I think it’s best if I first explain what the 22-hours cruise is and what’s the point of going on one. It’s basically a party event that is hold on-board of the MS Silja Europa ship, where passengers are buying reasonably cheap booze, having lots of alcohol to drink the first evening and dealing with consequences – a slow hangover – the next day. I see it as a Finnish version of a mini spring break of some sort, that goes on and on.
I’ve been on this ship few years back. Ten to be precise. So, as you can imagine I have a vague memory of that trip. I remember that it was summer, the ship was only half full because we went in the middle of the week. Oh, and we had a nice cabin. I also remember that the dance floor was basically empty, and that we’ve spent a lovely time there. It was a perfect getaway. Naturally, I wanted to recreate that wonderful journey.
Since the theme I picked for this year is budget traveling, I decided to stick with it and ordered one of the cheapest cabins on Tallink.com. A-class. It’s a small yet comfy 9m2 (2m2 smaller than the one we had in Silja Symphony) cabin with a sea view window. It has separate beds, TV, WC and shower. You can check it out on my IGTV. The price was only 35 euros and it included two drink coupons worth 7 euros each.
MS Silja Europa leaves Helsinki harbor (Länsiterminaali T1) at 6.30 PM. It arrives in Tallinn at 10.00 PM, but it’s allowed to go to the city the only next day between 8.00 AM and 12.00 PM. And 4.00 PM it’s already back in Helsinki.
This time the ship was fully booked, mainly by youngsters. No surprise there. It was Saturday and 22h cruise is the cheapest party cruise you can find. And to be completely honest with you, that’s what I would do if I was their age. Come with a bunch of my friends, celebrate the weekend, drink like crazy and enjoy a sleep-free night as much as possible. But I have passed that age long time ago. Yep, I’m getting old.
What to do on this ship beside drinking? Not much, I’m afraid. There are restaurants and bars, casino, night club, Tax Free market, perfume, makeup and fashion shop, sauna and beauty salon that offers hair, nail, face and body treatments. There is also live music on-board. Troubadour is usually performing in the Sea Pub and some band is playing in the Ocean nightclub.
After one round of beer we moved to the cocktail bar Corner:
It looked more cozy than the Sea Pub and it was a crowd-free zone. Bar had also a nice drink list. Most of the cocktails they offered were invented by different bartenders of Tallink. All looked interesting and colorful but there was one that caught my eye. End of July (vodka, blood orange liqueur, lime juice, sugar syrup, red soda and watermelon).
It had quite refreshing taste, sweet but not overwhelming. Easy to understand why it was called End of July, it’s the perfect drink for the hot summer days.
We also visited Ocean nightclub but didn’t stay there long because we had an early wake up next morning and we wanted to get enough sleep.
But as it turned out it was not in the cards for me… First, some middle east youngsters were playing their music too loud at 1.00 AM. And when I say too loud, I really mean it. It was loud enough to wake the dead. Luckily, they switched it off as soon as they saw my husband’s angry face. And just when I managed to fall asleep again I was rudely awoken by the noisy drunken Finnish crowd that went down the corridor. It repeated several times during the night. It’s like they were some sort of party watch, making sure that no one sleeps tonight. And I hardly did.
What I saw in the mirror next morning wasn’t pretty. Eyes were red and puffy, face was swollen. I looked like I’ve been partying whole night. It’s a miracle I didn’t feel as bad. I guess they couldn’t break my spirit because all my thoughts were in Tallinn. In my favorite cheese cafe Juustukuningad, to be exact, my zen place. Where I was planning to have a delicious breakfast and aromatic Jasmine tea.
My husband took an omelette and I ordered a croissant with cheese and jam. A simple dish yet it made me feel truly happy. Soft, fluffy croissant with light crispy cover, big chunk of the strong goat cheese and sweet berry jam, combined all together they created a unique gastronomical symphony. It was divine! Just what I needed after an awful night I had. I won’t exaggerate if I say that for me this breakfast was the highlight of the 22-hours cruise. Well, that and the possibility to make couple of shots with the seagulls.
Around 2.00-2.30 PM passengers finally started waking up. They were crawling out of their cabins like the zombies from their caves, making same weird sounds as zombies usually do in the horror movies. Not a pretty sight.
I got the impression that the whole ship was reserved for an AA meeting which went terribly wrong. Or right. Depending on the perspective, I guess.
Am I regretting going on this cruise? No. As they say, bad experience is still calculated as an experience. Besides, my breakfast croissant was worth the struggle. Would I like to go on this cruise again? I wish to use word “never”, but I won’t because of the obvious reason. That’s why I’ll just say, “Hell no!”. Don’t get me wrong, the trip wasn’t totally bad. It just wasn’t good enough. Of course, the situation could be (and most likely is) different if you travel in the middle of the week, when most of the people are either working or in school. But I personally do not have any wish or secret desire to verify that information.
Would I recommend 22h cruise? Well, if you are a party animal or if you want to hangout with your friends, drink and dance whole night and have a peaceful hangover in the morning, then you might actually enjoy it.
As for me, I’d rather take a morning 2-hour ferry to Tallinn and spend a whole day in the capital of Estonia, wandering the narrow streets of the Old Town, exploring cute cafes and hidden beer restaurant gems. Or better yet, stay in Tallinn for a weekend! At least that’s what I plan on doing next.
Hope you enjoyed it!