16 August 2011

Baltic Princess in Helsinki 23 June 2011

Baltic Princess

IMO 9354284
Built 2008, Aker Yards, France / Aker Yards, Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 48 915 GT
Length 212,10 m
Width 29,00 m
Draugth 6,42 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 800 passengers
2 484 berths
600 cars
1 130 lanemetres
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 32 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 24,5 knots

The Baltic Princess is, of course,the second ship in Tallink's Galaxy-class (the name always makes me think about Star Trek; the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation was a Galaxy-class ship). Her sisters are the Galaxy and the Baltic Queen. While the other two ships were built at Aker Yards' Rauma shipyard, the Baltic Princess was built in Helsinki, during the brief time in the mid-00s when the yard specialized in ferries (though a part of the ship's hull was built in France and towed to Helsinki and the rest of the ship was built around the French-built part in here).

While the Galaxy had been built for a 22-knot top speed, the Baltic Princess was given slightly more powerful engines, yielding 24,5 knots. This lended cause to much speculation about the ship's eventual route while she was under construction: the higher speed was said to make the ship suitable for a Stockholm-St. Petersburg cruiseferry service, or (after Tallink took over Silja Line in 2006) for the Turku-Stockholm service where harbour turnaround times are short and catching up delays is often difficult. In the end however the Baltic Princess was placed on the Helsinki-Tallinn 22-hour cruise service when she was completed in summer 2008 (a service where her high speed is of obsolutely no use). She replaced the Galaxy, which in turn transferred to the Silja Line fleet and was placed on the Turku-Stockholm route.

Since 2008 the Baltic Princess has remained on the same service almost without deviation. The sole exceptions have been a charter cruise from Helsinki to Pori (via Mariehamn) in July 2009, coinciding with a music festival in Pori, and a charter cruise from Tallinn to Visby in July 2011.

The photographs below show the Baltic Princess departing Helsinki West Harbour on 23 June 2011, photographed from Sisä-Hattu. Click on the individual images to view larger size.

Sailing away from the ferry harbour in the West Harbour.
If I remember correctly, Laiva (the Finnish Ship Historical Society's magazine) called the Baltic Princess the "Baltic Pride" due to her livery. Personally I'm quite fond of the livery - though the fuchsia background in the funnel doesn't work too well with the Tallink funnel symbol.
On the deep shipping lane outside Pihlajasaari.
Slightly further on, with Pihlajasaari still in background.
I like the overall shape of these ships - basic but not unpleasant - but the curved aft superstructure isn't much to my tastes. Also, I hear the executive suites (with balconies) in the aft are not without problems, being located below the discotheque and with people throwing litter down to the suites' private balconies from the sun deck above.
A scenic shot is nice to have, once in a while.

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