29 August 2011

Silja Europa in Turku, 9 August 2011

Silja Europa

IMO 8919805
Built 1993, Meyer Werft, Germany
Tonnage 59 912 GT
Length 201,78 m
Width 32,60 m
Draught 6,80 m
Ice class 1 A Super
3 123 passengers
3 696 berths
350 cars
932 lane metres
4 MAN diesels, combined 31 800 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 22 knots

For a history of the Silja Europa, see this previous entry on her.

The photographs below show the Silja Europa arriving and berthed in Turku harbour on the evening if 9 August 2011. The first two images have been taken from the bridge connecting the mainland to Ruissalo island, while the last one has been taken from Ruissalo itself. Click on the individual images to see them in larger size.

This Finnish expression just doesn't translate: Ihan puun takaa tuli toi laiva!
Not the ideal spot to photograph from (I had not properly checked at what time the ship came in and was therefore delayed), but I have to admit the resulting image is in fact very, very neat.
Moored in Turku harbour. For such a big, bulky ship the Silja Europa carries her size well. Whoever designed her did a very fine job on the exterior.

28 August 2011

Bore in Turku, 6 August 2011


IMO 5048485
Previous names: Bore, Borea, Kristina Regina
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

My most recent contribution to Maritime Matters is a a detailed photographic tour of the Bore in her current state as a hotel/museum ship. You can see the text here. For a history of the ship, see either the Maritime Matters article or this entry on the Kristina Regina. To go with that, here are photographs of the Bore at her permanent mooring by the River Aura, taken on 6 August 2011. Click on the individual images to see in larger size.

The ship does look rather splendid restored to her original livery (not that the Kristina Cruises livery wouldn't also have been brilliant). Notice that some of the outer decks are painted brown and others green; brown in the original colour and the green decks are awaiting restoration to the orignal shade.
The quayside area behind the ship belongs to Viking Line, who are letting the Bore use their land free of charge. Also notice the Turku castle in the background on the far left.

26 August 2011

Spirit of Adventure in Helsinki, 28 June 2011

Spirit of Adventure

IMO 7904889
Former names: Berlin, Princess Mahsuri, Orange Melody
Built 1980, HDW Kiel, West Germany
Tonnage 9 570 GT
Length 139,30 m
Width 17,51 m
Draugth 4,98 m
352 passengers
352 berths
2 MaK diesels, combined 7 060 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 18,3 knots

As the name implifies, the Spirit of Adventure is an expedition cruise ship and the sole ship of the Spirit of Adventure cruise line. At a tad under 10 000 GT she is very small cruise ship by today's standards. She was even smaller when built, as she underwent a crop and stretch operation in 1986. But perhaps we ought to start at the beginning.

The Berlin, as the ship was originally known, was ordered in 1979 by a consortium of owners. The main figure behind ordering the ship was Peter Deilmann, but he only had a minotiry share in the ship. Deilmann had previously operated coastal ships from West Germany to Denmark and East Germany. In 1979 Deilmann decided to enter the cruise business. In addition to the share in the Berlin, Deilmann acquired a second-hand cruise ship, the Regina Maris.

It appears that the Berlin, when delivered in 1980, did not join the Regina Maris in Deilmann's cruise line but was instead chartered to Neckermann Seereisen. In 1982 the Berlin was chartered to Blue Funnel Cruises and renamed Princess Mahsuri (the next year the Regina Maris was sold and Peter Deilmann was briefly without a cruise ship). In 1985 the Princess Mahsuri returned from her charter and begun cruising for Peter Deilmann for the first time, reverting to her original name Berlin. In late 1986 she was lenghtened by 17 metres at Werft Nobiskrug in Rendsburg, West Germany.

