Columbia River Cruise Review: Sailing Aboard Un-Cruise Adventures’ Intimate s.s. Legacy by Jeffrey Ward, The Savvy Navigator

s.s. Legacy 0

Un-Cruise Adventure’ s.s. Legacy has shifted from Alaska to Portland for full time work on America’s Columbia River system

by Jeffrey Ward, from Luxury Cruise News

With the growth of European river cruising, and its appeal to North American travellers, I’ve often wondered why there are not more river cruising vessels and destinations in the USA. I recently had the opportunity to spend a week onboard Un-Cruise Adventures’ s.s. Legacy sailing round trip out of Portland, Oregon, eastbound along the Columbia and Snake Rivers to the Idaho border. This five-star trip is an unparalleled experience here in the States, and I highly recommend the 7-day sailing for all cruise lovers.

The 88-passenger s.s. Legacy was built approximately 30 years ago as the Pilgrim Belle, operating as a coastal steamer in New England. She later traded on the St Lawrence River as the Victorian Empress and on the West Coast and Alaska as the Spirit of ’98. The design of the ship is based on naval architecture from the turn of the last century, but is equipped with today’s modern conveniences. The vessel was brought into the Un-Cruise Adventures fleet in 2013, after a complete refurbishment.

Un-Cruise originally deployed the ship in Alaska, but has decided to base her permanently in Portland for the April – November 2015 season, offering the “Legacy of Discovery” and “Ameritage – Four Rivers of Wine and History” themed cruises.

s.s. Legacy open bridge

s.s. Legacy‘s open bridge policy allows passengers to visit the wheelhouse.

One great appeal of a river cruise on the s.s. Legacy is that everything is included in the fare – meals, accommodation, drinks, activities, a free massage, and airport or hotel transfers. The 44 cabins onboard are set up in either a twin bed or queen configuration. The accommodations are extremely comfortable, with en-suite baths and televisions (used for watching DVDs from the ship’s library) and twice-daily maid service. Another aspect of the ship that very much appealed to me was the open bridge policy. I spent quite a bit of time in the wheelhouse with Captain Dano Quinn and his team, which was mesmerizing – especially during sunrise and sunset.

For The Savvy Navigator, however, the highlight of the cruise was the impressive quality of the food and wine. Three meals are served per day, along with cocktail hour (daily at 5:30 p.m.), and early riser breakfast from 6 to 8 a.m. (where the coffee cake was the best I’ve ever consumed). The variety and quality of the food was excellent, and paired nicely with local beers and wines from the Pacific Northwest. In addition to the open-seating dining room, there’s a large, comfortable lounge on an upper deck above the bow, which is always stocked with snacks, libations, and coffee. (A special shout-out goes to the nocturnal pastry chef, whose bread, rolls, pastries, desserts, and other baked goods turned this non-dessert eater into a ravenous sugar glutton.)

s.s. Legacy InterpretationThe historical interpretation team offers authentic and entertaining insights into the region’s history.
Another highlight of the onboard experience is the historical interpretation team, who function as the guides for the cruise. Led by historian Ryan Downs, the team did an excellent job of bringing history to life, in an authentic and surprisingly entertaining way.

Older passengers are welcome onboard this cruise (and made up the majority of travellers on my sailing), as the excursions are not particularly active or physically challenging. And the sailing’s appeal isn’t limited to any type of cruiser – I’ve always preferred cruising aboard large ships, and now I’m a small ship convert.

The bottom line is that I loved this cruise. It was comfortable and interesting, led me to gain a few pounds, and exposed me to a completely new part of the world.

For further details please call The Cruise People Ltd in London or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk. In North America call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@thecruisepeople.ca

The Avid Cruiser Ralph Grizzle Reviews Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Top-Rated Europa 2, The Top-Rated Cruise Ship In The World

Enjoy a few minutes watching Ralph Grizzle’s most recent review (July 2014) of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2, the top-rated cruise ship in the world (Five-Stars-Plus with Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2015:


For more information on how to book a cruise on Europa 2 please call Europa 2 expert Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk. In North America please call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@thecruisepeople.ca.

Ask about the half off second passenger and no single supplement offers that are now available.

