Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Le Quiberon

Silja Serenade/Silja Symphony - Jan 2020.

Recommended Posts

Firstly I have to apologise about the wait it was some time since I posted my Color Line voyage report. 

Stockholm - Helsinki, Silja serenade, 09/01/20.

Check in was very fast and effective on this route, a running theme on all ferries I travelled on for this trip which makes a fantastic start to any trip. Being early January the vessel was lightly loaded. Initial thoughts when boarding the Silja Serenade was WOW! The vessel has a very similar layout to the Color Line Kiel/Oslo twins which I did a previous report on, the most prominent feature being a central promenade running through the vessel, which contained shops, pubs, customer services, various eateries and a glass elevators. My cabin was an standard room with window view, I was satisfied with the cabin, perhaps not as luxurious as other ferries I have travelled on but more than adequate for me. You can tell with some of the furnishings that of course the vessel may be older and there are signs of this, but in fairness it has been renovated very well in recent years. Deck space on the vessel is excellent with a wrap around lower deck, and a deck on the top of the vessel where the nightclub is. I actually quite liked, and preferred the facilities on the Silja vessels, particularly the show lounge and the nightclubs as they seemed much larger and still had modern furnishings.

The vessel departed on time at 16:45 as we meandered our way out of the Stockholm archipelago. Sadly being in full darkness I could not appreciate the views of the islands and inlets, however I Iook forward to seeing them when I do the route again in the summer. I had sushi from the sushi bar as an early snack which you could take-away and was outstanding. I then had a drink in the rear bar and then made my way to the show lounge and enjoyed the live show and entertainment which was excellent. I also made my way to the nightclub in the early hours, however, there was only 3 people in (including myself) so I grabbed a couple of pizza slices and a cake from the late night snack bar and returned to my cabin to get a good nights sleep. It must be noted that the vessel briefly docks in Mariehamn in both directions which is a uniqueness in itself. Sea condition were also quite hospitable during this significantly mild Baltic winter, there was no sea ice at all, in fact temperatures were not below freezing.

We arrived in Helsinki at 10:30 which allowed a good night sleep for me. The disembarkation process was swift. The Helsinki terminal is out of town, there is an option to get a tram just outside but I got a taxi intot the city.

Helsinki - Stockholm, Silja Symphony, 13/01/20.

I wont give too details regarding the vessel as they are both pretty much identical and my trip was pretty much the same. On the return trip I did try the buffet which was good but no-where near the standard of Color Lines despite being more expensive. Selection was limited due to the lighter boarding but consisted of various fish and shellfish, salads, hot food and some small deserts. Sea conditions were less hospitable however the large vessel dealt with them in its stride. Disembarkation in Stockholm was quick and effective as ever.

Summary:

Having previously sailed on the Color Fantasy the bar had been set unobtainably high as it is probably the best (along with its sister the Magic) cruise ferry in the world, however taking this into consideration I was not dissapointed at all, in fact my overall experience on the two vessels was excellent. I actually preferred the show lounge, bars and nightclubs on the Silja sisters as they were more extensive and very modern, whilst both vessels had excellent deck space including a wrap around deck. They both have a forward facing deck but I had no idea how to access them, if anyone does please let me know. The voyage out pf Stockholm must also be spectacular during daylight hours (I got up too late to experience it in the morning as some do). Both vessels also have good food offerings if your not interested in restaurant meals or the buffet which is quite pricey. 

Also big thumbs up to Tallink/Silja with there club one loyalty scheme. I put forward my card for every on board purchase which is based on points per euro spent both on the trip and on-board. That, in conjunction with a 3 night stay at Tallink city hotel in Tallin meant I have accumulated enough points to get a hefty discount or significant upgrades on a future voyage which I will most likely be in the summer. This trip was a litmus test for future voyages and I cant wait to do it again with longer daylight hours so I can experience the fantastic scenery and more people on board creating a better atmosphere on board. I recommend this service to anyone. Photos to follow.

L'Q.

40ACE2E2-B6A2-4090-AB37-66135A50A137.jpeg

472BB4B6-CFBB-4B28-8824-4046EF3B0840.jpeg

93634006-F1C4-44DD-AF94-0EC54D926A18.jpeg

487926C7-B705-440D-B441-06F284E4255C.jpeg

0A17B86B-9245-4369-AC99-0A22F814EC6B.jpeg

Edited by Le Quiberon
Photos added.
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well said L'Q and and an accurate description of both ships compared to the Color line twins which are based on them. These were built during the same period as Bretagne and Normandie, the Kiel ships are a couple of years younger than Pont Aven.

