New Great Lakes Chicago To Montreal Cruise By The M.V. “Saint Laurent” on August 28, 2015, Plus Six Gulf of St Lawrence Cruises

Saint Laurent for'dThe newly-launched Haimark Line will introduce the 210-berth Saint Laurent into service in Eastern Canada, New England and the Great Lakes in May 2015. The Cruise People is pleased to be able to offer a unique Great Lakes cruise leaving Chicago on August 28, 2015, and taking in Mackinac Island, an excursion into Lake Superior, Georgian Bay and the Ojibwé, the Henry Ford Museum, Niagara Falls, the Thousand Islands and the St Lawrence Seaway, finishing in Montreal nine nights later. The Saint Laurent originally cruised the Great Lakes in 2001 as Cape May Light.

Haimark Great LakesHaimark will use the same ship to offer half a dozen Gulf of St Lawrence cruises in May, June and October between Montreal and Portland, Maine. These will call at Quebec, Gaspé, Charlottetown, Halifax, Yarmouth, Saint John and Bar Harbor en route.

Ten more cruises will be offered on the French market by Rivages du Monde. Sailing from Montreal, they will call at Toronto, Niagara Falls, the Thousand Islands and Quebec, with flights included from Paris.

Haimark Line was formed in 2012 by former executives of Pandaw River Cruises and is in the course of launching upmarket river cruises in Asia on the Irrawaddy, Mekong and Ganges Rivers, where a number of newbuildings are to be introduced over the next few months.

Haimark Deck Plan

please click on any image to enlarge

Haimark 10-day Tariff










For further details of Great Lakes and Gulf of St Lawrence cruising please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail In North America call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail

Trying To Squeeze Cruise Numbers Up – Iceland’s Volcano – Funchal Returns to The Europe-Australia Run

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 25th August 2014..


Selling the Sea Kindle versionLast week, three different publications in three different countries, Cruise Week in the USA, Travel Weekly in the UK and Cruise Business Review in Finland, all highlighted how the cruise lines seem to be having difficulty growing their traditional markets. We have a look at these comments and what might be done, including a quick look at Bob Dickinson’s Selling the Sea, first published in 1997, and now available in Kindle. As Iceland’s volcanic activity raises a possible threat to travellers once more, we also look at the situation there. And finally, the Funchal is returning to Australia in 2015.

The Funchal Returns To The Europe-Australia Run In January 2015


Portuscale Cruises’ 482-berth Funchal has recently emerged from a $22 million refit and upgrading

For  two winters we have been booking passengers between Europe and Australia with Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ 600-berth ms Astor, primarily between London Tilbury and Fremantle by way of the Cape of Good Hope. This ship has been used to replace the line voyages that had formerly been perfomed by the now-defunct Classic International Cruises of Lisbon. The Astor‘s next southbound trip departs Tilbury on November 5, 2014.

But the return of the 482-berth Funchal (above) to Australia under her new owners Portuscale Cruises will next year see the Portuguese ship based at Geelong for a series of cruises concentrating on Tasmania and the Bass Strait. It will also give us two more line voyages to sell to and from Australia on a classic ship. It has been some time since Funchal was last in Australia as she had been succeeded by the 550-berth Athena, which now trades as the Azores, but Funchal has recently been given a $22 million upgrade in Lisbon.

To get the Funchal to Australia next year, she will operate a 44-night “Suez Sojourn” cruise, leaving Barcelona on January 4, 2015, and making calls at Tunisia, Malta, Port Said, Aqaba,  Safaga, Kochi (formerly Cochin), the Maldives, Singapore,  Semarang, Komodo Island, Dili and Port Moresby before arriving in Newcastle NSW on February 17. Fares start at $7,175 per person in double occupancy

Funchal northbound 2015After a short summer season sailing from Geelong, she will depart Newcastle on March 10, 2015, for a 56-night “Battlefields & Gallipoli” cruise (right) calling at Lae, Wewak, Sandakan, Pelabuhan Bintulu, Singapore, George Town, Colombo, Salalah, Sharm el-Sheikh, Alexandria, Heraklion, Çanakkale, Istanbul, Myrina, Piraeus, Malta, Gibraltar and Porto before arriving at Portsmouth on May 5. Fares start at $10,995 per person in double occupancy

The Astor will follow on March 16, 2015, with a departure from Fremantle bound for Tilbury via the Cape of Good Hope. Bookings can also be made either way to or from Cape Town.

For further details on any Australian voyage please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail In North America call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail

Stand By Or Waitlist Passenger Bookings Possible On The MSC Geneva and MSC Monterey On The Italy-Australia Service

MSC GenevaWe can now offer on short notice voyages in the MSC Geneva and MSC Monterey, two NSB vessels that operate on charter to MSC. Both ships depart La Spezia for Australia via Mauritius. Ports of call include La Spezia, Naples, Gioia Tauro via Pointe des Galets and Port Louis to Sydney (34 days from La Spezia), Melbourne (36 days), Adelaide (40 days) and Fremantle (45 days). The ships then return by way of Singapore and ports in the Middle East (no Middle East embarkation, disembarkation or shore leave is possible). New Zealand is not served on this route. One-way voyages are possible.

The next scheduled departures from La Spezia are September 7 for MSC Monterey and October 19 for MSC Geneva, on which ship we await an extenion of charter. MSC Monterey,but which is on charter to MSC until 2019, is then due back in La Spezia again on November 26. Both ships have only this year been added to this route but there is always the chance that they can be moved once again to another route. However, passenger bookings can be taken on waitlist or short notice if space is available.

Both ships are equipped with an Owners Cabin of 340 sq ft and two Double cabins, one of 340 and one of 270 sq ft in area, all with en suite facilities. Each contains a separate dayroom and bedroom, with fares of €90 to €95 per person per day double or €105 to €110 per day single. Port charges and deviation insurance are extra and a valid yellow fever vaccination is required.

