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From Shipyard to Homecoming: Recapping the Story of Finnsirius and Finncanopus

Our blog series comes to an end, but the journey of the star sisters, Finnsirius and Finncanopus, is just beginning.

We started a blog series about Finnlines’ new Superstar vessels a year ago in March. Now, twelve months later, this blog series comes to an end. The steel colleagues, Finnsirius and Finncanopus, sail on their route – every day, year-round. In the last blog post, we recap what the Superstar vessels are all about. You can also find links to all the posts in the blog series below.

The Kingly Class of Ro-pax Vessels

What were the Superstar vessels really about? Let’s recap the big picture.

Sometimes you hear the phrase “Finland is an island.” This saying refers especially to the importance of maritime transport. There is no convenient motorway or railway connection from Finland to Europe, and a large portion of Finland’s imports and exports move by cargo ships. Within Finland, freight, on the other hand, moves on wheels, by trucks. This brings us to Finnlines’ passenger-cargo ships, which are optimized specifically for carrying rolling cargo and, by the way, cars and people.

Finnlines’ passenger-cargo ships, like other similar vessels worldwide, are so-called ropaxes. Vehicles and cargo operate on the roll-in, roll-out principle, hence the abbreviation ro-ro, or in the case of ropaxes, the syllable ro. The second syllable, pax, refers to the international abbreviation for passengers.

Finnlines’ progression of ro-pax vessels from the early 1990s Hansa class to the slightly larger Clipper class and the subsequent Star class ropaxes has now been joined by two completely new vessels. Just a moment ago, the largest Finnlines ropaxes were Stars, so the naturally following descriptive class name for vessels was, of course, Superstar.

Over time, ships have grown and passenger numbers have increased – from the 114 passengers of the Hansa-class ships to the 1,100 passengers of the Superstars. Finnlines continues to focus on freight traffic, but the new Superstars, Finnsirius and Finncanopus, offer even more diverse services and experiences for both necessary travellers and leisure cruise passengers. Someone even started talking about ro-cruising, a term that refers to the combination of a cargo ship and a cruise ship. This accurately describes Finnsirius and Finncanopus, as the service concept is strongly inspired by cruise ships, but the vessels are still full-fledged ro-ro cargo ships. And cargo does travel on the Superstars – so much so that such large passenger-cargo ships have never before been seen in the Baltic Sea. The Superstars boast an impressive 5.2 kilometers of lane meters. Above the car decks, a hotel is transported complete with restaurants, premium lounges, and a spa section.

This is the essential point: because Finland is an island, the cargo ship operates anyway. In addition to cargo, the same ship carries the cargo drivers, necessary passengers, and now a new passenger group for Finnlines: cruisers. The journey is comfortable for all interest groups, and for some passengers, the ship itself is the reason for the journey. The ro-pax ship has thus changed from being just a means of travel to a destination in itself! For some passengers, the reason for boarding Finnsirius or Finncanopus is to enjoy a sea holiday, rather than traditional necessary travel.

The ro-pax vessels that preceded Finnlines’ Superstar ships belong to the Star class. The Superstars are over 16 metres longer, yet they can accommodate twice as many passengers. Moreover, the services have made a quantum leap to the level of the Baltic Sea car ferry cruise ships and beyond.

Previous posts in the Superstar blog series

Finnsirius and Finncanopus were built in Weihai, at the China Merchants Jinling Shipyard. When our blog started a year ago, both vessels were still under construction. Externally, they had already taken shape, although Finncanopus was covered in scaffolding at the time, but it too had already been launched.

Below is a list of posts from the blog series about the birth of Finnsirius and Finncanopus, organized by topic.

About the Superstar vessels in general

Finnlines Finnsirius ja Finncanopus telakalla Weihaissa
The blog series about the Superstars joined in to follow the construction of Finnsirius and Finncanopus at a stage when the sister ships were floating side by side at the Weihai shipyard. Fun fact: at this stage of the shipyard work, the way to Finncanopus went through Finnsirius.
Explore the pipe tunnel! Alongside the shipyard work, our blog went on a tour of the less-known nooks of the Superstar vessels, such as the pipe tunnel running from the bow to the stern of the ship.
Well planned is almost done! In our July post, we presented how the conceptual images compared to reality on Finnsirius and Finncanopus.

At the Shipyard in Weihai

Juha Ahia introduced Finnsirius’ battery room in a post discussing the technology of the Superstar vessels.
In April 2023, Kristiina Uppala presented a model construction, or so-called mock-up installation, to Emanuele Grimaldi from the Grimaldi Group, illustrating the surfaces, textiles, and furnishings of the interiors of a ship that is yet to be constructed.
Our blog reported on how Finnsirius’ inclination test was conducted in June 2023.
Our blog was also present during Finncanopus’ inclination test in October 2023.
Finnsirius has just been formally handed over to Finnlines. In the background, the still-unfinished sister ship, Finncanopus, can be seen. In the picture, Captain Johnny Forss has just raised the Finnish flag on the flagpole. He will pilot Finnsirius through the Suez Canal to Finland.
At Finncanopus’ handover ceremony, the Finnish flag was raised by Captain Jyrki Repo, who piloted Finncanopus to Finland via a longer route than its sister ship: the equator was crossed twice, and the whole of Africa was circumnavigated via the Cape of Good Hope.

The Sea Trials

An unidentified blue-and-white object in the Yellow Sea, meaning the sea trials of Finnsirius are underway.
A rare sight: all ramps open in the middle of the sea. During Finncanopus’ sea trials, noise measurements equivalent to those of a port visit were conducted.

Finnsirius Home Voyage

Deckhand Emilia Hollman raising the Egyptian flag on the flagpole as Finnsirius approaches the Suez Canal, which the vessel passed through without any issues.
Finnsirius passed the Strait of Gibraltar on its journey from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic.

Finncanopus Home Voyage

Winter weather saw Finncanopus off on its journey from Yantai. The crew of Finncanopus spent Christmas at sea.
An incredible encounter at sea! The crew of Finncanopus had the opportunity to assist Finnish solo sailor Ari Känsäkoski. Photo: Ari Känsäkoski

Introduction of the Godmothers

In the second to last post, we introduced the godmothers of the Superstar vessels, Tiina Ahola and Katariina Nurmi.

Finncanopus’ godmother Katariina Nurmi. Photo: Henri Juvonen
Finnsirius’ godmother Tiina Ahola. Photo: Antti Angeria

What’s Next?

The brand-new Finnsirius and Finncanopus have a long lifespan ahead. They are ready to serve Finland’s exports and imports, travellers between Finland and Sweden, residents of Åland, and cruise passengers – for years to come.

Now, in late winter, we turn our sights towards the warmer season. Summer is rapidly approaching. Many are eagerly anticipating the start of the terrace season – and so are we! The summer bars on the Superstar vessels, Stars Bars on deck twelve, are yet to be inaugurated. Come and kick off the terrace season on our new ships! For example, now is a great time to book a trip on Finnsirius or Finncanopus. You can choose from various options: an overnight cruise or a picnic cruise, where you switch ships in Åland. Or bring your favorite vehicle, from motorhomes to motorcycles or cars to bicycles, and set off to explore Sweden or Åland. A superstar will carry you to your destination.