29 December 2010

Translandia, 22 August 2008


IMO 7429229
Built 1976, J.J. Sietas Werft Hamburg, West Germany
Tonnage 13 700 GT
Length 135,49 m
Width 21,71 m
Draugth 6,46 m
100 passengers
63 berths
1624 lane metres
2 MAN diesels, combined 9312 kW
2 propellers
Speed 19 knots

I'm not normally too keen on photographing freighters nor putting up photos of them, but these photos from 2008 looked rather nice, and I've already posted pics of other Eckerö Line ships, so I thought, why not?

Translandia is Eckerö Line's freight-carrying ship sailing between Helsinki and Tallinn. She started life in 1976 as Transgermania for West Germany's Poseidon Schiffahrt, serving between Finland and West Germany. Poseidon later formed a joint service with Finncarriers and the Transgermania came to be marketed under the joint Finncarriers-Poseidon brand.

In 1990 the Transgermania was supplanted by the newer Translubeca and spent the entire decade under charter to various other shipping companies, most notably Stena Line. In 1993 she was renamed Rosebay and during a charter to Sally Line in 1995-1998 first Eurostar which was later amended to Eurocruiser. After the end of the charter in 1998 she reverted to Rosebay.

Following the end of her last Stena charter in 2001 the Rosebay was sold to the Finnish Rederi Ab Engship who chartered her to Botnia Link, a new company established to offer service across the Gulf of Bothnia. Renamed Transparaden, the ship sailed on a route linking Vaasa to Härnösand and Umeå. This was not a success and already in 2002 Botnia Link went bankrupt. The Transparaden again spent the next two years under various charters (again), until she was sold to Eckerö Line in 2004. Her name was amended to Translandia (presumably to match the name of her route-mate Nordlandia) and she was placed in service between Helsinki and Tallinn where she remains to this day.

The photographs below show the Translandia arriving in Helsinki West Harbour on 22 August 2008, photographed from Vattuniemi. Click on the images to view full size.

A very Finnish view passing Pihlajasaari, with birch tress and all. The ship's livery has since been altered to a slightly-different "Eckerö Line Cargo" livery.
About to turn and back into the quay at West Harbour. As a freighter, the Translandia also moved to the new Vuosaari harbour when it was opened in late 2008.

18 December 2010

Julia, 15 August 2008


IMO 8020642
Built 1982, AG Weser Seebeckswerft Bremerhaven, West Germany
Tonnage 22 161 GT
Length 153,40 m
Width 24,70 m
Draugth 5,80 m
Ice class 1A
2 048 passengers
863 berths
530 cars
4 Pielstick diesels, combined 15 300 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 20 knots

The Julia enjoyed, if that is the right word, only a very brief Baltic Sea service on the short-lived Stella Lines' Helsinki-St. Petersburg route. She has however had an interesting career outside the Baltic.

Originally built as the Olau Britannia, the ship was a younger sister of the Olau Hollandia (today's Nordlandia) ordered for Olau Line by their owner TT Line. Originally the second sister was planned to enter service on TT Line's Trelleborg-Travemünde route, but instead she joined her sister on Olau's Sheerness-Vlissingen cross-channel service. At the time of their completion the Olau sisters were the best-appointed ferries on the English Channel routes.

In 1989-1990 the Olau Britannia and her sister were replaced by newer ships of similar but larger construction, confusingly also named Olau Hollandia and Olau Britannia. In preparation for the delivery of the new Olau sisters, the old sisters were sold to the Swedish shipping company Nordström & Thulin, who were at the time expanding radically into passenger shipping, to be delivered once the new sisters entered service. The old Olau Hollandia did pass to N&T in 1989 (for their Gotlandslinjen subsidiary), but the old Olau Britannia was resold by N&T to Fred. Olsen before they ever took delivery of the ship.

In 1990 then the Olau Britannia was delivered to Fred. Olsen, who renamed her Bayard for their Fred. Olsen Line Kristiansand/Oslo-Hirsthals service. Her new career was to be very short-lived, as in the beginning of 1991 Fred. Olsen sold their North Sea ferry operations (including the Bayard, Bolero and Borgen but not the line's flagship Braemar) to Color Line. Color Line had only been formed at the end of 1990 when the Norwegian Kosmos Group merged their existing shipping companies Jahre Line and Norway Line into a single unit. The new owners renamed the Bayard into Christian IV and kept her on the same service as before.

The Christian IV was rebuilt in 1999 at Fredericia Værft in Denmark and again in 2005 at Remontowa in Poland. In 2008 she was withdrawn from service on the Kristiansand-Hirsthals route when the new SuperSpeed 1 was delivered. She briefly returned to service later that year on the Larvik-Hirtshals route, but was sold in July 2008 to the Finland-based Stella Lines, who planned on using her to restart ferry services between Helsinki and St. Petersburg.

