That Time I Stupidly Booked a Bed on an Overnight Ferry that Wasn’t Going Anywhere! [A Review of the M/S Viking XPRS Service Between Tallinn and Helsinki]

That Time I Stupidly Booked a Bed on an Overnight Ferry that Wasn’t Going Anywhere! [A Review of the M/S Viking XPRS Service Between Tallinn and Helsinki]

Reader, are you sitting comfortably? I hope so, as it’s time for a story about one of my stupidest travel faux pas (and a review of the M/S Viking XPRS service between Tallinn and Helsinki!).

Firstly, a disclaimer. I have very little experience travelling on ferries. The only trips I can remember clearly are those I took between Dover and Calais in the 90s, when I was heading off on a school exchange or going on a shopping adventure to a Calais hypermarché! Ah those were the days, huh?

Anyway, I digress. I point the above out simply to highlight the fact that I’ve never had to book a ferry before. Essentially I’m trying to get away with putting my stupid mistake down to rookie error.

So, the tale begins with a summer trip to Tallinn. Having booked four nights in the Estonian capital we were planning out our itinerary when I had one of my crazy Keri ideas. “Why don’t we do a day trip to Helsinki?!” I declare. At first the family looks at me like I’m crazy, but when I explain it’s only a short two hour ferry trip away they warm to the idea.

Getting engrossed in the idea of our mad Finland adventure, we start looking into ferry times with Viking Line. We discover there’s one that leaves at 8am but there’s also the option of an overnight ferry that gets us in at around the same time.

UKBA

Joking about how the hell it takes 8 hours to get across the Gulf of Finland when there’s one the following morning that takes just two and half hours, (it must go round in circles, I laugh) I persuade them that the adventure will be even more fun if we do the overnighter, as we’ll fall asleep in one country and wake up in another. Plus there was the added bonus of not having to get up at stupid o’clock in the morning to catch the early ferry.

I’m guessing you’ve already clicked where this story is going. Yes, it was the same bloody ferry. But we didn’t work this out until we were boarding!

review of the M/S Viking XPRS service between Tallinn and Helsinki

review of the M/S Viking XPRS service between Tallinn and Helsinki

Rocking up at 11pm to the very quiet ferry terminal it took us a while to work out what was going on, and it was only when we pinned down a member of staff they explained that you can board the ferry now, but it doesn’t set off till the morning! Ah man, the shame!

Our adventure had turned into a bit of a farce, but we embraced it none the less. Sleepily we headed straight to our four-berth bunk, made up our little beds and crashed out, laughing at our stupidity and reminding ourselves that this would be one of our Tallinn trip’s most memorable moments.

Seven or so hours later we were woken up by the engines kicking in and the ship (finally) moving off. Child one was up and dressed in an instant, keen to explore and also bring the parents some well-needed caffeine. The trials and tribulations of finding me a cup of English Breakfast is a tale for another day (lets just say I was told I’m ‘very scary’ if I don’t get a proper cup of tea!), but here’s my review of the M/S Viking XPRS’ facilities and the journeys between Tallinn and Helsinki themselves.

A review of the M/S Viking XPRS service between Tallinn and Helsinki

Our room on the M/S Viking XPRS

The perfect little family room, our cosy cabin had a wardrobe space, telephone, plug socket, toilet and shower cubicle. We had a standard seaside cabin, which had a lovely large window for us to enjoy. By day the bottom beds could be used as sofas, with the top bunks pushed up out of the way, but at night all four were turned into full-size single beds. Beds that were surprisingly comfy, too!

To be fair we didn’t have the best night’s sleep, but that was down to being overtired and slightly perturbed. However, it was easy to get cosy and comfy and I particularly liked that each bed had its own separate nightlight, meaning we could still read without disturbing each other.

It’s also worth noting that the top bunks were also very safe and secure, which meant the kids had no problem drifting off.

In the morning we were pleasantly surprised by the shower too, leaving us refreshed and ready for a full day of exploring Helskinki.

review of the M/S Viking XPRS service between Tallinn and Helsinki

review of the M/S Viking XPRS service between Tallinn and Helsinki

Ferry facilities

Reminiscent of the old P&O ferries I’d taken in the past, onboard the M/S Viking XPRS you’ll find all the usual facilities you’d expect from a short-haul ferry. In addition there’s good signage, so it’s easy to find your way around.

There’s a good choice of cafes and restaurants available and lots of seating areas. There are also several shops, a small arcade and a large children’s entertainment area to keep little ones occupied.

Wi-Fi is available in some of the public spaces, but is also included in all premium cabins.

