25 May 2012

Le Boréal in Helsinki, 23 May 2012

Le Boréal

IMO 9502506
Built 2010, Fincantieri Ancona, Italy
Tonnage 10 700 GT
Length 142,00 m
Width 18,00 m
Draugth 4,70 m
Ice class 1C
264 passengers
264 berths
Diesels, combined 6 400 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 16 knots

Le Boréal has become something of a permanent fixture in the Helsinki cruise scene, visiting the city several times every summer. And since it's such a sexy-looking ship, I seem to photograph it every summer at least  once. This year's at least once was yesterday (well, technically the day before yesterday as I'm writing this just past mightnight). So, photos of Le Boréal departing Helsinki on 23 May 2012, photographed from Kustaanmiekka (where else?). Click on the images to see in larger size.

Entering this Kustaanmiekka strait, with Helsinki's archipelago looking very photogenic in the spring colours.
Only a narrow angle for good photographs from this location, but you get nice foregrounds.
Through the strait, with only two onlookers at this point.
Cannons in the foreground and a surpisingly large bow wave for Le Boréal.

21 May 2012

MSC Poesia interiors, 23. May - 2. June 2011

MSC Poesia and icelandic landscape near Akureyri. 28 May 2011.

MSC Poesia

IMO 9387073
Built 2008, Aker Yards Chantiers de l'Atlantique, St. Nazaire, France
Tonnage 93 330 GT
Length 293,80 m
Width 32,20 m
Draugth 7,70 m
3 013 passengers
5 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 58 000 kW
2 propellers
3 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 22 knots

Today's entry continues from yesterday's entry (so to say), as this time we (finally) look at the interior photographs I took on our MSC Poesia cruise from Kiel to Bergen, Tórshavn, Akureyri, Ísafjörður and Reykjavik last May-June. Phose interested in reading more about the cruise itself can do so either in English at Maritime Matters (part 1, part 2 and part 3) or in Finnish from the 1/2012 issue of Ulkomatala (klikkaa kohtaa "arkisto" ja valitse lehden oikea numero).

Deck 16 (Sport deck) - The topmost deck houses a solarium (read=sun deck) and a sports field aft of the funnel.

The funnel, so I'm told, is confusingly a symbol of power and speed, as well as pollution. MSC's choice of design is particularly sleek. 2 June 2011.
Deck 15 (Alfieri deck) - Forward there are cabins and aft, below the funnel, minigolf and shuffleboard courses.

MSC's idea of a minigolf course is, apparently, miniature golf rather than actual minigolf. Or maybe these things are different in different parts of the world. Certainly this is not the only thing MSC did funnily from our point of view. 26 May 2011.
Deck 14 (Pascoli deck) - Again cabins forward, sunbathing spaces surrounding the pool complex (one deck below) midships, a children's play area aft at the base of the funnel and an observation lounge cum dischotheque at the very aft.

Continuing the proud tradition of naming discotheques after the ship's yard number. 25 May 2011.
I love the sleek, technological design of this space. If only MSC would start playing something else than the same tape on repeat a bit earlier than at 1 AM... 25 May 2011.
Not perhaps quite as impressive during the day. Using this space as an observation lounge was somewhat hindered by the layout of the sofas which had their backs facing the windows. We developed some very creative ways of sitting in order to enjoy the views. 23 May 2011.
Deck 13 (Foscolo) - Forward there is a spa compex with a gym and a sauna (the latter could have been better), with the gym being the only forward-facing public room on the ship (!). Amidships there are the main pool areas (Coral Bay and Cavo Levantado) and aft there are two restaurants, Villa Pompeiana and L'Obelisco. For breakfast and lunch both restaurants fuction as a buffet, for dinner the L'Obelisco becomes a (rather expensive) extra-charge a la carte venue while on most night (but not all) Villa Pompeiana has a limited buffet section (mostly salads, burgers and pizzas).

