For its 65th anniversary on 20 May, Silja Line had special ‘Silja 65’ menus, cocktails and other features for those passengers who were on board aboard its five Baltic vessels.

Back in 1957, the company had very different Finnish ownership to its status today which, since 2006, has been as a brand of Estonia’s Tallink.

The 1970s and 1980s saw more owners come and go along with experimentation on routes to Germany with Finnjet, St Petersburg and Tallinn as well as Baltic summer cruising.

For many decades Silja Line has focussed on its original Finland-Sweden services connecting Helsinki and Turku with the Swedish capital of Stockholm via stopovers for duty free in Åland.

The route between the two capitals is operated by the venerable Silja Serenade and Silja Symphony (58,377gt) built 1990 and 1991 in Helsinki and Turku respectively.

The Turku-Åland-Stockholm route also has two ships: the 2004-built Galaxy 48,915gt and sistership Baltic Princess, which was put together in Helsinki with half the hull being made in France.

Silja Europa, despite her name, is part of Tallink’s Helsinki-Tallinn that provides the slower daily overnight Cruise option to its two-hour voyage Shuttle service.

A sign of their difference: Silja Europa has Tallinn as her home port flying the Estonian ensign, one ship on each of the other routes is Finnish-flagged and the other Swedish reflecting the two countries.

Report by John Pagni

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