YESTERDAY'S MODEL: Tallink's sleek looking ferries might feel a bit of jealously once they see the new Galaxy, which boasts a maximum capacity of 48,300 tons in addition to its impressive size.
TALLINN - Estonia could see its fastest passenger ship yet, the Galaxy, set sail this month, according to the ship's owner Tallinnk. The vessel is currently undergoing technical evaluation in Finland, and should be ready to sail by the end of April. Peter Roose, chief investor of relations at Tallink Grupp, said the ferry's builder, Aker Finnyards, would deliver the ship once the final touches were complete. However, the exact date depends on the results of current technical tests.
"Hopefully it will happen in the second half of April or at the beginning of May. Until then, the Romantika will continue plying between Tallinn and Helsinki according to schedule," Roose said.
The Galaxy cost Tallink 2.6 billion kroons (166 million euros) to build. But once plying, the Estonian company can boast about having one of the largest ships on the Baltic Sea.
The ferry will accommodate 2,800 passengers with 927 cabins. As for vehicles, the Galaxy has designated 1,130 meters for lane parking. The ship measures 212 meters in length and has a maximum speed of 22 knots.
And there will be no shortage of leisure. The ferry will offer numerous catering and entertainment facilities, as well as conference rooms with more than 450 seats.
The vessel has a maximum capacity of 48,300 tons, and the highest possible ice class - 1A Super.
In October 2004, Tallink Grupp inked a building agreement for the Galaxy with Aker Finnyards. The ship will provide work for approximately 500 people.
The Galaxy will ply the Tallinn-Helsinki line, currently served by the Romantika. Completed in the same Finnish shipyard as the Galaxy in 2002, the Romantika will be transferred to the Tallinn-Stockholm route where it will sail alongside its sister ship, the Victoria I, completed in 2004.
Another cruise ship similar to the Galaxy, although somewhat faster, is scheduled to be launched in 2008.