29 December 2013

AIDAmar in Helsinki, 26 June 2013


IMO 9490052
Built 2012, Meyer Werft Papenburg, Germany
Tonnage 71 304 GT
Length 253,33 m
Width 32,20 m
Draugth 7,30 m
2 192 passengers (double occupancy)
2 500 berths
4 MaK diesels, combined 36 000 kW
2 azipods
2 bow thrusters
2 stern thrusters
Speed 19,5 knots

The AIDAmar is the second-to last ship in Aida Cruises (too) extensive Sphinx-class that started with the AIDAdiva back in 2007 and ended this year with the AIDAstella, with five other ships between them. Not much to say about the AIDAmar that wouldn't have been covered in the technical details above. She was ordered in December 2007, her keel was laid in October 2008 and she was delivered to her owners in May 2012.

The photographs below show the AIDAmar departing Helsinki West Harbour in the afternoon of 26 June 2013, photographed from Sisä-Hattu. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

It's nice to look at these photos today, at the opposite end of the year then it's dark, gloomy and the sun is barely seen.
The (un?)expected return of The Photogenic Tree.
Not a big fan of the Sphinx class in terms of exterior, though I hear the interiors are very nice.
Artsy foreground rocks.
Next time: If we continue in chronological order, the next time will feature more AIDA-ing with the AIDAbella.

13 December 2013

Kontio in Helsinki, 13 December 2013

First off, apologies for the lack of updates for the past two months. I have been busy (this including a ten-day Mediterranean cruise on HAL's Rotterdam - a trip report of this can be read at MaritimeMatters: part 1, part 2 & part 3. Part four will be up next week I hope), and admittedly also not that interested in putting up photos. Hopefully, this entry will mark the beginning of more activity here. Today's entry is also very contemporary, as I offer you photos of the beginning of the Finnish icebreaker season for winter 2013-14 from earlier today.


IMO 8518120
Built 1987, Wärtsilä Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 7 066 GT
Length 99,00 m
Width 24,20 m
Draugth 8,00 m
20 crew
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 15 000 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 18,50 knots

The Kontio and her sister Otso (both names are epithets for "bear" in Finnish) are to-date the last "traditional" icebreakers (designed exclusively for icebreaking duties, not for secondary use in the offshore industry) built for the Finnish icebreaker fleet - although a new traditional icebreaker is in the process of being ordered.

The Otso and Kontio were designed in the early 1980s to replace the older icebreaker trio Karhu, Murtaja and Sampo dating from the late 1950s that were had too narrow hulls to escort modern vessels and were expensive to operate. The Otso was ordered first, in 1984, with the Kontio following in 1985. The ships were delivered in 1986 and 1987, respectively. The pair marked a radical departure from traditional design design principles. Since the first Sampo in 1898, icebreakers built for the Finnish state had been equipped with forward-facing propellers (in addition to backwards-facing ones) to reduce friction between the ice and the hull of the ship by creating additional waterflow; they also had the added benifit of improving manoeuvrability. However, this arrangement was also expensive to operate. On the Otso and Kontio, the forward propellers were replaced by an air bubbling system developed by Wärtsilä. This was not a new invention, having first been used on the Finnlines ropax ferries Finncarrier (1969), Hans Gutzeit (1972) and Finnfellow (1973). Although many voiced concerns about this design choice, resulting in the somewhat pejorative nickname "Pohjanlahden pulputtaja" ("Bubbler of the Gulf of Bothnia") for the ship, in practice the Otso and Kontio have performed well and due to the low operating costs, they are generally the first icebreakers to leave for the field in the autumn and the last to return in spring.

As an additional departure from tradition, the Otso and Kontio were given a different livery from what hed previously been carried by Finnish icebreakers. While traditionally Finnish icebreakers were painted with black hulls and yellow superstructures, the Otso and Kontio were given a blue-write livery inspired by the colours of the Finnish flag.