The Berlin spent twenty years in Peter Deilmann service, being joined in 1998 by the new Deutschland. During her time with Deilmann she was also one of the ships featured in Das Traumschiff, the German version of The Love Boat. In 2005 the Berlin was sold to Saga Shipping, but she did not enter service with Saga Cruises. Instead, she was chartered to the Russian cruise operator Metropolis Tur for a year as the Orange Melody.

Saga Cruises had until this point concentrated on a somewhat exclusive market, as only people aged 50 and over were allowed onboard their ship. However, when in 2006 Carnival Corporation made public their intention to close down their Swan Hellenic expedition cruising brand, Saga Cruises saw a market opening for their latest acquisition. A new cruise line named Spirit of Adventure was founded and the Orange Melody, when returned from the Metropolis Tur charter in 2006, was renamed Spirit of Adventure. Unlike Saga Cruises, Spirit of Adventure Cruises adopted a more conventional age limit of 21. Apparently the Spirit of Adventure venture was a success, and in 2009 the Spirit of Adventure was reported to soon be replaced by Saga Cruises' next acquisition, Transocean Tours' Astoria, that was to become the Quest for Adventure.

However, the bankruptcy of the Astoria's owner Club Cruise put a spanner in the works. Saga eventually acquired the Astoria, but several months later than intended and in the interim it had been decided to use her as a replacement for the Saga Rose (that had to be withdrawn due to SOLAS 2010). The Astoria therefore became the Saga Pearl II and the Spirit of Adventure continued sailing for Spirit of Adventure Cruises. However, in May 2012 when the new Saga Sapphire is delivered, the Saga Pearl II will transfer to Spirit of Adventure Cruises as the Quest for Adventure, as planned in 2009. At the same time the Spirit of Adventure will be withdrawn and the Spirit of Adventure cruise line will be turned into a sub-brand of Saga Cruises, adopting the same age limit as the parent company.

It is not yet known (at least to me) what will become of the neat little Spirit of Adventure after the end of her last scheduled cruise in Port Kelang, Malaysia in mid-March. I can't help thinking she would make an excellent ship for Kristina Cruises... had the said company not just spent a small fortune in acquiring and refitting the Kristina Katarina.

The photographs below show the Spirit of Adventure in and departing from Helsinki on 28 June 2011. Photographed from one of the ferries to Suomenlinna (either Suokki or Tor) and from Kustaanmiekka. Click on the individual images to see in larger size.

At the Kanavaterminaali quay on Kustaanmiekka. This quay was previously used by Nordic Jet Line until they closed down their service in 2008. It had originally been converted for passenger use in the 1970s for Viking Line, but they later relocated to the nearby Katajanokka terminal.
Spirit of Adventure, the Helsinki edition. On the left the Helsinki Cathedral and closer to the camera the Market Square.
A little while later on Kruunuvuorenselkä, bound for the Kustaanmiekka strait.
Douglas Ward described the ship as "somewhat angular", but I don't really see the angularity here.
I don't know what to say about this one, really. I rather like the background cloud formations in this pic, they give a nice atmosphere to what is already a quite good pic.
Nicely terraced aft superstructure. I admit the overall design lacks any specially notable features, but that is not always a bad thing.
Heading out to the open sea, while the bros having an outdoors party look on.
Information sources:
Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships, 2008 edition
Fakta om Fartyg
Simplon Postcards
Spirit of Adventure Cruises

22 August 2011

Nordlandia in Helsinki, 23 June 2011


IMO 7928811
Former names: Olau Hollandia, Nord Gotlandia
Built 1981, AG Weser Seebeckswerft, Bremerhaven, West Germany
Tonnage 21 473 GT
Length 153,40 m
Width 24,70 m
Draugth 8,80 m
Ice class 1A
2 048 passengers
938 berths
450 cars or 42 trucks
4 Pielstick diesels, combined 15 300 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 20 knots

For a very short history of the Nordlandia, see the first entry on her.

The photographs below show the Nordlandia arriving in Helsinki West Harbour on the evening on 23 June, sporting the new livery applied in spring 2011. Her being given a new livery means that at the moment at least all Eckerö Line ships are running with different liveries; the Eckerö still carries the traditional livery, while the Translandia has a livery similar to the one Stena Line had before they changed over to the one they're using now (in other words, the livery carried by the Stena Jutlandica in this entry - naturally with a yellow stripe on the hull instead of red). Despite the fact the Nordlandia has been given a stylish new coat of paint, Eckerö Line are reportedly actively looking for a newer ship to replace her on the Helsinki-Tallinn run.

Photographs taken from Sisä-Hattu. Click on the image(s) to see in larger size.

There she is, coming in from the distance... looking perhaps a bit overtly Finnish still, but at least there are no more embarrassing slogans painted on the forward superstructure.
Seriously though, I think the new livery is amazing. It doesn't clash with the ship's form at all, yet it makes it look much better. The forward superstructure looks particularly neat... reminds me of decorations on old trams and buses (okay, maybe those on a VW kleinbus too).
Passing Pihlajasaari.
This time when coming in the captain decided to turn the ship via the port side, which meant this is was the best aft view of the ship I could get. Still, especially with the new livery the fore is much more interesting anyway.
I love the contrast the red-sailed boat brings to this. I know the viewpoint of this photo is almost identical to the second from the top, but this just worked so well (but the above photo has a background bringing the ship better to front, hence my decision to include both).
Unsurprisingly, the starboard side looks pretty much the same as the port side. Still, what an amazing livery. It's slightly retro and as such it matches the ship so well, her being slightly retro in the general scheme of things too. Now if they'd only lose that Finnish flag from the hull. You have aflagpole for that, you know...

17 August 2011

Marina in Helsinki, 23 June 2011


IMO 9438066
Built 2011, Fincantieri Genoa, Italy
Tonnage 66 084 GT
Length 239,30 m
Width 32,19 m
Draugth 7,60 m
1 258 passengers
1 258 berths
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 24 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 19,5 knots

The Marina is Oceania Cruises' first newbuilt ship, completed this year by Fincantieri. She bears a passing resemblance to the company's pre-existing trio of ships (the Regatta, Insignia and Nautica), originally built for the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises as a part of their eight-ship R-class. This semblance is particularly unsurpsing when you remember that many of the same people who were behind Renaissance are also behind Oceania. However, where the R-class ships were fairly small and capable of entering smaller harbours off the beaten path, the Marina and her upcoming sister Riviera are fairly large at 66 084 gross tons - as testified by the fact the Marina's 240 metre lenght barred her from entering Helsinki's South Harbour.

For a detailed look inside the Marina I strongly recommend Peter Knego's two-part Decked! tour of the ship at Maritime Matters.

The photographs below show the Marina departing Helsinki West Harbour on 23 June 2011 on her second (and to date last) visit to the city. Photographed from Sisä-Hattu. Click on the individual images to see larger size.

Seen from this direction the Marina for some reason reminds me of a 1970s sportscar. Not an unpleasant assiciation, as I'm quite fond of 70s cars as design objects.
There is, however, an odd design discrepancy between the forward and aft halves of the ship, with the aft looking far less thought-out.
Evening sun reflecting from the windows and doors of the private balconies. The ship was scheduled to depart at 18.00 but it was almost seven in the evening before she finally left.
The traditional pic with Pihlajasaari in the background.
More panoramic fiddling with sailboats and also the Harmaja lighthouse in the background on the left.
The more you see of the rear superstructure of the ship, the worse she looks. This viewpoint is still alright, but further on her aft bears an unfortunate resemblance to a ship made of Lego blocks.

