31 August 2010

Silja Serenade, 22 June 2010

Silja Serenade

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

Silja Serenade was the first ship in the world to have an indoor promenade running along the centerline of the ship (not counting Compagnie de Navigation Sud-Atlantique's L'Atlantique of 1931). The construction on her and her sister Silja Symphony was a somewhat lenghty process. There was some discussion within the company on whether to build new ships or lengthen and otherwise improve the existing Helsinki-Stockholm ships Finlandia (present-day Princess Maria) and Silvia Regina (present-day Stena Saga). In the end building new ships won the day, and in October 1987 Effoa signed a contract for building the first of the new ships with Wärtsilä Marine.

Wärtsilä Marine went bankrupt in October 1989 while the ship was under construction. The construction work was continued by the newly-formed Masa-Yards, in which Effoa and the other Silja Line partner Johnson Line were shareholders. Never the less the bankruptcy meant that the new ships were delayed and they prices rose. By the time the Silja Serenade was delivered, Effoa and Johnson Line had merged into EffJohn, and it was EffJohn that took delivery of the ship in November 1990.

Externally the Silja Serenade and her sister are surprisingly successful, considering their basix shape is essentially that of a floating box with an almost non-existent bow. The stripey paintwork certainly helps a lot in breaking up the bulky shape, but there are many, many other constructions details that improve the ship's looks, such as the superstructure being slightly narrower than the hull, the rounded forward superstructure (and the observation windows with a reverse slant compared to that of the rest of the superstructure), the high-placed bridge and the shape of the rear superstructure. Onco you go bown to the smallest details there are some things that do not appear fully thought-out, such as irrigularly shaped and placed windows, but the overall effect is pleasantly balanced.

Photographs below are of the Silja Serenade passing through the Kustaanmiekka strait on 22 June 2010. Photographed from above the King's Gate in Kustaanmiekka itself. Click on the images to view full size.

Approaching the narrowest point of the strait.
And navigating through the narrows, with the usual spectators watching.
Sailing towards the Harmaja lighthouse and the open sea.

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