RO-RORO-RO means roll-on, roll-off. The cruiseferries in these pictures carry passengers as well as cars and trucks to Tallinn and Stockholm. The white ship can carry 3700 passengers and 400 cars or about 60 trucks (tractor-trailer rigs). The red ship can carry 2500 passengers and about 230 cars or 60 trucks. Both are about 30 m wide, the white ship is 200 m long and the red ship 185 m long.

The strait between islands Kustaanmiekka and Vallisaari that the red ship is going through is 81 meters wide. Imagine driving your apartment block through it.

A big part of the business of the cruiseferries has been that they’ve got restaurants and night clubs and people travel in them to get cheap booze, either from Estonia or duty free alcohol and tobacco on the ships to Sweden as they go via Aland (making a quick stop in Mariehamn), which isn’t a part of the EU customs union.

Being the kind of floating hotels and shopping malls with garages that they are, AFAIK, the ships guzzle quite a lot of fuel per passenger kilometer.

Click for full size!

© Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved.


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    These particular apartment blocks are in daily traffic between Tallinn and Helsinki. The white one is owned by an Estonian company and the red one is owned by a company from Åland which is a Swedish-speaking autonomous part of Finland in the archipelago between Finland and Sweden.

    I should have clarified that RORO/Ro-Ro/Roll-on, Roll-off means that the vehicles are driven into the and out of the ship when loading and unloading. There are often two car decks in the ships. The cheapest cabins tend to be under the car decks but not all ships have any cabins there.

    In winter, when the sea is frozen, at least in older ships, you could hear the ice scraping the bottom and the sides of the ship in the cabins under the car decks.

  2. Ice Swimmer says

    Lofty @ 4

    They are technically capable of doing that. By EU Directive (2016/802), they aren’t supposed to use fuel that has too much sulphur when sailing on the Baltic Sea (which is pretty much all that they do before getting too old for these waters and being sold to the Mediterranean or other warmer seas) unless they have emission abatement technology. I don’t know how this is enforced in practice.

  3. rq says

    Tallink! I took one to Stockholm once, with Husband, but we took a luxury cabin (honeymoon and all that). I don’t get seasick, but I did keep waking up in the night because my half-dormant brain amplified the gentle rolling and insisted I was constantly about to fall out of bed.

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