20 February 2012

Viking Cinderella in Stockholm, 10 February 2012

Viking Cinderella

IMO 8719188
Former name: Cinderella
Built 1989, Wärtsilä Marine Turku, Finland
Tonnage 46 398 GT
Length 191,00 m
Width 29,00 m
Draught 6,74 m
2560 passengers
2500 berths
480 cars or 60 trucks (in cruise service parking space for 100 cars)
760 lanemeters
4 Sulzer diesels, combined 28 800 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

Staying in the theme of Viking Line, here is a ship that has been featured far too rarely in this blog: the Viking Cinderella, without a doubt the best ship currently in Viking Line's fleet. A status she is likely to lose next year to the unfortunately named Viking Grace. But until then, if you wish to experience the best that the red ships can offer, go on the red ship with a white hull.

These photographs show the Viking Cinderella arriving at Viking Line's terminal on Tegelvikshamnen in the afternoon of 10 February 2012. Photographed from Södermalm. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

It's a great-looking ship, even though I think she looked betetr (and less boxy) with the proper red Viking Line hull.
Notice that the starboard side (pictured here) is different from the port side, featuring the impressive three-deck high panoramic window. Earlier drawings show it as being five-deck high, but for whatever reason the ship's name was written in huge letters on deck 10 instead.
Considering the ship was designed in one-third of normal design time (thanks to SF Line being offered a building slot left open when Admiral Cruises cancelled an order they had at Wärtsilä) the end result is really quite good. On the inside it's a derivative of the Mariella and Amorella/Isabella, but considering how practical the layout on those ships is, that is not a bad thing.
...I couldn't get pictures showing the ship from a aft view from this point, she moved behind a security fence. I think I have a bunch of older pics showing her from an aft view, I'll have to dig them up at some point.

17 February 2012

Viking Grace - the dawn of a new era of duller names

Now it is official - Viking Line's new ship will be named Viking Grace. The company that previously utilized the rather brilliant and unique naming scheme where ship names ended with -ella and even managed to make a company prefix name sound interesting with Viking XPRS has slid to the level of boring names favoured by most other shipping companies. And on top of that they chose a name with strong religious connotations. Not nescessarily the best choice for a ship that is primarily about fairly non-virtuous activities. I admit that as an atheist I also resent the name on a purely personal basis.

Of course, I will still go and sail on the ship. She's looking to become a wonderful - in all aspects except the name.

Not sure how graceful the ship is. Still, Viking Grace it is and while I can bitch and moan about it, that doesn't change the name. No matter how much I wish it would. Photo copyright Viking Line.
Finally, as pointed out by Timo Selkälä, Viking Grace is also the name of a line of women's boots. Research, Viking, ever heard of that? Even a simple Google search?

16 February 2012

Finalists for Viking Line's ship naming competition - WTF?

I felt this subject is too important to pass. Tomorrow, Viking Line will be announcing the name of their new LNG-powered ferry that will be delivered in January 2013 and will replace the Isabella on the Turku-Stockholm run.* Today, Viking Line announced the top eight finalists of the naming competition, from which the final name will be revealed tomorrow. The finalists are (and I swear I'm not making these up):

Viking Joy
XLNT (presumably Viking XLNT, but it was listed without a prefix)
Viking Grace
Viking Nova

Does this ship really look like Adamas or Calista to you? Photo copyright Viking Line.
I'm sorry but what drugs are the people in Mariehamn on? According to the new ship's website, they got 9 900 unique proposals. And, thanks to the website and other sources we know these included such fine names as Daniella, Passionella, Fortunella** and Laurella (the lattest being my own proposal, alongside Viking RLXN, pronounced "Viking Relaxing", which I admit was quite rubbish) and yet they ended up with these eight. No disrespect to anyone who entered these proposals but in my opinion they are rubbish. Viking Joy is boring, SeaMore is a terrible pun (that doesn't even work when written in ALL CAPS, which is probably how the name will appear in most material), Adamas... I don't even know what that means (unless it's a Battlestar Galactica reference and if so it's completely unsuitable for a cruise ship), Calista is OK but boring, Viking Grace has an unnescessary religious tangent, Finella has a nice double meaning (fin = beautiful or fine in Swedish and of crouse a reference to Finland) but it sounds like a 1970s Viking Line name, can be confused for a Finnlines' ship name and is a bit boring. Viking Nova will be outdated as a name as soon as Viking build another new ship and for Finns it associated with Radio Nova, a rather craptastic radio station playing mainstream pop and rock.

