Name history: Moby Freedom, Freedom, Finlandia
Built 2001 Daewoo Shipbuilding & Heavy Machinery Okpo, South Korea
Tonnage 36 093 GT
Length 175 m
Width 27,60 m
Draft 7 m
Ice class 1B
2 080 passengers
1 190 passenger berths*
1 808 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 50 400 kW
2 bow thrusters
Speed 27 knots
* = The berths figure is for the ship as originally built. In 2015, a number of cabins were converted into public rooms, so this figure is no longer correct, but none of the sources at my disposal were able to provide an up-to-date figure.
The Finlandia begun her life as as Moby Lines' Moby Freedom. The ship was built in 2001 by Daewoo in South Korea as a sister ship to Moby Wonder, completed some months previously. The ship's conceptual design was by Knud E. Hansen and, as said, they were built by Daewoo, but it seems that ownership of the plans lays with Fincantieri, who later built two slightly refined examples of the same class, Moby Aki to Moby and Superstar to Tallink, and are known to have offered further examples of the type to other operators.
But returning to the ship in question, the Moby Freedom entered service with Moby in July 2001, sailing on their routes conencting Olbia to Genoa, Civitavcchia and Livorno. The ship was designed for flexible operations, sailing in cruiseferry mode during weekends and the summer high season, and in ropax mode with less passenger services during weekdays. Originally, the Moby Freedom was painted in a fairly traditional livery: all-white with the Moby name painted in large blue letters and a light blue funnel. However, soon Moby entered an agreement with Warner Bros. to use their Looney Tunes characters on the Moby ships and the Moby Freedom was repainted with Bugs Bunny, Wile E. Coyote, Tasmanian Devil, Tweety, Sylvester and Daddy Duck on her sides.
After serving with Moby for a little over a decade, in February 2012 the Moby Freedom was sold, with delivery in March, to Rederi Ab Eckerö in Finland, for use by their Eckerö Line subsidiary between Helsinki and Tallinn. Once sold the ship's name was shortened to Freedom and it sailed to the Öresundsvarved in Landskrona, Sweden. The ship lay at the shipyard for two months while negotiations for her refit were carried out and eventually the refit started in May. In June Eckerö Line announced that as a result of a naming competition the ship would be renamed Finlandia.
After the lengthy refit at Öresundsvarvet, Tallinn and Helsinki, the Finlandia entered service on New Year's Eve in 2012. I visited the ship shortly before the refit was completed on 20 December, of which visit photos here, and the following January when it was in service, of which photos here. After that, the ship settled into routine service between Helsinki and Tallinn. However, the public rooms were found to be somewhat insufficient on the popular route, and in early 2015 the interiors were rebuilt, with a large block of cabins turned into a new conference center, the former Extra Class lounge converted into an extension of the main shop, and the former conference rooms turned into an additional bar. Recently (I presume in a docking during the past winter, though I'm not certain), the ship's livery has also been slightly amended; I plan to of course photograph it at some point, but finding a suitable time has proven surprisingly hard.
Anyway, the photos below show the Finlandia arriving at Helsinki Länsisatama (South Harbour) on the afternoon of 4 April 2014. Photographed from Vattuniemi. As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.
|Pine trees providing suitable foreground crap.|
|You could think the notes on the sides of the bow are from Sibelius' Finlandia (or just random), but they are actually the first notes of the Finnish and Estonian national anthems (which share the same melody, although naturally different words).|
|Lo and behold, entirely different lighting!|
|Linda Line's Karolin in the background. Linda have since sold both their ships and it seems unlikely the company will restart operations. Eckerö and the Finlandia are going strong, however.|