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You can't easily find a Finn who would not have taken a ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm. Also, we have often a weekend cruise on the said route. Travelling on the sea is relaxing but still affordable. Read our Viking Line review and learn tips on how to book a perfect cruise to Stockholm.
Covered in the Article
- Ferries between Helsinki and Stockholm
- Onboard M/S Gabriella
- Ticket Price from Helsinki to Stockholm
- Ideas How to Spend a Day in Stockholm
- Where to Book Ferry Tickets?
- Bottom Line
Ferries between Helsinki and Stockholm
Visitors to Finland get surprised when they realize how many ferry connections there are between Finland and Sweden. These ferries are not small boats but huge ships that can accommodate even more than 3,000 passengers. In addition, they carry hundreds of cars and trucks. For Finnish people, having a ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm is as common as having a train trip between cities.
Traveling between Helsinki and Stockholm is convenient with two daily connections. This review is based on our experience aboard the Viking Gabriella cruise from Helsinki to Stockholm. Alternatively, you could opt for a ferry operated by Tallink Silja Line, a close competitor to Viking Line. However, we often choose Viking Line due to their more affordable ticket prices. Both companies also offer two daily connections from Turku to Stockholm, providing a faster route to Sweden. We have also reviewed m/s Viking Grace, a state-of-the-art ferry that sails from Turku to Stockholm.
It is common for Finnish people to have a weekend getaway to Stockholm while some passengers are travelling on the sea just because of work. Similarly, Swedish people love taking a ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki. Because the combined passenger capacity of the ferries is high there are continuously affordable deals available. Tickets for weekdays are cheaper than weekend tickets.
Our Helsinki to Stockholm ferry departed at 5 p.m. on a Saturday from Helsinki South Harbour. The cruise took overnight and we arrived in Stockholm the next morning at about 10 am so we spent the night on the ferry. It is difficult to get bored on the ferries because they have a lot of free entertainment. A cabin for sleeping is always included in the ticket price.
The ferries between Finland and Sweden stop at the Åland Islands. There are two practical reasons: Cargo between the Åland islands and mainlands and the islands are tax-free areas. By stopping at Åland, the ferries are allowed to sell tax-free products to passengers. For travellers, it means cheaper shopping. For example, you can buy clothes, sweets, alcohol and cigarettes onboard just like at airports.
If you prefer taking the Tallink Silja Line from Helsinki to Stockholm instead of the Viking Line, the schedule is almost the same and the ferry departs from the same harbour in Helsinki. The only exception is that the Tallink Silja Line arrives at a different harbour in Stockholm. Viking Line's terminal is almost in the city centre of Stockholm but Silja's terminal is a few kilometres out from the city centre needing a metro ride.
The schedule back from Stockholm to Helsinki is almost the same as from Helsinki to Stockholm. The ferries depart at about 5 pm and arrive in Helsinki at about 10 am.
Safety and Comfyness
The gigantic size of the ferries will make you easily forget being on the sea. Even though the Baltic Sea isn't that big, there are sometimes high winds and waves can be many metres high. The sea may also be frozen during the winter.
Even rough conditions are not dangerous for big ferries - they can operate safely in any weather, even when there are storms. However, the ride during bad weather may not be comfortable. High winds and waves while cruising may cause you to feel seasick. Rough weather is more common on the route from Helsinki to Stockholm than on the route from Turku to Stockholm. If you tend to get seasick easily and there are high winds forecast, we advise you to take some anti-vertigo pills. These medicines usually contain dimenhydrinate and meclizine. In the summer season, the sea is usually quite calm.
Pack with you anti-vertigo pills as treatment for motion sickness especially when you are sensitive to seasickness while cruising or travelling.
Onboard M/S Gabriella
Our ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm was called M/S Gabriella. The ferry had been built in 1989 but it had been renovated many times. Of course, you can notice it is no longer the most modern ship but it is still comfortable and clean inside. The other Helsinki to Stockholm ferry of Viking Line is called M/S Amorella. It is the sister ferry of Gabriella.
M/S Gabriella has a capacity for 2,420 passengers and it can accommodate up to 400 personal cars and trucks. There are 11 decks (floors) on the ship.
Helsinki to Stockholm cruises always include a cabin in the ticket price. The price is calculated by cabin number no matter how many people there are inside. Usually, one cabin is meant for 2 to 4 people.
We had booked a ticket for the cabin class B2. Cabin B2 is an inside cabin above the car deck whose maximum capacity is 2 people. The cabin is small, it has 2 separate beds and a small bathroom. Cabin class B is usually an inexpensive choice that is worth the money.
Just before our departure, we got an offer from Viking Line to be able to upgrade our cabin class from B2 to A4T for only 10 euros extra fee. Cabins in class A have windows.
Cabin class C is the cheapest class. They are located on the lower floor, below the car deck and that is why they are noisy. Especially if there is ice on the sea, we recommend not choosing cabin class C. Sleeping below sea level isn't a nice thought either - it would mean a rough night.
