Thursday, 22 January 2015

My 2014

Another year has passed and it's about time to sum it up, as I have already done twice before. These summaries help to reflect and have a brief overview of where I started and where I am now. To anyone who reads this it may also serve as a kind of a guide on what to expect from the blog posts of that era. This year I'll also try to include some ship-related happenings that took my interest at that time. Enjoy.


 To me, the only remarkable event of the month was a daycruise to Helsinki in the start of it. It involved Viking XPRS I had been on numerous times already at that point, but the return journey was on the beautiful Viking Cinderella who was on the route for only three weeks. It was a lucky catch, because on her usual route, she will remain out of my reach for some years due to age restrictions. Some time after she left both she and Viking XPRS hit the docks and had their liveries refreshed. Viking XPRS was also reflagged to Estonia. 


A quiet and difficult month that to me was mostly about getting started at a new job I didn't need to seek for long. I still work there now. This blog hit 10 000 views, which is by now much over 2,5 times that. 


On the first of March I was so happy that the cold and dark winter months are finally over, until the snow came down again the next day. Nevertheless, after letting go of something that had been deteriorating for months, my life got eventful. I won the single main prize at an essay contest with my essay on piracy and copyright protection and did a rather spontaneous daycruise to Helsinki on the Viking XPRS for my first pay. 


Although not as eventful, April was great. I did a lot of walking and shipspotting as the weather got better. In addition to that I was making plans when the cruise schedules were published and in the end of the month, the first cruise ship, the Discovery, called here in Tallinn. Unfortunately, the beautiful ship is no more since she was scrapped in October. I also tried the Titanic Voyage annual roleplay which ended for me when I accidentally returned to my cabin when it was already submerged. On the last day of the month I was lucky to interview the head of the Estonian branch of Eckerö Line, who was very helpful and hospitable.


  In the beginning of the month I gave my bicycle a new look and rode it extensively over the month. I witnessed the opening of a new cruise quay and the calling of the largest ship ever to sail these waters, the Royal Princess. I also got another, seasonal job and had a weekend trip to Helsinki on the Finlandia, which turned out quite fun and random, despite the fact I had been making preparations for a while.


Most of the month was spend working hard and looking at wonderful cruise ships as I had the access to see them close up. Mariella and Gabriella of Viking Line started doing quick trips to Tallinn which was also a thing to see. Had the chance to see David Guetta live in Tallinn. In the end of the month I took a very useful practical sailing course. 


As the month begun, so did the planning and preparing for a longer trip. I attended the Estonian Song Celebration, this time as a seller (I have participated as a singer numerous times before).  On the 6th I visited a calling ship for the first time with a bunch of friends who came here from Finland to see her. The ship was Gann - a Norwegian school ship who does some cruises during the high season. I spent a day working on a sailboat, transporting passengers between two harbours for Tallinn Maritime Days. On the 24th I visited another calling cruise ship, the Legend of the Seas, after being invited by a kind crew member I had met at work. On the 27th while the weather was very lovely here in Tallinn, it was raining and flooding and Stockholm and Mariella broke loose from the quay.  


Month way too
eventful for just
one image
Choosing a photo for July was hard enough

A big part of the month and the big memory overshading everything else was the two week trip I had in the middle of the month. Shortly before it started, Silja Europa made her final trip on the Tallinn-Helsinki route; she was replaced by Baltic Queen and to replace the latter, Romantika came to Tallinn from Riga. My trip involved Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, Mariehamn, Stockholm, Kirkkonummi and Helsinki again, each one of the five Viking Line vessels I had not yet sailed on (Mariella, Viking Grace, Rosella, Amorella, Gabriella), many old and new friends, three amusement parks and a waterpark. Altogether the trip is without doubt the brightest memory of the year - perhaps the fact it took me 5 posts to sum it up shows. The experience also remarkably changed my future school preferences. Shortly after the trip I officially became an adult. 


Early in September I finally received my GMDSS Restricted Operator's licence, having completed the course more than a year earlier. Later, just when I entered the cruise area to take the final photos of the season of Mein Schiff 2, my loyal camera broke down and I got it fixed some weeks later. On the 11th I worked as a volunteer on the sailboat LuLu, taking a bunch of tourists on a fun ride on the bay. We started with sailing closer to the Silja Europa who was laid up in Paljassaare, but as the fog rolled in I couldn't see her anymore and I haven't ever since. I also took a guided tour to the Muuga cargo harbour. In the end of the month my favourite band announced an upcoming concert-cruise on the Baltic Princess (yet to happen) and I immediately looked into options to attend... 


... and on the first days of the month it bore fruit as I booked the cruise together with three people I had never met before. I met one of them face to face very soon afterwards and his help was irreplaceable when I had a weekend trip to Helsinki later that month, going there with the Superstar but hopelessly missing Baltic Queen to return home. Before the trip I finally moved out from under the rock when I received my final birthday present, my first ever laptop. 


Compared to the previous months, November was relatively quiet and difficult. I saw Tarja Turunen live which was a very nice experience. Plans were made for the end of the year. Tallink announced intention to build a new LNG ferry for the Tallinn-Helsinki route and plans to move Sea Wind to Tallinn-Vuosaari route, where she's already serving as I write this. 


For the caption this photo may need, see previous post
Early December was mostly spent working and trying to get everything over with at school. After that was done, I cruised to Stockholm on the Silja Symphony. After the cruise I spent only two days at home and then left for the other home in Finland to spend the rest of the year there and welcome 2015 on the Viking Grace, who had become my favourite ferry during the year.

To sum up, last year was nothing like I expected it to be - it was much, much better and definitely by far my best year yet. To continue what I said last year - 2015 has some even more serious competition. Right now it's looking very promising and will probably bring major changes I'm quite looking forward to. 

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