Gotlandsbolaget and Viking Line now jointly own cruise ship Birka Stockholm
Shipping companies Viking Line and Gotlandsbolaget are forming a joint venture to provide cruises from Stockholm to Mariehamn on the Finnish Åland islands and Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland.
Gotlandsbolaget acquired the cruise ship Birka Stockholm in March 2023 for €23 million ($25.3 million) and has now agreed to sell a 50 per cent stake in the vessel to Viking Line for €19 million ($20.9 million).
Cruise services will launch in the spring of 2024, with voyages between Stockholm and Mariehamn and from Stockholm to Visby with a call in Mariehamn. The companies are also investigating the possibility of providing destination cruises in the Baltic Sea region. Viking Cinderella, which currently provides cruise service from Stockholm to Mariehamn, will now be moved to a Helsinki-Mariehamn-Stockholm route during the spring of 2024.
"We are pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with a successful shipping company like Gotlandsbolaget, which we have great respect for,” said Jan Hanses, CEO of Viking Line. “We believe our joint contribution to this service will further enhance the cruise product offered from Stockholm.”
The initial contract for the partnership runs for five years, with the possibility of an extension. The new company will be headquartered in Stockholm and run under the management of CEO Susanne Kaarnimo-Knight.
"We are working to expand Gotlandsbolaget’s cruise travel offering as a complement to our service to Gotland and our other offerings, and what partner can be better at doing this than Viking Line, with its extensive experience from cruises in the Baltic Sea,” said Håkan Johansson, CEO of Gotlandsbolaget. “We see this collaboration as a fantastic opportunity that utilizes the experience and skills of both Gotlandsbolaget and Viking Line.”