The only name out of these I think would be acceptable is Viking XLNT (presumably pronounced "Viking Excellent", just as Viking XPRS is pronounced "Viking Express") - except for the fact XLNT is the name of clothes brand for "big girls" by KappAhl. Viking Line, you still have time to look at the other proposals and select a name that will actually look and sound good. Like Passionella.

* = According to what I have heard the future of the Isabella after the delivery of the new ship will be decided later this year.

* = As an interesting detail, the 1970s/80s Rederi AB Slite -owned Viking Line cruise ship Apollo III was originally to be named Fortuna (and appeared under that name in early VL marketing material). Naming the new ship Fortunella would be like getting the ship they naver had.

15 February 2012

Birger Jarl in Stockholm, 10 February 2012

Birger Jarl

IMO 5044893
Former names: Birger Jarl, Bore Nord, Minisea, Baltic Star
Built 1953, Finnboda Varv Nacka, Sweden
Tonnage 3 564 GT
Length 92,50 m
Width 14,28 m
Draught 5,50 m
Ice class 1C
369 passengers
369 berths
1 MAN-B&W diesel, 2 795 kW
1 propeller
1 bow thruster
Speed 15,50 knots

Birger Jarl, the ship that keeps sailing despite SOLAS 2010. For a brief history of the ship, see the previous entry on her. The photographs below were taken in from Södermalm Stockholm on 10 February 2012, showing the Birger Jarl on Stockholms Ström inbound to the terminal at Gamla Stan. Click on the images to see in larger size.

Notice the icicles on the anchors.
Kaknästornet in the background.
I had an revelation in the process of trating these images: the blue and blue funnel stripes are an adaptation of the Sally Cruise colours carried by the Sally Albatross. The S might be a reference to the original owner Rederi AB Svea.
Turning around and getting ready to reverse into quay.
While the most of Stockholm archipelago was frozen, the current is so strong on Stockholms Ström that it remains ice-free.

08 February 2012

Translandia in Tallinn, 27 March 2011

A short PSA before we get into today's subject: by the looks of it I will be very busy for the rest of the month with studies and travel. Because of this Kships will probably be updated less frequently for the next month or so than has been the norm until now (you may have noticed, I've been trying to update every four days or so). But now, onwards to today's subject:


IMO 7429229
Former names: Transgermania, Rosebay, Eurostar, Eurocruiser, Rosebay, Transparaden
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

Another neglected image from last year, this one from a short cruise I made with various friends to Tallinn in spring 2011 on Viking Line's Rosella when she briefly returned to the route in place of the Viking XPRS which was being drydocked. I didn't get much in the way of acceptable-queality photographs from the Rosella, apart from this wintery image of the Translandia in Tallinn harbour. For a brief history of the Translandia, see this previous entry on her.

With regards to the future of the Translandia, Eckerö Line last week entered an agreement to purchase the Moby Freedom (a sister ship of Tallink's Superstar), with delivery set in March 2012. The ship will be rebuilt and will enter service on the Helsinki-Tallinn route later this year (if Eckerö's naming scheme holds true the ship will be renamed Freelandia, though personally I'm hoping for Finlandia). The new ship will replace the Nordlandia (the future of which after this is uncertain), but what will happen to the Translandia when the new ship is delivered is uncertain. According to previous reports from Eckerö Line there is currently cargo overcapacity on the route and and at least theoretically the faster new ship could replace both the Nordlandia and the Translandia.

Translandia in Tallinn's Reisisadam, 27 March 2011. Notice the new livery in comparison to the previous entry on the ship (quite notably resembling Stena Line's previous-from-current livery); interestingly all Eckerö Line ships at the moment have liveries unique to that ship, while all maintaining a similar theme to each other. It will be interesting to see what kind of a livery the upcoming ex-Moby ship will recieve.

04 February 2012

Brahe in Helsinki, 28 June 2011

I was going through my achive for photographs taken in 2011 to see if there was anything interesting I had not yet posted (in addition to the dozens of ship model images I took at Forum Marinum, which I'm at least for the moment holding for special purposes). And there was this very interesting old ship: the Brahe of Saimaa Travel, an intra-Finland cruise ship dating all the way back to 1943.


IMO 5345065
Former names: USS PCE 830, HMS Kilchernan, Sunnhordland, Kristina Brahe
Built 1943, Pullmann Standard Car Manufacturing Co. Chicago, United States
Tonnage 1 105 GT
Length 56,49 m
Width 10,09 m
Draught 2,80 m
200 passengers
110 berths
2 Caterpillar diesels, combined 1 735 kW
Speed 14 knots

The Brahe was built in 1943 asthe PCE 827 -class patrol ship PCE 830. The initial batch of the PCE 827 ships were loaned to the Royal Navy on delivery, and the PCE 830 became the HMS Kilchernan. She was based in Gibraltar as a patrol ship and submarine hunter. For images of the what the PCE 827 -class ships originally looked like, there is a gallery at Wikimedia Commons.

