Mini cruise Baltic Sea
At the end of our Scandinavia trip we get off ours Juno river steamer on the Göta Canal to get on the ferries of the Tallink Silja Linewho invited us to a mini cruise on the Baltic Sea. This leads us over from Stockholm Helsinki to Tallinn and back to Stockholm. The MS Silja Serenade, which with its shopping promenade on deck 7 and the glass elevators is more reminiscent of a cruise ship than a car ferry, awaits us in Stockholm Värtahamnen, at the Silja Line terminal. Next to her is the smaller MS Romantika on the quay, which is not quite as elegantly equipped as it will bring us from Tallinn back to Stockholm.
The Scandic Ariadne Hotel is located at the ferry terminal
The night before our mini cruise Baltic Sea we spend in Scandic Ariadne Hotel *, which is in the vicinity of the departure point for the MS Silja Serenade. We chose this three star hotel for its location. So we want to save ourselves a long drive from the city on the day of departure. Our room is practical and functional. It offers free WiFi access, so we can do a good job here. From our room window we watch the hustle and bustle in the harbor and watch the ferries leave and cruise ships dock in the evening. We test the restaurant at dinner and breakfast. But we are disappointed: listless staff are reluctant to take care of the guests in the restaurant.
You can also tell from the cleanliness: Tables are not wiped and only cleared after a long time. The friendliness towards the guests also leaves a lot to be desired. The dishes stay on the tables for a long time, especially at breakfast. We sit down at a table on which our predecessor's breadcrumbs are still scattered. When we checked out of the hotel at 12.00 noon, the breakfast dishes were still on the buffet in the breakfast room. If we should stay at the Scandic Ariadne Hotel again, we will forego eating in this hotel and prefer to eat in one of the restaurants that are between the hotel and the ferry departure point.
Check-in for our mini cruise on the Baltic Sea
The MS Silja Serenade leaves Stockholm at 16.45 p.m. en route to Helsinki on our mini cruise on the Baltic Sea. We pick up our tickets at the counter in the ferry terminal, which both represent our boarding cards and also serve as keys for our cabin and access to our deck. The check-in process is quick and completely uncomplicated - by the way, in all ferry ports that we visit on this mini cruise in the Baltic Sea.
While passengers who were already on board are allowed to board in front of us, we as “newcomers” have to wait until the check-in process is open for us. From 15.30 p.m. we can also get on board. All we need to do is place our boarding cards on a reader. This scans the bar code. The door then opens and we can enter the ship without further controls via the gangway. A part of the crew awaits us there and shows us the way to our cabin. It couldn't be easier or more uncomplicated!
Cabins on board the MS Silja Serenade and the MS Romantika
Our cabins on board the MS Silja Serenade and the MS Romantika are large for ferry cabins. They offer space for two people, and there is also space for our luggage without it constantly getting in the way. A bed was folded up when checking in. So we can use the other as a sofa. There is a table with a mirror in the cabin and a closet. On the MS Silja Serenade there is also a chest of drawers in which we can store items of luggage.
There are televisions in both cabins, which can be used to play a program in several languages during the night drive. The bathroom is practically furnished with a toilet and a shower. This is big enough to be able to take a shower comfortably in it. The nicest thing about both cabins are the large windows through which we can enjoy the view of the sea and the sunset, the archipelago in Sweden and the coasts of Finland and Estonia while driving. We spend two pleasant nights on the two ferries on the mini cruise on the Baltic Sea from Stockholm to Helsinki and on the journey from Tallinn to Stockholm.
The food on board during our mini cruise Baltic Sea
We have dinner at the grand buffet on both ships. Both ships also offer additional restaurants that serve other dishes and in which guests are served. The times at which a table is reserved for us at the Grand Buffet are indicated on both boarding cards. If you arrive 15 minutes late, this will be given to other guests. On board the MS Silja Serenade we hardly have the opportunity to photograph the food because the passengers rush at it as soon as the buffet opens, so that there is not much left for our photos.
The MS Romantika is not so full during our crossing from Tallinn to Stockholm. Therefore, the photos from the buffet on the ferries are mainly from this ship. The selection on both ships is almost identical and varied: there are different starter buffets with fish, salads, antipasti and sushi. The main courses consist of meat and fish dishes with vegetables, potatoes and local side dishes. The dessert buffet is very similar on both ships: I'm delighted to be able to get the delicious macaroons on the MS Romantika that I already enjoyed on the MS Silja Serenade. In addition to other types of cake, there is a selection of fruits, various creams and even ice cream.
Excursion in Helsinki on our mini cruise Baltic Sea
Since we are in Helsinki only a flying visit We arrive in the morning at 9.55 in Helsinki at the Olympia Terminal in the south port of Eteläsatama and leave in the afternoon at 16.30 from the west port of Länsisatama in Helsinki to Tallinn - we do not have much time to visit the capital of Finland. Therefore, we book one Panorama City Tour *who picks us up at the ferry terminal in Helsinki. In the meantime, we store our luggage at the baggage check-in at the ferry port for only 2 euros in a locked luggage room.
There are also lockable luggage compartments, but the price is many times higher. So we get on the bus unencumbered and let us show us the sights of the city, where we get the explanations over headphones in German. We get off at two points along the way: at the rock church and at the Sibelius monument. We will report on what we saw on the way elsewhere. Alternatively, you can of course extend your stay in Helsinki and continue your ferry cruise later. If you want to stay inexpensive in Helsinki, we recommend this one Helsinki hostels.
Crossing to Tallinn
Back at the Olympia Terminal we pick up our luggage and take a taxi to the west harbor Länsisatama in Helsinki. Although no taxi rank is mentioned on the Tallink Silja side, taxis arrive every few minutes to the terminal, so it is not a problem to get one for the transfer to the Westhafen. The ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn takes only two hours to cross. By taxi (5,50 €) we drive from Terminal D in Tallinn to our downtown hotel, the Tallink City Hotel *.
Tallink City Hotel not far from the old town
The four-star hotel is located in the modern city center of Tallinn. The old town is just a short walk away. This is not the only reason why the location of the hotel is excellent: opposite the hotel is the bus station, around the corner from the trams to Kadriorg, where the palace of Peter the Great is, and just a few steps away are the departure points of the Hop-On-Hop-Off Buses * in the Viru Väljak street, whose three lines drive to the main sights of Tallinn. Because we two days in Tallinn We will buy an 48-hour-ticket with which we can travel on all offered lines with these buses as often as we want - practically, if you do not want to lose time looking for bus stops of the public lines.
The Tallink City Hotel is a four-star hotel that has functionally furnished rooms. Free WiFi is available. The rooms are comfortably and practically furnished. Breakfast in the morning is a bit chaotic on the first day because the hotel is well booked. On the second morning, everything runs smoothly. The breakfast buffet offers everything you would expect: cereal with milk or yoghurt, fruit, pastries, coffee, tea or juice, salmon, a selection of sausages and ham, eggs cooked or fried, Pfannkuchen, and more.
Perhaps this practical travel information we collected on our Mini Cruise Baltic Sea itself will help to organize your own ferry cruise on the Baltic Sea? We would be glad if these tips prove to be helpful for you.
If you are planning such a mini cruise on the Baltic Sea, have a look at our travel tips for Stockholm, Helsinki and Tallinn.
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Source: own research on site. We would like to thank the Tallink Silja Line for the invitation to this mini cruise Baltic Sea and for the invitation from Scandic to stay overnight at the Hotel Scandic Ariadne. Our opinion remains our own.
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline