Helsinki a more popular cruise destination than ever

In 2018, more international cruise ship passengers visited Helsinki than ever before. In total, there were almost 520,000 passengers, which was approximately 40,000 passengers and 8.5% more than the previous year.

The number of cruise ship visits was 285 (+9.6%), which is the second highest number that Helsinki has seen. The growth of vessels and their passenger capacity is also a current trend in international cruise traffic.

The attractive Baltic Sea

The Baltic Sea is an increasingly attractive destination area for cruise traffic – during a single cruise, the tourist has the opportunity to tour as many as ten different countries. The cooler climate than on the traditional Mediterranean and Caribbean seas and the stable political conditions also create a favourable setting for tourism.

Helsinki is the fifth most popular cruise destination on the Baltic Sea, and approximately 80% of the Baltic Sea cruise ship passengers visited here. As the capital of Finland, Helsinki is an attractive destination. More and more often, cruise ship passengers want a moment to experience various destinations from the local perspective. The interesting aspects of Helsinki include many cultural destinations, but also the urban culture: markets, cafés, local cuisine, architecture and design.

Of the cruise ship passengers visiting Helsinki, 25% were German, 24% from the USA, 12% from the UK, 5% Canadian, 4% Italian and 4% Spanish. There were no major changes in the distribution of nationalities compared to the previous cruise season.

The cruise industry produces a total economic impact of 1.5 billion euros and almost 12,600 jobs in the Baltic Sea region. The international cruise ship passengers contribute to boosting business in Helsinki and the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, as well. According to a spending survey by Helsinki Marketing cruise visitors spent approximately 32 million euros in Helsinki in 2017.

A new cruise quay for large vessels

At the end of the autumn, a new LHD quay was completed in Hernesaari close to the two old quays. The new quay will be opened after the final touches at the start of May 2019. The LHD quay will replace Melkki quay, the use of which ended in West Harbour after the end of the 2018 cruise season.

Concentrating the cruise ship services at Hernesaari will allow for more efficient vessel and passenger services.