As you arrive at the terminal, the atmosphere is palpable. Even on the journey to the harbour, excitement builds when fan t-shirts are revealed and songs are being hummed or played by other passengers. Sailing between Turku and Stockholm, the Viking Grace and Amorella bring people of same spirit together to enjoy the themed entertainment cruises.
“What we have to offer is really diverse. There’s so much more on the programme calendar than just rock and dance”, the route’s product manager Valpuri Mäkinen points out.
Viking Line’s programme and themes are carefully tailored for different age groups and types of people. There’s something for everyone.
“Every month we receive a huge amount of feedback. The programme is tailored based on the wishes of our customers.”
A barrel of laughs
The ship has received heaps of positive feedback for the Uusi Iloinen Teatteri, performing theatre on the ship’s stage for the third consecutive year. Then there are the comedy presentations from well-known Peacock theatre (from Linnanmäki in Helsinki), a real runaway success for Viking Line. Performed in Viking Grace’s Night Club Vogue, January’s “Tuhansien ämpärien maa – aivan ulapalla” will have you in stitches.
Audiences at Vogue have their kinky wishes fulfilled during the autumn break with two of Finland’s most popular drag-artists. Jukka K. and Marko Vainio march to the stage as beloved stars of Eurovision and popular Finnish singers.
“From Laila to Lordi is a trendy show for the whole family, and which will definitely appeal to the younger crowd.”
There’s a plenty on offer for the youngest in the family throughout winter, with dedicated kids entertainers on Amorella every Sunday, including Simo the Dinosaur, Dodo the Clown and Captain Cachalot.
An entire experience under one roof
A cruise ship is a great place not just for families but also friends having fun, with every ingredient for an entertaining night all under one roof. Before a theatre play or your favourite band in concert, enjoy feasting at the restaurants or shop till you drop in the ship’s stores.
“When in the city, friends might only meet shortly before a concert and then leave quickly afterwards. On the boat you’re in no hurry – nobody can escape”, laughs product manager Mäkinen.
“The value is fantastic! For the price of a concert ticket, the cruise and other experiences are all included. At the end of the night, forget about having to wade through slush and taxi queues after a Christmas party, and head straight to your bed.”
The reputation of the cruise ship as a concert venue has grown considerably over the last decades. Some years ago, a gig on a ship might indicate an artist was waning in popularity. Nowadays, the stars on stage are the biggest and brightest in the Finnish entertainment industry.
“I recent years, both the atmosphere and ships have changed. It tells a lot that, with the artists we can now attract on board, Viking Grace competes with top venues such as Tavastia and the Hartwall Arena”, Mäkinen announces.
“We also receive lots of feedback from the artists themselves. So far, the most endearing has been what Joel Hallikainen has written directly to his own website about is love for Viking Grace.”
On the main stage on Grace, entertainers include, among others, Isaac Elliot, Michael Monroe and Anna Eriksson.
“We are delighted that the only boat concert Anna Eriksson will perform this winter will be aboard Grace”, says a smiling Mäkinen.
The festival spirit is in the air
Artists happily discover that contemporary audiences go on cruises specifically to enjoy concerts, and no longer are musicians simply background music. There is even the chance to enjoy the lively summer festival atmosphere aboard ship, like in December with the ”Provinssi goes Viking Line” cruise, or in February with the ”Nordic Metal Cruise”.
“During the ‘Metal Cruises’ the ship does turn a bit black, but there have never been any problems. Other passengers have only had positive feedback, even if some mouths drop when boarding ship after a fishing trip in Åland”, Mäkinen explains, with a wry smile on his face.
This kind of cruise camaraderie is also noticeable amongst passengers during the early season dance weeks, when the harbour terminal is turned into a stage for those eager to practice steps and spins.
The magic of dance is so inspiring to Finns that Viking Line’s occasional dance courses are now held every Wednesday during winter. Instruction is provided in cooperation with dance TV personality Mikko Ahti.
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In cooperation with Viking Line.
Text by Merja Kallikari. Photos from Viking Line.
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