27 April 2012

Viking Cinderella in the Stockholm Archipelago, 26 February 2012

Viking Cinderella

IMO 8719188
Former name: Cinderella
Built 1989, Wärtsilä Marine Turku, Finland
Tonnage 46 398 GT
Length 191,00 m
Width 29,00 m
Draught 6,74 m
2560 passengers
2500 berths
480 cars or 60 trucks (in cruise service parking space for 100 cars)
760 lanemeters
4 Sulzer diesels, combined 28 800 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

...And some photos from my very productive trip to Stockholm with Bruce Peter, this time featuring the Viking Cinderella (history of the ship here) inbound to Stockholm from yet another 22-hour cruise to Mariehamn. These photos have been taken from Gåshaga, a suburb in the city of Lidingö. The place is accessible with a delightful tram line that is run on modernized trams originally dating from the 1940s (though these will be replaced by modern units starting next year). Lighting conditions were less than perfect however. It might be a good idea to redo the trip during the summer when daylight savings time is in effect and hence the lighting could be better.

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

Stockholm archipelago and the Viking Cinderella.
Illustrating the twisting nature of the the shipping lane through the archipelago: the Viking Cinderella on the left and the following her on the right the Birka Paradise, on the exact same route inbound to Stockholm.
Viking Cinderella and Birka Paradise, again. My trusted Canon 350D 's battery had run out and I had forgotten to charge the spare, hence this photo was taken with Bruce's Panasonic DMC-LX2 pocket camera that he kindly loaned to me.

24 April 2012

Silja Festival in Stockholm, 26 February 2012

Silja Festival

IMO 8306498
Previous name: Wellamo
Built 1986, Wärtsilä Marine Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 34 417 GT
Length 168,00 m
Width 27,60 m
Draught 6,50 m
Ice class 1 A Super
1 886 passengers
1 937 berths
300 cars or 60 trailers
4 Wärtsilä-SEMT-Pielstick diesels, combined 26 200 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 22 knots

The Silja Festival has of course been featured on this blog before (in rather fine images too, I might add) and there is a fairly detailed account on her history on the first entry about her. However, while the previous entries are older pics that show the ship in her final Silja Line livery, the recent ones here show her in the current Tallink livery which is not one of the best the ship has ever carried. So yes, the Silja Festival arriving at Stockholm's Frihamnen on the morning of 26 February, photographed from onboard the Silja Symphony. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Inbound with Lidingö in the background on the right. Notice the large amount of frozen ice on the side of the superstructure.
The all-white funnel doesn't suit the ship in my opinion (then again, I'm generally quite aversed to white funnels). Obviously it can't be painted blue like in the Silja days as that would obscure the blue part of the Tallink funnel symbol, but they could paint the top and bottom of the funnel blue and keep a white stripe on which the funnel symbol would appear - that would look much better in my opinion.
As you can probably see, these images have been given a similar treatment as yesterday's Victoria I photos, with the ship on a different layer from the background to make her stand up better from the background (the lighting conditions were far from ideal).

23 April 2012

Victoria I in Stockholm, 26 February 2012

This blog is hopefully now awaking from it's hibernation of the past two months, as today I have finalized my master's thesis and will be submitting it to the university tomorrow. This will (hopefully) give me the time and energy to start updating this blog more often again. I still have a notable backlog of images from this winter and the summer cruise season will begin in a little over a week, so there is and will be plenty of stuff to add.

Also, I am now back to workin on my old computer (the one used at the time this blog was started), which has been upgraded with a new graphic card and a new screen. Since the colours with this new combination are not quite the same as with the old one, please let me know if there is a notable shift in the way the "new" images in this and upcoming entries look like compared to the old ones. Now, on to today's entry:

Victoria I

IMO 9281281
Built 2004, Aker Finnyards Rauma, Finland
Tonnage 40 975 GT
Length 193,80 m
Width 29,00 m
Draugth 6,50 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 500 passengers
2 252 berths
400 cars
1 000 lanemeters
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 26 240 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

Very little to say about the ship that would not already have been covered in previous entries. For a brief history of the ship see here. The photographs here show the Victoria I arriving in Stockholm's Värtahamnen on the morning of 26 February 2012. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Inbound to Värtan, with Lidingö in the background.
Notice the ice on the sides of the ship (most notably on the Tallink-text and the black window stripe), the result of spray from the open sea freezing when it hits the ship.
The ship did quite a complex turn when coming in; here she is actually sailing away from Värtan and towards Lidingö before reversing to quay.
Reversing into quay, with Scandic Hotel Ariadne (originally the Silja Hotel Ariadne) in the background. If this image and the two above look slightly "fake", that's because they are. The ship and the background have been treated separately to get the ship to stand out of from the background with needing to sacrifice the rich colours of the sky and other background objects.

07 April 2012

F-John, the New Finnish Cruise Line?