Renamed Julia and repainted with Stella Lines' hull and funnel markings but otherwise retaining her blue-hulled Color Line livery, the ship begun sailing on the Helsinki-St. Petersburg route in August 2008. And in the beginning of October the service was closed down. The Julia was laid up in Kotka and put for sale. Soon afterwards Stella Lines (or more to the point, the Stella company's passenger-carrying subsidiary) went bankrupt. Several auctions were held but the ship remained unsold until September 2009, when she was finally sold to Fastnet Line, a new company planning to restart ferry services between Swansea and Cork.

Fastnet Line kept the name Julia for the ship and did not alter her livery except to paint over the Stella Lines' hull and funnel markings. In spring 2010 the Julia begun sailing between Swansea and Cork, on which route she remains to this day.

The photographs below (the only ones of the ship I have) show the Julia on Kruunuvuorenselkä after departing Helsinki South Harbour on the evening of 15 August 2010. Click on the images to view full size.

To this date I wonder whose bright idea it was to choose a light yellow star on a white background as the funnel symbol for the line. Even in better lighting the star was almost impossible to distinguish from the background.
I had actually planned to photograph the Julia at the traditional spot in Kustaanmiekka strait for more dynamic views, but her departure was delayed that day and I was actually already leaving Suomenlinna to catch a ferry home at a remotely-human hour when the ship did depart and I was forced to photograph her from the less-than ideal location of the ferry quay.

15 December 2010

Finnstar, 15 August 2008


IMO 9319442
Built 2006, Fincantieri Castellammare di Stabia, Italy
Tonnage 45 923 GT
Length 218,80 m
Width 30,50 m
Draught 7,00 m
Ice class 1 A Super
500 passengers
500 berths
4 216 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 48 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 25 knots

Finnstar was the lead ship in Finnlines' five-ship ropax series ordered from Fincantieri for the Finland-Germany and Finland-Sweden routes. Like all this in the class the Finnstar's delivery was severly delayed. She was supposed to enter service in late 2005, but only made her first sailing between Helsinki and Travemünde in August 2006. In November 2008 the port Finnlines' ships used in Helsinki was changed from Sompasaari to the new Vuosaari freight harbour. In 2009 Finnlines' Finland-Germany passenger service was split into two routes: Helsinki-Travemünde and Helsinki-Gdansk-Rostock.

The photographs below show Finnstar passing Suomenlinna on 15 August 2008. Click on the individual images to view full size.

Coming from behind ;P Suomenlinna's westernly ramparts.
Come to think of it, how many ships do you see today with an actual rear mast? The last one I can think of (before the Star-class) sailing in the Baltic is Viking Line's Rosella and she was built way back in 1980.
No idea what's up with the uneven paintwork.
Entering the actual Kustaanmiekka strait - from a different point-of-view for a change.
And passing through the strait.

Gabriella, 15 August 2008


IMO 8917601
Built 1992, Brodogradiliste Split, Croatia
Tonnage 35 492 GT
Length 171,50 m
Width 28,20 m
Draught 6,25 m
Ice class 1 A Super
2 420 passengers
2 402 verths
400 cars
900 lane metres
4 Pielstick diesels, combined 23 760 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 21,5 knots

Gabriella in the Kustaanmiekka strait on 15 August 2008. Photographs from the same session (not the same photoes) are featured at Simplon Postcards. Click on the individual images to view full size.

Heading for the strait as per the usual practice, Laajasalo in th background.
No explanation nescessary, I guess.
The narrowness of the strait isn't actually that impressive from this point of view. It looks narrower when there's no ship passing through it.

09 December 2010

Boudicca, 15 August 2008


IMO 7218395
Built 1973, Wärtsilä Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 28 388 GT
Length 205,47 m
Width 25,20 m
Draught 7,55 m
900 passengers
4 MAN/B&W diesels, combined 14 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines' Boudicca is a classic ship, one of the first cruise ships ever to be built at Wärtsilä's Hietalahti shipyard in Helsinki. She was built as the Royal Viking Sky, the second of three ships built for the Royal Viking Line, a new luxury cruise line established by the Norwegian shipping companies Der Bergenske Dampskibsselskab (DBS, better known in English as the Bergen Line), Det Nordenfjeldske Dampskibsselskab and AF Klaveness & Co. Each company owned one of the three ships, which were joint marketed as Royal Viking Line. The Royal Viking Sky was (probably) owned by Nordenfjeldske, although some sources state she was owned by Bergen Line instead. Some even claim she was owned by Kloster Cruise (the owners of Norwegian Cruise Line) but this must be a mistake as Kloster only became involved in Royal Viking Line later on.

