The Birka Paradise is owned by Birka Line and was launched in April 2004. It was built by Aker Finnyards (now STX Europe) at Rauma in Finland at a cost of €155m. The ship was built to cruise primarily in the Baltic Sea.
The ship, ordered in November 2002, was re-registered in Sweden to enable the sale of snuff on board (EU legislation allows snuffs to be sold in Sweden and on board ships registered in the country).
In 2007, the ship was dry docked at Turku Repair Yard for a $2.7m renovation of its spa area including treatment rooms, saunas, showers and other facilities. The refurbishment was finished in early 2008.
The ship’s interior was designed by Yran & Storbraaten, Lasse Heikkinen and Partner Ship Design.
Vitkovice Steel supplied more than 3,000t of plates for the construction of the ship while Wynn Marine provided a bespoke wiper system capable of wiping 90% of a window.
The Birka Paradise is the only cruise ship in the world to have a man-made beach complete with artificial sunlight.
The ship’s relaxation area is spread over 1,500ft2 and includes a swimming pool, Jacuzzis, bars, beach chairs and palm trees. On-board spa treatments include traditional body massages and face therapies using volcanic mud, algae and chocolate.
The ship provides entertainment seven days a week. Passengers can enjoy soft piano music in the Yacht Club Bar while the Club Copacabana offers orchestral performances.
The ship also has a casino, a duty free shop and a betting shop. Dining options include three restaurants and eight bars including a whisky bar, serving over 90 single malts.
The ship can accommodate 1,800 people. The cabins are furnished with two beds, a shower, bathroom, telephone, television, hair drier and air conditioning. The ship’s exclusive 2x18m2 duplex suite has an elegant living room with a sofa, table and chairs. The bathroom has a whirlpool bath and a separate shower. There is a separate guest toilet. All rooms are installed with smoke detectors and sprinklers.
The 34,728t ship is 177m long and 28m wide. The draft is 6.50m. The ship has 11 decks, of which five are used for accommodation and three for public space.
The ship fulfils DNV’s Comfort Class rule of a noiseless and vibration-free environment. The ship is equipped with catalysers and closed sewage treatment systems. The underside of the ship has been painted with non-toxic paints.
The ship is installed with four main Wartsila 6L46 diesel engines, with a combined power output of 23,400kW. The ship is also supported by four auxiliary Wartsila 6L32 diesel engines. The total capacity of the auxiliary engine is 11,040kW.
The ship’s average cruising speed is 21kts, but can reach 22.5kts under favourable conditions.