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Gabriella ferry of Viking Line
Viking Line is one of the companies cruising from Stockholm to Helsinki and vice versa. In the picture, M/S Gabriella is waiting for the departure at the Port of Helsinki.

Helsinki to Stockholm by Ferry: Story with Tips

  • By Finnoy Travel
  • August 26, 2021

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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.

There are two daily connections from Helsinki to Stockholm and vice versa. This review is based on our cruise from Helsinki to Stockholm onboard Viking Gabriella. The other option would have been to choose a ferry operated by Viking Line's close competitor, Tallink Silja Line. Quite often, we end up choosing Viking Line as their tickets are more affordable than Tallink's tickets. Both the companies operate also two daily connections from Turku to Stockholm, which is a faster way to reach Sweden.

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.

Silja Serenade
When we were arriving back in Helsinki, we had this great close-up view of Silja Serenade, one of the two ships operated by Viking's competitor with the Helsinki - Stockholm - Helsinki route.
Viking Gabriella at South Harbour
We cruised on Viking Gabriella. This ferry is not the newest one but is still in good condition. It offers many high-quality services as we describe in this article.

Schedule

Our Helsinki to Stockholm ferry departed at 5 pm 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.

Viking Line Grace near Ruissalo island
Viking Line cruises also between Turku and Stockholm. M/S Viking Grace is one of the most modern ferries between Finland and Sweden.

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 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 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.

How to Book a Ferry Ticket?

For easier booking, follow our simple checklist:

  • Compare prices on Direct Ferries.
  • Choose the most suitable connection.
  • Include extras, like a buffet. Paying services separately on the ferry costs usually more.
  • Decide if you need a cancellation cover.
  • Double check all the details CAREFULLY before the payment.

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 weathers are 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 is high winds forecast, we advise you to take some anti-vertigo pills. These medicines usually contains 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 anymore 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.

Side deck of M/S Gabriella
M/S Gabriella is a medium-sized ferry travelling between Helsinki and Stockholm.

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.

Helipad on M/S Gabriella
Ceasar staying on the helipad of the ferry. Helicopters are on call and need to land on the ferry during emergencies for example, due to medical reasons.

Cabin Classes

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. The 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 to choose 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.

Cabin A4T
We had a cabin from the class A4T. It is like a cabin in class B but it has an outside window.

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.

Buffet in M/S Gabriella
The all-you-can-eat buffet is not cheap but the selection is comprehensive featuring foods from Nordic and international cuisines.

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.

Macaroons
The buffet had delicious desserts: for example ice cream, cakes, fruits and French macaroons.

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.

Entertainment

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.

Trubadur in M/S Gabriella
The cruise ships have entertainment every night. This troubadour, Pekka Heino was unknown to us but he played some top hits well.

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 that 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.

M/S Gabriella
When the weather permits, we recommend staying outside after the ferry has left Stockholm. The archipelago is really beautiful.

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 Museum

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 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.

Mall of Scandinavia
The Mall of Scandinavia is the second biggest mall in Scandinavia. It can be reached fast by a commuter train from the Stockholm centre.

Old Town

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.

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 Direct Ferries 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 with the ticket. Usually, their prices are lower and there is no need to queue on the ferry anymore.

There also other ferry routes between Finland and Sweden. See our Finland to Sweden Ferries article.

Viking Gabriella at the Port of Kotka
Normally, Viking Gabriella cruises on the route between Helsinki and Stockholm. In 2021, the ferry made also a special cruise to Kotka.

Bottom Line

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!

Tags: , ,
Destination: Finland, Sweden

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Tips For Your Next Journey...

Book hotels and flights wisely

We recommend booking.com for hotel reservations. This agency has good booking conditions, excellent customer service and affordable rates. For flights, Skyscanner is one of the most popular tools to find the cheapest flights.

Relax at Airports

Make your journey a more pleasant experience. Head to an airport lounge and unwind before flying. Purchase single access from Lounge Pass or read our article about Priority Pass.

Don´t miss unforgettable activities and tours

Whether you are travelling near or far, make your trips more memorable by attending organized activities and tours. On GetYourGuide, you will easily find after sought sightseeings and tours at your destination.

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