Every Scandinavian will tell you, “if you are coming for a visit you must include a ferry trip in part of your itinerary.” The region has an incredibly well connected network of cruise ships which transport gleeful blond and blue eyed Scandinavians from one neighbor to the next. My Swedish friend described the experience, “you get on the boat, eat dinner, watch the sun set, spend all night dancing at the night club, arrive in the morning for a quick day tour of Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga…whatever, and then get back on the boat, buy a ton of duty free booze and cigarettes and dance all the way back home.” This routine is a popular one especially in the summer when northern Europe experiences Midsummers, almost 24 hours of sun. I needed to get from Tallinn Estonia to my final destination Stockholm Sweden so was very pleased when Silja Line coordinated my adventure across the Baltic Sea. They got me really excited when they sent me this amazing clip showcasing the on board experience:
I arrived at the Tallinn Ferry Terminal just after 3pm. Once on board I met the concierge at the information desk who took me to my suite and gave me a tour of the ship, Victoria I. The boat features 12 decks, 740 cabins and can hold 2500 passengers on each departure.
My first stop was the Sauna where I pampered myself with steam. Once sufficiently relaxed I headed out to the Sun Deck where I watched young Swedish girls taking glamor shots of themselves as the boat pulled out of the harbour. It really was beautiful to watch the sun set over Old Town Tallinn. It started to pitter patter rain which was my que to visit the Duty Free. Never have I seen so many people pushing around bottles of booze and massive chocolate bars in mini karts. A separate duty free shop focusing on beauty and fragrance products was filled with eager fashionistas. Entertainment on the boat for the summer was a Fiesta theme with many Latin American entertainers on board. On my walk to dinner I ran into a quartet from Cuba singing their hearts out.
I ate dinner at Buffet Tallink which offers a wild array of options for hungry diners. The restaurant offers all of the classic Scandinavian fare (meatballs, smoked salmon, oysters) as well as plenty of salads, charcuterie and cheese. The buffet also caters to those who enjoy an international flare with “make your own taco station” as well as dishes such as curried pork loin and Indian slaw. I enjoyed my meal with a Swedish Pear Cider and glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
Once finished dinner I had a quick rest in my room before joining the crowds at the double decker Starlight Cabaret. Continuing with the Fiesta theme several bands from Buenos Aires and Rio entertained the crowd. Once the show finished I walked over to Disco Platinum where a DJ played Top 40 hits for those eager to dance late into the evening.
The following morning I woke up early to enjoy the view as Victoria I sailed through a massive Swedish archipelago. Dotted with Islands the “drive” into Stockholm reminded me so much of Ontario’s Cottage Country. I enjoyed breakfast at Piazza a la Carte where I was given a glass of bubbly upon arrival. Breakfast included the classic Scandinavian spread of seafood, cold cuts, cheese, salad, fresh fruit, yogurt, pancakes and quiche.
After breakfast I wandered around the boat, taking snap shots of the sun which had officially risen but was still creating drama on the horizon. I watched a flock of geese zoom by just before I marched up to my room, packed up my things and readied for my last stop, Stockholm!