Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Experience: Cruising with style, part 2 (Mariella)

Mariella coming to get us
We reached the Katajanokka terminal just in time to check-in and board the Mariella. For me, it was the first "proper" sailing on her, as I had only crossed on her once from Tallinn to Helsinki in August 2014. She has since been refreshed a bit and now I got to do a full cruise on her. It was here that the amazing cabin luck that followed us for the rest of the trip started - we had booked a suite, and of the six suites on board, we were given the only one that has a total of 8 windows on the port side, giving a wonderful view and allowing us to keep an eye out for other ships at almost all times.

View to the left from the entry
The bedroom, to the right from the entry
The living room
Cards and coupons...
Quite soon after boarding we headed to the jacuzzi and sauna department on deck 2 to boil in the pools a bit before having our dinner in Food Garden. After taking our good time to chat and enjoy the dinner, we moved on to Club Mar for some drinks and talks. Following the many fun hours spent there, we were just about to return to our cabin for the night, but as we passed by the Music Bar, the catchy music playing there pulled us off our set course and the next moment we found ourselves slaying the dance floor. However, some songs later we had to admit that the dancing had drained the last of our energy and so we had to call it a night.

The next day we woke up fairly early to watch the ship sail through the archipelago and meeting the ships bound for Turku. At one point the huge tray packed with our complimentary breakfast was rolled in, delaying our plans ashore somewhat and lasting us well until the end of the cruise.

Viking Grace seen from living room windows

When we finally got off the ship, we first headed to some excellent viewpoints nearby to take photos. Then the rest of the day was spent scouting for a particular store that I remembered for selling excellent tea (Clemontin; found it after walking right past about three times) and meeting up with Nelly and very briefly Markus, until it was just about  time to return to the ship.

Dead tired, I desperately needed a nap while Sverre went out for a drink and met up with a bartender he knew. Soon it was time for our 9-course tasting menu dinner at Plate Social Dining restaurant. The food was great, but our chatter during and between the courses delayed us so much that the restaurant was long closed when we finished and we were almost chased out. After that we had a few drinks at Cava Bar and later went to the open decks to enjoy the windy and slightly rough weather.

Slightly flooded

The next morning we arrived back to Helsinki a little late, packed up our belongings and disembarked to take a bus straight to Turku.

Viking XPRS and Silja Symphony

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