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Author: Subject: Tallink Silja
Cornelia
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[*] posted on 7-8-2008 at 22:54
Tallink Silja


I don't think, if the brand of cruiseferries dies, that the remaining ships will cater the truckdriver. There might be new ways of travelling, without party, without cheap booze and cheap amusement-stuff, but there might be more quality travelling for passengers.

I think the Finnlines-system is misunderstood by many people who have only heard of it, but never travelled on these ships. It's not so that you are onboard a floating motorrest, believe me - it is not a trip I could enjoy, especially not if they serve the type of food and accommodate you like in the cheapest motel.

The way to travel, if you are on a ferry that carries more freight than passengers, and as well the drivers of those is different. You book your trip, will pay more than on a fast superfast-trip from Rostock to Helsinki for example. The trip will take longer, and for that you pay more, you have all meals included. I talk about breakfast buffet, lunch and dinner buffet. In a similar way you find it on the cruiseferries, just the biggest difference is, that it's not for so many people. You do also get more the feeling of being in a medium sized better restaurant, with white tablecloth and flower arrangement than the one of a big eating-hall like you do on bigger ships. Although, if you look out the front window, you might get reminded in where you are, as you see the rear end of trucks.
Truckdrivers there are, as well - you can spot them, but they usually have their food, some conversation and are rather quiet, apart from the restaurant, they do have some own facilities on the ships too.
If you look your cabin, you do rather think you are on a ship that is travelling for one week, 14 days - as so much space you have. Dark wood, looks like luxury, wide bed, a desk table and couch. This as the normal cabin to use. Price, if I count all together, what I usually spend on a cruise-ferry and what I paid all inclusive, Finnlines were the cheaper offer. Especially, at the restaurant - despite closed, one can always get things like water, coffee and tea.

Some interior
http://www.faktaomfartyg.se/transeuropa_1995_inr_1.htm

and the cabin :-)
http://i28.tinypic.com/261kpc6.jpg

I think, this type of ships are also more similar to Finnjet than the nowadays new Las-Vegas-alike ferries. More a way of good transport with a bit of luxury. If ferries of the future would be like that, I could not explain.
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[*] posted on 7-8-2008 at 23:32


I can see why. The cruising is bloody expensive these days, and the days of glory seem to be over.

I went HEL-STO-HEL with Silja some time ago, and it was quite a disappointment. First, there was the pricing: Buffet 35€. Beer 4,50€. A bottle of water 1,50 and a soda can 2€. Chocolate in tax free 10€/kg. Come on! The only thing that is cheaper there than in Finland is smoking, and you can't even do that indoors anymore.

And there is nothing fancy in these ships I think. A big promenade and too few too small restaurants and bars. Crowdy and long lines everywhere. You will spend half of the buffet time in the queues, and sometimes it took bloody ages to get a drink from a bar.

The cabin felt dirty, there was no hand soap, a cupboard door dropped down from its hinges when opened etc. There was a bad smell in the cabin corridor.

I met only a few friendly staff members. It felt like they were there to get rid of the customers as soon as possible, not to make them comfortable.

But the most annoying thing was that there was absolutely nothing new comparing to my trip there a year ago! The food was the same, the program was the same, the places were the same... only the show had changed and was actually better this time.

People like me go to cruise to enjoy and spend money. But that one felt like a rip-off to me. For the whole price of the cruise you can do a lot of nice things in land. Or party a week in great places, instead of 2 days in that rubbish disco, if you are up to that :)
It's not the price, it's what you'll get for your money.

So I think they can blame themselves for the loss of passengers. If you go once and feel like you have been robbed, why come again?
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[*] posted on 8-8-2008 at 11:49


Come on guys, the ferry cruising is not as bad as you describe it and - to make a point - Finnjet was not that much different in her Tallinn traffic. Generally talking about "10 Euro passengers"... I think you have them a lot more on the Helsinki-Tallinn route also today. I took a Rosella cruise in February for 12€ including A4 cabin and 4 passengers.... The people you could see there were so strange that it became already an amusement for itself. Sure, thats not what you might want to experience but you get what you pay for usually... I must say that the passengers on Hel-Sto are usually better than on the other routes because it is simply the most expensive one of the finnish/swedish cruise ferry routes. Also I don't understand what is wrong with the Buffet apart from the queues... The Hansa class restaurant on Finnlines isn't any better from its decors and so on, I was on board one week ago. :) And it is possible to avoid the queues by not taking the first serving or generally by avoiding a fully booked ship...

