This is what international cruise organisers think of Turku

A group of representatives of international cruise line companies visited Baltic Sea cities. We asked them about their opinion on Turku.

Traffic and logistics

At the beginning of March, Daniele Chiappa from luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises disembarked in the Port of Turku for the first time. He was one of the participants on Cruise Baltic’s tour of the Baltic Sea which promised to reveal the hidden pearls and quiet wonders of Northern Europe.

“In Turku, the absolutely beautiful archipelago made a lasting impression on me. You can rarely see something like that elsewhere. The sea voyage through these beautiful and peaceful waters was a ground-breaking experience that would be perfectly suited to the luxury standards of our passengers”, says Daniele Chiappa, Manager of Fleet Deployment.

In fact, the 238-metres-long Crystal Symphony of Crystal Cruises will be bringing its passengers to Turku in August 2024. At the same time, the vessel will in a way return to its birthplace, as it was built at the Kvaerner Masa Yards shipyard in Turku.

Great potential

Country Director Milda Šilekaité was not familiar with Turku beforehand, either. She fell in love with the urban atmosphere that is combined with history and nature.

“The food was also excellent! I think that Turku has great potential as a cruise destination. They also have a wonderful team that introduced the locations with expertise. For us as a cruise organiser the most important thing is to meet people as well as offer unique experiences, such as, for example, a local home visit or a visit at a farm”, Ms Šilekaité says.

Mr Chiappa also stresses the importance of people.

“Competent and enthusiastic people, such as Annika Schulman from the Port of Turku, play a crucial role in building the cruise industry.”

The guests included representatives of smaller shipping companies whose customers are looking for unique and authentic experiences. Among them were also Men Gorlecu from SAS and American travel writer and vlogger Kristen Ferreira.
A new terminal was longed for

In addition to plentiful praise, the representatives of cruise line companies also found room for improvement in Turku.

“It would be possible to improve the terminal to make it better match the needs of luxury cruise liners. Key port services including logistical support, strong security level and seamless travelling experience in turn are enough for us”, Mr Chiappa contemplates.

Ms Šilekaité does not mention the need to modernise the terminal but finds one problem with Turku. Helsinki is located too close to it. She thinks that the capital city draws the majority of the tourists with its status, although as a destination it may not be as attractive as the former capital.

Mr Chiappa believes that in the future cruise passengers will increasingly value ecological aspects and sustainable tourism. Mass tourism will be limited for the same reasons, and Ms Šilekaité believes that it may benefit Turku as a small city.

And what would Mr Chiappa and Ms Šilekaité do if they were having a vacation in Turku?

“I would go outdoors. The Ruissalo island is a truly memorable place! I would get acquainted with Finnish design and culinary art, and go to sauna and spa”, Ms Šilekaité says.

Mr Chiappa would sit down in a small canoe, paddle out to the archipelago with a picnic basket and watch the birds flying over small rocky islets.


Text: Sari Järvinen
Photos: Jouni Saaristo and Annika Schulman

Crystal Cruises

  • One of the most awarded organisers of luxury cruises
  • New owner A&K Travel Group since 2022
  • The shipping company’s vessels Serenity and Symphony were refurbished recently
  • Symphony was built in Turku in 1995