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At the shipyard with the Grimaldis

Put on your safety shoes, put on your helmet, and join the Finnsirius indoor tour with Emanuele and Iliana Grimaldi!

The construction of the Superstar ships at the China Merchants Jinling shipyard in Weihai, China, began in June 2021. Those were the times of Corona lockdowns, and the shipyard could not be visited. The ships have been built for almost two years now, and Finnsirius will be completed in just a couple of months. Since travelling has opened up again and it is now safe to visit the interiors of the Superstars, our blog crew took a ship tour on Finnsirius in the company of Emanuele Grimaldi, President of the Board of Finnlines and representative of the Grimaldi Group, which is the sole owner of Finnlines. Welcome aboard!

Emanuele Grimaldi (fifth from the left) was a welcomed guest at the shipyard in Weihai. The party included his wife, Iliana Grimaldi, and Luigi Pacella, a member of the Grimaldi Family and Far East Services Line Manager for the Grimaldi Group.

The Finnsirius tour was hosted by Kristiina Uppala (third from the left), who heads the service concept of the Superstar ships. Also in the photo (from the left) are Zhijun Zhang, Manager of the Commercial Department; Justin Liu, Vice President of Yard / Head of Interior & Commercial Department; Hehui Zheng, President of Yard; George Zhou, Director of the Production Management Center; and Shubo Ou, Deputy Project Director Chief Engineer.

On the Largest Car Deck in the Baltic Sea

After the initial greetings, we started the actual ship tour from the car deck on Finnsirius. The Grimaldi Group and Finnlines are companies specializing in sea transportation of cargo – therefore Emanuele Grimaldi possessed particular interest in the car decks on Finnsirius.

The Superstar vessels, like the other Finnlines ro-pax vessels, operate the cargo and passenger traffic flow smoothly. Compared to the other car ferries sailing in the Baltic Sea, Finnsirius and Finncanopus have a larger capacity to carry lorries and cars. Vehicles and trailers can be carried for a total of 5.2 kilometers, which equals a continuous car line from The Senate Square in the Helsinki city center to Mäntyniemi, the presidential residence in a quiet area northwest of the city center! Finnsirius and Finncanopus have the largest car decks in the Baltic Sea when they start operating between Finland and Sweden.

Emanuele Grimaldi and Kristiina Uppala walking along deck three on Finnsirius. Finnsirius is a cargo-passenger ship (ropax) – thus spacious car decks are a must. Both Superstar vessels can accommodate trucks, or any vehicles from cars to motorcycles on a total length of 5.2 km car lanes.
Justin Liu, Emanuele Grimaldi, and George Zhou discussing on the deck of Finnsirius. Zhang Xiaohui is standing in the background. Soon, the car deck will look different when it is filled with 250 trucks and 200 cars at a time.

Fourteen saunas

From the car deck, we stepped into the brand-new passenger elevator manufactured by the Finnish company Kone. The Grimaldis were the test users of that passenger lift #4! The trip to deck twelve went well.

We arrived at the spa area, which is called Steam Spa (Höyry Spa) on the Superstar ships, consisting of, among others, three saunas. The Superstar vessels are not built according to any international catalog; the ships are specifically designed for Finnlines – a proof of which is the number of saunas. In addition to the saunas reserved for passengers, there are two saunas for the crew and the lorry drivers have their own spacious sauna at the stern of the ship. In addition, the Kefeus suite has a sauna. In fact, Weihai’s densest concentration of saunas is currently at the shipyard, where no less than a total of fourteen saunas are floating onboard the Finnlines Superstar ships Finnsirius and Finncanopus!

Of course, the Grimaldis were aware of the number of saunas in advance, but regardless, the saunas appearing here and there onboard caused hilarity among the visitors.

All benches and paneling have already been installed, but the stoves are still missing so none of the saunas on Finnsirius were heated. In the photo, the sauna on the stern side of Höyry Spa.
Harvia stoves will soon be installed in the saunas of the Superstar ships. In the photo, the sauna on the port side of Höyry Spa.

A New Meeting Concept

The meeting department on the Superstar ships is a completely new concept for Finnlines. The Me & Co Area’s large meeting room can be divided into three parts with partition screens. During the visit, the screens of the conference rooms were just being tested. The sea-themed fitted carpet in the corridor had just been installed and protected with a red carpet, so that the carpet does not become dirty during the department’s finishing touches. In addition to the largest meeting room,  there are two separate meeting rooms on the starboard side of the Stellar Lounge, and there is a bookable cabinet at the Barrel Bay Bar at the stern of the ship.

Emanuele Grimaldi (left) and Iliana Grimaldi at the entrance of the largest meeting room on Finnsirius. Kristiina Uppala and Luigi Pacella are watching from the corridor.