Originally, the Otso and Kontio were - like all Finnish icebreakers - directly owned by the Finnish state. This changed in 2004, when a new state-owned company, Finstaship, took over the ownership and operations of the Finnish icebreaker fleet. In 2010, Finstaship was replaced by the state-owned limited company Arctia Shipping. Also in 2010, the Kontio was refitted with oil spill response equipment. From then on, she spends the non-icebreaking season under charter to the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), in constant readiness for oil recovery duties. At some point during her career, the ship has been refitted with a bow thruster to improve manoeuvrability.

The photographs below show the Kontio departing the icebreaker base at Katajanokka, Helsinki for the Gulf of Bothnia on 13 December 2013. She was the first Finnish icebreaker of the season to begin operations. Photographed from Katajanokka. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Peeking from behind the bushes. It doesn't show because the ship is blocking the wind, but it was extremely windy on this day.
Kontio with the 1970s brutalist neighbourhood of Merihaka in the background on the left.
Obviously there's no ice here yet, but things at quite different on the northern end of the Gulf of Bothnia, where the Kontio is headed.
Notice the silhouette of a bear on the side of the superstructure.
Also, these photos were taken at noon. Notice from how low the sun is coming from. That's Finnish winter for you.
Yeah, there was so some sky and water...
Heading out on Kruunuvuorenselkä.

09 October 2013

Carnival Legend in Helsinki, 26 June 2013

This entry marks the first time a ship of Carnival Cruise Lines has been featured in this blog. It might also be the last time, as Carnival are pulling their ships out of Europe due to the high cost of air fares. Now of course I might travel to North America or the Caribbean and the usual sailing grounds of Carnival ships, which will change things. In any case, photos of a Carnival ship calling in Helsinki are going to be rare in the future as well.

Carnival Legend

IMO 9224726
Built 2002, Kvaerner Masa-Yards Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 85 920 GT
Length 292,50 m
Width 32,20 m
Draugth 7,80 m
2 124 passengers (lower berths), 2 680 passengers (maximum)
6 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 62 370 kW
2 azipods
3 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

The Carnival Legend was the fourth of the six Spirit-class ships to be constructed in Helsinki for Costa Cruises and Carnival Cruise Lines. (As a minor point of interest, unusually the class was not named after the first ship in it: the Costa Atlantica was the first ship of the class, but the second ship, Carnival Spirit, gave the class its name). This was also the last class of cruise ships to be built in Helsinki and as shipbuilding in the city is being run down, it's likely that no new cruise ships will ever be built here.

In any case, the Carnival Legend was launched (floated out) on 17 December 2001 and delivered to her owners in August 2002. She was named in Harwich during the same month by Judi Dench and made a cruise out of Harwich before crossing the Atlantic to her usual waters in the Caribbean. For the 2013 summer season the Carnival Legend returned back to her "home ground" for Baltic Sea cruising.

The photographs below show the Carnival Legend departing from Helsinki West Harbour in the afternoon of 26 June 2013, photographed from Sisä-Hattu. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Leaving home: The blue building in the background is the assembly hall in which the Carnival Legend was built.
I have to say I actually quite like the Spirit-class design. And I'm not saying that just because the ships are Finnish-built, there is something very pleasant in the overall styling of the vessels.
The return of The Photoganic Tree.
Summer vegetation in the foreground.
The rosehip bush in the foreground adds a nice splash of colour.
Outbound, with Ocean Princess in the background sailing out of the South Harbour.
Next time: AIDAmar

05 October 2013

Azamara Quest in Helsinki, 17 June 2013

Azamara Quest

IMO 9210218
Name history: R Seven, Delphin Renaissance, Blue Moon
Built 2000, Chantiers de l'Atlantique St. Nazaire, France
Tonnage 30 277 GT
Length 181,00 m
Width 25,46 m
Draugth 5,80 m
777 passengers (maximum)
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 13 500 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 18 knots

Some of you might remember how last year I looked at the liveries of different R-class ships operating for different owners in The R Week. Maybe someone in a decision-making position was reading it, as since then Azamara Club Cruises have alreated their livery to a dark-hulled one that stands out better from the general crowd of white-hulled ships (although they did ignore my main advice about funnel colours). Okay, so maybe they didn't change their livery because I wrote about it. But change their livery they did, which of course gives new, interesting photo opportunities.

