Helsinki is a Balti Sea cruise port and the busiest seaport in Finland. The city is the country's capital since 1812. It is also Europe's northernmost capital city. It is located on the Gulf of Finland’s shores. Russia (Saint Peterburg) is approx 300 km (185 ml) to the west. City's population is around 650,000 (metro 1,45 million), ranking it Nordic countries' 3rd largest metro area - after Stockholm Sweden and Copenhagen Denmark.
- In Greater Helsinki (metro) are headquartered 83 of Finland's 100 largest companies.
- The city's tap water is supplied via the Paijanne Water Tunnel. Its length of 120 km (75 ml) ranks it among the world's longest rock tunnels. The city's tap water is of such good quality, that is sold (bottled) in other countries.
- Among the city's best known and popular tourist attractions are its numerous museums. The list features the country's National Museum (neomedieval castle, the City Museum, Helsinki University Museum, Finnish Museum of Natural History, Finnish National Gallery (houses 3 art museums), Design Museum (Finnish and international designs - industrial, fashion, graphic), Military Museum, Tram Museum. The Ateneum palace is among the city's main historical buildings.
- The city is served by the International Helsinki Airport in Vantaa - approx 17 km (11 ml) to the north. Helsinki-Malmi Airport serves mainly domestic flights and private airplanes. The Hernesaari Heliport serves charter flights.
Port Helsinki is Europe's 2nd busiest passenger (cruise and ferry) port (after Southampton England UK) handling around 11 million passengers annually.
- Vuosaari Harbour was opened in 2008. It handles only goods shipping traffic for Greater Helsinki (metro) region. This section of the port has 2 container terminals (West Harbour and Sornainen Harbour). The harbor covers a land area of 1,5 km2 (0,6 ml2) with additional 0,75 lm2 (0,3 ml2) business park adjacent to the harbor. The city's "Ring 3" road network was extended and a new railway is now used for cargo transportation to and from Vuosaari Harbour.
- West Harbour (Lansisatama) is in the city's Jatkasaari district and has a passenger and a cargo terminal. The harbor area includes the Munkkisaari (cruise ship dedicated) pier. The "West Terminal" (ferry terminal) serves mainly ferry ships to Estonia (Tallinn) and Russian (St Petersburg). Most of the ferries are operated by the companies "Eckero Line" and "Tallink" (Estonian route) and St Peter Line (Russian route). Port's development here included building of a residential complex for around 15,000 inhabitants. The land for this project is a former container traffic area (moved to Vuosaari).
- The Helsinki shipyard (in Hietalahti district) is adjacent to the West Harbour but not considered part of the port,
- The port's Olympia terminal building is listed as heritage site. It is located next to the Port Authority's headquarters.
- Jatkasaari (part of Lansisatama and Kampinmalmi) is a new residential and office area. It was developed at the site of the port's ex-main container terminal (moved in 2008 to Vuosaari Harbour).
- The cruise port's 2014 statistics showed a total of 240 ship calls and 408,900 passengers handled. The 2015 statistics showed 254 ship calls and 436,500 passengers handled.
- The most visted from Helsinki port cruise ship destinations are St Petersburg Russia, Gdynia-Gdansk Poland, Tallinn Estonia, Travemünde-Lubeck Germany, Stockholm Sweden and Warnemunde-Rostock (Germany).
- For season 2017, the port had scheduled 270 cruise ship calls with estimated over 440,000 passengers. A special day was May 31, when here met 5 cruise vessels (AIDAmar, Le Soleal, MSC Magnifica, Norwegian Getaway, Ocean Dream) with over 11,000 tourists in total.
Among the Helsinki port's main innovations implemented during it redevelopments in the last few years were:
- Buffer zones at Vuosaari Harbour protect its existing "Natura 2000" natural reserve areas. These are green parks that buffer Vuosaari's housing developments and harbour areas. A new golf course was aslo created there.
- New lighting scheme was developed and sound barriers were built. The sound wall is also the port's facade to the natural reserve. It reduces sound pollution from the harbour, integrates vegetation and also has a sightseen function.
- An efficient automatic vehicle check-in system was installed (for trucks and cars) with waiting areas constructed outside the urban area (some are in the buffer zones). The new system allows ferry cargo traffic to be handled with less waiting times and areas required.
Highlights: Elegant city, Senate Square, Uspensky Cathedral
Helsinki cruise terminal
Helsinki cruise port, as part of the seaport, is owned and operated by the Port Authority "Port of Helsinki Ltd" (state-owned company). There are all 4 docks serving cruise liners – West Harbour, Hernesaari, Katajanokka Quay, and South Harbour.
Larger cruise ships dock at Munkkisaari Quay. The Helsinki cruise port terminal there is located at Hernematalankatu 6. The facilities are internet, tourists guide, phone and souvenir shop. The distance to Helsinki airport is 24 km.
- Cruise ships will use Melkki quay (in West Harbour) until 2019, as the area is planned to become maritime residential complex. Melkki quay will be replaced by a new cruise ship quay at Hernesaari.
- The new quay is mostly intended to serve larger ships (LOA length up to 360 m / 1180 ft). Also, the passenger traffic to the city center will be handled more efficiently via a new tramline.
- The port's cruise ship traffic was moved from South Harbour to West Harbour due to the vessels' growing size. Currently, Hernesaari and Lansisatama terminals handle around 90% of all international cruise passengers to Helsinki.
- The new quay's construction started in 2017.
