Windpowered? The Romantika is seen her in her first season on charter to Holland Norway Lines leaving Eemshaven at the 16th of june in 2022.
The company Tallink originates from a service sailed by the Estonian Shipping Company of the Sovjet-Union with a ship named Vanemuine from 1965 onwards between the Estonian port of Tallinn and the Finnish port of Helsinki. This service was sailed under the name of ESCO untill 1989, when ESCO joint forces with the Finnish company Palkkiyhtymä Oy and a susidiary named Tallink was established. Conveniently, the first ship of the company was also named Tallink and she was chartered from SeaEscape (DFDS) being their former Scandinavian Sky. In 1993 the company became fully Estonian owned when PO sold their shares into the venture and one year later Tallink combined with another competitor on the route, Inreko. The name of the new combine became AS Eminre but the marketingname was kept as Tallink. There was a competitor, because the route had been very profitable and especially after the end of the Sovjet Union the route grew considerably. New bigger ships were bought and also a faster hydrofoil service was started under the banner of Tallink Express. The company now also served a route between Paldiski (Tallinn) to Kapellskär in Sweden and one between Helsinki, Tallinn and Travemünde in northern Germany although this last route was only sailed for a short while. In short, the company was now a big player in the Baltic region and the need for new, competitve thus larger ships arose. As the company normally used ships on charter or bought secondhand vessels, they were now also confident enough to built new ships themselves. In august of 2000, the company thus placed an order with the Aker Finnyards at Rauma, Finland for a 40.000-ton and 2500-passenger ferry which would become Romantika.
Construction and general statistics
Laid down at the 23rd of may in 2001 as yardnumber 433, the first newbuilding for Tallink was going to measure 40.803 tons to be precise, making her one of the largest ferries in the world at the time. She has a lenght of 192,9 meters, is 29 meters wide and has a draft of 6,5 meters. planned to sail in the Baltic, the ship has an slightly ice-strengthened hull classified as 1A. She was designed with 12 decks for 2500 passengers of whom 2172 could sleep in 727 cabins and the rest being so-named 'deckpassengers' able to sail at a cheaper fare but sleeping in reclining seats. Being a carferry of course there is also space for 300 cars on 1030 lanemeters. The ship is powered by four Wärtsilä-designed engines that can provide a speed of 22 knots, pretty standard for a medium-range ferry in northern Europe. She was going to fly the Estonian flag, homeported in Tallinn.
The ship was launched at the 14th of december in 2001 and finally delivered to Tallink at the 10th of may in 2002 after successfull seatrials in the Baltic Sea. In october of the same year, due to good results of the ferry, a sistership was also ordered from the same wharf. She would become the Victoria 1, starting her service in march of 2004.
The ships' funnel, now of course with the Holland Norway Line corporate logo.
Being an overnight ferry, the ship is of course not as lavish as most modern cruiseships, but as the ferries in northern Europe are mostly named 'cruiseferries' and used as such on their routes with the possibility to also book the crossings as minicruises as well, her interiours are really comfortable and modern. Her main restaurant is the 550-seat Grand Buffet which offers international cuisine in buffet-style. Alternatives are also an a-la-carte restaurant, a grill house, a starbucks coffee & go café and a fastfood restaurant.
Entertainment options are also quite extended, with a real cruiseship size and art-deco styled theater spread out over two decks, which is also connected to a casino. During the night, the colourfull Space Disco offers a place to dance and drink yourself across the Baltic Sea without even knowing you are on a ship. Standard for a ferryservice, aboard also is a quite large supermarket where you can buy your duty-free items as well as a cosmeticsshop. Also aboard there is a large beautysalon and spa area, with of course the Finnish sauna that even has its own bar and also a Turkish steamroom and three smaller sauna's that you can book for private use. To keep your children entertained, the large Lotte Playroom offers many games including the always cool ballpool.
Of course there are also several conference rooms aboard so while on a business trip there will also be the possibility to not only relax but also do some work.
Romantika is heer seen together with the Muensterland ferry from AG Ems, the ship that sails the route between Eemshaven and the German island of Borkum since the mid 1970's.
The ship had been named traditionally during her launch and after she had been delivered to Tallink she showed herself to the press in Tallinn, Helsinki and Riga, the capital of Latvia. Her first commercial crossing departed Tallinn for Helsinki at the 21st of may in 2002 and she was joint by her later sistership Victoria 1 from 2004 onwards.
A stirr was caused when the ship had been chartered by the Finnish central political party Suomen Keskusta for their electoral cruise at the 30th of october in 2005, when the Finnish Seaman's Union protested against the use of a foreign-flagged (Estonian) ship for internal Finnish matter. During the cruise, the two presidential candidates for the party were announced.
In 2006, the new almost 50.000-ton cruiseferry Galaxy was added to the route, relieving Romantika to be replaced on the route between Tallinn, Mariehamn and the Swedish capital of Stockholm. She sailed this route untill 2009, when she was again replaced on the route between Stockholm and Riga, and as she now did not call at Tallinn anymore, tradition of the company was to have the ship reflagged to the Latvian flag homeported in Riga. From 2014 onwards, the ship was now regularly swiching between both route's from Stockholm to Riga and from Stockholm to Tallinn and also changed flags and homeports accordingly several times.
At the 15th of march in 2020, the ship was taken out of service and laid-up due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic that grinded all international traffic to a halt. The ship made only a handfull of crossings, mostly between Riga and Stockholm or Riga and Helsinki, in between mostly she spend her time in lay-up at Riga. At the end of september of 2020, the ship was laid-up for a longer time in Paljasaare, the western part of the port in Tallinn. At the 5th of july in 2021, she was chartered out to Tanger Med Port Authoroty, a company from Morocco. From Tanger, she then sailed several crossings to Séte in France via Tarragona in Spain untill the following 6th of october, when she sailed for Glasgow in Scotland to be used as an accomodationship for the UN Climate Conference. She was in Glasgow untill the middle of november.
While still in Glasgow, Tallink reached an agreement with a new Dutch-based ferrycompany named Holland Norway Lines to charter out the Romantika for a period of at least three years, with the option of two year-long extensions to the charter. After her service in Glasgow ended at the 15th of november, she then sailed to the Finnish port of Naantali via Tallinn where she was updated for her new charter agreement. At the 23rd of march in 2022, the ship was officially registered in her new homeport Eemshaven and thus brought under the Dutch flag. A few days later, she sailed for the Norwegian port of Kristiansand, from where she then sailed to her new homeport. For HNL, the ship would be employed on the new route between Eemshaven and Kristiansand. Kristiansand already is a known ferryport in the south of Norway, but for Eemshaven the service was very new and an older dock had to be rebuilt to accomodate the ship. The Port already has a long-time service to the German island of Borkum but this is sailed with smaller short-haul ferries. But Eemshaven is not new to larger ships as most of the cruiseships built by the relatively close-by Meyer Werft are fitted out at the port and they also sail their seatrials from here.
The ship arrived at Eemshaven at the 1st of april 2022 and her first sailing was planned for the 7th of april. During the time of her first departure though, a huge storm had made it impossible to get the ship out of her tight mooringdock and this delayed her departure with some 4,5 hours. Later the same evening, when the storm was calming down, Romantika could then start her first crossing for the new company.