25 May 2013

Delphin in Helsinki, 10 May 2013


IMO 7347536
Name history: Belorussiya, Kazakhstan II, Delphin
Built 1975, Wärtsilä Turku, Finland
Tonnage 16 214 GT
Length 156,27 m
Width 21,90 m
Draugth 6,20 m
556 passengers
2 Pielstick-Wärtsilä diesels, combined 13 240 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 21 knots

The Delphin continues still to be my favourite cruise ship I've never been on. Earlier this month she made the first of her two 2013 calls in Helsinki and of course I was there to photograph her. In an attempt to squeeze both the Delphin (departing from he South Harbour) and the Queen Elizabeth (departing from the West Harbour) in the same afternoon session. While this didn't really work for the QE, I did get some interesting photos of the Delphin.

Hence then the photographs below show the Delphin departing from Helsinki South Harbour on the afternoon of 10 May 2013, photographed from Kaivopuisto Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Pulling away from quay at the now-demolished Kanavaterminaali. Two Helsinki landmarks in the background: Enso-Gutzeit headquarters on the left and the Uspensky Cathedral on the left.
Sexy sleek ship. If I was starting my own cruise line and could choose any ship I wanted, regardless of financial or other concerns, I'd go with one of the Delphin's sisters (but not the Delphin herself, as she seems to be doing fine as it is).
Two generations of Finnish ferry design: the Delphin from 1975 and the Mariella from 1985.
That little red house on the island is probably the most stereotypically Finnish thing ever.
On Kruunuvuorenselkä and bound for Kustaanmiekka.
Kships will probably take the rest of the month off, as I shall be leaving on a four-night Baltic Sea cruise on St. Peter Line's Princess Anastasia next Monday. You can expect photos from that trip here and a full cruise report at MaritimeMatters.

23 May 2013

Brahe in Helsinki, 14 May 2013


IMO 5345065
Name history: USS PCE 830, HMS Kilchernan, Sunnhordland, Kristina Brahe, Brahe
Built 1943, Pullmann Standard Car Manufacturing Co. Chicago, United States
Tonnage 1 105 GT
Length 56,49 m
Width 10,09 m
Draught 2,80 m
200 passengers
110 berths
2 Caterpillar diesels, combined 1 735 kW
Speed 14 knots

For a history of the Brahe, see the previous entry on her. This year marks her 70th anniversary since she was built in Chigago during World War II. The small escort has come a long way since then.

The photographs below show the Brahe departing Helsinki South Harbour on the afternoon of 14 May 2013, photographed from Kaivopuisto. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

The Brahe passing out of the harbour basin with Helsinki's best-known landmark, the Mariella, in the background.
A neat little thing. I had to take a ton of photos as ships rarely use this particular route when outbound from the harbour.
The delightful little building on Klippan makes a neat backdrop...
...twice during the same session.
Standard aft view.
Two veritable old timers in one photo: The Brahe (1943) and in the background the Suokki (1952).
The waymarker really makes this shot!

14 May 2013

Aranda in Helsinki, 9 May 2013


IMO 8802076
Built 1989, Wärtsilä Marine Helsinki shipyard, Finland
Tonnage 1 734 GT
Length 59,20 m
Width 13,80 m
Draugth 5,00 m
12-13 crew
27 passengers (researchers)
2 Wärtsilä Vasa diesels, combined 3 000 kW
1 propeller
1 bow thruster
1 stern thuster
Speed 13,5 knots (maximum), 10,5 knots (service)

The Aranda is an ice-reinforced research vessel owned by the Finnish Environmental Institute (Suomen ympäristökeskus, SYKE for short). She is the third Finnish research vessel with the name; the first was a former passenger steamer that only carried out one research voyage before the breakout of World War II. The second was completed by the Valmet shipyard in Helsinki in 1953. She was upgraded several times and withdrawn from research use when the third Aranda was completed in 1989. The second Aranda still exists as the Finnish training vessel Katarina.

The current Aranda was completed by Wärtsilä's Helsinki shipyard in 1989, very shortly before Wärtsiläs's shipbuilding division went bankrupt. She was delivered to the Finnish Institute of Marine Research, for whom she sailed until the FIMR was merged into the Finnish Environmental Institute and the Finnish Meteorological Institute in 2009.

The Aranda was originally built for use within the Baltic Sea, but she has sailed further than just the Baltic Sea, including the Atlantic and the Arctic. In 1995 the Aranda sailed as far as the Weddell Sea on the Antarctica; she was not the firsy Finnish vessel to sail to the Antarctica. The first was the aptly named Finnpolaris, a Thomesto-owned but Finnlines-operated cargo ship that made four expeditions to the Antarctica for the Indian and Italian governments between 1983 and 1988.

The photographs below show the Aranda arriving in Helsinki West Harbour on the afternoon of 9 May 2013 after a short test voyage on the Gulf of Finland. Photographed from the Hernesaari cruise quay. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Not the best weather to photograph a ship with a grey superstructure I admit. But chances to photograph the Aranda on the move are rare.
The Aranda's livery seems to be adopted version of the Finnish coast guard's colours (don't ask me why). Notice the SYKE logo on the side, with colours that don't really match the rest of the livery.
According to a rumour the Aranda was originally planned to be ten matres longer, which would have allowed for more researchers to be carried but also would have required more crew. Hence the result was this short stubby thing.
With the midships bridge and low stern, the ship is actually shaped quite similarly to a stereotypical superyacht of today. Less streamlined of course, but the size and overall shape are similar.
I've taken many photos of the Superstar sailing past a much-larger cruise ship. Here, for once, the Superstar is the big ship in background. Notice, by the way, how the Superstar is need of a new layer of paint for her sides.
Next time: Delphin.

