Built at a cost of €165m, the Baltic Princess cruise ferry is one of the largest of its kind operating in the Baltic Sea. The ship was specially designed to cruise on the Tallinn (Estonia) to Helsinki (Finland) route, carrying both passengers and cargo.
Tallink ordered the Baltic Princess – its fifth cruise ferry – in December 2005. It launched in March 2008, and sailed on its maiden voyage in July of the same year. The vessel replaced the MS Galaxy on the Tallinn to Helsinki route; the latter was moved onto the Turku (Finland) to Stockholm (Sweden) route.
The ship was built by STX Europe at Helsinki New Shipyard, though some parts were constructed at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in France. Around 1,700 people were involved in the construction.
The project was financed by a loan of €132m, provided by a bank syndicate comprising of HSH Nordbank, Nordea Bank, SEB and the European Investment Bank.
The Baltic Princess is 212m long and 29m wide, and can accommodate 2,800 passengers. It was designed with comfort and luxury in mind, featuring 927 cabins, 12 restaurants and bars, three shops and a conference centre, and can also carry 420 cars.
The Baltic Princess has several classes of cabin, Suite cabins being the most luxurious. These provide accommodation for two guests, and are furnished with a double bed, sofa, armchairs, writing table, refrigerator, minibar, LCD TV and telephone. Bathrooms have a WC, shower and hair dryer. At the other end of the scale are the A-class and B-class cabins for two or four people. B-class cabins do not have a window.
A-class cabins for the disabled are located on deck 5. These can accommodate two people, have special bathroom and shower facilities, and have wider main and bathroom doors for wheelchair access.
The ship provides broad range of entertainment facilities, including live music from Estonian bands, party games in the show bar, pub quizzes, parties and bingo. Food is available from five restaurants: Gourmet Baltic Princess, Russian à la carte Katarina, Grill House, Buffet Tallink and Cafeteria.
The ship has a sauna department, consisting of single-sex public saunas, two on-order saunas, and pools for adults and children.
Children are catered for in the Kids Harbour on deck 7, which includes a ball pool and a PlayStation videogame room. Planned activity programmes exclusively for children are also held.
The conference department on deck 5 spans nine separate rooms, the largest of which can accommodate 280 people. Every conference room is equipped with a whiteboard, flipchart, pens, TV, overhead projector, and DVD, CD and VHS players.
Four Wartsila 16V32 diesel engines power the Baltic Princess, producing a combined power output of 32,000kW, and catalytic reduction units have been fitted to control exhaust emissions and make the vessel more environmentally friendly.
The ship can cruise at a speed of 24.5kts, with smooth and easy manoeuvrability provided by two 1,800kW bow thrusters.