Posts tagged: tallink

Separated at Birth

The Superstar leaving Tallinn.

The Superstar leaving Tallinn.

The Moby Aki off Olbia.

The Moby Aki.

It is unusual in the ferry industry for sisterships to be ordered from the same shipyard by unrelated operators. Whilst there is often a degree of plagiarism in design and the same yard or naval architects may return to previously-used solutions or styles time and again, by and large new passenger ships are so expensive and relatively risky an investment that to buy a generic design is unusual. This did not, however, dissuade Tallink from picking out the successful Moby Lines speedy ro-pax design and ordering their own green-painted version, the 2008-delivered Superstar.

Moby Lines already had a trio of ships in the class, the Korean-built Moby Wonder and Moby Freedom of 2001 and the subsequent Moby Aki, derived from the same plans and built, like the Superstar, at the Ancona shipyard of Fincantieri. Whereas the Superstar was destined for the relatively brief two hour hop from Tallinn to Helsinki, the Moby ships operate on a variety of routes, from the 4.5 hour duration Olbia-Piombino or Genoa-Bastia links to 10 hour overnight sailings from Olbia to Genoa and back. The Moby vessels are therefore dual function day/night ships with plenty of cabin berths but also with enough public spaces to cope, just about, with a full load on a day sailing.

The Superstar under construction in Ancona  July 2007.

The Superstar under construction in Ancona, July 2007.

Superstar at Tallinn.

The Superstar at Tallinn.

The Moby Aki leaving Olbia on a day sailing to Piombino.

The Moby Aki leaving Olbia on a day sailing to Piombino.

A quick perusal of the General Arrangement plans for the ‘Aki’ compared to the ‘Wonder’ and ‘Freedom’ reveals almost identically laid-out passenger spaces – the only difference of note being approximately 15 additional cabins where the first pair had an extended lower level to the signature three-deck forward lounge; this change was subsequently incorporated into the earlier sisters. More significant differences can be found in the engine arrangements, where the ‘Aki’ and the Superstar have their Wartsila engines arranged four abreast whereas, whilst similarly-specified, the Korean sisters have theirs in pairs fore and aft of each other.

As built, the Moby Aki had a significantly greater incorporation of the Looney Tunes theme throughout the ship – again the ‘Wonder’ and ‘Freedom’ have had this overlaid in subsequent refits. The interior design of the original pair was prepared by Figura, best known as the house designers for Stena Line, and this formed the basis for the ‘Aki’ but the work on this ship was instead co-ordinated by Carlo Ciribi. Intriguingly, this architect was retained by Tallink to work on the Superstar but, although there is a general Italian theme in decor which one might expect to be somehow traceable to her Moby sisters, in fact this is a nod to the country of her build and the ship bears no resemblance in decor to her Moby sisters. The general arrangement has, however, largely been carried over intact save for Deck 6 where the bulk of what is primarily a cabin deck in the original design instead houses a large shopping centre and a Business Lounge.

 .

The Moby Wonder at Genoa in September 2004, in her original livery - inside and out there was at this stage still minimal reference to Looney Tunes.

The Superstar on her berth in Helsinki.

The Superstar on her berth in Helsinki.

The Moby Wonder in her current livery, on the berth in Civitavecchia.

The Moby Wonder in her current livery at Civitavecchia.

Moby Freedom leaving Bastia.

Moby Freedom leaving Bastia.

The images below show how Tallink have taken the bare bones of the original design, dispensed with anything cartoony, and created a pleasant if very slightly austere ship. Whilst she perhaps lacks the higher build quality and interior flourishes of her more bespoke Helsinki-built fleetmate, the Star, the Superstar is still an efficient and pleasant way to cross the Gulf of Finland. The Moby trio meanwhile are busy, hard working ships which overtly cater to a family market with all the positive and negative aspects that involves. On board, the ships are somewhat unsubtle in design but – at least when not totally full and on a sunny day – they are comfortable, speedy and popular.

Moby Wonder

Moby Wonder

Moby Aki

Moby Aki

Superstar

Superstar

Starting on Deck 10  the Moby ships feature a small whale-shaped swimming pool aft of the deck bar

Starting on Deck 10 the Moby ships feature a small whale-shaped swimming pool aft of the deck bar (seen on Moby Aki).

