Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

184 NORTHERN EUROPE: REPORT Western Europe’s easternmost cruise port, Port of HaminaKotka in Finland is an important hub for cruise travellers exploring Europe and the Baltic Sea region. In June 2023, Silversea Cruises’ expedition ship Silver Wind made its first and second calls to the port, arriving with approximately 200 guests onboard. The guests spent the day on Ulko-Tammio, one of around 100 islands within the 30-mile-wide Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park, which is home to an abundance of rare flora and fauna, and an interesting military history. “Silver Wind was the first cruise ship ever to anchor by the island of UlkoTammio,” says Kimmo Naski, CEO at Port of HaminaKotka. “According to the guests and crew, the experience was amazing. The visit had an important impact in marketing the region towards other cruise lines and travel agents. We have been able to raise awareness and interest and have new brands scheduled to stop at our port in 2024.” Silver Wind is just one of 13 cruise ships expected to visit the KotkaHamina region in the 2023 season. “This year, we’re expecting 20,000 guests,” says Naski. “Before the geopolitical situation escalated in February 2022, our port’s bookings grew from five to nearly 50. We have worked with the cruise lines and other cruise-related business stakeholders to make them aware of what a unique place our region is to experience. Thankfully, guest feedback from 2022-2023 shows we have succeeded in doing this.” Naski and officials at the Port of HaminaKotka hope to continue building upon recent growth by working with the cities of Kotka and Hamina to develop interest in cruising in the region. “Even though it’s early days for us as a cruise destination, we’re pleased with feedback from guests complementing our level of customer service,” says Naski. “We’ve got big plans for the future, including bringing shore power into use as part of the European Union’s Fit for 55 target to reduce emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030.” A unique experience Dr Kimmo Naski explains to Laura Hyde how the Port of HaminaKotka is raising awareness of the Kotka-Hamina region’s unspoilt beauty to encourage more cruise guests to visit Silversea Cruises’ Silver Wind at Ulko-Tammio Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park Hamina/Kotka archipelago “ We have worked with cruise lines to make them aware of what a unique place our region is” Photo: Studiokuva Jarno Koivula