not planned their routes to Kotka in the coming summer. But for the summer after that they certainly have. Ten reservations have already been made for 2019, and five of these have been confirmed finally. The time window is still open for a few months.
The sales efforts have also started for 2020.
Cruise ships at the Kantasatama Harbour in the summer of 2018
Saga Holidays / Saga Pearl II 30 May
Fred.Olsen / Braemar 7 June (potentially)
Saga Holidays / Saga Sapphire 14 June
Noble Caledonia / Serenissima 13 August
Saga Holidays / Saga Sapphire 6 September