The same area on the Superstar shows painted steel deck only, the swimming pool being one of the more notable features not carried over from the Moby vessels; the arrangement of the outside decks is otherwise essentially identical.

This image of the same area on the Superstar shows painted steel deck only, the swimming pool being one of the more notable features not carried over from the Moby vessels; the arrangement of the outside decks is otherwise essentially identical.

Deck Bar (Moby Freedom)

Deck Bar (Moby Freedom)

(Superstar)

(Superstar)

Outside deck - starboard side (Moby Aki).

Outside deck - starboard side (Moby Aki).

(Superstar)

Superstar - which sometimes has the look of a ship whose funnel was installed the wrong way around.

Moving inside, right aft on Deck 10 is the upper level of the aft bar. On the Moby ships this is a Sports Bar, as pictured on Moby Wonder.

Moving inside, right aft on Deck 10 is the upper level of the aft bar. On the Moby ships this is a Sports Bar, as pictured on Moby Wonder.

Aboard the Superstar this is the Leonardo da Vinci Bar.

Aboard the Superstar this is the Leonardo da Vinci Bar.

(Moby Wonder)

(Moby Wonder)

(Superstar)

(Superstar)

The lower level of the Sports Bar on the Moby Aki.

The lower level of the Sports Bar on the Moby Aki.

(Superstar)

(Superstar)

(Moby Aki)

(Moby Aki)

(Superstar)

(Superstar)

(Moby Freedom)

(Moby Freedom)

(Superstar)

(Superstar)

(Moby Freedom)

(Moby Freedom)

(Superstar)

(Superstar)

On the port side, just forward of the aft bar, is the self service restaurant, seen here on the Moby Aki.

On the port side, just forward of the aft bar, is the self service restaurant, seen here on the Moby Aki.

The same area on the Superstar is the Buffet Toscana and has slightly more sophisticated detailing.

The same area on the Superstar is the Buffet Toscana and has slightly more sophisticated detailing.

(Moby Aki)

(Moby Aki)

Superstar - which has enclosed booth seating inboard of the main space.

Superstar - which has enclosed booth seating inboard of the main open-plan space.

To starboard is a lengthy open-plan space stretching forward with a variety of facilities laid out along it. At the aft end of can be found the childrens' play area - seen here on the relatively Looney Tunes free Moby Freedom.

To starboard is a lengthy open-plan space stretching forward along which a variety of facilities are laid out. At the aft end of can be found the children's play area - seen here on the relatively Looney Tunes free Moby Freedom.

(Superstar)

(Superstar)

(Moby Aki)

(Moby Aki)

Adjacent to the play area, the Moby ships have a modest-sized shop, as seen on the Moby Freedom.

Adjacent to the play area, the Moby ships have a modest-sized shop, as seen on the Moby Freedom.

The Superstar has a much larger shopping complex down on Deck 6 leaving the equivalent space free for this Hamburger bar.

The Superstar has a much larger shopping complex down on Deck 6 leaving the equivalent space free for this Hamburger bar.

(Moby Aki)

(Moby Aki)

(Superstar)

(Superstar)

Forward again is this coffee bar (Moby Aki).

Forward again is this coffee bar (Moby Aki).

The equivalent area on the Superstar.

The equivalent area on the Superstar.

The same area on the Moby Aki looking aft.

The same area on the Moby Aki looking aft.

(Superstar)

(Superstar)

Just aft of the forward bar, on the starboard side, is the 'ACME Pizzeria'.

Just aft of the forward bar, on the starboard side, is the 'ACME Pizzeria' (Moby Aki).

On the Superstar this space is 'Pizza Roma'; the pizza counter has been relocated out of shot to the left.

On the Superstar this space is 'Pizza Roma'; the pizza counter has been relocated out of shot to the left.

Amidships stairwell at Deck 8 level (Moby Aki).

Amidships stairwell at Deck 8 level (Moby Aki).

(Superstar)

(Superstar)

On the opposite side of the ship to the pizzeria is the small formal restaurant - what was the 'Time Out Restaurant' on the 'Wonder' and 'Freedom' (as pictured) became the 'Grand Prix Restaurant' on the Moby Aki but the decor was little changed.

On the opposite side of the ship to the pizzeria is the small formal restaurant - what was the 'Time Out Restaurant' on the 'Wonder' and 'Freedom' (as pictured) became the 'Grand Prix Restaurant' on the Moby Aki but the decor was little changed.

