29 May 2015

Silja Symphony in Helsinki, 20 May 2015

Silja Symphony

IMO 8803769
Built 1991, Kvaerner Masa-Yards Turku New Shipyard, Finland
Tonnage 58 377 GT
Length 203,03 m
Width 31,93 m
Draught 7,12 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 852 passengers
3 001 berths
410 cars
1 600 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä-Vasa diesels, combined 32 580 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 21 knots

The Silja Symphony is obviously familiar to readers, as she has been featured here often - actually more often than any other Silja Line ship. I have posted images of her in the new livery applied last autumn before, but these are the first photos showing her in the new livery in more normal lighting, showing her new livery to the best effect.

So, these are from the very conventional vantage point of Kustaanmiekka, showing the ship passing through the Kustaanmiekka strait. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

The light was really surprisingly harsh, but with a little post-photography fiddling these turned out alright.
I wasn't the only one drawn out on this day, even though it was actually rather cold in Suomenlinna.
Traditional "on to the open sea" pic.
Next time: Since we're in the heat of the summer cruise season, I shan't make any precise promises. Photos of the Mariella in her new livery from the same day as these await editing on the computer, and both the Serenissima and the first visit of the Ocean Dream in Helsinki are in the pipeline for near-future photoshoots.

20 May 2015

Marco Polo in Helsinki, 20 May 2015

The summer cruise season in Helsinki actually begun three weeks age, with the Costa Pacifica opening the season on 1 May. For my part, a combination of other commitments and poor weather meant that I did not have a chance to open the photo season until today. But I did it with a fine ship, and managed to get photos of both the Silja Symphony and Mariella in their new liveries in the process. You will get to see those later, as today we take a look at the Marco Polo.

Marco Polo

IMO 6417097
Name history: Alexandr Pushkin, Marco Polo
Built 1965, VEB Mathias-Thesen-Werft Wismar, East Germany
Tonnage 22 080 GT
Length 176,28 m
Width 23,55 m
Draught 8,17 m
848 passengers (lower berths)
915 berths
2 Sulzer-Cegielski diesels, combined 15 447 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 16,5 knots

For a brief history of the Marco Polo, see the first entry on her. For those wanting a more detailed look at this fascinating ship, I heartily recommend the book Marco Polo - Celebrating Fifty Golden Years of Ocean Travel by Richard Clammer. The book is published by Ferry Publications and you can buy it from the Ferry Pubs website (and yes, Ferry Pubs did publish my book too, so this is a bit of an advert).

Anyways, to the photos! Which show the Marco Polo departing Helsinki Eteläsatama (South Harbour) on the afternoon of 20 May 2015, photographed from Lonna. As per the usual, you can see the images in larger size by clicking on them.

The ship was moored bow towards the south and I briefly hoped she would take the more southernly shipping lane, which would have brought her right next to Lonna. Alas, she used the more northernly lane instead.
Which gave quite nice photos too...
...even if the Hanasaari power plant is not perhaps the most pleasant thing to have in the background.
It didn't take long for her to pose in front of a more attractive background.
The Marco Polo is a regular visitor - she's been calling in Helsinki at least since 1966, when she was the Alexandr Pushkin sailing on the Leningrad-Montréal transatlantic run.
You don't see them here, but like last spring, Lonna was filled with Angry Birds - namely, Canadian Geese protecting their nests.
Next time: Either the Silja Symphony or (if I head out to photograph tomorrow) the Arcadia.

19 May 2015

Star in Helsinki, 18 March 2015


IMO 9364722
Built 2007, Aker Finnyards Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 36 250 GT
Length 186,00 m
Width 27,70 m
Draugth 6,50 m
Ice class 1A
1 900 passengers
520 berths
450 cars
1 981 lanemeters
4 MaK diesels, combined 48 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 27,7 knots

Because obviously there weren't enough photos of the Star in this blog yet. As per the usual, the photos below show the ship departing from Helsinki's Länsisatama, this time on the afternoon of 18 March 2015. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

12 May 2015

Isabelle in Stockholm, 3 May 2015

It's been almost two years since Viking Line's Isabella became Tallink's Isabelle, so it's high time the ship be featured here - even if the images aren't perhaps quite up to the usual quality.


