27 February 2013

Viking Grace interiors, 14-15 February 2013 - Part 1

As some of you have perhaps noticed, the first part of my english-language travel report from onboard the Viking Grace is up at MaritimeMatters here. Since the trip report is up, I though it prodent to put up a more through collection of photos from the ship here. As there are almost 50 photos overall, I decided to break them into two separate entries. Today we will look at decks 9 and 10, while the next installment will deal with deck 11 and 12.

Viking Grace

IMO 9606900
Built 2013, STX Europe Turku, Finland
Tonnage 57 700 GT
Length 218,60 m
Width 31,80 m
Draught 6,80 m
Ice class 1 A Super
2 800 passengers
2 876 berths
530 lane metres of cars
1 275 lane metres of cargo
4 Wärtsilä dual fuel (LNG/diesel) engines, combined 30 400 kW
2 fixed-pitch propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Service speed 21,8 knots
Maximum speed 25,6 knots

The Viking Grace is notable, amongst other things, for her unusual interiors. They have been designed by the Finnish architecture firm dSign Vertti Kivi, who have also designed a horde of different things on dry land but never anything afloat before the Grace. The cabins and cabin corridors on the other hand have are the works of another Finnish architectural practice, Korpi & Gordon.

Deck 9 contains the navigation bridge forward, followed by cabins, the reception, conference rooms, a large tax-free supermarket and a teenagers' room.

The cabin corridors have extremely interesting carpeting. Apparently the carpets are identical on each deck with the exception that each deck has it's own identifying insect. On deck 9 this was a butterly, on one of the lower decks it's a ladybug.
An inside double cabin; not large but perfectly adequate for a 23-hour cruise. The floor may look like wood but it's ain fact a carpet patterned to look like wood.
On the port side there is a three-deck high atrium (spanning deck 9, 10 and 11), with a large panoramic window similar to that onboard the 1989 Viking Line ship Cinderella.
The lovely mrs Id demonstrated the functionability of the atrium sofas.
The Teens room is also on deck 9, located out of the way along the connecting corridor to the aft staircase, essentially inside the horseshow-shaped tax-free supermarket.

Deck 10 has, the following spaces, fore to aft: Aurora Buffet restaurant, Sweet & Salty cafeteria, Rockmore Bar, Retro Bar and Vogue night club.

The servery areas of Buffet Aurora have a fairly boring colour palette. It lets the foods stand out, for sure, but perhaps a little colour wouldn't have hurt.
The kids' table is somewhat more interesting. Also notice it's actually been designed for children, heightwise.
The actual eating areas of Aurora share similar patters but different sections have different colour schemes. Here were are looking aft on the starboard side.
Looking forward on the starboard side; notice the Alvar Aalto -style space dividers in the background.
Port side facing aft (towards the entrance), with yellow as the dominating colour.
Sprinkled amongst the more modernist chairs and tables are these odd retro things.
Totally random Buffet Aurora ceiling shot (with regards to Peter Knego).
The port side arcade aft of Aurora.
The Sweet & Salty cafeteria is located midships on deck 10. This also functions are a food outlet, with a self-serve buffet from which you pay according the weight of your portion.
The items served at Sweet & Salty are tasty but in terms of decor it is definately the most boring space onboard.
Aft of Sweet & Salty there are two different bars on either side of the funnel casing. On the port side is the Rockmore disco, which oddly lacks a dance floor.
Rockmore details. The space also functions as an access corridor to the Vogue night club aft and it gets irritatingly crowded easily.
On the starboard side from the Rockmore Bar is the Retro Bar, which features karaoke and the other forms of "traditional" cruise ferry culture. While these are not my favourite things onboard, Retro was clearly the most popular venue onboard.
Karaoke in full swing.
Club Vogue is a two-storey venue furthest aft. All of my Vogue photos are in fact from the upper level on deck 11, but I'm including them here for the sake of balancing the number of photos in the two entries,
It might be just me, but I think Vogue looks like a set from a 1970s science fiction movie.
During daytime Club Vogue is slightly less red and the ceiling lights look even more impressive.
Club Vogue's bar on deck 11.
At the very aft of Club Vogue there are large windows overlooking the ship's stern.
The dance floor in night-time mode...
...and day-time mode.
Next time: part 2 of the Viking Grace's interiors.

21 February 2013

Amorella in Mariehamn, 15 February 2013


IMO 8601915
Built 1988, Brodogradiliste Split, Yugoslavia
Tonnage 35 384 GT
Length 169,40 m
Width 27,60 m
Draught 6,35 m
2 480 passengers
2 046 berths
350 cars
900 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä-Pielstick diesels, combined 23 760 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 21,5 knots

For a short history of the Amorella, see this earlier entry.

