30 December 2017

Mariella in Helsinki, 15 February 2010

I was looking through my older entries recently, and came across this entry of the Mariella. While I generally try to avoid reposting old image sets, I cannot for the life of me fathom why I had put up only three images from that session, considering how many superb shots I took. So today we will look back almost eight years, and finally take a proper look at the very chilly morning of the Mariella arriving in Helsinki.

Mariella

IMO 8320573
Built 1985, Wärtsilä Turku (Perno), Finland
Tonnage 37 860 GT
Length 175,70 m
Width 28,40 m
Draugth 6,78 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 500 passengers
2 500 berths
430 cars
980 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä SEMT-Pielstick diesels, combined 23 008 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

Let's cut right to the chase. The photos below show the Mariella outside Helsinki, passing through the Kustaanmiekka strait, and in Eteläsatama (South Harbour) in the morning of 15 February 2010, photographed from onboard the also-inbound Silja Symphony. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

The Mariella came in via the usual inbound shipping lane east of the Harmaja lighthouse, while we took a more westernly route, utilising a channel broken earlier by the Superstar. This shot was preceeded by many photos of a backlit Mariella.
Both ships were delayed by the difficult ice conditions - the Silja Symphony more severely than the Mariella, which made these photos possible, as the distance between the ships is usually greater at this point.
Harmaja lighthouse in the background.
Some twists and turns (by both ships) later we ended up with a very similar view as above, but with the Mariella now about to enter the Kustaanmiekka strait.
The strait is relatively narrow, but made more problematic for navigation by the fact it's not straight and ships have to perform an S-turn while passing through.
Past the narrowest bit...
...and some minutes later we are at Eteläsatama, with the Mariella just about to berth.
Berthing then took a while, as both ships needed to first wash the quayside clear of broken ice - a routine manouvre during the winter season, but a time-conmusing one nonetheless.
Kships will return in 2018!

22 December 2017

Superstar in Helsinki, 25 January 2017

These are the last proper pictures I ever took of the Superstar. My original plan was to post these when the ship begun her new career with Corsica Ferries, but for some reason that never happened. So instead these will be the Kships Christmas greeting.

Superstar

IMO 9365398
Name history: Superstar, Pascal Lota
Built 2008, Fincantieri Ancona, Italy
Tonnage 36 400 GT
Length 175,10 m
Width 27,60 m
Draugth 7,00 m
Ice class 1A
2 080 passengers
520 berths
665 cars
1 930 lanemeters
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 50 400 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 27,5 knots

The Superstar was ordered by Tallink from Fincantieri in August 2005, for delivery in spring 2008. The ship was based on the design of the Moby Wonder -class, which Fincantieri were heavily promoting at the time (they also negoatiated about building a ship of the same design for Viking Line). The Superstar was ordered at the same time as her eventual running mate Star, and originally both contacts included an option for a sister vessel. At the time there were plenty of rumours circulating around about the future deployment of the ships: the Star and her sister were expected to go to the Helsinki-Tallinn -line, while the Superstar and her potential sister were expected to open an Estonia-Germany service for Tallink. Other rumours suggested one pair would go on the Gothenburg-Frederikshavn route in competition with Stena Line. Tallink at the time also expressed interest in submitting a tender for the state-funded service between the island of Gotland and the Swedish mainland. In the end only the Germany service came true, by the virtue of Tallink buying Superfast Ferries' Baltic Sea operations. Neither sister ship option was taken up, and the somewhat mismatched pair of Star and Superstar took over Tallink's non-cruise Helsinki-Tallinn services.

The Superstar continued in service without incident for eight years. In late 2014 Tallink signed a memorandum of agreement to build a new, larger, LNG-powered fast ferry for the Helsinki-Tallinn route, which was confirmed as a firm order in February 2015. In preparation for the delivery of the new ship, the Superstar was sold to Corsica Ferries in November 2015, with delivery in December, but chartered back to Tallink until the delivery of the new Megastar in January 2017.

After making her last crossing with Tallink on 28 January 2017, the Superstar was briefly registered in Cyprus and sailed to La Spezia in Italy for an extensive refit (somewhat oddly, most of the original Italian-influenced decor was removed). In early March, the ship was renamed Pascal Lota, after the recently-deceased founder of Corsica Ferries (originally, the ship was reported to be renamed Mega Express Six). In June, the ship finally entered service with Corsica Ferries, on routes from Livorno to Bastia and Golfo Aranci.

