The disaster of Covid-19 was reflected in last years’ losses for all the major companies as passenger numbers plummeted to zero on some routes due to restrictions. Other services suffered heavily because of capacity restrictions and simple fear of travelling.

Typical was the biggest operator Estonia’s Tallink, where passenger numbers dropped from 9.7 million in 2019 to 3.7 million last year, causing Tallink to make a loss of €143 million. Employee layoffs were widespread while governments supported traffic to maintain trade, which remained relatively stable.

All now look to the summer to get passengers, revenue and ships back. Cruises to Finnish ports plus to ‘nowhere’ are promoted. The latter is where the ship floats around the Baltic for some hours before returning to port.

Viking Line has announced that Gabriella will restart the Helsinki-Stockholm route on 4 June, which has been suspended for months in anticipation that quarantine rules will be relaxed as the vaccination statistics gather pace.

Photo shows Gabriella which it is hoped will return to her Helsinki-Stockholm route.

Photo and report by John Pagni