Developing a New Cruise Line Kotka - Vyborg - St. Petersburg

Cruise as the Preferred Means of Travel

Finns are experienced sea travelers, and there is a demand for a new, unique cruise product. According to recent studies 65% are eager to travel to Russian port cities Vyborg and St Petersburg by sea. Also Russians have an interest in Finland as a travel destination and nearly 60 000 tourists would be interested in travelling to Finland by sea every year after the global pandemic has ended.

According to research, Russians find Finland as a safe travel destination. During the years 2014-2019 8,8-11,4 million travelers crossed the border from Russia to Finland. By sea there were only 120 000 travelers during 2019 (M/S Carelia & M/S Princess Anastasia). Consequently, seafare is seen as an interesting potential between Russia and Finland.

Proximity and Ease of Access

Kotka as a cruise city has it’s perks, such as ease of access from the motorway, the drive from Helsinki taking only a bit more than an hour. There are also great train connections from other Finnish cities.

Kotka, Vyborg and St. Petersburg all have modern harbors. This means comfort for passengers when embarking or disembarking on cruise ships. Each harbor also has easy connections to city center. Distances from harbors to the cities are in Kotka 1,5 km, in Vyborg 1 km and in St Petersburg 11 km.  

The 72h cruises can also be made visa free.

Interesting Destinations

Studies show that there is an interest in traveling to Russia through Kotka, which is a historical city by the sea with many interesting sights. St. Petersburg and Vyborg are popular travel destinations and the opportunity to connect these three cities via cruise line seems interesting to potential travelers.

Cruise travelers can be provided with visual material of each destination and its sights. Interesting places to visit would be for example the Winter Palace, the Court of St Petersburg, markets with local handicrafts, food and other products, the Castle of Vyborg, Sunila as a mecca of Alvar Aalto Design, the Maritime Center Vellamo, Langinkoski Imperial Fishing Hut Museum and the famous parks of Kotka. All there cities offer also interesting events such as exhibitions, concerts, opera and seasonal festivities around holidays.

Kotka, Vyborg and St. Petersburg are connected in many interesting ways, such as their military history, the lives of salesman, cosmopolitan families, as well as emperors and generals passing through in their travels. However, there is also the spellbinding archipelago and city life to be enjoyed, in other words something for everyone.

Cruise Concept for Kotka, St. Petersburg and Vyborg

A cruise is a familiar and safe travel concept. It takes about 11 hours (196 km) from Kotka to St. Petersburg and 7 hours (117 km) from Kotka to Vyborg. The best way to enjoy these three cities would be to travel to Russia in the evening and returning home in the morning, staying overnight at the destination and two nights onboard.

According to research, 41% of Finns are interested in traveling to Viborg and St. Petersburg, 47% of which would like to reach St. Petersburg by sea and 40% are looking forward to a cruise to Viborg. 64% out of these potential travelers are groups of two adults interested in cities. 26% were interested in traveling in groups to 1. see historical places of interest (72%), 2. experience local culture as the form of culinary experiences (69%), restaurants and market places, and 3. take part in guided tours in palaces and other historical places of interest (60%).

It has been estimated, that a new cruise line between the ports of HaminaKotka and St. Petersburg would attract 67 500 travelers annually. The same number for the ports of HaminaKotka and Viborg is 55 000, with an estimated growth of 3,9% annually, reaching 88 300 for St. Petersburg and 75 200 for Viborg by the year 2030.

Studies show that travelers would be willing to pay approximately 100 euros for a seafare to St. Petersburg and 200 euros for a cruise. For Viborg they would be willing to pay 85 and 125 euros, for cruise purchases about 85 and 110 euros respectively, and on land about 100 euros. They would prefer travel during the summer months from May to October.

The Eastern Gulf of Finland is spellbinding in its beauty. The magnificent and unique archipelago was one time in history the setting of the biggest naval battle ever on waters of the Baltic Sea. The ruins of the Ruotsinsalmi sea fortress Fort Elisabeth are located in the islands of Varissaari and Kukouri just outside Kotka. The round red-brick fortress on Kukouri, Fort Slava, was completed in 1794. Both fortresses used to protect shipping lanes leading to the fortress city Ruotsinsalmi, today known as the city of Kotka. 

The new cruise product is developed by CBC tourism development project VipKo: Connecting Vyborg, St.Petersburg and Kotka by sea routes and improving safety and border crossing customer experience of future passenger lines. It is funded by the European union, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Finland, and lead by regional DMO Visit Kotka-Hamina, which is part of Cursor Ltd, the a regional development organization for the regions of Kotka, Hamina and Loviisa.

For further information, please contact:
Mr. Mats Selin
Tel:+358 40 190 2510