Saturday, 28 February 2015

Experience: Finlandia vol. 2

As promised in my last post, I'll tell more about the Finlandia now. I had a mini vacation in Finland, which involved taking her there and back. A bit of additional excitement was added when we boarded with a car, which is something I had never done before, and during the return trip I had a look at the changes that were made.

Finlandia was some 15-20 minutes late arriving in Tallinn before our boarding, which made us wonder. Her arrival to Helsinki afterwards, however, was on time. She was going full speed and rolling quite heavily.

Viking XPRS shortly before freeing her spot for Finlandia
Finlandia slowly coming in
Suspicious dents I
Suspicious dents II
Feed me, master!
Full speed ahead
Although the crossing speed was even faster due to the delay, it didn't feel even close to as quick as on the Star or the Superstar.
Star backing into Helsinki West harbour, seen from the cardeck
Nice close view during disembarkation
Suspicious dents explained?

Before the return journey I saw a sign in the terminal explaining that the schedules are temporarily changed due to gangway repair works in Port of Tallinn. I felt a bit silly for not having thought of that reason earlier; some time ago Finlandia's freshly completed (finally, two years after her arrival) gangway collapsed shortly before being attached to the Viking XPRS (who was using it due to stormy weather), killing one worker. The collapsed part has been removed and the spot remains unusable until fixed, leaving Finlandia "homeless" once more - as if it was a curse. 

Baltic Queen coming in some 30 minutes early
Us departing, caught by Jani Nousiainen from Baltic Queen
Turning around
Star coming in 
Harbour view as we left


The changes on board were smaller than I expected, but still noticeable and the ship really seemed better. Bar Nosturi is still on just two decks, but the store underneath that occupies the third deck of the big window was made significantly larger and more efficient, putting everything one would expect to find in a ship store in one place. Before the refit there was a separate cosmetics & perfume store on deck 8; now it's a food store selling seemingly gourmet stuff, called the Pop Up Shop.

Another nice addition is a new bar, named Paja, in a somewhat remote location on the port side of the ship. It almost went unnoticed; before the refit there were meeting rooms.

Despite being somewhat remote, it was still packed along with the rest of the ship on the Friday evening departure.
Speaking of meeting rooms, those were moved to deck 6 and there's now quite many of them in an area that was formerly just cabins. On the packed Friday evening departure, those rooms were nicely adapted into a huge playing area for kids.
The new information desk, moved into a separate room opposite to the big store as well as its former self. My intervention there was not nearly as rude as the crew members' faces suggest. 
To my great disappointment, the ex-pool was completely removed from the sundeck, making it feel empty and bleak.

One does not simply get lost on the Finlandia - Another feature I like a lot remained in tact, as expected. 
As well as the neat selfie-mirror
Meanwhile on the side of the ship
Not that speedy this time

While approaching Tallinn and waiting for XPRS to clear her spot for us, I took some more photos of the departing ferries, which means that I managed to photograph every Tallinn-Helsinki ferry during one crossing.

Among others, the Superstar.
The visibility was quite awful and this turned out the best I got of Sea Wind. She has been moving cargo between Tallinn and Vuosaari since early January. 
Viking XPRS 

That's what happens when you eat too many cars

Finlandia's cursed spot, which she's totally not using. During the return journey, which was a little longer because of the lack of a usable harbour spot, the announcements on board called this "technical difficulties".

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