I can understand the opinions about Tallink though and I definately agree that Viking gained a lot of new goodwill. Their ships have never been so full in summer as last year and this year seems to be the same. Who is seriously surprised about Silja's loss of passengers with Tallink destroying a quality brand by all means?! The poorly done integration of Galaxy to the Silja fleet shows once again what the brand is worth for Tallink..




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[*] posted on 9-8-2008 at 12:16


I think, I would not mind 10-Euro passengers onboard, if they were just going for a leisure-trip and a day out with friends and family. What makes it worse is, that the companies are attracting so-called booze-cruisers. Folks who just want to misbehave and drink too much. Then it is not fun anymore.

I think, the ferryindustry has to go back, to what it has been - a transport-industry. That is, what ferries are made for, not offer people places where they can for almost nothing, get onboard and drink too much, puke on the carpets and even worse.

Back to Finnjet, it was the ideal mix: You had a few folks who were doing the trip just for fun, just for a nice weekend out, mostly Germans, a few Finns as well. You could see them enjoying the show, drinking cocktails, strolling out on the deck, see on their faces that they enjoyed the time, to get away from it all, for two or three days. Then, you had the transport of course - busloads, families, rucksack-travellers like me, to spend holidays in Finland. The company has never advertised these trips as cheap-drinking trips, and so I assume they didn't get these folks either.

Tallink, I must admit I have a different opiniom. I have been on a daytrip on the old Vana Tallinn (the name does ever fit so good to that ship - translating OLD Tllinn), where also most of it was transport-passengers, I remember sitting on the ship's wooden deck on a warm day, but as well the ship did look as if it needs some refurbishment, although it was clean. Then, been on the then-new "Romantika" later on, which was for me a never-never again to do thing, or only if I am in a very strange mood. I bet I was, besides the crew the only sober person onboard, and it was really so, I think most folks came onboard to party wild, and drink as much as you can.

I think, I liked best the trips during the week, as well the Christmas-cruises and best of all, the regular Finnjet trips, with a mix of all people you can get. Of course you had some party-folks too, but as said, you had alot of variety in passengers which made a very good feeling.
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[*] posted on 9-8-2008 at 17:55


The problem with the current ships anyway is their size, which is simply too big. To get the ships full, you have to have a very low ticket fare, with the ships getting older it tends to drop even more. Anyway, I can very well imagine in what problems Tallink/Viking are in replacing the current ships, since any replacement of these would never ever be as special or offer as much for the passengers as the current ships do. Therefore, especially about Serenade and Symphony, new tonnage could actually seem like a step backwards to many passengers who got used to a Promenade and 13 decks....



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[*] posted on 10-8-2008 at 01:08


Quote:
I heard often now that people would rather have a smiling Philippino than an angry Estonian. No offence to the Estonians. I'm no happy man either.


:-D

True to some point, I actually made better experiences with Finnjets international crew in 2004/05 rather than the pure Finnish one in the years before. But thats also thanks to a real 5 day cruise rather than pure crossings and such...

Bringing the cruise ferries to a different level of luxury sounds like a very nice option, I'm afraid it will be rather a step towards RoPax then however, or simply a 4th copy of Romatika and Galaxy and alikes...:umm:




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[*] posted on 14-8-2008 at 18:09


Wow, I'm finally remembering to read the forum at home so that I can actually reply to the threads.:lol:

Quote:
Originally posted by Kepa
If I was a gambling man, I'd put my money on what Mathias said. With the current leadership we're not going to see Finnjet II, but more of the ROPAX-ships. I consider that as a much larger drop in service quality than what it is between premium airlines and low-cost airlines.

