Because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on the cruise industry, the Ålandian shipping company, running since 1971, has decided to terminate its operations.
"It is the uncertainty around COVID-19 which has hit the nail on the coffin. We cannot hide that we've had economic difficulties and weak results for the past couple of years, and with this here situation we're just unable to see how could we start operating a cruise ship again," Tomas Karlsson, CEO, Birka Cruises, said in a comment to Sjöfartstidningen.
He furthered, "We can only sit and try to guess when the opportunity re-emerges. As things stand today, the present situation will last, but we cannot operate without being profitable."
"It's extremely unfortunate to realize that such a reputable company as Birka Cruises has fallen victim to COVID-19, but the saddest thing has been to inform our engaged and capable personnel, who have over the years developed the offer and taken care of our guests in the best way possible," Karlsson also said.
In total, 509 people will be affected, 43 on- and 466 offshore. The company's Birka Stockholm, which used to ply between the ports of Stockholm and Mariehamn with room for up to 1,800 passengers, will return to the parent holding Eckerö. What will happen to the cruise ship hasn't been decided yet.
Birka Cruises will contact its customers and fully reimburse them for their bookings.
Photo: Årild Vagen/Wikimedia Commons