Posts tagged: gothenburg

Things seen – October 2011

  • The Villandry is captured on Youtube in the 1960s in these timeless home movie reels – she is seen at Newhaven here and here and at Dieppe here. The ship also makes an appearance in this video which captures some excellent scenes of Britons at leisure in the 1960s but the star of the show is undoubtedly the Falaise, arriving at Newhaven stern-first.
  • Later in her life, the former Villandry is studied in this video at Kefalonia in 1990 and here arriving at Delos.
  • The Villandry and Valencay, as built, joined the Dieppe-Newhaven car ferry pioneer, the Falaise, and that ship’s first season is captured at the start of this Pathe newsreel, which continues past the ferry operation with a consideration of Dieppe and the surrounding area.
  • The former Heysham steamer Duke of Lancaster remains something of an enigma but the dukeoflancaster.net website now has dozens of past and present pictures which help to answer a few of the questions as to what she is like aboard.
  • The Arran steamer the Marchioness of Graham had a notable career, staying close to home through the Second World War and surviving locally until the late 1950s. Later rebuilt in Greek service, this video documents her launch back in 1936.
  • The Munster of 1968.

    The Munster of 1968.

  • Alongside modern coverage of Stena’s Irish Sea ships, this remarkable retrospective featured on RTE’s Nationwide programme includes footage of and on board B+I Line’s 1960’s Munster. “Form filling and tiresome customs delays have largely disappeared. A visitor only needs a current driving licence, an international motor insurance card and a pass covering the temporary exportation and re-importation of his car…”
  • A couple of years ago the former Hovertravel AP1-88 Double-O-Seven found herself in trouble in her new home of Sierra Leone. On a related theme, James’ Hovercraft website has had an overhaul and is worth a look.
  • The hoverport at Boulogne is captured in its heyday in this video from 1982.
  • Trouble for the Tor Anglia in 1976.
  • The famous Danish motorship Jens Bang, which went on to have a lengthy Greek career as the Naias, lives on in this outstanding model by Per Rimmen which came up for auction a couple of years ago. Meanwhile some classic DFDS views of a vintage similar to the Jens Bang can be found here.
  • This significance of this remarkable video, including close-up views of the open bow visor and ramp arrangements of the Wasa King (ex-Viking Sally, later Estonia) arriving at UmeÃ¥ is self-evident.
  • Was Gothenburg the coolest place on Earth in 1973? One would think so from this video – and if, like the folk seen from 10:15 onwards, you could sail in and out on the Stena Jutlandica, Stena Olympica, Prinsessan Christina and Tor Anglia or jet around on those Finnair or KLM DC-9s who can argue?
  • The Stena Danica of 1965 at Gothenburg.

    The Stena Nordica of 1965 at Gothenburg.

  • The first Stena Nordica burnt out in Venezuelan service in 1980 but the wreck remains off the island of Cubagua where it is popular with divers. The original Stena bow markings are still visible in this shot.

    What, meanwhile, has become of the ‘Nordica”s sister, the first Stena Danica? The ship saw lengthy service after 1969 as the Lucy Maud Montgomery in Canada before disposal in 1999. The most recent images I can find of her are as the Lady Caribe I, laid up in Key West in the early 2000s. In late 2007 Shippax reported her sold to “Dominican buyers” but there the trail goes cold.

  • Jadrolinija capers in Drvenik Mali. The ship is the PeljeÅ¡canka, locally-built in 1971 and based on the design of the earlier trio of ships bought by the company from Greece.
  • It is not always plain sailing in Croatia as this rough weather film taken aboard the Ero (ex-Aero) in the late 1960s demontrates. This ship was laid up several years ago and reported sold for scrap in late 2009; however as of May 2011 she still lay amongst the Jadrolinija reserve fleet in Cres.
  • The Lovrjenac seen during her terminal lay up at Mali Losinj in August 2008. The bridge of her similarly retired fleetmate, the Novalja, can be seen to the left.

    The Lovrjenac seen during her terminal lay up at Mali Losinj in August 2008. The bridge of her similarly retired fleetmate, the Novalja, can be seen to the left.

  • The latest edition of Ferry & Cruise Review includes a picture of the Lovrjenac (ex-Norris Castle) being scrapped at Aliaga, to which she was towed, along with the Novalja (ex-Kalmarsund V) in late May. The Lovrjenac’s Red Funnel and Jadrolinija fleetmate the Nehaj (ex-Cowes Castle) also found her career at an end this year – like the Božava she was scrapped near Venice.

  • With her interlude as a floating bar in Mali Losinj apparently not a success the veteran Marina (ex-Kronprinsessan Ingrid (1936)) has been relocated to Rijeka which will hopefully be better able to support her activities.
  • Although it is hard to establish whether the Middle Eastern operator Namma Lines are still operating, a few months ago the company did post some Youtube guides to two of their ships: the Mawaddah (ex-King Minos) and the Masarrah (ex-St Columba).
  • The sister to the Mawaddah, the former N Kazantzakis/Shiretoku Maru is today the Kowloon-based cruise ship Metropolis.
  • The Lissos.

