Photographer: Aleksi Poutanen for Helsinki Marketing.

The autumn holidays are on the move and many families are rubbing their hair over what to do with the kids. A little heat hadn't been stupid, but Thailand is too far away for just a couple of days, and all sensible trips to Mallis or Canary Islands are either over - or too expensive.

Several readers have therefore wondered about the best cruise to Helsinki and the question is not at all unjustified. Or maybe we should say: the destination is anything but far-fetched. Helsinki may feel familiar or "too close" to be exotic, but the fact is that there is lots of fun to do for a family of children (or adults), it just has to have a little control over the city and its range!

Sealife in Helsinki is an exciting family outing! Here we are in the shark tunnel.

Partly we have put together 5 family-friendly Helsinki tips on what to do in the city, but not enough - we have also addressed this with how to best get there.

Cruise to Helsinki

Above all, there are two shipping companies, and four ships you have to choose from if you want to cruise to Helsinki. Viking Line operates the route with m / s Mariella and m / s Gabriella. Silja Line has its two vessels Silja Symphony and Silja Serenade on this route.

Isac, of course, loves the ball garden!

Viking and Silja's two sister vessels are similar but different. We have chosen to do a duel between Viking Mariella and Silja Symphony. In the test (based on previous cruises, which in the name of honesty was a while ago, changes may have occurred on board) we look at how family-friendly cabins exist as well as food and supplies, bathing opportunities, playrooms and activities.

Hope this will be helpful when you choose how you prefer to progress towards your adventures in Helsinki!

Viking Mariella

Press picture, Viking Line.

There are 16 (!) Different cab categories but if you are a family of 4 people who do not want to divide you, you basically have the following categories to choose from; economy, standard (outside or inside) or suite. Area: between 8,3 square to 50 square. The sister ship Gabriella has the news Ville Viking cabin, an inside cabin for families on 13 sqm and with four beds.

Also worth noting is that there are cots on board for children under 1 years (up to 10 kg). You can also ask for security edges for baby cots in the information desk.

The food
On board are several restaurants to choose from, from café and buffet to three à la carte restaurants such as Plate Social Dining, Ocean Grill and the one just named the A la carte restaurant in short!

Say ice cream to Theo and he rejoices! 😉

Which mother and father choose from the latter three plays less role as Ville Viking offers the same menu on all these. Currently it consists of an appetizer (vegetable dish), three different hot dishes (salmon fillet, burger plate or breaded chicken fillet all with different accessories for 8 euro each) and two desserts to choose from. When we last cruised with Mariella and our kids ate from the Ville Viking menu, the food was great and good (we tasted of course!).

Me and the kids in Mariella's à la carte restaurant. Photo: Kristofer Scheiderbauer.

If you are a dessert fan, you should not miss the A la carte restaurant's delicious dessert table, which is a pure (sweet) dream! And the buffet is created by no less than the stars of the Swedish Kocklands team (who went on to win the World Cup last time). In addition, all children under the age of 6 eat completely free of the buffet at advance booking (and in the company of paying adult).

Plate Social Dining we actually made a movie about, please watch it here:

Also read more about how Viking Line works to reduce food waste on board and just had a pilot project on Mariella to measure this.

Mariella's bath and sauna area is on deck 2, so you have no sea view. It features a traditional sauna, two hot tubs, a children's pool and saunas. Everyone is round and warm and comfortable. The walls have brown shimmering mosaics and plants.

Theo has a bath time with dad.

The last time we were aboard we were luxury to it with a private sauna which was a hit! Then you have your own dressing room, your own shower room and sauna of course, very smooth and comfortable!

Not a lot of people so we could have the kids pool for ourselves.

If you book a bath and sauna entrance, it costs 109 SEK for adults, 88 SEK for young forms (14-17 years) and 57 SEK for children (3-13 years).

On deck 6 there is a play corner that suits children between 2 - 10 years (Viking Line's recommendation). Among other things, there are ball seas and a climbing frame and a "train table" where you can build and run brio trains (see picture below). There is also an operating room.

