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Festivities in shipbuilding

Imagine a well-dressed crowd standing next to a freshly baked ocean liner. The ceremonial stage is set, and celebratory speeches are held. A bottle of champagne swings over the side of the ship and the bottle pops as the ship gets its name. Perhaps you have seen such pictures and videos?

Shipping and shipbuilding have a long history with several established traditions. The construction of ships is associated with festivities, the most famous of which is perhaps the naming of the ship. But what is keel laying, or for example steel cutting? Now you can have a peek at the festivities surrounding the construction of the ship as well as read which festivities the Superstar vessels have already celebrated.

Steel Cutting – this is how shipbuilding begins

The first ceremonial milestone for the Finnlines Superstar vessels was steel cutting. The ceremony is the kick-off that begins the construction of the ship’s steel blocks.

Steel cutting is preceded by a long period of design work which may last a few years – until the drawings are ready. The design of the Finnsirius and Finncanopus began as early as at the beginning of 2019.

Finnsirius steel cutting June 1, 2021

Finncanopus steel cutting October 10, 2021

The Superstar vessels consist of 455 steel blocks. Steel processing is thus one of the most important work stages in the shipbuilding industry. The picture is from the Finncanopus steel cutting ceremony.

Keel Laying

Keel laying refers to the beginning of building a new ship in the dry dock. For the Superstar vessels it took ten months from steel cutting to keel laying. During this time the blocks were built ready. As the name dry dock suggests, no part of the vessel touches the water yet. At the time of the keel laying, you must use your imagination so that you are able to imagine the lumps of metal – the blocks – as parts of the ship because the construction work is still at such an early stage.

As for Finnsirius and Finncanopus, the keel laying included fireworks and a ceremony attended by the shipyard’s management as well as Finnlines’ shipyard team

Finnsirius keel laying on April 1, 2022

Finncanopus keel laying September 1, 2022 (pictured)

Presentation of mock-ups

A mock-up in shipbuilding refers to a prototype of the interior. It is an interior and furniture presentation, the idea of which is to concretely present colors, fabrics, tiles, window profiles, partition walls and built-in furniture used in the ship’s interior – in other words, everything – and how the various materials work together. It’s like being on a finished ship without being there.

In the picture, the future hand-made spiky tile wall for the Superstar vessels’ Fishmarket bistro is inspected by the Head of Interior Department at the shipyard, Ni Wei Song (left), Kristiina Uppala, who is responsible for the customer service concept for Finnlines’ newbuilding projects, and Gu Wei, the project manager of the ship’s interior design agency R & M.

Superstar’s mock-up includes, for example, a cabin that you can walk into, with a bathroom and furniture. There are also mock-ups of stairs and handrails, as well as devices embedded in the wall. In the “cabin corridor” you can stomp on the floor and knock on the walls. Even the jacuzzi in the spa department and the store shelves with storm edges are built up. In the model rooms, you can see how the light falls on different surfaces and you can plan the brightness and color temperatures. Various information boards and signs are attached to a wall as a model.

After the discussions about the mock-up, work began with the purchases themselves. Material selection and procurement decisions were made easier by being able to touch the surfaces and see the model space.

The presentation of the mock-ups for the Superstar vessels was celebrated on October 8, 2021. Model spaces are available throughout the project.

Cabin parties

Most of the cabins on the Superstar vessels are factory built. This means that the cabin is built as a package complete with the built-in furniture at the cabin factory. The cabins are installed on the ship so that there are no other structures in the way; thus, the cabins can be transported directly to their proper places.

Installation of both the first and last factory-built cabins was celebrated on the Superstar vessels. Ceremonies related to cabins apply practically only to passenger ships – as for the Superstar vessels, there was real reason for a ceremony, as there are a whopping 323 passenger cabins on the ships. There are also 64 crew cabins.

Pictured: The cabin ceremony at the Weihai Shipyard in China. Superstar project manager Zhao Heng-Zhi and Kristiina Uppala from Finnlines unveiled the first factory-made cabin for Finnsirius, after which loading and installation of the cabins commenced.

The first factory-manufactured cabin for Finnsirius on August 24, 2022 (pictured)/last factory-manufactured cabin from November 10, 2022

The first factory-manufactured cabin for Finncanopus on December 30, 2022 (installation in progress, situation in March 2023)


Dry docking ends with launching when the ship is set afloat. The ship looks quite ready on the outside, but its deck is still half-open. Various scaffolding is still in place and some construction work is underway. Work in the interior of the ship is in progress. Of course, all work on the hull below, close to, or on the waterline has been completed before launching.

Finnsirius was launched on August 30, 2022 (picture)

Finncanopus was launched on December 30, 2022

Finnsirius was launched at the China Merchants Jinling shipyard in Weihai on August 30, 2022. Finnsirius’ voyage home to Finland begins approximately one year from launching when the ship is ready to start its departure.

Finnsirius-aluksen vesillelasku Weihaissa

Harbor acceptance test

The ship’s technology is tested in the harbor acceptance, or mooring test. The main engines are started, the air conditioning is activated, and the hot water boilers are tested. The tests last for several weeks. Other important systems are tested so that everything is ready for the next milestone, the sea trial.

Finnsirius’s mooring tests began in February 2023

Finncanopus’s mooring tests will be carried out in the spring of 2023

During the mooring tests, Chief Engineer Mikael Sjöblom checks how the lubricating oil separator works in Finnsirius’s main engine.

These are the last tests before the Superstar vessels are ready for “the Stage”

Sea trialsThe ship is docked before the sea trials for cleaning and inspection of the part of the hull that lies below the water surface. After that, it gets all serious. The ship is being tested at sea near the quay. The main engines, exhaust gas cleaning equipment and propellers are thoroughly tested. The ship’s speed and maneuverability are tested and measured. The vibrations in the cabins and other parts of the interior are checked and any background noise is measured.
DeliveryWhen work at the shipyard has been completed, the ship is delivered to the company which will operate it.
Voyage homeFor the Superstar vessels, the voyage home implies the sea voyage from the Weihai shipyard in China to Finland. We will tell you more about this interesting journey later.
Naming a shipThe ship is usually given a name in the home port or in an important port on the future route. Finnsirius and Finncanopus will have their name giving ceremonies in Finland. The ship is usually baptised by its godparent.
Maiden voyageThe maiden voyage is the first “real” voyage with customers. The sea trials and the voyage from the quay to the port on the actual route are but a memory – the ship has been thoroughly tested before the maiden voyage. The Superstar vessels’ maiden voyages are to take place on the Naantali-Kapellskär route. Finnsirius is planned to start operating in autumn 2023 and Finncanopus at the end of 2023.