Sail Transatlantic Barcelona to Miami With Overnight Stay In Bermuda, November 15, 2014, M.V. Riviera, Balcony Stateroom £2,009

Front StreetOceania Cruises have just advised us of a fantastic late opportunity for those wishing to get away to America while spending a night in Bermuda on the way, with an all-inclusive package thrown in! The Four-Star-Plus Riviera departs Barcelona on November 15, 2014, on a 14-night Transatlantic passage to Miami. Included with the fare are a Prestige Select drinks package worth £560 per person, free gratuities and a free upgrade from an Oceanview to a Balcony stateroom,  There is also a minumum fare available for the budget-minded.

Cruise only: Minimum fare (Inside Stateroom) is £1,689 per person for two. Balcony fare (with free upgrade) is £2,009 per person

Fly/cruise with transfers: Minimum fare (Inside Stateroom) is £2,171.50 per person for two. Balcony fare (with free upgrade) is £2,494.50 per person

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November 15, 2014: Sail Transatlantic Barcelona to Miami, All-Inclusive on m.v. Riviera, with an overnight stay in Bermuda

Voyage Itinerary

November 15 – Depart Barcelona at 5 pm
November 16 – Call at Cartagena, Spain, 9 am to 6 pm
November 17 – Call at Malaga, 8 am to 6 pm
November 18 – Crossing the Atlantic Ocean
November 19 – Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 9 am to 6 pm
November 20-24 – Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
November 25 – Arrive at King’s Wharf, Bermuda, 9 am
November 26 – Depart King’s Wharf, Bermuda 4 pm
November 27 – Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
November 28 – Call at Nassau, 9 am to 6pm
November 29 – Arrive at Miami, 6 am

For more information on Oceania Cruises please call Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk. In North America please call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@thecruisepeople.ca

Hong Kong-China-Taiwan–New Zealand Cargo-Passenger Sailings Doubled Up With 6-Passenger Hansa Liberty And Hansa Victory

Hansa Victory © Matthias Boerschke

The German-flag Hansa Victory and Hansa Liberty carry up to six passengers each in a double Owners Cabin and two twin cabins between ports in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and New Zealand.

The Cruise People are pleased to announce that two ships now offer passages between Asia and New Zealand, with the six-passenger Hansa Victory (left) and Hansa Liberty sailing between Hong Kong, Chinese ports, Taiwan, South Korea, Fiji and five ports in New Zealand. The return voyage is made via New Caledonia, Disembarkation only is allowed at Pusan (no embarkations). Chinese visa and Yellow Fever innoculation required. Fares begin at €90 per person per day (€105 single) plus €95 port taxes and €149 deviation insurance.

Meanwhile, the two-passenger Ariana also sails between Port Kelang, Singapore, Brisbane and five ports in New Zealand but book early because she offers only one passenger cabin! Detailed port rotations are set out for each route below:

Hansa Liberty and Hansa Victory (one double Owners cabin, two twin cabins, 6 passengers): Hong Kong, Chiwan (day 1), Keelung (day 2), Ningbo (day 4), Shanghai (day 6), Pusan (day 8), Suva, Auckland (day 25), Port Chalmers, Lyttelton (day 30), Napier (day 32), Tauranga (day 33), Noumea (day 36) and Hong Kong (day 49), with a sailing on average every 25 days).

Ariana (twin suite, 2 passengers): Singapore, Brisbane (day 14), Auckland (day 19), Lyttelton (day 21), Wellington (day 23), Napier (day 25), Tauranga (day 27), Port Kelang (day 41) and Singapore (day 42). Australian visa also required for this voyage.

For further details please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

Photo © Matthias Boerschke.

Carnival Plan Evokes Return To The 1930s In Hispaniola – Major Changes At Pullmantur – Book Review: Great French Passenger Ships

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 20th October 2014... ..