There are 2 quays for cruise ships – Valtameri Quay and Melkki Quay. Both are at the south end of the port's West Dock. The distance to the city center is approx 2 ml. Shuttle bus services are provided. Passengers can also catch taxi or ferry to the Market Square (Kauppatori).
Cruise liners will use Melkki quay until 2019, as the area is planned to become a maritime residential complex, also offering boating and yachting services.
Smaller-sized cruise ships dock at the Katajanokka district’ s end - at the Katajanokanlaituri 2 terminal. Its quays also serve ferries to Tallinn Estonia.
The port has 2 quays at its largest dock – Pakkahuone Quay and Olympia Quay. It is located in Helsinki downtown and all attractions are in easy walking distance.
Helsinki Ferry Terminals
Helsinki Port has all 4 ferry terminals. Three are near city's center (Katajanokka, South Harbour, West Harbour) and the 4th is Vuosaari. These ferry terminals handle around 11 million passengers plus around 1/4 of the port's freight. This traffic alone often brings daily up to 4000 vehicles to the city.
Helsinki's newest ferry terminal is Lansisatama (West Harbour).
West Terminal offers smooth ship traffic operations. It features a new automated vessel docking system (at quay LJ7) that uses vacuum technology to hold vessels in place. There is also a new dual ramp that allows vehicles to be driven onto the ferry n 2 levels at a time.
- The new ferry terminal project was started in January 2015.
- Its quays were completed in June 2015.
- West Terminal 2's construction works started in September 2015.
- Terminal's check-in car area was opened in May 2016. The new gate at West Harbour has automated identification and check-in. The gate is shared with the ferry companies.
- The dual ram was built in December 2016.
- The Pihlajasaari bypass route was completed in December 2016.
- Passenger corridors was completed in December 2016 (LJ6) and March 2017 (LJ7 and LJ8).
- Disembarkation bridges were installed in January 2017 (LJ7) and May 2017 (LJ8).
- The tram line to West Terminal 2 was opened for traffic in February 2017.
- West Terminal 2 complex (all infrastructure works) were completed in March 2017.
- Among the Helsinki port's main contractors were the companies YIT Rakennus Oy, Alekon Holding AS, Adelte Ports & Maritime, Konepaja Survonen OyAro Systems Oy, NCC Roads Oy.
Next YouTube video release by the port authority is also about Lansisatama (West Terminal 2).
Following the project's completion, were accomplished the following goals:
- Car traffic was reduced via good public transportation links.
- Waste water from the ships can be discharged free of charge at all its quays.
- Ship-shore power is provided at all quays, thus reducing bad emissions.
- Automated gate operations reduced port's congestion and vessel idling.
- MoorMaster units (automated ship mooring) allows ships to be moored / unmoored more quickly, which reduces fuel consumption and bad emissions.
- The new quays are located coherently to the ferry route, which leads to smoother shipping traffic and less bad emissions.
- Terminal's power is generated by solar panels.
- LNG refuelling is facilitated.
In order to handle more efficiently the ferry traffic, the port was also considering the option of building underground tunnels (going under dowtown Helsinki). However, this option implied huge investments and complex construction works, and was eventually discarded.
As the Helsinki port's ferry traffic is constantly increasing, a redistribution of the ferry terminals is also considered. Some ferry lines could be relocated to Vousaari. However, such decision would require the existing subway to be extended to the harbour area. However, this also is a huge investment, and difficult to justify for ferry passengers only.
Ferries are regularly scheduled as the city is visited not only by tourists (on short trips), but also by commuters living in Estonia and working in Finland.
Regularly scheduled ferries connect the city with Tallinn, Mariehamn and Stockholm. Finnlines ferry ships (passenger and cargo) connects it to Gdynia, Travemünde and Rostock. The St Peter Line offers daily ferry service to St Petersburg.
Helsinki tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- The Botanical Garden: Botaniska trädgården will offer you amazing time in its gardens.
- The House of Parliament: or Eduskuntatalo.
- The new opera house: or Finnish National Opera’s Oopperatalo dates from 1993. It is located in Töölö.
- Heureka: the science center is located in Vantaa and features different exhibitions and IMAX.
- Sandudd (Hietaniemi): one of the top-rated beaches in Helsinki. It is near the downtown city.
- Helsinki Olympic Stadium: located at the junction of Mannerheimintie with Helsinginkatu, beyond the the old Trade Fair Hall. You can visit also the Finnish Sport Museum. The statue in front of the entrance is Paavo Nurmi’s, famous runner.
- Linnanmäki Amusement Park: located at Tivolikuja 1, east of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium. The park offers giant wheel, water tower and more. It dates from 1950 but it was continually upgraded and improved.
- House of Culture: located at Sturenkatu 4. Its designer is Alvar Aalto. There is a small Lenin park behind.
- Alvar Aalto Museum Gallery
- Temppeliaukio Church (Lutheran church in the city's Toolo neighborhood)
- Sibelius Monument - dedicated to the composer Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
- The National Museum of Finland
- Seurasaari Open-Air Museum
The Helsinki cruise port map is interactive. It shows the port's exact location, along with the real-time cruise ship traffic (if any) in its vicinity - today, and right now. By zooming-out you can see other cruise ship ports located near Helsinki, Finland.
If you lose the Helsinki location on the map, simply reload the page (also with F5 button). This feature is integrated with the CruiseMapper's cruise ship tracker tracking the vessels' current positions at sea and in ports.
Port Helsinki cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Helsinki, Finland. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
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