2021 has seen many strange developments in the ferry world. However, few could have been anticipated less than not one, but two huge Tallink cruiseferries visiting the Clyde.
The SILJA EUROPA arrived at Inchgreen Quay, Greenock this morning, 21 October.
NIFS correspondent, Bruce Wilson was on location and captured these fantastic images.
The Tallink ferry has been brought to the area to provide accommodation during the COP26 Conference in Glasgow.
The SILJA EUROPA is docked much closer to the mouth of the Clyde than fleetmate ROMANTIKA, which arrived on 12 October. The ROMANTIKA is berthed at Clydeport’s King George V Dock in the Shieldhall area of Glasgow. The Latvian-registered vessel’s sail down the Clyde was very dramatic, as captured in this Facebook post.
ROMANTIKA’s charter was announced as the vessel sailed back to Tallinn from a Summer charter in the Mediterranean.
A voyage from Estonia to Scotland
SILJA EUROPA operated her regular Helsinki – Tallinn 21.5 hour mini-cruise from Helsinki on 16 October. After discharging mini-cruise passengers, the vessel returned to Tallinn on the evening on 17 October for final charter preparations.
The cruiseferry departed Tallinn 22:14 for the 3.5 day trip to Scotland. The ‘Europa’s route took her through the Baltic Sea, Kattegat, Skagerrak and North Sea. She passed the North of Scotland before travelling along the west Coast and into the Clyde.
In recent days there have been some headlines claiming that the use of the SILJA EUROPA and ROMANTIKA could lead to a spike in Covid-19 cases. However, organisers highlighted the protocols that have been in place to ensure safe operation.
Return for Christmas mini-cruises
SILJA EUROPA will be berthed on the Clyde until 14 November, before sailing back to Estonia. The vessel’s mini-cruises are back on sale from 19 November, just in time for the busy Christmas season.
It was reported that 10,000 mini-cruise bookings needed to be cancelled to facilitate the Scottish charter. VICTORIA I will operate the Helsinki – Tallinn mini-cruises 29 – 31 October and 11 – 13 November.
At the time of the release of Tallink’s Third Quarter results, it was revealed that the SILJA EUROPA would be laid-up for much of the early period of 2022. The move is to reduce costs in a period when demand for travel is still soft due to the Pandemic. SILJA EUROPA will mostly be out of service from 9 January to 11 March 2022. She will operate a “special cruise” on 28 January and is sailing 20 – 26 February during the Finnish school half-term.