04 December 2015

Magellan in Helsinki, 24 August 2015


IMO 8217881
Name history: Holiday, Carnival Holiday, Grand Holiday, Magellan
Built 1985, Aalborg Værft, Denmark
Tonnage 46 052 GT
Length 221,57 m
Width 28,17 m
Draugth 7,77 m
1 250 passengers
2 Sulzer diesels, combined 23 520 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 21 knots

So, we're finally getting around to the new (second-hand) Cruise and Maritime Voyages ship that got people so excited earlier this year.

The Magellan started like in 1985 as the Holiday, the second-ever newbuilt ship for Carnival Cruise Line; she was essentially an enlarger version of the 1981-built Tropicale that was built by the same shipyard for Carnival. The Holiday went on to have a long and uneventful career with Carnival. Towards the last years of her career with them she came to be marketed as 'Carnival Holiday', but it appears her official name was not changed. In 2009 she was transferred within Carnival Corporation & PLC to the Spanish-market Iberocruceros brand as the Grand Holiday. Due to the Spanish cruise market facing adverse conditions as a result of the eurozone crisis, Carnival decided to close down the Iberocruceros brand effective 2014, with the Grand Holiday withdrawn. She was then sold to Greek owners, who chartered the ship to CMV as the Magellan. And this pretty much wraps up her history to date.

On a completely different tengent, I find the reaction amongst cruise ship and liner enthusiasts to the Magellan's CMV career very interesting. The Carnival Corporation, and in particular Carnival Cruise Line, is a company a certain breed of enthusiasts love to hate. These tend to be the same people who think any and all modern cruise ships are ugly. With CMV operating and having operated such classic ships as Ocean Countess, Marco Polo, Discovery and Azores, I fully expected there to be an outrage from these people when CMV opted for an old Carnival ship of the boxy type they love to hate. I was wrong. As soon as CMV became associated with the ship, she became a classic beauty worthy of preserving. This tells something very interesting about both the human mind and the way branding works. (And for the record, I think the Magellan is a fine-looking ship. But I also think many modern cruise ships are very attractive in terms of exterior design).

Anyway, onwards to the point. The photos below show the Magellan departing Helsinki Länsisatama (West Harbour) on her first call to the city on 24 August 2015. Photographed from Sisä-Hattu. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

I find it interesting that Carnival apparently no longer demands the removal of their trademark funnel wings when a ship is sold outside the Carnival Corporation.
Water levels were unusually low, giving the chance for interesting photos like this one.
While I think the Magellan looks very swish in these colours, I'm slightly bothered by the lack of a unified colour scheme in the CMV fleet. Currently, all their ships have different hull colours, and the funnel colours aren't exactly unified either. Personally, I also think the funnel would look better if it was all-blue, with the CMV logo put on in white.
What must be said is that the Magellan did smoke quite heavily, as you can also see from the previous shots. This mild fog in this photo between the ship and shore appeared to consist almost entirely of the Magellan's exhaust fumes.
Next time: depending on how much time I have, either Silja Serenade interiors or Princess Anastasia exterior shots.

24 November 2015

Silja Serenade in Helsinki, 23 November 2015

Silja Serenade

IMO 8715259
Built 1990, Masa-Yards Turku New Shipyard, Finland
Tonnage 58 376 GT
Length 203,03 m
Width 31,93 m
Draught 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 Silja Serenade returned from her most recent drydocking yesterday. In addition to changes to her interior (which were more extensive than the ones carried out on the Silja Symphony previously) the also received a new smiling seal logo on her funnel. While the old seal was painted on, the new one is made out of metal and has a rather attractice led lighting behind it, making it look very nice in the dark, as the following images, taken of the ship while moored at the Olympiaterminaali on the afternoon of 23 November 2015, show.