Reagrdless of who owned her, the Royal Viking Sky entered service in 1973. Through-out the 70s the Royal Viking trio competed for the title of the world's most luxurious cruise ships with Norwegian America Line's Sagafjord and Vistafjord. In order to increase the company's capacity without needing to order new ships, the Royal Viking Line partners decided to have the three ships each lengthened with the addition of the 28-meter long midsection. For the Royal Viking Sky the lengthening was carried out at the A.G. Weser shipyard in Bremerhaven, West Germany in autumn 1982. The lengthening however proved to be a mistake: the ships lost much of the intimate atmosphere that had made them popular and without all-new ships Royal Viking Line had trouble competing with brands with newer, purpose-built ships.

In 1984 Kloster Cruise took over the Royal Viking Line. In 1991 all of the original Royal Viking sisters were transferred to othwer Kloster-owned brands (Royal Viking Line continued trading with the newer Royal Viking Sun and Royal Viking Queen until 1994 when the brand was sold to Cunard Line). The Royal Viking Sky briefly became Norwegian Cruise Line's Sunward, but already in 1992 she was sold to the Finland-based Birka Line, who renamed her Birka Queen and used her for cruises from Stockholm to St. Petersburg and Riga. (Birka had been building a new ship, also to be named Birka Queen, at Wärtsilä's Turku shipyard, but opted not to continue building the ship after Wärtsilä Marine's bankruptcy and bought the Sunward instead).

After the 1992 summer season the Birka Queen was chartered back to Norwegian Cruise Line for the 1992-1993 winter season, reverting to the name Sunward. Birka opted not to operate the ship themselves for the 1993 summer season, and instead she was now chartered to Princess Cruises, becoming the Golden Princess for cruising to Alaska. After Princess Cruises acquired new tonnage in 1996 they had no further need for the Golden Princess, and Birka Line sold her to Star Cruises. In 1997-1998 the ship sailed as their SuperStar Capricorn. Her iteneraries apparently included casino cruising out of New York. In 1998 Hyundai Merchant Marine chartered the ship for five years, renamed her Hyundai Keumgang and used her for cruising from South Korea to North Korea. However, Hyundai Merchant Marine went bankrupt already in 2001, and the ship returned to Star Cruises service and reverted to the name SuperStar Capricorn.

In 2004 Star Cruises sold the SuperStar Capricorn to Viajes Iberojet, who renamed her Grand Latino for Mediterranean cruising. After a little under two years with the ship Iberojet sold her, now to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. In keeping with their tradition of giving names beginning with "B" to their ships, Olsen planned on naming the ship Boadicea after the legendary celtic queen. This was later altered to Boudicca, in accordance with the spelling currently preferred by historians. Prior to entering service with Fred. Olsen the Boudicca sailed to the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg, where she was refitted with new engines, additional suites with balconies and her interiors thoroughly rebuilt. Since February 2006 the Boudicca has been in service with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, sailing on varied iteneraries around the world.

Photographs below show the Boudicca deparing Helsinki on 15 August 2008. Click on the individual images to view full size.

The usual view, entering the Kustaanmiekka strait.
In the strait, showing her very fine Tage Wandborg -designed lines,
That's a fine rear you've got there, queen Boudicca. :P
Parting shot as the Boudicca heads on to open waters.

03 December 2010

Silja Symphony, 31 July 2008

Silja Symphony

IMO 8803769
Built 1991, Kvaerner Masa-Yards Turku New Shipyard, Finland
Tonnage 58 377 GT
Length 203,03 m
Width 31,93 m
Draft 7,12 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 852 passengers
3 001 berths
410 cars
1 600 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä-Vasa diesels, combined 32 580 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 21 knots

I guess there isn't much top say about the Silja Symphony that hasn't already been said in this blog. So I'll just let the photographs speak for themselves.

Silja Symphony passing through the Kustaanmiekka strait on 31 July 2008. Click on the images to view full size.

No, the picture isn't crooked. The ship on the other hand is.
Dynamic through the strait.

02 December 2010

LNG - The Fuel for the Future?

Those of you who follow the ferry news in the Nordic Countries are probably aware that Viking Line have made a memorandum of agreement with the STX shipyard in Turku to build a 60 000 GT LNG-powered cruiseferry that - should the agreement be made - will replace the company's Isabella on the Turku-Stockholm service in 2013. Viking Line however are not the only ferry company planning for a natural gas -based future: the Norwegian company Fjord Line (company website) are currently building two large ferries for their Norway-Denmark services, to be delivered in 2012.

The usage of LNG however is not without problems at the moment. A major hurdle in the path of Viking Line's plan is the lack of fuel infrastructure in the company's traffic area. To supply fuel for the new ship, an entirely new LNG terminal has to be built. There are plans for building such in either Turku or the neighbouring city Naantali but it's still a major investment. In Norway the problem is apparently less severe, as a number of small coastal ferries are already LNG-powered and one presumes the new Fjord Line ships are capable of using the same facilities.