Superstar's equivalent, the Fellini a la carte.

Superstar's equivalent, the Fellini a la carte.

The signature facility aboard this class of ships is the three-tier forward lounge, seen here on the Moby Aki.

The signature facility aboard this class of ships is the three-tier forward lounge, seen here on the Moby Aki.

(Superstar)

(Superstar)

The bar area at the top level of the forward lounge (Moby Freedom).

The bar area at the top level of the forward lounge (Moby Freedom).

(Superstar)

(Superstar)

(Moby Aki)

(Moby Aki)

(Superstar)

(Superstar)

(Moby Aki)

(Moby Aki)

(Superstar)

(Superstar)

(Moby Aki)

(Moby Aki)

(Superstar)

(Superstar)

Accessed from the lower level of the Superstar's forward lounge is the somewhat remote information desk; the Moby ships have cabins in this area.

Accessed from the lower level (Deck 6) of the Superstar's forward lounge is the somewhat remote information desk; aft of this are a series of passenger spaces, which replace cabins and a small aft reclining seat lounge on Deck 6 of the Moby ships.

Aft of the reception area is the Business Lounge.

Aft of the reception area is the Business Lounge.

Business Lounge.

Business Lounge.

Deck 6 - adjacent to the lifeboat recess (Moby Freedom).

Deck 6 - adjacent to the lifeboat recess (Moby Freedom).

(Superstar)

(Superstar)

Aft of the Business Lounge on the Superstar are arcades port (seen here) and starboard inboard of which is part of the shopping complex.

Aft of the Business Lounge on the Superstar are arcades port (seen here) and starboard inboard of which is part of the shopping complex.

Superstar - starboard side arcade.

Superstar - starboard side arcade.

On the Moby ships the aft lobby on Deck 6 connects to the escalator used by foot passengers boarding over the stern and there a perfunctory reception desk can be found here.

On the Moby ships the aft lobby on Deck 6 connects to the escalator used by foot passengers boarding over the stern and a perfunctory reception desk can be found here.

The equivalent space on the Superstar, seen from the starboard side.

The equivalent space on the Superstar, seen from the starboard side.

Countering both the remoteness of the shopping centre's Deck 6 location and the low deck height of what was designed as a cabin deck, the Superstar features cut away sections in the deckhead to create these mini-atria.

Countering both the remoteness of the shopping centre's Deck 6 location and the low deck height of what was designed as a cabin deck, the Superstar features cut away sections in the deckhead to create these mini-atria.

Standard four-berth outside cabin on the Moby Freedom - designed by Figura, this shares recent Stena practice of having an oversized lower bed.

Standard four-berth outside cabin on the Moby Freedom - designed by Figura, this shares recent Stena practice of having an oversized lower bed.

A similar room on the Superstar.

A similar room on the Superstar.

Moby Freedom

Moby Freedom

Picture of the week: Superstar

Superstar at Tallinn. Click for larger image.

Superstar at Tallinn. Click for larger image.

Previous image

Previous image

Things Seen – September 2009

The Istra (ex-Mette Mols) at Split, August 2009.

The Istra (ex-Mette Mols) at Split.

  • Firstly, apologies to regular readers for the month or so of no updates – hopefully the break will have been worth it, with plenty of new material gathered during a 3 week trip to Southern Europe where plenty of ferries were seen, sailed on, photographed, and, in the case of at least three, farewells made as they are understood to be in the final weeks of service.
  • The Istra (ex-Mette Mols, 1966) has since been put up for public sale by Jadrolinija, although the expectation is that she will follow former fleetmate the Ivan Zajc to Turkish owners. As Slobodna Dalmacija ruefully notes, there will be some criticism of the sale, as the ship “had its admirers, especially among Lastovo and Korčula [residents], who praised its comfort” compared to the more modern vessels. The ship has also been widely used to cover longer lines, such as for example the during the recent mechanical failure of the Petar Hektorović. She was however proving too small at times, and when I sailed on her in late August she was forced to leave cars behind in Stari Grad. Doubtless this is frustrating when the next sailing back to Split isn’t for another four hours!

