04 May 2016

Tycho Brahe inside and out, 13-14 April 2016

Today, we are taking a bit of a break from the usual format of separate entries for interior and exterior photographs. Bear with me here.

Tycho Brahe

IMO 9007116
Built 1991, Tangen Verft Kragerø, Norway (hull) and Langsten Slip & Båtbyggeri Tomrefjorden, Norway (outfitting)
Tonnage 10 845 GT
Length 110,20 m
Width 28,20 m
Draught 5,50 m
1 250 passengers
240 cars
4 Wärtsilä-Vaasa diesels, combined 9 840 kW
2 propellers at both ends
Speed 14,5 knots

The Tycho Brahe, named after the Danish astronomer (and indeed one of the best ship names out there if you ask me), was the first new ship delivered to Scandlines in 1991. Scandlines itself was established the same year as a joint venture between DSB and SweFerry (the shipping arms of the Swedish national rail company) to operate the ferry service between Helsingborg and Helsingør. The Tycho Brahe was owned by DSB, but painted from the start in Scandlines colours (the original livery was different from the one carried today). The ship was delivered to its owners in October of 1991, and proceeded to have a large number of accidents, both during the early test sailings and after entering service, the most serious of which was ramming the Helsingør ferry terminal at eight knots, which left 55 people hospitalised and earned the ship the nickname "Psycho Brahe".

After the initial difficulties, the Tycho Brahe has sailed on the Helsinborg-Helsingør -route without accident. The ship has changed owners several times, however; in 1995 it passed from DSB to DS Rederi AS, and in 1998 to Scandlines, which became a company in its own right in 1997 when DSB's ferry division and the German company Deutsche Fährgesellschaft Ostsee (DFO) merged. In recent years, Scandlines have been selling off parts of their operations and in 2015 the Helsingborg-Helsingør -service passed to the Australia-based investment company First State (who also took over the Stena Line -owned ships on the route). For the time being, the service continues to be marketed under the Scandlines brand, but the registered owner for all the First State -owned ships is HH-Ferries and thus it seems likely a name change will follow happen in the future.

Now that the history bit is cleared out, a few words about travelling on the route: what a fascinating experience. The crossing is just 20 minutes, but the ship has a surprisingly comfortable sitting lounge (plus a separate lounge for passengers with a loyalty card), a cafeteria, a large shop, a bar and even a proper restaurant. I'm told the latter is used by people doing a return crossing or several (a single one takes 50 minutes) to have a nice night out at the restaurant. It's on the Helsingør-pointing bow of the ship, so the view is pretty nice too. In fact, all the passenger spaces with proper windows are towards the Danish side - an interesting and presumably extremely intentional feature on a Danish-flagged ship.

But yes, the photos. The exterior shots show the ship arriving at Helsingborg harbour on the evening of 13 April 2016, while the interior shots were taken on a crossing from Helsingborg to Helsingør the following day. As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

A lot of punch packed into a small package with that ship. And the exterior design isn't that bad, though she is in need of a fresh lick of paint.
The Tycho Brahe arrives, while the similar-but-not-identical Hamlet prepares to depart.
The sitting area at the Helsingør-pointing end, with the glass partition in the back separating the loyalty card lounge - which, nicely enough, doesn't hog the best views.
The cafeteria amidships on the lowest passenger deck (which probably had a number, but I've completely forgotten it).
View from the cafeteria to the shop (and Helsingborg behind it).
The bar on the deck above, with the entrance to the restaurant visible in the back. Alas, it was closed so I could not photograph it.
A neat staircase with pop art style painting leads to the top deck, which has an outdoors area at the Helsingør end (if there's one thing to criticise it's the lack of Helsingborg-facing outer decks).
Next time: I will be on the Crystal Symphony next week, so it remains to be seen if there will be an update next week. I'll hazard no guess on the subject yet.

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