Ferry, Stockholm to Turku on the Baltic Princess (Silja line)

Ferry journeys to Finland are great. Inexpensive, and known for their party-friendly overnight timings, but with inexpensive cabins in case you want to ignore all that and sleep through. I did, and booked into a shared cabin for €24. The cheapest are around €20, which perhaps are more likely to be grabbed by the partiers. But even then, if they are out all night, they’ll hardly disturb you. The ferry left promptly at 19:30, turfing us out of cabins at 6:30, ready to dock at 7. I had a slight shock at that, as Finland is an hour ahead – beware, one hour fewer than you may be ready for.

Stockholm City hall, from the water
Stockholm City hall, from the water.
Waiting room, ferry. Ships are 'fartygen'
Waiting room, ferry. Ships are ‘fartygen’.

Check in is straightforward, and the whole process uses digital technology for convenience. You can go to one of the windows, shown in the window above. But you can use technology. There is a bank of machines, and a quick scan of the QR code sent via email will check you in and give you a boarding pass. In Finland I caught two trains, this ferry and went to an ice hockey match and museum, only needing paper for the museum and ferry, and even then those pieces of paper were scanned by machines. There are still plenty of staff standing around to help, or just to greet you, spared scanning duties.

4 person cabin
4 person cabin – only two of us in there, it was still cosy.

There is nothing behind the curtains in this cheap cabin, but they do the job of making it look like there is more to the place than there really is.

Boarding pass and key
Boarding pass, wifi code and cabin key.

I clicked the link in the email I received on booking, and that sent me to a webpage with the QR code on. Nothing I couldn’t have got from the email itself, but using the webpage version to check in meant I got further info. As soon as I had checked in, the page updated, telling me my cabin number (also on the boarding pass), its location and other info. That page then updated itself as the journey progressed, giving directions to town as the boat docked.

Silja line booking information, updated on check-in
Once checked in, the webpage updates to show boarding time, cabin number and so on.
Docking in Turku
Docking in Turku.

We docked in the dark. Buses were available right outside to take people into town. Passengers disappeared as I got my bearings, choosing to walk into Turku. It’s about 3km, through a quiet park and along quiet streets.

Turku in early morning light
Turku in early morning light. I walked there, so you could get there in the dark on the bus.

Not believing everything could be on time, I had booked the 1pm train, so had time to pass in Turku. I walked along the riverfront for a while, then headed for the public library. It’s a good place to pass some time, and even has some English-language books (graphic novels, at any rate). Turku itself has everything you need and is an easy place to stroll around. It was a little cold to explore too much, but I still enjoyed my view of the place.

Graffito with name of the city, Turku
Turku graffito
Turku public library
Turku public library.

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