The ferry company Gotlandsbolaget/Destination Gotland (1998-founded, headquartered in Visby, Gotland Island, Sweden) paid EUR 38 million for the 2004-built cruise ship ms Birka Stockholm.
The 34,924 GT vessel will be introduced for part of the year on sailings from Stockholm to Mariehamn (Aland Islands Finland) and Visby, with the first departure scheduled for the spring of 2024.
MS Birka Stockholm has been laid up since the start of the COVID crisis years ago and before that, she was used by Rederiaktiebolaget Eckerö on short voyages from the capital of Sweden, mainly to Mariehamn.
Destination Gotland operates ferry services between Visby and Nynashamn on the Swedish mainland. Hakan Johansson, CEO of the company, said there was a market for the kind of sailings Gotlandsbolaget plans to operate in the Baltic and that the ship would complement the ferries that serve Visby. He also pointed out that Gotland Island itself had become a popular destination for cruise ships.
After the laying up of Birka Stockholm, Rederiaktiebolaget Eckerö explored the possibility of converting the ship (which has accommodation for 1800 passengers and a high ice class) to an expedition ship with ~600 berths. However, these plans didn't materialize.