06 October 2017

Express (Viking FSTR) in Helsinki, 19 May 2017

The previous entry with exterior views of the Express has a been a surprise hit at the blog, skyrocketing over the summer to the number one most popular entry of all time. As the ship's summer season with Viking Line is spooling towards its end (the last sailings will be on the 22nd of this month), it's high time we look at her again.


IMO 9176046
Name history: Catalonia, Catalonia L, Portsmouth Express, Express
Built 1998, Incat Hobart, Australia
Tonnage 5 902 GT
Length 91,30 m
Width 26,00 m
Draught 3,73 m
836 passengers
120 cars
4 Caterpillar diesels, combined 28 800 kW
4 waterjets
Maximum speed 48 knots
Service speed 30 knots

The history of the Express is explained in this previous entry. The ship's future remains uncertain at the time of writing; earlier this summer, it was reported the catamaran has been sold to Armas for service around the Canary Isles, but this appears to have been what we in Finnish call a "news duck". However, Viking Line have not confirmed the ship's return for the next season. Personally, I would not be surprised if the Express turns out to be a one-summer wonder with Viking; with limited retail, restaurant and entertainment facilities the ships doesn't fit too well in with Viking's strategy of providing cheap tickets but exacting high revenue from onboard services.

While waiting for the final news of what happens with the ship, we can look at some photos from earlier this year. These show the Express arriving at, and departing from, Viking Line's terminal at Katajanokka, photographed from Valkosaari. As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

Inbound, the Express passed several local ferries: the Suokki sailing to Suomenlinna, the Vire to Korkeasaari and the Viapori also to Suomenlinna. The light on the first two was not too good, but this one of the Viapori and Express turned out pretty okay.
It'll be interesting to see if we'll ever see an Incat wave-piercing catamaran in Helsinki after 22nd this month.
45 minutes later, the ship departs, reversing out from the quay.
The Viking XPRS, of course, usually does the same manoeuvre.
Now the pointy bit is in the right direction and we can get going.
I still think they should have painted the hull red all the way to the bow.

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