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Travelling by ferry is one of our favourite modes of transport when looking for an instant getaway. Fortunately, many ferry companies in Finland operate cruises to neighbouring destinations like Estonia, Sweden and Latvia. This article highlights our cruising experiences on Tallink's Baltic Princess.
Covered in the Article
Tallink is an Estonian ferry company operating modern ships between Finland, Sweden and Estonia. On route from Finland to Sweden, the company uses the older Tallink Silja brand. Tallink has a few older and multiple young ferries and the biggest of them can accommodate up to 3,000 passengers and cargo. Foreign travellers are often surprised when they realize that the ferries do not only carry vital cargo between Finland and its neighbours but are places for people to unwind and enjoy short affordable getaways.
The headquarter of Tallink is in Tallinn. In Finland, the company has hubs in Helsinki and Turku. In Sweden, Tallink has a hub in Stockholm. In summer, Tallink arranges also seasonal cruises to popular summer destinations nearby.
Did you know? Because Finland-Sweden ferries call at the Åland Islands, they are allowed to sell tax-free products.
Baltic Princess - from Turku to Stockholm
Turku - Stockholm is a popular route of Tallink Silja. Baltic Princess is one of the two ferries sailing on this route. The cruising time is less than 12 hours so the same ferry can travel back and forth during a single day. It means that a ferry leaves Turku every morning and evening. M/S Galaxy is the other ferry sailing on the same route.
In winter 2020, we had two 22-hour cruises on Tallinks's m/s Baltic Princess on the Turku-Stockholm route. We visited the ferry also after the pandemic when travelling was almost like before. In this article, we reflect on our experiences onboard.
Turku - Port of Departure
Baltic Princess departs from Port of Turku. This western port of Finland can be reached easily by bus, long-distance trains or car.
We arrived at the port by our car and parked it just near the terminal for the duration of the cruisings. Parking at the port is moderately inexpensive. Because we have just had 22-hour cruises on Baltic Princess, parking the car at Port of Turku has been the most practical choice. Another option would have been to take the car inside the ferry. Baltic Princess has two dedicated decks for cars and trucks. Parking terms vary so we advise reading booking conditions carefully.
Inside Baltic Princess
During our first travels, the pandemic was still going on strong and many restrictions were on. This explains why there were only tens of passengers on the huge ferry. We had the pleasure to enjoy the serenity of being on an almost empty ferry though some of the ferry's services were consequently limited for health safety reasons in line with the pandemic situation. Unfortunately, some onboard services were closed and not much entertainment was available. We have travelled on Baltic Princess also after the pandemic and seen what is the real atmosphere on the ferry like.
There are other ferry routes between Finland and Sweden too. Read our Finland-Sweden Ferry Guide to learn more.
Baltic Princess has cabins of different quality. Class B is the basic one meaning a small inside cabin without a window. Class A is similar to the Class B cabin but it has also an outside window. Class Premium A is slightly bigger than Class A and it has a double bed. All the cabins have a private bathroom.
Earlier, class Premium A included a free buffet breakfast but unfortunately, this perk is gone. You need to pay separately for the breakfast too.
There are also suites of different levels but they are much more expensive than the basic cabins. The majority of passengers prefer class B cabins because of their affordability.
On our first Baltic Princess cruises, we travelled in classes A and Premium A. At the time of the cruises, a ticket for a Premium A cabin included a free breakfast so the cabin price gave us good value for money. We have also travelled in class B which is similar to class A but without an outside window.
Tallink Baltic Princess has many à la carte restaurants but the majority of the passengers, including us, love to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner in Grande Buffet. The price of a dinner buffet is about 35 euros but the buffet is full-inclusive. There is a wide selection of cold meals, delicious warm foods and desserts for everyone. Soft drinks, juices, beers, wines, coffee and tea are included in the price. We have tried all of these buffets on Baltic Princess and we can say they are worth the money - great food and unlimited drinks of your choice! Grande Buffet restaurant is at the bow of the ferry giving great views of the archipelago.
There are one or two lunch servings in a day and one dinner. The amount varies based on the demand. Passengers need to choose a set during the booking process but it can be changed on board.
You can enjoy a traditional sea breakfast also in Grande Buffet. The breakfast is versatile, almost like a brunch. During busy hours, almost all tables are taken.
Another option is to have a special breakfast at Grill House giving a more relaxed atmosphere. We have not tried this breakfast option but its selection seems to be more sophisticated than the traditional breakfast.
You can have breakfast anytime between 7:10 a.m. and 10 a.m. There is no need to choose the exact time during the booking.
A breakfast buffet costs only about 12 euros.
