Saturday, 1 June 2013

Experience: Silja Europa

Yesterday I had the honour to ride on my old favourite Silja Europa for the first time ever. It was a regular three and a half hour crossing from Tallinn to Helsinki. One would guess that while there's Tallink ships doing two hour crossings 6 times a day, Viking XPRS, and for the ones who are in a really big hurry, Linda Line HSCs taking only an hour and a half, that Silja Europa takes, like, forever and no one would want to cruise on her. But that's definitely not true.

Close up
As soon as I got on her, I immediately noticed the size difference compared to Viking XPRS. I felt a bit lost and I had to look at the ship plan to find the luggage lockers, because I had a very heavy and large suitcase with me. I was stunned when I found out that my suitcase was just a little bit too big to fit in the largest locker. I didn't have to wait and think for too long though - a cleaner lady opened a cabin for me and let me put my suitcase there for the trip. Freed from my heavy burden, I went to look around, but soon my dear friend called me, I went to the sun deck and we spent almost an hour waving to each other and chatting. I could hardly see him there, because he was like 500m away from me, but I did see him, and it made me feel a lot better. When the ship started moving and other ships came in the way of my view, I decided to go downstairs and see what I could do there. I ended up getting a nice lunch at the Grill & Cafe Food Market. I took my plate close to the bow window, sat down and enjoyed the nice view. As I was eating, Tallink's Superstar, having departed 30 minutes later than us, passed us.

Lunch & Superstar
Since I didn't hurry at all with finishing my meal, I also saw Superstar's mate Star coming the other direction, some tankers and a fancy cruise ship. Later on I found out it was Balmoral.



After lunch, I had a photo of me taken on the sun deck and spent a while looking around in the stores and shopping.
My ship photo
I also had plenty of time to go sunbathing on the sun deck, until the time was right to head back to the room where my suitcase was. As we arrived to Helsinki, we were passed by Grand Mistral, and at the harbour I saw the same ships I had seen in Tallinn only some days before - Celebrity Constellation, Emerald Princess and Norwegian Star. Princess Anastasia was there too, and Superstar was just starting to leave for Tallinn again. I'm quite sad I didn't have my camera to take photos, but oh well, it's not like I forgot it.

Grand Mistral
Celebrity Constellation
Emerald Princess
Norwegian Star
Princess Anastasia
Silja Europa impressed me a lot. While I was on her, I really felt that she used to be the largest cruiseferry in the world. She perfectly lives up to what she is - a glorious world class cruiseferry from early 90s - very beautiful, big and fancy, but a bit tired and outdated. But if anything bothered me at all, it was the sticky floors in the elevators caused by spilled drinks. Still, I enjoyed my trip a lot and I really hope I'll get to cruise on her again soon. Here's some photos I took with my phone:

From deck 12 to deck 7
Deck plan

Ticket and coupons

Sun deck & helipad


View to Tallinn & Eckerö Line's Finlandia. If you look carefully, you can see that it's a long fall to the water from there.

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