Risteilykesä2018 2

Cruices with a magnificent start and closing


The Saga Sapphire concluded the successful summer of cruises

The cruise summer in Kotka has been successfully completed. The fourth and final visitor of the summer, the M/S Saga Sapphire, glided to the Kantasatama Harbour on Thursday morning 6 September, appearing from a thick fog like a ghost ship.

However, this certainly was no ghost ship, because the Saga Sapphire brought about 550 passengers and 400 crew members to Kotka. For many of them, a stop for a day in the small and peaceful Kotka following the abundant cultural offerings of the metropolis of St Petersburg gave a much-wanted moment of rest.

“The cruise guests are fascinated by the small size and relaxed atmosphere of Kotka. Culture and history, yes, but in particular the natural environment and cleanliness,” says Virve Kataja, Director of Sales and Operations of Next Travel.

According to Virve Kataja, Kotka has endeavoured to offer the visitors activating excursions to the natural environment to counterbalance the long sightseeing tours in big cities.

The captain headed for the golf course

A vessel owned by the Saga shipping company also started the cruise season in Kotka, when the Saga Pearl II was moored to the quay at Kantasatama at the end of May. For the Saga Sapphire, the September visit was already its second visit to Kotka this summer.

The ship’s Captain Julian Burgess praised Kotka as a cruise port. According to him, the passengers have given nothing but positive feedback of the excursions arranged for them and of the region as a whole.

As an example, the performance of the Kotka Youth Band and Lady Gymnasts upon the arrival of each ship has made visitors feel that they are really welcome to Kotka. According to Simon Burgess, this is something you only see rarely.

Like during the first visit of the ship in June, Julian Burgess had plans to head straight to the Mussalo Golf Course, where he was supposed to meet two Finnish gentlemen for a game. In June, the captain managed to score a birdie on the difficult course, but there was still some room for improvement.

Five guest ships next year

Sales Manager Petra Cranston of the Kotka-Hamina region development company Cursor Oy says that the cruise season in Kotka went fine. At the end of the second cruise summer, Petra Cranston feels that the local players can serve the guests increasingly better.

The number of passengers this summer was smaller than in the previous one, but next summer will again be busier. Five cruise reservations have been made in Kotka for 2019. Four of the ships are of the same size category as the Saga Sapphire, and one is a really big cruise ship that will be moored to a place other than Kantasatama. Due to the giant cruiser, the number of passengers next year is estimated to be about 13,000.

The Dutch brig Mercedes visited Kantasatama Harbour in Kotka

The two-masted brig Mercedes, which operates in charter cruise traffic, was built in 2005. The sail area of the ship is 900 square metres and it can carry 140 passengers. The home port of the ship is Amsterdam, and its crew consists of 16 - 20 persons. In the summer months, the Mercedes cruises between the ports of Germany, Holland and Northern Europe. The ship arrived in Kotka on 4 September and stayed here for about a week. In the winter, the ship will head to the Caribbean.

Cruise ships at the Kantasatama Harbour in Kotka in the summer of 2018:

Saga Holidays/Saga Pearl II 30 May
Saga Holidays/Saga Sapphire 14 June
Noble Caledonia/Serenissima 13 August
Mercedes 4 September
Saga Holidays/Saga Sapphire 6 September

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