The Bridge in Plastic Wrapping

We arrived at the bridge of Finnsirius, all covered with protective film. The bridges on the Superstar vessels represent the latest and best technology – taking into account navigation in the archipelago.

The bridge is located on deck ten , from which there is a good visibility in all directions – even to the rear. Unobstructed visibility is guaranteed by the “wings” of the bridge, i.e. the projections from which the ship is navigated to and from the quay. The bridge can be characterized as the brain of the ship.

Luigi Pacella, Iliana Grimaldi, Emanuele Grimaldi with Jyrki Repo, one of the on-site supervisors, and Kristiina Uppala on the bridge of Finnsirius.
Most of the instruments on the bridge are already installed, but they are protected from dust and dents while the bridge is finished.
A panoramic picture of the bridge on Finnsirius. In such a wide picture, both projections on the port and starboard side are visible at the same time. These are the “wings” where the ship is navigated from when entering the port and leaving the quay.

Wonderful Cabins

The passenger cabins on the Superstar vessels are located on deck nine and ten. We visited the Kefeus suite and its sauna. The luxurious Kassiopeia suite and four deluxe class cabins are also located in the bow. There are a total of 323 passenger cabins on a Superstar ship.

The prefabricated cabins on Finnsirius were already installed in November 2022. Also all fixed furniture and equipment have been installed, but the mattresses and all bedding are still missing. Technical inspections are underway in the cabins in order to check the air conditioning, lighting etc.

The cabins built on site are currently being finished. The next step will be inspections.

A four-person A-class cabin with a window on Finnsirius. The total area of the cabin is 8.2 square meters. The cabin is prefabricated, that is, it is installed in its place as one structure.

Not Just a Wine Shop

Italy is one of the old wine countries, and naturally the Grimaldis were interested in the future selection in the tax-free shops. As the shop is not yet furnished, it seems unbelievable that this floating shop with an area of 400 square meters will offer a smooth service experience. There will be a rich selection of wines – including Italian ones – and the assortment will be revealed later. The selection at the Sailor’s Shops on the Superstar vessels will include sweets, cosmetics, wines, beers, other alcoholic beverages, and many other products that can be sold tax-free on the Finland-Åland-Sweden route.

This is what it looked like in the Sailor’s Shop, the future tax-free shop on Finnsirius, during the Grimaldis’ ship tour in April.

Seven Versatile Restaurants

There will be seven restaurants and bars on each Superstar ship. The tables and seats are still wrapped, the floors are protected, wires hang from the ceiling, and the paint is still fresh on the restaurant premises. Still, the premises can already be recognized as what they are: Restaurants. In the galley (kitchen), the steel refrigerators, ovens, and counters shine under the plastic wrapping.

Kristiina Uppala stops at the wide-door oven and guesses what the purpose of such a wide oven is. The Italians recognize a pizza oven easily.

One of the many types of lamps can be seen near the entrance of the still unfinished Fisherman’s Bistro. There will be a total of 5,600 separate lights and 5,428 meters of LED light strips on the Superstar ships.
The Cargo Buffet is still unfinished, but the tables have already been installed. The Finnsirius buffet restaurant will go full speed ahead in early autumn when the operations start and five buffet sittings will be served daily.

The Brain, Heart, and Stomach of the Ship

The tour ended in the ECR, engine control room, which is an office-type space separated from the main engines.

In the ECR, we met chief engineers Mikael “Micke” Sjöblom and Giovanni Cuomo. The control room is so important that it is – along with the bridge – always manned. Micke compared the control room to the human heart, and the command bridge to the brain.

– The hotel department is not mentioned? wondered Kristiina Uppala, who is in charge of the service concept on the Superstar ships. You should eat, too.

– Yes, of course. So the hotel is the stomach of the ship, answered Emanuele Grimaldi.

In the tripartition of a passenger ship, the bridge belongs to the deck section and the engine room to the engine section. The hotel, on the other hand, refers to the service department, which includes restaurants and cabins, i.e. passenger-related services. We agreed that the Superstar vessels do need all the vital organs.

The Senior Engineering Executive Giovanni Cuomo (left) of the Grimaldi Group, Engine Senior Super Intendent Mikael Sjöblom, Kristiina Uppala, Emanuele Grimaldi and Iliana Grimaldi agree in their discussions that the ship’s engine control room, or ECR, is comparable in importance to the human heart, and the hotel to the stomach.
In the foreground, one of the four main engines of Finnsirius. The main engines are monitored in the ECR, i.e. the heart of the ship. Rina’s technical inspector Luigi Mattera is standing to the right of Mikael Sjöblom.