MS Princess Maria

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Princess Maria 2010-04-26.jpg
Princess Maria at the Kustaanmiekka strait outside Helsinki.
Name: 1981–1990: Finlandia
1990–2010: Queen of Scandinavia
2010 onwards: Princess Maria
Owner: 1981–1988: Effoa
1988–1990: Suomen Yritysrahoitus
1990 onwards: DFDS Seaways
Operator: 1981–1990: Effoa
1990–2008: DFDS Seaways
2010 onwards: St. Peter Line
Port of registry: 1981–1990: Helsinki,  Finland
1990–2010: Copenhagen,  Denmark
2010 onwards: Valletta,  Malta
Builder: Wärtsilä, Turku, Finland
Yard number: 1251
Laid down: 18 February 1980
Launched: 25 July 1980
Christened: 30 March 1981 by Tellervo Koivisto
Acquired: 30 March 1981
In service: 13 April 1981
Out of service: 1 September 2008
Identification: Call sign: 9HA2374
IMO number: 7911533
MMSI number: 248463000
Status: In service
Notes: Sister ship to Stena Saga
General characteristics (as built)
Tonnage: 25,905 GRT
3,898 DWT
Length: 166.10 m (544.95 ft)
Beam: 28.46 m (93.37 ft)
Draught: 6.70 m (21.98 ft)
Ice class: 1 A Super
Propulsion: 4 × Wärtsilä-Pielstick 12PC2.5V
22,948 kW (combined)
Speed: 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)
Capacity: 1676 passengers
1601 passenger berths
450 cars
General characteristics (currently)
Tonnage: 33,575 GT
3,898 DWT
Capacity: 1,760 passengers
1,650 passenger berths
305 cars
Notes: Otherwise same as built

MS Princess Maria is a cruiseferry operated by St. Peter Line under charter from DFDS Seaways on a service connecting Helsinki, Finland to St. Petersburg, Russia. She was built in 1981 as Finlandia for Effoa at Wärtsilä's Perno shipyard in Turku, Finland, and placed in service on Silja Line's Helsinki—Stockholm service. In 1990 she was sold to DFDS Seaways and renamed Queen of Scandinavia. She entered service under her current name and operator in 2010.[1]

Service history[edit]

1981–1990: Finlandia[edit]

Originally to be named Skandia,[1] Finlandia was the first large, modern cruiseferry to be built for Silja Line. At the time she was also the world's largest cruiseferry in terms of passenger capacity, beds and volume. Alongside her sister MS Silvia Regina (and Viking Line's contemporary Viking Saga and Viking Song) she was instrumental in changing the Helsinki-Stockholm route from a transportation service into a cruise route.

Finlandia and Silvia Regina were originally constructed with very 'fat', curving bows to maximise car-carrying capacity, but these made the ship extremely difficult to handle especially during the winter. As a result the Finlandia was docked in January 1982 (after just eight months of service) in Wärtsilä's Perno shipyard for reconstruction of her bow to a sleeker form. Following the bow reconstruction additional rebuilding was done at Wärtsilä's Turku shipyard, where additional cabins were built and repairs were carried out on the restaurants.[2]

During her career for Silja Line the Finlandia enjoyed a special relationship with Mauno Koivisto, who was at the time the Prime Minister and later President of Finland. Finlandia was named by Koivisto's wife Tellervo Koivisto in 1981 and the pair travelled on Finlandia twice while Koivisto was President, first in 1984 on Wärtsilä's 150 anniversary cruise and again in 1985 when the pair made an official visit to Sweden.[1]

In 1985, Finlandia's interiors were heavily rebuilt at Wärtsilä's Helsinki shipyard.

In September 1988, Finlandia was sold to Suomen Yritysrahoitus in order to raise funds for new ships for the Helsinki—Stockholm route. Suomen Yritysrahoitus then chartered the ship back to Effoa for 1½ years. In December 1989, Suomen Yritysrahoitus sold Finlandia to DFDS for delivery in May 1990, which was the planned delivery date for Finlandia's replacement MS Silja Serenade.[1] However, due to the bankruptcy of Wärtsilä's shipbuilding division the Silja Serenade was delayed by several months.[1][3] DFDS took delivery of the Finlandia as agreed in May 1990 and EffJohn (merger of Effoa and Johnson Line born in early 1990) was forced to look for a solution for its ship shortage elsewhere.[1]

Queen of Scandinavia in Newcastle.

1990–2010: Queen of Scandinavia[edit]

On 6 May 1990, Finlandia made her last call at Stockholm and left for docking at Cityvarvet, Gothenburg in preparation for her new service.[2] Five days later she received her new name, Queen of Scandinavia. In June 1990 she began service on DFDS's CopenhagenHelsingborgOslo route, initially as the pair of MS King of Scandinavia, originally MS Wellamo of Effoa, the ship that Finlandia had replaced on the Helsinki—Stockholm service.

