MS Birka Stockholm

Former name: Birka Paradise

MS Birka Stockholm current position

MS Birka Stockholm current location is at Baltic Sea (coordinates 60.10312 N / 19.92297 E) cruising The AIS position was reported 4 minutes ago.

Current Position

Specifications of MS Birka Stockholm

Year built2004  /  Age: 18
Flag state Sweden
BuilderAker Finnyards (Rauma, Finland)
Classcruiseferry (Ro-Pax ship)
Ferry route / homeportsStockholm-Mariehamn (Aland)
Building costEUR 155 million
Speed23 kn / 43 kph / 26 mph
Length (LOA)177 m / 581 ft
Beam (width)27 m / 89 ft
Gross Tonnage34924 gt
Passengers1800 - 2000
Crew200
Decks11
Cabins900
Decks with cabins5
Last Refurbishment2013
Former namesBirka Paradise
Christened byArja Saijonmaa
OwnerEckero Shipping
OperatorBirka Cruises

MS Birka Stockholm Review

Review of MS Birka Stockholm

The 2004-built MS Birka Stockholm was a cruise ship owned by Eckero Line (Finland-based ferry company) via the brand Birka Line and operated by the fully-owned by Eckero subsidiary company and travel brand "Birka Cruises". The vessel was inaugurated in 2004 and constructed by Aker Finnyards (in Rauma Finland). Eckero acquired Birka in 2007.

The vessel (IMO number 9273727) is currently Sweden-flagged (MMSI 266314000) and registered in Stockholm.

History - construction and ownership

Birka Cruises (1971-founded as "Birka Line", 2020-defunct) was a Mariehamn (Aland Finland)-headquartered subsidiary company fully-owned by Rederiaktiebolaget Eckero (Finnish holding company) via its subsidiary Eckero Line Oy. The shipowner Eckero Line (Rederi Ab Eckero) is a Helsinki-based cargo and passenger shipping company founded in 1995. Birka Cruises operated only the cruiseferry Birka Stockholm, which was deployed year-round in the Baltic Sea. Birka offered regularly scheduled crossings between homeports Stockholm (Sweden) and Mariehamn (Finland)

After 49 years of operation, on July 3, 2020, Eckero Line announced that Birka Cruises is permanently shut down (effectively defunct) and that the vessel Birka Stockholm (16-years-old at the time) is planned for drydock conversion into a cruise ferry. According to Eckero's announcement, the company's closure was due to the financial impact of the Coronavirus crisis. All bookings were fully refunded. More than 500 Birka employees (including the ship's crew) lost their jobs.

The 1800-passenger ship Birka Stockholm was unofficially dubbed just as "MS Birka". The boat's interior design was a joint project of Birka Line, Aker Finnyards Oy (shipbuilder, 1989-2014), and Deltamarin Ltd (1990-founded company specializing in ship design, construction support, offshore engineering). The vessel was planned as a typical cruise ship, without the car deck, available on similar ships. Birka is considered environmentally friendly with the new innovations used in her construction (exhaust and closed sewage treatment systems). The vessel's hull was specifically designed to optimize the environmental impact on the Aland archipelago routes.

MS Birka Stockholm cruise ship

The vessel (Birka Paradise) was officially delivered to Birka Line on November 8, 2004. The naming ceremony was held on November 10, 2004, in Port Stockholm. The godmother was Arja Enni Helena Saijonmaa - 1944-born Finnish singer, actress, political activist. Birka's maiden voyage/inaugural cruise departed on November 11th. The ship was renamed "Birka Stockholm" in January 2013, when its colors were also changed - from blue-yellow-red to just blue-yellow.

Decks and Cabins

MS Birka Stockholm has a total of 900 staterooms (Outside and Inside) in 11 cabin categories. Many passenger cabins are marine-style decorated. All cabins are located above the waterline. All passenger accommodations are equipped with HDTV, dressing table with chair, wardrobe, phone, electronic safe box (in the closet), en-suite bathroom (washbasin-WC-shower, hairdryer), individually controlled air-conditioning.

Most cabins are doubles, each fitted with two fixed lower beds (non-convertible to a double bed). The ship’s largest cabin is the Two-Deck Duplex Suite (each level is sized 18 m2 / 195 ft2) which has a separate living room (sofa bed, coffee table, armchairs), en-suite bathroom (toilet, separate shower, whirlpool bath), separate guest toilet (WC-washbasin).

The boat has 11 decks, of which 9 are passenger-accessible and 5 with cabins.

