Cruise News - Maritime News

Gotlandsbolaget buys M/S Birka Stockholm and starts cruises to Åland and Gotland

c: Mariehamn Ports

Gotlandsbolaget has bought M/S Birka Stockholm from Rederiaktiebolaget Eckerö for approximately EUR 38 million. 

The vessel will be used in traffic between Stockholm, Mariehamn and Visby.

"Birka Stockholm is a purely passenger ship, and we see great opportunities for her to complement the Gotland traffic. In 2022, we continued to streamline our fleet to focus on infrastructure and future shipping. With Birka Stockholm, we are further consolidating our position in passenger shipping in the Baltic Sea," says Håkan Johansson, CEO of Gotlandsbolaget.

Birka Stockholm is known to many as a cruise ship between Stockholm and Mariehamn, an operation that was shut down during the pandemic. Now Gotlandsbolaget together with subsidiary Destination Gotland will use the ship to offer cruises, and as a complement to existing Gotland traffic. Birka Stockholm will offer tax-free and operate Stockholm, Mariehamn and Visby with varying traffic patterns depending on the season.

"There is a market for this type of cruise in the Baltic Sea, and traffic to Visby for parts of the year will further strengthen interest. Visby has become an increasingly attractive cruise port, and we see it as a great opportunity to both develop our business and create new reasons to visit Gotland. For Gotland residents, this means an increased number of departures for those who have more time and do not have a car with them, or want to take a pleasure cruise," says Marcus Risberg, CEO of Destination Gotland.

Birka is a pure passenger ship without car decks. 

The new route will offer tax-free, food and entertainment and passengers will be able to choose which routes they want to travel on. 

The start-up also means new job opportunities within Swedish shipping.

"This means new job opportunities under the Swedish flag, and we will also develop our organization in the country. Pleasure cruises are a different product than the one we have today," continues Marcus Risberg.

The plan is for the business to start in the spring of 2024, and the work to develop the organization and offer will begin immediately.

"Gotlandsbolaget has brought Gotland and the mainland closer together since 1865. Now we are also bringing Gotland and Åland closer together," concludes Håkan Johansson.

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