    The Lissos.

  • ANEK’s Lissos was sent for scrap earlier in the year and her arrival in Alang was captured for the record. The Lissos was an interesting and slightly-awkward looking ship but one I will miss. Certainly the officers of the cargo vessel featured in this near-miss video will not quickly forget her.
  • The final demise of the GA Ferries fleet was extensively recorded locally – here is an interesting video taken on board the Daliana just before her departure for the scrapyard whilst the final, slow, death march of the Romilda out of Piraeus can be seen here. Similar videos can also be found showing the final departures of the Daliana, the Marina and the Samothraki.
  • This 1994 video of Chandris’s The Azur (ex-Eagle) transiting the Corinth Canal shows what an exciting part of any voyage on any ship this is for passengers.
  • Crazy drivers in Piraeus are nothing new it seems – various classic passenger ships make cameo appearances in this clip from the movie The Burglars of 1971.
  • © hhvferry.com

    © hhvferry.com

  • The author of the the guidebook Greek Island Hopping, Frewin Poffley, sometimes appears to be lacking in any real understanding of the ferry business but has managed to carve out a niche selling his book to travellers to the Greek islands. Good luck to him – but repeated requests that he address the unauthorised use of the Aqua Maria image featured here (taken by me on the quayside at Drapetsona on 23 November 2010 and included in this post last year) have met with no response. Poor show old chap.
  • If you are going to plagiarise images from across the internet, then at least there should be the upside of creating a useful resource; this plundered collection of photographs of the Greek Naxos show the ship throughout her Greek career.
  • Another locally-built Greek ship, a few years younger than the Naxos, was the Santorini which subsequently passed to Indian owners, remaining there until apparently being withdrawn earlier this year. The ship is pictured here alongside the former Suilven (now Bharat Seema) in India whilst there are some interal pictures here and an outstanding voyage report here.
  • The Kefalonia.

    The Kefalonia.

  • Since the original company was absorbed into Attica several years ago it has been a rare sight to see more than one Strintzis ferry in port at a time. On the occasion that the current pair of ships of the revived Strintzis Ferries switched routes in July, however, it was possible to view the Eptanisos and the Kefalonia side by side.
  • The state of the Greek economy means rumours fly around regarding the futures of several of the ferries owned by operators in that country. Whilst Endeavor Lines earlier in the year strongly denied those concerning their operations, their Ionian Queen has recently appeared as a ‘premium listing’ on the website of a well-known ship broker. For six years this ships and her sister, the Ionian King, have been the best ships in Southern Adriatic service and the sale of the ‘King’ back to Japanese owners by Agoudimos Lines earlier this year was tempered somewhat by the survival of the ‘Queen’. The departure of both ships would be a sad loss to the ferry operations out of Brindisi and Bari.
  • Endeavor’s other operational ship is the Elli T which one has to think stands a chance of heading to the breakers rather than further service were she to be sold. Leaping back to her original life as the Japanese Okudogo 3, this series of images show what an eccentric but fascinating ferry she was (and to large degree still is) aboard.
  • A ship which sailed from Japan to Greece in 2010 was the 1991-built New Hiyama, purchased by ANENDYK for local Cretan service. The ship, renamed Sfakia I, berthed in the port of Souda (Chania), ostensibly for rebuild, but has remained there ever since – to the intrigue of locals. An interesting video providing a tour of the accommodation has appeared on Youtube.
  • Last but not least:
    Hengist (as Agios Georgios)
    Horsa (as Penelope A)
    Vortigern (as Milos Express)
  • Cool Hollandica conquers Stena Blandica

    Despite being one of the world’s most successful ferry companies, the mundanity of Stena Line’s modern on board offering has always been puzzling, almost as if the company were determined to portray a ferry crossing as something everyday, nothing to get excited about. The food has never been too much to write home about and the decor from ship to ship was broadly consistent – there were the myriad different ‘Globetrotter’s, dear old Spike’s Sports Bar, Rudi’s Diner or, latterly, the dreaded Food City. Perhaps this familiarity was meant to be reassuring. For a company with such a wide variety of operations I have always found it rather constraining and the chosen decor somewhat depressing – descriptions of floating motorway service stations have not been far from the mark.

    Food City - Stena Baltica

    Food City - Stena Baltica

    I will not, cannot, argue though against Stena’s success. There was once a memorable, possibly apocriphal, quote from Gothenburg that the company just couldn’t find enough things to do with its money. In the ferry part of the Stena sphere, in addition to operating ships, that money was made from building and rebuilding, buying and selling, predicting how the market was going to grow and ordering the right ships at just the right time – when prices were cheap, yards were desperate or demand about to explode.

    Yet I had wondered if no one in Gothenburg in more recent times has ever really understood anything other than the freight market, that to many passengers even the shortest ferry crossing IS extraordinary and perhaps the experience deserves to be a little exceptional.