I don't think the ro-pax is nescessarily the way of the future. While there is a trend towatds moire gargo-intensive ships, at the same time luxury cabins are more popular than ever. For instance, I've recently booked three separate trips on various Viking Line ships and on every one the suites and luxury cabins had been sold out, but there was room in most or all of the other categories. Similarly, several middle-aged passengers I know are traveling in luxury cabins whenever possible - and are complaining there should be more high-quality cabins on the ships. Personally I don't think it unforeseeable that cruiseferries of the future have a large(r) number of luxury cabins and high-quslity facilities. Possibly the high-quality facilities will be exclusive to the luxury cabin passengers.




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[*] posted on 14-8-2008 at 21:37


Quote:
For instance, I've recently booked three separate trips on various Viking Line ships and on every one the suites and luxury cabins had been sold out, but there was room in most or all of the other categories.


If you ever have travelled with small kids with buggy or stroller and some other baggage, than you need this cabins, not because of luxury, just because of space. The chances to be back on your car in time are just small, because all elevators are crowed and the staircases as well. I made this experience this summer on Viking Gabriella and dont need it a second time. Surely next time Finnlines`Hansa-Class from Travemünde (or Finnjet..)...
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[*] posted on 15-8-2008 at 16:30


I agree that there is a general increase in demand for high end cabins in line with the genral increase in crusing "proper" However i also forsee an increase in ferry passangers generally as fuel costs increases kill off budget carrier airlines, even the one mighty Ryan Air has been hard hit. Indeed the fundamental principle of jetting off for a weekend to Prague could be a thing of the past.

When you look at the cost per head of a ship compared with an aircraft I would go as far as to say that we might see a new Golden age of passanger Ferrys really purely for the sake of travel, ie the cruise ferry, within the next 10 years.




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[*] posted on 15-8-2008 at 18:54


Quote:
Originally posted by akseliIf you ever have travelled with small kids with buggy or stroller and some other baggage, than you need this cabins, not because of luxury, just because of space.

I indeed have (bein g a decade older than my brother brought with it certain (dis)advantaged), and we usually travelled in a B-class cabin. Admittedly not very nice at all.

Quote:
Originally posted by paularai
When you look at the cost per head of a ship compared with an aircraft I would go as far as to say that we might see a new Golden age of passanger Ferrys really purely for the sake of travel, ie the cruise ferry, within the next 10 years.

That is something that I have been thinking about as well. Most people seem to be still large caught up in the past when fuel was (relatively) cheap and there was plenty of it. Now that this is drawing to a close, the ship can become competitive when compared to the aircraft even in passenger traffic.

A ship can be made into a much more fuel-efficient machine than an airplane, and there are already ships in development that can travel at relatively high speeds (and more to the point, maintain a steady speed) without having to use fossil fuels. It's not unforeseeable to think that in the future we might see a renaissance of the ocean liner, in the form of environmentally friendly "green ships" that carry passengers and freight from one continent to the other instead of the people going on a plane and the freight separately on a ship.




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[*] posted on 18-8-2008 at 10:14


The revival of ships sounds like something that might happen in the long run, but not within the next 10-15 years. Even with constantly rising fuel prices I can't really see this fundamental change in travel habits happen too soon, those Business people crowding the big pond probably don't have enough time to take Quuen Mary instead of an airplane ;) For them it doesn't matter if the company pays 2000€ for their ticket or 2500€. The amount of those private people flying might of course drop, not sure if they would then really take a ship instead. It will be interesting to see :)



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[*] posted on 2-9-2008 at 12:27


Hope, that Tallink ships will concentrate to better service in the future. I've travelled Helsinki-Tallinn-Helsinki in Galaxy and this new Baltic Princess as well. Sorry to say, but service in the stores and restaurants are well below the standards that we finns (at least me) are used to. I hope, that competition will give some pressure to service quality as well.