Viking Line has also a few premium cabin classes. If you wish to have the best cabin quality, you will surely find your preferred choice but the price will be higher. In the case you end up travelling with Tallink Silja Line, they have similar cabin classes but they are named differently.
Dining in the Ferry
The ferry tickets may be affordable but we can't say the same about the food on the ferry. When you are inside the ship, you are restricted to the ship's services. Even though there are many restaurants, all of them are expensive.
The best value for money is to buy dinner and a breakfast buffet as we did. The dinner buffet cost 38 euros and the breakfast buffet 12 euros. The prices may sound quite expensive but the food selection is really good. The dinner buffet has also complimentary drinks including beer and wine. You will get a few euros discount if you pay online before the journey.
Book your dinner and breakfast buffet together with your tickets to save a few euros rather than paying them to walk in at the restaurant.
Time flies fast on the ferry. There are many kinds of entertainment, for example dance music, karaoke, contests etc. Ferry companies have often entertainment for children too. The entertainment is multi-lingual and suitable for people who speak Finnish, Swedish or English. If you prefer relaxing peacefully, you can visit Finnish sauna on the ferry while enjoying the sea view straight from the sauna bench.
Ticket Price from Helsinki to Stockholm
Ferry companies use dynamic pricing like airlines. During weekdays, the cheapest cruise may cost only about 20 euros per cabin but at a weekend, the cheapest price may be almost 100 euros. The ticket includes a cabin but all other services like food must be bought separately. For premium cabins, you need to pay premium fares which can be many hundreds of euros.
It is good to notice that if you prefer buying only a one-way ticket, it will be much more expensive. The terms of cheap tickets state that your cruise must start and end at the same location.
Ideas How to Spend a Day in Stockholm
A day in Stockholm cruise gives you about 7 hours in Stockholm. It is a short period so you need to plan your program carefully. Luckily, you can leave your heavy belongings on the ferry, because you will stay in the same cabin from Stockholm back to Helsinki.
We have a few suggestions on what to see in Stockholm.
Abba is probably the most well-known Swedish band and it has been one of the biggest Swedish export products. They have made great pop music. We recommend visiting the ABBA Museum and learning interesting facts about this band. And the museum isn't boring; there are so many interactive things.
Mall of Scandinavia
Shopping isn't maybe the most interesting activity in Stockholm but if you prefer relaxing by shopping, visit the Mall of Scandinavia. The Mall is the second biggest mall in Nordic countries and it can be reached easily by a commuter train from the Stockholm centre. A ride takes less than 10 minutes. Stockholm's public transport tickets are valid on a commuter train.
Old Town or Gamla Stan like Swedes say is definitely worth the visit. There is no old town in Helsinki so visiting one in Stockholm is a good alternative. Having a coffee and cake break or fika as Swedes say, is recommended in one of the cosy cafes in the old town.
If you are a fan of sightseeing towers, Stockholm SkyView is for you. It is not a regular tower but an exciting ride to the top of Avicii Arena which is also the world's biggest spherical building. The attraction is near the centre and can easily be reached by metro. The price is about 15 euros/person.
Where to Book Ferry Tickets?
You may book ferry tickets by visiting every website of every ferry company but if you wish to save valuable time, head to Ferryscanner where you get the prices of all companies by a single search. Placing a booking is also possible right away without leaving the site.
Booking extras like delicious buffets is wise to do at the same time as the ticket. Usually, their prices are lower and there is no need to queue on the ferry anymore.
There are also other ferry routes between Finland and Sweden. See our Finland to Sweden Ferries article.
- What is the duration of the Helsinki to Stockholm cruise?
- A cruise takes about 18 hours one way.
- What are Helsinki - Stockholm ferries like?
- They are huge and comfortable. There are many restaurants, bars and entertainment onboard.
- Where can I book a cruise on Viking Line?
- We compare often ticket prices on Ferryscanner. Booking tickets on this website is fast and simple.
- Which cabin class should I choose when travelling with Viking Line?
- Avoid class C because it is under the car deck. Classes B and A are good and class A has a window. There are also premium classes available.
- Do people get easily seasick on a ferry?
- Normally, the ride is stable. In bad weather, the cruise may become shaky. Luckily, that happens rarely.
- Are buffets on the ferries good?
- Yes they are, we recommend trying one. There are so many food and drink options included in the price.
- Is there passport control in the harbour of Helsinki or Stockholm?
- Between Finland and Sweden, there is normally no border control. The Finnish Customs is doing random checks.
For local people, having a cruise from Helsinki to Stockholm or from Stockholm to Helsinki is an affordable way to get a short getaway. For Helsinki visitors, a cruise to Stockholm is a practical way to visit Stockholm on the same trip. Tickets are affordable and there is a lot to see in Stockholm. For example, you may find some interesting activities and pre-book entrance tickets on GetYourGuide.
Reserve at least two days for a return cruise to Stockholm. If you feel that Stockholm is too far from Helsinki, another option is to visit the beautiful Tallinn for just one day. Check out a separate article about Tallinn ferries.
Have you travelled between Helsinki and Stockholm by ferry? Comment below!