Why then the sudden desire for companies to build LNG-powered ships? The ansver lies in new EU air pollution regulations that are due to come into effect in Northern Europe 2015. These rules specify that ships must use fuel with a 0,1% sulphur content instead of the current 1%. In effect this will double the fuel expenses of traditional diesel-engined ferries and forces shipping companies to look into alternative sources of fuel. There is however the problem that Viking Line has: in most places the supply infrastructure does not exist and according to a report in Cruise Business Online, it will take until 2020 for the infrastructure to be properly built. Potentially this can be a serious threat to the ferry operators in Northern Europe, as many routes will simply not be viable under the new conditions.

That said, why are the shipping companies awakening to this fact now? The decision on the new pollution regulations was made already in 2008. It would have probably been possibly to fit ships completed this year such as Stena Line's new Stena Hollandica and Stena Britannica or P&O's upcoming Spirit of Britain and Spirit of France with LNG-compatible engines. Yet this wasn't done. Instead the companies spent two years procrastinating and now complain that they won't have time to implement the changes by 2015.

I'm not arguing this wouldn't be a major problem as refitting all existing tonnage in five years (or even seven years) simply isn't viable and the raised fuel expenses are likely to result in route closures. That in turn will cause an increase in road traffic, which will in turn negate any benifit of the less-polluting ship fuel. But shouldn't you have started doing something about it a bit earlier?

30 November 2010

Saga Ruby, 9 July 2008

Saga Ruby

IMO 7214715
Built 1973, Swan Hunter Shipbuilders Wallsend, United Kingdom
Tonnage 24 492 GT
Length 191,09 m
Width 25,05 m
Draught 8,23 m
655 passengers
655 berths
2 Sulzer diesels, combined 17 650 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 20 knots

Saga Ruby originally started life as the Vistafjord of Den Norske Amerikalinje (Norwegian America Line, NAL). She was largely based on NAL's 1965-built Sagafjord. Although the Vistafjord was never used on transatlantic services, she was built with separate first class accommodation (the North Atlantic conference of passenger shipping demanded all transatlantic liners to have two accommodation classes). The Vistafjord's main use was to be cruising. During the 1970s Norwegian America Line was, alongside the Royal Viking Line, the most luxurious cruise line around. In rankings of the time the Vistafjord and her sister were always amongst the top five cruise ships of their time (the other three in the top five being Royal Viking Line's Royal Viking Star, Royal Viking Sea and Royal Viking Sky).

Despite their high prestige (or perhaps because of maintaining it) Norwegian America Line's cruise ships were not very profitable. In 1983 Trafalgar House purchased NAL's operations and their two ships. The Vistafjord and Sagafjord now came to be marketed under the brand Cunard Line, which was at the time owner by Trafalgar House. However, the two ex-NAL ships retained their original names and NAL's grey hull colour, the only visible change being Cunard's red funnel colours. (During 1983 Cunard's flagship QE2 had also been painted in a similar colour scheme with a grey hull, but by the time of the Cunard-NAL merger she had reverted to a black hull). At the same time the ships were also re-registered from Norwegian to Bahamian registry.

The Vistafjord continued sailing for Cunard for several years. During the 1990s she was rebuilt with additional structures on the top deck, though I could not find the exact date for this change. The Sagafjord was sold by Cunard to the new Saga Cruises in 1997, becoming the Saga Rose, but the Vistafjord stayed with Cunard into the Carnival era. In 1999 the Vistafjord was renamed Caronia, after Cunard's famous cruise ships of the 1940s-1960s era, repainted with a black hull and re-registred in Southampton, presumably as a part of the attempt by Cunard's new owners to emphasize the line's long history.

The Caronia's long Cunard career finally ended in 2004, after the delivery of the new Queen Mary 2. Like her elder sister Sagafjord/Saga Rose, the Caronia was sold to Saga Cruises and became their Saga Ruby. Initially she was registred in London, but in 2010 this was changed to Valletta, Malta. To this day the Saga Ruby remains in service with Saga Cruises. She has outlived her elder semi-sister Saga Rose, which was sold for scrap in 2009.

The photographs below show the Saga Ruby departing Helsinki on 9 July 2008, photographed from Kustaanmiekka. Click on the individual images to view full size.

Entering the Kustaanmiekka strait. Ships still in service don't get much more classic than this, even though the Saga Ruby is still far from the oldest ship in service.
In the strait displaying her fine sheer.
Still in the strait, camouflaged in part by vegetation.
...and passing on to the relatively open water of the gulf of Finland.

28 November 2010

Superfast VIII, 17 November 2008

Superfast VIII

IMO 9198953
Built 2001, HDW Kiel, Germany
Tonnage 30 285 GT
Length 203,30 m
Width 25,42 m
Draught 6,60 m
Ice class 1 A Super
626 passengers
626 berths
661 cars
1 920 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä-Sulzer diesels, combined 46 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 28,9 knots

Superfast VIII is one in a series of four ice-reinforced vessels (Superfast VII through X) built for Superfast Ferries at HDW Kiel in 2001-2002, planned for Superfast's conquest of the Baltic Sea, the company having previously operated in the Mediterranean. Superfast VII and VIII were placed in a service linking Hanko (the southernmost port in Finland) to Rostock in Germany, in indirect competition with Finnlines' Helsinki-Travemünde ships and Silja Line's Finnjet that sailed between Helsinki and Rostock. Superfast IX and X meanwhile started a Södertälje-Rostock service, but this was less than successful and the ships were soon moved to a new Rosyth-Zeebrugge service.

