28 June 2011

Norröna in Tórshavn, 26 May 2011


IMO 9227390
Built 2003, Flender Werft Lübeck, Germany
Tonnage 36 966 GT
Length 165,74 m
Width 30,00 m
Draught 6,50 m
1 482 passengers
1 012 berths
800 cars or 130 trailers
1 830 lane metres
4 diesels, combined 21 600 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 21 knots

The Norröna is the only passenger ship in addition to Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 to operate a regular passenger service on the North Atlantic. She sails from Hirsthals in Denmark to Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands, continuing during the summer months further to Seyðisfjörður in Iceland.

Smyril Line had begun operations in 1983 with the second-hand ferry Gustav Vasa, which was renamed Norröna (I) for service with her new owners. In 2003 the original Norröna was replaced by a new, purpose-built ferry also named Norröna. The new Norröna was contracted fom the Flensburger Schiffbaugeshellschaft (FSG) in Flensburg, Germany, with concept design by Knud E. Hansen AS, but due to FSG's thick orderbook the ship was subcontracted to Flender Werft in Lübeck, Germany. Coinciding with the delivery of the new Norröna the old Norröna was renamed Norröna I.

The new Norröna's career start was not without problems, and in January 2004 the Norröna I had to be briefly drafted back to service as a replacement. The ports of call in the Norröna's service have varied, with calls in Bergen (Norway) and Lerwick (Shetland Islands) being included in addition to the Danish, Faroese and Icelandic ports, and originally the Danish port of call was Hanstholm rather than Hirsthals. In January 2006 a water measurement system was installed on the Norröna in collaboration with the Stony Brook University and the University of Rhode Island in an effort to monitor the Gulf Stream. An improved version of this system remains in use in 2011.

In 2008, the ship's somewhat complex timetable of linking the Faroe Islands to Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the UK was simplified, now concentrating solely in providing a Denmark-Faroes-Iceland service. Since 2010, the exact route has remained Hirtshals–Tórshavn–Seyðisfjörður.

The photographs below show the Norröna arriving in, and in the port of, Tórshavn on 26 May 2011. As you can see the weather was less than ideal, but despite the occasionally poor quality of the images I felt such an unusual ship deserved to have multiple images of it posted. Click on the individual images to view full size.

Coming in from Seyðisfjörður at high speed.
Outside the harbour breakwater, the Norröna made a very fast turn, with a somehwta dangerous-looking list.
Practicality, rather than beauty, has clearly been the guiding principle in designing the ship. Though she's not ugly either, in my opinion.
Originally the ship's side-text read just Smyril Line without the web url. The text appears to have been changed sometime before 2010.
Very unusually for 2000s-built ship, the Norröna features a cabins forward, public spaces aft -arrangement that had been popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s ferry design.
Drawings of the ship show she was originally planned to have a more streamlined, swept-back funnel. The final result is perhaps more fitting of her design.
Entering the harbour proper. The aft of MSC Poesia is visible behind the Norröna's bow.
At quay, having alreadt unloaded most freight.
Norröna against the backdrop of her home port Tórshavn, photographed from onboard the MSC Poesia.

20 June 2011

Color Fantasy in Kiel, 23 May 2011

Color Fantasy

IMO 9278234
Built 2004, Kvaerner Masa-Yards Turku New Shipyard, Finland
Tonnage 74 500 GT
Length 223,70 m
Width 35,00 m
Draught 6,80 m
Ice class 1B
2 750 passengers
2 667 berths
750 cars
1 270 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 31 200 kW
2 propellers
3 bow thrusters
2 stern thrusters
Speed 22 knots

Color Fantasy was Color Line's first ever newbuilding. When delivered in 2004 she was also the world's largest ferry, surpassing the previous record holders (P&O Ferries' Pride of Rotterdam and Pride of Hull) by an impressive 16 000 GT. On delivery the Color Fantasy was placed on the Oslo-Kiel route, replacing the Prinsesse Ragnhild (which was moved to a new Bergen-Stavanger-Hirsthals service). The Color Fantasy lost her accolade of being the world's largest ferry in 2007 when her sister Color Magic was delivered.

