TALLINN - The leading passenger shipping company on the Baltic Sea, AS Tallink Grupp, has received its newest cruise ferry, the Baltic Queen.
AS Tallink Grupp's vice chairman of the board, Andres Hunt, said that from the years 2002-2009, Tallink invested more than 1 billion euros in the renewal of the fleet, creating the most modern cruise ship fleet on the Baltic Sea.
"The Baltic Queen is the last ship in the current investment program; the next important step is to put the result into effective use," Hunt said.
The project of around 180 million euros was financed with a loan of 144 million euros from the Danske Bank A/S.
Baltic Queen will operate on Tallinn-Mariehamn-Stockholm route and will replace the cruise ship that was first ordered by Tallink, the ferry Romantika. Romantika will start operating the Riga-Stockholm route, replacing the passenger ferry Regina Baltica 's so the company claims that the delivery of M/S Baltic Queen will upgrade its services on two routes.
M/S Baltic Queen is the seventh new delivery for AS Tallink Grupp in the last seven years.
AS Tallink Grupp is one of Europe's leading shipping companies and now owns 20 ships operating between Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Germany on seven different shipping routes representing the brands Tallink and Silja Line.
There are approximately 7,000 employees in the company. In the last financial year, AS Tallink Grupp serviced over 7 million passengers and the company's turnover was 786 million euro.
This year the total number of transported passengers has increased by 2 percent and the number of transported vehicles by 8 percent.
The largest growth was seen on Latvia-Sweden and Finland-Estonia routes. In March, Tallink said the number of transported passengers grew by 10 percent on the Latvia-Sweden route, 6 percent on Finland-Sweden route and by 3 percent on Finland-Estonia route.
On the route between Estonia and Sweden, Tallink transported 57,355 passengers, a decrease of 12 percent, and on the Finland-Germany route it transported 5,824 passengers, a decrease of 37 percent. The results of the Germany-Finland route were influenced by the change, according to which two vessels continue on the route instead of three as of September.
The Baltic Queen is one of the largest cruise ferries on the Baltic Sea, accommodating up to 2,800 passengers and 1,130 lane meters of vehicles. The ship is 112 meters long, 29 meters wide and has a speed capacity of up to 24 knots. There are 927 cabins, four different restaurants, eight bars and entertainment lounges, a conference center of 450 seats and three shops of altogether 1,200 square meters. A special area with a game room is available for children, Tallink Grupp said.
Tallink ordered the Baltic Queen in December 2007. The keel of the vessel was laid on April 22, 2008, and the christening and launching ceremony took place on Dec. 5. Shipyard STX Europe delivered the ship on April 16, 2009. It is the fifth modern cruise ferry built for Tallink by STX Europe. STX has also built Tallink's new generation high speed vessel Star.
The Baltic Queen has catalytic converters, which increase the environmental friendliness of the vessel. For operating in more difficult weather conditions, the ship has ice class 1A Super.