Well made point about the Club One scheme too, even with bronze the savings mount up and they never expire - I've never managed to stay in silver for more than a year. As well as our Baltic Queen trip in May we've also had a 15% discount on the hire car.

The trip out of the ferry port during the summer months is a great opportunity for photographers and you'll also experience the ferry one way system, passing very close either side of the islands. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

Really makes me want to take a trip on them.

There's good cycle hire in Sweden and around Stockholm most of the inter island vehicle ferries are free.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

Really makes me want to take a trip on them.

Also makes me a little sad when compared to some BF ships. But then again, the facilities are dictated by the market, which is completely different....

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, hf_uk said:

Also makes me a little sad when compared to some BF ships. But then again, the facilities are dictated by the market, which is completely different....

If you have extra services you pay for them one way or another whether it’s via onboard spend or ticket price , I’m happy enough with Pont avens or MSM facilities for the amount of time that I’m onboard them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, hf_uk said:

Also makes me a little sad when compared to some BF ships. But then again, the facilities are dictated by the market, which is completely different....

That's true, they are great to travel on but for BF most if not all of the Baltic cruise ship styled ferries are unsuitable for 99% of their services. It was the lack of lane metres which did for PoB & the Olau's. VDL was slightly different as she could accommodate more traffic and why her sister was swapped with what it now Moby Dada at Newcastle.

I think the only route any of these styled ferries would suit is Portsmouth - St Malo but again work would need to be done to allow more vehicle space.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've done the Stockholm archipelago one autumn on board the Baltic Queen. What a ship and what a view! If you do want to see it, I'd recommend doing early autumn, when you can catch the yellowing trees on the archipelago just after sunrise, the amber light on the yellow trees is gorgeous.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, neilcvx said:

If you have extra services you pay for them one way or another whether it’s via onboard spend or ticket price , I’m happy enough with Pont avens or MSM facilities for the amount of time that I’m onboard them.

Pound for pound they're cheaper than most of the U.K ferries. Stockholm to Tallinn which is the around 15 hours each way, a standard return fare in May in a premium cabin with a car is around £400.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, penguin said:

I've done the Stockholm archipelago one autumn on board the Baltic Queen. What a ship and what a view! If you do want to see it, I'd recommend doing early autumn, when you can catch the yellowing trees on the archipelago just after sunrise, the amber light on the yellow trees is gorgeous.

Do any of the vessels sailing out of Stockholm have forward facing front decks like King Seaways does.

Edited by Le Quiberon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Le Quiberon said:

Do any of the vessels sailing out of Stockholm have forward facing front decks like King Seaways does.

Many of them have external promenades over looking the bow although I don't know if there's public access. Most of them are just below the bridge. The viewing area aboard Pride of Bilbao ahead of the piano bar & quiet room is a conference area aboard her sister Viking Mariella.

I think a few of them now have the area as suites a bit like MSM's commodores.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A big difference is that they are floating shopping malls and entertainment complexes rather than ships? Ideal for certain routes and markets, but on an overnight to St Malo?

Culturally different, not so much onions and artichokes as favour and smorgasbord? Different seas, regions and histories. For all we (constructively) criticise, do we for one millisecond see such vessels in the Channel or Biscay.

Discuss. Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, jonno said:

Many of them have external promenades over looking the bow although I don't know if there's public access. Most of them are just below the bridge. The viewing area aboard Pride of Bilbao ahead of the piano bar & quiet room is a conference area aboard her sister Viking Mariella.

I think a few of them now have the area as suites a bit like MSM's commodores.

I noticed that the Silja Symphony/Serenade have an open deck just below the bridge, and I have seen photos taken from them, but I had no idea how to access them and gave up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Le Quiberon said:

Do any of the vessels sailing out of Stockholm have forward facing front decks like King Seaways does.

