Kristina Cruises (then known as Rannikkolinjat) was founded in 1985. The company was registered in Kotka. On the same year the company acquired the possession of its first passenger vessel Kristina Brahe from Fagerlines Ltd., which had operated the vessel mostly in the Lake Saimaa area. Being the new owner Kristina Cruises had a good possibility to continue the cruise operations that were started during the previous ownership.
In the first year we arranged cruises to Vyborg from Helsinki, Kotka and Lappeenranta. In the summer we sailed on Lake Saimaa and made some cruises to Leningrad and Tallinn. Evening cruises off Helsinki shore were an important part of our itineraries during the spring and autumn seasons.
In 1987, after a long search and numerous negotiations, the company bought the s/s Bore which had been docked in the Aura River in Turku. The ship was repainted in the colours and signs of the new company. Kristina Cruises had got its new flagship m/s Kristina Regina.
Year 2010 is a year of big changes. In October 2010 the new international safety regulations came into force and it was time for the Kristina Regina to withdraw from international waters. Kristina Regina was sold and the company bought a cruise vessel The Iris. She was renamed m/s Kristina Katarina and after refurbishments she replaced the smaller Kristina Regina as company’s flagship and begun operations in August 2010.
In the same autumn the company also made a decision to concentrate on the international cruise traffic. Thus the domestic cruise traffic was ended and m/s Kristina Brahe sold.
Kristina Cruises has traditionally been a firm developer of new cruise destinations. We have “opened” many earlier closed ports like Kaliningrad, Solovetsky island and the now Russian owned islands of the Gulf of Finland. On the other hand, our cruising area has expanded to the Norwegian fjords, the White and the Barents Seas as well as to the West-European coast and the Mediterranean.
The intensive work of developing cruise programs has brought acknowledgement to the company. Already at the 1992 Helsinki Travel Fair we had the pleasure to receive the annual Prize for Product Development from the Finnish Guild of Travel Writers. After that a lot has happened.
The first international acknowledgement for developing tourism at the Baltic Sea area was given to our company in June, 1993 when our Managing Director received the first Baltic Sea Tourism Prize from the Baltic Tourism Conference (BTC).
Since the early days of the company the cruise itineraries have gone through a major change. In addition to the five destinations in 1987 we now sail to more than one hundred ports in about 30 countries. The cruising area has widened and the cruise programs have remarkably changed during the last years. The duration of some cruises has gradually extended even to a fortnight. For several years already we have tailored long-term special cruises for foreign charterers as well as for our own supply.
We welcomed the new millennium with even wider selection of cruise programs. Beginning with the sailing season 2001 the m/s Kristina Regina restarted operating all year round. In spring 2001 the renovated m/s Kristina Regina began a series of Mediterranean cruises. Summer destinations included several ports of the Baltic Sea, Norwegian fjords and other cities in Northern Europe. In the autumn the ship returned to the Mediterranean, where one week cruises to many different destinations was arranged. During to winter seasons in 2001 – 2007 the ship sailed in Canary Islands and East coast of Africa (Gambia, Kap Verde and Senegal) and in 2008-2010 on the Red Sea, providing thus a unique opportunity for an exciting cruise experiences.
During the period of open water the m/s Kristina Brahe sailed in Gulf of Finland, the Saimaa Canal, Lake Saimaa and Lake Kallavesi. This unique waterway from the lake area to the Gulf of Finland and Vyborg on the Russian side provided an opportunity for a fascinating cruise, which became a concept in the Finnish cruise business.
The new flagship Kristina Katarina will continue on the same cruising areas as her successor Kristina Regina. The current cruising areas of Kristina Katarina are the Northern Seas, Western Europe, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean Sea.