In January–April 2000, Queen of Scandinavia was rebuilt by Remontowa in Gdynia, Poland, with rear sponsons and, again, a new sleeker bow. The new bow is especially notable due to the fact that it has no gate or visor, hence the ship's car decks can now only be loaded/unloaded from the rear.[1]

In June 2001, Queen of Scandinavia was replaced on the Copenhagen—Oslo service by MS Pearl of Scandinavia, and she was moved to the NewcastleIJmuiden route.[2] In September 2002, while sailing to IJmuiden, a woman fell overboard from one of the upper decks in the early hours of the morning. A lifeboat was quickly launched from the ship, while Yarmouth coastguard and other ships assisted in the search. After 7 hours of searching Queen of Scandinavia continued to IJmuiden and left the coastguard to continue the search, without success. The woman had very little chance of survival due to the height of the fall and the low temperature of the water.[citation needed]

In May 2007, Queen of Scandinavia swapped routes with Princess of Norway, taking over the Newcastle—Stavanger—Haugesund—Bergen route.[1] This allowed DFDS to operate two sister ships, Princess of Norway and the third King of Scandinavia on the Newcastle—IJmuiden run. On 26 November 2007 while in the port of Bergen, the Queen of Scandinavia broke her forward moorings and collided with the expedition ship H.U. Sverdrup II. The H.U. Sverdrup II was severely damaged, while the Queen of Scandinavia received only cosmetic damage and was able to depart for Newcastle in accordance with her normal timetable.[4]

DFDS Seaways closed down the loss-making United Kingdom—Norway service with the Queen of Scandinavia making her final sailing on 2008-09-01. Following this Queen of Scandinavia sailed to Korsør where she will stay until she is either sold or chartered out to another company.[5][6]

In February 2009, Queen of Scandinavia was chartered to Alstom and moved to the harbour of Oskarshamn in Sweden for use as living quarters for some 800 workers involved in the upgrading reactor 3 of the Oskarshamn Nuclear Power Plant.[1][7] While at Oskarshamn on 16 April 2009 a fire started in the ship's engine room at around 11 PM CEST. According to preliminary reports, all 238 people on board were safely evacuated, and the fire was put out by 0:30 AM. Precise reasons for the fire are unknown as of 17 April 2009.[8] The fire damaged the ship's auxiliary engines.[9]

On 12 May 2009, DFDS reported they had agreed to sell Queen of Scandinavia to a new Finland-based company Nordic Sea Line, with a delivery date set for June 2009.[9][10] Nordic Sea Line planned on using the ship as a floating hotel and conference center around Northern Europe.[9][11] However, in the end the sale was cancelled as Nordic Sea Line failed to make the initial payment that was due to be paid on 15 May 2009.[12]

After the end of the accommodation ship contract in Oskarshamn Queen of Scandinavia was moved to Klaipėda, Lithuania, for further lay-up. From December 2009, the ship was chartered to the Danish police as an accommodation ship in Copenhagen.

2010 onwards: Princess Maria[edit]

In early 2010, Queen of Scandinavia was chartered to St. Peter Line for use on a new route operated by the company, St Petersburg - Helsinki. She was renamed Princess Maria, re-registered to Malta and entered service on 21 April.[1]

In 2013, Princess Maria was referenced in the PAW Patrol episode, "Pups in a Fog."

In February 2014, Princess Maria will be used as floating hotel during Winter Olympics in Sochi like the second passenger ferry of St. Peter Line SPL Princess Anastasia, which passed through Strait of Gibraltar on 16 January 2014.



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j (Swedish) Fakta om Fartyg: M/S Finlandia (1981), retrieved 2007-11-06.
  2. ^ a b c (Finnish) M/S Finlandia at Valkeat Laivat, retrieved 2007-08-06.
  3. ^ (Swedish) Fakta om Fartyg: M/S Silja Serenade (1990), retrieved 2007-11-06.
  4. ^ (Norwegian) 26. 11. 2007: Englandsbåten krasjet ved kai, retrieved 2007-11-26.
  5. ^ McLean, Anthony (2008-05-27). "DFDS Seaways to close route with loss of 340 jobs". NewsGuardian. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  6. ^ "Extensive improvement plan to safeguard earnings at DFDS Seaways". DFDS press release. DFDS. 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2008-07-08. [dead link]
  7. ^ Thorsson, Eric; Arkert, Johan (2009-04-16). "Brand på fartygs-hotell i Oskarshamn" (in Swedish). Aftonbladet. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  8. ^ Christensson, Irene (2009-04-17). "Brand på fartyg - alla evakuerade" (in Swedish). Sveriges Radio. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  9. ^ a b c Aalto, Harri (2009-05-13). "Hotellilaivan pienoismalli vieraili tänään Porissa" (in Finnish). Satakunnan Kansa. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  10. ^ "Sale of passengership". DFDS press release. DFDS. 2009-05-12. Retrieved 2009-05-13. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Hotellilaiva helpottaa petipulaa" (in Finnish). MTV3. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  12. ^ "Agreement on sale of passenger ship cancelled". DFDS press release. DFDS. 2009-05-20. Retrieved 2009-05-20. [dead link]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
GTS Finnjet
World's Largest Cruiseferry
With: MS Silvia Regina (1981-1982)
Succeeded by
MS Scandinavia