Who are the fab four?
Peppi. A 9-year-old school child from Naantali. She lives at the edge of the countryside and likes to keep chickens as pets. Her hobbies include gymnastics and cheergym, and a passion for dancing.
Valo. A preschooler only 6-year-old, who, being tall and clever, is often mistakenly taken to be older. Valo is Peppi’s little brother. A fun fact: their has seven separate staircases.
Eetu. An 8-year-old schoolboy from Turku, whose hobbies include football, scouts and playing the guitar. Eetu does everything with Niklas (except playing the guitar) and he wants to be a policeman.
Niklas. Eetu’s best mate and school friend, whose hobbies include football and scouts (with Eetu) as well as wrestling (without Eetu). Niklas is excited about the trip as he aspires to be a captain.
Where are they going?
The story took place aboard the Baltic Princess cruise ship in September 2018. The gang of kids was guided by the regional director of Silja Turku, Nina Honkaranta. The best places aboard ship were picked out, from the buffet table to the command bridge and the engine room, and then onto the playroom, Silja Land. The crew for the cruise also included Harri the Seal and Moomin Troll!
1. Fill up the tanks at the Grand Buffet
As with all good adventures, a good feast plays an important role. When the doors opened, the gang were quick to the buffet table. It proved a good idea as they found seats by the window and the queues were clear. They could also clearly see the buffet’s delicious choices, beautifully covering the tables like falling snow.
The food was fresh and sumptuous, with everything from traditional meatballs to herring and sushi salad. The vegetable table was particularly impressive, which our vegan photographer was quick to mention. The vegetables dishes were interesting and tempting, and alongside Asian styles and modern street food, the variety was superb.
The kids were able to find a great lunch. The delicious herring delighted Valo, whilst others enjoyed traditional children’s favourites, from grilled salmon to sausages and mashed potato. The pinnacle of the buffet was the ice cream machine and after the parents had ensured a healthy portion of proper food had been eaten, the kids could help themselves.
2. Commands from the captain on the bridge
An enormous ship is a fascinating giant that inspires the imagination. As stated in the introduction, our four heroes got access to places no normal passenger of the Baltic Princess can experience.
First, Nina took the gang to the bridge. There they met the captain of the Baltic Princess Juha Rossi, standing in his gold-plated jacket with an aura of authority. The views from the observation windows were simply incredible.
Turku’s archipelago, regarded as the most beautiful in the world, was laid out before them, with the high vantage of the bridge offering impressive views. At this height, the tens of thousands of islands that form the immense archipelago can really be appreciated. The shipping channel, which at sea level appears so wide, looks more like a sloping track zigzagging its was between the islands.
* Tip! Not everyone can visit the bridge but the top deck of the ship has exactly the same view. Get wrapped up well and enjoy the scenery. The views of the lace villas of Ruissalo and the ruggedly beautiful outer archipelago are something not to be missed.
As part of their privileged visit, the children were allowed to ask the captain questions. However, he wasn’t expecting the tidal wave that ensued.
Niklas (already sitting in the chair): Can I sit on this chair?
Juha Rossi: Well, that’s the captain’s chair, but your can sit there. You’ll have to tell the crew what it feels like, though, because no one else is permitted.
Valo: Are you afraid of water?
Juha Rossi: No, I’m not afraid. In fact, I like the water very much and I particularly like the sea.
Peppi: Is it true that the captain doesn’t sleep?
Juha Rossi: Captains are people, so of course they need to sleep. But when the ship is moving, there’s always a captain who is on duty and must stay awake.
Eetu: What’s in the tanks of the ship?
Juha Rossi: A mixture of heavy, sulfur-free fuel and diesel, which has been specially made for this purpose. Basically, though, the ship can work with the same diesel as a car.
Niklas: Are you bored of all these islands?
Juha Rossi: I don’t think it’s possible. Many people have paintings at home with sceneries they are happy to look at year after year. For me here on the bridge, the painting I see is alive and a little bit different every day.
3. No one can mess in the engine room
Next up, Nina took the fab four to the engine room, which was actually a visit in two parts. The monitoring room for the engine room was full of screens and buttons and many other people.
“Here the most important rule for guests is to stay at least one metre away from the table,” explained chief engineer Eero Karislahti, continuing:
“From these tables we can control the entire technology of the ship, from the engines to the ventilation and electricity. Everything must work properly, so there’s a big responsibility to ensure it does.”
Next, the gang were able to take a peek into the actual engine room, where, despite hearing protection, the noise thundered and vibrated through the children’s teeth.
Summary: A big ship needs really big engines (and the Baltic Princess has four).
4. Hot and sweaty in Silja Land
Afterwards, the gang were given leave to plot their own course of entertainment – in simple language, they went to play. The Baltic Princess is well equipped in this regard. The Silja Land children’s world has been given more space on the fifth deck, receiving new games and gadgets in the process.
The features of the colourful play rooms ensure that, whatever the situation, a children’s cruise will be a success. Games consoles, ball pool, slide and plenty of toys as well as drawing tables and stationary are always popular. However, Silja always aspires to offer passengers something new.
The newest and most popular discovery in the kid’s world was clearly the digital iWall game. It really got our quartet jumping and sweating.
The fab four’s favourite from the iWall was definitely the parkour game, where they could move on the floor through a thrilling adventure on the roofs of a digital city.
When Niklas completed the course, he commented:
“I’m totally out of breath!”
The features of the colourful play rooms ensure that, whatever the situation, a children’s cruise will be a success.
5. Moomin hugs and Harry the Seal
Even a big second-grader will go soft when they meet their favourite fairy tale character in person. At the end of the ship adventure, our four heroes got to have a private meeting with Moomin Troll and Silja’s own Harry the Seal. Both were greeted with a soft hug.
“Particularly for the smaller children, seeing familiar characters on the cruise ship is totally amazing,” explains Nina Honkaranta, before continuing:
“The Moomins come to visit on weekends and during holidays, whilst Harry the seal is aboard every cruise. Otherwise, Silja puts on lots of entertainment for kids because it’s really important for us to create a great experience and atmosphere for the whole family aboard ship. That’s the best it can be!”
INFORMATION AND RESERVATIONS
Story created in cooperation with Tallink Silja.
Text by Liina Komi. Photos and video by Kim Allen-Mersh.
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