Friday, 29 March 2013

Planning, planning, planning...

.. oh, the sweet sweet planning. It's my 2nd favourite thing to do after travelling. Now I have two ship trips in mind for future, one of them is fully planned and will happen in late April. It's nothing big, just a weekend trip to Helsinki and back on the usual Viking XPRS. Out of all the baltic sea ships, I know her the best, since I've been on her ... uhh, several times. I'm too lazy to count now. All my trips to Finland that I planned myself were on her. I've also travelled on HSC Tallink Autoexpress 2 and HSC SuperSeaCat Four, both of them are now serving somewhere else. In 2009 I saw Tallink's MS Star and MS Superstar in one trip, and that ends the small list of ships I've been on.

Tallink Autoexpress 2

SuperSeaCat Four

Viking XPRS

I really can't remember what's it like to ride a high speed craft (HSC). Both times I did I was very young. As I mentioned, both of the ships have left Tallinn long ago, and so has Nordic Jetline, who also operated fast ferries between Tallinn and Helsinki. Now we only have Linda Line with Merilin and Karolin, but for now I don't have any plans to try them.

Merilin and Karolin
But I do have another trip in mind. In June, I'm going to Finland again, and this time I'm focusing more on getting familiar with ships I haven't seen yet. From Tallinn to Helsinki, I'm planning to take my good old favourite Silja Europa. I've wanted to see her ever since she became my favourite, and now it's not so hard since she was moved to Tallinn. The Silja Line seal on her funnel was already replaced by a Tallink logo, which looks really neat. I've also heard from different sources that soon the Tallink logo will be painted on her sides. I think there's two options - they'll either ruin a beautiful ship, or make it look better, since the plain white it is now is pretty boring. I wonder if it'll be done by the time I get on her. Silja Europa takes 3 to 3,5 hours to get to the other side, so I'll have plenty of time to admire.

Silja Europa as she is now
The other ship I'm  hoping to see is Viking Line's Isabella. She was replaced by the new and shiny Viking Grace earlier this year, and now she's standing in Turku with no use. In May she will be moved to Tallinn to help Viking XPRS handle the big demand on Tallinn - Helsinki route, but after the summer season ends, her future is uncertain. So this may as well be a once in a lifetime chance to see her. Sure, she's not as new and nice and fast as Viking XPRS, but who cares.

By the way, while I'm at it. Am I the only one who thinks that the new and fancy Viking Grace looks a bit like a beetle with that bridge?

Viking Grace
When it comes to the less certain plans and farther future trips, they also involve seeing new ships. Before this year ends I may see the ships that are in Latvia - Romantika, Silja Festival and maybe Regina Baltica too, although I've no idea what they're planning to do with her. The chances I'll ever get to ride them are nearly nonexistent though, which is sad, because I'm very curious about Silja Festival. 

Silja Festival

If I'm lucky, I might even get to go to Sweden some time this year. That will involve seeing either Victoria or Baltic Queen, although for some unknown reason I'm hoping for the latter.

Baltic Queen

One day I'm also hoping to cruise on Viking Line's Mariella, although she's an old ship and doesn't look as smooth and fancy as the new ones. But she's my 2nd favourite after Silja Europa.

Angular, old fashioned Mariella.
There's so many more ships I'd like to cruise one day. My mother has told me stories about Silja Symphony, and I heard that the promenade inside her and her sister ship Silja Serenade is a whole separate attraction to see. I'd kinda like to see every single baltic sea ship, but I really wonder if I'll ever have the perseverance to plan those trips and make them happen.

Find three differences!

Silja Symphony
Silja Serenade
˙ǝpɐuǝɹǝs uo ǝnןq 'ʎuoɥdɯʎs uo ǝʇıɥʍ - ǝɯɐu s,dıɥs ǝɥʇ ɥʇıʍ xoq ˙3 ˙ǝpɐuǝɹǝs uo ǝuıןʇno ǝnןq ɐ ɥʇıʍ ǝʇıɥʍ 'ʎuoɥdɯʎs uo ǝnןq - ןǝuunɟ ǝɥʇ uo ןɐǝs ǝuıן ɐظןıs ǝɥʇ ɟo sǝʎǝ ˙2 ˙ǝpɐuǝɹǝs uo uǝǝɹb 'ʎuoɥdɯʎs uo ǝnןq ʇɥbıן - (ǝɹǝɥ ǝןqısıʌ ʇou) sʞɔǝp ɹǝʇno ǝɥʇ ˙1 :sɹǝʍsuɐ

One trip I've actually set as a goal is a cruise on the enormous Allure of the Seas, probably Caribbean. She is currently the largest cruise ship in the world, but there is a chance she won't hold that record for very long. Either way I'd like to see her, since she has become a kind of a favourite and she really is enormous.. But unlike it is with people, a ship's beauty isn't affected much by her size. To me, Allure looks like the ten times bigger and prettier version of some newer Tallink ship. 

Allure of the Seas
Here's some pictures to show exactly how big Allure of the Seas really is. For example, when Silja Europa navigates in the gulf of Tallinn, I sometimes wonder how she fits in here, since she looks so big here. But she looks like a toy boat next to Allure. Unfortunately I can't think of any "Yo Mama"  joke to fit in the topic. Feel free to help me out on this one.

When Allure meets Europa
This comparison puts Silja Europa next to Allure's sister Oasis of the Seas, which is only 5cm shorter, so you get the idea.

And if you like to dream big, here's a nice cruise offer I found. Fancy a two week trip to the north pole on a soviet nuclear powered, and most importantly, red ice breaker for 24,000+$? Check it out here.
When I first heard the name of that ship, I had a little laugh. It's very, very Soviet - 50 Лет Победы means 50 Years of Victory. Not the most feminine ship name in the world now, is it? 
The vessel itself is looking quite exotic as well, and in my opinion, a bit scary. I wouldn't be very happy if I met one of those on the street at night.

50 Лет Победы 

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