The Baltic Sea and Helsinki are popular cruise destinations

International Cruise Traffic in Helsinki reached a new record again: a total of 605,000 cruise passengers visited the city, exceeding the total from previous year by 16.7%. Future growth is estimated to be moderate.

In total, 303 cruise ships were received during the cruise season (+6%). This was the first season with over 300 dockings.

The largest percentages of cruise passengers came from Germany (32%), the United States (21%) and the United Kingdom (10%). The top three nationalities remained the same as the previous year, although the proportion of German visitors grew slightly. The proportions of other nationalities among visitors to Helsinki were all less than 5%.

Moderate growth, sustainably

According to Cruise Lines International Association CLIA, cruising operations in the Baltic Sea region are growing about 5% annually. The Port of Helsinki also believes in moderate growth of international cruise traffic.

In Helsinki, the traffic is largely focused on Hernesaari and the season lasts from April to October. The coastal location is part of the city’s fundamental nature, and the City of Helsinki wants to utilise it as an attraction factor. International cruise traffic is one notable form of tourism that shall be developed responsibly and in cooperation with different operators and stakeholder groups.

Cruise traffic brings internationality to Helsinki and supports its business life. According to TAK Rajatutkimus 2019 (Border survey), cruise passengers spent €54 each on average during their visit to Helsinki. However, this sum does not include the employment or multiplier effects of cruise travel.

Hypercell Industries Oy also conducted a mobility study, in which the movements of cruise passengers between Hernesaari harbour and certain cultural attractions agreed in advance were surveyed with the help of Bluetooth technology. According to the results of this study, the proportion cruise passengers accounted for of the number of people at the main attractions is very small.

A new cruise berth taken into use

On May Day Eve, the Port of Helsinki opened its new LHD berth in Hernesaari. The new berth serves large cruise ships. With this investment, the harbour’s quay capacity will be, considering the usage rate, enough to provide for the moderate growth forecasts of cruise traffic for future years.
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Top-class waste management

The Port of Helsinki provides international cruise ships with functional waste management in Helsinki. Each quay at the harbour has a wastewater reception system, through which the water is delivered to be treated by the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY. The Port of Helsinki ended separate wastewater charges back in 2008, and since 2016 the port has granted a 20% discount on the ship-generated waste charge for vessels that also leave their wastewater in the port.

  • During season 2019, the Port of Helsinki received more than 65,000 m3 of wastewater from cruise ships.
  • In total, 98% of visiting cruise ships deposited wastewater generated onboard by the passengers in the Port’s reception system.