18 September 2015

New book: Tallink – The First 25 Years

Tallink – The First 25 Years covers Tallink's first quarter of a century not only in text but also multiple high-quality images.

Tallink – The First 25 Years, my second book, was published last month by Ferry Publications (which makes the title a bit of a misnomer, as the book came out during Tallink's 26th year of existance, but let's not get too caught up in the details). It takes a detailed look at the history of Tallink, from humble beginnings as a Finnish-Soviet joint venture to the present, when Tallink Grupp is not only one of the largest companies in Estonia but also one of the leading ferry operators in the World.

The book is illustrated by photographs from some of the top ship photographers in the world - including myself, naturally. :P
In addition to exploring the history of Tallink in detail, the book takes a closer look at the history of passenger services to and from Estonia before the establishment of Tallink, and their cultural impact. Also included is a chapter dedicated to the history of Estline, best known as the owners of the ill-fated Tallinn-Stockholm ferry Estonia, as their passenger operations were absorbed by Tallink in 2000.

The 128-page book is available at well-stocked bookstores, and can also be purchased directly from the publishers via this link.

10 September 2015

Norwegian Star in Helsinki, 7 August 2015

Norwegian Star

IMO 9195157
Built 2001, Meyer Werft Papenburg, Germany
Tonnage 91 740 GT
Length 294,13 m
Width 32,20 m
Draugth 8,00 m
2 240 passengers
4 MAN-B&W diesels, combined 72 000 kW
2 azipods
3 bow thrusters
Speed 24,6 knots

The Norwegian Star has been a regular visitor in Helsinki for some time, but apparently this is the first time I have managed to photograph her (or at least the first time photos of her have gotten as far as being published here).

The Norwegian Star wasn't intended to sail with Norwegian Cruise Line at all. She was ordered by Star Cruises and was originally slated to enter service with them as the SuperStar Libra. However, while she was under construction, NCL became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Star Cruises, and the under-construction ship was transferred to the NCL fleet. (Her first sister, the Norwegian Dawn, was similarly originally concieved as the SuperStar Scorpio for Star Cruises). The design, based on the earlier Star Cruises pair SuperStar Leo (today NCL's Norwegian Spirit) and SuperStar Virgo, proved successful, and a total of six sister ships were delivered to NCL by Meyer Werft.

Nothing much really to say about the Norwegian Star apart from that. According to the always-reliable Fakta om Fartyg, she collided with Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas at Bermuda in September 2012, but apart from that her careers seems to have been largely uneventful.

The photographs below show the Norwegian Star departing from Helsinki Länsisatama (West Harbour) in the afternoon of 7 August 2015. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Very photogenic foreground flower. Alas, what I didn't realise at the time was the fact there was an underground ant hill at the spot where I had to lie down in order to get this shot. Talk about suffering for your art...
The Photogenic Tree provided a blessedly ant-free location.
Rush hour, with the Norwegian Star outbound from Länsisatama and the Gabriella inbound to Eteläsatama from her day trip to Tallinn in the background.
A good time of the year for photography, as far as foreground flowers go.
Next time: P&O's Arcadia, which still blissfully retains the traditional buff funnel colours.

03 September 2015

Azores in Helsinki, 13 July 2015


IMO 5383304
Name history: Stockholm, Völkerfreundschaft, Volker, Fridtjof Nansen, Italia I, Italia Prima, Valtur Prima, Caribe, Athena, Azores
Built 1948, Götaverken Gothenburg,Sweden
Tonnage 16 144 GT
Length 160,08 m
Width 21,04 m
Draught 7,90 m
650 passengers
2 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 10 664 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 16,5 knots

This was the third time I've photographed this venerable old lady. Interestingly enough, each time she has sported a different livery: in 2012 she was in Classic International Cruises livery as the Athena, two years later she had been renamed the Azores and repainted in Portuscale Cruises colours. This year she was back, still named Azores, but now repainted in Cruise & Maritime Voyages funnel colours. As it happens, this was the one and only time to photograph her with this colour and name combination in Helsinki; next year the ship will be renamed Astoria.

The photographs below show the Azores departing from Helsinki in the afternoon of 13 July 2015, photographed from Kustaanmiekka. The weather wasn't too good as you can see, but when a ship makes her only call in Helsinki I take notice. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

The CMV funnel colours don't really flatter her. Then again, in general the partially trained graphic designer in me cringes every time I see a CMV ship; the uncoordinated liveries and lacklustre funnel colours could be so much better (and more reflective of their product).
The vegetation stood out nicely despite the weather. In this shot the clouds are dark enough for the ship to stand out properly, which also helps.
Going the other way, more towards the light, the attractiveness of the image is a different story.
I hope to see you next year with your new name, grande dame!
Next time: Norwegian Star