The photos below show the Superstar arriving at Helsinki Länsisatama (West Harbour) in the afternoon of 25 January 2017. Photographed from Vattuniemi. As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

A surprising number of dents on the sides.
I'm not sure how often the ship is going t osee snow these days...
...but the snow did make for nice pictures.
The real obejctive of the day was the brand-new Megastar, which was in Helsinki to test ramps, but her depature was delayed until after dark. But getting the Superstar in the same shot as the ship wthat replaced her was nice.
Merry Christmas everyone, Kships will return.

11 December 2017

Crown Seaways in Copenhagen, 4 December 2017

A week ago, I was in Copenhagen to give a joint lecture with Bruce Peter on Innovation and Specialisation – The Story of Shipbuilding in Finland at a meeting of Denmark's Skibteknisk Selskab. The trip also gave a chance to photograph a ship I never had a chance to photograph in decent weather before: the Crown Seaways.

Before we get to the photos and history of the Crown Seaways, a little message regarding the book for my Finnish readers: Adlibris are selling it here (I'd give you a price if I could, but that seems to change by some kind of dynamic pricing; when I looked earlier today it was 46,20 €, but now it displays as 57,10 and who knows what the next time), and Akateeminen Kirjakauppa are selling it both online and at their store in Central Helsinki for 79,90 €.

Now to the subject at hand.

Crown Seaways

IMO 8917613
Name history: Thomas Mann, Crown of Scandinavia, Crown Seaways
Built 1994, Brodogradiliste Split, Croatia
Tonnage 35 498 GT
Length 171,32 m
Width 28,20 m
Draugth 6,35 m
Ice class 1 A Super
1 790 passengers
2 402 berths
450 cars
900 lane metres
4 Pielstick diesels, combined 23 760 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Top speed 21,5 knots
Service speed 16,10 knots

The Crown Seaways was originally contracted in 1989 by Rederi AB Sea-Link as the second ship for their planned Euroway Malmö-Lübeck service. As the ships were contracted from Brodogradiliste Split in Croatia (with a design based on the earlier Split-built pair Amorella and Isabella), both ended up delayed; the first sister, the Frans Suell (today the Gabriella) only mildly so, making it in time for the 1992 summer season. The delay was more severe on the second ship, which according to different sources as planned to be named either Frans Kockum or Thomas Mann. By the time the ship was supposed to be delivered in 1993, Euroway had formed a joint service with Silja Line, and no longer had need for the second ship. She was then completed at a slower pace, finally leaving the yard in March 1994, albeit for docking at Fincantieri in Trieste, and embarking on her sea trials in May 1994, under the name Thomas Mann.

Also in May 1994 DFDS first acquired an option to purchase the ship, and then took it up during the same month (some sources claim she was actually briefly owned by EffJohn, the owners of Silja Line, in the interim to keep their arch-rivals Viking Line from getting their hands on the ship). In June DFDS sailed the ship to the Lloyd Werft shipyard Bremerhaven, where rear sponsons were added. It also appears that the ship got her original DFDS name, Crown of Scandinavia, around this time. The Crown of Scandinavia entered service on DFDS' Copenhagen-Helsingborg-Oslo route (like all DFDS passenger routes, it was marketed under the Scandinavian Seaways brand at the time) in July 1994, a route on which she has remained to this day.

In 1999, the Scandinavian Seaways brand name was abandoned in favour of reverting to the old DFDS Seaways name. In late 2006, the intermediate call at Helsingborg was eliminated from the route of the ship. In 2010, DFDS decided to unify their brand identity: the previous multitude of brands – DFDS Seaways, DFDS Tor Line, DFDS Lisco and DFDS Lys Line – were abandoned in favour of marketing all seabourne operations as DFDS Seaways, but with a new livery based on the blue-hulled colours of DFDS Tor Line. At the same time, all ships were renamed, with the new names ending with -Seaways. Oddly, while the Crown of Scandinavia was painted in the new colours fairly soon, her name was amended to Crown Seaways only in 2013.