    Stena Danica (1969)

    Stena Danica (1969)

    Despite being founded on a philosophy little short of ‘pile em high and sell em cheap’ earlier Stena ships were in many ways very beautiful indeed: the Stena Danica of 1969 ranks as perhaps the most beautiful ever Swedish ferry, inside and out. The Yugoslav quartet of the early 1970s were rather striking when one got past the flower power touches; the ‘Danica’ and ‘Jutlandica’ of 1983 as built actually were rather lovely and even the potentially soul-lessly huge Kiel ships of 1987/88 had endearing touches.

    Stena Olympica (1972)

    Stena Olympica (1972)

    Stena Germanica (1987)

    Stena Germanica (1987)

    In the 1990s however what we can call the ‘Stena Blandica’ look took over. Wipe clean surfaces and slightly cheap looking shiny laminate flooring predominated. Worst of all, the desire to apply this look to every ship, regardless of service, took over and so, for example, one found on the overnight ships ‘Germanica’ and ‘Scandinavica’ where once there had been a series of delightful inter-connected à la carte restaurants a dreary Food City was installed instead. Passenger numbers have fallen dramatically from their peak: social and economic factors outside Stena’s control doubtless accounts for much of this yet one still wonders if Stena needlessly abandoned some of the non-transport market it once had.

    Food City has now been discarded – the standardisation of onboard names and styles remains however. Yet, in recent times, there has been a marked uptick: starting with the Irish Sea fleet, suddenly Stena has endeavoured to decorate its ships in a most Scando-trendy and sympathetic style. The 2008 and 2009 refits of the Stenas Voyager, Caledonia and Nordica were perhaps the first hints of this movement, whilst the rebuild of the newly acquired Stena Navigator was the first really coherent evidence.

    Stena Voyager (in 2008)

    Stena Voyager (in 2008)

    Stena Nordica (in 2009)

    Stena Nordica (in 2009)

    Stena Nordica (in 2009)

    Stena Nordica (in 2009)

    Stena Caledonia (in 2009)

    Stena Caledonia (in 2009)

    Stena Navigator

    Stena Navigator

    Which brings us, at last, to the Stena Hollandica, newly built for the Harwich-Hook of Holland route. Here, for once cast free from the constraints of converting existing tonnage, Stena’s house designers, Figura, had the chance to show just what they could achieve. A first glance of the ship’s guide is all too familiar: here is your C-View Bar, there your ‘Taste’ Buffet and over there a Riva Bar. Yet despite the familiarity somehow the whole coheres in a quite striking way. Carpets, seating, some bulkhead finishes and even layouts are replicated from other recent ships yet now it all makes sense and is often quite beautiful. Some unpleasant finishes remain such as a couple of the once uniform shiny metallic ceilings; the outside decks have, with more work still to do, thus far failed to remotely replicate the progressiveness of those on the ‘Navigator’. Yet these are quibbles, for in the ‘Hollandica’ Stena have introduced probably the newbuild ferry of 2010. One thing which is striking is the choice of a wood-effect laminate for many of the bulkheads in the corridors and arcades. This is all a mirage of course – doubtless there is not a single grain of wood in any of the wall panelling – and one could choose to take them to task for choosing effect over reality. However the effect is to make the ship feel distinctly warm in a quite endearingly old-fashioned way, perfect for an overnight ship.

    The new Stena Hollandica: Metropolitan Restaurant

    The new Stena Hollandica: Metropolitan Restaurant

    Taste

    Taste

    Taste Restaurant

    Taste Restaurant

    Taste Restaurant

    Taste Restaurant

    Riva Bar

    Riva Bar

    Stena Plus

    Stena Plus

    Freight drivers' lounge

    Freight drivers' lounge

    Freight drivers' lounge

    Freight drivers' lounge

    Conference room

    Conference room

    Aft lounge

    Aft lounge

    Suite

    Suite

    Stena Line has since the loss of Duty Free focussed on freight – and the ‘Hollandica’s vast vehicle decks show that for good reason this will continue to be the case. But the passenger side did seem to have become a little neglected: the agonised debate on LandgÃ¥ngen as to why the Stena-dominated Swedish West Coast can no longer support “cruise ferries” whereas on the East Coast ex-Stockholm mini cruises continue to thrive offers a few pointers in what could be perceived to have gone wrong. “Sterile” and “easy to clean” are two descriptions from that discussion which apply certainly to the current state of the Stena Danica, rebuilt in 2003 along much the same lines as Fishguard’s Stena Europe. The ‘Danica’, on the company’s premier route, deserves more than any other ship to be rescued from its sad ‘Blandica’ era and given just a little hint of the ‘Hollandica’ treatment. And maybe, just maybe, Stena will discover that people in the company’s home town will once more feel the urge to head out to sea – and that beautiful ships and profitable services are not as mutually exclusive as they perhaps had come to believe.

    Picture of the week: Stena Saga (ex-Silvia Regina)

    The Stena Saga, seen from the passing Stena Jutlandica off Gothenburg, making her one weekly round trip to the latter port. April 2004.

    The Stena Saga, seen from the passing Stena Jutlandica off Gothenburg, making her one weekly round trip to the latter port. April 2004.

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