    Also for sale are the Vanga (ex-Basto III) and the little Borik, latterly second ship to the Kijevo at Biograd. There remain several other Jadrolinija ships laid up in various ports around the country and Hans de Graaf continues to do a public service with his photographs of several of the many and varied ships of the White Fleet, a few more having been uploaded in recent weeks here.

    Meanwhile Fleet File Rotterdam has a fairly thorough section on Jadrolinija, correct up to a couple of years ago.

  • The Borik (1978) in Biograd.

    The Borik (1978) in Biograd.

  • Fergün Shipping of Turkey operate a fleet of mostly-forgotten ex-North European ships on routes between Northern Cyprus and the Turkish mainland. Quite what current operations are like is open to question, the company’s website being more than a little out of date: at least two of the ships featured have been sold, one most definitely for scrapping having been seen on the beach in Aliaga in 2007.

    The fleet as listed however was a fascinating collection and pictures of and on board all are shown on the site. With links to the images, the four fast ferries were:
    Fergün Express (ex-Storesund of Norwegian Haugesund A/S, 1974)
    Fergün Express III (built as the Venture 84 in 1982, from 1983 to 1998 she was Emeraude’s Trident/Trident III)
    Emeraude Express (built for Emeraude in 1986 she survives without change of name).
    Prince of Girne (ex-Gimle Bay, 1981, primarily used in Yugoslavia/Croatia as the Poreč I until sale to Fergün in 1994.)

    The Girne

    The Girne


    The conventional ferries are more interesting still:
    Canbulat Pasha. Purpose built, 1997.
    Girne. The ex-Saltholm (1967) of Svenska Rederi Ab Öresund’s Limhamn – Dragör route until 1979, then the Gozo Channel company’s Mgarr until sale to Fergün in 1996. Scrapped 2007.
    Fatih. An astonishing survivor, originally being the Mersey pilot vessel Arnet Robinson (1958), passing to Fergün in 1988 where she was converted to a small car ferry. Compare this picture of her in her original guise with this image after conversion. Another picture of her as Fatih reveals the tall funnel remains unobstructed.
    Güniz. Built as the Kraakerø in Norway in 1964 she had an itinerant early career before settling down as Rederi AB Gotland’s Polhelm between 1964 and 1972. Later one of Tourship’s first vessels, the Corsica Ferry until sale in 1976 to Jadrolinija as the Lastovo I. She remained, with a couple of name changes, with Jadrolinija until 1996 and has sailed in Turkish waters ever since, latterly for Fergün although she was sold in early 2009 to operate between Turkey and Russia.
  • Some interesting images of Turkish/Russian ferries can be seen on the four pages of this link to a Russian shipping forum including the aforementioned Güniz and Ivan Zajc (now the Besyildiz), but also the Lider Avrasya (once Sealink’s Ulidia), Lider Clipper (ex-Agios Spiridon), still bearing her HML name the Apollonia II (ex-Travemünde, 1964), the Trabzon (ex-Panagia Tinou, sold by NEL Lines earlier this year) and the Erke (formerly Agapitos Express/Saronikos Ferries’ Express Danae), amongst others.
  • The Zeus Palace has been an interesting stopgap on Minoan Lines’ Patras-Igoumenitsa-Venice route this Summer, following the sale of the Pasiphae Palace. The return of the former Prometheus has been rather underwhelming for many passengers – although she looks nice enough in these pictures by Dominik Wagner, in reality she has been just a little too small for the route.
    Dominik also has recent images on board Agoudimos’ Ionian Sky. She is essentially unchanged since her Strintzis rebuild as the Ionian Victory in 1998.
    The Ionian Sky at Corfu

    The Ionian Sky at Corfu

  • We have lingered over the demise of the Kapetan Alexandros several times on this blog, and the guys over at Nautilia clearly felt the same way about the end of this veteran, getting on board the ship in Keratsini just before she sailed for scrap to take some final photographs, including a series in her quite antiquated bridge.
  • Apropos of nothing, I was taken with this dramatic image of the Princess Kathleen of Canadian Pacific sinking in 1952. The ship, built in Glasgow in 1924, originally made Vancouver-Victoria-Seattle coastal sailings but was latterly employed on cruises up to Alaska, meeting her fate after running aground near Juneau. Many more pictures of this dramatic event, in which no lives were lost, can be found at Alaska’s Digital Archive.
  • The Queen Elizabeth 2 may not technically have been a ferry, but she was certainly, as built, a beautiful example of the very best of 1960s British design. This was sadly diluted in later years to a slightly naff kind kitsch look. However, as Bruce Peter notes in the authoritative Britain’s Greatest Liner the ship had direct design influences over many cruise ships and ferries in the subsequent decade or more. Bruce also references the famous 1969 article in Shipping World and Shipbuilder which compared and contrasted the QE2 with the equally new and forward-looking Vortigern, produced by Swan Hunters in the same year.