The Azamara Quest has been featured in this blog previously as the Blue Moon, but let's look at her history for a bit anyway:

Originally the Azamara Quest was Renaissance Cruises' R Seven, penultimate ship of the R class. When Renaissance Cruises went under in 2001, the R Seven was arrested in Tilbury in September, a month before the rest of the Renaissance fleet was arrested and the company declared bankrupt. In December of the same year the ship was sold to Cruiseinvest Eight and moved to lay-up in Marseilles, alongside her sisters R One, R Two, R Five, R Six and R Eight. The R Seven was reactivated in May 2003 when she was chartered to Germany's Delphin Seereisen as the Delphin Renaissance.

After three years the Delphin Renaissance left the Delphin Seereisen fleet in May 2006 when she was sold to Pullmantur Cruises of Spain. Pullmantur was at the time a notable operator of the R-class ships, having used the R Five/Nautica under the marketing name "Blue Dream" in 2002-2005 and at the time still used the ex-R Six (that had been marketed as the "Blue Star") under the name Blue Dream. The Delphin Renaissance was renamed Blue Moon and repainted in the black-hulled livery used by Pullmantur on their R-class ships (essentially the same livery as the ships had had with Renaissance Cruises), having been white-hulled as the Delphin Renaissance. Interestingly, the rest of the Pullmantur fleet were white-hulled at time.

In 2007 Pullmantur Cruises' new owner Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. transferred the Blue Dream and Blue Moon to the new Azamara Cruises brand (originally they had been slated to transfer to Celebrity Cruises instead). The Blue Dream became the Azamara Journey in May 2007, while the Blue Moon followed six months later as the Azamara Quest. Since then the Azamara Quest has remained in service with Azamara Cruises. The company was rebranded Azamara Club Cruises in 2010. In 2013 the originally white-hulled Azamara ships were repainted with dark hulls, essentially identical to their original Renaissance Cruises livery.

The photographs below show the Azamara Quest departing Helsinki on the afternoon of 17 June 2013. The weather, as you can see, was atrocious. but as this was the Azamara Quest's first visit to Helsinki in the new livery I was there anyway.

At the cruise quay on Katajanokka. It wasn'r raining yet, but the clouds sure are threathening...
Two Helsinki landmarks in the background: Helsinki Cathedral (left) and Uspensky Cathedral (right), lutheran and orthodox respectively.
At Suomenlinna when the ship was departing. By this point the rain was pouring down heavily, as you can see from the full-size image.
More rainy Quest.
Notice the near-horizontal raindrops. Fred. Olsen's Boudicca was also in port on this day, but as the rain showed no sign of abating I decided not to stay out to photograph her.

Next time: Carnival Legend.

18 September 2013

Romantika in Riga, 8 June 2013


IMO 9237589
Built 2002, Aker Finnyards Rauma, Finland
Tonnage 40 975 GT
Length 193,80 m
Width 29,00 m
Draught 6,50 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 500 passengers
2 172 berths
300 cars
1 030 lanemeters
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 26 240 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

For a history of the Romantika, see the first entry on her.

The photographs below show the Romantika on the Daugava river, departing Riga on 8 June 2013. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Not, perhaps, the best advert for environmental friendliness. The high-rise building on the right is, to my understanding, a former KGB building.
It's hard to believe the Romantika is already 11 years old. It doesn't seem that long ago that she entered service.
She was built, of course, at what was then Aker Finnyards' Rauma shipyard. The big news this week has been that the yards current owners STX will close it down next June.
The Riga riverfront is not nescessarily beautiful in a conventional sense, but it does give interesting background.
As do the factory smokestack here.
Or the gritty cargo harbour, for that matter.
Next time: Azamara Quest

14 September 2013

Princess Anastasia interiors, 27-30 May 2013

Princess Anastasia

IMO 8414582
Name history: Olympia, Pride of Bilbao, Bilbao, SPL Princess Anastasia
Built 1986, Wärtsilä Turku New Shipyard, Finland
Tonnage 37 583 GT
Length 176,82 m
Width 28,40 m
Draught 6,71 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 500 passengers
2 447 berths
580 cars
1 115 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 22 988 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

