31 October 2012

Seabourn Sojourn in Helsinki, 25 July 2012

Seabourn Sojourn

IMO 9417098
Built 2010, T. Mariotti, Italy
Tonnage 32 346 GT
Length 198,15 m
Width 25,60 m
Draught 6,40 m
462 passengers
462 berths
4 Wärtsdilä diesels, combined 23 040 kW
2 azipods
2 bow thrusters
Service speed 19 knots
Maximum speed 25,5 knots

The Seabourn Sojourn seems to be a ship that's always in Helsinki. From myobservation of cruise ship movements in Helsinki, there are two kinds of cruise ships that follow very regular, rigid patterns: on one hand there are the mass-market mega cruise ships of lines like NCL or Celebrity Cruises, but on the other hand ultra-luxe ships of lines like Seabourn or Compagnie du Ponant seem to follow a similar pattern.

Also, the Seabourn Sojourn still strongly reminds me of the old Finnish-market cruise ship Sally Albatross (today sailing as Louis Cruises' Louis Cristal).

The photographs below show the Seabourn Sojourn sailing through the Kustaanmiekka strait after departing Helsinki on the afternoon of 25 July 2012. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Sailing towards the strait from Kruunuvuorenselkä, with the archipelago cruiser Doris trailing.
Chic ship, I have to admit. Although, looking at the lack of windows, I wonder where all the public rooms are...
Le dynamique. Okay, I admit that would better fit a Le Ponant ship. Which are more stylish anyway.
Nice reflecting sunlight on the funnel.
And a little foreground granite.
Next time: Saga Sapphire.

25 October 2012

Albatros in Helsinki, 25 July 2012

The weather here in Finland keeps getting chillier by the day, so it is good to look back at the passing summer and some of the delightful cruise ships that visited Helsinki... such as Phoenix Reisen's Albatros.


IMO 7218395
Name history: Royal Viking Sea, Royal Odyssey, Norwegian Star, Crown, Albatros
Built 1973, Wärtsilä Helsinki New Shipyard, Finland
Tonnage 28 078 GT
Length 205,47 m
Width 25,20 m
Draugth 7,55 m
830 passengers
1 100 berths
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 15 840 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 18 knots

The Albatros started life as the Royal Viking Sea of Royal Viking Line, the last ship of the company's initial trio of newbuildings. The Royal Viking Sea was owned by A. F. Klaveness. According to Fakta om Fartyg, her first voyage with passengers was a Bergen-Newcastle ferry crossing, but this might be a mistake as according to Bruce Peter's upcoming book Knud E. Hansen A/S - 75 Years of Ship Design it was in fact the Bergen Line -owned Royal Viking Star that entered service in this manner. Of course it is within the realm of possibility that both the RV Star and RV Sea started their careers in the same manner. In any case, the Royal Viking Sea entered regular cruise service in late 1973.

The Royal Viking Sea's owner A. F. Klaveness was the only company in the Royal Viking consortium that did not have previous experience of operating passenger ships. Perhaps reflecting this, the company decided as early as 1975 to withdraw from the consortium. The Royal Viking Sea was sold to Bergen Line and Nordenfjeldske Dampskibsselskab, the other owners of Royal Viking Line. In 1983 the Royal Viking Sea was lengthened with the addition of a 28-metre midsection (similar chop-and-stretch operations had already been carried out on her sister ships in 1981 and 1982). The next year Royal Viking Line's owners sold the company to the Kloster Group, the owners of Norwegian Cruise Line.

Initially the operations of Royal Viking Line continued much as before, but in the beginning of the 1990s Kloster Gorup felt the original RVL trio were outdated for Royal Viking Line's high-class brand and the ships were transferred to other Kloster companies. The Royal Viking Sea therefore became Royal Cruise Line's Royal Odyssey in 1991. She was later joined in the RCL fleet by her sister Royal Viking Star, now Star Odyssey, which had in the interim sailed as Norwegian Cruise Line's Westward.

By the mid-1990s Kloster Group was in financial difficulties. The Royal Viking Line brand and it's remaining two ships had been sold to Cunard in 1994. Royal Cruise Line disappeared in 1997, with the Royal Odyssey becoming Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Star. In 1999-2001 the Norwegian Star cruised in Australian waters for NCL's subsidiary Norwegian Capricorn Line. In 2002 she became the Far Eastern casino cruise ship Crown. In 2003 the Crown was chartered to Spanish Cruise Line for Mediterranean cruising from Valencia. This was to be another short interlude however, as in the beginning of 2003 the ship passed to Germany's Phoenix Reisen, who were looking for a ship to replace their aged Albatros (ex-Sylvania, Fairwind, Sitmar fairwind, Dawn Princess). The Crown took over the name Albatros and begun cruising for Phoenix Reisen. In 2005 her engines were exchanged for newer ones and she continues to sail for Phoenix Reisen to this day.

The photographs below show the Albatros passing through the Kustaanmiekka strait outbound from Helsinki on 25 July 2012. Click on the images to view them in larger size.