For further details or to book please contact Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail


Quark Takes Ocean Endeavour For Antarctica – Cruise Like A Mathematician – 4,000 Berths: The New Standard For Cruising

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 18th August 2014..

Ocean Endeavour starboard bow

Ocean Endeavour will cruise Canada’s north next summer before starting her first Antarctic season with Quark Expeditions in 2015-16


Toronto’s Quark Expeditions will join Adventure Canada as a joint charterer of Fleetpro’s Ocean Endeavour. While starting in 2015 Adventure Canada will employ her in northern waters by summer, Quark will take her for the Antarctica high season starting in 2015-16. Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Line’s latest “all-inclusive” trial has left people to draw different conclusions. And the number of ships now being built with 4,000 berths is rapidly leaving behind the previous 3,600-berth ship as the standard for mass market cruising.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                               (See previous columns)

TUI Orders Two Ships As Meyer Takes 70% Of Turku Yard – Rivages du Monde Expands – Xiamen Cruise Ship Won’t Be Built

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 11th August 2014..


Saint Laurent for'dThe destiny of the Turku shipyard, once Wärtsilä Marine, then Masa-Yards, then Kvaerner Masa-Yards, then Aker Yards Oy, and now STX Finland Oy, is about to be determined by an offer from Meyer Werft to take a 70% shareholding, alongside the Finnish government. Coincidental with this announcement comes an order for two 2,500-berth cruise ships from TUI Cruises, with options for two more, that will allow Germany to surpass the UK as the world’s second largest cruise market. From the growing French market comes news that Rivages du Monde is expanding into ocean cruising and has also developed a new St Lawrence product (above) for 2015. Meanwhile, Xiamen Shipbuilding’s plan to build China’s first 100,000-ton cruise ship has disappeared along with that of the Titanic II.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                               (See previous columns)

Phil Reimer Writes About Freighter Cruising – His Cruising Column Appears In Ten Canadian Newspapers In The Postmedia Network

Freighter cruises long…and unique

Hanjin Amsterdam, which operates the Seattle \'freighter cruise\' route

Hanjin Amsterdam, which operates the Seattle “freighter cruise” route


Published: August 9, 2014, 3:00 am
It’s not the Queen Mary 2 but they sail the same route across the Atlantic. You won’t have a crowded pool, major production shows or a casino. You will have the run of the ship in good weather, swim in an uncrowded pool and have lots to eat, but little choice beyond what’s being served. Your cabins are big and, yes, some are for singles. Don’t wait for an invite to the bridge because you are free to visit whenever you like, within reason. You can even drop down and see the men in the engine room.

This the world of “freighter cruising.”

When you’re travelling on a freighter, you don’t have to worry about being one of 3,000. The passenger levels are kept at somewhere between six and 12. According to Kevin Griffin, Managing Director of The Cruise People, freighter cruising is growing at the same percentage as river cruising, with a much smaller number of people.

The Cruise People is an agency based in London, but half its business comes from North America and Australia. This company doesn’t actively sell the mainstream large cruise lines because its market is freighters, small ships, expedition ships and luxury brands.

The freighter trips are long and while retirees have the time, Kevin points out you will also find on board young people who, after finishing college, are looking for a getaway before settling down to work life.

According to Kevin, the food is good and hearty but the choice is what the captain and the officers are eating that day.

What about speed?

“A good formula,” he says, “is that it take a day to steam as far as a jet will fly in an hour. You can do an around-the-world trip if you fly on the portion from New York to Vancouver [or in reverse]”

Sample of interior room on a freighter ship

On the cruise I am about to highlight there are three different cabin (including the single cabins) configurations. Some are large “as much as 30 square metres.”

Kevin adds that, in a much bigger way, you are part of the overall scene on freighters. They travel all over the world, including the Great Lakes to Europe. One good example is a 42-day return trip from the West Coast, starting in Seattle with stops in Portland and Vancouver before crossing the Pacific. Asian ports are Pusan, Kwangyang, Ningbo and Shanghai, followed by the return  trip back across the ocean to Prince Rupert before returning to Seattle.

Depending on loads, Kevin says the ports can change from time to time so you have to be flexible.

He also adds if you board at Vancouver and depart in Prince Rupert you reduce the cruise by a week and save some money. The fare becomes $4,650 per person including fees and taxes for 35 days or $4,410 single for the same thing.

Here is a summary of what’s on board and what’s for dinner (also breakfast and lunch)…

• Indoor swimming pool, sauna, fitness room, washer/dryer, lounge area, TV/VCR (TV near ports only), steward, cabin cleaning weekly

• Three cabins (owners, double, single)

• Meals with the captain and the officers

• Typical menus: breakfast — sausage goulash, eggs one day, French toast the next; lunch — chicken curry with rice, then breaded fish and ratatouille; dinner — spaghetti Bolognese and garlic bread, then sweet and sour pork with rice.

That’s a small sample of what goes on when travelling by freighter. For all the details, go to For email, use

“Mostly,” adds Kevin, “our passengers want the cruise experience without the 3,000-plus passengers that come with the mainline cruises.”

Would I try it? I’m not sure.

However, judging by the number of questions I receive about freighter cruising, there is a lot of interest.

Following is the complete menu and a list of one ship’s details, followed by pricing information (as a sample) from another ship:

Freighter menu

Hanjin Geneva details

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 11.35.48 AM

As published at – newspapers in the Postmedia Network include the National Post, The Gazette of Montreal, the Ottawa Citizen, The Windsor Star, the Regina Leader-Post, the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, the Calgary Herald, the Edmonton Journal, The Vancouver Sun and Vancouver’s The Province.

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