    For anyone wondering just what influence it was the epoch-making Vortigern had on the QE2, some superb images of the latter ship, as built, can be found here.

  • The Caesarea and Duke of Argyll were two of the last surviving ex-Sealink steam ships, and both had final days in Hong Kong, the ‘Argyll’ burning out there under the name Zenith in 1995. There are some fascinating images on flickr of both ships in those days, including the burnt and broken Zenith.
  • Mention was made of the Älvsborg Bridge last month and, with perfect timing, over on LandgÃ¥ngen there materialised a thread with pictures of various ferries sailing beneath, including the Prinsessan Birgitta in her one season operating for Stena in 1982 before starting her career as the St Nicholas for Sealink.
  • Although special Lego kits have been sold by many ferry companies for years, how many of us regretted their incompatibility due to inconsistency of scale with the minifigs of Legoland? Just me huh? Oh well, this model of the 1974 Prinsessan Birgitta would certainly have been an improvement:
    Picture 1
    Picture 2

    (link from Landgången)

  • Tallink certainly aren’t my, or many other people’s, favourite ferry company at times, some superb ships such as the Star notwithstanding. The crassness of the company’s management is a primary reason for distaste, the famous incident on the Silja Symphony being the confirmation of previous suspicions about the company.

    The quote from one of the Tallink directors, “our level of drunkenness was normal for a cruise of this kind” was memorable, but the signature indiscretion of that fateful cruise was the attempt to “grill” some fish from the SmörgÃ¥sbord in the toasters, conventionally used for bread. On my most recent trip on the ‘Symphony’ I made sure to have my picture taken next to one of the toasters; however, I wish I had known that there were even better permanent reminders of the event. Now: how does one get onto Tallink’s Christmas card list?

  • Picture of the week 23 May 2009: Star

    The Star departing Tallinn. Click for larger image.

    The Star departing Tallinn. Click for larger image.

    Last week's picture

    Last week's picture

    Viking XPRS rebuild

    The Viking XPRS at Tallinn

    The Viking XPRS at Tallinn

    Such has been the success of Viking Line’s new Viking XPRS, operating for nearly twelve months between Helsinki and Tallinn, that her owners are extending the ship already:

    Dear passengers!
    We want our ship to be the best for you.
    Because of this we are building more seats and a comfortable Dance Pavilion to the aft of the ship at deck 7.
    We apologise that we have to do part of the renovation while the ship is still on its route.
    We regret the disturbances that this work might cause to our passengers.

    Seating 250 passengers, the twin-level lounge will assume the mantle of primary entertainment venue, staying open well into the small hours alongside the Viking’s Inn Pub.

    The ship’s usual schedule of double daily sailings allows some genuine fast conventional competition to Tallink’s Star and Superstar in the transport market whilst the company remains competitive in minicruises. Although it is probably the latter that the extension is primarily aimed at, the additional overall seating capacity which will be provided is undoubtedly required given the volume of passengers now being carried.

    Here are some pictures of the work in progress on board the ship during her layover in Tallinn last week. One can only hope that the work doesn’t too badly compromise either the XPRS’s beautiful silhouette or her original expansive and well-designed outside decks. The ship remains in pretty good condition after a year’s service, which makes an interesting comparison to the Superstar, which entered service almost simultaneously but now has bits of yellow warning tape liberally applied around the passenger spaces, perhaps indicating there may be some warranty issues to address.

    The closed deck outside the Vikings Inn pub on the Viking XPRS.

    The closed deck outside the Viking's Inn pub on the Viking XPRS.


    Further views taken from the aft of Deck 8.

    Further views taken from the aft of Deck 8.



    Funnels: Superfast VIII

    Superfast VIII. Click for larger image.

    Superfast VIII. Click for larger image.

    WordPress Themes