The new happy seal and a rather neat moon too, as photographed from Tähtitorninmäki.
Moving to Kauppatori, the Serenade is seen here with the local bunkering tanker Lotus.
Magazine cover potential here, methinks.
Another Serenade with a another ship shot, this time featuring the Suomenlinna ferry Suomenlinna II.
Next time: Magellan

18 November 2015

Azamara Quest in Helsinki, 11 August 2015

Azamara Quest

IMO 9210218
Name history: R Seven, Delphin Renaissance, Blue Moon, Azamara Quest
Built 2000, Chantiers de l'Atlantique St. Nazaire, France
Tonnage 30 277 GT
Length 181,00 m
Width 25,46 m
Draugth 5,80 m
777 passengers (maximum)
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 13 500 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 18 knots

Finally this blog returns to the scheduled content. And equally finally we feature shots of the current Azamara Club Cruises livery in decent weather; the Azamara Quest was already featured in the current livery once (the entry also includes a history of the ship for those interested), but those shots were taken in pouring rain.

So, the photos below show the Azamara Quest departing from Helsinki Eteläsatama (South Harbour) in the afternoon of 11 August 2015, photographed from Kustaanmiekka. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Foreground rowan!
A dark hull does make the ship look very good. She's look even better with a dark funnel, though - just take a look at this shot of her sister sailing as the Minerva II.
Posing for cruise ship passage in the foreground.
Azamara Quest passes a teen party.
Next time: As the Silja Serenade is currently in drydock for interior refreshment (and a slight adjustment of her livery), I think it's safe to say she will be the next ship featured. Whether it will be in the form of pictures is her current livery, the upcoming livery or even interiors... well, that remains to be seen.

11 November 2015

Superstar in Tallinn, 11 March 2014

We continue the deviation from advertized programming due to yesterday's news that Tallink have sold the Superstar to Corsica Ferries, effective next month, but she will be chartered back to Tallink until the completion of the new, larger fast ferry from Turku at the beginning of 2017.


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

So, with these changes it's maybe a good time to look at the brief history of the Superstar. She was ordered by Tallink from Fincantieri in August 2005, for delivery in spring 2008. The ship was based on the design of the Moby Wonder -class, which Fincantieri were heavily promoting at the time (they also negoatiated about building a ship of the same design for Viking Line). The Superstar was ordered at the same time as her eventual running mater Star, and originally both contacts included an option for a sister vessel. At the time there were plenty of rumours circulating around about the future deployment of the ships: the Star and her sister were expected to go to the Helsinki-Tallinn -line, while the Superstar and her potential sister were expected to open an Estonia-Germany service for Tallink. Other rumours suggested one pair would go on the Gothenburg-Frederikshavn route in competition with Stena Line. Tallink at the time also expressed interest in submitting a tender for the state-funded service between the island of Gotland and the Swedish mainland. In the end only the Germany service came true, by the virtue of Tallink buying Superfast Ferries' Baltic Sea operations. Neither sister ship option was taken up, and the somewhat mismatched pair of Star and Superstar took over Tallink's non-cruise Helsinki-Tallinn services.

The Superstar continued in service without incident for eight years. In late 2014 Tallink signed a memorandum of agreement to build a new, larger, LNG-powered fast ferry for the Helsinki-Tallinn route, which was confirmed as a firm order in February 2015. At the time the company reported no final decisions about the fate of the current Helsinki-Tallinn Shuttles had been made: the new ship could either replace one of them or join them as a fourth ship. However, in November a contact to sell the Superstar to Corsica Ferries was made public. She will change owners in December, but is chartered back to Tallink until the completion of the new ship from Turku. In early 2017, following delively of the as-of-yet unnamed new fast ferry, she will join Corsica Ferries' fleet as the Mega Express Six.

The photographs below show the Superstar arriving in Tallink on 11 March 2014. I did not publish these images at the time, keeping them under wraps for the Tallink – The First 25 Years book. Since the book is now out (and all of you should go and buy it), these photos will not spoil anything. As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

Sisters are doing it for themselves: the inbound Superstar and the outbound Finlandia outside the harbour.
I'm really quite fond of the combination of the decaying concrete in the foreground.
Next time: Presumably, we'll hopefully finally get to the Azamara Quest.

03 November 2015

Regal Princess interiors, 10 May 2015

We interrupt the advertized programming to bring you this entry of interior images from onboard Princess Cruises' newest ship, the Regal Princess. I would also like to take this opportunity to let my Finnish-speaking readers know that the latest issue of Ulkomatala is out, featuring amongst other things an article on the 50th anniversary of Princess Cruises, as well as four articles by yours truly.

