29 April 2014

Discovery in Helsinki, 25 April 2014

The 2014 summer cruise season is on for Helsinki, with Cruise & Maritime Voyages' Discovery making this year's first arrival last Friday. During this year's season, approximately 260 cruise calls are expected. According to the Port of Helsinki's website, this year will see a large number of new ships (/ships that have changed their name since the last visit) calling in the city, including l'Austral, Explorer, Seabourn Quest, Royal Princess, Louis Aura, l’Horizon and Azores. While not calling under a new name, the Funchal's visit on 2. August is also definately of interest. I also plan to do at least one photo trip outside home waters during the summer, heading to Tallinn on 6. July to photograph the ex-Hurtigrute Gann, which won't be visiting Helsinki during her Baltic Sea tour.

Of course, before the season properly kicks off, there are still plenty of interesting photos from last summer I have yet to share with you - including a number of shots from my Rotterdam cruise in last November. But for today, the ship of interest is the Discovery opening the summer's cruise season.


IMO 7108514
Name history: Island Venture, Island Princess, Hyundai Pungak, Platinum, Discovery
Built 1972, Rheinstahl Nordseewerke Emden, West Germany
Tonnage 21 186 GT
Length 168,74 m
Width 24,64 m
Draugth 7,49 m
796 passengers
4 Fiat diesels, combined 13 240 kW
2 controllable pitch propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 18 knots

For a history of the Discovery, see the first entry on her.

The photographs below show the Discovery departing from Helsinki South Harbour on the afternoon of 25. April 2014. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Discovery and Helsinki's new landmark, the (temporary) ferris wheel at Katajanokka. As the ship left early, I decided to photograph her from this more unsual vantage point.
Grand old ladies, the Discovery and the Mariella.
In the end the Discovery took such a long time departing that I would have had plenty of time to make to the regular photo spot as Kustaanmiekka. I can't complain though, these photos turned out rather well.
Lovely lines on the ships. Hopefully she will be able to find a new job when her current owners Voyages of Discovery sell her.
Next time: Princess Anastasia

26 April 2014

Serenissima in Helsinki, 31 July 2013


IMO 5142657
Previous names: Harald Jarl, Andrea
Built 1960, Trondhjems Mekaniske Verksted, Norway
Tonnage 2 632 GT
Length 87,41 m
Width 13,29 m
Draugth 4,62 m
110 passengers
B&W Akers diesel, 2 538 kW
1 propeller
1 bow thruster
Speed 18 knots

I was very excited to get a chance to photograph the Serenissima last summer. It's not every day that a (former) Hurtigruten ship of the earlier generations visits Helsinki. What made it even more exciting was the fact that the ship's arrival was not marked in the Port of Helsinki's list of future visiting cruise ships for some reason. On the day she visited, I opened the PoH wesbite to check the departure time of the Ocean Majesty, that was also in on that day, and saw the Serenissima on the map of ships in port. So despite the far from ideal weather, off I went. (The Ocean Majesty photos are so terrible that I shan't be posting those).

What's so interesting about the Serenissima, you may ask? Well, for starters, like so many other ship enthustiasts, I think Hurtigruten are utterly fascinating. The Serenissima was built back in 1960 in Norway as the Harald Jarl, one of the latter ships of Hurtigruten's post-World War II fleet rebuilding programme, which included a total of 14 ships of similar design that replaced the previous generations of ships. As built, the ship could carry a total of 652 passengers, with 55 first class and 170 second class berths. On delivery, she replace the last steamship in Hurtigruten service, the Sigurd Jarl of 1942.

In 1968, the Harald Jarl was used to re-initiate Hurtigruten's services to Svalbard, and from 1970 until 1979 she made a series of shopping cruises from Bergen and Trondheim to Lerwick and Aberdeen in addition to her liner service. In 1983, corresponding with the delivery of the next generation of Hurtigruten ships, the Harald Jarl's cabin accommodation was rebuilt. The division into two classes was now removed, and a number of cabins were rebuilt with en suite facilities for all cabins. Due to these changes, the ship's cabin capacity was reduced to 169.

In 2001, the Harald Jarl was withdrawn from Hurtigruten service and placed for sale. As an interesting detail, the priced asked of the ship was 10 million Norwegian kroner - but the onboard paintings, which was removed and re-installed on the new Trollfjord, were estimated to be worth 15 million NOK. In 2002 the ship was sold to Elegant Cruises for only 4,2 million NOK. The new owners had the ship radically rebuilt in Sweden. The former cargo holds were now built in, and the existing cabins ungraded to provide accommodation for a total of 110 cruise passengers. The public rooms were redecorated in Gustavian style. Renamed Andrea, the ship begun making cruises, mostly in the Mediterranean, but venturing as far as the Antractica, in 2003.

The Andrea was arrested at Split, Croatia in 2009 due to unpaid bills of Elegant Cruises, who went bankrupt not long afterwards. The ship languished in Split for a long time, as the price asked of her was relatively high due to the need to cover the bills incurred by her previous owners. Initially even attempts to sell her at an auction failed, until the Moscow-based Volga Dream Cruises took an interest in her. In 2012 Volga Dream purchased the ship, which was refurbished and brought up to the latest SOLAS standards in Split. In in 2013 she was renamed Serenissima and re-commenced cruising under charter to various operators, such as Noble Caledonia. Her owners are listed as Premier Cruises, but the website of her owners goes under the name of Serenissima Cruises.

