MS Mega Smeralda

MS Mega Smeralda at Bastia, July 2008
  • 1985–1992: Svea
  • 1992–1994: Silja Karneval
  • 1994–2008: Color Festival
  • 2008–present: Mega Smeralda
Namesake: Rederi AB Svea (original name)
Builder: Wärtsilä Helsinki New Shipyard, Finland
Yard number: 470
Launched: 28 September 1984
Sponsored by: Birgit Nilsson
Christened: 28 September 1984
Acquired: 7 May 1985
In service: May 1985
  • March–April 1992
  • December 2004–January 2005
Identification: IMO number: 8306486
Status: In service
General characteristics (as built)[1]
Length: 168.03 m (551.28 ft)
Beam: 27.60 m (90.55 ft)
Draught: 6.70 m (21.98 ft)
Ice class: 1 A Super
Installed power:
  • 4 × Wärtsilä-Pielstick 12PC-6V diesels
  • combined 26,200 kW
Speed: 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)
  • 1,803 passengers
  • 1,625 passenger beds
  • 400 cars
General characteristics (currently)[1]
Tonnage: 34,694 GT
Length: 168.45 m (552.66 ft)
  • 2,000 passengers
  • 1,933 passenger beds[2]
  • 330 cars[2]
  • 850 lanemeters[2]

MS Mega Smeralda is a cruiseferry owned by Medinvest and operated by Corsica Ferries - Sardinia Ferries. She was built in 1985 by Wärtsilä at the Helsinki New Shipyard in Helsinki, Finland for Johnson Line as MS Svea for use in Silja Line traffic. Between 1992 and 1994 she sailed for Silja Line as MS Silja Karneval, and between 1994 and 2008 for Color Line as MS Color Festival.


Silja Line service

MS Svea and her sister MS Wellamo were modeled after Silja Line's highly successful HelsinkiStockholm service ferries MS Finlandia and MS Silvia Regina. The main difference to the older pair of ships was outer appearance of the new sisters: where Finlandia and her sister had had a very box-like exterior, the new sisters for the TurkuStockholm route had more attractive rounded looks.

In 1989 there were plans to rebuild Svea with rails on the cardeck so that she could also carry railroad carriages on board, but these were shelved. Until 1990 her funnel displayed the colours of Johnson Line, but at that time Silja Line's owners Johnson Line and Effoa merged into one company, EffJohn, and Silja Line's seal logo was moved from the ship's hulls into their funnels.

In 1992 Svea and her sister underwent a large-scale reconstruction at Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven, Germany where most of the ships' interiors were rebuilt, a new skybar added on deck 9, a new more blue-dominated colour scheme replaced the traditional Silja stripes and the ship was renamed Silja Karneval in accordance with Silja's new name policy. In fact the funds used to rebuild Svea and Wellamo were originally meant for rebuilding of the GTS Finnjet, but her planned rebuilding would have been too expensive and EffJohn opted to spend what money they had on Svea and Wellamo instead.

MS Color Festival at the Oslofjord.

Color Line service

Silja Karneval's service on Silja proved to be short. In early 1994 EffJohn decided to sell her sister Silja Festival to Norway-based Color Line. However, when time came to deliver the ship to Color Line, EffJohn for some reason decided to sell them Silja Karneval instead (the two ships being structurally identical). Problematically for Color Line, they had already printed material advertising their new ship as the Color Festival. As result Silja Karneval became M/S Color Festival, not Color Karneval as would have been logical.

After reconstruction at Cityvarvet, Gothenburg, Color Festival was initially placed on the OsloHirtshals route. In 2002 she damaged one of her rudders in Hirsthals and had to be docked in Hamburg because of it. In April 2006 she started operating on the OsloFredrikshavn route in direct competition with her old Silja Line fleetmate MS Stena Saga. On 21 November 2007 Color Line sold Color Festival to Corsica Ferries for €49 million (400 million Norwegian krone),[3] in preparation for the delivery of the new Color Superspeed vessels in mid-2008.

Corsica Sardinia Ferries service

The Color Festival was delivered to Corsica Sardinia Ferries in early January 2008, subsequently renamed Mega Smeralda and re-flagged in Italy with Genoa as her homeport.[1] Reportedly she will be placed on CivitavecchiaGolfo Aranci or Livorno – Golfo Aranci service. In 2011, the ferry operates between Tolone, Ajaccio, Bastia, Nice, etc...[4]

2013 Tour de France

In June 2013, the Tour de France visited Corsica for the first time. To accommodate the Tour entourage, the organisers chartered the Mega Smeralda to house members of the organisation, media and others who worked on the Tour and to host press conferences, although the riders stayed in hotels in Porto-Vecchio.[5]


Restaurants & Cafés


Bars, Nightclubs & Entertainment


See also


  1. 1 2 3 (Swedish) Fakta om Fartyg: M/S Svea (1985), retrieved 1 August 2007
  2. 1 2 3 (Norwegian) Color Line: Color Festival fakta, retrieved 30 November 2007
  3. "Color Line selger Color Festival for 400 mill kroner" (in Norwegian). Color Line press release. 21 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-21.
  4. Jani Nousiainen (29 November 2007). "Color Festival myyty" (in Finnish). FCBS Forum. Retrieved 2007-11-30.
  5. "A floating headquarters". Tour de France. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to MS Mega Smeralda.
Preceded by
MS Scandinavia
World's Largest Cruiseferry
Succeeded by
MS Mariella
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