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Single-day record: Cruise ships brought 11,000 tourists to Helsinki on Monday

Three giant cruise ships brought thousands of tourists into Helsinki on Monday and record-breaking numbers are expected to visit the capital this year.

The Silver Spirit carries 540 passengers and 376 crew. Image: Silversea

Monday, 6 August saw the most-ever ship passengers disembarking in Helsinki in a single a day.

A total of 11,000 passengers arrived on Monday on three gigantic cruise ships moored in the West Harbour and Hernesaari ports. For example, the Norwegian Breakaway, a behemoth ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, carries 5,000 passengers alone.

International cruise ship companies have brought a record-number of the tourists to Helsinki so far this summer, as well.

Last year, a total of 266 cruise ships arrived in Helsinki, bringing a total of 478,000 passengers to the city. Calculated estimates by the city show that the average cruise ship tourist spends an average of 64 euros during their stay in Helsinki.

Popular: Public saunas

Helsinki's tourism promotion company Helsinki Marketing says that this year, cruise ship visitors tend to be most excited about the city's public saunas.

"Saunas are a huge thing, culturally. The new urban saunas like Kulttuurisauna, Allas and Löyly have received a lot of international media attention and represent a new interpretation of Helsinki's public sauna tradition and shared sauna culture," says Helsinki Marketing CEO Laura Aalto.

She said many tourists have told the marketing firm that Finns were very friendly and helpful during their visits.

"They are taken aback by the fact that everyone can speak English. Many have even praised our service culture," Aalto says.

Not enough toilets

However, Aalto says a frequent complaint they are hearing from tourists is the lack of public restrooms in the city.

"We have collected information from tourists and other travellers this summer and the restroom issue has come up many times. People also ask about cafes with free WiFi and locating phone booths – something that hardly even exists in Finland anymore," Aalto says.

More tourists are on the way, too, as August is the most popular month for residents of central Europe to go on holiday.

"It is a major global trend that urban dwellers want to travel to other cities – and receive the same services there that they are accustomed to at home. People that are interested in architecture or design, or classical or heavy metal music, are coming to Helsinki," says Aalto.