In 2006 Tallink, who had reportedly been planning to start a Finland-Estonia-Germany service of their own, acquired the Baltic Sea operations of Superfast Ferries, taking posession of the Superfast VII, VIII and IX (the latter having been transferred to the Finland-German yservice the previous year). The ships were re-registered in Paldiski, Estonia in place of their original home port Piraeus and soon afterwards their route was changed into Hanko-Paldiski-Rostock. Since Estonia was not yet at the time a member of the Schengen treaty, this nescessitated adding passport control on the service. Due to this and presumably other reasons the service change was unsuccessful and after lass than two months the intermediate call at Paldiski was removed. Around this time the ship's original Superfast hull markings were amended into "Superfast operated by Tallink".

From the beginning of 2007 the route of the Tallink Superfasts was again changed, now to Tallinn-Helsinki-Rostock. This route variant lasted until late 2008, when Helsinki's new freight harbour in Vuosaari was opened and all ships sailing from Helsinki to German ports were moved there. Now the Superfast VII and VIII (IX having been chartered to Marine Atlantic in Canada) begun sailing only between Helsinki and Rostock. This has remained the ship's route since then, but during the winter 2009-2010 and now again 2010-2011 both the Superfast VII and VIII have been laid up, the service not being profitable during the winter months at least in part due to increased competition from Finnlines.

The photograph below shows the Superfast VIII in Helsinki's Länsisatama on 17 November 2008. Click on the image to view full size.

Nocturnal Superfast. Apart from replacing the Superfast hull and funnel markings with their own, Tallink retained the ship in her original Superfast Ferries livery - including the red hull, which caused many people to confuse the ships with those of Viking Line.

25 November 2010

Finnmaid, 9 July 2008


IMO 9319466
Built 2006, Fincantieri Ancona, Italy
Tonnage 45 923 GT
Length 218,80 m
Width 30,50 m
Draught 7,00 m
Ice class 1 A Super
500 passengers
500 berths
4 216 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 48 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 25 knots

Finnmaid was the second of the five Star-class ships delivered to Finnlines in 2006-2007. Along with her sisters Finnstar and Finnlady, the Finnmaid was placed in the service between Helsinki and Travemünde, replacing the older Hansa-class ships. (The latter two sisters were originally said to go to the Naantali-Kapellskär route, but instead entered on the Malmö-Travemünde service and were eventually transferred to the Helsinki-Travemünde route).

In 2009 an intermediate call at Gdansk was added to the route. Later on the service from Finland to Germany was split in two, Helsinki-Travemünde and Helsinki-Gdansk-Rostock. I've no idea if the Star-class ships rotate between the routes or if different ships are attached to different services.

The photographs below show the Finnmaid passing through the Kustaanmiekka strait on 9 July 2008. Click on the images to view full size.

A sight you can't see anymore, as the freight harbour in Sompasaari has been closed down and resultingly Finnlines' ships no longer travel through the Kustaanmiekka strait.
Italian design, I guess.
Not only is seeing the ship here historial, so is the fact the ramparts were freely accessible. Those were the good old days...

24 November 2010

Finnhansa, 29 April 2008


IMO 9010151
Built 1994, Stocznia Gdanska S.A., Poland
Tonnage 32 534 GT
Length 183,00 m
Width 29,90 m
Draught 7,40 m
114 passengers
114 berths
3 380 lane metres
4 Zgoda-Sulzer diesels, combined 23 040 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 21,3 knots

Finnhansa was the first of the four Hansa-class ships built for the joint Finncarriers-Poseidon service between Helsinki and Lübeck in 1994-1995. This also made Finnhansa the first passenger-carrying Finnlines ship since the Finnjet was transferred to Finnjet Line in 1982. (The history of Finnlines/Finncarriers and their various owners is quite complex and I won't get further into it here).

In 1997 Finnlines acquired Poseidon and subsequently the Finncarrier-Poseidon marketing name was abandoned, initially simply by painting over the second half of the name from the ship's sides. In 2001 the Finncarriers marketing name was abandoned and "Finnlines" was now painted on the ship's sides. However, all the Hansa-class ships retained their original liveries; Finnhansa, Finnpartner and Finntrader the Finncarriers green (inherited from Effoa) and Transeuropa Poseidon's orange. During the same year the German terminus for the ship's route was changed from Lübeck to Travemünde.

