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Helsinki to Tallinn by Ferry


Getting around Europe by train and cheap flights is so easy I almost overlooked the opportunity for a cheap and pleasant cruise by ferry to make my transfer from Helsinki to Tallinn.


In fact, I'd already booked a flight for the half-hour flight when I realized that I'd be adding about 45 minutes of airport travel time, arriving at the airport two hours before the flight, and paying for transportation at both ends. Total, about four hours.


The ferry, on the other hand, was 15 minutes by tram on one end and walking distance on the other, only required arriving 30 minutes ahead of sailing, and cost about the same as the flight—except that on the Tallink ferry Megastar my $75 fare included snacks, drinks and a comfortable lounge chair in the 'Comfort Lounge.'P1330503 Total, about three hours.


Plenty of space in the Helsinki ferry terminal, with easy automated check-in and huge waiting spaces, equipped with a variety of airport-style food and retail spaces, which didn't do a huge business for reasons that became apparent once we boarded...


Once on board, a quick stop at the luggage check room—no sense dragging a suitcase around when there's a whole ferry to wander! A quick study of the map helped me find everything...


And 'everything' included an almost bewildering variety of restaurants, food stands, bars and more, for every taste from fancy food to Burger King (turns out that Tallink, the ferry operator, is also the master franchise holder for Burger King in Finland and Estonia).


There's also plenty of space to sit with or without food and drink...


Or to play... but for many, the big attraction is the two-deck 'Superstore" that amounts to a sizable shopping mall at sea


But not everyone was spending their day at the mall... After all, on a ship at sea, even a smallish sea, there are opportunities for sightseeing...


All too soon, we were approaching our destination, the Estonian capital of Tallinn...


The mass exodus on arrival...


And a last look back at the ship, now with its bow open to allow the cars and trucks that had ridden below us to drive down a complicated series of ramps and off onto the streets. A competing ship was docked next door.



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The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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