As said, the Serenissima visited Helsinki for the first time under that name on 31 July 2013. The photographs below show her passing through the Kustaanmiekka strait shortly after departing Helsinki on that afternoon. Photographed from Kustaanmiekka. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Yes, the weather wasn't ideal. But the ship's dark hull, combined with the high vantage point of the photographer and the low superstructure of the ship meant she doesn't camoufralge in the grey sky as would happen with a larger, all-white ship.
The added balcony cabins aft of the bridge work surprisingly well on the ship, although they do crowd the funnel a bit.
The long bow of the ship is explained by the fact that the cargo holds used to be located there. But it does manage to give the impression that the design is *ahem* compensating for something.
Aft view. The miniature flag of Saint Vincent and Grenadines, her country of registry, looks a bit silly it must be said.
The size of the ship means that even relatively small waves can give nice-lloking bow spray, such as the one seen here.
Onwards and outwards. Photographing such a small ship was strange, as she went out of range much faster than the ones I usually photograph here.
Next time: Discovery

23 April 2014

Silja Symphony in Helsinki, 9 July 2013

I had lined up images of the Silja Symphony to post today. These turned out doubly fitting as I recieved information last night that my upcoming book on the history of Silja Line, Silja Line from De Samseglande to Tallink, has come out of the printers. I shall make a more detailed post about the book once I get an actual, physical copy in my hands. If you already know you want to buy one, the book can be ordered from from the website of the publishers, Ferry Publications.

We now return to normal programming.

Silja Symphony

IMO 8803769
Built 1991, Kvaerner Masa-Yards Turku New Shipyard, Finland
Tonnage 58 377 GT
Length 203,03 m
Width 31,93 m
Draught 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

Why yet another set of photos of the Silja Symphony, you may ask. Well, apart from the fack that I rather like this particular set of images, there is also a different reason. As most of you probably are aware, Silja Line introduced a new graphic identity in 2013. Most of the fleet have kept the old logos until recently, but now things are changing: the Silja Serenade was repainted with the new logos earlier this year, and the Symphony will follow this autumn. Thus, the ship as she appears in these images will soon be history.

The photos below show the Silja Symphony departing Helsinki South Harbour in the afternoon of 9 July 2013. Photographed from Kustaanmiekka. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Peeking behind the trees.
Out of the strait.
Unsuspecting bystandars find themselves as foreground objects in a photograph.
Next time: Serenissima.

19 April 2014

Discovery in Helsinki, 9 July 2013


IMO 7108514
Previous names: Island Venture, Island Princess, Hyundai Pungak, Platinum
Built 1972, Rheinstahl Nordseewerke Emden, West Germany
Tonnage 21 186 GT
Length 168,74 m
Width 24,64 m
Draugth 7,49 m
796 passengers
4 Fiat diesels, combined 13 240 kW
2 controllable pitch propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 18 knots

Ah, the Discovery. For a history of the ship, see the first entry on her. Since that entry was penned, the ship has spent most of her time sailing under charter to Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), as also seen on the photos here. Earlier this year the Discovery's owners, All Leisure Group, stated that they would be selling the ship. To whom still remains to be seen. CMV, who have expanded their operations recently with the acquisition of Transocean Cruises, might be interested... although it should be kept in mind that the Discovery is over 40 years old, and as such definately nearing the end of her usable lifespan. Having appeared in The Love Boat will, unfortunately, not change that.

The photographs below show the Discovery departing Helsinki in the afternoon of 9 July 2013, photographed from Kustaanmiekka. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

The Discovery together with JT Line's little Suomenlinna ferry Chapman.
A bit of a boring photo, but the attractive ship makes up for the lack of photo knick-knacks.
Next time: The Silja Symphony.

15 April 2014

Prinsendam in Helsinki, 9 July 2013


IMO 8700280
Former names: Royal Viking Sun, Seabourn Sun
Built 1988, Wärtsilä Marine Turku New Shipyard, Finland
Tonnage 37 983 GT
Length 205,50 m
Width 28,90 m
Draugth 7,20 m
840 passengers
4 Wärtsilä-Sulzer diesels, combined 21 120 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

For a brief history of the Prinsendam, see the first entry on her. The images below show the Prinsendam departing Helsinki on the afternoon on 9 July 2013, photographed from Kustaanmiekka. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Foreground trees, volume 1.
Foreground trees, volume 2.
For next summer, I'd like to book evening some cruise ship evening arrivals, to get the most of this scene.
Overexposed with a foreground cannon.
Next time: Discovery.

08 April 2014

Amadea in Helsinki, 2 July 2013


IMO 8913162
Name history: Asuka, Amadea
Built 1991, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki, Japan
Tonnage 28 856 GT
Length 192,82 m
Width 24,70 m
Draugth 6,60 m
624 passengers
2 MAN-Mitsubishi diesels, combined 17 300 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 21 knots

For a short history of the Amadea, see the first entry on her. The photographs below show the Amadea at, and departing from, Helsinki South Harbour in the afternoon on 2 July 2013. Photographed from onboard the ferry to Suomenlinna and from Kustaanmiekka. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

At the South Harbour, framed by Helsinki's two cathedrals: the protestant Helsinki Cathedral on the left, and the Greek Orthodox Uspensky Cathedral on the right.
Entering the Kustaanmiekka strait, with a neat rowan in the foreground.
That is a good-looking ship, actually!
Sailing past the King's Gate, part 1.
Sailing past the King's Gate, part 2. And looking very sleek while doing it, too.
And onward to the open sea, showing the somewhat unusual stern design.
Next time: Prinsendam.