20 May 2014

L'Austral in Helsinki, 20 May 2014


IMO 9502518
Built 2011, Fincantieri Ancona, Italy
Tonnage 10 700 GT
Length 142,00 m
Width 18,00 m
Draught 4,70 m
Ice class 1C
264 passengers
264 berths
Diesels, combined 6 400 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 16 knots

L'Austral is, as is evident from her looks, the second ship in Compagnie du Ponants super-chic Le Boréal -class trio (soon to be quartet). There is very little to say about the history of the ship itself, as it was completed only three years ago. Up until this year, Le Boréal has been Compagnie du Ponant's primary ship on the Baltic Sea cruise circuit, but this year L'Austral made two calls. And since the Stirling Design International -styled exteriors of these ships are some of my favourites, of course I had to catch the ship while I had the chance.

So, the photographs below show L'Austral in the Kustaanmiekka strait on the afternoon of 20 May 2014, shortly after departing Helsinki South Harbour. Photographed from Kustaanmiekka. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

As is the tradition, when I got to Suomenlinna the weather and lighting were delightful. But as departure time for the ships drew nearer, the skies darkened.
I'm not saying this wouldn't be good... it just would have been better had the ship departed a bit earlier.
The L'Austral and Le Boréal can be distinguished from their newer sister Le Soleal by the dark grey hull - Le Soleal has a much less effective light grey shade. It remains to be seen how the upcoming Le Lyrial will be painted.
And of course, just as the ship came to the spot with the juiciest views, the sun was obscured by clouds.
And just seconds later, it was sunlight again.
French flag with Mata Utu as the port of registry.
Next time: Tomorrow I will (probably) head out to photograph the Azores, so that will probably be the next installment.

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