What is it like travelling from Finland to Germany by ferry?
Finland to Germany by Ferry
28 hours on a ferry sailing the Baltic Sea from Helsinki, Finland to Travemünde, Germany: does that sound like a fine adventure to you, or a long time to be confined to a ship?
I was a little apprehensive but I opted for the ferry to transport me from Finland to Germany in time for Christmas. I’d arrived by ferry, I should leave by boat too: complete my overland northern Europe trip without taking to the air.
I am well aware you can fly from the UK to New Zealand in fewer hours: I could have flown to Germany in a fraction of the time, and for less money, but hey, where’s the fun in that?
And to be completely honest with you, I’m not the most confident flyer and I’ve never boarded a plane by myself. This wasn’t going to be the first time!
My ticket cost €200 which included €120 for the passenger ticket and €80 for my bed in a shared 3 berth AB3 Inside Cabin. I didn’t buy a meal ticket, and I didn’t need to, the food from the cafe on board is reasonably priced. This price was significantly higher than what I paid for the Stockholm to Turku Viking Line ferry (€38).
Nevertheless, I booked it and picked up some sea sickness tablets (just in case) from the pharmacy before heading to the Finnlines Vuosaaren ferry terminal just outside Helsinki.
Getting to the terminal was straightforward: I took the metro from the city out to Vuosaari where I caught a bus to the terminal. Taking the steps up from the metro platform to the exit the bus stop is on the right outside, bus number 78.
The Vuosaari Harbour is mainly a cargo port, after checking in at the Finnlines terminal building a minibus shuttled me to the ferry through a busy forest of shipping containers: this already felt like an adventure!
The 3 berth cabin was below the car decks, in the depths of the ship, but it was lovely and although it was a shared cabin I ended up having it completely to myself! This was the most luxury and privacy I’ve had all trip, I even had my own private bathroom!
After settling in I took a walk around the ferry – the M/S Nordlink – to check out the facilities, acutely aware that there were very few people on the boat, and those that were: were all truckers!
Hmmm, am I really the only woman passenger on board?
I popped a sea sickness pill as insurance against an uncomfortable trip; I’d boarded super early and there was still an hour before we set sail.
An hour for more trucks and truckers to board this international ferry to Germany, would there be anyone else?
The pharmacist had warned me that the pills would make me drowsy, and she wasn’t kidding! I faded fast, making the most of my ‘private’ cabin and sleeping for while.
It was gone 6pm when I woke, I’d seen there was a free sauna on the main deck: that sounded like a splendid idea, what better way to set off from Finland than doing so in a sauna!
The sauna suites (one male, one female) have a sauna and a jacuzzi and are totally free for passengers to use: now you don’t get that on a budget flight! I bloody love Finland! You can see a 360º panorama of the sauna suite over on the Finnlines website.
An hour of blissful relaxation in the sauna and jacuzzi left me feeling both awesome and smug, I didn’t think I’d get another Finnish sauna, this was a treat.
I spent a bit of the evening in the bar: happy hour gin and tonics and dire satellite internet. I wasn’t the only female on board after all, here in the bar were a few families and couples as well as the truckers.
The cafe on the main deck was not expensive and I had coffee and croissant for breakfast, overlooking a glittering ocean. The December sun crept slowly over the clouds on the horizon suddenly piercing the grey in a glorious “Hyvää päivää world!”
I dashed outside onto the deck to grab a quick photo with my phone, it was so windy I almost got blown into the sea but the fresh air was amazing after so long indoors, cocooned in my cabin below deck.
My heart was a little heavy, sad to have left a country I’d fallen in love with but excited to be reunited with my man in a few days.
For lunch, and my meal the previous night, I’d bought a pack-up on board – I’m not sure you’re supposed to but no one checked. Rye bread, boiled eggs, Karelian Pies, nuts and snacks kept me going.
The ferry arrived into Travemünde, Germany around 21.30 and a minibus shuttled the only four foot passengers (of which I was one) from the boat to the terminal.
I had booked a nearby hotel for the night, I just needed to get a taxi to take me there. I enquired and a taxi was called.
I think there may only have been one taxi, I deduce this simply by the fact that I had to wait an hour for it to arrive!
The woman checking me in at the hotel asked if I’d got lost as I’d arrived so late. I told her that I’d waited that long for a taxi. Her helpful (!) comment was that another guest had arrived off the ferry an hour ago, he’d driven. Like I could have got a lift with him!! Am I psychic?
I was exhausted, I had a shower – where the water completely ran out half way through – and collapsed on my bed. I had to be up and out by 7am to catch the first of 5 trains to Luxembourg!
Would I take this ferry again? Absolutely!
By Rachel A Davis