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Old Aug 1, 12, 11:28 am   #1
 
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Silja Line Overnight from Stockholm to Helsinki?

Looking at the Silja Line overnight for the Stockholm to Helsinki leg of a late August trip to Scandinavia (romantic getaway ). Looking at A-Class for 229€ - does anyone have any suggestions for which class to book and/or how to get the best deal on the booking? Is the $$ buffet worth it when we could just pack a sack of tasty food from Stockholm? Should we just fly like normal flyertalkers?

Thanks in advance!
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Old Aug 2, 12, 3:07 am   #2
 
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Some hints:
- Viking Line is normally cheaper than Silja
- cruises are often cheaper than one way, you may consider booking a cruise and disregarding the return
- Friday is the most expensive departure day
- If choosing Silja, join Club ONE and get a minimum 10% discount
- booking meals in advance saves you $$

Back to your questions, yes, A-class is a nice outside cabin (with sea views) and probably the class I would recommend to someone not travelling this route often. Of course Commodore class would be the choice of a normal flyertalker .

I can't imagine not using the restaurant services on board, to me that is an integral part of the experience. I have had so many buffets on board, though, so I always consider a la carte as an option.

There is nothing fun about flying Stockholm - Helsinki. Besides, taking the boat saves you one night accomodation and expensive airport transfers.
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Old Aug 2, 12, 4:06 am   #3
 
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The overnight ferry is very much worth doing, especially from Stockholm to Helsinki. The the first couple of hours you sail through the Stockholm archipelago, which is one of the highlights of travel in the Nordic region.

The Silja line tends to be a bit more expensive than the Viking Line, but tends to get a slightly better clientele (loud drunks can be a problem). The Silja line ships are nicer, with a long, airy, internal walking street with glass elevators going up the atrium wall.

The buffet can be a bit of a zoo, but if you view it as an anthropological excursion to see the effects of free alcohol (wine and beer are available on a help yourself taps) on Scandinavians rather than a refined dining experience, you might enjoy it. The are also some OK a la carte restaurant as well.

Last edited by Amexpat; Aug 3, 12 at 6:27 am..
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Old Aug 2, 12, 6:17 am   #4
 
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Definitely go with Silja Line over Viking, their ships Stockholm-Helsinki are much nicer. 229 is much too much to pay for a one-way even a Friday in high season. Like others have said book a cruise instead of one-way and just don't get on the boat on the return.

Both Viking and Silja work a lot with discount codes, so try to search internet to find some. Though now during high season there aren't many around.
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Old Aug 2, 12, 11:53 am   #5
 
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Looks like booking a cruise on August 31st is no different in price than booking a one way. Also, joining Club One costs $ and you have to wait to receive a discount card?

I need to book this today or tomorrow to get the 28 day advanced booking discount - any more suggestions on getting the price down?
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Old Aug 2, 12, 12:21 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowimpact View Post
Thanks for all the suggestions. Looks like booking a cruise on August 31st is no different in price than booking a one way. Also, joining Club One costs $ and you have to wait to receive a discount card?

I need to book this today or tomorrow to get the 28 day advanced booking discount - any more suggestions on getting the price down?
Oops, it seems that they have indeed introduced a registration fee - in contrast to Viking Club that is free, can be joined online and gives discounts on travel immediately.

I agree that the Silja ships are nicer but on Viking Line you can get an outside Lux B cabin for SEK 1340 on that date (code TIPS).

I'm sorry I don't know any current discount codes for Silja.
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Old Aug 2, 12, 10:21 pm   #7
 
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Well yes, at that price difference I would consider Viking Line with a better cabin and then eat real nice on the boat. In my opinion the Viking food experience is often better (don't know about the buffets). Make sure you check the price for a cruise with a Viking club card (you can see the price without joining) as it is often better.

I checked quickly for you and if you book on silja.se then the price of a cruise is about 207 (SEK1724) in an A-cabin. There was no discount with my club-card.
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Old Aug 2, 12, 10:54 pm   #8
 
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Originally Posted by Gnopps View Post
I checked quickly for you and if you book on silja.se then the price of a cruise is about €207 (SEK1724) in an A-cabin. There was no discount with my club-card.
The lowest I'm seeing is €229 - how are you getting €207? Also, cruises for 8/31 are showing as a full €76 more expensive - €305 vs €229 so I feel like I'm missing something here.

