Sale On 11-Night Vietnam & Cambodia River UK Fly/Cruises: In Luxury On The Cruiseco Adventurer, October 2016 To January 2017

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For further information on any of these specials please contact Giulia Marri at The Cruise People Ltd at 88 York Street London W1H 1QT Telephone +44 (0)20 7723 2450, UK Freephone: 0800 526 313, or e-mail PassageEnquiry@aol.com
 

Three New Mississippi Riverboats – Ponant Names Its “Four Explorers” – Two More Cuba Sailings From Fathom

The Cruise Examiner for 19th September 2016

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French America Line’s 150-berth Louisiane, due to enter service next month, is one of three new ships for the Mississippi.

This week we cover three new riverboats on the Mississippi, American Cruise Lines’ 195-berth America, French America Line’s 150-berth Louisiane and American Queen Steamboat Company’s 166-berth American Duchess, announced last week. Also announced last week were Explorer names for Ponant’s four 184-berth newbuildings: Le Bougainville, Le Champlain, Le Kerguelen and Le Lapérouse. Finally, earlier this month, Fathom announced two more Miami departures for Cuba with its 710-berth Adonia.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                            (See previous columns)

New P&O Flagship To Follow AIDA/Costa Design – Other Cruise News: Celestyal Cruises Plans Newbuildings

The Cruise Examiner for 12th September 2016

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P&O’s new 180,000-ton 5,200-berth flagship will be one of seven LNG-powered vessels to be built by Meyer shipyards in Papenburg and Turku, two each for AIDA, Costa and Carnival and one for P&O.

Last week came an announcement from P&O Cruises that it was ordering a new 5,200 lower-berth cruise ship that will have 42.5% more lower berth capacity than the line’s latest ship, the 3,647-berth Britannia, but 10% less space per passenger. Oddly, the announcement seemed to come from P&O Cruises’ Facebook page rather than a press release and the accompanying illustration depicted only the forward end of the ship  (see the Costa image above for a full-ship depiction of one of this class). At the same time, Celestyal Cruises is talking about building a pair of 60,000-ton 1,800-berth ships that would be designed for 3- and 4-night cruising, and making some other changes in its operations as two ships return from charters with Thomson Cruises in 2017.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                                  (See previous columns)

Round the World: Crossing The Atlantic On A Cargo Ship By Katri Lehtinen

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I have just discovered my favorite way to travel. The 12 day voyage was wonderful and I didn’t want it to end, no matter how much I was looking forward to further adventures in the US.

Much of the success of the ship is due to the lovely fellow passengers and crew on board the CMA CGM JAMAICA. We were five passengers: a French couple, and three other women, an American, a German and myself. Everyone was friendly, sociable and willing to party. And party we did. We were invited to a party in the crew recreation room the first day at sea, and the party lasted until 2 am when I had to beg off. The party didn’t really stop until we arrived in Charleston. Sure, the crew had work from 8 am to 5 pm, plus the on call shifts on the bridge and engine room, but that just gave us passengers time to rest until the next party.

The crew onboard was part Ukranian, mostly the officers, and part Filipino, hence most of the crew. The messrooms and recreation rooms were split according to nationality, not officer/crew distinction. I guess it works for them, but as I have been used to very mixed international groups, both at work and with my friends, I find such divisions odd. The Filipino crew especially were absolute darlings and we spent most of our time with them. Imagine our very great surprise when they told us that in their collective many years at sea, we were the first passengers ever to party with them. It may have had something to do with us being mostly women and thus a welcome change from the all-male crew. Whatever the cause, it was magical.

We did take a few nights off, watching movies or BBC’s Jane Austen TV series in my room, and I had a few solitary evenings when I felt the need to re-charge. We also gathered for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the officers’ messroom, took turns around the open deck, and spent time at the forward deck, watching the sea go by. Of course we also got stellar tours of the ship, first inside the super structure including the bridge, then twice around the ship including the outside, and finally the engine room, which was very exciting.

Meal times for passengers were 8 am for breakfast, 12:30 for lunch and 18:30 for dinner. The food was good, plentiful, and mostly potatoes/pasta, meat/fish and vegetables. There was usually also a soup (mostly with meat), and always a few different salads, bread and cheese. Dessert was usually fresh fruit, which was lovely, with an occasional cake or ice cream. I had brought some hummus with me, and I had that usually at breakfast with toast, cucumber and tomatoes. I explained that I was vegetarian at first dinner, so for all other meals I was brought the food without the dead animals automatically. Great service!

