MS Viking XPRS

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Xprs arriving to Helsinki 2011.JPG
Viking XPRS approaching Helsinki, July 2011
Career
Name: Viking XPRS
Owner: Viking Line
Operator: Viking Line
Port of registry: Tallinn,  Estonia
Route: HelsinkiTallinn
Ordered: 29 November 2005[1]
Builder: Aker Finnyards Helsinki New Shipyard, Helsinki, Finland
Cost: 130 million (estimate)[2]
Yard number: 1358[1]
Laid down: 16 April 2007[1]
Launched: 19 September 2007[1]
Christened: 19 September 2007 by Paula Koivuniemi[3]
Acquired: 21 April 2008[1]
Maiden voyage: 27 April 2008[1]
In service: 28 April 2008[1][4]
Identification: IMO number: 9375654[1]
Status: In service
General characteristics [1]
Type: Fast cruiseferry
Tonnage: 35,918 GT[5]
Length: 185 m (606 ft 11 in)
Beam: 27.70 m (90 ft 11 in)
Draught: 6.75 m (22 ft 2 in)[5]
Decks: 10 (8 passenger accessible)[6]
Ice class: 1 A Super[2]
Installed power: 4 × Wärtsilä 8L46F
40,000 kW (combined)
Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph) (service speed)[7]
Capacity: 2,500 passengers
732 passenger beds[6]
240 cars
1,000 lanemeters
Crew: 100[7]
Viking XPRS at Katajanokka terminal in Helsinki

MS Viking XPRS is a fast cruiseferry owned by the Finland-based Viking Line and operated on their service between Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia. Her keel was laid on 16 April 2007[8] and launching took place on 19 September 2007.[9] Viking XPRS entered service on 28 April 2008.[4]

Concept[edit]

Viking XPRS is Viking Line's first new building for the Helsinki–Tallinn route. She is the first newbuilding delivered to the company since MS Kalypso in 1990 and also Viking Line's first fast cruiseferry, with a building contract worth approximately 120–130 million euros.[10] The Viking XPRS makes the crossing between the two capitals in about two and a half hours, with two daily departures from each port. The ship is designed with separate cardecks for freight and for passengers cars, and with a limited passenger cabin capacity as she only does daytime crossings. The interiors of the Viking XPRS were designed by Tillberg Design, like those of several of the company's earlier newbuildings.[11]

In April 2009 the Viking XPRS won the award for Outstanding Ferry Exterior in ShipPax Awards 2009, held as a part of the Shipping 2009 conference in France.[12]

Planned sister ships[edit]

The order of the Viking XPRS included an option for two sister vessels.[13] On 2 October 2006, Viking Line announced that this option wouldn't be exercised.[14]

Name and homeport[edit]

The name Viking XPRS was originally only a concept name for the new ship. A naming competition was held on Viking Line websites in May and June 2007, which resulted in over 16.000 name proposals.[15] The concept name Viking XPRS was suggested by many entrants to the competition, and in the end it was chosen as the ship's final name due to it already being well known by the public. The naming ceremony took place on 14 September 2007.[3]

Viking XPRS under construction at Helsinki New Shipyard

The ship was originally planned to be registered in Finland, with Mariehamn painted on the hull as the homeport when the ship was floated out of drydock. Due to difficulties in negotiations with the Finnish Seamen's Union and the generally higher personnel expenses under Finnish flag, the company decided to move the ship under Swedish flag in January 2008.[16] In March 2008 Norrtälje in Sweden was revealed as the port of registry.[2] But from January 24 Viking XPRS will start sailing under Estonian flag, as it will cut costs for Viking line. Because of that the ship will get a new Estonian crew and all of the signs will be replaced from Swedish to Estonian and English. The new home port will be Tallinn.

Construction[edit]

Viking XPRS was built at Aker Finnyards' Helsinki New Shipyard. The original delivery date of the ship was set for January 2008,[17] but due to numerous delays the delivery of the ship was pushed back until 28 April 2008. Reasons for the delays include slower-than-planned furnishing works and faults in one of the Rolls-Royce-manufactured propellers. Due to the propeller fault the ship sailed for dry docking at Aker Finnyards' Rauma shipyard on 8 April 2008 where the propeller was changed.[18] The ship was eventually delivered to Viking Line on 21 April 2008.[1]

During the northern hemisphere spring of 2009, parts of the ship's rear outer decks areas were rebuilt into an indoor dance bar. All conversion work was carried out while the ship remained in normal service. Originally the Red Rose bar in the front of the ship was projected to be a dance restaurant, but in practice it was filled with diners eating food purchased from the ship's cafeteria. With the addition of the dance bar Viking Line hoped to attract more cruise passengers that sailed with the ships of competing Tallink and Eckerö Line.[19] The reconstruction was completed by 1 May 2009.[20]

Service history[edit]