Regal Princess

IMO 9584724
Built 2014, Fincantieri Monfalcone, Italy
Tonnage 142 714 GT
Length 330 m
Width 38,40 m
Draft 8,60 m
4 380 passengers
6 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 62 400 kW
2 propellers
3 bow thrusters
3 (?) stern thrusters
Speed 23 knots

The Regal Princess made her first call at Helsinki on 10 May 2015. She was the largest cruise ship to have called in Helsinki at the time (although she lost the title in a few months to P&O's Britannia), and Princess Cruises arranged a press tour of the ship to commemorate the occasion together with the Port of Helsinki.

Since the Regal Princess is essentially a brand-new ship with very little history to wade through, let's get right down to business of the interior photos, shall we?

Our tour of the ship started up on the bridge, where Port of Helsinki's managing director Kimmo Mäki (left) exchanged commemorative plagues with Regal Princess' Captain John Foster.

Deck 17 - Sun Deck: The Regal Princess has a whopping 19 decks, but our tour started from deck 17, which houses pool areas, the fitness center, as well as childrens' and teenagers' lounges.

The Sanctuary is an adults-only deck area forward on deck 17.
The Sanctuary also includes an extra-cost spa pavillion for rent.
Aft of The Sanctuary is the Retreat pool, with private cabanas for rent. On the right is the guide of our little tour, Michael Korhonen. I don't know where Princess pulled a Finnish staff member to guide us, but he was definately a hit amongst the visitors.
According to our other guide, cruise director Geof, the Regal Princess has the largest fitness facilities of the Princess fleet.
Deck 16 - Lido Deck features cabins forward, a pool area amidships and restaurants aft.

The main pool area, with Princess' trademark Movies Under the Stars screen. (Okay, these days every other mass-market cruise line has them too, but Princess were the first to feature them).
The SeaWalk glass-floored corridor is cantilevered outside the ship. Not as interesting when the side with the SeaWalk faces the quay, I'm, afraid.
The aft part of the ship is filled by the buffet restaurant (I continue to be puzzled by the placement of the buffets on cruise ships, but that's probably just me being Finnish). The restaurant is divided into two distinct areas: this is the Horizon Bistro...
...aft of which is the (in my opinion) more attractively styled Horizon Court.
Deck 7 - Promenade Deck: Next we leap down several deck filled with cabins and go back to the public rooms. Deck 7 houses the upper level of the Princess Theatre show lounge forward, followed by various bars and lounges.

What would be a mass-amrket cruise ship without an art gallery.
Another must-feature is a multi-deck Atrium; in the case of the Regal Princess it spans decks five, six and seven.
I must admit I'm not a huge fan of the Regal Princess' interiors overall, but the Ocean Terrace seafood bar on the Atrium is quite attractive.
Michael explains Princess Cruises' 50th anniversary celebrations to us.
Regal Princess and her sister Royal Princess feature a Princess Live! television studio, where programmes shown on the cabin televisions are produced. Personally, I don't quite see the appeal.
Aft of Princess Live! is the traditionally decorated Wheelhouse Bar.
And accessible through the Wheelhouse Bar is the Crown Grill, an extra-cost steakhouse.
Finally, right aft on deck seven is the Vista Lounge, a venue for music performances and standup comedy. I find the name extremely ironic, as the lounge could have windows on three sides, with amazing views overlooking the wake of the ship; instead, it has no windows.
Deck 6 - Fiesta Deck has the lower level of the Princess Theatre forward, followed by the ship's casino and various restaurants, including two of the ship's main dining rooms. Unfortunately the tour did not include a visit to any of these.

Princess Theatre, looking forward towards the stage...
...and looking aft. I like the rest of the decor, but the seating looks like it's from the 1980s - and the unadventurous design schools of the 1980s at that. Definately not an attractive space and not one you'd expect to find on a brand-new ship.
The Casino.Another thing that I personally don't see the appeal of.
Deck 5 - Plaza Deck: Here we find the ship's spa forward (following the current trend of placing spas low on the ship), the reception, as well as various spas and restaurants.

The Enclave at Lotus Spa is, I believe, another extra cost feature.
The reception lobby. Placing the reception outside the Atrium is a feature I find puzzling from the point of view of orientation.
Prior to leaving the ship, we were served lunch at Sabatini's, one of the ship's extra-charge restaurants. I'm afraid the lunch was not very memorable; it wasn't bad, but if this was the normal extra-cost fare they serve, I'd give the restaurant a pass.
A parting shot of the glitzy atrium.
Next time we will probably return to the previously advertized programming with the Azamara Quest. Stay tuned!

