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TravelFinlandia Review - Relaxed Sailing between Capitals

Finlandia Review – Relaxed Sailing between Capitals


Bar Paja at m/s Finlandia
Bar Paja is one of the multiple cafeterias on m/s Finlandia.

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Our trip took us from Tallinn to Helsinki on Eckerö Line’s m/s Finlandia. While it may not be the most modern ferry on the waves, Finlandia still provides a comfortable and up-to-date experience. This review dives into our experience on the ferry, including the highlights and any downsides we encountered. Keep reading and find out what impressed us aboard the m/s Finlandia.

M/s Finlandia – A Ferry of Eckerö Line


M/s Finlandia is a ferry built in 2000 in South Korea. Eckerö Line bought the ferry in 2012 and since then, the ferry has been sailing between Helsinki and Tallinn. Finlandia can accommodate 2,080 passengers and 610 cars. It sails 3 times a day from the Finnish capital, Helsinki, to Tallinn.


Eckerö Line has another ferry called m/s Finbo which sails also between Helsinki and Tallinn. This ferry is mainly for cargo but it can take passengers too. We recommend Finbo for people travelling with a car between Helsinki and Tallinn who want to avoid city centres.


Finnish Ferry Operator from the Åland Islands


Eckerö Line is a ferry operator from the Åland Islands. The company was founded in 1995 and has operated a few ferries. Currently, Eckerö Line has only the previously mentioned two ferries.


Our Sail from Tallinn to Helsinki


In April, we had a day-in Tallinn cruise. We sailed to Tallinn onboard m/s Viking XPRS and came back with m/s Finlandia in the evening.


Eckerö Line uses the same port in Tallinn as the Viking Line, making this arrangement practical. Their Terminal A in Tallinn is only a 10-minute walk from the centre so the location is optimal.


After 6 hours in Tallinn, we had to arrive back at the terminal 30 minutes before the scheduled departure. We had made the check-in online with Eckerö Lines’s well-working app so we could board the ferry immediately with the QR code. It was interesting to notice that the ferry’s doors were closed almost immediately after our boarding, so arriving at the latest 30 minutes before the departure is important.


Chimney of m/s Finlandia
M/s Finlandia is operated by Finnish Eckerö Lines.


M/s Finlandia
The ferry can carry cars and passengers.


During our cruise, the sea was quite calm which made the trip smooth. Big waves on the Gulf of Finland are not uncommon so on windy days, prepare for a rolling ferry. The journey took 2 hours and 30 minutes. The fastest ferries cross the gulf in 2 hours.


In Helsinki, Finlandia arrived at the West Harbour which has a new modern ferry terminal. Tallink’s Megastar and MyStar ferries use the same terminal in Helsinki. It takes only 10 minutes to reach the centre of Helsinki from the West Harbour by tram.


Our Thoughts of m/s Finland


First Impression


It was not the first time onboard Finlandia so we knew what to expect. However, we were a little surprised that the ferry looked more worn and outdated than before. The reason may be that the ferry is getting old and its frequent use has left wear and tear. Even though the other ferry companies have more modern ferries, it was still a pleasure to sail onboard Finlandia.


Especially, older people love travelling on m/s Finlandia.


Restaurants, Pubs and Cafes


Finlandia has many cafes, a few restaurants and a delicious buffet.


Since we had eaten in Tallinn, we skipped the buffet which is travellers’s favourite. Eckerö Line, like the other cruise companies, offers a full-inclusive restaurant called Buffet Eckerö with cold and warm food and desserts. In addition to versatile Finnish-style food, drinks are complimentary including wine and beer. The buffet is a good choice if you are feeling hungry and want to taste Finnish food with fish. The buffet is located on deck 8 and its price currently is about 34 euros. The luckiest will get a window seat to enjoy the sea view.


Buffet Eckerö
Buffet Eckerö is a place to taste Finnish cuisine.


Those who wish to order food from a list, we recommend Bistro&Cafe Satama on deck 8. You can enjoy small snacks like hamburgers or order simple warm food from a few options.


Cafe Satama
Cafe Satama is the biggest cafe at the bow of the ship.


Second floor
The second floor of Cafe Satama provides a good view of the Baltic Sea.