Earlier this week the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat (reportedly) published an article interviewing Johnny Sid, the man behind bringing the former Kristina Regina to Turku as the museum ship Bore. Last August I had the pleasure of interviewing mr Sid when I was making an article on the Bore for Maritime Matters (read the article here). Back then Sid told me of his ambition to start a cruise line. Then it was just theory, but according to the article in Turun Sanomat Sid is currently negotiating with Louis Cruises of Cyprus for the purchase of the 1980/1992-built cruise ship Louis Cristal (ex-Viking Saga, Sally Albatross, Leeward, SuperStar Taurus, Silja Opera) for use for Baltic Sea cruising based in Turku.

The Silja Opera departing Helsinki back in the day. Photo by Kalle Id, reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike 3.0 unported license.
According to what I have been told about the content of the article (I have not managed to secure a copy myself, so take all this with a moderate pinch of salt), Sid has secured funding from German investors and the crewing and operations of the ship would be given to a German company, although it would be owned by Sid's company F-John (a pun on the 1990s Finnish-Swedish passenger shipping giant EffJohn) and placed under Finnish flag. During the winter season the ship would make short two-night cruises from Turku to Tallinn and during the summer longer cruises around the Baltic Sea to places such as Visby, Riga and Bornholm.

Naturally as a Finnish ship enthustiasts I'm terribly keen on this idea. I sailed once on the Silja Opera from Helsinki to Riga about a decade ago and I still consider that trip my favourite cruise of all time. The ship and crew were fantastic and on the whole the experience combined what (as I've later learned) is best in both the Scandinavian-style ferry cruising and in the more international type of cruising. We have yet to see what Sid's cruise service with the Louis Cristal will be like (if it will even be realized at all) but if realized, the company could be one to do away with the most irritating elements of international mainsteam cruising (such as "service" in unnescessary and unpleasant places, the poorly-run buffets and the sad excuses of saunas).

Yet in many places Sid's idea seems to be rooted too much in the Finnish perception of cruises as a variant of ferry travel: the idea of running only Helsinki-Tallinn cruises during the winter season does not seem the best to me. If the desire is to run two-night cruises from Turku, there are several other cities close enough to be reachable instead of Tallinn (that most potential passengers will have seen anyway) such as Riga, Visby and Norrköping - and of course Stockholm. If there will be three two-night cruises per week (plus presumably a 22-hour Turku-Kapellskär cruise to even out the timetable), instead of three cruises to Tallinn they could have one to Tallinn, one to Norrköping and one to Riga on one week, and maybe replace Riga with Visby on the next.

05 April 2012

Isabella in the Stockholm archipelago, 26 February 2012


IMO 8700723
Built 1989, Brodogradiliste Split, Yugoslavia
Tonnage 35 154 GT
Length 169,40 m
Width 27,60 m
Draugth 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

For a brief history of the Isabella, see this entry. The photographs below show the Isabella in the Stockholm archipelago, outbound from Stockholm to Mariehamn and Turku on the morning of 26 February 2012. Photographed from the upper sun deck of the Silja Symphony. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

We passed the Isabella in the section where the shipping lane forks so it was sheer luck the Bella happened to be in a good position for photographs.
A pretty ridiculous amount of fiddling with colour curves went into these photos to get them right - though I think in the end I paid more attention to the trees in the fore- and background than to the actual ship itself. But the trees do look good... ;)
Impressive sky (mother nature did get a little image editing program help).
I rather like the composition on this one. The Isabella looks like a natural extension of the islands - perspective is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

01 April 2012

Silja Europa in the Stockholm Archipelago, 26 February 2012

Apologies for the lack of updates in the past few weeks. I have been rather busy with various actually important projects (most notably my master's thesis, which is finally nearing completion) and the decidedly non-important time waster of Mass Effect 3 (yes, it is a computer game). Anyway, better late than never, here are some more photographs from my Helsinki-Stockholm-Helsinki cruise with the delightful Bruce Peter. You can read my full account of the said cruise at Maritime Matters here.

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

A short account on the history of the Silja Europa can be viewed in this entry. The photographs here show the Silja Europa outbound from Stockholm in the Stockholm Archipelago, photographed from the deck of the passing Silja Symphony. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

East of Lidingö, the shipping lane splits in the archipelago with different "lanes" for inbound and outbound ships. Fortunately, thanks to the wonders of timetables we passed the Silja Europa just before the split, hence making these photographs possible.
Not sailing too fast in the narrow and twisting archipelago shipping lane. Värmdö is the island behind the Silja Europa (unless I'm hugely mistaking, and I might easily be).
Passing the fleetmate in the fairly steep curve.
Sailing towards the sun...
The colours in this photo turned out a bit funny, as I tried to maintain the fantastic cloud details but make the ship stand out and lighter (it appeared quite dark in the original).
Sailing past the rising sun, with "fingers of god" evident in the background.