Costa Magica is cruising round-trip from Stockholm, Sweden on July 14th, a 7-night Baltic cruise that visits St Petersburg, Talin and Helsinki. Guests were informed of the change in an email ahead of the cruise.
Costa Magica was meant to visit Helsinki, Finland on the 16th, and Talin, Estonia on the 19th, but in an email to guests, Costa Cruises said that Magica would instead call in Talin, the Estonian capital on the 16th, with Helsinki scheduled for the 19th.
P&O Cruises’ ship Arcadia was also meant to call in Helsinki on the 16th, but according to MarineTraffic.com, the ship is in port in Helsinki today instead. A spokesperson for the cruise line said Arcadia would visit Talin, Estonia on the 16th.
P&O Cruises did not give a reason for the swap, but July 16th is the date that US president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin are expected to meet in the Finnish capital.
More than 2,000 officials and journalists will flock to the city to cover the event, and there are at least ten major protests planned.
Helsinki police authorities have indicated that wide-ranging security arrangements have been put in place.
“The security arrangements will be extensive,” deputy police chief Heikki Kopperoinen told local media this week.
“With the Trump delegation, we’re talking about several hundred people. They include many different kinds of assistants, secretaries, a PR team, interpreters and their own security men,” adds Vappu Mänty, head of sales at Helsinki Marketing.
“There will probably also be hundreds, maybe even more than 1,000 media representatives. They will have to be provided with functional working conditions so that they have a good Helsinki experience – that’s tremendously important, too,” Mänty adds.
With all of this going on, it is likely that Helsinki tourism officials have asked cruise lines to re-examine plans to visit the city on the date in question, or P&O may have decided itself that it would be better to avoid Helsinki on the 16th.
Cruise Arabia & Africa has reached out to P&O for comment.
In an email, a spokesperson for Costa said that the cruise line had voluntarily decided to avoid the Finnish capital on the date of the Trump-Putin meeting.
“The international political summit which is scheduled for July 16th in Helsinki will require high security measures in the city center which will be mostly locked down with the impossibility to perform many visits ashore. Therefore, in order to ensure proper guest satisfaction we decide to modify the itinerary of the cruise with Costa Magica. Guests have been duly informed in advance,” the email said.
Costa and P&O are one of four cruise lines scheduled to visit Helsinki on July 16th. Sapphire Princess of Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas are also due to visit Helsinki on the 16th.
A spokesperson for Princess Cruises said that Sapphire Princess would call in Helsinki on July 16th as planned.