Viking Line and Gotlandsbolaget (Gotland Co) are to form a joint venture to develop and operate cruises utilising ‘Birka Stockholm’.
She will operate cruises between Stockholm/Mariehamn and Stockholm/Mariehamn/Visby.
Gotlandsbolaget acquired ‘Birka Stockholm’, ex ‘Birka Paradise’ in March, 2023 for €38 mill and has now agreed to sell 50% of the vessel to Viking Line for €19 mill, which will be funded from cash holdings.
The two Scandinavian shipping companies with roots in two island communities – Gotland and Åland – will use their specialist knowledge to launch the project in the spring of 2024.
‘Viking Cinderella’, which currently provides cruise services from Stockholm to Mariehamn, will be moved to the Helsinki/Mariehamn/Stockholm route.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with a successful shipping company like Gotlandsbolaget, which we have great respect for. We believe our joint contribution to this service will further enhance the cruise product offered from Stockholm,” said Jan Hanses, Viking Line CEO.
“We are working to also expand Gotlandsbolaget’s cruise travel offering, as a complement to our service to Gotland and our other offerings, and what partner can be better at doing this than Viking Line, with its extensive experience from cruises in the Baltic Sea.
“We see this collaboration as a fantastic opportunity that utilises the experience and skills of both Gotlandsbolaget and Viking Line, ” added Håkan Johansson, Gotlandsbolaget CEO.
The initial contract for the partnership runs for five years with the possibility of extensions.
The joint venture’s start up and the the ship’s purchase are subject to the approval of the Swedish Competition Authority. The new company will be headquartered in Stockholm and run by CEO, Susanne Kaarnimo-Knight.