BOATS TO SWEDEN

We had a really interesting discussion with my Dad about the 'Sweden boats'. These are ferries that sail between Helsinki and Stockholm, every day, overnight. 

Ever since I was a child these boats represented something new and exciting. My Dad told me that the cruises started after the war, and the first ships were all Swedish (e.g. Svea-line). Currently the two big companies are Silja-Line and Viking Line. 

The epic dinner buffets on the 'Sweden boats' have served luxury and abundance to ordinary people from their inception. Many Finns tasted their first shrimp or fresh pineapple on the boats!

My abundant birthday dinner was enjoyed at the bow table on Viking Gabriella...   

My abundant birthday dinner was enjoyed at the bow table on Viking Gabriella...

 

Lili at the dessert buffet on the way back to Helsinki. Mamma Mia they even had a chocolate fountain! 

Lili at the dessert buffet on the way back to Helsinki. Mamma Mia they even had a chocolate fountain! 

 

The first ever ball pits were on the Sweden boats.    

The first ever ball pits were on the Sweden boats. 

 

Lili at the conclusion of the kids program Magic Show. She was a keen volunteer - no shoes required! 

Lili at the conclusion of the kids program Magic Show. She was a keen volunteer - no shoes required! 

This has to be the biggest draw of the boats - tax free shopping. Historically, people would go to a cruise just to be able to bring back 'a full load' of tax free alcohol and cigarettes. These days with EU the importing is completely different - you can bring a van full of wine if you want - but cosmetics, alcohol, sweets and cigarettes are still flying off the shelves. 

This has to be the biggest draw of the boats - tax free shopping. Historically, people would go to a cruise just to be able to bring back 'a full load' of tax free alcohol and cigarettes. These days with EU the importing is completely different - you can bring a van full of wine if you want - but cosmetics, alcohol, sweets and cigarettes are still flying off the shelves. 

One of the many gorgeous views during the cruise. This was at around 10 pm, approaching Åland Islands. 

One of the many gorgeous views during the cruise. This was at around 10 pm, approaching Åland Islands. 

Back in Helsinki in the summer sun. Our ferry is the red and white one at the top right of the picture.  

Back in Helsinki in the summer sun. Our ferry is the red and white one at the top right of the picture.