Coral Bay pool area facing forwards (photographed from a walkway on deck 14). 23 May 2011.
Cruising on the North Atlantic in spring the weather doesn't invite you to spend much time on the sun decks - although we did go for a swim despite the weather. As did a number of the German passengers. Both nationalities of course batshit crazy, albeit in different ways. 24 May 2011.
Cavo Levantado pool (as was the photo above) at night time, facing forward. Notice the water level in the pool. Could have been nice for a noctural dip, but MSC nets over the pools at 6 PM regardless of the weather. 26 May 2011.
Villa Pompeiana and L'Obelisco were both finished in very classical style that was a bit at odds with the rest of the ship, as most of the interiors were in art deco -influenced. 2 June 2011.
Villa Pompeiana, starboard side, facing forward. 2 June 2011.
Deck 12 (Leopardi deck) - Navigation bridge & cabins.

Deck 11 (D'Annunzio deck) - Cabins.

Deck 10 (Carducci deck) - Cabins.

Deck 9 (Ungaretti deck) - Cabins.

Deck 8 (Tasso deck) - Cabins.

Deck 7 (Manzoni deck) - Theatro Carlo Felice (the show lounge) forward, followed by the casino, a "Via dello Arti" including a library, card room and a sushi bar. Aft of these, flanking the main atrium (Rendez-Vous reception) was a cigar room and a internet café, followed by a photo arcade and Il Grappolo d'Oro wine bar. At the very aft was one of the largest entertainment venues, Pigalle Lounge. For some reason we spent little to no time in the latter.

Entrance vestibule to the upper level of Carlo Felice. 24 May 2011.
Theatro Carlo Felice, viewed from the balcony level. The space was named after Genoa's opera house if I remember correctly, though the original probably didn't resemble this space very much. Still, this was very cool and the nightly shows rather good. 25 May 2011.
Via dello Arti, fecing towards the library with the sushi bar on the left. The latter was quite expensive (in my opinion anyway) and always empty. The quality of fish foods onboard was very poor overall, which might also have scared potential customers away. 26 May 2011.
Rendez-Vous Reception, facing down from deck 7. 24 May 2011.
Il Grappolo d'Oro wine bar, with what were probably the least comfortable armchairs known to mankind. 26 May 2011.
More of Il Grappolo d'Oro, 26 May 2011.
Deck 6 (Dante deck) - The lower level of Theatro Calro Felice at the bow, followed by Zebra Bar (the clue is in the name), Bar del Poeti (flanked by several small shops), middle level of the atrium (with more shops) and one of the two main dining rooms, Il Palladio, aft.

Zebra Bar. The decor works surprisingly well, although the music played here wasn't to our tastes (except on the first night when the band, playing to a near-empty lounge, treated us with a 10-minute funk jam). 25 May 2011.
Bar dei Poeti's entertainment included a delightful three-piece jazz band, but unfortunately smoking was allowed on the port side of the room and with no partitions the whole place ranked of cigarettes. Suitable for a jazz lounge but still irritating to those of us who do not smoke. 26 May 2011.
Our coze little corner of the Il Palladio restaurant. I rather liked the decor, but the food ranged from almost-ok to downright terrible. 23 May 2011.
Deck 5 (Petrarca deck) - The lowest deck accessible to passengers had a medical center forward, a number of cabins amidships followed by the lowest level of the atrium (flanked by two bars) and aft the other main dining room La Fontane with blue rococo-influenced decor.

The entertainment at the atrium had alternating performers: the guy with guitar and a female singer (who you can see here) and a string trio playing classical music. The former was not my cup of tea while the latter was quite splendid. Sadly the crew had no intention of letting you enjoy the music and particularly on the upper level of the atrium there was a lot of unnescessary, distracting noise. 26 May 2011.
One of the sitting areas off the Rendez-Vous atrium. 26 May 2011.
The atrium, pohotographed upwards from deck 5. 2 June 2011.