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[*] posted on 2-9-2008 at 22:43


The thing about Tallink is that they are very popular within a certain market segment. When travelling with them I've for the most part recieved service that I though was poor (at times downright unpleasant) - but the other passengers there are also very different from the types who travel with Viking or Silja. Nowhere else have I seen such a drunken, bad-behaving crowd as I did when taking a cruise on the Galaxy. Not even when I was on a cruise with the entire year from my high school (and let me tell you, those were wild cruises). The crowd that Tallink attract don't care about the bad service - they care about getting terribly drunk before the ship even sails and staying that way 'till the ship gets back. What Tallink call "rai-rai" in their commercials... which is definately not my thing.

Quite a telling example from the attitudes of Tallink passengers towards other companies was during the said cruise on the Galaxy when Viking XPRS was coming to Tallinn. I was on deck with my camera, along with groups of drunken young Finns having a smoke. They were booing at the XPRS and yelling "vitun Hurri-homot" (:) gay Swedes). when this was over I heard a lecture from one of the guys about how the XPRS looked just like the ex-Fantaasia and how it reflected how Viking is an old-fashioned company and how time has driven past them. If this is what the Tallink (cruise) crowd is like - and based on my experience here and elsewhere it is - then they don't want better service and sail on the relatively civilized atmosphere that Viking or Silja have.

And personally I'm glad for that.




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[*] posted on 5-9-2008 at 09:20


I travelled on her to New York in May 2004, there is only Tubine noise by the air intakes at the base of the funnel, still a nice sound!



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[*] posted on 5-9-2008 at 10:34


Quote:
Originally posted by Kepa
I pick the off-season when the operators (Silja&Viking) need the business and the ships are as empty as possible. I do that because I do not like my fellow man. I presume that he will be loud and unpleasant.

And 99% of the time you'll be right. As far loud and unpleasant fellow passenger go, Tallink's cruiseferries are far the worst ships to choose in my experience. That said, my experience on the Star was quite pleasant - it didn't feel like a Tallink ship at all to be honest, the crowd was so well-behaved.




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[*] posted on 12-9-2008 at 19:35


Besides what you're talking about right now, I'd like to say a word about these different crew working on ships. You were talking about different nations of workers, and I'd say that the most comfortable trips I've made is really on the Hel-Sto line, wich I've made many cruises on. The staff aboard is actually mostly ''finlandssvenskar'', actually meaning ''finnish-talking-swedes''. They're mostly very nice to the passengers, actually I haven't seen a bored staff member aboard. :)
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[*] posted on 8-10-2008 at 14:51


Helsingin Sanomat has an article (in Finnish) about this: http://www.hs.fi/kotimaa/artikkeli/Silja+Line+menetti+vuodessa+l%C3%A4hes+400...

The discussion about the article is interesting, and the most people have noticed the same as myself: prices have gone up, the service level down. My cruise experience from the last summer was a disappointment and it felt like a rip-off as I wrote on the forum earlier.

Have to agree that the spirit of the white ships is gone. Not to mention that the one "Silja" ship now looks like a zoo and actually isn't white anymore :shock2:
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[*] posted on 9-10-2008 at 23:33


I wouldn't mix nationalism into this at all. Most of the people don't really care who owns the company as long they get what they pay for. And the most of the rude staff was Finnish on my trip.

You have a point with the prejudices. I try to be friendly and open minded for new experiences and other nationalities, and I in fact have some very good experiences with the Estonian service, and very bad ones as well. But the common mentality seems to be that you only get good service if you can afford to pay loads of money for it. All the others are not worth a smile. That doesn't fit in our way of thinking, nor the basic idea of cruiseferries I think. It should be more like a taste of luxury for masses, not only boozing in dirty ships.

I wanted to point out, that compared to my earlier Silja experiences, the prices were markably higher, service mostly bad, and the overall quality of food and other stuff quite average. And some neglect with cleanliness and overall condition of the cabin and the public places was markable. Just not the quality I have been used to when travelling with Silja.

I didn't get what I paid for. I don't expect much of a 10 euros Tallinn trip, but on a 1000 euros holiday cruise with my family, I simply don't want to get treated like crap, or walk to my cabin via a corridor that has a smell of it :)
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