The Sampo, the former icebreaker for the Finnish government, offers a unique cruise experience on the Gulf of Bothnia. The union of the majestic steel, ice and the sea will be unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced.
Come and experience the Sampo in the midst of vast open arctic sea-scenery!
Sampo Icebreaker cruise timetable 2015-16
Sampo cruises 2015-16 are:
*-- at 9-13 Arctic Sunrise - brunch cruise
-*- at 14-18 Blue Moment - afternoon cruise
--* at 19-23 Seeking for the Northern Lights - evening cruise
Dates outside the Sampo Icebreaker cruise timetable are available for private reservations.
Ask more at our sales office!
Timetable updated 14.5.2015.
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Warm atmosphere aboard the Sampo
The cozy, atmospheric-rich restaurants, the Captain’s Saloon, Icebreaker bar and the Arctic Restaurant, form the heart of this great steel giant. Enjoying the delicacies and refreshments these saloons offer during the cruise, will be a great pleasure for the visitor. Fortified by good food, coffee/ tea and sweets, you will also be more comfortable enjoying the scenery out on the deck, as well as watch the powers of the arctic sea as the icebreaker moves along.
What would a good cruise experience be without shopping – on the Sampo you can shop souvenirs and gifts for friends and loved ones back at home. The Icebreaker shop is the Sampo’s sea-flavored gift-shop.
At the souvenir shop aboard the Sampo you will find quality products for both adults and children. The selection includes, among others, reindeer skins, local handicrafts, soft toys and postcards.
During the cruise you will be offered either a brunch (on Brunch cruise at 9-13) or a lunch / dinner, according to your pre-reserved choice (either a soup-lunch or a three-course lunch). There will be two settings for meals. Your own setting-time you will know, at the latest, on your arrival on board the ship.
The cruise personnel will give you your personal cruise-timetable as you enter aboard. The Restaurant is fully licensed, and you can satisfy your cravings for sweets and have a cup of coffee/tea either at the Restaurant or at the Bar on the upper deck!
The icebreaker Sampo served in active icebreaking duty from 1961-1987, before its reassignment to its current task in the Port of Ajos in Kemi. Its good quarter of a century of service saw some colorful moments not totally lacking with drama. The decades of the Sampo, all in all, are an important part of the Finnish winter maritime shipping history.
Finland is the only country in the world, where all the ports freeze during the winter. During the coldest periods of normal winters the temperature can drop even below - 30°C. In Finland, the coldest ever measured temperature, -51, 5°C, was recorded in Kittilä’s Pokka in January 1999. Because of its geographical location, Finland’s import and export industries rely very much on maritime transportation, so keeping the winter ports open and operational is essential for international competitiveness.
The Sampo icebreaker was constructed in 1960 at the Wärtsilä shipyard in Helsinki. The vessel was named after its predecessor, constructed in 1898, which served the Finnish government for over half a century. The new Sampo was an essential part in rebuilding the Finnish icebreaking fleet. This rebuilding period took place during the decades after the Second World War.
After a deal made October 14.1987, for one million Finnish Marks, the icebreaker Sampo found a new home in Kemi. The Sampo’s new task in tourism was not totally new to the ship, as during the years it had been used for various occasions. For example, in August 1963, the Sampo served the Ministry of Interior during the Interpol conference, and in 1969 the ship served as one of the hosts for the visitation of the President Senghor of Senegal.
The Sampo Icebreaker as a tourist attraction is a story of its own. The late City Manager of Kemi, Juhani Leino, was a man rich with ideas, and it was his idea to purchase the retired icebreaker from the Finnish government to the city of Kemi. Leino’s idea raised some eyebrows and also some fierce resistance, in those times, but since 1988 the Sampo has been one of the main tourist attractions in Kemi. Eventually, Leino’s initial idea bore another, now famous and ever more important tourist attraction in Kemi, namely, the SnowCastle.
The icebreaker’s season begins a little before Christmas, and lasts for about four months. Every year about 7 500 – 12 000 tourists take a cruise on the Sampo, and over the years people from more than 50 countries have visited the Sampo.
Read more of the history of Sampo here! (pdf 4Mb.)
Where can I get information about the cruise and where can I make a reservation for a cruise?
You can make your reservations directly on our site.
The Sampo Icebreaker served in active icebreaking duty for the Finnish government up until 1987. On the guided tour you will hear plenty of interesting facts about ice, about breaking ice as well as about the history of the Sampo Icebreaker.
The Sampo cruise according to the timetable lasts four hours. The snowmobile-safari to the icebreaker will take additional three hours. Maximum passenger capacity on board the ship is 150 persons. For large groups, we will tailor programs specifically for the groups needs.
Boarding time for the cruise starts half an hour before the departure time. The Sampo Icebreaker is docked at the Port of Ajos, about 11 km south from the centre of Kemi. Address: Ajoksentie 748, 94900 Kemi. On your arrival, the cruise personnel will welcome you, and hand you your personal cruise timetable with the specific times for your guided tour, lunch/dinner as well as your swimming/floating times during the cruise. Meals will be served primarily in two settings due to the limited capacity of the Restaurant on board the ship.
Clothing during the cruise: we recommend layered dressing, which will enable you to take off your outer wear while inside and add more protective clothing when going out on the deck. You will have the best chance watching the breaking of ice out on the deck.
Depending on the weather conditions during the swimming/floating session, you may have a chance to walk on the ice. For the reasons of safety about 15 clients can swim/float at the same time. Swimming/floating is voluntary, but we highly recommend it for its exciting and unique experience. Note, however requirements for swimming/floating: minimum height 145 cm.
The cruise personnel will assist you dressing the impermeable survival suit on. In order to swim/float you do not have to be able to swim!
The Sampo Icebreaker’s cruise season is during the winter, from the week before Christmas until mid-April. Outside its cruise season the Sampo is docked at the Port of Ajos in Kemi.
On the guided tour, among other interesting things, you will hear about ice as an element, as well as listen to the history of icebreakers, specifically to the history of the Sampo. The guide will instruct you about wintertime cruising as well.
Sampo is open in June-August 23.6.-23.8. Tue-Sat at 11-17.
Other times on request.
ENTRANCE FEE 23.6.-23.8. Tue – Sat at 11-17
Adults 10 € / person
Children 4-11 yrs 5 € / person
Children under 4 yrs free of charge
Visit the Icebreaker during the summer – the vessel is situated in Ajos Harbour, 11 km from the centre of Kemi. Free parking area in harbour. Most parts of the icebreaker are open to the clients, video of the history of Sampo, cafe.
ENTRANCE & GUIDED TOUR ON BOARD 23.6.-23.8. Tue – Sat at 11-17
Price: 15 € / person
Duration: appr. 45 minutes
Minimum: 8 persons
Reservations: 7 days prior
Visits outside opening hours: Opening fee 70 € / group is charged.
GUIDED TOUR ON BOARD & FLOATING IN WATER
Price: 85 € / person, incl. guided tour
Duration: 1,5-2 hrs, depending on the size of the group
Minimum min. 2 persons
Available: outside the cruise season, depending on the weather
Reservations: 7 days prior
Experience floating in the sea, comfortably dressed in a warm survival suit! Before this exciting, truly arctic experience you will have a full presentation of the ship and a guided tour from the Captain’s bridge all the way down to the massive engine rooms, will give you a good picture of the Icebreaker.