18 May 2012

MSC Poesia in Tallinn, 16 May 2012

MSC Poesia

IMO 9387073
Built 2008, Aker Yards Chantiers de l'Atlantique, St. Nazaire, France
Tonnage 93 330 GT
Length 293,80 m
Width 32,20 m
Draugth 7,70 m
3 013 passengers
5 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 58 000 kW
2 propellers
3 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 22 knots

Ships of MSC Cruises are starting to become a rarity in Helsinki as the company have decided to stop calling in the city completely due to the high harbour fees levied. Tallinn across the Bay of Finland on the other hand remains a popular destination for the line and fortunately enough I happened to be in that city on 16 May when the MSC Poesia called there. The Poesia and I are of course old friends as I travelled on a year ago on a cruise to Norway, Faroe Islands and Iceland (my travel report from that trip can be read at Maritime Matters here, while this previous entry has images of her in Tórshavn, Akureyri and Ísafjörður. I should try to remember to look through the interior photos of her I have and put them up in here as well).

So yes, the MSC Poesia departing from Tallinn's cruise quay on the afternoon of 16 May 2012, photographed from Linnahall. Click on the images to see in larger size.

For some reason the waterfront between Linnahall and the passenger harbour is essentially a wasteland (and judging by the trees has been for some time). While not perhaps very effective use of land, the trees with their newly-sprouted leaves make for a nice foreground.
I never seem to have a chance to photograph the MSC Poesia in sunlight - every time I have photographed her it has been overcast, raining or snowing. Not that I'm complaining, these photos too turned out fine despite the fact it was, in fact, raining lightly.
Linnahall, in case you were wondering, is a Soviet-era building designed by Raine Karp. Originally it was named the V. I. Lenin Palace of Culture and Sport, which also illustrates the building's purpose. Today the interiors of the badly dilapidated building are closed down, but it's exterior is open to visitors.
Most of the ferries visiting Tallinn sail into the harbour a bit too far away from Linnahall to yield good photographs (at least with my equipment), but the Poesia did a nice turn in perfect range for photography.
Another upright photo! I couldn't resist the tree in full bloom in the foreground. ;)

11 May 2012

Delphin in Helsinki, 11 May 2012


IMO 7347536
Name history: Belorussiya, Kazakhstan II, Delphin
Built 1975, Wärtsilä Turku, Finland
Tonnage 16 214 GT
Length 156,27 m
Width 21,90 m
Draugth 6,20 m
556 passengers
2 Pielstick-Wärtsilä diesels, combined 13 240 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 21 knots

The Delphin, one of my all-time favourite ships, is back in action. The ship had been laid up since their owners Delphin Seereisen went bankrupt in late 2010. For a history of the ship prior to this, see this entry. In December 2011 the laid-up ship was sold to Passat Kreuzfahrten, a new German-market cruise line owned by the Indian businessman Pradeep Agrawal. Subsequently the Delphin sailed from Venice, where it had been laid up, to the Viktor Lenac Shipyard in Rijeka (Croatia) where the ship's interiors were refurbished. However, her exterior livery was kept almost entirely unchanged, except for the painting of Passat Kreuzfahrten's logos under the ship's nameplate in the superstructure, in the same place where Hansa Kreuzfahrten's logos were previously located. The funnel symbol remains that of the now-defunct Dephin Seereisen (confused yet?). In April 2012 the Delphin entered service with Passat Kreuzfahrten. I would love to sail on this ship, but her being marketed exclusively at the German-language market places some restrictions on my ability to sail on her.

The Delphin called in Helsinki on 11 May 2012. Previously she had always departed very early in the afternoon, which is very impractical in terms of lighting. This time she departed later, at the lighting-wise more practical time of 16.00 - however, this time around it was quite foggy. I decided to head out to Suomenlinna to photograph her anyway, without realising that the fog would be even worse out at sea. The photos are interesting anyway.

I admit I did treat these photos heavile to get the ship visible. This is taken at the narrowest point of the Kustaanmiekka strait - you can almost see the other shore, which really isn't that far away at all.
Watching the ship glide out of the fog and back into it again was quite magical - made me wish that I would have had a video camera, it would have made a rather splendid little clip. Presuming of course it could have made anything out of the fog. It was a big challenge for my camera.