The Finnhansa left Finnlines' fleet in 2009, having become large unnescessary following the delivery of the new Star-class ships to the Finland-Germany service in 2006-2007. The Finnhansa was transferred to the fleet of Finnlines' now-owner Grimaldi, who renamed her Euroferry Sicilia and placed her on Genoa-Catania service. Despite the change of ownership she retained her old livery, down to Finnlines-side texts, funnel marking and even the company's coat of arms in the bow.

Euroferry Sicilia proved to be a short detour for the ship. In 2010 Finnlines bought the ship back from Grimaldi, renamed her Transrussia and placed her on the Trans-Russia Express service between St. Petersburg and Travemünde. Her running mate on the service is her sister Transeuropa.

The photographs below show the Finnhansa on Kruunuvuorenselkä in Helsinki in the evening of 29 April 2009, having departed the now-defunct Sompasaari freight harbour. Click on the images to view full size.

On Kruunuvuorenselkä, with Korkeasaari (I believe) in the background.
Entering the Kustaanmiekka strait some minutes afterwards, with the setting sun illuminating spots of newer paint on the side.

22 November 2010

Birka Paradise, 13 December 2008

Birka Paradise

IMO 9273727
Built 2004, Aker Finnyards Rauma, Finland
Tonnage 34 728 GT
Length 177,00 m
Width 28,00 m
Draugth 6,50 m
1 800 passengers
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 23 400 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 21 knots

I think I said just about everything there is to say about the Birka Paradise in the previous entry about her. So, moving on to the picture:

Birka Paradise in Stockholm on 13 December 2008. Click on the image to view full size.

An exceedingly successfull "night-time" photograph is you ask me. Though in actual fact the time was 15:40... which gives you an impression of how early it gets dark here in the North.

19 November 2010

Isabella interiors, 6 October 2010


IMO 8700723
Built 1989, Brodogradiliste Split, Yugoslavia
Tonnage 35 154 GT
Length 169,40 m
Width 27,60 m
Draught 6,40 m
2 480 passengers
2 166 berths
364 cars
900 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä-Pielstick diesels, combined 23 760 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 21,5 knots

The Isabella's interiors were largely rebuilt in 2007, with the addition of new restaurants and rearranging and redecorating the existing public spaces.

A handful of interior photographs from the Isabella, taken during a Stockholm-Turku crossing on 6 October 2010. Click on the images to view full size.

The Tapas & Wine bar on Deck 8, off the Arcade that links the Buffer in the front of the ship to the Fun Club aft.
Ella's restaurant, located aft of the Tapas and Wine Bar.
Fun Club in the aft of deck 8.
Sea Side Café, the large cafeteria located in the forward part of deck 7.

17 November 2010

Armorique, 17 November 2008


IMO 9364980
Built 2009, STX Europe Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 29 468 GT
Length 165,00 m
Width 26,80 m
Draft 6,20 m
1 500 passengers
788 berths
470 cars
985 lanemeters
2 MaK diesels, combined 24 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 23 knots

Armorique was the second of two ro-pax ferries built in 2007-2009 by the Aker Finnyards/STX shipyard in Helsinki for Brittany Ferries. Originally the two ships were ordered as sister ships, but the Armorique was built with a notably larger superstructure than her older sister Cotentin, giving her a much larger passenger capability. The Armorique is to-date the last ship to be built at Helsinki's Hietalahti shipyard and at the moment it seems no further ships will be built at that yard. Instead, the yard specialises in maintainance and refitting of ships and it is likely to be closed down one the agreement to rent the land from the city of Helsinki ends.

Since her delivery to Brittany Ferries in January 2009 the Armorique has served mainly on the Plymouth-Roscoff -route, occasionally doubling on other services as well.

The photographs below were taken in Hietalahti, Helsinki on 17 November 2008 while the Armorique was still under construction. Click on the images to view full size.

A historical sight, no more can we see large ships being built in the heart of the city.
A slightly different point-of-view. Tallink's Superfast VIII is partially visible in the background on the right.

15 November 2010

Baltic Queen & Victoria I, 23 March 2009

Baltic Queen

IMO 9443255
Built 2009, STX Europe Rauma, Finland
Tonnage 48 915 GT
Length 212,10 m
Width 29,00 m
Draft 6,42 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 800 passengers
2 500 berths
600 cars
1 130 lanemeters
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 32 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 24,5 knots

Victoria I

IMO 9281281
Built 2004, Aker Finnyards Rauma, Finland
Tonnage 40 975 GT
Length 193,80 m
Width 29,00 m
Draft 6,50 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 500 passengers
2 252 berths
400 cars
1 000 lanemeters
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 26 240 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

Victoria I (referred to in Tallnk marketing material as "Victoria" without the number, but Victoria I is her registered name) was Tallink's second new-built ship, delivered in 2004 from the Aker Finnyards shipyard in Rauma. She is a sister ship of the Romantika delivered two years previously. Since her entry into service the Victoria I has sailed on the Tallinn-Stockholm route, but her running mates have changed several times. Originally she ran parallel to the Regina Baltica, but in 2006 following the delivery of the new Galaxy the Romantika moved on the Tallinn-Stockholm service replacing the Regina Baltica.