For a history of the Princess Anastasia, see this entry. Today we will be looking at interiors of the ship, with photos taken during my Princess Anastasia cruise in May this year. If you want to read a full cruise report, I wrote one for MaritimeMatters and you can read it on that website: Cruising Russian Style on the Princess Anastasia Part 1 and Part 2. A Finnish-language trip report will be published in the next issue of Ulkomatala. Now, onwards to the images.

Deck 11 contains the navigation bridge and sun deck.

Lovely retro bench.
Deck 10 has crew spaces and more sun deck space.

Deck 9 is entirely given to crew spaces.

Deck 8 has a VIP lounge forward, followed by a cinema and casino (all of these are in the area of the original extensive conference facilities). These are followed by the atrium which is flanked by a fashion shop and the Night Rabbit Bar discotheque. Aft there are more crew spaces and a sun deck with the outdoors Drunk Rabbit Bar.

Atrium sculpture, looking down from deck eight to decks seven and six.
The Night Rabbit Bar discotheoque's list of enertainment includes a stripper in the evening.
Night rabbit bar again.
Aft outer deck, with the Drunk Rabbit Bar on the right.
Deck 7 is the restaurant deck, with Seven Seas buffet forward, followed by the atrium, Rabbit Bar, and then the Kampai Sushi Bar, New York and Napoli Mia restaurants. Right aft is the Columbus Night Club, the main entertainment venue.

Seven Seas buffet.
Atrium on deck 7, almost entirely unaltered from the ship's original 1986 appearance.
Atrium tables with sea views.
Original 1986 wall clock, with different hour hands for Finnish and Swedish time.
The starboard side has an arcade connecting the atrium to Columbus Night Club aft, with all other spaces on the deck accessible from the arcade. This view is forward from Columbus entrance.
The Rabbit Bar, taking the place of the original pub. Although the details are not visible in this image, all decor is rabbit-related.
Rabbit Bar, with mrs Id modelling.
More Rabbit Bar.
Kampai Sushi Bar. This dining option was relatively expensive and not very popular.
New York restaurant, with mrs Id again modelling.
New York restaurant again.
Napoli Mia restaurant.
The Columbus Night club was given a thorough renovation before the ship entered service as the Princess Anastasia and looks superb.
More Columbus Night Club, facing aft.
Columbus Night Club, facing port.
Deck 6 has passenger cabins fore and aft. Amidships is the atrium with the main entrance (that cannot actually be used in her current service, as all terminals only have passenger gangways linking to deck 4), Bake & Coffee cafeteria, the tax-free shop and a large children's playroom.

P&O Ferries signage in the forward staircase.
Atrium, facing forward and port from the (unused) main entrance.
Atrium, facing aft from the frward staircase.
Bake & Coffee cafeteria, located on the port side next to the atrium.
Arcade connecting the atrium and aft staircase, facing forward. The tax-free shop is to the left (port) and children's playroom (originally the perfumery) to the right (starboard).
A2 class cabin, with mrs Id perusing SPL's uninformative brochure.
The wonder of Finnish ship design: the cabin corridor with a sea view that can be found on both the Mariella and the Princess Anastasia. Why this part hasn't been fixed on either ship and turned into outside cabins is a constant source of puzzlement to me.
Deck 5 is given over entirely to cabins.

Deck 4 is also entirely passenger cabins, with the current main entrance next to the forward staircase.

Deck 3C is the hoistable car platform.

Deck 3 is the main car deck.

Deck 2 has the sauna and fitness center forward, followed by cabins and then engines and other technical spaces aft.

The dressing room of the men's sauna (I was the only one there, hence I dared to take a photo). The suanas has been recently renovated, but although they looked fine there were several problems and oddities below the surface.
The main pool. Notice the sloping wall to the left; deck 2 is at the waterline and the pool is in the forward part of the ship.
Next time: Romantika