26 June 2015

Mein Schiff 4 in Helsinki, 11 June 2015

Finally I had some time to put up photos here. And it's a brand-new cruise ship built in Finland, woo!

Mein Schiff 4

IMO 9678408
Built 2015, Meyer Turku, Finland
Tonnage 99 526 GT
Length 293,20 m
Width 35,80 m
Draugth 8,05 m
2 501 passengers (lower beds), 2 790 passengers (all berths)
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 28 00 kW
2 propellers
3 bow thrusters
Speed 21,7 knots

The Mein Schiff 4 is, as you should know, the newest ship of the German-market cruise line TUI Cruises. She was ordered from what was then called STX Finland's Turku shipyard in November 2012, when TUI Cruises took up the option for a sister ship included in the earlier order for the Mein Schiff 3. While the ship was under construction, the Turku shipyard was sold to a consortium of Meyer Werft and the Finnish State, although the Meyer family took full ownership of the yard before the Mein Schiff 4 was delivered. When the ship was delivered on 8 May 2015, she became the first ship to be delivered by Meyer Turku.

I was present at a press showing during the delivery day, as a representative of the Finnish Ulkomatala web magazine. A detailed report from the ship will be published in Ulkomatala's next issue, which will be out on 30 June (so next Tuesday). I also wrote a short reportage with images in English for MaritimeMatters, which you can read here. I plan to post a comprehensive tour of the ship here when I have the time to look through the images properly. Considering how busy I've been of the late, this might take a while, unfortunately.

The photos below show the Mein Schiff 4 departing Helsinki Länsisatama (West Harbour) on the afternoon of 11 June 2015, her first visit to our fine city. Photographed from Vattuniemi (the water was still too cold to wade to Sisä-Hattu). As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

Quite a few people have criticized the looks of the Turku-built Mein Schiffs, but to be honest I think they look rather good for modern cruise ships. It's a clean, unpretentious design and's quite pleasant to my eyes. Plus the fact they chose to paint the hull something other than white is a huge bonus.
Water levels were unsuaully low, which naturally suggested photos such as these.
I'm sorely tempted to write something about Finnish nature and Finnish design appearing side by side here.
This photo would be better without the seagull.
The Mein Schiff 4 is a frequest visitor this summer, so "see you again!" is the most appropriate slogan here.
Next time: Another newcomer in the form of Le Soléal.

11 June 2015

Finnclipper on the Archipelago Sea, 9 June 2015

It's been a while since I've featured Finnlines vessels here - mostly because I'm a lazy bastard and never bother to go to the Vuosaari freight harbour to photograph their vessels sailing from Helsinki. On the other hand, one has plenty of chances to photograph them when sailing between Turku and Stockholm.


IMO 9137997
Built 1999, Astilleros Españoles Puerta Real, Spain
Tonnage 33 958 GT
Length 188,30 m
Width 29,30 m
Draugth 6,30 m
Ice class 1A
440 passengers
452 berths
3 079 lane metres
4 Sulzer diesels, combined 23 040 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 22,1 knots

The Finnclipper was originally ordered in 1995 by Stena Line as the first ship of their four-strong Stena Seapacer -class. However, while the ship was under construction Stena struck a deal with Finnlines to sell the two two ships in the class to Finnlines on completion. The ship was delivered to Stena Line in May 1999, and immediately resold to Poseidon Schiffahrt, the German subsidiary of Finnlines and registered in Lübeck. The ship was initially placed on Finnlines' service between Travemünde and Helsinki. In 2001 she was re-registered in Helsinki. From the beginning of 2003 she moved to the Naantali-Kapellskär -route (which was and is marketed as Finnlink), only to move to the Malmö-Travemünde (Nordö Link) -route in the beginning of 2005, at which time she was re-registered in Malmö. This proved a short stint, as from the beginning of 2006 she reverted to the Finnlink service.

The next change came in 2012, when in the winter she made a single trip from Helsinki to Aarhus, followed by a regular service on the Malmö-Travemünde and Travemünde-Saint Petersburg -routes (reportedly the trips to Saint Petersburg were done in part to purchase cheap marine fuel from Russia). For the 2015 summer season, the Finnclipper returned to the Finnlink service, which had in the interim been altered to include an intermediate call in Långnäs in the Åland Islands in order to secure tax-free sales onboard. This also means that currently all three Finnlines' Seapacer-class ships (Finnclipper, Finneagle and Finnfellow [ex-Stena Britannia]) sail on the same route. It is perhaps of interest to note that the fourth ship in the class currently sails as the Stena Germanica in a radically rebuilt form.

The photographs below show the Finnclipper on the Archipelago Sea, en-route from Naantali to Långnäs, photographed from onboard the Baltic Princess. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

The Archipelago Sea is utterly pictoresque.
The Finnclipper, on the other hand, is in need of a fresh lick of paint.
I'm still not terribly keen on the current blue-hulled Finnlines livery (as I've explained before), but the ship does look alright.
I admit this is almost the exact same view of the ship as above... but it's a fine-looking photo.
Rear view of the ship isn't nearly as attractive as the front, alas.
Onwards to Åland!

Next time: Mein Schiff 4.

02 June 2015

Mariella on Helsinki, 20 May 2015


IMO 8320573
Built 1985, Wärtsilä Turku New Shipyard, Finland
Tonnage 37 860 GT
Length 175,70 m
Width 28,40 m
Draugth 6,78 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 500 passengers
2 500 berths
400 cars
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 23 008 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

The grand old lady Mariella was given a thorough refit in April, including new restaurants, refurbished cabins and a rebuilt nightclub. On the outside, the ship was given a new livery with the new style hull stripes introduced with the Viking Grace (this change means the Gabriella is now the only ship in the Viking Line fleet still in the old livery). I finally got around to photographing her in these new colours on 20 May 2015 at Kustaanmiekka. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

Notice the changes, part 1: the stylified wings have been removed from the bow.
Part 2: Obviously, there's the new stripes on the hull, and the hull markings have been moved aft like on other Viking Line ships (the letter G is slightly out of alignment from the rest).
Part 3: The ship's name has been moved from the bow to the forward superstructure, bringing her in-line with the rest of the fleet (except the Rosella, which still has her name on the bow, even after the recent repaint).
I kinda wish they would have added a black stripe along the windows of deck 7. It would modernise her appearance a bit, I think, and would match ger running mate Gabriella better.
Nothing much new and interesting from the rear view. There is a new summer terrace at the aft outer deck, but that doesn't really show in these pics as such.
Next time: Err... depends on when I can be bothered to head out for more photography. Or if that takes ridiclously long, on which old pics I'll dig up to share with you.