In 2015, anticipating DFDS' 150th anniversary the next year, the company unveiled yet another rebranding, this time simply to DFDS, and a new livery with darker blue hulls and funnels. The Crown Seaways has, however, yet to be repainted in this new image; reportedly this is due to her being painted with a special paint, guaranteed to last five years, before the most recent rebranding was carried out. Judging by the rust evident in the photos below, I presume she will be repainted in the new colours during her next drydocking in spring 2018.

The photo  below show the Crown Seaways arriving at DFDS' Copenhagen terminal in the morning of 4 December 2017, photographed from the tip of Langelinie. (I was up in time as I had been forced to wake up at five am to catch my 7:30 flight to Copenhagen...). As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

I had never been at Langelinie before, so I had no idea of how the photos would turn out. I think these are pretty alright.
That little cargo ship not-so-little tanker (thanks Juhani) was in the background a lot.
A "little" bit of rust here and there. Definately time for a repaint, methinks.
It's interesting that DFDS have not removed the grille from the front of the funnel, which Viking Line did immediately when they bought the sister ship. It doesn't seem to serve any purpose and adds unnescessary weight.
Reversing into the quay. My impression is that DFDS usually use the other quay (the Pearl Seaways certainly did when I sailed on her) so it was lucky for me the Crown used this side on this particular day.

14 November 2017

Norge in Helsinki, 2 June 2017

After the entries on books and ship photo locations, we return to the regular programming of ship photos. Last summer, both the Norwegian and Danish royal yachts visited Helsinki as a part of the ongoing 100th anniversary of Finnish independence celebrations (which otherwise seem to consist of shops selling Finland 100 -branded toilet paper and minced meat). Today, we will be looking at Norway's Norge and next time we'll porbably proceed to the Danish counterpart Dannebrog.

Norge

Name history: Philante, Norge
Built 1937, Camper and Nicholsons Gosport, United Kingdom
Tonnage 1 625 GT
Length 80,60 m
Width 11,60 m
Draught 4,70 m
12 passengers
2 Bergen diesels, combined 1 312 kW
2 propellers
Speed 17 knots

The Norge started life as the Philante, one of private yachts of Thomas Sopwith, the owner and founder of the Sopwith Aviation Company. The 1937-built ship saw only relatively short service for her original owner, as after the outbreak of World War II she was sold to the British Royal Navy for use as a warship. After cessation of hostilities, the Philante was sold back to Thomas Sopwith - but he had already ordered a replacement yacht and therefore had no long-term need for the Philante.

Meanwhile, interest had grown in Norway for the country to acquire a royal yacht of their own. Indeed, when Prince Carl of Denmark agreed to take on the Norwegian Crown as Haakon VII of Norway in 1905, he had been promised a royal yacht, but the country's precarious economic condition never allowed the acquisition of one. Now, the Norwegian people finally honoured their promise: the Philante was purchased in 1947, given an extensive refit by her original builders and presented to Haakon VII in 1948 as the Norge.

Following the death of Haakon VII in 1957, a 10-year upgrade programme for the ship was instituted by his son Olav V. In 1985, while the Norge was undergoing maintainance at Horten, a fire broke out and destroyed much of the ship. She was repaired by the same shipyard, with the destroyed equipment replaced by more modern ones and the interiors rebuilt in accordance to modern saferty standards.

The Norge remains in use today as one of three remaining European royal yachts (the others being Denmark's Dannebrog and the Netherlands' sailing yacht De Groene Draec). In addition to being used for state visits and other official functions, the ship is also used by King Harald V - a keen sailor who has represented Norway in Olympic Games - when participating on various sail races around the world.

The photo below show the Norge departing Helsinki Eteläsatama (South Harbour) on the afternoon of 2 June 2017, photographed from Ehrenströmintie. Not the ideal location, but I was uncertain of which shipping lane the ships would take out, and this was the only spot where I could photograph them regardless of which route they took. As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

The Norge (right) and Dannebrog moored at the South Harbour.
Turning in the harbour pool; the yellow building on the right is the Finnish Presidential Palace (or President's Castle, as the name literally translates as - but it's obviously not a castle).
Heading out with a police cutter for escort.
On Kruunuvuorenselkä. The aft views proved a challenge, as the ship is obviously much smaller than what I've usually photographed here.