The sea was mostly calm, with a few rocky nights, but I held up well. The weather prohibited us from going outside on some days, whether it was due to waves, wind or rain, but on most days we spent at least a few hours outside. I was walking laps around the long forward deck of the ship whenever I could. The last few days were hot and sunny, and despite a high SPF sun screen, I managed to get a sunburn.

The way the ship was organized is that the super structure, i.e. the tall part with all the crew and passenger quarters (in photo) shared spaces and engine control room, stands between the two decks. The back part is shorter, about 50 meters, and the long front part extends about 200 meters. The walkway along the edge in the front is mostly underneath the containers, which dominate both decks. There were nine decks accessible to us: the upper deck where the ship’s office was, decks A-G with cabins and shared spaces, and the bridge. We were allowed on the bridge most of the time, with permission from the officer on charge. Only when they were busy with either departure or arrival, and usually at night time, the bridge was off limits.

Boarding and disembarking went with little fuss and ceremony. I took a taxi to the harbor in Bremerhaven and was dropped off at the reception. They waved me through to a little shed next to the fence, and a shuttle bus picked me up from there. I walked up the gangway to what turned out to be the upperdeck level, submitted my passport, and signed a few papers, and that was it. I was in my cabin at around noon. The ship departed at 11 pm, and I spent it mostly in my cabin, reading. It had been a hectic few days and I was glad of the chance to take it easy. The outside areas were off limits during cargo loading and offloading anyway.

Leaving the ship was also quite straightforward. A US immigration officer came onboard to do a “face check”, i.e. comparing faces to passports, and asking a few questions about me, where I was coming from and what my plans in the US were. I got my stamps, and it all took about 5 minutes. We organized a taxi pickup from the ship with an agent who came to the ship at the same time as immigration. When we were ready, we just walked down the ramp and got on the taxi. There was no customs or further passport checks. Simple!

Two of my worries from an earlier post were thus dispelled. I was not sea sick at all, and there was no trouble with immigration. What I hadn’t expected was the emotional whiplash of leaving the ship after 12 days at sea. We were such a close group of people, amplified with the lack of contact with outside world, that leaving the ship was hard. I would have gladly continued on. After being fully pampered by the lovely crew, in my own suite of rooms, with everything prepared for us, the prospect of other people, traffic, noise, and dealing with my own accommodation, travel and food was daunting.

But, I had to get off, they wouldn’t let me stay. Besides, I had the whole of US waiting for me. And two more cargo ship passages to come.

This voyage set a really high bar for any other cargo ship trip, however, and I will never forget it, or the people I shared it with.

For further details of booking a cargo ship voyage please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

Cruiseco’s Ovation of the Seas Cruise Sale, Singapore To Australia On November 30: Free Upgrades And Half Off Second Passenger

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For those travelling overland also, a wonderful way to get from Southeast Asia to your choice of ports in Australia without flying – sailing to Fremantle (6 nights), Adelaide (11 nights) or Sydney (15 nights). Click through below for cruise-only fares.

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Round The World On Cargo Ships By Katri Lehtinen, from her blog Footprints and Photos

This week, we will be featuring two blog postings by Karli Lehtinen, a Cruise People client who this year has crossed the Atlantic and the Pacific and is now preparing to return from Australia to Europe via Southeast Asia. Here is Katri’s first blog posting on this subject as she was in the midst of her planning this January.

RTW on cargo ships by Katri Lehtinen

FootprintsAndFotos / January 28, 2016

Traveling round the world on a cargo ship, doesn’t that just sound like the most amazing adventure? Not only is it the most environmentally friendly way to cross oceans (more on that in a later post), but it evokes nostalgia for a world gone by.

1920s ship photoBooking a passage on a cargo ship is not as simple as booking a flight, however. You cannot book cargo passages or even view available ships and cabins online. Also, due to limited number of cabins, the passages should be booked 3-6 months in advance. However, it can be done. There are a few agencies who book passages on a cargo ship. I have used The Cruise People Ltd for all my cargo ship bookings. They are based in London and book freighter travel around the world. So how do you do it?

Planning: first, have an idea when and where you would like to go. Or, you can browse around the above website and look for inspiration. I did originally think about getting a freighter from Iceland to Greenland and from there to Canada, but that doesn’t seem possible on cargo ships. If you have found these options, do comment below. I was also thinking about South America, but that would have extended my total travel time too far, so decided to leave that in the dream pile for now.

