Record-breaking year for White Sea cruises
Foreign cruise vessels will make port call to Arkhangelsk and Solovki 14 times this summer.
Cruise vessel "Island Sky" visiting Arkhangelsk last summer. Photo: Thomas Nilsen
The challenge is the same in Murmansk, where foreign cruise vessels are not allowed to moor at the central passenger harbor because this does't have border zone passport control. Cruise vessels in Murmansk are instead sent to the fishery harbor, far from the city centre.
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“Belomortrans” is one of few companies providing ship’s agency services for cruise vessels in Arkhangelsk. According to Mikhail Sisin, the General Manager of the company, the recent years showed quite positive dynamic in this sector. Last year Belomortrans provided agent’s services to five foreign liners: “Black Watch”, “Discovery”, “Island Sky”, “Silver Cloud” and “National Geographic”. This year Sisin expects eight cruise vessels and six vessels have already applied for 2013. Some of the vessels will make port call to Arkhangelsk two times during the season.
"We have got an agreement with the Arkhangelsk Sea Port about spotting of two big vessels at the Economia terminal, future of other liners is still a subject to doubt. The substitution of the planned moorage in the town with a coal or forest ones will become a failure of all the efforts of the people who have worked for years for the emergence of new cruise vessels in such quantity in Arkhangelsk," says Mikhail Sisin to Business Class Arkhangelsk.
FSYE “Rosmorport” is concerned with an arrangement of the moorage of the sea-river terminal for receiving tourists doesn’t have enough money for that, and most likely won’t have it. There is a proposal about the re-equipment of one of the moorages of the Red Wharf for the cruise liners’ mooring. “First of all the seaport of Economia is a cargo and container terminal” – Mikhail Sisin commented.
One more obstacle that prevents the development of the cruise tourism in Arkhangelsk is very high port charges compared to the ports of Murmansk and Saint-Petersburg. For example the port charge for such vessel as “Discovery” with 700 tourists onboard makes $75,000 (€56,700) for 10 hours of stay in the port. “Discovery” finally got a sufficient discount and paid only $50,000 (€37,800), but still the sum is too high.
Mikhail Sisin considers that if Arkhangelsk choose the right policy in the field of the cruise tourism, 2011 was the starting point for regular international passenger liners and yacht putting into the area of the White Sea not only in words, but in deeds.
Valeria Yarunicheva also contributed to this article.