09 November 2017

New book: Innovation and Specialisation – The Story of Shipbuilding in Finland

In addition to the detailed text, Innovation and Specialisation is profusely illustrated, with many images never before seen in print.

It is finally here. Innovation and Specialisation – The Story of Shipbuilding in Finland is mine and Bruce Peter's new magnum opus, detailing the history of shipbuilding in my homeland for 328 pages, with circa 500 illustrations. It took years to make and it was occasionally an arduous process, but the end result more than makes up for it.

The main focus of the book is on ship design and the various innovative design solutions – such as the Azipod, Wärtsilä Air Bubbling System, the all outside ship and the double-acting ship, to name just a few – that were instrumental in making Finnish shipbuilders into some of the most highly regarded ones in the world. While most ship types built by Finnish yards are at least mentioned in the text, the emphasis is on ship types that are produced by Finnish yards today: ferries, cruise ships and icebreakers. Every cruise ship, icebreaker and ferry designed for international service built by Finnish shipyards since 1945 is described, up to and including those that are currently under order or construction.

The broad approach of the book is chronological, but it is divided into chapters dedicated to different ship types.

While the book discusses Finnish shipbuilding since the 18th century, focus is on the decades after the end of World War II, when Finnish shipbuilding grew exponentially. The importance of the Soviet Union as the driving force of this expansion – and the Soviet's subsequent position as the biggest customer for Finnish shipyards – is explored, as are the economic difficulties faced by Finnish yards following the fall of the Soviet Union. Similarly, the consolidation process and eventual demergers that resulted in the ownership structure that Finnish yards have today are discussed in detail.

Innovation and Specialisation – The Story of Shipbuilding in Finland can be purchased directly from the publishers, as well as from well-stocked bookshops and online retailers.

01 November 2017

Guide to ship photo locations in Helsinki, part 1: Suomenlinna, Lonna and Vallisaari

To celebrate the 500th entry of this blog, today I will be doing something different. People have occasionally asked me for a guide to ship photo locations in Helsinki, and I thought making one would be a nice way to commemorate the milestone. When compiling these, I quickly realised there are simply too many photo spots in the city to include in one entry. So, today we will be looking at the photo spots in Suomenlinna and the surrounding islands (which are probably the most photogenic of the lot), which will allow you to photographs ships sailing to and from Eteläsatama (South Harbour), as well as icebreakers passing to their quays in Katajanokka, and the few remaining ships sailing to Sompasaari harbour (which is currently under redevelopment into a residential area).

The other photo spots for Eteläsatama (yes, there are more!) and those for Länsisatama (West Harbour) will have their own entries later on, if and when I will have the time and energy to write them.

Ship photo locations in Suomenlinna, Lonna and Vallisaari

The photo locations in and around Suomenlinna that I have used; see smaller map below for the precise locations at Kustaanmiekka (numbers 5-9). Satellite picture courtesy of Google.
Suomenlinna, Lonna and Vallisaari offer diverse views, and as the islands are located on different sides of the shipping lane, these give you a wide variety of options depending on the time of day and lighting conditions.

Lonna

1: Lonna is a small military island opened to the public a couple of years back. It's biggest advantage is the location just south of the main shipping lane out of the South Harbour, which passes the island in a roughly from west to east. Thus, whereas from most Suomenlinna locations (2-10) the side of the ship facing the camera will in the shade until circa 14.00-15.00 in the afternoon - and from Vallisaari (11-13) you will have the opposite problem - from Lonna you can get photos pretty much as long as it's light out. The ideal photo spot is a small quay on the north shore of the island.

Lonna is accessible by JT Line's ferries from Kauppatori (Market Square), with the crossing taking approximately seven minutes. The ferry only runs between May and August. Because the place is essentially deserted before this, barnacle geese and seagulls nest here in large numbers. If you visit early in the summer, move with care as both can be aggressive - and make sure you have enough time, so you can peacefully pass all the nests. The ferry quay is on the south side of the island, so there are potentially quite a few birds on the way.

As the main shipping lane passes quite close to Lonna, you get quite impressive views. Cruise ships at the Katajanokka cruise quay sometimes use the more northernly shipping lane, but this also gives decent views. The full set of the Funchal can be seen here.

Suomenlinna

Most Suomenlinna locations are only usable in the afternoon, after circa 14.00-15.00, due to the fact the main shipping lane passes from the east side of the island in roughly north-south direction. Note that parts of the island are a low-security prison and therefore not accessible to the public. Suomenlinna is accessibly by HSL (Helsinki Regional Transport Authority) ferry from Kauppatori around the year, JT Line ferry from Kauppatori between May and September, and JT Line ferry from Hakaniemi between June and August.

2: Suomenlinna guest harbour breakwater serves essentially the same function as Lonna, allowing views of the east-west shipping lane north of the islands. As Lonna allows superior views, this is really only a good spot during the time of the year when Lonna is not accessible.

The island in front of the ship is Lonna, so obviously you are shooting from much further away. The full set of the Ocean Countess can be seen here.
3: This random hill on the "wrong" side of the island offers great views of the ships approaching the Kustaanmiekka strait, with Suomenlinna itself in the foreground. The window for photos without obstructions in the foreground for front-views of departing ships is fairly narrow, but the forward views of arriving ships are quite great. Of course, there aren't too many evening arrivals...

For as long as I can remember, there has been a "do not enter - landscaping in progress" sign attached to a low rope fence around the hill, but there is nothing to stop you from climbing on top.

The best views from here are definately those of afternoon and evening arrivals. The full set with the Kristina Katarina can be seen here.
4: The beachfront north of the ramparts (discussed below) has quite often been the spot from where I've photographed when the ship has left early or when I've been delayed in getting to the prime spots. Still, there are some pretty nice views to be had. Note that the yellow building on the beach is a single-family home, so do not trespass on their yard (and maybe also don't include the residents in the photos without permission).

For aft views, this spot is not ideal, but for front views it's nice. The full set with the Empress can be seen here.

Satellite picture courtesy of Google.
5-9: The ramparts at Kustaanmiekka. There are multiple levels, with different ways of accessing them. The map here shows the continuous ramparts in green, accompanied by the numbers as in main map - except for number 9, which is a smaller spot and not a continuous rampart.

Note that, in most locations here, there are no safety railings and some spots are not easy to access.

5: The upper rampart is probably the place that gives the most impressive views. For best views, my recommendation is to climb atop the parapet (doable, but requires some dexterity and strength) - this also gives a chance to take aft views of departing ship without the need to move. Otherwise, you will need to be at the northern edge of 5 for the forward views, and then gallop to the southern edge for aft views. Again, doable, but the somewhat uneven ground is not ideal for running.

Yeah, this is the spot from which you take this particular shot, variations of which all of you must have seen hundreds of times now. A full set with the Minerva can be seen here.
6: The main viewing area is a place that you will have to share with other people but you do get nice views of both front and rear, with minimal need for movement. This is also the easiest spot to access (okay, number 5 isn't hard either, but it's higher up).

This spot gets you slightly closer to the ships than number 5, so you get a bit more dynamic shots. The full set with the Black Watch can be seen here.

7: The Kustaanmiekka beach front get you very close to the ships, albeit with a somewhat low angle. Access here is difficult: you can either walk along the waterline from the north, which will required some balancing on rocks right at the waterline, or you can climb through one of the windows under number 8 (reserve some time to find the correct one).

Same spot as in the picture above, but with a radically different angle. The full set with L'Austral can be seen here.
8: The rampart closest to the sea was closed to visitors a few years back, after a young child fell to their death from the rampart. You can get there by climbing over the fence in the northern edge of the rampart (visible in the photo for 6 above). Relatively many people do this, as the area was open for decades, and closing it seems strange when areas with just as potentially deadly drops are still open, with no safety fences put up either (case points, numbers 5 and 6). The photos are nice, and I have never seen anyone around to stop you from climbing over the fence - but of course, I don't recommend doing so either.

And of course, I have absolutely not gone to the area since it was closed myself. The full set with the Prinsendam can be seen here.
9: The south rocks only give you views towards the south, so this is only useful for evening arrivals (or if you really, really want aft views). Similarly to number 7, access is by climbing through a window below number 8 ramparts. You can theoretically also walk here along the beach from the west, but if I recall correctly there is a steep climb - at least I've never used that route myself.

