Sunday, 7 April 2013

Ship profiles 1: Isabella

Name: MS Isabella
IMO number: 8700723
Built: 1989
Lenght: 169,4m
Beam: 27,61m
Draught: 6,26m
Tonnage: 34 386 GT

Type: Cruiseferry
Speed: max. 21,5 knots / average 17 knots
Ice Class: 1A Super
Decks: 12

Capacity: 2200 passengers; 850 latemetres
Home: Mariehamn, Åland
Sisters: Amorella, Gabriella, Crown of Scandinavia
Status: Laid up in Turku, waiting for delivery.

Isabella was originally built to replace Rosella on the Naantali–Mariehamn–Kapellskär route. The plans changed, because Kapellskär harbour hadn't been modernised in time to be able to accomodate her. Instead, she was placed on Naantali - Stockholm route for summers, doing cruises from Helsinki other time of the year. In 1992, she was rebuilt to fit more passengers and cars. In 1992 the Naantali-Mariehamn-Kapellskär route was terminated, and Isabella started doing cruises from Helsinki all year round.

A postcard of Isabella before 1992 - notice the red stripe missing from the livery and no rear sponsons.
In 1994 she swapped routes with Cinderella, doing Helsinki-Stockholm until 1997. Then, her newly-purchased sister Gabriella  replaced her and she joined her other sister Amorella on the Turku-Mariehamn-Stockholm route. She stayed on that route until she was replaced by new Viking Grace in January 2013.
In 2000, she was rebuilt with rear sponsons to add stability, and in 2007 her interior was extensively rebuilt.

Since the delivery of Viking Grace, Isabella substituted for Amorella while she was docked, and ever since she has been laid up in Turku. Isabella had been for sale since summer 2012, but since it was unlikely that she would sell so soon, plans were made to put her on Tallinn-Helsinki route in summer to meet the high demand. But then Tallink stepped in the way, buying Isabella from Viking Line before the plans were made true.

Tallink has announced that Isabella will be placed on Riga-Stockholm route, replacing Silja Festival. Isabella will be delivered to Tallink by the end of April. It is pretty obvious that she will be repainted and renamed, and there have already been many discussions on her future livery.

Old Tallink uniform?
Or maybe something more like Silja Line? 
Or maybe the livery they wanted for Baltic Princess?
Or just a splash?
Either way, when there is more news about her, I will share them. But for now, let's see what happens.

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