MS Megastar, a fast ferry of listed Estonian shipper Tallink which began operating the Tallinn-Helsinki route at the end of January, has in the first six months of the year become the vessel to have carried the most passengers on the Baltic Sea.
Altogether 1.1 million people have traveled with the Megastar in the first six months of 2017, averaging approximately 6,000 people per day, according to Tallink.
"Six months ago, we promised that Megastar would launch a new era of fast ferries," AS Tallink Grupp Sales and Marketing Director Margus Hunt said. "If we look at passenger interest and the feedback we have received from them, the contributions of the crew to managing the ship every day, the choice in services and products on offer on the ship as well as the technology of the ship and the achieved technical results, then the new era on the Tallinn-Helsinki route has begun."
According to Hunt, in addition to Megastar's passenger numbers, there has been a sharp increase in the positive feedback, or NPS (Net Promoter Score), from regular customer surveys. "The modern two-level car deck loading, which enables passenger vehicles and commercial trucks to be loaded and unloaded separately, has also justified itself completely," he said. "This in itself has decreased standing time and has brought delays attributable to the ship to a minimum."
LNG-powered ferry custom-tailored for Helsinki route
Compared to the MS Star, the other fast ferry operating the Helsinki route, the Megastar is one-third more powerful and can carry a total of 2,800 passengers, while its environmental footprint remains the same or even smaller. While operating, the LNG-powered vessel no longer emits sulfur oxides or soot particles and the level of nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide has decreased as well.
Megastar is also the largest so-called floating department store on the Baltic Sea, with stores located on two decks, Tallink noted. The ferry also includes open-plan dining areas, various seating lounges and carefully considered shopping solutions.
The cost of the newest ferry serving the Helsinki route totaled €230 million, representing one of the largest investments made in the Estonian private sector in recent years. Construction of the ferry began on Aug. 4, 2015. It was christened in July 2016, with former Finnish President Tarja Halonen chosen as godmother of the ship.
Megastar, whose maiden voyage took place on Jan. 29 of this year, is 212 meters long and can accommodate 2,800 passengers. The ferry, which can operate at a speed of 27 knots, runs on liquefied natural gas, but is also capable of running on marine diesel as well. Having been built specifically for operation on the Tallinn-Helsinki route, the Megastar is in compliance with all exhaust gas requirements for monitoring areas, including the Baltic Sea.
Editor: Aili Vahtla