Cruise Shipping during the Soviet Era

Posters and Brochures of Cruise Lines offering cruises in Eastern Europe in the Soviet era (1945-1989)

Contrary to the common belief which would think cruises as an activity that commenced in the post-Soviet period (i.e. 1989 downwards), Eastern Europe is a region where cruising activities started happening as early as the post-World War II period.

One early example is the company Intourist which in 1957 starter organized cruises in the Black Sea and in the Baltic Sea. Another example is the Black Sea Shipping Company. Soviet Union registered vessels, mostly formerly liners registered either in CCCR or any of its allying countries, were engaged in cruises in the Black Sea offering cruises with the lowest fees. Aiming for maximizing passengers’ carrying capacity these vessels had smaller cabins and were typically less luxurious than contemporary cruises. The refurbished ex-Soviet liners were withdrawn from world cruising as they reached the end of their economic life.

In the post-1989 period, cruise lines from all over the world and modern cruisers started offering programs in both the Black Sea and the Baltic.