13 July 2018

Megastar in Helsinki, 13 June 2018

The Megastar isn't exactly new anymore, but she hasn't actually been featured in this blog that often. Furthermore, the photos are somewhat newsworthy right now, as Tallink recently indicated their interest in contracting a sister ship for the Megastar - although where and when such a ship would be built is another matter entirely.


IMO 9773064
Built 2017, Meyer Turku, Finland
Tonnage 49 134 GT
Length 212,10 metres
Width 30,60 metres
Draught 7,00 metres
2 824 passengers
188 cabin berths
800 cars (if no freight units carried) or
320 cars and 110 freight units
1 970 lane metres
5 Wärtsilä LNG/diesel hybrid engines, combined 45 600 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
2 stern thrusters
Service speed 27 knots
Ice class 1A

For those interested, my interior tour of the Megastar can be found here.

The photo below were taken on the afternoon of 13 June 2018, showing the Megastar outside Helsinki, bound for Länsisatama (West Harbour), photographed from onboard the outbound Finlandia. As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

I do like the departures where ships meet just outside Länsisatama. The views are always so dramatic.
Case point.
If you're close enough, the ship looks so sleek.
Look in the other direction, and the sky changes dramatically. Yes, this is from the same session, though you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

Next time: we will probably do a little change of pace and look at the little Helsinki local ferry Isosaaari.

08 July 2018

Viking Grace in Turku, 1 June 2018

Apologies for the recent hiatus. Our family has been enjoying some well-deserved vacation time, so I left the blog on the sidelines during the past few weeks. But now we are back, and this entry will feature my first images of the Viking Grace with its new flettner rotor.

Viking Grace

IMO 9606900
Built 2013, STX Europe Turku, Finland
Tonnage 57 700 GT
Length 218,60 m
Width 31,80 m
Draught 6,80 m
Ice class 1 A Super
2 800 passengers
2 876 berths
530 lane metres of cars
1 275 lane metres of cargo
4 Wärtsilä dual fuel (LNG/diesel) engines, combined 30 400 kW
1 Norsepower flettner rotor
2 fixed-pitch propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Service speed 21,8 knots
Maximum speed 25,6 knots

The Viking Grace has been around for five years already, but it seems I haven't done a proper history article on the ship, so here goes.

The NB1376, as it was originally referred to in marketing materials, was contracted in December 2010 by Viking Line from what was then the STX Europe yard in Turku. The order materialised after prolonged negotiations. From the start, the new ship was designed to use liquidized natural gas (LNG) as fuel, becoming the first major passenger vessel in the world to do so. The ship's final name, chosen from 9 900 unique proposals from the public, was revealed in February 2012 (I was rather disappointed in both the eight finalists shortlisted as well as the final choice, and wrote about this in some detail).

The Viking Grace was launched in August 2012 and entered service in January 2013. The maiden voyage was a special all-inclusive two-night cruise, which was sold out, despite the prices being in the same range per person per night as upper end luxury cruise lines. For the first few months, the ship operated primarily with marine diesel fuel, until the delivery of the bespoke LNG fueling ferry Seagas in March.

In April 2018, the Viking Grace was fitted with a new flettner rotor provided by Norsepower, becoming the first major passenger vessel to be fitted with one (cargo carriers have been fitted with them before). The rotor is projected to decrease LNG fuel consumption by 300 tonnes per year, resulting in a 900 ton reduction of carbondioxide emissions yearly.

The photos below show the Viking Grace departing from Turku in the evening of 1 June 2018, photographed from the Kansanpuisto ferry quay in Ruissalo. For these particular images, special thanks go to Krzysztof Brzoza for making these shots possible by giving me a ride to and from central Turku to Ruissalo.

As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

It does look more than slightly phallic, doesn't it?
The rotor doesn't quite match the stylings of the rest of the ship, but then again it's pretty hard to make a design that would do so. A different paintjob for the rotor might help though.
The lighting was not ideal this time around, but I think the photos turned out pretty good even so.
I do like that ship. Her only fault is that she sails from Turku, and the schedule is slightly problematic coming from Helsinki.
Also notice the "spoiler" added aft of the funnel to accommodate the various antennas which were originally located where the roto is now (the first renderings showed the rotor aft of the funnel, but I guess the central location is better).
I think the "spoiler" actually works quite well with the original design.
Next time we will probably look at the Megastar again.

Postscript: As you undoubtedly noticed, the photos in this entry introduced a new copyright watermark. I discovered earlier this year that Blogger, in its infinite wisdom, not only crops off a bit from the top and bottom of photos for previews on Facebook (and I presume elsewhere too), but these images also show up on Google searches. The old watermark was just small enough to be cropped off, resulting in an incident earlier this year where a company (who shall remain unnamed) used one of these preview images copied from a Google search on Facebook without asking for permission (they did remove it when I pointed out to them, although only after accusing me of lying first). This new watermark should solve this particular problem, although it of course doesn't solve the issue with more malicious image thieves of editing it out. But if one gets too paranoid there's really no way of putting up images on the internet...

Anyway, since I was changing the watermark anyway, I also wanted to change the font to match the one used in the blog header image, remove the year (it was really quite superfluous and added extra work as it needed to be updated yearly) , and add the url, just in case someone posts these somewhere else. So, yeah, here we are. I hope people don't find it too bothersome.