The photographs below show the Color Fantasy in the Kiel Fjord, shortly after departure from the Norwegenkai terminal on 23 May 2011. Click on the images to view larger size.

Color Fantasy passing the famous HDW Kiel shipyard. The west side of the Kiel Fjord is far from an ideal photo spot around the time the Color Line ships depart and as you can see I had to heavily treat the first two images to get anything presentable out of them.
Side elevation of the futuristic Fantasy.
Towards the mouth of the fjord, in much nicer lighting.

18 June 2011

Farväl, Fakta om Fartyg

Fakta om Fartyg, my all-time favourite ship information database website, has closed down due to technical difficulties. Which is a sad, sad thing as it was by far the best free information database related to ships that could be found online. I even learned to speak (or at least read) Swedish largely thanks to FoF. Thank you, Micke Asklander, for keeping up such a fabulous website for such a long time.

The closure of Fakta om Fartyg can also mean a reduction in factual accuracy of this blog, as FoF has been my primary source of information for the ship histories and technical data. Any tips on a comparable free information database would be much appriciated if I'm going to keep up the current level of factual accuracy for this place.

Igen, många tackar Micke!

Edit 20. 6. 2011: Thanks to the large-scalle support, herr Asklander is now planning on reopening his website.

17 June 2011

Nordnorge in Bergen, 25 May 2011


IMO 9107784
Built 1997, Kvaerner Kleven Ulsteinvik, Norway
Tonnage 11 386 GT
Length 123,30 m
Width 19,50 m
Draught 4,90 m
694 passengers
457 berths
45 cars
2 MaK diesels, combined 9 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
2 stern thrusters
Speed 18 knots

Nordnorge is one of the newest generation of coastal express ships belonging to Hurtigruten (formerly known in English as Norwegian Coastal Voyages). She was the sixth ship in Hurtigruten's ambitious fleet rebuilding programme that ran from 1993 to 2003 and produced nine similar but not identical ships, replacing most of the previous generations of Hurtigruten ships, though to date one ship built in the 1980s and two of the 1950s/1960s pocket liners remain in use.

Following the initial three new Hurtigruten ships delivered in 1993-1994, the company's owners OVDS (Ofotens og Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskap) and TFDS (Troms Fylkes Dampskibsselskap) ordered a second series of three slightly larger ships. Whereas for the first trio ships belonging to different companies had been externally identical except for funnel colours, for the new trio TFDS opted for a streamlined design for their Polarlys, while OVDS retained a more angular, functionalist design for their Nordkapp and Nordnorge.

Following delivery in March 1997 the Nordnorge embarked on an extensive cruise around northern Europe, before entering service on Hurtigruten's traditional Bergen-Kirkenes coastal service in late April. Cruising would subsequently form an important part of the Nordnorge's yearly pattern: she would spent most of the year in the coastal service, but for the midwinter slow season she sailed to the southern hemisphere, making cruises to the Antarctica out of Chile (occasionally she was joined in this service by her sister Nordkapp). During spring and autumn the Nordnorge also made occasional cruises around northern Europe. In November 2007 the Nordnorge gained a degree of fame during one of her Antarctica cruises when the crew and passengers of the sinking cruise ship Explorer were evacuated onboard the Nordnorge.

Sometime before this, in March 2006, OVDS and TFDS had merged to form Hurtigruten ASA. As a result of the amalgamization, the Nordnorge and her fleetmates lost their previous funnel colours. The Nordnorge's original OVDS colours with a red band flanked by two narrower white band on a buff background were now replaced by the new Hurtigruten colours seen below, a black funnel with the company's new red-white funnel symbol. In the interim she also briefly sailed with an all-black funnel without the symbol. Following the delivery of Hurtigruten's new purpose-built cruise ship Fram in 2007, the Nordnorge has seen a lot less cruising action, spending winters laid up or under charter instead.