10 May 2013

Costa Pacifica in Helsinki, 9 May 2013

Costa Pacifica

IMO 9378498
Built 2009, Fincantieri Sestri Ponente, Genoa, Italy
Tonnage 114 000 GT
Length 290,20 m
Width 35,50 m
Draugth 8,20 m
3 800 passengers
6 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 75 600 kW
2 azipods
3 bow thrusters
1 stern thuster
Speed 19,6 knots

Nothing much say about the Costa Pacifica. She was the fourth unit of the Concordia-class to be built, but the third delivered to Costa Cruises (as the third unit in the class was built for Carnival Cruise Lines).

Yesterday, the Costa Pacifica opened the summer cruise season in Helsinki's West Harbour. For some reason she departed already at 13.00, which meant one could photograph her from Hernesaari without taking images against the light.

Unfortunately the Pacifica had come to port stern first, and hence it was impossible to get a bow view from Hernesaari.
The angular look of the Fincantieri-built Costa/Carnival ships doesn't quite fit Costa's funnel stylings.
Next time: Aranda.

04 May 2013

Voyager in Helsinki, 4 May 2013

Helsinki's 2013 summer cruise season started a week ago, when Transocean Cruises' Astor made the season's first cruise call. I did not have a chance to photograph the Astor, but today saw the season's second cruise call in the form of Voyages of Discovery's Voyager making her maiden call to Helsinki (at least under her current name).

Unrelatedly to the above, the 2/2013 issue of Ulkomatala came out earlier this week. Those of you who speak Finnish can read the magazine by clicking on this link. The latest issue features, amongst others, my article about the Spirit of Tasmania and Pelni ferry operators.


IMO 8709573
Name history: Crown Monarch, Nautican, Walrus, Jules Verne, Alexander von Humbold, Voyager
Built 1990 Union Naval de Levante Valencia, Spain
Tonnage 15 271 GT
Length 152,50 m
Width 20,60 m
Draught 5,80 m
556 passengers (lower berths)
4 Normo-Bergen diesels, combined 13 240 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 18 knots

Voyages of Discovery's Voyager started life back in November 1990 as the Crown Monarch of Crown Cruise Line, and she was used for cruising from Florida to the Caribbean. At the time of the ship's delivery Crown Cruise Line was owned by Grundstad Maritime of Norway, but in July 1991 the line was sold to the Finland-based EffJohn, who were looking to expand their international cruise operations. The sale had no immediate effect on the Crown Monarch, but in 1992-1993 she got two new fleetmates, Crown Jewel and Crown Dynasty (today the Gemini and Braemar, respectively)

EffJohn was experiencing acute financial difficulties in the early 1990s and a partner was sought for the Crown Cruise Line outfit. This was found in the form of Cunard Line and the result was the formation of a joint venture, Cunard Crown Cruise Line. The Crown Monarch and her fleetmates kept their names (although were marketed with "Cunard" prefixes in their names), but recieved Cunard funnel colours. The three Crown ships were joined in the Cunard Crown fleet by the Cunard Countess and Cunard Princess.

The Cunard Crown collaboration proved to be a short one, as EffJohn decided divest themselves entirely from their international cruise operations in 1994. The Crown Monarch was chartered after the 1994 summer season to a Far-eastern cruise operator as the Nautican for cruising out of Singapore. In 1996 she was renamed Walrus and in 2001 moved to casino cruising out of Hong Kong. Through-out these years the ship was owned by the same company, although it changed names several times during the years, being known as EffJohn, Silja, Neptun Maritime and (again) Silja. In 2005 Silja's then-owner Sea Containers decided to sell Silja Line's operations. The ship's not in service with Silja Line (Finnjet, Silja Opera and Walrus) were transferred under Sea Containers' direct ownership prior to the sale.

Silja Line was sold to Tallink in July 2006 and in the end of the month the Walrus also found a new owner, the new Netherlands-based Club Cruise. In April 2007 the ship was renamed Jules Verne (quite possibly the greatest cruise ship name of all time!) and chartered to the Spanish-market Vision Cruises. In March 2008 the Jules Verne was chartered to Phoenix Reisen and renamed Alexander von Humbold (she was initially marketed as the "Alexander von Humbold II" but does not appear to have ever officially carried the numeral). In late 2008 Club Cruise went bankrupt and the Alexander von Humbold was laid up in Bremerhaven, Germany.

In November 2009 the Alexander von Humbold was sold at an auction to All Leisure Group, but she was chartered again to Phoenix Reisen for 2010. This was followed by a charter to the Turkey-based Bamtur. Finally in late 2012 a refit started to turn the Alexander von Humbold into the Voyager, the new ship of the Voyages of Discovery cruise line owned by All Leisure. The Voyager entered service with Voyages of Discovery in December 2012.

The photographs below show the Voyager departing Helsinki South Harbour on the 4 May 2013, her maiden call to the port under her current name. Photographed from Kustaanmiekka. Click on the images to see in larger size.

Upright photos are good in case we ever need them for the cover of Ulkomatala. And they look good too.
Voyages of Discovery decided to paint the ship all-white (all previous incarnations had a stripe on the hull) and it doesn't really improve the ship's looks. All-white looked good on the company's earlier (and older) Discovery, but the boxier Voyager really calls out for the stripe.
The ship's maiden call lured many photographers out from hibernation.
Early spring in Helsinki unfornatately doesn't look that impressive.
While I'm complaining about the ship's looks, the funnel symbol really looks like it should be mirrored. This way it looks like it's the wrong way around (even if it appear this way 'round on the Voyages of Discovery logo).
Notice the rather unsual duck tail/sponson aft.
Next time: Still a mystery even to myself.