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Great French Passenger ShipsThis week we look at how Carnival Corp & plc’s investigation into developing a new two-berth cruise port at Haiti’s Tortuga Island, together with its Amber Cove development in the Dominican Republic, take us back to the 1930s. Both are on the island of Hispaniola and relatively close to Miami, especially in these days of high fuel costs. We also look at how Pullmantur is extending its reach far beyond Spain, while at the same time watering down its much-vaunted “All-Inclusive” plan. Finally, for a change, we review Bill Miller’s most recent book, Great French Passenger Ships, just published by The History Press.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                                 (See previous columns)

Miami Cruise Industry Mourns Lewis A Fraser, Son Of Miami Cruise Pioneer And Himself A Cruise Catering Pioneer

Lew Fraser © Andy Newman -  Seatrade

Lewis Fraser with his son Lewis Fraser Jr at the Port of Miami in 1996. Behind them is Royal Caribbean’s Nordic Empress, the last purpose-built Miami-Nassau 3- and 4-night cruise ship. Photo courtesy Seatrade – Andy Newman.

The cruise industry in Miami is mourning the passing of Lewis ‘Lew’ A Fraser, whose catering concessions once provided the food, beverages, chefs, cooks and waiters for Royal Caribbean, Costa Cruises, Regency Cruises and Premier Cruise Lines. Fraser died on Wednesday, October 8. He was 75. For the full Seatrade obituary please go here.

Lew was one of six children of Frank Leslie Fraser, who was heavily involved in the banana shipping business from Jamaica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. In 1950, when Lew was 10, his father founded the Eastern Shipping Corporation. Eastern in turn chartered the 3,445-ton Nuevo Dominicano, a ship that could carry 177 cruise passengers, from the Flota Mercante Dominicana. This ship had first cruised from Miami as the Clarke Steamship Company’s New Northland in the winter of 1926-27. With her, Fraser introduced the first year-round cruises from Miami. The number of cruise passengers handled at Miami in 1950 rose to 61,000, helped by the new year-round cruise service..

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Lew’s father, Jamaican-born F Leslie Fraser, started cruising from Miami with the Eastern Shipping Corporation in 1950. Chartering the 177-passenger Nuevo Dominicano, she was the first to offer year-round cruises from Miami, then a winter port.

During the 1950s, Fraser added new ships to his fleet, starting with the 5,002-ton Yarmouth and Evangeline in 1954, followed by the 7,114-ton Bahama Star in 1959 and the 6,644-ton Ariadne in 1960. During this period, Fraser brought in as a partner William R Lovett of Jacksonville, who owned the Winn-Dixie supermarket chain, and to whom Fraser had been shipping bananas for many years. Lovett had shipping interests of his own and in May 1961, Fraser sold out to Lovett, who renamed the company Eastern Steamship Corporation. Fraser finally turned over full control just a few months before he died in June 1962. Six years later, in 1968, Lovett added the largest Miami ship yet, the 9,914-ton New Bahama Star.

In 1970, Lovett sold out to the Norwegian Gotaas-Larsen Corporation, one of the intial shareholders in Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, which was building three new ships, the Nordic Prince, Song of Norway and Sun Viking. Any conflict of interest was avoided by Eastern sticking to the 3- and 4-night Bahamas trade while Royal Caribbean concentrated on 7- and 14-night Caribbean cruises. By then, the numbers of Miami cruise passengers had risen ten times in twenty years, to 610,000. In 1972, Gotaas-Larsen added the 24,351-ton Emerald Seas to the Eastern fleet, again the largest ship to cruise from Miami.

The company, by now trading as Eastern Cruise Lines, merged with its own affiliate Western Cruise Lines and Stan McDonald’s Stardance Cruises, forming Admiral Cruises in 1986. By this time the Port of Miami was handling 3,000,000 passengers a year. Admiral Cruises became Royal Admiral Cruises and was absorbed into Royal Caribbean in 1992. The last project undertaken by Admiral was a ship called the “Future Seas,” which entered service in 1990 as the 48,563-ton Nordic Empress. Trading today as the Empress for Pullmantur Cruises, this ship was the last and the largest to be purpose-built for the 3- and 4-night Bahamas cruise trade from Miami.

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F Leslie Fraser acquired the Farnorth in Canada in 1937, renaming her Southern Lady. Selling her in 1942, he bought her back again in 1952 and renamed her Lewis Fraser after his son.