In June 2011 (that is to say, right now) the Norwegian TV station NRK made a live broadcast of the Nordnorge's passage from Bergen to Kirkenes, billed as the longest TV broadcast ever. You can watch "Hurtigruten minutt for minutt" here.

The photographs below show the Nordnorge arriving in Bergen from a round trip to Kirkenes and back on 25 May 2011. The photos were taken from onboard the departing MSC Poesia and due to the distance they are not perhaps in the best of quality. Click on the individual images to see larger size.

The Hurtigruten-side text is a recent addition, probably from 2010.
Passing the beautiful fjord and grain silos of Norway. The current funnel colours aren't as attractive as the previous OVDS colours (or even the black-heavy TFDS colours) - espcially in pictures like these, where the dark funnel easily merges into the background.
She looks very workmanlike, doesn't she? It's interesting how the basic model of the 1993-2003 built ships is the same, yet there is quite a lot of variance from one design to another. Not that you could actually see it here, as the Nordnorge is thus far the only ship of the series I've photographed.

14 June 2011

Stena Germanica in Kiel, 23 May 2011

Stena Germanica

IMO 9145176
Built 2001, Astilleros Españoles Puerta Real, Spain
Tonnage 46 353 GT
Length 240,10 m
Width 28,70 m
Draught 6,00 m
1 300 passengers
1 067 berths
300 cars
3 907 lane metres
4 Sulzer diesels, combined 24 000 kW
2 propellers
3 bow thrusters
Speed 21,5 knots

The current Stena Germanica (not to be confused with the previous Stena Germanica) was the fourth and final ship of the Seapacer class ordered by Stena Line from the Astilleros Españoles shipyard. The first two ships in the class were eventually delivered not to Stena Line but to Finnlines as their Finnclipper and Finneagle. The last two ships were delivered to Stena Line in 2000-2001 and became their Stena Britannica and Stena Hollandica, the latter being the subject of this entry.

On delivery the two Seapacers were planed on the Harwich-Hoek van Holland route. However, after just three years in service the Stena Britannica was replaced by a newer, larger Stena Britannica and the old ship sold to Finnlines to join her sisters in their fleet as the Finnfellow. The Stena Hollandica was then paired on the Hoek-Harwich route with a not-identical ship.

To come with increased demands of the route, the Stena Hollandica and her route-mate were both lenghtened to 240 metres in 2007. In case of the Stena Hollandica this meant putting in a 53-meter midsection. To cope with the increased mass the midsection also included an additional engine (or several) with it's own separate exhaust pipe. However, by this time Stena Line were already building two new ships that would eventually replace the Stena Hollandica and her routemate.

In 2010 the new Stena Hollandica was delivered to Stena Line. Resultingly the old Stena Hollandica was drydocked and rebuilt for the Gothenburg-Kiel route, on which she entered service later that year as Stena Germanica III. The III was soon dropped from her name however, and the ship became just Stena Germanica.

The photographs below is of the Stena Germanica at Schwedenkai in Kiel on 23 May 2011. Click on the image to view larger size.

Not quite as good-looking as her not-lenghtened Finnlines sisters. Unfortunately the ship's small third funnel is on the side not visible on this pic.

12 June 2011

AIDAcara in Kiel, 22 May 2011


IMO 9112789
Name history: Aida, Aidacara
Built 1996, Kvaerner Masa-Yards Turku New Shipyard, Finland
Tonnage 38 557 GT
Length 193,30 m
Width 32,60 m
Draught 6,20 m
1 230 passengers
1 230 berths
4 MAN diesels, combined 21 720 kW
2 controllable pitch propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 21,5 knots

AIDAcara is Aida Cruises oldest ship and as such the very beginning of the veru successful casual cruising brand. Yet the history of the ship is a bit more complex than just being the first Aida ship.