10 May 2012

Fram in Helsinki, 8 May 2012


IMO 9370018
Built 2007, Fincantieri Trieste, Italy
Tonnage 11 647 GT
Length 114,00 m
Width 20,20 m
Draugth 5,10 m
Ice class 1 A
500 passengers
318 passenger berths
4 MaK diesels, combined 7 924 kW
2 azipods
2 bow thruster
Speed 16 knots

The Fram was the second cruise ship to call in Helsinki for the 2012 summer cruise season on 8 May 2012. Unusually she came during the afternoon and departed late in the evening. My original plan was to photograph her from Kustaanmiekka, giving the somewhat unusual perspective of a ship arriving through the Kustaanmiekka strait (okay, ships do this every day - I'm just never up early enough to photograph them), but the Fram came in about an hour earlier than scheduled. Hence I was forced to photograph her from onboard the Suokki instead.

Click on the images to see in larger size.

On Kruunuvuorenselkä, inbound towards the South Harbour.
Passing bahind the fortification island Lonna - notice that the spring hasn't gotten very far yet.
I should take more vertical photographs - although getting the horizon straight in them is even more challenging than in horizontal shots.
Had the ship come in a earlier still (or a bit later) I could have taken fine photos in close quarters from the Suokki. Well, you can't always win.
And a bit later, the Fram at Pakkahuoneenlaituri about to discharge her passengers.

07 May 2012

AIDAsol in Helsinki, 6 May 2012


IMO 9490040
Built 2011, Meyer Werft Papenburg, Germany
Tonnage 71 100 GT
Length 253,33 m
Width 32,20 m
Draugth 7,30 m
2 194 passengers (double occupancy)
2 500 berths
4 MaK diesels, combined 36 000 kW
2 azipods
2 bow thrusters
2 stern thrusters
Speed 20,5 knots

AIDAsol had the honour of opening the summer cruise season in Helsinki this year - which in itself is somewhat unusual, as usually it has been Hurtigruten's Fram that has opened the season (or before the Fram, other Hurtigruten ships that were used for cruising during the winter off-season). This also meant that unusually the cruise season opened in the West Harbour, not the South Harbour.

We had been enjoying nice sunny spring weather recently - except in the afternoon of 6 May, which meant the AIDAsol departed in overcast weather and the images required some work to be presentable. Whether or not they are acceptable is up to you to judge.

Click on the images to see in larger size.

AIDAsol in decided un-solly weather.
In our ongoing series of "Crap in the Foreground", rocks. The water level was unusually low, hence the relatively large amount of green in the form of seaweed.
The sky looked brilliant, but it was a lot of trouble trying to make the ship stand out from the photo without losing the sky.
Past Pihlajasaari, with some brave soul out sailing - the weather was not exactly warm either, and I suspect the experience of sailing was rather unpleasant.

06 May 2012

Superstar in Tallinn, 4 March 2012

Clearly there weren't enough images featuring the Superstar in this blog yet, so here are some more. There is a futher reason to featuring these photos however, as I discovered yesterday that Tallink will be introducing a new graphic identity to their fleet (and the fleet of Silja Line) - you can see the new look in a graphic guidelines booklet here. If the guidelines in the booklet will be rigidly introduced on the Tallink and Silja Line fleets (the example images specify the ships as all-white apart from funnel markings and hull texts), the Superstar might look rather different not too soon.


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

The photographs below were taken in Tallinn harbour on 4 March 2012 from onboard the Nordlandia. Click on the images to see in larger size.

Spiffing image, even if most of the ship is in shadows. Ideally one would be at this same quay to observe one of the departures later during the day...
Two months ago we still had ice and snow. Today the summer cruise season opens in Helsinki with AIDAsol being the first ship to call (most unsual, normally the Fram is always the first).
Notice the damage to the paintwork caused by navigating in the ice.
Hopefully Tallink will not be too rigid about their new look - the Superstar would look awful in all-white. And the Tallink Shuttle hull text wouldn't look too good centrally located either. But, we'll see.
Looking back the trip when this photo was taken was an opportune time - getting both good light and ice at the same time is frightfully difficult.
Two hours later, Helsinki.

