29 October 2010

Bore, 10 October 2010


IMO 5048485
Built 1960, Oskarshamns varv, Sweden
Tonnage 4 295 GT
Length 99,83 m
Width 15,28 m
Draugth 5,25 m
Ice class 1A
245 passengers
2 Wärtsilä-Vaasa diesels, combined 3 240 kW
1 propeller
1 bow thruster
Speed 17 knots

Bore is of course the same ship as the Kristina Regina (see the entires for that ship for a full history). After being withdrawn from service with Kristina Cruises the ship has been sold to Oy S/S Borea Ab, returned to her original Steamship Company Bore livery and her original name Bore. She is now permanently moored in her original home port Turku as a floating hotel.

Photographs below show the Bore at her permanent mooring spot on the south bank of river Aura in Turku on the evening of 10 October 2010. Click on the individual images to view full size.

So many different preservered ships along the banks of the Aura river it was very difficult trying to get a good, clean shot of the ship.
The ship's current exterior is in fact slightly ahistorical - she never carried that exact same livery in that exact same construction. But then again, preserving historical artifacts should never be about only preserving the original but preserving the entire history.
The Bore/Kristina Regina has always looked more impressive from the aft in my opinion. This photo is no exception.

28 October 2010

Rosella, 10 October 2010


IMO 7901265
Built 1980, Wärtsilä Turku, Finland
Tonnage 16 879 GT
Length 136,11 m
Width 24,24 m
Draught 5,60 m
Ice class 1A
1 530 passengers
1 200 berths
340 cars
720 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä-Pielstick diesels, combined 17 652 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 20,2 knots

Rosella was built for SF Line in 1980 as the sister ship of the Turella built the previous year by Wärtsilä. Originally SF Line had signed a contract for constructing the two ferries with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries but the company could not get a go-ahead to transfer such a large sum of money abroad from the Bank of Finland, and resultingly the company were forced to negotiate a new (and more expensive) deal with a Finnish shipyard. On delivery the Rosella was placed on Viking Line's Naantali-Mariehamn-Kapellskär -service, but already the next year she was transferred to the longer Turku-Mariehamn-Stockholm -route. She stayed on that service until October 1988, when she was transferred back to the Naantali-Mariehamn-Kapellskär -route, now replacing her sister Turella which had been sold to Stena Line. (An unconfirmed report claims that originally SF Line had agreed to sell the Rosella to Stena Line, but due to the late delivery of her replacement Amorella the Rosella's delivery to Stena had been delayed and as compensation Stena demanded the Turella instead, which was supposedly in better condition and easier to modify to suit Stena's needs).

Rosella stayed on the Naantali service until late 1993, when the bankruptcy of the other Viking Line partner Rederi AB Slite forced SF Line to reorganise their operations. The Rosella was rebuilt with additional cabins at Rauma. On 1 January 1994 the Rosella again returned to the Turku-Mariehamn-Stockholm -service, replacing the much-superior Kalypso that had been sold to Star Cruises following Slite's bankruptcy. During the summer seasons 1995 and 1996 the Rosella was replaced on the Turku-Stockholm service by the Cinderella, allowing the Rosella to return to the Naantali-Kapellskär service for the high season. Following Viking Line's purchase of the Gabriella in 1997 the Rosella was permanently replaced on the Turku-Stockholm service by the Isabella. Now the Rosella spent the winters doing 24-hour (later 22-hour) cruises from Stockholm to Mariehamn (under the marketing name "Dancing Queen") and sailed between Turku, Mariehamn and Kapellskär during the summer seasons.

