In the month of April I made a week-long trip with Michel, discovering German aviation history in Friedrichshafen, Danish railway history in Odense and navigating the sea to discover some Estonian history in Tallinn.
I had been nagging Michel into trying out a cruise for months, so he suggested we could maybe try out the Tallink Ferry from Stockholm to Tallinn as we both hadn’t been there yet. After letting it sink in for a while, the idea is was anchored down and we booked a ‘mini cruise’ from Stockholm to Tallinn and back. As both sailings where overnight this meant we would have a full day on shore in Tallinn.
We landed in Stockholm Bromma Airport after flying BRA from Malmö and took the airport shuttle bus towards Stockholm City, the city’s main bus terminal. As this is part of Stockholm’s main public transport hub we could easily change onto the metro taking us towards the port. Tallink leaves from the new Värtahamnen ferry terminal, which is closest to the Gardat metro station on the Red Line’s number 13 branch to Ropsten.
As there were three ships (ours to Tallinn, one to Riga and one to Helsinki) where leaving at the same time, the terminal was quite busy. Because we booked a return trip ‘mini cruise’ we were checked in for both legs at the same time and we wouldn’t have to check-in again in Tallinn and as we kept the same cabin we could leave our bags on the ship.
As our ship, the MS Victoria I was docked in front of the terminal we did not have to walk far. When setting foot on the ship the ships security double checked whether we were boarding the correct ship.
The bathroom was a very basic affair, even smaller than I experienced in ships before. The shower was not in a separate shower cabin but just used a curtain to protect the rest of the bathroom of splashing water, the floor was essentially one big shower drain.
In normal cabins only soap dispensers are provided, but in the deluxe cabin you get an extra basket with more toiletries, like a dental kit, some soap bars, shampoo and shower gel.
All in all I was pretty satisfied with the deluxe room and it certainly is worth to pay the premium for it.
As the ship makes a pretty lengthy 16 hours overnight crossing there are of course a number of facilities on-board. There is the obligatory duty-free shop (only opened when in full sea).
There is also a theatre where you can watch a live performance every night, a small casino (where smoking is allowed) and a disco to party all night long.
To keep you from getting hungry there are a number of different food and beverage options to choose from. On the lower level there is a fast-food style self-service canteen, offering a number of cheap meal options.
On the main deck you have the remainder of the restaurants. There is the very upmarket Gourmet Victoria restaurant, offering a multi course meal by a famous chef.
The buffet was divided into different sections. You had an appetizer section, a salad bar, a meat section, a cheese section and some desserts on the main central displays. You had a big fish section opposite the main display, which offered the best dishes in the entire restaurant and the fresh fish was delicious!
If you wanted you could order some speciality coffees and a bigger drink selection to the waiters, at an extra cost of course. While the quality of the food was ok, the offer was exactly the same both ways. It was not a very remarkable buffet, but for the price quality ratio it was more than acceptable.
In the morning most people went to have breakfast in the main buffet restaurant as well, but as we booked a deluxe cabin we had a complimentary ‘special’ breakfast which was served in the Grill House Restaurant.
We were welcomed there by a glass of mediocre sparkling wine, and tea and coffee where brought to us by the waiter.
If you wanted you could have some eggs made to order, brought to you. All the rest of the breakfast was served in a buffet style. As the special breakfast is consider a more upmarket affair you also had some premium items like caviar and foie gras on the buffet.
All in all taking the ferry from Stockholm to one of the destinations across the Baltic Sea is definably a civilised and convenient way to discover another city on a daytrip. We spent the day in Tallinn and we saw everything that interested us there.
Have you ever travelled on a ferry and how did you experience it? Let us know in the comments below!