Not everyone loves buffets but some passengers prefer a more intimate atmosphere which can be offered by à la carte restaurants. The food selections in à la carte restaurants are not as versatile as in the buffet but details are better planned.
Grill House offers an atmospheric and peaceful environment for meat lovers. Especially, the restaurant suits couples because of its relaxed environment. There is also an Italian restaurant onboard and a restaurant serving seafood: Happy Lobster. All restaurants have comfortable surroundings and tasty food.
Budget travellers may want to eat in Fast Lane restaurant that is more a cafe than a real restaurant. The food is half cheaper. You need to order at the cashier, then you get a pager and fetch the food yourself after the pager has signalled. Portions include salad and bread but not drinks. For example, you can order traditional meatballs, steaks, chicken and fish meals. Based on our experiences, the food in Fast Lane is tasty.
In normal operating circumstances, Baltic Princess has live entertainment every day. That includes a live band, troubadours, karaoke and sometimes a paid bingo game.
In Iskelmä Bar, you can try your karaoke skills. The bar is at the bow of the ship below Grande Buffet giving nice views outside.
At the stern of the ferry, there is a 2-deck high Starlight Palace where you can enjoy music played by a live band a few times in the evening. The restaurant is big and has also a bar and dance floor. Starlight Palace is also the place where the ferry's entertainment is performed. In the daytime, the entertainment is targeted more at children and in the evening, the whole family.
On deck 10, there is Club Vogue, the ship's disco. It is open from the late evening to early morning. Vogue plays music for younger passengers. Starlight Palace below Vogue is more suitable for the whole family.
Ferry's outside premises are combined with the disco. They are open also during the daytime. Because the subject is at the stern of the ferry, it is protected from the wind and is suitable for enjoying warm summer days.
Gambling is not a good habit but Baltic Princess has also a casino and many slot machines.
Spa and Saunas
Baltic Princess, like many other ferries, has a sauna department. There you can find separate saunas for men and a woman, a pool and a pool bar. The Finnish sauna is on deck 2 so enjoying the view of the summer archipelago is not possible. A good thing is an affordable price. A visit to the sauna department costs only about 12 euros. Sauna is a healthier choice than a pub.
Shopping is one of the favourite activities of Finns and Swedes while onboard Finland-Sweden ferries as the prices are cheaper compared to the selling prices on the mainland. On every ferry, there is a big tax-free shop selling sweets, cosmetics, fragrances, drinks, clothes, toys, accessories and local products sold at affordable sea prices. Baltic Princess has also separate stores for souvenirs and apparel of different international clothing brands, usually one can find hugely discounted items.
Booking a Cruise
Having a cruise between Turku and Stockholm is almost free. During weekdays, cabin prices are extremely low. You need to pay only a few euros for a cabin, but on the ferry, you will spend more money. Prepare to spend at least 50 euros on food. Despite services on the ferry are not cheap, having a getaway on a ferry is still an affordable way to relax.
By pre-booking buffets together with a ticket you may get a discount.
For our first cruise, we paid 75,50 euros/per person which included breakfast, lunch and a dinner buffet. For another tour, we paid 58 euros/per person for having breakfast and a lunch buffet. On our third trip, the price was almost the same.
You need to pay a little more if you wish to travel on weekends. People who are travelling only one way need to pay dramatically higher prices compared to a ticket price when bought two ways.
Booking a one-way trip or cruise is simple. You may check prices from Tallink´s website but we recommend comparing prices on Ferryscanner. You will see also the prices of Tallink's competitors at a single glance.
- Is Baltic Princess a modern ferry?
- Tallink Baltic Princess is a modern medium-sized ferry.
- Where can I book cruise tickets for Baltic Princess?
- We use often Ferryscanner to compare prices. The booking process on this website is fast and simple.
- What to do on Tallink Baltic Princess?
- Onboard, you can eat or enjoy the entertainment. Another option is to have a sauna and spa while enjoying a drink. Baltic Princess is also a great place to do tax-free shopping.
- Should I book a buffet or eat in an à la carte restaurant on a ferry?
- We recommend enjoying a full-inclusive buffet.
- Are Tallink ferries safe?
- Their safety record of Tallink is absolutely good.
- Is parking expensive at the Port of Turku?
- No, it costs about 15 euros/per day.
Three companies are operating cruises between Finland and Sweden. Both Tallink and its competitor Viking Line have modern ferries. We have travelled many times on the Baltic Princess and always enjoyed the cruises. Baltic Princess is not the biggest ferry on the Baltic Sea but it offers great quality with a low price tag. A cruise surely gives value for money. Whether you are travelling alone, as a couple, with your friends or family it is worth the experience!
What is your favourite ferry to Stockholm? Comment below.