14 October 2015

Empress in Helsinki 11 August 2015


IMO 8716899
Name history: Nordic Empress, Empress of the Seas, Empress
Built 1990, Chantiers de l'Atlantique, St. Nazaire, France
Tonnage 48 563 GT
Length 210,81 m
Width 30,70 m
Draft 7,10 m
2 020 passengers
2 Wärtsilä-Duvant Crepelle diesels, combined 16 200 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 19,5 knots

The Empress has of course been featured here before and you can click on this link to read a short history of the ship. The photographs below show the ship passing through the Kustaanmiekka strait following departure from Helsinki. Due to my being a bit a late on the scene, you're getting a slightly different point of view from the usual photos taken at Kustaanmiekka. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

Continuing the floral theme from the previous entry.
Still not sure if I like the current Pullmantur livery. At least it's different though.
Through the narrow bit.
Next time: Azamara Quest

09 October 2015

Caribbean Princess in Helsinki, 7 August 2015

Caribbean Princess

IMO 9215490
Built 2004, Fincantieri Monfalcone, Italy
Tonnage 112 894 GT
Length 290,00 m
Width 36,00 m
Draugth 8,05 m
3 114 passengers (lower berths)
3 782 passengers (maximum)
6 Sulzer diesels, combined 63 360 kW
2 azipods
3 bow thrusters
Speed 21,7 knots

The Caribbean Princess is, as you can easily discern from her profile, a member of Princess Cruises ubiquitous Grand-class. Although, if you wish to be pedantic, she is in fact a one-off design; like the first three Grand-class ships (the Grand, Golden and Star Princess) she was built with the shopping cart handle -esque after superstructure, but she has an extra deck of cabins compared to the earlier sisters. Nothing else really to say about the ship - except that I find her name somewhat amusing on northern European itineraries. Also interesting that Princess felt nescessary to rename the Tahitian Princess into Ocean Princess a few years back when she moved to worldwide itineraries, but didn't feel the same thing nescessary for the Caribbean Princess in the same situation.

The photographs below show the Caribbean Princess departing Helsinki Länsisatama (West Harbour) in the afternoon of 7 August 2015. Photographed from Sisä-Hattu. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Floral Princess (with a queen, namely Tallink's Baltic Queen, in the background).
While I'm not a fan of the Grand class or its defivatives in terms of overall design, I think the ships with the shopping cart handle look better than the ones without.
Couldn't resist those flowers.
Next time: Empress.

02 October 2015

Arcadia in Helsinki, 7 August 2015

Finally I had some free time to dedicate to treating photos for publication. Be warned, there are quite a lot of them this time.


IMO 9226906
Built 2005, Fincantieri Porto Maghera, Italy
Tonnage 82 972 GT
Length 285,30 m
Width 32,20 m
Draugth 7,80 m
2 556 passengers
5 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 51 840 kW
2 azipods
3 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

P&O Cruises' Arcadia has, of course, been featured on this blog several times before. For a brief history of the ship, see this earlier entry. On this particular occasion, I headed out to photograph her as this was probably the last time to document her before she's applied the indignity of P&O's new blue funnel colours and Union Jack bow paint.

So, the photos below show the Arcadia departing from Helsinki Länsisatama (West Harbour) on the afternoon of 7 August 2015. Photographed from Sisä-Hattu. As per the usual, you can see the photos in larger size by clicking on them.

The photogenic flower still required one to lay down on an anthill to get it attractively in the frame. Sometimes suffering for your art is nescessary.
More flowers.
And yet more flowers.
More upright photography, this time with The Photogenic Tree.
Is it just me, or is the funnel starting to look a bit faded? Well, presumably there's no point in repainting it with the yellow as it'll soon be blue instead, but still.
More upright Photogenic Tree!
Okay, maybe one photo that actually shows the ship "properly".
But The Photogenic Tree is so appealing!
Water levels were unusually low, giving a chance to take slightly different foreground rock photos from normal.
The Japanese rose bush is always attractive.
Next time: Caribbean Princess.