There are multiple bars and pubs onboard. Bar Laituri on Deck 9 is an open-air bar serving mainly drinks. Naturally, it is only open when the weather is suitable. Bar Nosturi on decks 7 and 8 is the biggest bar in Finlandia. It serves drinks, coffee and snacks in a relaxed environment. It is also the place where the ship’s entertainment happens. Pub Telakka, Bar Naissaar and Bar Paja on deck 8 are other options to enjoy drinks and snacks.


Bar Nosturi
Bar Nosturi at the back of the ferry has a stage. This bar is the place where the ferry’s entertainment happens on weekends.


Pub Telakka
Pub Telakka on a corridor is a cosy place to have drinks and chat with travel mates.


We were surprised that there was no traditional a la carte restaurant onboard but so many pubs and bars.


Tax-Free Store


Eckerö Line’s tax-free store is called Eckerö Market & Parfymeria. The store is located on deck 6. We visited the market and bought some candies and drinks. The selection was usual: sweets, alcoholic drinks, cigarettes, simple food and souvenirs. Compared to Tallink, the store offered fewer clothing options.


Market
Market & Parfymeria is an inexpensive shop onboard.


Perfumes
As the market’s name implies, it sells perfumes but much more.


The stores in Helsinki – Tallinn ferries are one of the main reasons why people have day cruises. In addition to enjoying the ferry services, passengers can buy cheaper products than in Finland. This is especially true if you are looking for alcoholic products.



Alcohol
Many travellers buy alcohol because its price is much cheaper on the ferry than in Finland.


Sweets
The market is also a perfect place to find the best Finnish and Estonian sweets. We recommend Fazer chocolate.


The market was moderately priced but the staff were not the friendliest. For example, when we were paying at the cashier, the crew were talking to each other and not making contact with us.


Pop-up store
During our cruise, there was also a pop-up store. We skipped it because we were not in the mood of buying new clothes.


Cabins


The cabins are located on decks 6 and 5. Since the majority of people sail in the daytime, they seldom book a cabin. A cabin is not automatically included in the ticket price but you have to pay extra for it. Finlandia does not do overnight cruises so the demand for cabins is low.


If you wish to relax on your way to Tallinn or you are having a 6-hour mini cruise, booking a cabin can be a nice extra. The cabins are simple featuring beds and a private bathroom. Some of them have outside windows.


Cabin corridor
The ferry’s Decks 5 and 6 are full of cabins. Booking one is not necessary for a short trip but a cabin provides an inexpensive way to rest.


How to Book a Ferry Ticket

Browsing between the offerings of various ferry operators on a single route can be a daunting task. Our suggestion is to use Ferryscanner for an overview of different fares available via one quick search. Remember to follow these crucial steps when booking:

  • Search ferries for your intended route.
  • Select the desired ferry service. Fill and double-check all booking information.
  • Understand the terms for cancellation.
  • Add any additional services you may require. The same service may cost more later.
  • Finalize your booking using a payment card.

Head to Ferryscanner and book your sail.


Entertainment


Finns have often a mini-cruise to Tallinn meaning that they sail to Tallinn and immediately back. The idea is only to enjoy the ship’s service like eating, having drinks and doing shopping. This is the reason why ferry companies arrange entertainment onboard. The entertainment happens usually in Bar Nosturi, but during our cruise, nothing was happening there. It seems Eckerö Lines has reduced costs and there is entertainment only on weekends on public holidays.


Typical entertainment includes shows, singers and bands.


Other Services


M/s Finlandia does not have a sauna, spa or services tailored to children. Compared to other ferries on the same route, m/s Finlandia offers fewer options on how to spend time onboard.


Finland has a lounge that costs about 30 euros/way. The concept is similar to airport lounges: the entrance fee includes a peaceful atmosphere and complimentary snacks and drinks.


In addition to the ship’s lounge, business passengers can book a conference room on the ferry.


Outer Decks


During our sail, it was possible to access the outer decks even though parts of them were closed. This is something that you want to do only in summertime when the weather is nice. For example, during our spring trip, it was not so warm yet and Bar Laituri on deck 9 was not open. It was also windy outside, so we did not want to spend much time there. On a summer day, it is a pleasure to breathe fresh sea air on the outer decks.


Outer decks
The outer decks of m/s Finlandia are simple providing only one bar. On a warm summer day, it is nice to enjoy fresh sea air outside.


Rating