Mariella does but I can't think of any others which aren't closed off or part of private or crew areas; I don't think you can get to the equivalent area to this on Princess Anastasia without vaulting a fence. 

image.jpeg.ab78a544e396ac33c59ba3abff82075c.jpeg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, hhvferry said:

Mariella does but I can't think of any others which aren't closed off or part of private or crew areas; I don't think you can get to the equivalent area to this on Princess Anastasia without vaulting a fence. 

image.jpeg.ab78a544e396ac33c59ba3abff82075c.jpeg

Is this an accessible deck? Can't think of anything better than watching the views from the front of a vessel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Le Quiberon said:

Is this an accessible deck? Can't think of anything better than watching the views from the front of a vessel.

Like in 'Titanic' the movie? 😉

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wish we had something like the onboard quality of Pride of Portsmouth and Pride of Le Harve when they first arrived on the Channel from Olau. For the first few years before P&O made changes to the Lounge bar and other areas in line with their then new onboard branding concept I always thought they were better than the likes of Normandie. It turns out in hindsight that the ex Olau twins were not the right ships for the Le Harve route in terms of freight capacity but for the first few years they were a very high quality cruise ferry product.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Le Quiberon said:

Yes! Although preferably without a man holding me from behind!!! 😂😂😂😂

Giving you a 'hygge' you mean? 

Ed. 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Nick Hyde said:

Wish we had something like the onboard quality of Pride of Portsmouth and Pride of Le Harve when they first arrived on the Channel from Olau. For the first few years before P&O made changes to the Lounge bar and other areas in line with their then new onboard branding concept I always thought they were better than the likes of Normandie. It turns out in hindsight that the ex Olau twins were not the right ships for the Le Harve route in terms of freight capacity but for the first few years they were a very high quality cruise ferry product.

 

They remained high quality cruise ferries, they just weren't suitable for the short sea passages across the channel. The design has endured on the longer crossing to St Malo which doesn't cater for a lot of freight and Oscar Wilde was very popular sailing from Rosslare. The Olau's sister ships which sail to Amsterdam and P&O's two Zeebrugge cruise ferries rely heavily on the mini cruise market.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, jonno said:

They remained high quality cruise ferries, they just weren't suitable for the short sea passages across the channel. The design has endured on the longer crossing to St Malo which doesn't cater for a lot of freight and Oscar Wilde was very popular sailing from Rosslare. The Olau's sister ships which sail to Amsterdam and P&O's two Zeebrugge cruise ferries rely heavily on the mini cruise market.

True. BF will never commission a ship like that, or like the VAL even. Bretagne was a good mix of facility with function, and stylish to boot. As much as I love Armorique, I feel the like of her, Honfleur, and even the flexers will all lack personality going forward!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, hf_uk said:

True. BF will never commission a ship like that, or like the VAL even. Bretagne was a good mix of facility with function, and stylish to boot. As much as I love Armorique, I feel the like of her, Honfleur, and even the flexers will all lack personality going forward!

Ships like Bretagne and Oscar Wilde are lovely to sail on but ultimately they're the past... a bit like putting you're Tesla in the garage to drive your Escort XR3i at the weekend. For sure there is a place for them but overall they're limited... I love Bretagne, her innovations were a signal of things to come effecting the ferry industry but most of that now is misty memories. There have been many step changes since.

A new cruise ferry style isn't out of the question, you can't really use a RoPax on the sailing to St Malo and a twin loading RoPax at Plymouth is a waste of space. The cruise ferries at Newcastle carry more freight than these two routes combined.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, jonno said:

Ships like Bretagne and Oscar Wilde are lovely to sail on but ultimately they're the past... a bit like putting you're Tesla in the garage to drive your Escort XR3i at the weekend. For sure there is a place for them but overall they're limited... I love Bretagne, her innovations were a signal of things to come effecting the ferry industry but most of that now is misty memories. There have been many step changes since.

A new cruise ferry style isn't out of the question, you can't really use a RoPax on the sailing to St Malo and a twin loading RoPax at Plymouth is a waste of space. The cruise ferries at Newcastle carry more freight than these two routes combined.

Twin loading but limited (I presume you are talking about Armorique) to small vehicles on the top deck. (unlike Cotentin). Specifically for the reason, one may presume, to stop her being stolen by a much more versatile port.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, hf_uk said:

Specifically for the reason, one may presume, to stop her being stolen by a much more versatile port.

I doubt that as although she's pushing 170m and considering her design, her freight capacity is poor, only Bretagne's is less... and I'm not going into the the SPC's & EIG's again. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...