Royal Princess, operated by Princess Cruises, became the first ship to berth at the Port of Talinn’s new €9.34 million cruise quay on 17 May.
Bringing more than 3,000 cruise guests to Tallinn, the 330-metre long Royal Princess – also the largest ship to visit Estonia to date – helped to officially open the new quay during a symbolic unmooring ceremony. The rite was performed by Allan Kiil, board member of AS Tallinna Sadam; Urve Palo, Estonia’s minister of economic affairs and communications; Taavi Aas, Tallinn’s deputy mayor; and Leho Alliksoo, head of the Estonian branch of BMGS construction company.
Built by BMGS next to the existing cruise ship quay in the Old City harbour, the new quay is 421 metres long, 20 metres wide and has a depth of 11 metres. It has been outfitted with an electricity supply, outdoor lighting, communications equipment and pipelines for supplying ships with utility water and removing wastewater.
The new quay will enable the port to moor cruise ships up to 340 metres in length, up to 42 metres in width and a draft of up to nine metres.
“For the Port of Tallinn, the construction of the new quay was the largest single investment last year,” said Kiil. “On the one hand this investment will satisfy the growing demand for Tallinn as a tourist destination and on the other hand, help us meet the needs of cruise operators that want to use larger and larger vessels.”
Tallinn is scheduled to handle around 300 cruise vessels and 470,000 passengers this year. The port aims to establish a joint marketing campaign with other Baltic Sea destinations to increase passenger numbers and reap the economic benefits of cruise tourism.
“It is estimated that a cruise tourist spends an average of €56.7 in Tallinn, buying goods and services,” said Palo. “Even with the half a million of cruise tourists Taliin currently welcomes per year, that amounts to more than €30 million injected into local economy. In addition there are indirect effects, such as the jobs created in tourism agencies and catering facilities and the taxes received from these.”