Following the delivery of the new Viking Grace, the Amorella was sailed to the Öresundsvarvet shipyard at Landskrona (Sweden) for an overhaul of her technical spaces and interiors. The the duration of the docking she was replaced by the Isabella, which handily was (and remains) without a job following the arrival of the Viking Grace. In addition to the changes to the insides of the ship, she also recieved the first change to her exterior during her lenghty career, with Viking Grace -style white decorative stripes added to her hull. It remains to be seen if these stripes will be a speciality of the Turku route of if they will be painted on all Viking ships.

The photographs below show the Amorella arriving at and departing from Mariehamn on 15 February 2013. Photographed from onboard the Viking Grace. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

As you can see, the weather was obviously far from ideal. But since these are my first photos featuring the Amorella in her new livery, I this a little grey sky is acceptable.
The livery is of course purely a matter of taste, but personally I quite like the added stripes. Also, I'm glad they didn't fully go the Viking Grace route and repaint the funnel all white; it's just so much better with red.
The Split shipyard did awesome work with the exterior design of the Amorella and her sisters I think.
Looks like the Amorella was passing the Grace, but in fact she's just about to turn in order to reverse to her quay.
Here we go...
About 20 minutes later, the Amorella departs...
...and sails onwards to Stockholm.
Next time: Baltic Princess (probably).

17 February 2013

Birka Stockholm in the Stockholm archipelago, 15 February 2013

Birka Stockholm

IMO 9273727
Name history: Birka Paradise (2004-2013), Birka Stockholm (2013-)
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

The Birka Stockholm is, of course, the same ship known previously as Birka Paradise. For an account of the history of the ship, see this older entry. In January 2013 Birka Cruises decided to rebrand the ship and their whole product, shifting away from their previous emulation of Caribbean cruise ships and emphasising more their localness and Swedish roots (even if the company is in fact Ålandian). They originally wanted to name the ship simply Birka, as passengers refer to her as that anyway, but as a ship named Birka already existed in the Swedish registry, Birka Cruises had to think of an alternative solution. This was found in incorporating the ship's port of registry into it's name and marketing her simply as Birka. (Although I do wonder, if you're going to market the ship with a different name from the registered one anyway, why just not keep the name Birka Paradise?). Coinciding with the name change, the ship's livery was also altered, making it more Swedish by eliminating the original red elements.

The photographs below show the Birka Stockholm in the Stockholm archipelago outside Kapellskär, inbound to Stockholm from Mariehamn on 15 February 2013. Photographed from onboard the Viking Grace. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Not the best lighting to photograph ships, but it's not every day you get to photograph a ship with a new livery for the first time. And there is something to be said for the winter atmosphere of course.
It doesn't show very well here, but the original symbol on the bow of the ship has been replaced by the funnel symbol of Birka Cruises' parent company Rederi Ab Eckerö.
The new funnel colours are not very much to my liking, the original stripes were much better. White funnels seem to be all the rage these days and they are sooooooooo booooooooooooooooring.
Next time: Probably the Galaxy.

10 February 2013

Star in Helsinki, 24 January 2013


IMO 9364722
Built 2007, Aker Finnyards Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 36 250 GT
Length 186,00 m
Width 27,70 m
Draugth 6,50 m
Ice class 1A
1 900 passengers
520 berths
450 cars
1 981 lanemeters
4 MaK diesels, combined 48 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 27,7 knots

There might have been only one published photo of mine taken last year featuring the Star, but this year is going to be slightly different as we kick off with seven imaes featuring the ship. These photos were taken on the afternoon of 24 January 2012, the same day as the sunset photos featuring the Silja Europa I put up two weeks ago. The Star in fact arrived in port before the SE on that day, so these were taken before the SE images, not after as you might think from the order these have been published.

Click on the images to see them in larger size. Please let me know if the images do not display correctly; they have been uploaded into my Photobucket account instead of my Picasa account because I got fed up with Picasa not working properly with Blogger even though both are Google products.

Edit 2014-01-30: The images have been fixed. Apparently Google, being the complete assholes that they are, decided the perfectly legitimate links to Photobucket simply do not work in Blogger. If anyone has any tips on migrating material from Blogger to another blog platform, do let me know as I'm getting seriously sick and tired og Google.

I particularly like the way the way markers are approximaly the same colour as the Star's hull.
Star and sunset = Starset?
Hurts my eyes to look stright at the sun even in a photo.
Just look at those colours.
And then we got some reflections on the side of the ship...
Tallink, if you wish to buy images to use in your marketing, I'm open for negotiations.
Ice, sunset, ship.
Next time: Another trip to the archives.

05 February 2013

Superstar in Helsinki, 23 January 2013


IMO 9365398
Built 2008, Fincantieri Ancona, Italy
Tonnage 36 400 GT
Length 175,10 m
Width 27,60 m
Draugth 7,00 m
Ice class 1A
2 080 passengers
520 berths
665 cars
1 930 lanemeters
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 50 400 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 27,5 knots

I just noticed, when looking at past entries featuring the Superstar, that the three previous entries of the ship have all featured her in a winterly setting. Well, we will continue on the same theme today.

