Viking Star Floated Out At Marghera – Saga Takes Space With MSC Cruises – And What Happened In 1914

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 30th June 2014..

 

Berengaria,ex-Imperator

Hamburg America Line’s giant Imperator became Cunard Line’s Berengeria after the First World War

Last week saw the float out at Marghera of the latest thing in ocean cruising. Viking Cruises’ Viking Star is a ship that is very traditional and yet is right up to date, with every stateroom having a balcony and all modern luxuries. We also look at Saga’s move back into outsourcing cruises from Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and MSC Cruises, something it has not done in a major way since the 1990s. And we look back at passenger shipping a century ago, how the war delayed the building of fifteen liners, and how it would denude the Hamburg America Line of its six finest ships, from the Imperator to the Tirpitz.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                          (See previous columns)

Latest Cruise Ship Changes and New Orders – Whither the Oases? – Explorer Abandons Shorter Cruises

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 2nd June 2014..

MSC Seaside class

MSC’s Italian-built 154,000-ton “Seaside” class will carry 4,140 passengers while a 167,600-ton French pair will carry 4,500

There was no Cruise Examiner last week because of overseas travel, but in the meantime there has been much news. First off, the new Holland America Group announced that its Ryndam and Statendam would be transferred to P&O Cruises Australia. Then MSC Cruises announced an order for two cruise ships of a new design from Fincantieri – this is in addition to the two ships it recently ordered from STX France. Costa Cruises Group announced what appears to be the end to its Spanish-based brand Iberocruceros, with its ships apparently now to be absorbed into Costa Cruises. And Saga Cruises will start taking allocations on certain Fred Olsen cruises. We also look at the potential for one or two of Royal Caribbean’s new Oasis class ships to go to either Europe or Asia and the Institute for Shipboard Education announces that it is this month withdrawing from shorter duration cruising.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                            (See previous columns)

Saga Set To Announce Share Float – Twiggy Christens The New Emerald Sky – Norwegian Schedules Two Cruises For Southampton

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 28th April 2014..

Twiggy christens Emerald SkyThis week will determine whether UK travel and insurance group Saga, which owns the cruise ships Saga Pearl II and Saga Sapphire, goes for a flotation on the London stock market. Estimates put the company’s value at about £3 billion (or $5 billion). A good portion of Saga’s holiday business has always been cruising and before buying the Saga Rose in 1997, they were P&O Cruises’ largest customer. Meanwhile, earlier this month in Amsterdam, British model Twiggy (left) christened the 182-berth Emerald Sky, first of four new river cruisers for Emerald Waterways. She will also christen her sister ship Emerald Star in June. These ships, the first of four ordered by Australian-owned newcomer Emerald Waterways, promise  more light, more space and lower fares compared to river operators. They are also now bookable through travel agents. And finally, after an absence of five years, Norwegian Cruise Line will be back in the UK in 2015, with Norwegian Epic making two calls at Southampton. These will be positioning voyages to get her from Barcelona to her five-year drydocking at her builder’s yard in St Nazaire and then back again.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                        (See previous columns)

Saga Sapphire To Cruise To The St Lawrence In The Autumn Of 2015

Saga Sapphire by Stephed CardLeaving Southampton on September 21, 2015, Saga’s 720-berth Saga Sapphire will be heading off on a 32-night cruise to Canada and the Gulf and River St Lawrence. Ports of call will include Ponta Delgada, five nights to St John’s NF, les Iles de la Madeleine, Corner Brook, Havre-St-Pierre, Sept-Iles, Saguenay, Quebec, Montreal (October 9), Baie Comeau, Gaspé, an overnight stay in Halifax, Sydney and seven nights back to Southampton.

Follow in the footsteps of the great explorers and see isolated rural communities, homes to the first nations. See how the cultural identities of cities such as Quebec, Montreal and Halifax, Nova Scotia’s historic capital, were forged by their founding fathers and early settlers. Fares start at £7,199 per person for two sharing an inside cabin, £7,580 for an outside or £9,070 for a Superior with balcony. Ibncludes bathrobes, 24-hour room service

Saga Sapphire Canada cruiseSt John’s lays claim to being the capital of Britain’s oldest colony and the kick-off point for the British Empire. Explore its scrum of historic streets and admire the brightly-painted Victorian houses.

Discover the secrets of the St Lawrence River’s remote North Shore. From Havre-St-Pierre you can seek out the weather-beaten monoliths of the Mingan Archipelago and from Sept-Iles you can learn all about the indigenous Innu people.

Early risers are in for a treat when Saga Sapphire cruises up the 60-mile long Saguenay Fjord – watch the sunrise over forested cliffs that tower above depths of up to 800 feet.

Step into the pages of history when you venture behind the fortified walls of Quebec City. This French colonial city is ruled over by the Château Frontenac, an imposing hotel built at the end of the 19th century.

Visit Montreal, the dynamic cosmopolitan port city on the St Lawrence River. As you explore this UNESCO City of Design, you’re sure to be moved by its distinct brand of French and North American culture best evident in the pavement cafés, gourmet restaurants, art galleries and cobbled historic streets of Old Montreal.

For further details please casll The Cruise Poeple Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

Illustration: Saga Sapphire as depicted by Stephen Card.

Last Voyage of the Saga Ruby Rerouted – STX Finland Secures Finance – Limit at Tampa – Cruising’s Slow Recovery

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 16th December 2013..