IMO 8700723
Name history: Isabella, Isabelle
Built 1989, Brodogradiliste Split, Yugoslavia
Tonnage 35 154 GT
Length 169,40 m
Width 27,60 m
Draught 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

Since this is the first time the ship has been featured here under its current name, it's high time to also update her history. Note that most of the text here is copied from the first Isabella entry.

The Isabelle started life as the Isabella, the second of two ships ordered in the mid-80s by SF Line from the Brodogradiliste Split shipyard in the (then-)Yugoslavia. Her older sister Amorella was completed for the Turku-Stockholm service in 1988. Isabella was planned to follow in 1989 and she was to be placed on the Naantali-Kapellskär -route. However, the port authorities of Kapellskär were less than thrilled about the thought of expanding their harbour to accommodate the Isabella (and her envisioned running mate, RAB Slite's Athena). In the end Naantali did expand their harbour to accommodate the new ships, while Kapellskär did not. To make the best of the situation, SF Line decided to place the Isabella on a new service linking Naantali to Stockholm when she was delivered in June 1989.

Originally the Isabella was planned to be around the year on the Naantali-Stockholm service, but this proved unprofitable and instead she was moved to doing 25-hour cruises to nowhere from Helsinki for the 1989-1990 winter season. For the summers of 1990 and 1991 Isabella returned to Naantali, but the Naantali-Stockholm service was deemed a failure and from autumn 1991 she sailed exclusively on the 25-hour (later changed to 24-hour) cruise service from Helsinki. In spring 1992 she was rebuilt with the addition of an observation lounge on deck 11, converting the garage on deck 5 into cabins and on the exterior the addition of a red stripe running along the windows of deck 6. During the summers of 1993 and 1994 the Isabella made occasional cruises from Helsinki to Visby.

In the aftermath of the bankruptcy of Rederi AB Slite (the other partner of Viking Line) in 1993, the Isabella swapped routes with the Cinderella after the 1994 summer season, moving to the Helsinki-Stockholm service. During the 1996 summer season the Isabella's (and her running mate Mariella's) route was briefly extanded to Tallinn-Helsinki-Stockholm. This was not a success and the excercise was not repeated. When the Gabriella was acquired in 1997 she took over the Isabella's place on the Helsinki-Stockholm service. Isabella in turn moved to the Turku-Stockholm service (replacing the Rosella), pairing for the first time in her career with her sister ship Amorella.

Following the delivery of the new Viking Grace, the Isabella was laid up and placed for sale. Although Corsica Ferries were rumoured to be interested, no buyer emerged and Viking Line produced plans to reactivate the ship for the Helsinki-Tallinn line for the summer season, sailing as a running mate to the Viking XPRS. At this point Viking's main competitors Tallink did a little math and came to the conclusion that they would lose less money by buying the Isabella than they would if Viking could bring an extra ship in for the summer season. In April 2013 the ship was sold to Tallink; a few days before the sale was finalized, her name was amended to Isabelle and Tallink retained the name - as well as the ship's red-hulled livery.

In May 2013 the Isabelle entered service on Tallink's Stockholm-Riga route, replacing the Silja Festival. In August 2014 she became the sole ship on the Riga route when her running mate Romantika returned to the Stockholm-Tallinn route following the charter of the Silja Europa to Bridgemans Services. It will be interesting to see if the Isabelle will remain the sole ship on the Riga run for long - and what else the future has in store for her.

The photographs below show the Isabelle at Stockholm Frihamnen on the afternoon of 3 May 2015, photographed from onboard the Silja Symphony. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Can't help it, the near-Viking livery looks sloppy.
Red on Red: The Isabelle in port, with the Mariella outbound in the backgroud. Notice the new livery on the Mariella; weather permitting, I hope to share proper photos of her in the new colours soon.
To be fair, the Isabelle's livery has changed a bit from the Viking days: in addition to the all-white funnel, she has an added red stripe aft. Personally, I would have maybe invested in some white paint instead.