In 2003, in preparation for Estonia joining the EU and the resulting end of Tax-Free sales on routes linking Finland to Estonia, Viking Line decided to swap the routes of the Rosella and Cinderella. The latter was rebuilt and renamed Viking Cinderella for Stockholm-Mariehamn cruising (where tax-free sales still remain due to special EU legislation concerning the Åland Islands), while the Rosella was used to start a new ferry service between Helsinki and Tallinn. After initial difficulties the Rosella became highly popular on the service and in 2005 Viking Line decided to order a new ship for the Helsinki-Tallinn route. The newbuilding, Viking XPRS, was eventually delivered in 2008 and replaced the Rosella. (Viking Line had in fact originally wished to use both ships on the route, but the city of Helsinki stated they would not allow Viking to continue operating from their terminal at Katajanokka if the wished to use additional ships. Faced with the choice of either operating only one ship or moving their operations to the freight harbour in Vuosaari, Viking were forced to withdraw the Rosella).

To make good use of their faithful but unemployed ship, Viking decided to move the Rosella to the short Mariehamn-Kapellskär -service, replacing the even older Ålandsfärjan at the end of May 2008. Originally this was only planned to be a temporary employment for the Rosella, as a new ship (project name Viking ADCC) for the Mariehamn-Kapellskär -route was already under construction in Spain, to be delivered in 2009-2010. However, the construction of the ADCC was repeatedly delayed due to financial difficulties of the shipyard and eventually Viking Line decided to cancel the build contract in February 2010. At the time of writing it seems that the Rosella will remain on the Mariehamn-Kapellskär -service for a long time into the future. However, Viking Line have stated they will hold a press conference regarding the future of the said service on 1 December 2010.

Photographs below show the Rosella shortly after departing Mariehamn for another crossing to Kapellskär on 10 October 2010. Taken from onboard the Silja Europa. Click on the induvidual images to view full size.

Rosella framed by autumn trees as she's taking the shallower shipping lane to allow the Turku-Stockholm ships space as they make their daily visit to Mariehamn.
Green energy in the background... not sure how green the energy is on Rosella though.
Pictoresque, ne?
Turning towards the west and Kapellskär.

22 October 2010

Isabella, 6 October 2010


IMO 8700723
Built 1989, Brodogradiliste Split, Yugoslavia
Tonnage 35 154 GT
Length 169,40 m
Width 27,60 m
Draught 6,40 m
2 480 passengers
2 166 berths
364 cars
900 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä-Pielstick diesels, combined 23 760 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 21,5 knots

Isabella was the second of two ships ordered in the mid-80s by SF Line from the Brodogradiliste Split shipyard in the (then-)Yugoslavia. Her older sister Amorella was completed for the Turku-Stockholm service in 1988. Isabella was planned to follow in 1989 and she was to be placed on the Naantali-Kapellskär -route. However, the port authorities of Kapellskär were less than thrilled about the thought of expanding their harbour to accommodate the Isabella (and her envisioned running mate, RAB Slite's Athena). In the end Naantali did expand their harbour to accommodate the new ships, while Kapellskär did not. To make the best of the situation, SF Line decided to place the Isabella on a new service linking Naantali to Stockholm when she was delivered in June 1989.

Originally the Isabella was planned to be around the year on the naantali-Stockholm service, but this proved unprofitable and instead she was moved to doing 25-hour cruises to nowhere from Helsinki for the 1989-1990 winter season. For the summers of 1990 and 1991 Isabella returned to Naantali, but by this time the Naantali-Stockholm service was deemed a failure and from autumn 1991 she sailed exclusively on the 25-hour (later changed to 24-hour) cruise service from Helsinki. In spring 1992 she was rebuilt with the addition of an observation lounge on deck 11, converting the garage on deck 5 into cabins and on the exterior, the addition of a red stripe running along the windows of deck 6. During the summers of 1993 and 1994 the Isabella made occasional cruises from Helsinki to Visby.

In the aftermath of the bankruptcy of Rederi AB Slite, the other partner of Viking Line, in 1993 the Isabella swapped routes with the Cinderella after the 1994 summer season, moving to the Helsinki-Stockholm service. During the 1996 summer season the Isabella's (and her running mate Mariella's) route was briefly extanded to Tallinn-Helsinki-Stockholm. This was not a success and the excercise was not repeated. When the Gabriella was acquired in 1997 she took over the Isabella's place on the Helsinki-Stockholm service. Isabella in turn moved to the Turku-Stockholm service (replacing the Rosella), pairing for the first time in her career with her sister ship Amorella.

