Travel is not just about going from one place to another place, well it used to be that. But I found nowadays, how we are getting to that place is also as important as being in that place itself. The process of getting there, either by flight, driving, sailing or even by foot, should be something enjoyable regardless of the form of transportation that we are using.
I have the tendency to search for a flight as my first option because of it usually the fastest and easiest. But on some occasion, I found trying the less common option is actually trigger my “wanderlust” sense even more. Like this Tallink Silja Cruise review from Helsinki to Stockholm. The not usual but turned out to be a pleasant experience.
The Expectation and The Inside
This cruise was a part of the tour package that I joined. Of course, I have done some research about beforehand and I kept my expectation low. Don’t expect something in the level of Titanic or some cruise that sail across the continent. With a 203m length, 31,5m breadth and 995 cabins, this is not the biggest ship you have ever seen.
We were staying 1-night on the way from Helsinki to Stockholm. There are places for self-check-in but other than that the lines were long, so make sure you arrived early. But lucky for me, this time I have my tour leader to deal with all that process. Some perks of going with a group. Then board the ship we went!
Since I have my expectation low, the cruise itself is not that bad. Built in 1991, the interior looked a tiny bit old but not in a bad way. The main deck area has cabin windows overlooking down hence it looked spacious with the ceiling. On this area, there are shops and restaurants with a Casino/Night Club at the end of one side.
The Room (B-Class)
Now on to the room, as per expected, it was small. We were in the B class room which didn’t have any windows inside. The room can fit up to 4 people with the bunk bed open but I certainly don’t recommend. But generally, it should fit 2 people just fine. There were dressing table and a tiny wardrobe.
The bathroom itself was clean enough for me. Lighting just okay, slightly dimmed. The hot shower was working just fine, as well as the toilet. The amenities were kinda meh. They provide plastic cups, the disposable ones instead of the real ones. But for 1-night stay only, I think the room was enough.
As you might imagine, the alley was tiny. Well, since we were staying in B class which located in lower level, this was predictable. But since this wasn’t a huge ship, I didn’t have trouble navigating around to find my room. It wasn’t like a maze where you have to leave a trail of crumbled bread to find you way back.
Dining on Board aka Grande Buffet
There are small selections of restaurants on board but I believe this is the main dining place with buffet tables. We have both of our only 2 meals, breakfast and dinner here. I always have a spot for buffet, I mean, who doesn’t? Who doesn’t like to have the unlimited amount of food and feast like a king?
The place itself was big enough to fit everyone. It did get quite packed during the prime hours but we still managed to find a table. The selection was great, a proper buffet I might say. There were stations for everything, main course, salad, dessert, kids, even they have the street food stations serving pizza and tacos. Yum!
Talking about the quality of the food, it was good. I didn’t remember eating something that I despise, some of them were good and some just okay. But with almost €43.00 for dinner and €13.00 for breakfast, I did expect something more than decent here.
Service-wise, it was great. They were helpful enough without being obnoxious. There was 1 waiter that keeps coming to our table which I thought was weird at first but then he said he knew a little bit of Indonesian and was trying to engage a conversation with us. I assume Indonesian tourist rarely touch Nordic countries, unlike West Europe hence the excitement.
If you are a shopaholic then you might feel a bit disappointed with the store selections on board, nothing much to choose from. They do have a tax free store tho. I think it was the cheapest place but at least it was big enough to spend your time walking around and most likely, your money.
Other than shopping, the Night Club was your other choice to kill some time on board. Nothing like a bumping night club, it was quieter in fact. There was also casino inside which I called a mini casino. I only saw either group of teenagers trying their luck here or a curious tourist like myself wandering inside. So yeah, nothing much to say about this.
This is one of the best reason why I didn’t regret taking this cruise, the view. Nothing to see at night tho, it was almost pitch black. I did hope for a glorious sunrise at dawn but then Nordic autumn always keeps the sun for them self, so no sun. But even with the gloomy mood, it delivers a pleasant serenity view. I just loved the view so much!
The calm water, the gray cast, the orange leaf, and green forest afar. If it wasn’t for the wind and the cold, I will much rather spend my time on the outside deck than inside. But at least I manage to get some selfie, that’s all that matter. 😁
The Ups and The Downs
As always, the final thought. Is it worth your money and time? Should I just take the direct flight from Helsinki to Stockholm? Let me help you and break down the pros and cons.
Budget. Going with a cruise might seems to be excessive just to travel between this 2 cities. But if you compare to staying another night in either Helsinki or Stockholm plus the flight, it can get actually cheaper to go with the cruise. This also depends on the hotel you use and the cabin class you want. But I was comparing the total between having to say another night at Scandic Grand Marina Helsinki + flight fare vs having a 1-night trip with Silja Symphony then it comes up as cheaper to book the cruise!
Less mainstream view. Tired of sky and airplane windows views on your memory? Then this cruise might be a breath of a fresh air. I loved the view along the way. I have said this already, haven’t I?
Efficiency. Having a night trip definitely a time-saving. If you compare to stay a night at the hotel, going to the airport, and back to the city. Why not transport while you are sleeping?
Ps: I was trying to find the similar cruise package like and stumble across this package which seems like a great deal. Check them out if you want.
(Teenage) Crowds. I wasn’t sure if this happens all the time or if it just my luck that time. But I saw groups and groups of teenagers everywhere in this ships. Mostly in the casino which is not a problem but they were having a party in their rooms. Yes, inside that small rooms! I can literally hear the sounds of music blasting when passing their aisle, they make even more sounds than the night club in this ship.
Sea-sickness. It wasn’t that bad that I can’t stand it but I was able to feel the motion from time to time. The worse time was when we were eating but it just lasts for a moment tho. If you are that sensitive then you might want to take a pill beforehand.
That’s the end of my 24 hours in Helsinki and the beginning of my adventure in Stockholm, coming up next! Thanks for reading this series and do share with your friends if you find this helpful, the comments and all our social media are below. Hei hei is goodbye in Finnish by the way. So I will Finnish and until next time, Hei Hei! 😉
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