Baltic Sea Ferries, Stockholm
I stayed on this ship for Sochi Olympics and I would highly NOT recommend ever stepping inside it. It's absolutely outdated, dirty and disgusting. Our room had a sink that literally leaked all over the floor. Try to brush your teeth without stepping on your spit pooling around your feet. The rooms have not been renovated since 1986. All regular rooms with a window have two narrow bunk beds with dirty mattresses half an inch thin so no queen-size beds. Also ZERO storage space. You won't even be able to open up your carry-on let alone a bigger bag. We had to lower the top beds (in our room for 4!! people) to put our bags on top of them. I took 3 cruises with Carnival in cheaper room and I thought that was bad but no, this ship is the worst. All other general areas, bars, etc, are just as old, gross and outdated. Food also was horrible and same thing every day. Do NOT book it, you will not be happy.
There is a cruise to take you to St.Petersburg without visa trouble (hopefully back, too):
LLC "St. Peter Line Rus"
Their site reads Russian, English, Finnish and Swedish.
Note: this is the Stockholm phone #, see the site for the ones in Russia, Estonia and Finland
Try to book a deal though the ferries (Viking line, Silja line) which includes a hotel. You will get a very good deal. My whole round-trip with a 4-bed cabin and a hotel for 1 night cost me only 166€ !
The nicest way to get there of you come from Finland is to take a day ferry from Turku. It takes 11 hours (with a 30 mts stop at Maarianhamina (Aland Islands) and you can see little islands of the Finnish and Swedish Archipelago ALL THE TIME! Amazing!!! The ferries are really big, luxurious and entertaining!
Have a look into my travelogue for more pictures of this lovely cruise!
Tallink (Silja) uses Vartahamnenterminal (http://www.tallinksilja.com/en/shipsAndTerminals/terminals/stoVar/default.htm). There are Silja ticket offices in downtown and also terminal (http://www.tallinksilja.com/en/mainMenu/contact/ticketOffices/).
Viking uses more convient port as it is with walking distance from the Old Town (http://www.vikingline.fi/info/portinfo/portinfo/port_stockholm.asp). Viking Line sales office is in the Cityterminalen (http://www.vikingline.fi/reservations/sales_agents_viking_line_offices.asp)
I had been few times already on this ferries.
There are two companies/lines to choose from and two harbors to start trip from.
Generally, Viking Line considered more affordable, so it might be better choice for students/backpackers/economizers. Backpackers, your dream came through - there are cheap "on deck" tickets ;)
Contrary, Silja Line considered as more expensive, family-friendly. If you look for real silence, try to take seaside cabin, not promenade cabin with look on gangway.
If you start from Helsinki, you could be offered cheaper "one day in Stockholm" cruise, and it is also convenient that you will return on same ship and same cabin.
If you start from Turku, you have to change ship in Stockholm for one-day-cruise but you ought to economize on bus/train from Helsinki to Turku and back - Viking Line at least offers 50% reduction, and you can also buy whole combined ticket from railway international cash desk.
All ships equipped with sauna - you start from Finland, aren't you? ;)
A travel on a ferry from Turku to Stockholm was very convenient and inexpensive. All the way of 300 kilometers lasted 10 hours. We have slept rather well and overcame the long distance. Our car waited for us on a special deck.
The ferry is equipped by a lot of restaurants and entertaining places. At your desire it was possible not only to have a rest but also to have a good time. Our dogs peacefully slept in a cabin while we were walking on a huge sea liner Silja-line.
We booked (online) a double cabin in a ferry to Tallinn from Stockholm with Tallink, departing at 18:00 from Frihamsterminalen (north-east) and arriving at 10:00 to Terminal D in Tallinn Port. It cost me around 2.800 SEK taxes and insurance included. Everything was perfect, just do it.
The way to get to the ferry is getting the BLUE BUS Nº1. The last stop is the terminal. I got it in the northern side of the central station, past the bus terminal, on the bridge over the rails (Kungsbron).