Shipboard facilities and amenities

Shipboard dining options include 3 restaurants - Grand Buffé (self-service Buffet Restaurant), Four Seasons Restaurant, Café Brazil - and 8 bars including a whisky bar that serves 90+ single malts.

MS Birka Stockholm is among the cruise ships offering comfort and safety during a voyage. The ship's relaxation area includes a swimming pool, two Jacuzzis, poolside bars, sundeck with palm trees, beach loungers and deckchairs.

Paradise Relax & SPA has a Sauna Room and offers spa treatments that include body massages and skin therapies using algae, chocolate, volcanic mud. The onboard entertainment program is planned for each day of the week and includes live piano performances (at Yacht Club Bar) and orchestral performances (at Club Copacabana). The ship also has a Paradise Lounge, Paradise Beach, Paradise Sundeck (with dance area), Jogging Track, Promenade, Duty-Free Shop (Freeport Shopping), a Betting Shop (run by licensed bookmakers), Casino (gambling lounge), Birka Konferens (Conference Rooms), Helipad (helicopter landing area used in cases of emergency).

The Birka cruise ship remains the world's only passenger liner to have a sand beach complete with artificial sunlight.

Itinerary

Birka Stockholm's itinerary program was based on Baltic Sea mini-cruises leaving roundtrip from homeport Stockholm Sweden to Mariehamn (Finland).

Birka operated 22-hour cruise crossings between Stockholm and Mariehamn Aland. In addition to these 7 weekly crossings, Birka also planned special weekend voyages (during summer) and holiday voyages (for Christmas and New Year's Eve).

MS Birka Stockholm - user reviews and comments

MS Birka Stockholm ship related cruise news

MS Birka Stockholm Wiki

MS Birka Paradise ship was built as cruiseferry (passenger capacity 1800) and was operated on the Sweden-Finland route Stockholm-Mariehamn (Aland). The vessel was delivered to Birka Cruises in November 2004.

The vessel (shipbuilding cost EUR 155 million) was launched under the name "Birka Paradise", which was chosen after a competition of 3500+ proposals. Birka Paradise was renamed to "Birka Stockholm" in 2013. Since 2008, the vessel is Sweden-flagged (MMSI number 266314000) and registered in Stockholm.

As cruiseferry, the boat had 715 passenger cabins and was served by 180 crew. The hull is ice class "1A Super" (the highest for passenger ships).

The boat’s interior design was developed by YSA Design (Yran & Storbraaten Architects AS, Oslo Norway), Architectoffice Lasse Heikkinen (Helsinki Finland-based Naval Architecture, Exterior-Interior Design, 3D Design. Projecting) and Partner Ship Design (Hamburg Germany-based company specializing in ocean-going passenger ships, ferries, superyachts, sailing ships, riverboats).

For the vessel's construction, Vitkovice Steel (Přívoz Czechia-based manufacturer of rolled steel products, Czechia's largest manufacturer of steel plates) supplied 3000+ tons of steel plates while Wynn Marine Ltd (manufacturer of Heavy Duty Straight Line Wipers) supplied a unique wiper system capable to clean up 90% of each window onboard.

The cruise ship is powered by 4x Wartsila marine diesel engines (model 6L46, combined output 23,4 MW) plus 4x auxiliary diesel engines (electricity generators model Wartsila 6L32, combined output 11 MW). The liner’s cruising speed is 21 knots (39 kph / 24 mph), with max speed 23 knots (42 kph / 26 mph).

In 2007-2008, Birka Paradise entered drydock at Turku Repair Yard (Luonnonmaa island, Naantali Finland). The USD 2,7 million refurbishment project included wellness complex renovations (saunas, spa treatment rooms, shower rooms, gym equipment). The hull was cleaned and repainted with non-toxic paints.

Drydock refurbishment/conversion

In early-November 2021 was announced that Clarkson plc (London UK-based shipbroker) valued the 17-years-old vessel at EUR 82,8 million (~USD 95,8M / ~GBP 71M). Rederi AB Eckero (shipowner) signed with Fosen Design & Solution (subsidiary of Fosen Yard AS/Norwegian shipyard specializing in vessel conversions/refurbishments) to evaluate the viability of a conversion project for Birka Stockholm.

The plans include updating the ship's life-saving equipment, reducing the number of passenger cabins (from 700 to 300) and adding (in the superstructure) step-out balconies to 215 cabins.

The project aims to convert the 1800-passenger cruiseferry into a premium expedition ship with max passenger capacity 600.

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