Sunday, 6 March 2016

Experience: Cruising with style, part 3 (Gabriella)

Upon arrival to Turku we split up with Sverre for a brief time and I headed home to unpack some extra stuff I had got from Tallinn and Stockholm, that had become a burden to carry along. Later on we met up again in the center, had a relatively modest lunch in Burger King and headed to Best Western hotel to check in and discover that our room was located right across the entrance to the Viking Line terminal, which was particularly nice later on when the Viking Grace came in.

The next morning we woke up to quickly grab our stuff to rush across the road to the Viking Line terminal, do the check-in, board, find our cabin and settle down there. The ship we boarded was Gabriella, who usually sails Helsinki-Stockholm paired with the Mariella, but at that time she had come to replace the Amorella during her docking. Just as with the Mariella, I had only done a crossing from Helsinki to Tallinn on her before and I sure couldn't miss a sweet opportunity to see her better, especially on an exceptional route. Our excellent cabin luck (as we never made any special requests) continued, although we had not booked the highest available cabin class, I still dare to say it couldn't have been better - our balcony cabin on deck 11 (11113) was not only on port side, but also the only one with the balcony providing a good forward view as well. As a result we never needed to go to the public open decks to take pictures, although those on the Gabriella are quite good for that purpose.

View into the cabin
Photo by Sverre Andreas Rud
After taking some time to finally properly start the day, we headed to Viking Buffet for a lunch and soon afterwards it was time to head back to our cabin to watch as we made a stop in Mariehamn.

Viking Grace somewhere in that weather
Silja Line's Turku-Stockholm boats outbound from Mariehamn
Viking Grace following us towards Mariehamn
Photo by Sverre Andreas Rud
Galaxy, heading for Stockholm
Baltic Princess, heading for Turku
All three behind us
Viking Grace turning around
While the other two slowly sail out of sight
As she maneuvered, we got a 360° view of her and her immaculate, picture-perfect paintjob; she had her first dry-docking just a bit over a week earlier.
Both of us tied up in Mariehamn

Later on we did some last shopping, until we arrived in Stockholm and Sverre had to disembark to return to his home. I stayed on board to return to Turku and chose to spend the rest of the evening in the cabin in the company of my laptop and a bag of chips.

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