October 3, 2006
Aker Yards starts production of new type of Baltic ferry
Aker Yards, Turku, Finland has started production of Viking XPRS, a new type of fast car passenger ferry.
Kaj Jansson, Project Director Viking Line pushed the button of the cutting machine with Yrjo Julin, President of Aker Yards Cruise & Ferries wittnessing the forming of the first plate for Aker Yards newbuilding No. 1358.
The 130 million Euro contract for the ferry, which is scheduled for January 2008 delivery, was signed in November 2005,
The new ferry offers an entirely new concept in Baltic Sea ferry service, aimed to bring together the best qualities of conventional car ferries and catamarans.
The 185 m long and 27.7 m wide vessel will carry 2,500 passengers, and will be powered by 40 MW engines giving the vessel a speed of 25 knots.
The new vessel will be built to the highest Finnish ice class, with high engine output to guarantee regular traffic around the year in any weather conditions. The newbuilding project was preceded by four years of planning and research.
The newbuilding will serve the Helsinki-Tallinn route, where demand has boomed since Estonia joined the European Union in May 2004. The passenger volume to Tallinn is continuously growing. During the summer months of this year alone Viking Line's passenger numbers on this route increased by more than 50,000 people and the number of cars by over 60 per cent.
Viking XPRS is a modern vessel with flexible solutions. It will have two separate car decks, one of which is reserved for passenger cars only. This deck is placed near the cabin decks and shopping facilities. The loading will be simplified, as trucks are on separate deck.
Viking XPRS will be exceptionally environmentally-friendly.
Viking XPRS is intended to satisfy the needs of many different customer groups, including passengers with or without a car, one-way passengers, cruise passengers or conference guests.
For conference guests the vessel offers high-quality conference rooms with many flexible solutions. The restaurant concepts will be innovative and modern, fully adapted to the needs of this route. The large taxfree shop offers a wide selection for shopping. Dance-lovers will find a number of attractive dance floors.
For interior design, Viking Line chose the Finnish architect Lasse Heikkinen who has previously designed several luxury cruisers and hotels, and architectural agency Tillberg Design, with a world reputation in the cruise liner industry and which has worked with Viking Line in all new vessel projects since the late 1980s.