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6th June, 2013



The weather had remained excellent over the last few days, dry, warm, and sunny, and it looked as though it was going to hold for the next few days at least. It left me thinking, I could get used to this!

Being assigned to a berth in the old harbour, where the ferry terminals are located meant that we had to fit our schedule around theirs. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it enables me to justify sailing a bit later and allowing our passengers more time to explore the cobbled streets of Tallinn’s old town.

We had to wait a little while whilst the Seabourn Sojourn turned outside the harbour and backed in. She had evidently been having bow thruster problems so had to use a tug to assist her in the manoeuvre. In order to fit in around the ferry times and avoid any delays on our part, I elected to turn inside the harbour as it was a nice calm day. Not being the biggest of harbours it presented an interesting challenge to prevent me from getting too bored, and we slotted in between a ferry and the Seabourn Sojourn coming to rest alongside just 15m astern of the other cruise ship.


When I first came to Tallinn on Saga Ruby in 2005, the quay area was littered with scrap metal and old cranes from a time when the quay was used for break bulk goods in its days as part of the Soviet Union. Not now though, all the metal and cranes have gone and new facilities have been built to accommodate the large numbers of tourists that visit by cruise ship or by ferry from Stockholm and Helsinki.

Despite the recent price hikes as a result of Estonia joining the Euro, Tallinn remains one of my favourite ports of call in the Baltic, alongside Visby on the Swedish Isle of Gotland. It has a charming old town filled with craft shops and restaurants, the ancient citadel as well a more modern district to provide the commercial outlets and shops needed to support a thriving capital city. The upper town is characterised by watchtowers, graceful spires and winding cobbled streets, while the lower town offers red gabled roofs and soaring spires that mark the distinct character of this UNISCO world heritage site.

I took a couple of hours to wander ashore myself, stopping for lunch with a couple of the deck and technical officers,at the “Old Hansa” a medieval themed eatery where you could get elk, boar and bear as well as more common meats from domesticated animals.

Sailing after the evening ferries at 1945 we followed another cruise ship, the Albatross, out of the harbour limits. She was bound for St Petersburg, where we had just come from, so we parted in opposite directions once our pilots had been dropped off, as we headed towards Gdynia, our next port of call.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.