 

mein-schiff-3Last week the news broke that the Saga Ruby, on her last cruise in a career spanning forty years, was stranded in Tenerife on her way to the West Indies, with generator problems that would preclude the operation of her air conditioning in the Caribbean. Instead, she will now cruise the Mediterranean. In Finland, troubled STX Finland has secured financing that will enable it to complete its second ship, Mein Schiff 3 (above), for TUI Cruises. Tampa reveals that it has an air draft limitation that will preclude it from accepting mega ships. And New York-based PhoCusWright reports a slow recovery in the mainstream cruise market.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                     (See previous columns)

The Cruise Examiner for 5th September 2011 – Three Ships In, One Out For UK’s Smaller Fleets – Other Cruise News: Minerva To Get An Upgrade – East of Aden for Voyages to Antiquity – Royal Caribbean Fails the Avis Test: Update

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com
by Kevin Griffin

Three Ships In, One Out For UK’s Smaller Fleets – Minerva To Get An Upgrade – East of Aden for Voyages to Antiquity – Royal Caribbean Update

The Voyager has had balconies added and will join the Discovery at Voyages of Discovery

Last week was a big news week for the UK’s small to medium-size cruise ship lines, with announcements that both Voyages of Discovery and Noble Caledonia will be doubling their single-ship fleets, with the Voyager and Caledonian Sky, while Saga’s introduction of the Saga Sapphire will see its smallest ship, Spirit of Adventure, returning to the German market as FTI Berlin. Meanwhile, Voyages of Discovery’s sister line Swan Hellenic has announced plans for a major refurbishment of its Minerva, which will receive more balcony cabins, a forward-facing observation lounge and a new walk-around promenade one deck up from the new balcony cabins. Elsewhere, Voyages to Antiquity will be going year-round rather than seasonal in 2012/13 by adding winter itineraries to the Aegean Odyssey‘s program of summer Mediterranean cruises. And lastly, Royal Caribbean has done an about face on credits for the 130 passengers it left behind from the Serenade of the Seas last month in San Juan.

THIS WEEK’S STORY

(See previous columns) – (Post a comment at the Forum)

Cruising Returns to the North Shore of the Gulf of St Lawrence

Cruising has slowly  been returning to the North Shore of the Gulf of St Lawrence, with Baie Comeau, Sept Iles and Havre St Pierre all having hosted modern cruise ships for the first time in the past few years. The first international cruise ship to visit Sept Iles was Holland America Line’s Maasdam, which called on May 19, 2009, on a voyage from Fort Lauderdale to Montreal. The Maasdam berthed at the Monseigneur Blanche Wharf, where until 1961, the Clarke Steamship Company’s North Shore had offered weekly cruises from Montreal as far as Havre St Pierre and Natashquan. That service also carried regular passengers and freight but was closed down fifty years ago after the highway was extended along the North Shore from Quebec City and Baie Comeau. The North Shore then went to cruise in the Greek islands. Recently, however, a $20.4 million 124-metre extension has been added to the wharf to allow cruise ships of up to 985 feet to dock.

Cruising to the North Shore and Labrador was most popular with the Clarke Steamship Co, founded in 1921 by what up until then had been a family involved in publishing and pulp and paper. To the right is a typical scene from 1935, with Clarke’s North Voyageur, the first of three ships to carry that name, berthed at Clarke City wharf at Pointe Noire, now part of the Port of Sept Iles.

Meeting the ship is the Gulf Pulp & Paper Company’s locomotive number 20, a unit that had been built for the Intercolonial Railway in 1900 and acquired by Gulf Pulp & Paper in 1924. Behind her are a combination passenger and freight car and a number of flat cars. The bell-mouthed smokestack was to prevent sparks from starting forest fires along the nine-mile railway line that linked the wharf with the pulp mill  town of Clarke City.

Cruises on the North Voyageur, which had berths for 62 overnight passengers, ran 12 nights round trip  from Montreal and started at $100. Ports of call included Quebec, Godbout, Clarke City, Havre St Pierre, Natashquan and Corner Brook, Newfoundland, returning via Natashquan, Sept Iles and Franquelin. Today, ships as large as the Queen Mary 2 call at Corner Brook, which has also seen a revival in cruising.

http://www.portsi.com/CLIENTS/1-portsi/images/upload/facilities/_MG_6849.jpg
To the right is the new cruise terminal at Sept Iles, with the Norwegian Spirit in port from New York. The new wharf extension allows cruise passengers to board another train that takes them to visit an Innu summer camp on the Moisie River, a famed salmon river that has been fished by prime ministers.
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In 2012, Crystal Cruises picked up on a formula that has not been used for twenty years now, a 7-night round trip from Montreal on Crystal Symphony, departing September 30. Indicative of the gradual progress being made by the new Gulf of St Lawrence cruise ports, three of her four ports of call, Sept Iles, les Iles de la Madeleine and the French Atlantic islands of St Pierre et Miquelon, were first time calls for Crystal. The fourth port, Quebec, which was visited before returning to Montreal, has recently been voted the most popular cruise port in North America. The 51,0440-ton Crystal Symphony carries 960 guests in great comfort and will be going all-inclusive in 2012.  This Montreal round trip itinerary will be repeated on September 26, 2013, while other Crystal Symphony itineraries will include Havre St Pierre.
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Saga’s Quest for Adventure also offered a new 14-night itinerary last September. Sailing for its Spirit of Adventure brand, she departed Halifax on the 17th for St Pierre et Miquelon, then called on les Iles de la Madeleine, Havre St Pierre, Sept Iles, Montreal, Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Saguenay, Baie Comeau and Gaspé before returning to Halifax. This 18,591-ton vessel can accommodate 446 passengers.
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For further details of opportunities to cruise the Gulf of St Lawrence in particular or Canada/New England in general please call The Cruise People Ltd on 020 7723 2450 or email us at cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk
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