A daytime ferry from Turku to Stockholm is one of the best ways to spend a day — if you are a person who loves the sea, or appreciates the process of observation, or just finds a pleasure in combining food with a great view. In other words, there are lots of reasons to enjoy the cruise. But let’s take it from the beginning.
Departing from Turku
It is dark early morning. I’ve just got off the train from Rovaniemi and about to have a trip on a ferry. The terminal I need (it’s Viking Line) is only a few steps away from the railway platform, which is particularly convenient in cold snowy winter.
Automatic doors open, and I get inside. A travolator meets me at the entrance to ease my way to the check-in area. The efforts of a passenger has been properly minimized here. Lovely!
On the second floor I confirm my booking and get an important piece of cardboard which must never be underestimated. It’s a ticket that allows me to pass a control barrier and get to a boarding gate. Also, it functions as a door key for my cabin on a ship.
After a short wait, everybody gets on board. There are lots of people, but all talks are quiet. The hint of drowsiness is in the air. The light of a new day starts to slowly grow. We leave Turku at 8:45.
Looking at the ferry route from Turku to Stockholm
The course of the trip is quite simple. There is only one intermediate point — Mariehamn, the capital of Åland. The ferry rides for about 11 hours and gets to the final destination, Stockholm, at 18:55 (it is local time, please mind the difference).
The name of the vessel I’m on is Amorella. It has the capacity of almost 2500 people and 450 cars. Appropriately for a ferry of its type and size, it features a net of seemingly endless corridors and a cascade of stairways.
I have access to five decks. They include several restaurants, a huge tax-free shop and other places of fun, leisure and entertainment. There are lots of many other venues of various purposes, but my main goal for now is to get to my cabin and settle in.
My place is on the deck 6. I step on a recurring pattern of a sailing knot on a carpet and move towards the number 6132.
The class of my cabin is seaside standard, and this title subtly suggests that voyagers here can feast their eyes with a fascinating marine view. It is actually an option of great importance if you travel during daylight hours. So, good for me, there is a window (not every cabin has it, be sure to pay attention to this topic while planning your trip).
The room itself is quite commodious and comfortable. The floor covering is soft, so no one would blame you for taking off your shoes and going barefoot. Speaking of footwear, there is a spacious section near the entry door where you can store it, as well as a coat, a sweater and whatever clothes you need to take off.
It’s warm here, but you can turn up the heat. Or quite the opposite, make the compartment cooler — a temperature controller is at your disposal. Four sockets also glad to be of service, if something has to be charged.
You can get some rest on a sofa, but in case you are a little too tired, just unfold a bed (there are three of them). It is ready for use at any moment, with all needful bedclothes and a pillow.
I feel more like staying awake, that is why I prefer not a bed but a furniture item for sitting. There it is! A cute wooden stool, hiding under one of two small tables.
There are also a couple of other useful means of comfort in the cabin — a shower and a toilet. Everything is clean and works perfectly.
Finally, the last thing I need to feel myself at home is Wi-Fi. It’s here, but it requires an authorization. I go to the information stand at deсk 7 and get the login and the password. This pair is pretty straightforward, and something tells me that my new knowledge will remain actual at least for the rest of the year.
Getting fresh air
The deck number nine has an open segment. It’s already light outside. The best outcome I can get from combining those two facts is a short outdoor promenade. I put my hood on and get out in a fresh air.
It is no surprise that the wind is strong. Also predictably, the walking surface is extremely slippery. If you find yourself in my place, please take extra care, move slowly and hold on to the banister.
I am the only enthusiast of winter seawatching here, and that’s rather understandable. After spending 15 minutes on an open deck, I get back to the comfort of indoor premises.
Enjoying the view
Amorella offers a lot in terms of amusement. This ship has almost any imaginable type of attraction on its board. A spa. A sauna. A number of bars. A dancing hall. A place with karaoke. There is even a casino. However, the best show you can get is outside the window. I am glad to see that there are other people who agree with me on this.
Jokes aside, this is really a great idea to find a suitable spot, take a seat and just watch. The good thing is that there are hundreds of windows at different parts of the ferry. You can choose a proper angle, the best perspective and the most appropriate ambiance. As a matter of fact, you can mix business with pleasure and set up a private workspace with a sea view inside your cabin.
Apart from the archipelagos, eloquently praised in tourist booklets, a keen observer could find a plethora of various interesting happenings. But don’t get me wrong, those archipelagos are beautiful and worth praising, no question about that.
By the way, here comes the only stopover on the route. We arrive to Åland Islands. It is so happens that at this point of the journey the sunset begins.
Having dinner at sunset
There is another pleasant thing that happens at sunset: the buffet opens its doors for a dinner. I have two reasons not to miss this. First, I’ve got a prepaid meal coupon (window table, 35 Euros, recommended). Second, there is another incredible view (from the bow of a ship!).
My table is on the side, but the panorama is still great. The glass is waiting to be filled. The meals are waiting to be chosen. The sea is beautiful and relaxing. Isn’t this dolce vita?
Dolce vita this is.
Fun fact: during the dinner all the clocks on the ship suddenly go back for one hour. It means that the border has been crossed, and now we are in Swedish waters, where is a different time zone.
The day gets closer to its end, and I catch the last visual impressions through the glass of the window in my cabin.
It’s getting dark pretty fast. As early as at 16:00 the darkness starts to be in control again. The trip has a circular composition: at the start the ferry emerges from a sunless morning, at the end it gets absorbed by a dusky evening. It is a ride through all the states of a day: from dark to light and then to dark again.
It feels like a deep night when Amorella reaches Stockholm. I decide to use the most effortless way of getting to a hotel — Båtbussarna. It is a bus which waits for arrivals right at the entrance of the Viking Line terminal. The tickets cost 60 SEK (6 Euro) and are sold at the entrance by a driver (cards are accepted).
The bus goes in unobvious directions and makes many turns. I look at numerous road junctions, viaducts and crossroads. At some point I start thinking that maybe I am on the wrong bus. However, this one takes me — as planned — to the Central Station in 15 minutes. My guess is that our detour was caused by road maintenance works. Probably, under the regular circumstances a bus makes this ride in less time.
Staying for the night
It would be odd not to stay in beautiful Stockholm, even if for a short time. So, I am in a hotel. This is Radisson Blu Waterfront and its premium room with panoramic view. It costs some money, but the experience pays off.
Needless to say, the accommodation is an ode to comfort. But the view beats everything. Both the softness of a huge bed and the obvious sleepy feeling can’t make me stop staring at the night city. It is gorgeous, it’s so… Z-z-z-z…
Linking for the clicking
I urge everybody to try this. Seriously. So, without many other words:
– Get the tickets to a ferry from Turku to Stockholm here, or here.
– Book a room with a panoramic view at Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel via booking.com.
Scenic routes, seascapes and dazzling cities are good for you, I have not a doubt of this!