While we were in Helsinki after our trip to Lapland, we took a day trip over to Tallinn. I had read and heard great things about the Estonian capital and as my sister-in-law and her family were going to be there, it seemed like the perfect time to hop over from Helsinki. We were kindly given half-price passage for our day trip to Tallinn with comfort class tickets. Here is our review of the Tallink Silja Ferry Comfort Class.
Tallink Silja Ferry Comfort Class – Outbound to Tallinn on board the STAR ferry
Awaking before 6am, we got dressed and called an Uber to take us to the Tallink Silja ferry terminal in Helsinki. Our driver double-checked with us what terminal we were departing from as there are two terminals in Helsinki for Tallinn ferries. We had mistakenly chosen the wrong one, at Market Square, but a quick change on the app to the West Terminal in Helsinki, and we were arriving at the busy terminal for the Tallink Silja ferry.
Check in was extremely easy and there was a staff member available to help us check in. We used the self-service machines and received both our outbound and return tickets. And before we knew it, we were waiting to board. The ferry terminal was very busy, more so than we had expected. It just goes to show how popular the route is on the penultimate Saturday before Christmas. Lots of people were waiting to board, many with suitcases and shopping trolleys. And once we were in Tallinn we understood why.
Boarding for foot passengers opened well before the expected 30 minutes before sailing and it was an easy boarding, most people (most) were quite calm and didn’t push. The one thing that struck me was that we never had our passports checked. I can only guess this is because the two countries are part of the Schengen agreement. However, it is advised that you bring your official identification, just-in-case.
The ship we were sailing to Tallinn on was the STAR ship and we found the Comfort Lounge with ease and after having our tickets checked, we found a nice quiet sofa near the front, beside a window. We took our son’s snowsuit off and settled in for the two-hour sailing.
Within the Comfort Lounge, there were quiet seats, both of the sofa type and chair types. There was a large TV showing darts, which our son found fascinating. Near the entrance, there was a smaller room off to one side in which there were snacks and drinks, which are included in the cost of the comfort class ticket. The snacks consisted of small cakes, chips, vegetable fingers and dips, peanuts and gingerbread biscuits. There was also a coffee machine for teas and coffee and soft drinks and water available. Alcoholic drinks and other food were available for purchase outside the lounge. The snacks were a welcome treat at 7.30am.
Our sailing to Tallinn was smooth and my son and I found the children’s play area, located near the Burger King outlet, just around the corner from the Comfort Lounge. It was small enough but there were soft play blocks, some ride along scooters for younger children and a TV showing Scooby Doo. My son enjoyed himself in the play area, me making sure he was aware of the younger children around him.
That is until an older brother and sister entered the area and started throwing the blocks around at each other. While my son thought this was great and wanted to join in, I did not allow it as there were toddlers and babies in the area too. I wondered where on earth were their parents they were as clearly did not have anyone supervising them. And they were very rough. I do think at least one parent should supervise children in these types of areas, more to ensure their behaviour towards the other children is the best it can be. When things started to get out of control with this pair of kids, I took my son out of the play area. I didn’t want him being blamed if another child got hurt.
We didn’t explore the rest of the ship as we were pretty tired that morning having just arrived in Helsinki from our adventures in Lapland the day before, but enjoyed our sailing to Tallinn. When we left Helsinki it had been dark, but the morning light arrived just before we docked in Tallinn. We could see the famous spire of Tallinn old town and couldn’t wait to start exploring the city. We enjoyed the comfort lounge on board the STAR ferry and my husband even managed to get an hour’s sleep while my son and I went to the play area and watched darts on the TV.
Tallink Silja Ferry Comfort Class – Returning to Tallinn on board the MEGASTAR ferry
On our return, we were booked onto the 19.30 ferry from Tallinn. The ferry leaves from the same terminal it arrives, so there is no confusion. And, as we had our return tickets already, we didn’t need to check in again. So, we joined the queues to board, which again opened before the 30 minutes advised.