Our cabin was full equiped, we loved it, but was a bit noisy at the begining of the evening. The tv showed us the gps boat track live. The boad had restaurants, pub, casino, cabaret, duty-free, buffet, videogames, MONEY CHANGE, terraces... 9 floors! The Stockholm Archipielago, in the first hour of navigation is one of the best scenes I've seen.
TIP!!! The departure day, we saw the Tallink office in Stockholm (Klarabergsgatan) and did all the boarding procedure right there, so we didn't have to wait at the port terminal. We even got our room key there! Recommended!!!
It was one of the most wonderful evenings I've spend during our long lasting trip through Europe. A lot of shopping opportunities, good kitchen with magnificient dinner ! Went to sleep in Finland and awake in Sweeden... Great!
I came to Stockholm by an overnight ferry from Helsinki. I was able to use my railpass for the ferry and didn’t even get charged for my room (although it was just a small room sharing with 3 others – near the car deck – but it was comfortable enough and had a nice en-suite). I thought it was an excellent way to leave Helsinki, and a great way to arrive in Stockholm, coming in through the archipelago early in the morning, the crisp cool air blowing in your face as you stand on the upper deck, beautiful scenery surrounding you.
There is plenty to do on board, many restaurants, heaps of tax free shopping, a casino, pool, or just sit up on the decks and enjoy the views! Make sure you have cash on you before you get on the ferry or that you have a credit card (credit cards are accepted at all shops and restaurants on board).
Though Stockholm is a bit inland, there are clear waterways to the Baltic sea.
Viking Line and Silja Line are the biggest operators with both 2x daily ferries into Turku and Helsinki. Some routes have a stop at the Mariehamn at the Åland Isles in the Baltic Sea. Both operators offer the same standard of service and operate the routes on the same times.
The routes are pretty scenic as most of the sea is cover with little isles.
For owners of a Interrail/Scanrail railpass are rides on the ferries between Stockholm and Turku free, though places are limited. From Turku direct train connections to Tampere and Helsinki are available. Trains leave just after the ferries arrive.
There are two boat companies, Silja Line and Viking Line, which does cruises from Stockholm, Sweden to Helsinki, Finland and vice verse (obviously).
cruises are cheaper ones but the boats are build in 1980's (looks like it anyway). Only one disco, one dance restaurant and one pub onboard. Not much activities. This boat goes all the way in city center in Stockholm.
SILJA LINE cruises are more expensive but the boats are so much nicer. They are build in 90's. Silja Line doesn't come all the way to city center in Stockholm but they have a good connection to the city.
In HELSINKI both boats comes to the city center. They actually depart almost at the very same time and arrives quite the same time.
TIP: When coming from Helsinki to Stockholm wake up 2-2.30 hours before coming to Stockholm and go to the deck to watch the beautiful Swedish archipelago! You MUST NOT miss it!
To get to and from Finland, the best way to go is by the ferry called "Silja Line". They have two ships doing the route to Helsinki, the Silja Symphony and the Silja Serenade. They leave Stockholm every day around 5 PM and arrive 15 hours later in Helsinki. If you do this overnight cruise, be sure not to miss the smorgasbord which is great. It is also interesting to know that they make a short stop in Mariehamn, on the island of Aland.
You can also go to Turku, Finland from Stockholm with Silja lines. It takes about 11 hours.
For prices and schedules with Silja Lines, check their website
There are also other ferry companies you may wish to check out such as Viking Lines, or Sea Wind Lines.
There are regular ferries to and from Tallinn, Estonia (which is a wonderful place as well!). The "Tallink" ferry takes about 15 hours and runs every other day to/from Stockholm on an overnight cruise.
Click here to go the Tallink website in English for information about their current fares and schedules.
The ferry between Latvia and Stockholm has been reinstated, and if you have never been to Riga, Latvia, then you must go! It is incredible!
The crossing takes about 18 hours, so it usually leaves Stockholm at 6 PM and arrives in Riga at 12:30 PM the following day. There is a great website that will provide you with all of the information you need. Simply check out Ferries to Riga, Latvia