In 1945 the Kilchernan was laid up. Following the end of World War II there was a chronic shortage of ships and shipbuilding capacity, due to which conversions of tonnage built during the wartime for other purposes was rather common. In 1947 the Kilchernan was sold (like many of her sisters) to Norwegian owners, in this particular case the Hardanger Sunnhordlanske Dampskibsselskab (HSD). After a brief lay-up period the ship was radically rebuilt at Bergen Mekaniske Verksted as the car-passenger ferry Sunnhordland. From June 1949 the Sunnhordland was used on a coastal mail service linking Bergen to Sunnhordland via Stord. She remained on this service until 1973 when she was withdrawn and laid up.

Soon afterwards the Sunnhordland aroused the interest of the Finnish businessman Bengt Fagerlund, who was looking for a largish cruise ship to operate on the largest of Finland's 10 000 lakes, the Saimaa (which is connected to the Baltic Sea via the Saimaa Canal linking Lappeenranta in Finland and Vyborg in Russia - Vyborg was of course in Finland when the canal was built). In 1973 Fargerlund's new company, Fager Lines, purchased the Sunnhordland, renamed her Kristina Brahe and converted her into a cruise ship.

The Kristina Brahe begun cruising on Saimaa in 1975. The next year her cruises were extended to include Vyborg and in 1982 she also cruised from Helsinki to Tallinn and in 1983 from Helsinki to Leningrad. However, by this time the company was in financial difficulties and Fargerlund was looking for a buyer for the ship. A buyer eventually appeared in 1985 in the form of a(nother) family-owned shipping company, Rannikkolinjat of Kotka, Finland, who at the time had operated only small sightseeing vessels.

Rannikkolinjat established a new company, Kristina Cruises, to operate the Kristina Brahe (that hence retained her previous name). The Fager Lines colours - red funnel and a red decorative stripe on the superstructure - were changed to a white funnel with a teal stripe pattern that was replicated on the sides of the ship. For Kristina Cruises the Kristina Brahe sailed from Kotka to Saimaa via the Saimaa Canal and to various destinations along the Bay of Finland. Two years later, in 1987, Kristina Cruises purchased another second-hand ship, the Borea, which became the company's flagship Kristina Regina. Soon cruises outside Finnish territorial waters become the prerogative of the Kristina Regina, as the Kristina Brahe did not fill the latest SOLAS requirements. However, due to the conditions of the agreement by which Finland rents the Saimaa Canal from Russia, traffic from Saimaa to the Finnish coast via the canal is considered intra-Finland traffic even though the ships pass through Russia and hence the Kristina Brahe could continue sailing on itineraries on both the Bay of Finland and Saimaa.

With the arrival of new SOLAS regulations in 2010, also making the Kristina Regina unable to sail in international service without extensive and expensive modifications, Kristina Cruises decided to invest in a new, larger cruise ship, the Kristina Katarina. The Kristina Regina was sold to become a floating hotel/museum in Turku under her original name Bore, while the Kristina Brahe was sold to Saimaa Travel for further trading.

Saimaa Travel shortened the name of the Kristina Brahe to simply Brahe, gave her a new livery with a blue decorative stripe on the superstructure and placed her on cruises from Helsinki to Saimaa. Now 69 years old, the Brahe still continues in service far from the Great Lakes of North America where she was built. Although her only known remaining sister, the Orient Explorer, is even further from home at Borneo. For those interested, here is the website of her owners SensiBorneo. And here is the website of Saimaa Travel.

Much of the information above comes from Timo Selkälä's website, which also includes a travel report from the Brahe.

The photographs below show the Brahe in Helsinki West Harbour on the evening of 28 June 2011. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

My old photography teacher would be proud of the non-standard crop of this image. She always referred to standard dimensions disparagingly as "engineer sizes". To the right of the Brahe you can see the Enso-Gutzeit HQ by Alvar Aalto, behind it the Uspensky Cathedral and in front of them another old timer, the preserved harbour icebreaker Turso from 1944.
The Brahe seen from the rear - this was not perhaps the best place to photograph her with all the crap on the quayside. I guess I should make a point of getting good images of her next summer.
The aft section was built in sometime during the ship's career with Fager Lines - the earliest images of the Kristina Brahe still show the Sunnhordland's open car deck.