Albatros passing Finnish Navy's minelayer Hämemaa. The grey paint works surprisingly well as camouflage, at least in these weather conditions.
Very chic. Supposedly the Royal Viking trio's exteriors were inspired by the QE2.
In the full-size image, notice the Swedish flag flown aft of the bridge. Apparently someone onboard had done their homework on the subject of "how to irritate Finns".
Through the strait to the delight of the mandatory crowd of on-lookers.
And further on.
Next time: Seabourn Sojourn.

20 October 2012

Seven Seas Voyager in Helsinki, 21 July 2012

Seven Seas Voyager

IMO 9247144
Built 2003, T. Mariotti Genoa, Italy
Tonnage 42 363 GT
Length 206,50 m
Width 28,80 m
Draugth 7,10 m
752 passengers
2 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 16 600 kW
2 azipods
2 bow thruster
Speed 20 knots

Returning back to normal programming from our foray into Autumn foliage photography, today's subject is what I think are probably my best photographs from this year, showing the Seven Seas Voyager departing from Helsinki South Harbour on 21 July.

I rather like the exterior design of the Seven Seas Voyager (or SSV, as I tend to abbreviate the name) for some reason - but despite this she has been featured on this blog just once before now. The SSV was built in 2003 to the same hull design as the company's previous newbuilding Seven Seas Mariner, but with a completely different superstructure. Externally the superstructure design actually bears strong resemblance to Silversea Cruises' first- and second-generation newbuildings. The SSV is Regent Seven Seas Cruises' last newbuilding to date, though the company are reportedly negotiating with shipyards about a further newbuilt ship.

Finally, before we go to the photographs, a little thought on the name of the company, Regent Seven Seas Cruises: the company was established in 1994 when Seven Seas Cruises and Radisson Diamond Cruises merged, and the post-merger company was named Radisson Seven Seas Cruises. In 2006 Radisson left the company and it was renamed to the current form as Regent Seven Seas Cruises. This begs the simple question of "why?" Sure, they had to get rid of the Radisson part, but why not then revert to the simpler and more elegent Seven Seas Cruises, instead of continuing with what is essentially cubersome double branding? Just a little food for thought, Prestige Cruise Holdings...

At this point it looked like this session was going to be another case of Sod's Law (aka the Suomenlinna Rule), with clouds appearing on an otherwise sunny day just as the ship sails past...
...but look at that! Absolutely superb lighting and a dramatic background to top it off.
Escorted out by pleasure boats. I'm thinking of turning this image into the new kships header, so watch the space on top of the page.
Yeah, the ship is a box. But it's a bloody good-looking box at that!
The traditional entering Kustaanmiekka Strait -shot.
Look at those colours and contrast! Unlike is the case normally, I didn't really need to alter the colour and contrast levels at all.
And a little photogenic tree there too.
This one isn't quite sharp when you look at it closely, but the nautical composition was too good to pass. On the very right adge of the image you can even see the Helsingin kasuuni (Helsinki caisson) lighthouse in the distance.
Next time: either Phoenix Reisen's Albatros or (if I'm feeling adventurous) the Finnish Navy's minelayer Hämemaa.

15 October 2012

Merilin in Helsinki, 3 October 2012


IMO 9194256
Name history: Cat No 1, Merilin
Built 1999, Austal Shipyard Henderson, Australia
Tonnage 920 GT
Length 52,60 m
Width 13,30 m
Draught 1,50 m
411 passengers
4 MTU diesels, combined 9 280 kW
4 KaMeWa waterjets
Speed 40 knots

The Merilin doesn't get featured in this blog very often, mostly due to the fact that Linda Line's timetables and sailing routes make their ships difficult to photograph, unless you actually position yourself to specifically photograph these ships. I guess I ought to really do that some day to the Merilin's running mate Karolin, seeing as she hasn't ever been featured in this blog. For a history of the Merilin and Linda Line, see the first entry on her.

The photographs below show the Merilin arriving in Helsinki South Harbour in the evening of 3 October 2012, photographed from onboard the ferry Suomenlinna II. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Sunset and sailboats, part 1.
Sunset and sailboats part 2: the rocky islets.
The Harakka island in the background. Harakka, incidentally, in addition to being the name of the Island, is also Finnish for a magpie.
Entering the South Harbour on the southernly route. Valkosaari on the foreground and the Kaivopuisto in the background. Also a little bit of the passenger tubes of the Olympia terminal used by Silja Line.
Next time: Seven Seas Voyager

13 October 2012

Gabriella in Helsinki, 3 October 2012


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

Time for some more Autumn foliage photography, this time featuring the Gabriella. For a history of the ship, see this entry, and for my thoughts on the ship's design, see this entry. The photographs below show the ship departing Helsinki on the afternoon of 3 October 2012, passing through the Kustaanmiekka strait and further on outside the city. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

It initially seemed that Gabriella would sail through the strait without any direct sunlight on her, but I was in luck and just as the ship was coming into the strait the sun came out.
Panoramic foliage...
...and dynamic Gabriella.
Quite possibly my greatest photo of all time. Or one of them, anyhow.
Just look at those trees on the left.
Further panoramica.
Soon at the Harmaja lighthouse, with the smaller lighthouse-thingy in the foreground displaying some rather fine urban art.
Next time: Merilin.