Being able to drive a little car and train can sometimes be vital. 😉

A further children's room is available on deck 8. Here you can, for example, draw and watch cartoon.

… Like some people think drawing is the most fun thing there is! 😀

In the youth room on the same deck you can have fun with games, computers and Xbox.

Every day there is the opportunity to meet Ville Viking, Viking Line's own mascot - the white ship treasure! He likes to hug and pose for pictures, and everything usually shows up on weekend cruises and holidays. Among the various activities on offer we can mention facial painting, tattoos, construction of buildings and a lot of other things.

The play hosts are adept at turning kids into cute animals and superheroes!

More, of course, happen on holidays and big holidays. Don't forget to take the cruise program on board so as not to miss what is happening on your particular cruise.

Other items
Do you know that your child likes to surplus soft drinks or other drinking on a running band (it is not wise what thirsty you get to jump in the ball sea!) It can be good to know that those with Ville Vikings bracelets on the arm get unlimited with drink during the cruise. The price is SEK 88 up to 11 this year and that also includes a glass stick, Ville Viking glass plus a surprise gift. up to 11 years.

Press picture, Viking Line.

Price example
All children under the age of 12 cross free. Yes, you really only pay for the cabin you have chosen. We tried to click on a price the first weekend of the autumn holiday (departure 26 / 10, homecoming 28 / 10) with accommodation in the Ville Viking cabin (which is found on the sister ship Gabriella). Price for 2 adults and 2 children then became 1390 kronor. If you choose to go with Mariella in a Seaside Standard cabin (cabin with sea view on deck 4,5 or 6), the total price will be SEK 670 for the whole family. Please note that prices change depending on supply and demand.

Silja Symphony

Press image Silja Line.

In total, the ship has 10 cabin categories. Everyone can take 4 people, the junior suite and commodore class can accommodate up to 5 people, the family cabins and Executive Suite can accommodate up to six people, so from that perspective Silja is better suited if you are a large family.

The fact that the children liked the Moomin cabin could not be missed. 🙂

Ten of the family cabins have their Mum theme. We have actually tested this, read on when we cruised in a family cabin with the Mumma theme here! The cabin also had a bottle of child-friendly Moomin bubble and the walls were decorated with Moomin pictures. Our cabin had a view of the walk and the kids thought it was fun to sit in the small window and look down at passersby.

Isac thought it was exciting to be able to look down on the walk aboard.

The food
On board are six restaurants (including the Baltic Sea's first sushi restaurant) plus the large buffet; Grand Buffet. Here, all children up to 5 years eat free (together with paying adults)! Children 0 - 11 years eat at a discounted price at all à la carte restaurants.

Tavolàta is an Italian family restaurant on board to suit families.

Separate children's menu is available in Grill House, Tavolàta and Happy Lobster. In addition to two starters and two desserts, the children's menu (right now) consists of three of the following hot dishes: cheeseburger, fried salmon or barbecue steak with bea plus matching accessories for all dishes. Price per main course: 89 SEK.

Sunflower Oasis is the name of Silja Symphony's bathing world. In addition to three large whirlpools, there is also a small wading pool for children with a small slide. In addition, bar, steam sauna and dry sauna (the latter is in the respective dressing room).

Sunflower Oasis is popular with families with children!
A slide can be found to suit the younger children.

Price to enter the bathing department is 110 SEK for adults, 55 SEK for children (6-11 years) and 33 SEK for children 0-5 years (children up to one year are advised against bathing due to high chlorine content it says on Silja's website) .

Silja Land is the name of the children's own world which is the whole 290 sqm large and thus the largest on the Baltic Sea (as far as we know).

It is safe to play next to big brother!

Here you can expect ball seas, toys, toys, legos and other fun such as drawing competitions and face painting (some departures and holidays). The playroom has hosts and there is also an ice cream bar where you can buy a tasty ice cream.

Cheerful colors and different play corners make Silja Land suitable for many ages.
Accessories for the ice cream, please note that it was a while since the picture was taken - things change!