Getting in touch: once I settled on my current itinerary, from Europe to US, then to Australia and finally to South East Asia, I then simply e-mailed The Cruise People with my questions. At first, my timelines were open, so we only established that they can book all three legs of my cargo journeys. As soon as I knew when I could set off, I sent an inquiry for the EU-US leg with my preferred date range. The agent checked and sent me an option for mid April, which I was happy to accept.

Paperwork, Part 1: I received an option for the journey in return mail, with four pdf files and an excel invoice. The deposit needed to be paid and documents signed within a week to confirm the booking. The initial paperwork depends on the shipping line, but typically includes various terms and conditions, indemnity letter and an identity form with details about myself, such as address and passport details.

Paperwork, Part 2: once the deposit has gone through and the initial paperwork received by the agent, the booking is then confirmed and a final round of paperwork is needed. Again, this varies from ship to ship, but usually includes a declaration that I understand the terms and conditions, a doctor’s certificate qualifying me to travel on a cargo ship, information about travel and health insurance, and relevant visas. Many of these I didn’t have available at time of booking, but they can be provided closer to sail time, fortunately. Having completed what I could, I sent the scans back to the agent.

Photo by Australian National Maritime Museum on The Commons The rest of the passage fare needs to be paid within 2 months of planned departure. The doctor’s certificate can only be obtained less than 30 days of departure. This means that for the US to Australia and Australia to Malaysia, I will need to get these from local clinics in my departure country. Additionally, you need of course a valid passport and visas for all relevant countries. All in all, it can take weeks to book your cargo travel and provide all necessary documents.

Cargo travel is not a fast and cheap travel option. In a single cabin, the cost is around 80-100 euros per day, with additional booking fees, port fees and taxes and a deviation insurance of about 200 euros (in case the ship has to make an unscheduled stop due to a medical reason). Crossing the Atlantic takes around 11 days, with about 21 days from US to Australia, and another 10 days to Malaysia.

Yet, cargo travel is a wonderful option for those with time and money, and ability to commit to a schedule many months in advance.

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For further details of how to book a cargo ship voyage please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

Ocean Liner Society Cruise Departs Barcelona On Sovereign On September 24, Next Year’s Cruise Planned for Celestyal Nefeli

Sovereign

The UK-based Ocean Liner Society’s 2016 annual cruise leaves Barcelona on September 24th on Pullmantur Cruises’ 73,192-ton Sovereign (above) As Sovereign of the Seas, this was the world’s largest cruise ship when built in 1988, measuring more than either the 70,202-ton Norway or the 66,451-ton (at the time) Queen Elizabeth 2.

Several Ocean Liner Society group cruises have taken place on Pullmantur ships. It is now over a decade since the Society first cruised in Pullmantur’s 39,241-ton Oceanic, once the Home Lines flagship, and the 46,087-ton Sky Wonder, which had been built as the Sitmar Line flagship Fairsky. In recent years, the Society has also chosen Pullmantur associate Croisières de France, cruising in its 37,301-ton Bleu de France (now Saga Sapphire) in 2010 and 46,811-ton Horizon in 2012.

For this month’s cruise, the Itinerary is:

Date                                              Ports of Call    
Saturday September 24            Barcelona
Sunday September 25               At Sea
Monday September 26              Olbia, Sardinia
Tuesday September 27             Naples
Wednesday Septenber 28        Rome (Civitavecchia)
Thursday September 29           Florence/Pisa (Livorno)
Friday September 30                 Provence (Toulon)
Saturday October 1                     Barcelona

Celestyal-Nefeli

The 2017 cruise is now being planned for the 19,093-ton Celestyal Nefeli (above), the former Gemini, operated by Celestyal Cruises of Piraeus. Next year’s 7-night cruise will depart Athens (Lavrion) on September 29. Group fares and other details will be available shortly. The last time the Ocean Liner Society travelled in Louis (now Celestyal) ships was in 2009, when it cruised back-to-back in the 23,149-ton Aquamarine and the 16,710-ton Aegean Pearl.  Members should keep their eye out for details of the 2017 cruise in the next issue of Sea Lines magazine.

The Ocean Liner Society is a non-profit organisation whose members celebrate the passenger ship in its many forms. Members of the general public can qualify to travel on this cruise by joining the Ocean Liner Society. Membership is £20 in the UK, £23 in Europe and £25 in the rest of the world. As well as the opportunity of joining Society g oup cruises, this includes a subscription to its 48-page quarterly journal, Sea Lines. Further details can be found at Ocean Liner Society

For further details or to book the 2017 cruise  please call agents The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 and ask for Giulia Marri or e-mail CruisePeopleGM@aol.com.