On both journeys the ferries were very busy, and even with all the seating it can be tough to find a couple of empty chairs. As the journey was so short this didn’t really bother us though, as we simply wandered around the shop and entertainment areas. However, for those eager to have a seat of their own, or want some privacy, it’s also possible to book a cabin for a daytime trip.

review of the M/S Viking XPRS service between Tallinn and Helsinki

review of the M/S Viking XPRS service between Tallinn and Helsinki

Taking a ferry between Tallinn and Helsinki (and vice versa)

Both our journeys were smooth and the time went quickly. Although I kinda messed up the trip by booking us in overnight unnecessarily, I would say that taking the ferry for a day trip to Helsinki from Tallinn (or vice versa) is a really great idea.

This gave us around eight hours to get a taste of the city, which included exploring Suomenlinna, an 18th Century sea fortress, doing a whirlwind tour of Helsinki’s historical district and stopping off for afternoon tea in Helsinki at Salutorget. Plus both ferry terminals have lockers where we stored our overnight bags (this cost €3 for 24 hours), so if you don’t travel light, you’ve got somewhere to leave your bags while you explore the city.

Although it costs a little more to get a cabin on a Viking Line ferry, this trip is really great value for foot passengers and is a great option if you want to go on a fun, but crazy whirlwind adventure like us!

Viking Line ferry trips between Tallinn and Helsinki currently start from €35 per person one way, with a two person cabin costing from €30 one way.

Pin for later!

 


We were the guests of Viking Line on this trip, but as always, all views are our own!

 

Wander Mum

Follow:
Keri

By day Co-Editor Keri is a freelance journalist and copywriter, but spends most of her free time either travelling or planning her next trip!  A complete travel fanatic, she has a love of tropical climates, wildlife and afternoon tea (hence the creation of her Global Afternoon Tea Challenge!)

Find me on: Web

Share this:

17 Comments

  1. March 27, 2018 / 11:01 am

    Ha! Oh well. I’ve been on that ferry before from Helsinki to Talinn. So fun! #citytripping

    • Keri
      Author
      March 27, 2018 / 3:24 pm

      It had to be done Susanna, was a whirlwind day but worth it!

  2. March 27, 2018 / 11:02 am

    This made me laugh. I think everyone makes travel mistakes sometime in their lives. I know I’ve made plenty. This ferry seems so much nicer than the small one room ferries we took in Puerto Rico. I’m sure I would enjoy the experience so much more if I were on a ferry like the one you took. #citytripping

    • Keri
      Author
      March 27, 2018 / 3:26 pm

      It did the job Allison! Like I said, the beds were actually really comfy. It was nice having a private space away from the bustle on board too!

  3. March 27, 2018 / 7:53 pm

    Oh this did make me laugh – I’m just glad I’m not the only one who makes mistakes like this! Looking at your pictures it looks like the ship is pretty much identical to the one we took from Bilbao to Plymouth. And hey – glad you hear you got your afternoon tea there too! 😉 #citytripping

    • Keri
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 11:34 am

      ha ha thanks, afternoon tea made the adventure well worth it!

  4. March 27, 2018 / 7:53 pm

    Oh this did make me laugh – I’m just glad I’m not the only one who makes mistakes like this! Looking at your pictures it looks like the ship is pretty much identical to the one we took from Bilbao to Plymouth. And hey – glad you hear you got your afternoon tea there too! 😉 #citytripping

  5. March 27, 2018 / 10:17 pm

    That’s a funny tale and glad it was worth it. Bet you will laugh about it for years! Wilbur. #citytripping

    • Keri
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 11:35 am

      It was definitely memorable, for sure!

  6. March 28, 2018 / 8:35 am

    hhaha I’m still cracking up! Absolutely hilarious – and I definitely wouldn’t have twigged they were the same boat either?! I know that some overnight train journeys (that ordinarily take a couple of hours during the day), pull over to one side of the track so that you roll into your next city at a better hour. But I guess it’s a little harder to just park up a ship in the middle of the sea for a few hours, ha! xx

    • Keri
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 11:36 am

      Yeah I guess so, just shows Im not much of a regular ferry travellers. Felt like a total numpty! lol

  7. March 28, 2018 / 12:19 pm

    This is hilarious and exactly the kind of thing I’d do!!

    • Keri
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 11:36 am

      Glad Im not alone! lol

  8. March 29, 2018 / 8:29 pm

    I’d really like to do this journey to Tallin…although definitely not the overnight bit! Hahaha very funny! Thanks for making me giggle and sharing on #citytripping

    • Keri
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 11:37 am

      Glad to give some giggles – yep recommend the trip, just no need to go overnight (unless the kids would love to sleep on a ferry ofc! lol)

  9. March 31, 2018 / 2:39 am

    This is hysterical! I actually think the rooms look pretty nice for a ferry! Well, at least you’ll have this story to tell for the rest of your lives..we all make mistakes, and at least this was an adventure! #citytripping

    • Keri
      Author
      April 15, 2018 / 11:38 am

      Very true Corey, its definitely one of those trips that will stay with us! lol

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.