The Viking XPRS' evening arrival is the main use for this location. This is one of the earliest photos actually put up in this blog, and the only photo I've posted from that particular session. I think my image editing skills have improved a bit since then.
10: The south beach is similar to number 9 in having a view only towards the south, but you can get some fairly neat shots, especially in windy weather when you get nice waves on the foreground.

Admittedly this spot is mainly good for ships you've already photographed before from both directions - but it's still a nice view. The full set with the Silja Symphony can be seen here.
Vallisaari

As with the others, Vallisaari is a former military island, but was only opened to the public in 2016. As there local ecosystem is quite rare, and unaacounted for explosives potentially remain in the ground, you should not stray from the marked paths. Due to being on the west side of the shipping lane, Vallisaari is ideal for photographing morning arrivals and departures; the light should remain okay until circa 14.00, though I've never actually been out there so late myself.

Both JT Line and Aava Lines serve Vallisaari from Kauppatori between May and September, and JT also sails from Hakaniemi between June and August. JT Line sails to Luotsipihan laituri on the north shore, while Aava goes to Torpedolahti in the east. Both are a bit removed from the main photo spots, but a bigger problem is that the first morning departures for both companies are too late to get to photograph the morning ferry arrivals. Thus, if you want to photograph the ferry arrivals, this will set you back over 100 euros (or that was the rate the last I checked) - so the best idea would be to gather a larger group to split the bill.

11: Kustaanmiekka towards the north. I know I just said you shouldn't stray from the marked paths, but this one will require you to do so. From the main gravel path towards number 12, a small path through the grass northwest to a small concrete tower; this is the only location that I've discovered so far that has any decent view towards the north, making it ideal for morning/mid-day departures. However, you can't really get decent aft views.

The place is fairly low, but you do get nicely dynamic shots. The full set with the Viking XPRS (including shots taken at number 13) can be seen here.
12: "Gibraltar of the North" is what this bit is called in the map of Vallisaari; it is a vieweing platform built specifically to give views over the Kustaanmiekka strait to Suomenlinna, and toward the sea in the south. Due to vegetation, the view towards the north is nonexistent (and the route between 11 and 12 is so long it's not really a workable to run from one to the other, as there's no coastal path). Resultingly, it's best for morning arrivals - but number 13 will give you much more impressive views.

Not a bad view at all. The full set with the Mariella (including shots taken at number 11) can be seen here.
13: Aleksanterin pattery is a former artillery battery on the highest point of the island. Metal walkways have been built above the battery, and the views are really, really great. For morning arrival, I'd say this definately the best place in Helsinki, also offering the most unique views.

The southern parts of the island, visible here in the foreground, is currently completely closed to the public. The full ser with the Silja Symphony can be seen here.

26 October 2017

Mein Schiff 6 in Helsinki, 31 July 2017

Mein Schiff 6

IMO 9753208
Built 2017, Meyer Turku, Finland
Tonnage 99 526 GT
Length 293,20 m
Width 35,80 m
Draugth 8,05 m
2 534 passengers (lower beds)
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 28 00 kW
2 propellers
3 bow thrusters
Speed 21,7 knots

I always like it when a new Mein Schiff comes to Helsinki (especially as I've usually had the chance to visit them beforehand at the shipyard on delivery - in fact, I have a bunch of interior photos of the Mein Schiff 6 on the computer waiting for me to bother looking through them and editing for publication) and, of course, the Mein Schiff 6 is no exception. As testified by the fact her maiden call in our fair city was one of the few times that I actually managed to go out and photograph ships this summer.

As she entered service only a few months ago, there's very little to say about her history, so let's get straight down to the photos, which show the ship departing Helsinki Länsisatama (West Harbour) in the afternoon of 31 July 2017, photographed from Vattuniemi. As per the usual, you can click on the images to see them in larger size.

Two generation of Finnish-built ships in the Finnish capital: the Mein Schiff 6 and the Costa Mediterranea.
I continue to think there is a nice clarity to the design of the Mein Schiff 3 -class.
Construction of a new cruise quay underway on the left.
If I recall correctly, there was a Tallinn-Helsinki regatta on this particular day, hence the abundance of pictoresque sailboats.
MORE SAILBOATS!
Next week, it'll be time for the 500th entry into this blog. If I receive my copies of Innovation and Specialisation: The Story of Shipbuilding in Finland, I will be writing a little bit about the book; if not, I was thinking of doing a short guide to the different ship photo locations in Helsinki, which some of you have requested. So stay tuned!