16 August 2011

Baltic Princess in Helsinki 23 June 2011

Baltic Princess

IMO 9354284
Built 2008, Aker Yards, 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 is, of course,the second ship in Tallink's Galaxy-class (the name always makes me think about Star Trek; the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation was a Galaxy-class ship). Her sisters are the Galaxy and the Baltic Queen. While the other two ships were built at Aker Yards' Rauma shipyard, the Baltic Princess was built in Helsinki, during the brief time in the mid-00s when the yard specialized in ferries (though a part of the ship's hull was built in France and towed to Helsinki and the rest of the ship was built around the French-built part in here).

While the Galaxy had been built for a 22-knot top speed, the Baltic Princess was given slightly more powerful engines, yielding 24,5 knots. This lended cause to much speculation about the ship's eventual route while she was under construction: the higher speed was said to make the ship suitable for a Stockholm-St. Petersburg cruiseferry service, or (after Tallink took over Silja Line in 2006) for the Turku-Stockholm service where harbour turnaround times are short and catching up delays is often difficult. In the end however the Baltic Princess was placed on the Helsinki-Tallinn 22-hour cruise service when she was completed in summer 2008 (a service where her high speed is of obsolutely no use). She replaced the Galaxy, which in turn transferred to the Silja Line fleet and was placed on the Turku-Stockholm route.

Since 2008 the Baltic Princess has remained on the same service almost without deviation. The sole exceptions have been a charter cruise from Helsinki to Pori (via Mariehamn) in July 2009, coinciding with a music festival in Pori, and a charter cruise from Tallinn to Visby in July 2011.

The photographs below show the Baltic Princess departing Helsinki West Harbour on 23 June 2011, photographed from Sisä-Hattu. Click on the individual images to view larger size.

Sailing away from the ferry harbour in the West Harbour.
If I remember correctly, Laiva (the Finnish Ship Historical Society's magazine) called the Baltic Princess the "Baltic Pride" due to her livery. Personally I'm quite fond of the livery - though the fuchsia background in the funnel doesn't work too well with the Tallink funnel symbol.
On the deep shipping lane outside Pihlajasaari.
Slightly further on, with Pihlajasaari still in background.
I like the overall shape of these ships - basic but not unpleasant - but the curved aft superstructure isn't much to my tastes. Also, I hear the executive suites (with balconies) in the aft are not without problems, being located below the discotheque and with people throwing litter down to the suites' private balconies from the sun deck above.
A scenic shot is nice to have, once in a while.

14 August 2011

Costa Luminosa in Helsinki, 23 June 2011

Costa Luminosa

IMO 9398905
Built 2009, Fincantieri Marghera, Italy
Tonnage 92 700 GT
Length 294,00 m
Width 32,25 m
Draught 8,00 m
2 260 passengers
6 MaK diesels, combined 64 000 kW
2 azipods (?)
3 bow thrusters
Speed 21,6 knots

There's very little new to say about the Costa Luminosa. She's been a common visitor in Helsinki during this summer. The photographs below show her departing from Helsinki west harbour on 23 June 2011. Photographed from Sisä-Hattu. Click on the individual images to see larger size.

Costa Luminosa at quay, with Superstar passing her. A slight difference in size, don't you agree?
Pulling away from the cruise quay at Hernesaari.
Windy days attract sailboats. Sadly, the barges used for deepening the sealane are less photogenic.
Elegant profile... though the aft superstructure is perfance a bit too built-in.
And then onwards to the open sea.

05 August 2011

Service suspended until 15 August

The Kships "service" will be suspended for the next week or so, as I'll be travelling to Turku (the 2011 European Capital of Culture) to visit the archives of Finland Steamship Company for purposes of doing research for my master's thesis. And maybe quick visits to the Bore and the Forum Marinum maritime museum, and maybe photographing the Turku-Stockholm ferries too...

If all goes to plan, service will resume on Monday 15 August. However, depending on the amount of material the archive can offer me I might need to stay in Turku for a longer time.