The Isabella remains in the Turku-Stockholm service at the time of writing. However, Viking Line have publically stated they plan to replace the Isabella and Amorella with a pair of newbuilt ships that could possibly be as large as 60 000 GT. Should these newbuildings be realised, Viking Line are reportedly planning to move the Isabella back to the 24-hour cruise service from Helsinki to Tallinn following the delivery of the new ships.

Isabella preparing to load cars for the evening departure from Turku on 6 October 2010. Click on the image to view full size.

12 October 2010

Gabriella interiors, 30 September-2 October 2010


IMO 8917601
Built 1992, Brodogradiliste Split, Croatia
Tonnage 35 492 GT
Length 171,50 m
Width 28,20 m
Draught 6,25 m
2 420 passengers
2 402 berths
400 cars
900 lane metres
4 Pielstick diesels, combined 23 760 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 21,5 knots

Interior pictures from Viking Line's Gabriella, taken during a Helsinki-Stockholm-Helsinki mini-cruise between 30 august and 2 September 2010. Click on the individual images to view full size.

Deck 12 houses the navigation bridge and the sundeck.

Sundeck on deck 12, facing aft. Viking Line's Stockholm-Mariehamn cruise ship Viking Cinderella is partially visible to the left of the Gabriella's funnel. Photographed in Stockholm on 1 October 2010.
Sundeck on deck 12, facing forward. Photographed in Stockholm on 1 October 2010.

Deck 11 houses a forward observation deck and luxury cabins (both inside and outside, with balconies).

Deck 10 houses the conference rooms, crew spaces and the upper level of Sky Club & Café (accessible from deck 9).

Entrance lobby of the conference rooms. Photographed on 1 October 2010.

Deck 9 houses cabins, crew spaces, Sky Club and Café alongside a sundeck in the aft of the ship.

Artwork in the forward staircase, photographed looking down from deck 9. Photo taken on 30 September 2010.
Artwork in the aft staircase, photographed looking down from deck 9. Photo taken on 30 September 2010.
The upper level of Sky Club & Café. Originally a discotheque, this space was rebuilt in 2008 into a multipurpose space when the original cefeteria on deck 7 was eliminated in favour of expanding the tax free shop. Now the space acts as a cafeteria during the day, a karaoke bar during the everning and disco during the night. Photo taken on 30 September 2010.
Sky Club & Café, looking down from the upper level to the main level. Photo taken on 30 September 2010.
Sundeck at the aft of deck 9. The structure on the right is the Sky Club & Café. The person standing on deck is Mrs Id. Photographed in the morning of 2 October 2010.

Deck 8 is the main public spaces deck, housing the Buffet, Ella's and Food Garden restaurants, Tapas & Wine Bar, the pub, the Fun Club day & night club as well as the casino.

Buffet Viking is the ship's largest restaurant, housing up to 460 people. Photo taken on 1 October 2010.
Buffet Viking, facing forward. Photo taken on 1 October 2010.
Stair lobby on deck 8, aft of the Buffet (the entrace of which is visible on the left). Taken on 1 October 2010.
Arcade on the starboard side of the ship, facing aft. Photographed on 1 October 2010.
Ella's restaurant, facing aft and port from the arcade. Ella's is named after the Ellen Eklund, the wife of captain Gunnar Eklund. Captain Eklund was the founder of both Rederi Ab Vikinglinjen and Rederi Ab Ålandsfärjan, two of the three founder companies of Viking Line. The -ella suffixed names in Viking Line fleet also honour mrs Eklund. Photographed on 30 September 2010.
Another shot of Ella's, facing port of the Arcade. 30 September 2010.
Captain's Corner pub. The ceiling panels are faux glass murals reproducing ocean liner advertisement posters from the 1st half of the 20th century - most of them german, a throwback to the ship's origin on Euroway's Sweden-Germany service. 1 October 2010.
Another shot of Captain's Corner, facing forward. 1 October 2010.
Bonus image of the Fun Club I discovered in December 2011 that I had uploaded to Picasa but not included in the entry originally. 30 September 2010.
The bar on the forward part of Fun Club. 30 September 2010.
Dancing is what the dance floor is for. Fun Club, 30 September 2010.
Fun Club facing aft. 30 September 2010.
One more shot of the Fun Club's dance floor. 1 October 2010.