In 2009 the Baltic Queen, the third ship of the Galaxy-class (that one in itself an enlarged version of the Romantika/Victoria I design) was delivered from the Rauma shipyard, which meanwhile had passed under the ownership of STX Europe. The Baltic Queen was placed on the Tallinn-Stockholm service, replacing the Romantika and running parallel to the Victoria I. (The Romantika transferred to the Riga-Stockholm route, where she again replaced the Regina Baltica).

Photographs below were taken in Tallinn on 23 March 2009, the day before the Baltic Queen entered service. Resulting she was in port at the same time as her running mate Victoria I. Photos taken from onboard the Viking XPRS. Click on the individual images to view full size.

Brand new Baltic Queen in the afternoon sun.
Aft of the Baltic Queen, the Victoria I is preparing to leave for Stockholm.

13 November 2010

Fram, 3 May 2009


IMO 9370018
Built 2007, Fincantieri Trieste, Italy
Tonnage 11 647 GT
Length 114,00 m
Width 20,20 m
Draugth 5,10 m
Ice class 1 A
500 passengers
318 passenger berths
4 MaK diesels, combined 7 924 kW
2 azipods
2 bow thruster
Speed 16 knots

Fram (Norwegian for "Forward") is named after polar exporer Fridtjof Nansen's schooner that was used on Nansen's Arctic expedition, Otto Sverdrup's expedition to Canadian Arctic islands and on Roald Amundsen's famous expedition to the South Pole. The newer Fram is the first purpose-built cruise ship belonging to the Norwegian Hurtigruten company, designed specifically for cruising on the Arctic and Antarctic waters. She was also the first ship ever to have been delivered to the present-day Hurtigruten company that had been formed in 2006 when the last two surviving Hurtigruten partners, Troms Fylkes Dampskibsselskab (TFDS) and Ofotens og Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab (OVDS) merged to form Hurtigruten Group.

Unlike other Hurtigruten ships, that have usually been ordered from Norwegian (or sometimes German) shipyards, the Fram was built at Italy's Fincantieri yards, possibly due to Fincantieri's large-scale experience in building cruise ships. However, despite her cruise ship status the Fram is certified to carry 182 deck passengers in addition to the 318 passenger she carries while cruising, making it possible to use her on the Bergen-Kirkenes coastal trade that Hurtigruten's other ships ply.

Photographs below are from the Fram'svisit to Helsinki on 3 May 2009. Click on the individual images to view full size.

The "pretty ugly" Fram shortly after departing from Helsinki.
Entering the Kustaanmiekka strait.
Sailing through the strait in a healthy southern breeze.
Past the narrowest point of the strait.
Forward to the open sea.

Public service announcement, vol. 2

You might have noticed (well, you probably haven't since no-one has reported this) that despite the fact all entries say "click on the images to view full size", in the last entries for September and all entries for last month nothing happened when you clicked on the images. For whatever fantastic reason of it's own Blogger had neglected to add the links to the images, even though it's supposed to do that automatically. I have just spend a large portion of my Saturday evening fixing the hmtl codes in those entries manually and they should work properly now. If there are any problems, please comment on the relevant entries and let me know.


12 November 2010

Princess Daphne, 17 May 2009

Princess Daphne

IMO 5282627
Name history: Port Sydney, Akirotiri Express, Daphne, Switzerland, Ocean Monarch, Princess Daphne
Built 1955, Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Newcastle, United Kingdom
Tonnage 15 833 GT
Length 162,37 m
Width 21,34 m
Draught 7,80 m
592 passengers
2 Doxford-Wallsend diesels, combined 9 709 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 16 knots

Princess Daphne is a classic-looking ship with a diverse history. She was originally built in 1955 as the refridgerated cargo ship Port Sydney for Port Line's UK-New Zealand-Australia service. A sister ship, Port Melbourne, followed later the same year.

In 1972 the Port Sydney and Port Melbourne were sold to the Greenk shipping tycoon John C. Carras (alternatively spelled as "Karras", but the former appears to be the preferred English translitteration) with the original intention of being converted into car/passenger ferries. With this in mind the Port Sydney was renamed Akirotiri Express while her sister became the Therisos Express. Plans changed however, and when the ships sailed to the Chalkis shipayrd in Greece it was with the intention of being rebuilt into luxurious cruise ships for approximately 400 passengers.

When the ships re-emerged from the shipyard in 1975-1976 they were completely transformed from their original unattractive freighter looks into sleek, well-rounded cruise ships. Only the shape of their hulls with the pronounced sheer betrayed their origins from 20 years past. The Akirotiri Express, now renamed Daphne was the first to be completed in 1975. Her sister followed as the Danae the following year. Under the banner of Carras Cruises the sisters sailed to varying destinations around the world, including the Mediterranean, South America, the Amazon River and East Asia. In the latter area the Danae became the first western cruise ship to call in the People's Republic of China in 1977. The Daphne meanwhile was to cruise from the United States to Cuba, but this plan had to be scrapped due to the difficult political situation and a bomb threat directed at the ship.