02 May 2012

Bore interiors, 13 August 2011

It is again the time when I advertize the latest issue of the Ulkomatala web magazine in my blog. The 2/2012 issue is dedicated to the 115 years of the Finnish shipping company Bore (previously Bore Line, originally Steamship Company Bore). Fror those of you who can read Finnish, the magazine is highly recommended. With both the magazine and the 115th anniversary in mind, today's entry is also Bore-related.

As a completely unrelated note, today (that is to say, 2 May) is my birthday. In this particular case, the 29th such.


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

For a history of the ship Bore, refer to this previous entry of the ship (under her previous name Kristina Regina). All of the images below were taken on 13 August 2011; many of them were previously featured on my Maritime Matters report from the Bore. But now, onwards to the photos:

Deck 7 - The topmost deck houses the bridge, in the current form it is a part of the Bore-exhibition.

The bridge has been preserved in the exact same condition as it was in 2010 when the Kristina Regina was withdrawn from service.
A detail on the rather stylish information displays in the museum area.
Deck 6 is entirely given over to cabins (and some outer deck areas). The cabins in the forward section of the deck form a part of the museum exhibition.

One of the original 1st-class cabins. The long-time Finnish president Urho Kekkonen stayed in this particular cabin while onboard the Bore.
Deck 5 (the boat deck) houses bars, cabins and a cafeteria.

Anchor Bar on the fore of deck 5 facing aft. It is not actually a bar, just a room with a dance floot.
Anchor Bar facing forward. This space was added in a later refit.
Kristina Cruises funnel symbol on the forward wall of the Anchor Bar.
The Manoeuvre Bar, aft of Anchor Bar is - as far as I can tell - essentially in the original 1960 appearance.
A meeting room aft of the Manoeuvre Bar on the port side of the ship.
And in the aft of deck 5, Café Navigare (photographed facing aft). This is another space added to the ship later - notice the original outer-deck teak wood flooring on the left.
The service counter of Café Navigare, photographed facing starboard and forward.
Deck 4 houses the ship's two restaurants, the reception, cabins and a children's playroom. It also has a full wrap-around promenade on the outside.

Restaurant Kristina on the fore of deck 4 is a buffet-style restaurant that was open for lunch when I visited the ship.
Desserts and main courses on Kristina's lunch buffet (rather tasty too).
Flags/pennants of the three owners of the Bore/Borea/Kristina Regina: Steamship Company Bore (left), Kristina Cruises (center) and Aura Line (right). Missing is the late-70s owner Jakob Lines.
A view forward from the reception to the restaurant.
Antero Merikarhu (Anthony Seabear, freely translated), the Kristina Regina's mascot in the reception vestibule.
The Kotka restaurant on the aft of deck 4. This was a waiter-service restaurant (at least while the ship was sailing as the Kristina Regina) and it was not open to the public when I visited the ship.
Deck 3 is mostly given over to cabins, but in the fore there is the Baltic Hall (an auditorium, originally the ship's garage) and midships to port there is a shop (which was unused when I was onboard).

The Baltic Hall, facing forward. Yes, this was originally a garage.
Deck 2 is entirely given over to cabins (well, except for the parts taken over by the engine room).

Deck 1 houses the sauna and a gym on the forward part of the ship with the rest given over to the engine room and other technical spaces.

The... what would one call this in English? "Dressing room" doesn't quite cover it's function, as you also cool down in there in between sitting in the actual sauna.
The engine room is a vast and slightly labyrinthine space. It seemed vertically oversized, but that's because it was originally designed to house steam engines much much larger to the more fuel-efficient diesels installed when the ship became the Kristina Regina.
Workshop off the main engine room.
Um... yes. Still in the engine room.
Due to the preserved ship being at least as much Kristina Regina as she is Bore, I have decided to file this entry under both Bore and Kristina Regina.