04 August 2011

Rotterdam in Helsinki, 23 June 2011


IMO 9122552
Built 1997, Fincantieri Venice, Italy
Tonnage 61 849 GT
Length 237,95 m
Width 32,25 m
Draugth 7,80 m
1 668 passengers
1 668 berths
5 Sulzer Fincantieri diesels, combined 37 500 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
2 stern thrusters
Speed 25 knots

The current Rotterdam is already the sixth ship with that name in the Holland-America Line fleet. Often she's referred to as the Rotterdam VI to differentiate her from the 1959-built Rotterdam V that remains in the city of Rotterdam as a floating hotel.

The Rotterdam (VI) is in essence a larger version of HAL's S-class (Statendam, Maasdam, Ryndam and Veendam). She was however built to be somewhat faster, with a top speed of 25 knots and service speed of 22,5 knots. Due to her high speed her codename during construction was Fastdam. (Personally I'd question how much utility a 25-knot top speed is in these days when fuel prices are ever-increasing). As a nod to the Rotterdam V, the Rotterdam VI was given side-by-side twin funnels.

In 2009 the Rotterdam was given a refit where her aft superstructure was re-modelled. Sometime before a new fitness center and thermal suite had been added above the bridge, both refits somewhat compromising the ship's scifi-sleek exterior looks.

The photographs below show the Rotterdam departing from Helsinki West Harbour on 23 June 2011. Photographed from Sisä-Hattu. Click on the individual images to view in them larger size.

It  was a busy day in the West Harbour (as I've written on Maritime Matters here). In the background you can see the Baltic Princess on the left and Oceania Cruises' Marina on the right.
Cousins? The Costa Luminosa (on the right) is an example of Carnival Corporation's Vista-class, which was originally designed for Holland America Line. Which at least theoretically makes her the younger cousing or something of the Rotterdam.
For whatever reason I find it hard to get excited about the 1900s HAL ships. Which is odd, I'm usually a fan of sleek scifi looks like on these ships... but for some reason I'm always looking at my own photos of them and thinking "meh, I don't know". But I guess these look alright.
This one called for a panoramic shot.
The rebuilt aft superstructure really looks quite odd, even more so than the added structure above the bridge. Or maybe it's just a matter of my brain having had the time to get used to the latter a bit more.
It's always a pleasure to photograph HAL ships together with sailboats. The boats are easy to dintinguish from the dark hulls and the resulting images always nicely reflect the HAL funnel symbol.

01 August 2011

Superstar in Helsinki, 23 June 2011

Let's start off with a little announcement. I mentioned in the Kships' first anniversary entry that last month (July 2011) was looking to be a record breaker in terms of page views. That indeed it was, with 4 633 page views during the month, beating the previous record by over a thousand views. Many thanks to everyone who have visited (and hopefully enjoyed) this site.

Now onwards to the photos.


IMO 9365398
Built 2008, Fincantieri Ancona, Italy
Tonnage 36 400 GT
Length 175,10 m
Width 27,60 m
Draugth 7,00 m
Ice class 1A
2 080 passengers
520 berths
665 cars
1 930 lanemeters
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 50 400 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 27,5 knots

I was looking through pictures I've taken this summer and came across images of the Superstar taken on 23 June (the day had a record number of cruise ship visitors for the year and I also wrote about it on MaritimeMatters). My initial reaction was "what, yet more images of Superstar? What was I thinking?", but actually there are just two entries before this with exterior images of the ship. These particular ones actually looked quite fine, so I thought, "why not?"

Superstar departing Helsinki West Harbour on 23 June 2011, photographed from Sisä-Hattu. Click on the individual images to view larger size.

The day was nicely windy and sailboats were out en-masse, making attractive nautical decorations for photographs.
Pihlajasaari, sailboat and Superstar. The Superstar's unconventional livery makes for a particularly good candidate for photographs with sailboats.
Pihlajasaari and Superstar but minus the sailboats. The island makes for a rather fine backdrop in my opinion.
Outbound panoramica. When the ship isn't the prettiest around, showing plenty of the surroundings improves the photographs. :P