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Viking Mariella Ship vs. Tallink Silja Symphony Ship

Hello!! My husband and I are planning on booking an overnight ferry route trip from Helsinki to Stockholm in July. I have looked at the Viking Line and Tallink Silja Line and they both seem decent. The Viking Line would have us on the Mariella ship and the Tallink Silja Line would have us on the Symphony ship. I tried looking for reviews but could not find a lot. Can anyone tell me their experience on either the Viking Mariella ship or the Tallink Silja Symphony ship? Price does not concern use, we are just looking for a ship that has clean accommodations, outdoor sitting decks that have good views of the passing scenery, and good food. Any input provided will be useful.

Thank you!!

Sharon

Posted by
26087 posts

Have you looked at Cruisecritic.com?

Posted by
4524 posts

Both lines sail the same route so scenery will be the same. Viking has a reputation as being more of a party ship. What that means exactly I don't know, though the ferries are very popular with locals to have fun and buy cheap liquor. I've taken the Silja line and it was very nice - a good buffet and clean rooms.

Posted by
20 posts

Nigel - I looked at the website but I did not see either ship listed.

Douglas - Thank you for your input, ever bit helps.

Posted by
4556 posts

I've taken trips on both Viking and Silja, possibly on the same ships you mention because they have both been around for a while. In the past, Silja ships were considered to be nicer but I don't know if that is still true. Silja was sold to Tallink a few years back and I've heard that there is not as much of a difference now. The Silja ship has a large promenade in the center which makes the ship feel more open.

Both companies follow the same route, so scenery will be the same. In Stockholm, Viking docks at Stadsgården which is about a 15 minute walk from the Slussen tunnelbana station, a very centrally located station. Silja docks at Värtahamnen (Gärdet is closest station).

Viking used to attract more of a party crowd because they didn't require you to book a cabin so they got some people that just stayed up all night drinking and dancing; I don't know if that (no cabin) is still permitted.

The ferries are quieter on weekdays than on weekends. Fridays and Saturdays have a higher proportion of drinkers and that applies to both lines. Keep in mind, these are ferries and not "real" cruise ships. They both stop in the Åland Islands in the middle of the night (not part of EU) and this allows them to sell duty free liquor. There is a certain crowd that travels only for that purpose.

I'd avoid the cheapest cabins which are below the car deck.

For what it is worth, I'm traveling this route in August and I will probably go with Silja.

Posted by
20 posts

Laura,

Thank you for your input. Knowing the cheaper cabins are below the car deck is extremely helpful. I will not be considering those rooms now.

Have you been to the buffets or any of the restuarants? I am thinking about doing the buffett but I am hesitant based on a review I found online. I have read that there are extremely long line and the food is horrible. That was just one review I read that was dated a few years back. Getting a fresh perspective would be helpfu.

Thank you!

Posted by
59 posts

My wife and I used the Viking Line ship (sorry, I don't remember the name, but I think they are all pretty similar) in July 2012 to go from Stockholm to Helsinki. At the time the Viking Line was a bit cheaper than Silja. I went with Viking not because it was a bit cheaper, but because the web site was better designed and easier to use. I don't know if that's still true, but I do remember being frustrated by the Silja website.

The ship was fine but be aware that it's a ferry boat, not a cruise ship. My wife was disappointed that the beds were bunk-style rather than side-by-side, but I had no problem sleeping in the top bunk. The food was OK...we had no problems. We did not encounter unruly crowds or drunken louts. All in all, we were glad we took the trip and were satisfied with Viking Line.