08 March 2018

The new Baltic Princess interiors, 8 March 2018

My original intention was to give you a full interior tour of the Baltic Princess today, combining my photos from today's press tour and the previous crossing with her to Gdansk. However, as the wonderful people at Tallink Silja offered me an impromptu cruise on the ship, we will instead look only at the parts of the ship that were changed during the refit, and the full tour will have to wait for another time.

Baltic Princess

IMO 9354284
Built 2008, Aker Yards Saint Nazaire, 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' new public rooms were designed by the Finnish interior architects Aprocos, working in close collaboration with the crews and based on extensive passenger feedback. (Aprocos of course also worked on the ship's original interior decor back in the day). Heikki Mattila's firm is quickly becoming one of my personal favourite ship interior designers, as their work has a strong tendency to be both stylish and functional. And there is a Nordic modernist trend running through their recent work, which as a style is right up my street.

Grande Buffet on Deck 7

The old Buffet Silja Line on Deck 7 has been transformed into a Grande Buffet, with all-new decor, re-designed servery areas and new equipment.

The chairs are the originals, but they have been reupholstered in the Grande Buffet colours. The new upholstery is also designed to be easy to clean, so that they will look good even after prolonged use.
Several partitions were removed to open up the space and make it more airy.
The jewel of the restaurant is the new dessert buffet, which is also the workstation of the dessert cook, who can then also make portions on order and special portions for people with allergies or other special dietary needs.
Midships stair lobbies

The midships stair lobbies on all decks have been given new, more vibrant carpets (the old ones were not that nice, at least in my opinion). A small but attractive change.

I really like the new carpets here. A shame they didn't change the forward stair lobbies at the same time, as the carpets there are of a particularly dismal colour in my opinion.

Fashion Street on Deck 7

The pre-existing Fashion Street shop on Deck 7 was enlarged into the space of the old Siljaland children's playroom (which moved down to deck 5, of which more below). The expansion includes the world's first Tommy Hilfiger Shop in Ship, or a shop in shop onboard a ship. According to the Tommy Hilfiger representative here, the Baltic Princess has been a big seller or TH clothing to start with, so a Shop in Ship was a logical next step.

The Tommy Hilfiger Shop in Ship of course has TH brand displays - but adapted for shipboard use, rather than the movable versions used on dry land.

Fast Lane cafeteria on Deck 6

The old Cafeteria on Deck 6 has been transformed into a new-style Fast Lane cafeteria, with "action stations" making portions on order replacing the old buffet-style system. In terms of decor the space is a fusion of elements of the Fast Lanes onboard the Silja Europa and the Megastar, using similar extensive plant decor as on the Megastar but with the rest of the decor more subdued (and more in keeping with the Fast Lane concept) as on the Silja Europa. Personally I'm really highly impressed with the decor here.

The old Cafeteria was not really today... but the new Fast Lane certainly is!
The lime green that is the Fast Lane colour is much more subdued here than, for instance, on the Silja Europa - and of course, the plants provide a nicely Fast Lane -esque palette in themselves.
Very pretty.
The new servery areas are more station-based, so that if you want a coffee, you can just get a coffee and not queue though everything. I like the use of hexagonal floor tiling here, reflecting the hexagonal carpet pattern that is the Fast Lane "thing".
Siljaland on Deck 5

The old luggage room on Deck 5 has been transformed into the new, much larger Siljaland for children. The space includes a small stage for children's shows, a cafeteria for parents, and it is located adjacent to the conference suite, which can be converted into a part of the playroom during the holiday seasons. This is of course routinely done on just about every Baltic ferry, but putting the regular playroom next to the conference room of course gives adjacency benifits missing from other ships.

A TV screen will be added to the blank space behind the stage, so it can also be used for kid's karaoke.
A small cafeteria for parents, with grown-up sized seating on the left (mostly off-frame, unfortunately).
Designers chairs in child size. In addition to PS4's and to-be-installed iWalls, kids can also play board games and draw - or just frolic around.
Cabin areas on Deck 5

The passenger cabins on Deck 5 have been redecorated, but unfortunately we did not have a chance to visit any of them. The cabin corridors have also been recarpeted in similar colours as the midships stair lobbies. Again, a major improvement with a small change.

While I do like the new carpets, I have to say the juxtaposition of a blue carpet and red cabin doors is a bit jarring. Maybe paint the cabin doors to match in the next refit? Oh yes, also notice the signage in the new Silja Line style.
Kships will return.

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