Monday, 26 May 2014

Experience: Finlandia

I'm safely home from another trip to my other hometown. The initial purpose of the trip was to try out Finlandia, which was the last large ferry on the Tallinn - Helsinki route I hadn't been on.

Finlandia and Explorer

On a side note, as I was enjoying my time on board the newest ship in the Eckerö Line fleet, her ex-fleetmate Translandia ended her final journey at a beach in India. She was still here much after my interest started, leaving the Baltic Sea only a little bit more than a year ago. Farewell.

<moment of silence>

Back on topic. Considering the only major con Finlandia has compared to others - the timetables -, I had two options. I could have either gone and then return straight away without getting off the ship or spend a night in Helsinki, and I'm very glad I chose the latter. I would've probably found it extremely difficult to turn around right at the front door of my favourite city and despite the fact that I enjoyed my time on board Finlandia a lot, 6 hours in a row would have been too much.

I've also determined that travelling solo may as well be the best kind for me, because when it turned out that I'd be doing the trip alone, I felt a burden fall from my shoulders. No need to take account of anyone's needs and endless possibilities and ability to do whatever I feel like, and I usually feel like either taking ridiculously long and aimless walks or getting in touch with locals and/or fellow travellers. Long before this trip I had a feeling that I won't be alone during the trip, and the feeling was justified. Hardly an hour after my departure from Tallinn I met the person who ended up accompanying me during most of my stay in Helsinki. Briefly, I was hanging out with someone from the other side of the gulf for a big part of the trip. I dare say it was the best option for me because I really don't feel like a tourist in Helsinki anymore. I spent the night at Stadion hostel, which is a good place to consider if you're not seeking luxury.

But when it comes to Finlandia, based on my experience, the timetables really are the only con. The price-quality ratio is definitely by far the best. As I boarded, I immediately noticed that the design of the interior is quite interesting compared to any other ship I've been on. The ship is also very simple; there are no dead ends and it's impossible to get lost because there are signs and deck plans everywhere on the walls and floors, neatly complementing the design. That made getting around the ship enjoyably easy.
In addition to that I saw the sundeck being washed before the departure and adding the fact that most information was freely available in four languages, I think I'm right to say that visible effort is put into making the ship a pleasant environment for everyone.

First thing I saw after boarding
Another staircase
Funnel and.. what a surprise, another sign.
I especially liked the sundeck. In the middle of the ship it was full width and there was a bar and a small elevated sitting area right in front of the funnel. It left a cruise ship like impression, the only thing missing was a small swimming pool.

There was always live music at least in one place on the ship and the general atmosphere was very nice. Something that probably applies to all ships of her class (adding Superstar of Tallink and the Moby Line ferries) is the great view from the large windows at the bow and stern.

Bar Nosturi
Satama Cafeteria
I also chose to have prepaid lunch on board. The Eckerö Buffet was a really nice place and the food was really delicious, especially the desserts. In fact, I spent most of the journey to Helsinki eating there.

Of course I couldn't let go of a chance to take lots of photos at sea, especially since the traffic is quite heavy nowadays. In fact, as we were approaching Tallinn I didn't really get a chance to go inside between the passing ships.

A tugboat towing a barge
Explorer, Balmoral and L'Austral in Tallinn
Ryndam, Princess Anastasia, Star and Norwegian Star in Helsinki
Silja Europa arriving in Helsinki
Explorer near Tallinn
Superstar passing Eurodam
Viking XPRS leaving Tallinn
HSC Merilin doing the same
The gorgeous AIDAbella, also outbound
Celebrity Infinity in Tallinn


  1. I was at a cafe in the West Harbour around the time you were arriving, it seems. ;)

    As for the Finlandia's sundeck and a swimming pool: she actually had one as the Moby Freedom. The slightly elevated thingy between the funnel and the bar (with the large Lapin Kulta advert in the middle) was a pool, but for some reason it was built over when she became the Finlandia. A shame, I think it would have been a nice addition to the ship for the summer months.

    1. Yeaaah I was thinking the exact same thing! I'm thinking of asking the boss why it was changed :P it would really put the cherry on the cake. :)

      Hmm, any chance you may have seen me? :D

    2. I don't think I saw you - or at least I didn't recognise you, if I had I would have probably come and said hi. ;)