Deck 7 houses cabins, the main entrace, children's playroom, the information booth and the tax-free shop.

Entrace lobby on deck 7, facing port towards the information booth. 1 October 2010.
The new part of the tax free shop added in 2008. To make way for the extension, the old separate perfymery and the rather neat (but small) old cafeteria were eliminated. 1 October 2010.

Deck 6 houses the sauna, cabins and a video game room.

Video game room (or is it game arcade?), with the wife of the photographer having a go on a rally game. 1 October 2010.

Deck 5 houses cabins and the secondary entrace.

Entrance lobby, facing starboard. 30 September 2010.
Entrance lobby, facing port (the port entrace is used when calling at Mariehamn during the night). 30 September 2010.
An A4-class cabin. 2 October 2010.
A B4-class cabin. 1 October 2010.

 Deck 4 is the upper level of the car deck (a hoistable mezzanine deck for cars).

Deck 3 is the main level of the car deck.

Deck 2 houses cabins and the engine room.

04 October 2010

Birka Paradise, 1 October 2010

Birka Paradise

IMO 9273727
Built 2004, Aker Finnyards Rauma, Finland
Tonnage 34 728 GT
Length 177,00 m
Width 28,00 m
Draugth 6,50 m
1 800 passengers
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 23 400 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 21 knots

Birka Paradise was the second-ever newbuilding delivered to the Åland islands -based Birka Cruises (previously Birka Line). She was delivered in November 2004, joining the company's previous newbuilding Birka Princess in service (in the early 1990s Birka had in fact had newbuilding under construction, due to be named Birka Queen, but the bankruptcy of Wärtsilä Marine raised the ship's price so much Birka declined to continue with her construction. In the end the ship was completed for Majesty Cruise Line as the Royal Majesty. Today she sails for Louis Cruises as the Louis Majesty).

In service the Birka Paradise replaced the Birka Princess on the company's main service, 24-hour cruises from Stockholm to Mariehamn. The Birka Princess was transferred to making two-night cruises from Stockholm to Turku, Helsinki and Tallinn. These were not popular and in early 2006 the Birka Princess was withdrawn from service, forcing Birka Cruises once again to revert to one-ship operations (the Birka Princess was sold to Louis Cruises and sunk in 2007 as the Sea Diamond). Due to the wtihdrawal of the Birka Princess the Birka Paradise begun making longer cruises out of Stockholm during the summer season.

In June 2009 the Birka Paradise was re-registered, with Stockholm replacing her original home port Mariehamn. This was due to EU legislation disallowing the sales of snus within the Union and onboard ships registered there - except in Sweden, where it continued to be allowed for cultural reasons. As snus sales contribute a sizeable portion of of Birka Cruises' income (this holds true to most companies operating between Sweden and Finland), Birka decided the best option would be simply to re-register their ship. This makes additional sense when you remember that the company markets itself exclusively to Swedish passengers.

Photographs below show the Birka Paradise arriving in Stockholm from another cruise to Mariehamn. Photographed from onboard Viking Line's Gabriella. Click on the image(s) to view full size.

On Stockholms ström, with Djurgarden in the background on the left.
A better view of the ship in the delightful autumn weather, still on Strömmen.
Passing the Gabriella en route to her quay. Behind the ship on the right is Beckhomen island with it's shipyards.
Passing further, with Stockholm's delightful cityscape in the background. Just visible in front of Birka Paradise's bridge is Ånedin Linjen's vintage cruise ship Birger Jarl, briefly laid up due to SOLAS 2010 regulations (reportedly she got a six-month exemption within days from this and is back in traffic now).