In 1952, when he was 12, Lew had a ship named after him (right). When his father purchased the 1,712-ton Ciudad Trujillo from the Flota Mercante Dominicana, from whom he had been chartering the Nuevo Dominicano, he renamed her Lewis Fraser. This was actually the second time the Frasers had owned this ship, as they had first purchased her in Canada in 1937, when she was trading between Boston and the Atlantic Provinces of Canada as the Farnorth. Renamed Southern Lady, she traded for Fraser in the Caribbean until he sold her in 1942 to Cayman Islands owners. As the Lewis Fraser, she was used in the Cuba trade until the eve of the Cuban Revolution under Fidel Castro. Almost fifty years old by then, she was finally sold for scrapping at Baltimore in 1957.

In an interview with Seatrade Cruise Review in March 1996, Lew recounted to Anne Kalosh an interesting story about his own beginnings in the cruise industry – and the name Royal Caribbean:

F Leslie Fraser had run Eastern Shipping Corp, selling the company before his death in 1962. Lewis and a brother created a firm called Royal Caribbean to handle the estate. Their office at the old Port of Miami was one floor above the Yarmouth Steamship Co, managed by Edwin Stephan…

But it wasn’t long before this fourth generation shipping man was drawn back to the sea. He looked up Ed Stephan, now general manager of Commodore, who was introducing Boheme in 1968.

As Fraser tells it, “Ed was looking for a caterer and I was looking to get back into the cruise business. I asked Ed if he’d consider me. He said, “Lew, what do you know about catering?” I said “Nothing, but I do know how to put together an organisation and I like the cruise business.” He got the job.

It was a rough start. But gradually Fraser had things running so smoothly that when Stephan went on to launch his own cruise line, Fraser not only nabbed the catering contract, he also lent the name: Royal Caribbean.

It is forgotten by most now that Lew and his brother Frank L Fraser Jr formed Pan American Cruise Lines, of which Lew was president, in 1965, and chartered an Israeli ship, the Nili, to cruise from Miami. On hearing of the owner’s financial condition, however, Pan American ended the charter and a company called Arison Shipping stepped in and took over, but ended up with no ship. This led to the charter of another ship called the Sunward, but that’s another story. The passing of Lew Fraser closes an interesting chapter in the cruising history of Miami.

For those interested in knowing more about the Fraser days in the 1950s and 60s, there is further information here:

Excerpt from St Lawrence Saga: The Clarke Steamship Story

CMA CGM Now Accepting Passenger Bookings Between Europe And Australia/New Zealand For 2017 – Book Early To Be Sure Of Space

Three ships run in an 84-day round voyage from Tilbury to the US East Coast, the Pacific islands of Tahiti and New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand. A twin Owners cabin and two double cabins are offered on each of the CMA CGM Manet, CMA CGM Matisse and  CMA CGM Utrillo from Rotterdam, Tilbury, Dunkirk and Le Havre to Australasia and back. The round trip can also be booked as one-way voyages between Europe and Australia/New Zealand. Each ship carries six passengers but they are heavily booked through to 2016 so bookings have to be made a year or more in advance to be guaranteed of space. The fare is €110 per person per day including full board, port charges and complimentary French wine with lunch and dinner, so the full round voyage is €9,240, or about £7,620, per person. Non-US and Canadian citizens need full US B1/B2 visas as cargo ships are not included in the visa waiver program (an ESTA is therefore not sufficient). PAD ServiceEach double cabin is about 235 sq ft, fitted with a double bed, sofa, desk, chair, wardrobe, a bathroom (wc/shower) and a fridge. The Owners Cabin has twin beds and its own door into the Passenger Lounge. Common areas include a Gymnasium and Library on Deck B, Passenger Lounge on Deck E with: TV, video, DVD and an indoor Swimming Pool. The port rotation for each voyage is  Rotterdam – Tilbury – Dunkirk – Le Havre – New York – Savannah – Kingston (Jamaica) – Cartagena (Colombia) – Panama Canal – Papeete (Tahiti) – Noumea (New Caledonia) – Sydney – Melbourne – Tauranga – Napier – Lyttelton – Punta Manzanillo – Savannah – Philadelphia – Rotterdam – Tilbury. Fort travellers who cannot obtain space and wish to travel earlier there is good availability between Europe and the Southeast Asia ports of Port Kelang, Singpaore and Tanjung Pelepas. Please click here to see an account of such a voyage between Southampton and Port Kelang (for Kuala Lumpur).

For further details of voyages between Europe and Australia/New Zealand and to make bookings please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

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