08 May 2011

Princess Anastasia, 6 May 2011

Princess Anastasia

IMO 8414582
Built 1986, Wärtsilä Turku New Shipyard, Finland
Tonnage 37 583 GT
Length 176,82 m
Width 28,40 m
Draught 6,71 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 500 passengers
2 447 berths
580 cars
1 115 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 22 988 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

SPL Princess Anastasia, as her official name goes, made a second cruise call to Helsinki this spring just a week after the first one. As before, she used the Kanavaterminaali quay normally used by her fleetmate Princess Maria. It seems possible that St. Peter Line ships' Helsinki visits will become a lot rarer in the future, as the city of Helsinki doesn't allow SPL's ships to load cars at South Harbour - to be able to transport freight the company would need to relocate to the Vuosaari freight hourbour which would be an economic suicide for the passenger services. Furthermore the two other shipping companies operating from South Harbour can load cars and other cargo at the harbour (though at least in the case of Viking Line the number of ships they can operate out of the harbour is also restricted). As a result of this unfair treatment SPL have sued the Port of Helsinki, but due to the good start of the St. Petersburg-Stockholm service they are reportedly also considering closing down the Helsinki-St. Petersburg service and concentrating on the Stockholm line. If things come to this it would be a real shame, as in my experience St. Peter Line offers a very good product that is refreshingly different from that of other Baltic Sea cruiseferry operators. I for one would like to be able to continue sailing on their delightful ships from Finland in the future.

But onwards from the semi-rant to the pictures. Princess Anastasia in Helsinki South Harbour (Eteläsatama) on 6 May 2011 during one of her St. Petersburg-Helsinki-Stockholm-Tallinn-St. Petersburg spring cruises. Photographed from Kaivopuisto. Click on the images to view larger size.

In the harbour pool ahortly after leaving the quay (the yellow building on the left is, incidentally, the Finnish presidential palace).
On Kruunuvuorenselkä bound for the Kustaanmiekka strait, with the now-disused Laajasalo oil harbour on the left.


  1. I agree with your semi-rant, Kalle.  Logistics permitting, Princess Maria should be allowed car and cargo access at South Harbor.

    Several ferry operators have seen economic potential in a Helsinki-St. Petersburg route in the recent past.  Were they all wrong, or are there procedural or infrastructural barriers in place?  I think this issue merits attention.

    In the meantime, or as an alternative, perhaps Princess Maria could make two stops in Finland:  one at South Harbor and one at Vuosaari.  It would lengthen the trip somewhat, but the vast majority of those opting for a cruise over a train ride probably wouldn't mind.

  2. Helsinki City's treatment of ferry operators does seem odd at times. The city seems very keen on cruise ships and income they bring into the city, but at the same time ferries are apparently seen as undesireable, even though they (probably) also bring a sizeable chunk of money into the city.

    Fortunately for St. Peter Line they have reached an agreement with the city to relocate into the West Harbour and carry freight from there. Still, it is a less ideal solution than the South Harbour from the passenger's point of view.

    If I remember correctly the Princess Maria has at least once made a call in Vuosaari in addition to the South Harbour. Apparently this was not a huge success as it has not become a common practice.

    On the previous attempts to operate a Helsinki-St. Petersburg ferry service, I think the major problem that Silja Line, Tallink and Stella Lines all had was that they concentrated too much on the Finnish market which is already highly saturated. Silja didn't even offer the possibility of starting the trip at SPB until very late in Silja Opera's service to the city. SPL are concentrating more on the Russian passengers which I think is one of the reasons for their success.