Viking XPRS made her maiden voyage between Helsinki and Tallinn on 27 April 2008 and entered regular service on the route the following day.[1] Compared to MS Rosella that had sailed on the route the previous year the Viking XPRS attracted a notably larger number of passengers, with a 61% raise in passenger number and 74% raise in vehicles transported between Helsinki and Tallinn between June and August 2008 compared to the same months in 2007.[21] During her first year in service the ship transported approximately 1,466,000 passengers, more than any other ship that has trafficked in the northern Baltic Sea.[12]

In February 2009 the Viking XPRS was voted as one of the top 5 medium-sized cruise ships in the world by readers of the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler guide, rating higher than the ships of Holland America Line amongst others. Viking XPRS gained top spot in the "shore excursions" category, despite the fact the ship offers no organised excursions. In addition to the fact that the Viking XPRS is not an actual cruise ship, this led to the proposition that the ship's high placement in the ranking was in fact the result of a hoax of some kind.[22]

On January 24, 2014 Viking XPRS will be re-flagged to Estonia, right after returning from repairs which start on January 13. MS Viking XPRS is the first ship in Viking Line´s history to sail under Estonian flag.

Decks[edit]

The precise layout of decks 1 and 2 is unknown as the deck plans provided by Viking Line only include decks accessible to passengers.

  1. Engine room
  2. Storeroom
  3. Cargo deck
  4. Cargo deck
  5. Car deck
  6. Cabins (B-Cabins, A-Cabins, LYX-Cabins)
  7. Conference center, Business lounge, Shopping World, Viking's Inn pub, Sundeck and Grill,[6] Dance pavilion (added April 2009)[23]
  8. Blue Deli restaurant, Xpresso Café/Corner, Bistro Bella Buffet and Red Rose Bar Café
  9. Bridge, crew accommodations
  10. Sundeck[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Asklander, Micke. "M/S Viking XPRS (2008)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  2. ^ a b c Jonsson, Mathias (2008-03-14). "XPRS ute på havet – just nu" (PDF). Ålandstidningen (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  3. ^ a b "The Christening of Viking Line's Newbuilding". Viking Line press release. Viking Line. 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  4. ^ a b "Aikataulut Helsinki–Tallinna" (in Finnish). Viking Line. Archived from the original on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2008-03-04. 
  5. ^ a b "Skeppslistan 2010" (in Swedish). Transportstyrelsen. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Viking XPRS" (PDF) (in Finnish/English/Swedish/Estonian). Viking Line. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  7. ^ a b "Superstar Vs. Viking XPRS" (PDF). Cruise Business Review. Cruise Media Oy Ltd. p. 110. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  8. ^ Press release from the keel laying of the Viking XPRS, retrieved 2007-09-09
  9. ^ (Finnish) FCBS Forum: Aker Finnyardsille Viking Linen uuden Tallinnan laivan tilaus, retrieved 2007-09-15
  10. ^ Letter of intent between Aker Yards and Viking Line confirmed, retrieved 2008-01-09
  11. ^ Tillberg Design XPRS page, retrieved 2007-12-19[dead link]
  12. ^ a b "Viking XPRS palkittiin muotoilusta" (in Finnish). Turun Sanomat. 2006-04-28. Retrieved 2006-04-28. 
  13. ^ (Swedish) Viking Line press release: Viking Line beställer nytt fartyg, retrieved 2007-10-19
  14. ^ (Swedish) Viking Line press release: Kvarvarande option, retrieved 2007-10-19
  15. ^ Viking Line press release: Nearly 16,000 names suggested for Viking XPRS, retrieved 2007-09-09
  16. ^ "Viking XPRS Ruotsin lipun alle" (in Finnish). Viking Line press release. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  17. ^ "Viking XPRS – uusi konsepti Helsingin ja Tallinnan väliseen liikenteeseen" (in Finnish). Viking Line press release. Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  18. ^ Turkki, Kirsti (2008-02-07). "Tallink ja Viking varautuneet jo lisäviivästymisiin" (in Finnish). Turun Sanomat. Retrieved 2008-02-08. [dead link]
  19. ^ Turkki, Kirsti (2009-02-28). "Viking Line haluaa Tallinnan linjalle lisää risteilymatkustajia" (in Finnish). Turun Sanomat. Retrieved 2009-02-28. [dead link]
  20. ^ "M/S Viking XPRS – Business hours". Viking Line. Retrieved 2009-03-09. 
  21. ^ "Strong increase in Viking Line’s passenger volume – 291,000 more people travelled on Viking Line during the summer". Viking Line. 2008-09-02. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  22. ^ Niemelä, Teijo (2009-02-04). "Was Condé Nast Traveler misled? Viking Line's ropax ferry voted as one of the best cruise ships in the world". Cruise Business Review. Cruise Media Oy Ltd. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  23. ^ "M/S Viking XPRS – Deck 7". Viking Line. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Viking XPRS (ship, 2008) at Wikimedia Commons