Tallink Grupp’s vessel Baltic Queen, which operated on the Tallinn-Stockholm route prior to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in March 2020, Wednesday night set sail from Helsinki on its first trip to Riga, Latvia. The vessel has started to operate on Tallink Grupp’s temporary Helsinki-Riga route, which the company launched this summer as a result of travel restrictions leading to cancellation of many of the company’s regular routes.
From late June to mid-September the route, which quickly proved popular among the Finnish customers during this summer’s holiday season, was operated by the company’s vessel Silja Serenade (CruiseMapper). Unfortunately, as the coronavirus situation started to worsen again from mid-August onwards and countries around the Baltic sea once again gave their citizens and residents advice not to travel, the passenger numbers on the route plummeted and the company was forced to replace the vessel with the more cost-effective Baltic Queen (CruiseMapper) on this route.
Baltic Queen, completed in 2009 and one of the newest cruise vessels in Tallink Grupp’s fleet, will operate on the Helsinki-Riga route with two weekly departures from Helsinki to Riga on Wednesdays and Fridays.
According to maritime traditions, the CEO of the Freeport of Riga, Mr Ansis Zeltiņš this morning handed over the commemorative plaque on the occasion of Baltic Queen’s first visit to the Port of Riga to the ship’s captain Risto Pihlakas.
„The Helsinki-Riga temporary route launched this summer, quickly became a new favourite among our many temporary routes this summer and we hope that it will continue to attract customers also in the autumn, despite the challenges still presented by the virus situation,“ Piret Mürk-Dubout, Management Board member of Tallink Grupp, said.
„Our customers continue to tell us in our customer surveys that many of them would still like to have opportunities for travelling close to home even this autumn, where they feel safe and looked after. Our aim is to continue to provide these travel options in the safest, most caring and professional way, giving people opportunities to enjoy a break on the sea, excellent food experiences and high quality entertainment even in these challenging times,“ Mürk-Dubout added.
„On our part, we continue to take every possible measure under the sun to guarantee everyone’s safety on board, ranging from limited capacity, distance-keeping measures, ferquent cleaning and sanitising, temperature-checking of crew members, medical personnel on board and much much more,“ Mürk-Dubout concluded.