02 July 2011

Princess Maria interiors, 10.-11. February 2011 + Princess Maria in St. Petersburg, 11. February 2011

The temperature outside is +28 degrees Celsius today. To balance what is probably the warmest day of the summer, I'd like to take you back to this year's February and my cruise to St. Petersburg onboard the Princess Maria. On that trip the outside temperatures were closer to -28 degrees centigrade. Some of these images have already been featured in the April 2011 issue of Ulkomatala. For those interested (who can speak Finnish), the June issue is now out and can be read at www.ulkomatala.net.

Princess Maria

IMO 7911533
Built 1981 Wärtsilä Turku, Finland
Tonnage 34 093 GT
Length 168,05 m
Width 29 m
Draught 6,72 m
Ice class 1 A Super
1638 passengers
395 cars
4 Wärtsilä-Pielstick diesels, combined 22 948 kW
2 controllable pitch propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 sterns thruster
Speed 21,2 knots

A word of the ship's interior design is perhaps in order. The original 1981 interiors of the (then-)Finlandia were designed by Vuokko Laakso, Carita Holthoer and Ilmo Issakainen. Most of the original interiors would perhaps be best described as late-70s functionalism - with the notable exception of the focal point of the ship, the two-deck high restaurant/night club complex in front of the ship, which had a less sterile decor featuring tiffany lamps and illuminated stained glass panels on the lower level (à la carte -restaurant) and a garden-like ambience for the terrace level (buffet). With the exception of a handful of the original trellis-backed chairs in the buffet, very little of the original decor remains and the layout has been altered in places, sometimes radically.

The current decor, mostly dating from the ship's time as DFDS Seaways' Queen of Scandinavia, is fairly subdued and somewhat minimalist, avoiding the excesses of modern ferry (and cruise ship) interiors. However, some of the changes made by the current operator St. Peter Line appear uncoordinated and do not fit the overall theme of the interiors.

The following is a somewhat limited section of photography from the ship's interiors. In part this is of no fault of my own as St. Peter Line did not allow photographing in the two most interesting interior spaces, the Nemo Casino/Exporer's restaurant complex on the front of deck 7 nor the XXXX Bar night club and the adjacent smoking room on deck 8.

Princess Maria interiors photographed on 10. and 11. February 2011. Click on the individual images to view larger size.

Looking aft from the sun deck on deck 9 on the very cold morning of 11. February 2011. The windows on the right are those of conference rooms added during a refit in 1985. This forward section of the outer deck is normally out-of-bounds, but on this trip there were only very few passengers onboard as the ship was returning from a docking in Helsinki and some of the onboard restrictions were relaxed.
Un-sunny sun deck on deck 8. Had it not been for the pretty impressive entryway into St. Petersburg (and struggling through the ice), the weather would have chased any sane person indoors.
The forward stairwell, with John Walravens striking a pose. The sculpture on the left, like so many other things onboard, is a DFDS addition.
The arcade on deck 7, facing forward with the tax-free shop on the left. The plastic wicker chairs are at odds with the otherwise refined decor.
Appareantly, gambling is all the rage in Russia as slot machines were liberally sprinkled on deck 7 even outside the casino. Annoying there was even a row of slot machines and garish neon signs right in front of the large forward window in the casino/restaurant complex, rendering the beautiful window useless.
The Columbus Night Club on deck 7. This area was originally conference rooms (with the evening's entertainment taking place largely in the restaurants) but DFDS sensibly opted for a separate night club/showroom, although it must be said the layout of the room is quite generic, almost a direct copy from the Mariella of 1985.

While the place was ptractically deserted on the outbound voyage, inbound from St. Petersburg with a large number of young Russians onboard the atmosphere was amazing and the entertainment (both the evening show and the bands) was amongst the best I've ever seen onboard any ship.
The Bake & Coffee cafeteria with it's attractive DFDS-era decor (this area was originally simply an extantion of the entrance lobby). My fellow passenger Mathias Saken (of Finnjetweb fame) tells me the food sold here was both affordable and tasty (I opted for the more expensive but very nice buffet on both nights).
DFDS Seaways are responsible for the crewing of the ship and their legacy show in quite many other places on the ship. This sticker (appareantly from the days the ship was sailing between Newcastle and IJmuiden) was in the mirror of our cabin bathroom.
Time to get back onboard... Princess Maria at the Morskoy Vokzal terminalin the afternoon of 11. February 2011. The somewhat unusual point of view of this photograph was archieved by climbing on top of a big pile of snow in the quay.

No comments:

Post a Comment