During the first half of the 1990s the German cruise line Deutsche Seetouristik began planning building or acquiring a new ship, to complement their existing Arkona (which sails today as the Saga Pearl II). It's perhaps worth noting that Deutsche Seetouristik was originally an East German company. In any case, Deutsche Seetouristik were looking for a casual, club-like ship. Initially the company considered buying the Silja Line cruise ship Sally Albatross (today sailing as Louis Cruises' Cristal) but in the end opted for a newbuilt ship. The resulting ship does however bear strong resemblance to the Sally Albaross, and the looks have been carried over to the subsequent Aida Cruises ships.

However, Aida Cruises was still nonexistant at the time the ship, originally named simply Aida, was delivered in 1996. As a marketing slogan, she was referred to Das Clubschiff. Some sources claim this was also the ship's name at some point during her career, but this is not the case. Aida was a very successful cruise ship and her success attracted the attention of larger players in cruise business. In 1999 P&Oacquired 51% of Arkona Reisen (as the Aida's owners were now known) and established a new brand, Aida Cruises, for the Aida and planned new ships in similar vein. (The Arkona continued sailing for Arkona Reisen until 2001 but she was, naturally, never a part of the Aida Cruises fleet).

In late 2001 the Aida was renamed AIDAcara in preparation of the delivery of Aida Cruises second ship, the AIDAvita in 2002. Also in 2002 P&O Princess Cruises (as Aida Cruises' owners were now known) merged with the Carnival Corporation to form Carnival Corporation & plc. As a result of the merger, Aida Cruises now became a part of the Carnival Corporation's main European arm, Costa Cruises. Aida Cruises was never the less retained as a separate brand. Following Aida Cruises' extensive newbuilding programme, the AIDAcara is today the smallest ship in the fleet.

The photographs below show the AIDAcara departing the Ostseekai cruise terminal in Kiel on the evening of 22 May 2011. Click on the individual images to view larger size.

Reversing away from the terminal...
...and backing to the pool next to the HDW shipyard (in the background).
Notice the added balconies above the boat deck. They don't look too bad, for balconies added on later, but they don't seem very private - especially as the partitions between them seem very low.
The certainly eye-cathing livery with the eyes and the lips draw from the same original as the ship's name: Verdi's 1871 opera Aïda. According to a popular misconception the opera was written commemorate the opening of the Suez canal, but this is not the case (Verdi had been asked to write a piece for the occasion, but had declined).
Heading out after turning. Interestingly, the blue stripe along the superstructure windows was originally in a shade of darker blue (perhaps in reflection of her role model Sally Albatross' black-striped livery).
The funnel colours fit the rest of the livery beautifully, consdering the rest of the livery predates the funnel colours by several years. (Naturally) the ship originally carried Deutsche Seetouristik's bird symbol on her funnel.
Heading out for a Baltic Sea cruise.

08 June 2011

Stena Scandinavica in Kiel, 22 May 2011

Stena Scandinavica

IMO 9235517
Built 2003, Hyundai Heavy Industries Ulsan, South Korea
Tonnage 55 050 GT
Length 241,06 m
Width 29,90 m
Draught 6,30 m
1 300 passengers
1 040 berths
300 cars
4 220 lane metres
4 MAN diesels, combined 25 920 kW
2 propellers
3 bow thrusters
Speed 22,5 knots

The histories of Stena Line ships tend to be confusing as the company uses route-specific names, with new ships on any given route inheriting the names of the old ships on the same route.

The current Stena Scandinavica is the fourth ship to bear that name. She was built in 2003 as the Stena Britannica II for the Harwich-Hoek van Holland service. Despite the number in her name she was, in fact, the fourth Stena Britannica. The II was dropped from her name during the same year and she became simply Stena Britannica. (Later the same year a sister ship was delivered, but instead of joining the Stena Britannica on the Harwich-Hoek service she went to the Dublin-Holyhead service as the Stena Adventurer).

In early 2007 the Stena Britannica was rebuilt at Lloyd's Werft in Bremerhaven, where a 30-meter midsection was installed. Following the lengthening she returned to the Harwich-Hook service. By this time two new 63 000 GT ships were under construction for Stena Line, and in late 2007 Stena made public the decision that the new ships would be placed on the Hoek-Harwich route on delivery in 2010.