The photographs below show the Superstar arriving in Helsinki West Harbour on the morning of 23 January. I photographed her from the deck of her sister ship Finlandia - the Finlandia had just departed and the Superstar was moving in to fill the quay vacated by the Finlandia. (The two ships sharing the same quay is a temporary arrangement while the quay normally used by Eckerö's ship is being rebuilt).

Click on the images to see in larger size.

A foggy winter's day is normally not the best weather for ship photography - but fortunately the Superstar stands out nicely from the background. (But notice how on all images her more traditionally painted radar mast blends into the background).
The two sisters met at quite high speeds, so I did not take quite as many pics I normally would have. But it was a good thing too, as it was cold outside.
Pihlajasaari, a normal background feature in West Harbour photos, seen from a slightly different point-of-view.
West Harbour calling.
While I've grown to like most of this design and even the livery, the rear of the ship just looks atrocious. And it's not even a practical arrangement as both sisters that I've been on vibrated quite at higher speeds. Not Finnjet-heavily but still noticeably.
Next time: Star.

01 February 2013

Finlandia interiors, 23 January 2013

Yes, this is yet another entry on the Finlandia. What can I say? It's not every day we get a brand-new ferry sailing from Helsinki - particularly not one with such attractive interiors. So, in this entry we shall be taking another look at the Finlandia's interiors, this time taken during my day cruise to Tallinn on the ship on 23 January.

Those interested in more than just photographs can also read my trip report from the ship at MaritimeMatters here.


IMO 9214379
Name history: Moby Freedom, Freedom, Finlandia
Built 2001 Daewoo Shipbuilding & Heavy Machinery Okpo, South Korea
Tonnage 36 093 GT
Length 175 m
Width 27,60 m
Draught 7 m
2080 passengers
1190 berth
665 cars
1950 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 50 400 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 27 knots

It might be of interest to compare the images in this entry with the images taken of the still-incomplete interior of the ship a month before as featured in the previous Finlandia entry.

All photographs below were taken on 23 January 2013. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Deck 9 houses the bridge, sun deck and the upper level of Cafeteria Satama.

As is often the case in my photographs, a not-very-sunny suc deck.
The ship's pool in the shape of Moby Lines' whale was undoubtedly useful in the Mediterranean, but for the Baltic is was plated over. I guess you can sit on the edge of that thing? During summertime at least, it's bound to be very cold right now.

Deck 8 houses the principal public rooms, from fore to aft: Bar Nosturi (which extends down to deck 7), Pub Jätkäsaari, Pub Telakka, Shop Bellezza, Bar Naissaar, Buffet Eckerö, and Cafeteria Satama.

Bar Nosturi as seen from deck 7.
The mezzanine level between decks 7 and 8.
View down from deck 8, with the band just finishing their set after arrival in Tallinn-
The aft seating area of Bar Nosturi. Due the layout of the room this space doesn't really give much views forward and you can't hear the music too well either.
Pub Jätkäsaari looks much better with the chairs unwrapped...
...but the same cannot be said of Pub Telakka.
Another Pub Telakka shot, facing forward and towards the bar.
Pub Jätkäsaari, Pub Telakka and Bar Naissaar all have wall decor panels somehow relating to the space's name of theme. Here is the one for Pub Telakka, showing (amongst other things) the old Eckerö Linjen ferry Roslagen being lenghtened in 1973 (the text actually reads 1986 but that is an error).
My favourite space onboard in terms of decor: Bar Naissaar.
Alas, the chairs were rather uncomfortable due to being quite small. And while I liked the space, my wife disliked it due to the "grandmotherly" carpet patterns.
Naissaar ceiling light detail.
The blue staircase, located between Bar Naissaar and Buffet Eckerö.
The aft part of Buffet Eckerö. The blue leaf decor in the ceiling is a remnant from the ship's previous incatnation as the Moby Freedom, and the current decor of the space has been inspired by the leaf.
The forward part of Buffet Eckerö. In the background on the left is the servery area for warm foods, desserts and drinks. The servery area for starters is out-of-frame to the right.
The main level of Cafeteria Satama, as seen from the balcony level.
The multipurpose room port and forward of Cafeteria Satama's main space. This area serves either as a part of the buffet (accessible from the door at the back) or the cafeteria depending on the need.
The same space, viewed aft towards the cafeteria. The chairs here - as those in Bar Nosturi - are Moby Freedom originals that have simply been reupholstered.
Another lamp close-up, this time the floral-shaped lamp in the Satama multi-purpose room.
The balcony level of Cafeteria Satama on deck 9.
Deck 7 houses the lower level of Bar Nosturi, and passenger cabins.

Deck 6 has the EckeröMarket, Extra Class lounge (see the previous entry for photos of these), entrance vestibule and cabins.

The entrance vestibule.
The original operator failed to specify a luggage room. Eckerö solved this problem by taking matresses out of two cabins and making them into luggage rooms. I can't help thinking that a part of the multi-million-euro refit the ship recieved could have been put to demolising these cabins and converting them into a proper luggage room.
The yellow (midship) staircase on deck 6.
Next time: Superstar.