29 August 2010

Kristina Katarina, 29 August 2010

Kristina Katarina

IMO 7625811
Built 1982, Stocznia Szczecinska im A. Warskiego Szczecin, Poland
Tonnage 12 688 GT
Length 138,00 m
Width 21,01 m
Draugth 5,60 m
450 passengers
4 Sulzer diesels, combined 12 779 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 18 knots

Kristina Katarina is Kristina Cruises' new flagship, taking over the mantle of the only genuine Finnish cruise ship in existance from the Kristina Regina, which has been sold to a preservationist group in Turku.

Like the ship she replaced, the Kristina Katarina has an interesting history. She was built as the Konstantin Simonov in 1982 in Poland for the Soviet Union's Baltic Shipping Company as essentially a short-distance liner with a small side-loadable garage for 14 cars. As one of the seven Dmitriy Shostakovich -class ferries built, she was used on a service linking Leningrad to Helsinki and Stockholm. Following the fall of the Soviet Union the Baltic Sea operations of Baltic Shipping Company were reorganized as Baltic Line in 1992. She continued in service between St. Petersburg (as it was now called), but made 24-hour cruises from Helsinki to Kronstadt, Gogland (Suursaari) and Vyosotsk (Uuras).

All this came to an end in May 1996 when Baltic Line went bankrupt. In 1996 the Konstantin Simonov was sold to Venezuelan owners and renamed Francesca for planned cruise service out of Australian ports. This never materialized, and the Francesca was laid up in Wilhelmshaven for four years. In 2000 she was finally sold, to Abcus Shipping, who chartered the ship to Mano Maritime based in Israel With Mano the ship was renamed The Iris and used for cruising out of Israel. In 2001 she was rebuilt with additional public rooms on the top deck forward of the funnel. Presumably around the same time her small car deck was also removed.

In 2009, following the acquisition of larger tonnage by Mano Maritime, The Iris was sold to Kristina Cruises as a replacement for the Kristina Regina. Still retaining her earlier name, The Iris sailed back to the Baltic in winter 2009-2010 to be rebuilt in Kristina Cruises home port Kotka. Following a lengthy rebuilding during which her entire interior was rebuilt, the ship was renamed Kristina Katarina in July 2010. On 28 August 2010 she left on her first cruise as Kristina Katarina from Kotka to Helsinki via Tallinn.

Photographs below are of the Kristina Katarina's maiden arrival in Helsinki on 29 August 2010 (naturally she has visited Helsinki repeatedly as the Konstantin Simonov). Photographs taken from Kaivopuisto. Click on the images to view full size.

A familar silhouette on Kruunuvuorenselkä after 14 years. Updated/re-treated 30. 8. 2010
Turning in Eteläsatama's pool, with Uspenski Cathedral (Alexey Gornostaev 1868) in the background.
Kristina Katarina arrived somewhat ahead of schedule and had some trouble manoeuvring into quay. (Which meant Viking Line's Gabriella had to back out of quay instead of turning in the harbour pool).
Backing into the quay at Kanavaterminaali (instead of Pakkahuoneenlaituri Kristina Regina used or the quay at Makasiiniterminaali that the Konstantin Simonov used).


  1. Christian Rønne29 August, 2010 23:32

    hey Kalle, interesting pics,,, she does not look very seaworthy, have always been thinking about the very rigid design, these ships have... like river boats or shallow water ships... its like they have been designed without a perspective in mind...

  2. Hi Christian, glad you're enjoying the pics. It's true that these ships don't look particularly seaworthy... but the hull is pretty much a standard 80s ferry hull that works even on bigger ships. I think in part the rigid appearance is an illusion created by the long and low superstructure. This is pure theory of course, I'm no expert and have never actually sailed on any ships of this class. That said, not everything about these ships seems to be properly designed - as evident in the photos, the ships always seem to lean a bit towards starboard/forward. That can't be done on purpose.