Trip Report Series:
Review: Air France Lounge, New York JFK Terminal 1
Three Days in Vilnius, Lithuania
Review: IDW Esperanza Resort Lounge, Vilnius Airport
Three Days in Riga, Latvia
Review: Primeclass Business Lounge, Riga International Airport (RIX)
Review: Air Baltic Economy Class, Riga to Tallinn
Three Days in Tallinn, Estonia: A Foodie’s Paradise!
Review: Tallink Megastar, Tallinn to Helsinki
Review: Aspire Lounge, Helsinki Vantaa Airport
Review: KLM Business Class, Helsinki to London Heathrow (via Amsterdam)
Review: Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, London Heathrow
Review: Delta One Business Class, London Heathrow to Atlanta
The Tallink is an Estonian shipping company that also provides passenger ferry services all across the Baltic States. The Megastar is one of its latest ship vessels that operates the heavily-trafficked Tallinn – Helsinki corridor across the Gulf of Finland. It measures 212-meters and can carry up to 2,800 passengers.
Per its website, these are the “routes” that Tallink operates between various Baltic and Scandinavian cities. The company is publicly-traded and has roughly 16 vessels in its fleet.
Many of the interior spaces on the Tallink were designed by Finnish designer Vertti Kivi. The Megastar features the Traveller Superstore, which has over 2800 square meters of shopping space, including Duty-Free items for purchase. It also has two-level loading entry and exit ways to accommodate vehicles (up to 150) and cargo.
There are 47 cabins for passengers, which accommodate anywhere from 2-4 people each. Catering is also a huge component of the Megastar product, as there are a few high-end places such as the Delight Buffet and the Chef’s Kitchen, as well as moderately-priced places such as a Burger King, a Coffee Shop, the Sea Pub and the Victory bar.
Business travelers can also use the Business Lounge, which comes with premium Wifi services (standard Wifi is available throughout the boat), as well as newspapers, warm and cold appetizers and a selection of beverages.
There is also a Comfort lounge as well as a sitting lounge, designed to be used more as social spaces. There is also a drivers lounge for cargo operators and a Children’s lounge for kids.
For those interested, there is a cool 3-D experience for the Megastar on the Tallink website.
Booking & Arrival
The Tallink website is actually very sleek and easy-to-navigate. You can customize your journey by booking your base product of transportation and adding on ancillaries like vehicles, cabins, lounges, dining or even on-land entertainment.
The cost for the one-way base fare was 39 Euro. We decided to add on an additional 15 Euro per person to have access to the Comfort Lounge, which enabled us to dine at the Delight Buffet.
On the day of departure, we were running late and unfortunately missed our 10:30 AM ship to Helsinki. Luckily, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise because one of our friends, who was leaving from Tallinn to return back to the U.S., discovered that she had lost her passport and had made arrangements to pick up a new copy from the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki. So, by the time that got sorted through, we were all able to take the 1:30 PM boat to Helsinki.
The boat is very strict about arriving 30 minutes prior to departure, so be sure to arrive on time, otherwise, if you miss the cut-off, they will not let you on.
Once on board, you’ll be marveled by how clean, airy and light the ship feels. We headed to the Comfort Class section, settled our things and then waited for the engines to rev up.
The dining experience onboard the Tallink is absolutely phenomenal. The buffet menu is extremely eclectic, but Swedish-inspired, with a very robust menu that is designed to suit any appetite.
There is a “green market” section that offers a very healthy selection of vegetables and legumes for those who are more vegan-minded. You’ll find a really yummy assortment of things like hummus, tofu with sundried tomatoes, salad mix, nuts, kimchi, lentils with miso and falafel.
If you want to get really Scandinavian, then head to the cold table. Here, you will find smoked salmon, gravlax, shrimp, toast skagen, red currant Baltic herring, mustard, smoked octopus confit, CAVIAR!! and boiled potatoes.
There is also a hot section where you can get warm poultry, fish and beef dishes, along with vegetables and potatoes.
Then, you’ll find the desserts area. This is filled with cheese cake, mousse, pastries, smoothies, cheeses, fruit salads and ice cream – you name it!
Dining and Lounging Areas
There was an enclosed section for those in the Delight Buffet area, and it came replete with plenty of couches, tables and charging areas for those who wanted to eat there. I particularly liked how we could see the rear view of the boat as we departed Tallinn, and we had beautiful views of the Gulf of Finland.
Outside of the Delight Buffet was the Chefs Kitchen, the kids area, and the Burger King for those who wanted fast food. The lines for the BK lounge, however, were rather long.
Finally, there was a deck area towards the front of the boat where people could roam, sit and hang out. The upper section of the boat, being open air, was filled with smokers, so be wary of that.
Arrival into Helsinki and Overview
The Tallink arrives into Helsinki right on schedule and it is a quick walk from the Ferry terminal to the local Helsinki Rail Transit line.
Overall, the Tallink was a fantastic way to reach Tallinn. I don’t think that 39 EURO for a 2-hour ferry is outrageous, and the 15 EURO charge for the food was well worth it considering the value and quality of food offered on-board. It was not too crowded and they were flexible with our tickets, despite running late. I really liked how clean the ship was and non-invasive it felt.
I didn’t enjoy Helsinki as much as I thought I would, but I did appreciate the chance to visit it. Overall, I don’t really have much to recommend about Helsinki and Finland in general, although I did enjoy my trip to Suomenlinna
We also had a nice meal at Kannas.
This concludes my spring trip to The Baltics. I hope you enjoyed my reviews!