08 October 2012

Silja Serenade in Helsinki, 3 October 2012

Silja Serenade

IMO 8715259
Built 1990, Masa-Yards Turku New Shipyard, Finland
Tonnage 58 376 GT
Length 203,03 m
Width 31,93 m
Draugth 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

The last time the Silja Serenade was featured in this blog was in winter photos. Today we continue with a "four seasons" theme, with the same ship photographed departing Helsinki in Autumn foliage last week.

Click on the images to see in larger size.

I was tempted to go out on this particular day due to the beautiful weather, even if the only ships to photograph were the regulars Silja Serenade and Gabriella...
But alas, just as the Serenade was coming to the Kustaanmiekka strait, the sun was obscured by a cloud.
Not that these would be bad photographs, but if the light had lasted, these would have been downright orgastic images.
Although I complained about the cloud obscuring the sun, those clounds in the background were pretty neat...
A little bit of sun there... and the advertized Autumn foliage too.
Even better as far the foliage goes.
Unusually, the Serenade departed via the Porkkala shipping lane rather than the open-sea lane. That, combined with the low sun, game some rather superb photo opportunities.
No comment needed, really.
Next time: Gabriella with more of the Autumn foliage

04 October 2012

Marco Polo in Helsinki, 1. October 2012

We interrupt the regular programming to bring you a bunch of images from this month, showing the autumn foliage as well as ships. We start off with the last visitor of the 2012 summer cruise season, the Marco Polo.

Marco Polo

IMO 6417097
Name history: Alexandr Pushkin, Marco Polo
Built 1965, VEB Mathias-Thesen-Werft Wismar, East Germany
Tonnage 22 080 GT
Length 176,28 m
Width 23,55 m
Draught 8,17 m
848 passengers (lower berths)
915 berths
2 Sulzer-Cegielski diesels, combined 15 447 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 16,5 knots

For a history of the Marco Polo, see the first entry on her. For an account on how the ship's exterior has been altered during her career, see the second entry on her.

As noted above, the Marco Polo was this summer's last cruise visitor to Helsinki (but not the year's last visitor - Fred. Olsen's Black Watch will be calling in late November as the first ship of the short winter cruise season). She called at the South Harbour and, as seems to be standard for CMV, she departed already at 14:30. The weather did not exactly cooperate, the sky being cloudy, but I (and my friend Olli Tuominen) went there never the less to document the end of the cruise season. Of course, as it happens we had both also documented the beginning of the cruise season.

Anyway, yes. The photographs below show the Marco Polo departing from Helsinki's Eteläsatama on 1 October 2012, photographed from Kustaanmiekka. Click on the images to see in larger size.

As is probably evident from the images, I did fiddle quite a lot with the saturation levels to bring out the colours of Autumn foliage.
Classic-looking ship, even if she doesn't really stand out from the background, the sky being about the same shade as the superstructure.
Of course, I could have strated the ship separately from the background - although I suspect that  to get the trees to stand out properly I would have needed to treat the sky separately as well.
It's interesting that CMV have decided to retain the Transocean Tours hull stripe on the Marco Polo - although since Transocean changed their livery at about the same time as the Marco Polo was chartered to CMV there sisn't much chance for confusion... but it's interesting never the less.
Next time: Silja Serenade

02 October 2012

AIDAsol in Helsinki, 9. July 2012


IMO 9490040
Built 2011, Meyer Werft Papenburg, Germany
Tonnage 71 100 GT
Length 253,33 m
Width 32,20 m
Draugth 7,30 m
2 194 passengers (double occupancy)
2 500 berths
4 MaK diesels, combined 36 000 kW
2 azipods
2 bow thrusters
2 stern thrusters
Speed 20,5 knots

Helsinki is looking very autumnal these days and yesterday marked the second-to-last cruise visit of the year with CMV's Marco Polo (the very last will be Fred. Olsen's Black Watch in late November - the first time to my knowledge that the cruise season has extended that far). Photographs of the Marco Polo's visit will be forthcoming, but in keeping with posting photos in chronological order, today's subject is the AIDAsol. In keeping the other recent posts, these photos were taken from Sisä-Hattu as the AIDAsol departed Helsinki West Harbour. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

As I have undoubtedly mentioned before, I'm not a fan of the latest Aida ships' looks. But there surroundings make any ship look good. ;)
How I managed to get almost the entire photo into focus I do not know, as I was actually using a fairly large aperture.
Foreground rocks, part 1.
And part 2.
Next time: Seven Seas Voyager (or alternatively the recent Marco Polo shots).