This time I understood why so many people had travelled over with suitcases and shopping trolleys. They were availing of the much cheaper prices in Tallinn in preparation for Christmas. Although we had only spent the previous day in Helsinki, we had immediately noticed the price differences between the two cities. People had filled their suitcases and shopping trolleys had had their bags removed so trays of beers, cases of wine and bags of spirits could be easy transported back to Helsinki. It reminded me of the day trips people used to do on the Stena line from Dublin to Holyhead.
The ship we were on for our return to Helsinki was the MEGASTAR and this was on a whole other level to the ferry we’d gotten over. It was very obviously newer and much larger than the STAR ferry. And the Comfort Lounge was also more modern and more comfortable. The snacks and drinks area were laid out within the lounge and there was a cash desk for purchasing other drinks and snacks within the lounge, meaning you didn’t need to leave it if you didn’t want to.
There was an area for hanging up coats, very handy, and toilets at the lounge entrance too. We found a comfortable table and got settled for the crossing back to Finland. As we’d had a pretty full-on day in Tallinn, my son remained at the table with my hubby, enjoying more the snacks that are included in the comfort class ticket, while I went to check out the shopping on board.
I had heard it was incredible but didn’t realise just how huge it was until I saw it for myself. There were lots of perfumes, cosmetics and drinks on offer. And there was also lots of designer names and some great prices to be had. Plus, it was split over two floors, although I only checked out the main floor on Deck 8. There’s a reason it was named the Traveller Superstore! I picked up some Hot Wheels cars as stocking fillers for our son but refrained from buying any more perfume for myself. And I can tell you, it was super busy, with people availing of the great prices and stocking up for Christmas.
We didn’t go to the children’s play area on the MEGASTAR as we were all pretty tired after our day in Tallinn but my sister-in-law was on the MEGASTAR the next morning and her Instagram stories of the area showed it was better than the play area on the STAR ferry. It seemed to have a proper small soft play and her kids loved their time there.
Tallink Silja Ferry Comfort Class – STAR or MEGSTAR? Which is better?
Personally, while both comfort lounges of the Tallink Silja Ferry company ships offered somewhere quieter to sit, away from the main hustle and bustle of a busy ship, the comfort lounge on the MEGASTAR was my favourite. It was more modern and up-to-date, and I preferred how the snacks and drinks area was laid out in this lounge. The area for hanging coats was really handy and the toilets within the lounge were brilliant.
Both lounges had plenty of room for those who had chosen to upgrade and the snacks and drinks in both were replenished quickly when running low. The staff were very friendly and none of the TV’s within the lounges had blaring sound. You could sit quietly and read or have a conversation, or even catch some shut-eye as my husband did. Children were also welcome in the lounges and those within were well-behaved.
The comfort class ticket is worth upgrading in my opinion, if only for a quiet, guaranteed seat away from the main parts of the busy ship. The snacks and drinks were good, although I would have liked to have seen some pastries or meats and cheese available as breakfast options on the 7.30am sailing.
Cost of Comfort Class versus Standard
Prices for a day ticket from Helsinki to Tallinn vary, depending on the sailing you choose. Children under 5 years of age travel free. To travel on the 7.30am ferry and return on the 19.30pm ferry, adult day tickets cost €34. Children between the ages of 6- and 17-years cost €17. To upgrade to Comfort Class, there is an additional cost of €20 per person, each way. I think it is worth the upgrade for the comfort of the lounge and snacks and drinks available to you.
We thoroughly enjoyed our sailing with the Tallink Silja line for our day trip to Tallinn from Helsinki. The MEGASTAR ferry is an amazing ship and if you are thinking of sailing with the Tallink Silja line, certainly try to choose sailings involving this ship. You won’t be disappointed. This ferry company also has routes serving Stockholm, so we are already planning a trip in the future in which we visit Helsinki, Tallinn AND Stockholm using the Tallink Silja ferry company.
*We were kindly given 50% discount for our sailing between Helsinki and Tallinn on Comfort Class tickets for the purpose of this review. However, as always, these are my own honest thoughts and opinions.