In preparation for the delivery of the new Stena Britannica (V), the Stena Britannica (IV) was renamed Britannica in September 2010. A month later the Britannica was withdrawn from the Hoek-Harwich route and sailed to Gdynia in Poland where she was rebuilt in the Stena Scandinavica (IV). In April 2011 she entered service on the Gothenburg-Kiel route. (I told you this would be confusing).

The photographs below show the Stena Scandinavica departing Kiel on the evening of 22 May 2011. As you can see the weather was far from ideal for photography, so I shall try to balance quality with quantity. Click on the individual images to view full size.

Reversing away from the Schwedenkai terminal. The Kiel Fjord is so narrow towards the city that ships as long as the Stena Scandinavica have to reverse quite a long way when in- or outbound.
Turning in front of the HDW Kiel shipyard.
The 2007 lengthening did not exactly improve the looks of this ship. The rebuild from Stena Britannica to Stena Scandinavica further damaged her looks with the addition of new cabins midship.
The refit into Stena Scandinavica also gave the ship the current Stena Line livery, replacing the older simple one without wavy lines towards the aft and much smaller company name texts. Refreshingly, the company have retained the same typeface for ship name texts since the late 1960s.
Interestingly, the current Stena Scandinavica carries less passengers than her predecessor. For the past decades the general trend on the Baltic has been for ships to carry more passengers (and often less freight) than the previous generation.
Making good time (tm) towards Gothenburg.

05 June 2011

Color Magic in Kiel, 22 May 2011

Color Magic

IMO 9349863
Built 2007, Aker Finnyards Turku New Shipyard (hull), Aker Finnyards Rauma shipyard (outfitting), Finland
Tonnage 75 027 GT
Length 223,75 m
Width 35,00 m
Draught 6,80 m
2 750 passengers
2 669 berths
550 cars
1 265 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 31 200 kW
2 propellers
3 bow thrusters
2 stern thrusters
Speed 22 knots

The 2007-built Color Magic gets the honour of being the first ship to have it's photographs put up here from my recent two-week trip on the MSC Poesia. The Color Magic is a sister ship to Color Line's 2004-built Color Fantasy and thanks to being slightly larger than her sister she is currently the world's largest cruiseferry (and the world's largest ferry). In terms of ferries she's quite spacious, carrying just 2 700 passengers in her 75 000 GT hull (in comparison, Silja Line cram the same number of people on the 48 000 GT Galaxy). The Color Magic's facilities include a horizontal atrium/promenade, a three-storey restaurant, an impressive gym/spa combination and a large array of other facitilies comparable to "proper" cruise ships.

The photographs below show the Color Magic on the Kiel Fjord, shortly after departing Color Line's Norwegenkai terminal on 22 May 2011. Sadly she departs early in the afternoon when the lighting conditions are less favourable, but I hope you enjoy the images regardsless. Click on the individual photographs to view full size.

This year is actually the 50th anniversary of Kiel-Oslo ferry service, being started by Jahre Line using their (first) Kronprins Harald in 1961. Jahre Line then merged in 1991 with Norway Line to form the current Color Line, so technically it's been just one company sailing on the route continuously for half a century now.
Yeah, the lighting is a bit of a bummer. A like the sleek approach of the Color Magic and Fantasy's design (by Falkum-Hansen Design), though it would work better if the ships were slightly longer, making the fore and aft look less stubby.
Also, notice the recessed superstructure. I suspect this is in part in order to allow balconies added on onto the superstructure without making the ship any wider than she already is, in case the ship is one day resold for trading as an actual cruise ship.
Heading northwards and out of the range of my camera. I like the way they've put a very small aft ramp on the ship, instead of the massive things you usually see on ferries.
Hope you enjoyed this entry, more images from my recent cruise will follow in the upcoming weeks featuring the Stena Scandinavica, Stena Germanica, Color Fantasy, AIDAcara, Nordnorge, Norröna, Smyril and MSC Poesia.