While Carras Cruises offered interesting iteneraries, they failed to make themselves known to the wider travelling public. An additional problem was the fierce competition from Royal Viking Line with their newer, purpose-built ships. In 1978 the Daphne was chartered to Lauro Lines (the predecessor of todays MSC Cruises) for year. Following the end of the charter to Lauro she was chartered to Costa Cruises for five year from 1979 onwards. Later in 1979, after just four year of operation, Carras Cruises closed down and the Danae was also chartered to Costa.

The sisters retained their names while sailing with Costa, and they stayed with the company for 11 years (Costa purchased the sisters at the end of the original charter agreements in 1984). In 1990 Costa founded a joint subsidiary, Prestige Cruises, with the Soviet Union's Sovcomflot and the Daphne and Danae were transferred to this company—still without a change in name. The Danae was badly damaged during a shipyard fire in 1991 and she was declared a total loss. Although sold for scrap she was eventually sold and repaired by her new owners.

Daphne meanwhile continued sailing for Prestige Cruises for the time being. Sometime between 1993 and 1996 Sovcomflot pulled out of the Prestige Cruises arrangement and the Daphne returned to Costa Cruises. In 1997 the Daphne was sold to Swiss owners and renamed Switzerland for service with Leisure Cruises. In 2001 the Switzerland was laid up at Marseille. In 2002 she was sold to Majestic International Cruises, renamed Ocean Monarch and chartered variously to Page & Moy, Hansa Kreuzfahrten and Golden Sun Cruises. In 2005 she was also used as a hospital ship in Sri Lanka following the Boxing Day Tsunami. In 2007 the Ocean Monarch cruised for Majestic International's subsidiary Monarch Classic Cruises.

In 2007 the Ocean Monarch was sold to the Portugal-based Classic International Cruises. Classic International had bought the ex-Danae (by that time known as Baltica) in 1996 and had renamed her Princess Danae. To match the name of her sister and again-fleetmate the Ocean Monarch was renamed Princess Daphne in 2008. Between 2008 and 2010 the Princess Daphne spent the winter seasons cruising with her owners in the Far East, while for the summers she was chartered to Hansa Kreuzfahrten for European cruising.

[The following segment was added on 3 June 2014:] Classic International Cruises ceased trading in late 2012 and the Princess Daphne, alongside the rest of the company fleet, was laid up. While the rest of the former CIC fleet was sold to Rui Alegre, who formed Portuscale Cruises to operate them, the Princess Daphne was returned to CIC's owners, the brothers Aleksandros and Emilios Potamianos. Probably the Potamianos brothers had ambitions to return the Princess Daphne to cruise service—possibly even using the CIC name. This did not come to pass, and in May 2014 the Princess Daphne left layup for one last voyage to the shipbreakers of Alang.

Photographs below are of the Princess Daphne in Helsinki on 17 May 2009 during one of her charters to Hansa Kreuzfahrten. Click on the individual images to view full size.

At the cruise quay in Katajanokka.
Another photo from the Katajanokka cruise quay.
In the Kustaanmiekka strait, following the train of her Hansa Kreuzfahrten fleetmate Delphin that was also in Helsinki on the same day.
Heading south to the Bay of Finland, with Harmaja lighthouse visible in the background.

11 November 2010

Delphin, 17 May 2009


IMO 7347536
Built 1975, Wärtsilä Turku, Finland
Tonnage 16 214 GT
Length 156,27 m
Width 21,90 m
Draugth 6,20 m
556 passengers
2 Pielstick-Wärtsilä diesels, combined 13 240 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 21 knots

Delphin was originally one in the series of five state-of-the-art cruiseferries built by Wärtislä in Finland for the Soviet Union. Most of her history is covered in the previous entry about her. However, in the two months since that entry was written Delphin Kreuzfahrten, the Delphin's owner, have gone bankrupt. The Delphin ended her to-date last cruise in Venice on 4 November 2010 and is to the best of my knowledge currently laid up.

Photographs below show the Delphin in Helsinki on 17 May 2009, during somewhat better times for her owners. Click on the individual images to view full size.

Moored at Kanavaterminaali (literally "Channel Terminal") on Katajanokka. Uspenski Cathedral (Alexey Gornostaev 1868) in the background.
Heading for the Kustaanmiekka strait.
In the Kustaanmiekka strait. The colours in this photo are a bit off - it was very difficult to get away the very blue hue of the side of the ship that's in the shadows.
In the Kustaanmiekka strait, with arty retro-like colours. Somehow this ship seems to cause those in photographs she's in.