Saturday, 17 May 2014

Royal Princess and the new cruise quay

Today has been a big day in many ways. For me it was special for the cruise ship calls. Today was the first call of the Empress who is the only ship doing turnarounds in Tallinn, and also Royal Princess. Built in 2013, she's the 10th largest cruise ship in the world and since today by far the largest to ever sail to Tallinn. Along with her first call there was a ceremonial opening of the new cruise quay at the port which I was lucky enough to attend.
When I arrived, the orchestra was playing and later some speeches were given - The Estonian Minister of Economics Urve Palo, Tallinn Deputy Mayor Taavi Aas, board member of Port of Tallinn Allan Kiil, and the manager of the Estonian branch of BMGS (the company who built the quay) Leho Alliksoo. They all stressed the importance of cruise tourism in Tallinn and good service and asked the philosophical question - who came first, the city or the harbour? - and reached the conclusion that it must have been the harbour. After the speeches, the symbolic knot was untangled and the harbour master and the captain of Royal Princess exchanged commemorative gifts. At the same time, the Royal Princess sounded her horn, which was the theme from Love Boat.

The ship and the orchestra
The minister and the ship

Leho Alliksoo and Allan Kiil
The two captains
The symbolic untangling of the knot
From the left: Captain of Royal Princess Dino Sagani, me, Harbour Master Ülo Kikas
Since new cruise quays aren't opened every day (the older one was opened 10 years ago), I'm very happy I could attend. I'm lucky to live in a city where the importance of cruise tourism is understood and I hope that the development will continue in the same direction. The call of the Royal Princess was only possible thanks to the new quay, which means that Tallinn is now ready to welcome some of the largest of cruise ships. 

Here's a video of the Love Boat theme and more photos of Royal Princess.

The horn came rather unexpected and I filmed it quite spontaneously, which is why this video isn't exactly widescreen or HD or anything.

Port side
Lifeboat 1

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