While the younger ones are looking forward to getting hugged with Sälen Harry or the Moomin characters, the older kids will probably hang out with the latest Playstation games or solve puzzles in Escape Game, where the entire ship is game plan. Certain departures and holidays are arranged candy bingo (we are very positive when we last won!). In the evening it will usually be Mumindisco.

We haven't tested it but it should be possible to download a mobile game called "Moomin Move" to the phone which can be fun to have on the trip.

Other items
In the playroom there are strollers to borrow for a deposit of 200.
Cot is available to borrow (ask in the information). Please pre-order in connection with your booking.

Price example
Departing 27 / 10, homecoming 29 / 10 with accommodation in a family cabin with the Mummenema costs 3300 SEK (2 adults and 2 children). Note The price is only for cab, food and other extras such as bath etc. If you choose the cheapest possible option on Silja Symphony (C-cab for 4 people on deck 2) the total price will be 870 SEK for the whole family. Please note that prices change depending on supply and demand.


So. Which ship is best to cruise with for a family of children? Let's look at what we have come up with for the various vessels and shipping companies.

Hytten you sleep for two nights (a cruise to Helsinki takes about 40 hours). Our kids think it's like staying in a hut when we cruise, and that bunk bed is the most exciting thing there is. So much else they don't care. They are happy every time, whether we live in a standard cabin on 8 sqm or the finest suite on 50 (ok, the 9-year-old thinks it's pretty cool with suites!). They probably won't learn to ask for a particular theme on it either - unless they know it exists. 😉 But of course - if you have a stroller with you is not the smallest cabin to recommend, then every extra square of gold is worth so a tip is to consider the size of the cabin if you need it. And if you are a large family of more is 4 then Silja wins with her cabins that can accommodate up to 6 people.

The food. When it comes to food, the children's menus are apparently similar to the prices. Perhaps it is more for the adults' palette of taste that governs. Both shipping companies have really good food. But, if dinner is not an important element for you then it does not matter, maybe you still end up at Vikings café or Siljas Fast Lane. If, on the other hand, you like to botanize around a crowded buffet, I would undoubtedly say Mariella because of their collaboration with the Swedish Kocklands team. I have eaten through countless of their buffets and am satisfied every time.

The bath Even though we had a great time with a bath last at Mariella, you can not assume that the bath at Silja Symphony is significantly lighter and more modern (and has large windows out). In addition, they have steam sauna which Mariella does not have. Prices are equivalent to enter.

Age can be the deciding factor

Play. If your children are young, they probably don't care how many squares the playroom is on. They may rather find it safe with a smaller, clear surface. Older-ridden children, on the other hand, probably snuggle more on decor and offerings and learn to appreciate a cool environment to hang in - such as Silja Land.

The activities are similar to the shipping companies; face painting, candy bingo, toys and crayons, film and mini disco. Here, too, I would say that it may be more demanding young people who may rule; we haven't tested the Escape Room activity but it sounds fun. And can be something that amuses activity-disruptive teens while mom and dad finish their meals in one of the restaurants along the walk at Silja Symphony.

Yes. Many similarities exist, differences too. The children's age will learn to record, perhaps your own cruise experience. For many families with children, however, the price is decisive, and the fact is that having a family-themed cabin costs Viking Lines Ville Viking cabin less than half against Siljas Muminhytt (1390 crowns against 3300 wives the selected autumn holiday weekend we looked at).

So it is up to you to choose what is most important for your particular family. Hopefully this little guide has given you the guidance you need to make the right decision! RovenBlogFamily CruisesBaltic SeaTallink SiljaViking Linefamily holiday, family cruise, family cruise, family trip, family vacation, Helsinki, autumn vacation, cruise, silja line, silja symphony, school vacation, viking line, viking mariellaThe autumn holidays are on the move and many families are rubbing their hair over what to do with the kids. A little heat hadn't been stupid, but Thailand is too far away for just a couple of days, and all sensible trips to Mallis or Canary Islands are either over - or ...Cruises - news, great tips and advice