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Travel tips and ideas: cruises in Northern Europe

Marine transport has always played a special role in Northern European countries, separated from each other by the Baltic Sea. Since cruises in the region are reportedly becoming more popular, Baltic Review suggests some ideas about the possible itineraries.

Tallink ferry | Photo: Telegraf.lv

As the sea lies between Northern European cities, getting from one to another always required using either airplane or boat. Later shipping companies learned to make a luxurious holiday of what used to be just a means of transportation. Their services are becoming increasing popular, according to reports that are published monthly on the website of Tallink, one of the Baltic Sea operators. For instance, Tallink’s passenger volumes increased by 4.4 per cent in December 2011 comparing to December 2010. No statistics for January is published yet, but the trend was obvious throughout a long period of time. Tallink reportedly transported over 9 million people from 1st September 2010 to 31st August 2011, making a 7.6 per cent increase over against the same period from 2009 to 2010. Its total revenue in 2010/2011 reaches almost 900 million euro.

There are several companies that offer popular cruises in the Baltic Sea. Tallink Silja Oy operates between Stockholm and Helsinki, Turku, Tallinn, and Riga. Helsinki-Tallinn is another extremely popular route (the busiest in the Baltic ship traffic), as the two capitals are just 80 kilometers from each other. Tallink Silja also offers trips from Helsinki, Riga, Stokholm, Tallinn, and Turku to Åland Islands located between Sweden and Finland.

Tallink’s competitor, the Finnish company Viking Line, connects Helsinki with Tallinn, Stockholm, and Åland Islands. Special cruises, like Stockholm-Riga and Stockholm-Tallinn, are available during summertime.

Prices differ radically, making such kind of trip a low-cost  journey from one city to another or a part of an expensive holiday. The price depends on many factors, including the view out of your cabin, that can be either on sea water or on the ferry’s promenade with its numerous shops. One-way Tallink ticket prices from Helsinki to Stockholm range between 33 and 722 Euros. The less free space there is in the ferry’s cabin at the moment of reservation, the less the ticket costs. Viking Line’s tickets are even cheaper, between 21 and 290 Euros from Saturday to Thursday and from 48 to 340 Euros on Friday (the prices are valid until June).

The ferries’ buffets can become one of the best memories of the whole marine trip. Passengers are welcome to taste everything they want in the enormous buffet restaurants for quite a reasonable price. Reservations can be made online.  If you seek a way to learn Northern Europe better, a ferry trip across the Baltic Sea is something you need to experience.

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