Earlier today the Port of Tallinn and shipping company St Peterline signed a cooperation agreement under which St Peterline will launch a regular ferry line St Petersburg – Stockholm – Tallinn – St Petersburg on April 3, 2011. At first, the ferry line will visit Tallinn Old City Harbour once a week on Sundays and it will be serviced by ship Princess Anastasia flying the flag of Malta.
Ain Kaljurand, Chair of the Port of Tallinn Management Board, sees great potential in ferry traffic between Tallinn and St Petersburg. “Creating a regular line between Tallinn and St Petersburg is a long-standing goal of ours. The City of St Petersburg alone is home to nearly five million citizens and people in the entire region of St Petersburg are very interested in Estonia. A trip to St Petersburg takes as long as one from Tallinn to Stockholm, and passengers can now spend this time pleasantly on a modern ship. Passenger cars and trucks get an opportunity to avoid traffic jams and long waiting times at border inspection points,” said Kaljurand.
Although for the time being, it is the citizens of Russia that will presumably use the shipping line the most; according to Kaljurand, Estonian passengers, too, will get a chance to visit St Petersburg and its neighbourhood in a convenient way, all the more so seeing that European Union citizens can stay in St Petersburg for 72 hours without a visa when travelling by ship.
Igor Glukhov, CEO of St Peterline, stated that because of the great interest their customers have shown, already today Tallinn is one of the destinations in all the Baltic Sea cruises organised by them. “According to the current plan, St Peterline will visit Tallinn as a regular line once a week, but we can definitely increase the frequency in the future depending on the line’s success,” stressed Glukhov. He said that one of the line’s success factors might be the approach offered by St Peterline that combines the concepts of a classic regular line and a cruise, which is new to the market.
One-way tickets to Tallinn – St Petersburg start at 25 euros. Estonians can stay in St Petersburg without a visa for 72 hours when visiting the city by ship and staying in certain hotels. Besides the existing line (straight to St Petersburg, back via Stockholm), the company will develop packages to enable to visit St Petersburg so that ship Princess Anastasia will go from Tallinn to St Petersburg, and when returning, ship Princess Maria will go to Helsinki and some available ship from there to Tallinn.
St Peterline was established in 2010 and at present, it has two ships operating on the Baltic Sea – Princess Anastasia and Princess Maria. The company launched regular ferry lines between St Petersburg and Helsinki in April 2010; last year the lines serviced already 154,000 passengers. Besides operating with regular lines, St Peterline organises charter trips (cruises) on the Baltic with their ships.