Hernesaari has the busiest cruise berths in Helsinki, with about 120 calls scheduled in 2011. It's typical, dull dockland scenery.
For turnaround passengers there's a terminal (read, large shed). For others, there's a small tourist information bureau, a tax refund office, some restrooms in a portable cabin, a mailbox and not much else.
Fortunately, in attendance on the quay and "Helsinki helpers", guides hired by the city to dispense advice and information.
The area is crying out for a waterbus, to take newly arrived cruise visitors by sea to the marketplace. A quay was built for it in 2011.
If you have the time, or if the bus queues are too long, the walk into the city centre is very pleasant. Another alternative is to take the shuttle into town but walk back.
From your berth on the west side of Hernesaari, you first need to cross to the east (see map). It is then just a matter of following the coast around to the South Harbour marketplace in the centre of town. Soon after the start of the walk you'll pass a beach and several shore cafes.
The distance round the coast to the marketplace is 4 kilometres (2½ miles). You can save a kilometre by taking the shortcut round the northwest of Kaivopuisto Park, instead of following the coast all the way, but you will miss some fine sea views.
The journey to the centre takes about 12 minutes, and there is a stop on the Esplanade very close to where the shuttle buses terminate. The bus continues to a suburb so ask the driver to tell you where to to get off.
Bus 14B also begins in Hernesaari but won't take you into the central area of historical buildings. It does, however, pass very close to Temple Square "Rock" Church, if you decide to avoid the crowds by going there early.