During our Europe trip we travelled via bus, plane and train but had yet to tick boat off the list. Neither of us had been on an overnight ferry but loved the idea of falling asleep in one country and waking up in another, so booked the Stockholm to Riga ferry through Tallink. This is an honest review of our experience including the on board facilities, a review of our cabin, food, entertainment and more!
HOW MUCH DOES THE STOCKHOLM TO RIGA FERRY COST?
We paid €113 for both of us – this included our cabin and ferry ticket. We booked around 3 months in advance, however from what we understood the price does not vary greatly depending on Season or how far in advance you book. Please note, there is a significant increase in price if you are taking a vehicle on board or if you book a larger cabin.
Our buffet (which was all you can eat AND drink) was €35 euros each.
In total, we spent €115 – this included our meal (which was unlimited food & drink) and the litres of Jaeger we consumed. You will likely spend (and drink) a lot less!
HOW LONG DOES THE STOCKHOLM TO RIGA FERRY TAKE?
We left Stockholm ferry terminal around 5pm and arrived in Riga at 11am the following morning. Although 17 hours sounds like a long time, there is so much to see and do on board that the time went past so quickly. The Tannoy announcing that we had arrived in Riga actually woke us up in the morning we had slept that well!
WHERE IS THE STOCKHOLM FERRY TERMINAL
As we were staying in the Birka Hostel while backpacking Stockholm, we took the train to the Stockholm ferry terminal (VÄRTAHAMNEN). It was a short few minutes walk to Hötorget station, from there we took a 10 minute train journey to Gärdet. From Gärdet it was a 500m walk from the metro stop to the Stockholm ferry terminal – even with our backpacks we didn’t find the walk too strenuous and there is plenty to see at the port. In total from the city to the terminal took us around 40 minutes. (You can see our route here).
Tallink also run a bus from the city to Stockholm ferry terminal. The Bus is marked with a big Tallink Silja sticker panel.
One way ticket price is 60 SEK for an Adult and 30 SEK for a Child (6-17 years). Tickets can be bought from the bus or the ferry information desk.
STOCKHOLM FERRY TERMINAL CHECK-IN
On arrival, it is a similar process to an airport check-in, in that you show your booking confirmation and passport at a check-in desk and they give you a boarding card/room pass.
Then the similarities with airports end – from the Stockholm ferry terminal we were then able to walk straight to our ferry, the Tallink Romantika. There is no security check which we were surprised about and the typical Scottish in us wished we had packed our own alcohol and food now that we were aware there is zero baggage checks.
Note, we did try and find out later if you are allowed to take on board your own snacks/drinks and cannot find any guidelines saying you can’t. Feel free to let us know otherwise!
IS THE STOCKHOLM TO RIGA FERRY SAFE?
As we had never been on a ferry before, we had no idea what to expect. However it could not have been a smoother journey. We didn’t feel any swell and slept soundly. There were several safety announcements before we left the Stockholm ferry terminal and there was a PA system in the room for all safety related and general on board announcements. Staff were very friendly as were other passengers – for someone who is not the biggest fan of flying, thanks to Tallink this is now my favourite way to travel!
THE TALLINK ROMANTIKA CABINS REVIEW
We booked a B class cabin, essentially B for basic – it had two single beds, a dressing table and a small but adequate ensuite bathroom. The room was warm, décor was charming and the beds comfortable. There wasn’t much space due to our huge backpacks but in all honesty we spent very little time in our room as we had an entire ship to explore.
There was a small speaker in the roof that was used for all ferry announcements, (including the one informing us we were in port in Riga – which woke us up we slept that well!)
Note, if you are a tad claustrophobic we’d recommend getting the room option up from the cheapest due to the size and lack of window. On a backpacking budget however, we were pleasantly surprised with our room and were instantly excited for our Stockholm to Riga ferry adventure.
ARE THERE SHOPS ONBOARD THE TALLINK ROMANTIKA
Similar to an airport there is a “cosmetic boutique” filled with perfumes, skincare and cosmetics on board with offerings from all of your favourite brands and designers. There is also a supermarket, which sells wine, spirits, tobacco, sweets and souvenirs – at affordable prices!
FOOD REVIEW OF THE TALLINK ROMANTIKA
We highly recommend the Grande buffet dinner option. You can book in advance (and save €2) however it was very simple to book on board – you simply paid and reserved a table at the restaurant. You can also book for breakfast, which thankfully we never did as we didn’t wake up until we were in Port in Riga!
When we arrived at our reservation time, the 550 seat restaurant was practically empty, with only a handful of other diners. This did not mean any less of a spread however, and we were actually surprised at how much food and variety was available considering the lack of diners.
We could not find a single fault with the food on board. There was SO MUCH variety from seafood to salads, meats and cheeses to deserts and more. With focus on Baltic and Scandinavian cuisine as well as international foodie favourites. We were like kids in a candy shop! Everything we sampled was delicious, fresh and there was so much of it! You can read the menu here as well as the other dining options such as The Grill House & Al a Carte restaurant.
The best part of our meal? Alcohol was included. This meant for the duration of your meal you could help yourself (literally, you poured them) to as much wine or beer as you wished. Darren and I blame the all you can eat and DRINK for what happened next…
TALLINK ROMANTIKA NIGHTCLUB
Yes, we were equally as shocked to learn that not only was there a nightclub on board, there was also a lounge bar, casino, spa and full blown entertainment theatre called The Starlight Palace. Although alcohol was a tad expensive (more Stockholm prices than Riga’s) there were promotional deals which we gladly took advantage of. The bar staff were so friendly and gave us great recommendations for when we arrived in Riga which we really appreciated. Much like the restaurant, the nightclub was practically deserted, but we had so much fun regardless!
ARRIVING IN RIGA FERRY TERMINAL
We arrived around 11am into Riga, incredibly hungover after partying into the early hours in the Space Disco. We said goodbye to our Swedish pensioner karaoke companions and ashamedly headed for the nearest McDonalds. (Don’t judge, we’ve all been there.) From Riga ferry terminal to the city centre it was around a 30 minute walk from memory, although we opted for fresh air to cure the fuzzy heads there are bus and train options available. You can read more on the terminal here.
Despite our McDonald’s start we did have an amazingly cultured time in Riga. We fell in love with the incredible architecture, cosy bars and cobbled streets.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON OUR STOCKHOLM TO RIGA EXPERIENCE
Overall, our time onboard the Tallink Romantika was so much fun and we have recommended it to so many others travelling from Stockholm to Riga. We later discovered Tallink do specific “booze cruises” just for young people a few times a year – which going by our first impression of the Stockholm to Riga ferry we would definitely love to try!
Although we loved the space disco, karaoke and bar promotions, the Tallink Romantika has something for all travelling styles – not just for the party animals like us! It is the perfect way to travel with a family (there is an on board play area) or if you’re looking for a more relaxing time, head for the spa! Regardless of your travel style, we are sure you will have an enjoyable time.