20 October 2017

Aidavita in Helsinki, 18 October 2017

The summer cruise season for Helsinki ended last Thursday, and thanks to my lovely wife, I actually managed go out and photograph the the relevant ship. Due to the presenced of a tiny new human in my life, and the work on Innovation and Specialisation: The Story of Shipbuilding in Finland, this was only the third time this year I was out to photograph visiting cruise ships this year. Next year will hopefully be better. Oh yes, and speaking of the book, it should be out from the printers next week. I will write about it in more detail once I have my own physical copies at hand. In the meantime, let's look at this year's last cruise ship.

AIDAvita

IMO 9221554
Built 2002, Aker MTW Wismar, Germany
Tonnage 42 289 GT
Length 202,85 m
Width 28,10 m
Draught 6,30 m
1 266 passengers (lower berths)
1 687 passenger berths
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 27 550 kW
2 controllable pitch propellers
2 bow thrusters
2 stern thrusters
Speed 19,4 knots

Delivered in 2002, the Aidavita was Aida Cruises second newbuilding ever. Although externally quite similar to the company's first ship, the Turku-built Aidacara (originally named just Aida), the Aidavita and her sister Aidaaura were built by the Aker MTW shipyard in Wismar in former East Germany - rather fitting, as Aida Cruises themselves started out as an offshoot of the former East German state-owned shipping company Deutsche Seereederei. However, by the time the Aidavita was delivered, Aida Cruises'  ownership had passed under P&O Princess Cruises, which of course subsequently merged with the Carnival Corporation to become Carnival Corporation & PLC. The Aidavita's career appears to have been rather uneventful, so let's proceed right to the photos.

The images below show the Aidavita departing from Helsinki's Länsisatama (West Harbour) in the afternoon of 18 October 2017, photographed from Vattuniemi. The lighting conditions were far from ideal, so I ended up editing these quite a bit; I quite like the end result myself but it is hardly "natural", and I can understand if it isn't everyone's cup of tea. As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

I think the Aidavita and her sister are particularly successful externally, with a nicely balanced profile already evident in the first Aida ship, but with the covered bridge wings giving an extra touch.
The later Aida newbuilds have, alas, not been as successful (visually) if you ask me.
Yes, I did "cut out" the ship and edit it separately from the background. How ever did you guess?
`The reason why I've been out photographing so little this year on the left - and a more natural lighting of the ship on the right.
I really dig the aft design on this ship; a wedge similar to that of the Sally Albatross, but done better.

16 October 2017

Megastar in Helsinki, 19 May 2017

I've done surprisingly few entries about the Megastar, and I since there are a few sets sitting on my hard drive that have not been published here - or anywhere else for that matter - I think it's high time to rectify the case. (Though in my defence, a new small human appeared in my life a few months before the Megastar entered service and as a result I have also photographed her surprisingly few times).

Megastar

IMO 9773064
Built 2017, Meyer Turku, Finland
Tonnage 49 134 GT
Length 212,10 metres
Width 30,60 metres
Draught 7,00 metres
2 824 passengers
188 cabin berths
800 cars (if no freight units carried) or
320 cars and 110 freight units
1 970 lane metres
5 Wärtsilä LNG/diesel hybrid engines, combined 45 600 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
2 stern thrusters
Service speed 27 knots
Ice class 1A

Nothing much to write about the history of the ship so far, as she's only been in service for less than ten months now. If you want to see what she looks like on the inside, check this previous entry.

The photos below show the Megastar arriving at Helsinki Länsisatama (West Harbour) in the afternoon of 19 May 2017, photographed from Vattuniemi. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

I do like the occasional sailboat for photo purposes.
Pihlajasaari (on the left) would be a nice photo spot for mornings - if a) I would wake up early enough and b) the ferry there would go early enough to actually catch the morning cruise ship arrivals.
Is it just me or does the upper left bit of the red infinity sign actually look slightly sloppishly done, with a reverse arch to what it should be?
Behind the Megastar here is the construction work of a new cruise quay, which has made photography from Hernesaari impossible.
While I like the way the ship looks, her exterior does look like it wasn't given a final touch with the detailing. The are good ideas, but the final execution and detailing just looks messy.