Last edited by mster; Aug 2, 12 at 11:06 pm..
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Old Aug 3, 12, 2:09 am   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowimpact View Post
The lowest I'm seeing is 229 - how are you getting 207? Also, cruises for 8/31 are showing as a full 76 more expensive - 305 vs 229 so I feel like I'm missing something here.
Are you using the swedish webpage (in swedish)? I know the Silja booking engine will sometimes remember old reservations in progress so you may also need to clear your cookies for that page. It specifically says this is an offer for the swedish market.
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Old Aug 3, 12, 3:28 am   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnopps View Post
Well yes, at that price difference I would consider Viking Line with a better cabin and then eat real nice on the boat. In my opinion the Viking food experience is often better (don't know about the buffets). Make sure you check the price for a cruise with a Viking club card (you can see the price without joining) as it is often better.
My experience this year indicates that the Viking buffet is (to my surprise) better than the Silja one. It used to be the other way around.

The Viking Club price seems to be the same as with the TIPS code, so no difference there.

But the OP seems to have decided on Silja, which is a good choice if money is not the biggest of an issue.

Last edited by tsastor; Aug 3, 12 at 3:40 am..
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Old Aug 3, 12, 6:36 am   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnopps View Post
Well yes, at that price difference I would consider Viking Line with a better cabin and then eat real nice on the boat. In my opinion the Viking food experience is often better (don't know about the buffets).
I've worked with group travel in the Nordic region for about 25 years and it has generally been accepted that the Silja Line was a bit better than the Viking Line and better suited for upscale groups. That of course can have changed. Last time I took the Viking Line was in the mid 90's and there was a McDonald's on the ship!

I'd be interested in hearing how the Viking Line has improved in recent years. Is the general ambiance of the ship as nice as the Silja line?
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Old Aug 3, 12, 10:12 am   #12
 
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Originally Posted by Amexpat View Post
Last time I took the Viking Line was in the mid 90's and there was a McDonald's on the ship!
Wasn't it the Silja Europa that had the McDonald's?
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Old Aug 3, 12, 12:24 pm   #13
 
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Originally Posted by tsastor View Post
Wasn't it the Silja Europa that had the McDonald's?
You're right! According to Wikipedia, the Silja Europa had a McDonald's on her maiden voyage in 1996 and was later replaced by by Silja Line's own hamburger restaurant.

Could be that my negative impression of the Viking Line has influence my memory on this point. Is it time to update my view of the Viking Line?
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Old Aug 3, 12, 2:28 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amexpat View Post
You're right! According to Wikipedia, the Silja Europa had a McDonald's on her maiden voyage in 1996 and was later replaced by by Silja Line's own hamburger restaurant.

Could be that my negative impression of the Viking Line has influence my memory on this point. Is it time to update my view of the Viking Line?
As an anecdote, the Silja Europa was initially destined to be a Viking Line ship, the Europa. It was taken over by Silja after the shipowner company Slite could not handle the newbuild financially and later went bankrupt.

The Silja Europa probably is a too big ship for this traffic anyway and after it went into traffic, all the new ships built have been much smaller and first taken in use for the traffic to Tallinn.

That leaves Silja with what still are the most impressive ships on the Baltic: the Serenade and the Symphony, which were both delivered already in the early nineties. At the time, the promenade in the middle of the ships, together with the promenade facing cabins, were revolutionary and they still have a certain wow-effect. The same idea has recently influenced the world's largest passenger ships, the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas.

In contrast, Viking Line is quite down to earth and unpretentious, but provides fine standards and excellent value IMO.
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Old Aug 11, 12, 3:26 pm   #15
 
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Having cruised with both companies, I'd say Silja is worth some extra for style and clientele. Don't bother with the buffet, where the worst behaviour of man vs food occasionally can be seen. Reserve a table in the a la carte restaurant and savour the best Swedish and Finnish cuisine.

Enjoy your trip!
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