More Ships For China – Other Cruise News: Norwegian’s “Feestyle Cruising” – Record Cruise Day For Dublin

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 27th July 2015

Quantum of the Seas © Hafen Hamburg

Royal Caribbean International’s 4,180-berth Quantum of the Seas is now the largest Chinese-based cruise ship

Carnival Corp & plc announced last week that it would soon have six ships based in China, three year-round and three on a seasonal basis. On top of this, a member of the 3,560-berth “Royal Princess” class, will be designed and built specifically for the Chinese market. Royal Caribbean Cruises, by comparison, will soon have five ships based in China. Generally larger than those sent by Carnival, they will include the 4,180-berth Quantum of the Seas (seen above in Hamburg) and Ovation of the Seas, as well as the 3,114-berth Voyager of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas. With Norwegian Cruise Line having increased gratuity levels twice this year, as well as adding a room service charge and switching to a la carte pricing in many of its alternative restaurants, we have a look at its new version of “feestyle cruising.” And Dublin sees 13,000 cruise visitors in a day.

Three 100,000-tonners For Crystal – Other Cruise News: More Cuba News From Haimark – Norwegian’s A La Carte Pricing

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 20th July 2015

Crystal Exclusive

Three 100,000-ton all-suite all-balcony “Crystal Exclusive” class polar-capable ships, the first of which is due to enter service in late 2018, will carry 1,000 passengers each with a crew of 1,000, and include 48 private residences on the top deck.

Two weeks ago The Cruise Examiner disclosed that the Megastar Taurus was about to join Crystal Cruises, which it will now do in December as the Crystal Esprit. But now comes even bigger news. As well as introducing Crystal Yacht Cruises, the brand will inaugurate Crystal River Cruises as an upmarket all-inclusive river product and Crystal Luxury Air for air cruises. But that’s not all. The really big news is that Crystal is about to order three new all-inclusive ultra-luxury 1,000-berth 100,000-ton Crystal Exclusive class ships, starting in late 2018. Elsewhere, Haimark Line has announced that it will beat Carnival’s fathom brand to the re-commencement of cruise service from Florida to Cuba. Haimark begins service in February and fathom in May. And Norwegian is changing many of its alternative dining venues to a la carte pricing.

Cuba Cruise Market To Expand In 2016 – Other Cruise News: East Coast Changes At Holland America

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 13th July 2015

MSC Opera as stretchedLast week saw two major announcements that will affect the Cuba cruise busines not only in 2016, but also for years to come. The first came from MSC Cruises, which announced that it would be basing its 1,756-berth MSC Opera (above) at Havana from December until April 2016, while the second was an announcement by Carnival Corp & plc that fathom’s 710-berth Adonia would be offering fortnightly 7-night sailings from Miami to Cuba. Further north, not only Bermuda, but also Quebec suffered in a planned shuffle by Holland America Line.
FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                           (See previous columns)

The End Of Direct Cargo-Passenger Service Between the UK and Hong Kong – With New Alternative Routes Via Nearby Yantian

cma cgm jules-verneWith CMA CGM’s French Asia Line 1 dropping its calls in Hong Kong, there will no longer be any direct route betwen Southampton and Hong Kong. And, for the moment, with no other carrier taking passengers to Hong Kong, there will no longer be a direct UK to Hong Kong link.
In fact, the best regular route left to Hong Kong will be from Malta on CMA CGM’s Columbus Loop service. This is quite a fast trip at 22 days, with a single call in Port Kelang en route. By comparison, Southampton to Yantian, near Hong Kong, by French Asia Line 1 is 37 days and Le Havre to Yantian 29 days.
Passengers returning from Hong Kong will now have to embark in the nearby Shenzhen ports of Yantian (20 miles away) or Chiwan (22 miles). For example, travellers can board in Yantian for a 24-day trip with French Asia Line 3 to Le Havre, with a call at Port Kelang en route. An alternative for direct return to the UK is to board French Asia Line 1 in Yantian for the 26-day voyage back to Southampton via Port Kelang and Algeciras.
These changes have been brought about because of schedule adjustments in a cooperation agreement with China Shipping Container Lines and the United Arab Shipping Company, together with the introduction to the China trade of ultra large container ships (ULCCs) of 11,000 to 16,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent) container capacity.
Hong Kong continues to offer several services to the Americas, however, both North and South, as well as South Africa and Australasia.
For further details on sailing to and from Hong Kong or nearby ports please contact Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail

Monfalcone Shipyard Shut For Almost A Week – A New Ship For Hurtigruten – Crystal’s New Expedition Ship?

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 6th July 2015

MegaStar Taurus

Will Star Cruises’ little 72-berth MegaStar Taurus join the newly-acquired Crystal Cruises fleet under a new name?

Last week saw the closure of Fincantieri’s main shipyard at Monfalcone due to a court order seizing certain portions of the yard used to store waste products. A government decree was then passed on Friday so that work can recommence at the yard, which is building two large cruise ships for Carnival and Princess plus the first of its new Seaside class for MSC. Meanwhile, Hurtigruten has acquired a passenger vessel in Portugal that it intends to convert to an expedition ship and unconfirmed rumours from Singapore have Star Cruises’ luxury small ship Megastar Taurus about to join the Crystal fleet.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                           (See previous columns)

One-Time Only Singapore-to-Sydney Sailing November 22, 2015, On Board SuperStar Virgo, Starting at £1,325 per person Cruise Only

SuperStar Virgo sternSeveral container ships that used to carry passengers between Singapore and Australia, as well as New Zealand ports, including the Hebe and the Praha, have recently been transferred elsewhere. The result is that overland travellers must now head for Hong Kong, China or Tawain to catch the CMA CGM Hugo in order to sail to Australia.

Relief is in sight in the fourth quarter of this year, however, as Star Cruises is scheduling a once-only voyage from Singapore to Sydney this November by the SuperStar Virgo (shown above), with arrival at Sydney set for Wednesday, December 9, well in time for Christnas. The full itinerary for this cruise follows (no part voyages are available):

Date             Port              Times
22-Nov-15 Sail from Singapore 2000
24-Nov-15 Jakarta (Tanjung Priok) 0800-2000
25-Nov-15 Cruising Krakatoa 0400-0600
28-Nov-15 Geraldton, WA 1100-1900
29-Nov-30 Fremantle, WA 0800-1800
30-Nov-15 Albany, WA 1300-2100
03-Dec-15 Adelaide 0800-2200
05-Dec-15 Melbourne arrives 0800
06-Dec-15 Melbourne sails 0500
07-Dec-15 Tasmania 0900-2300
09-Dec-15 Arrives Sydney 0700

SuperStar Virgo PromenadeFares (including port charges) 

17 Nights Singapore to Sydney 
Inside         £1,325 per person double, £1,853 single
Outside      £1,640 per person double, £2,325 single
Balcony      £1,890 per person double, £2,700 single


If you’re travelling overland and want to cross the seas to Australia, please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail

More New Transatlantic Cargo-Passenger Sailings: Every Four Weeks, Savannah and New York to Antwerp, Rotterdam and Bremerhaven

Portugal © A SpoerriTomorrow sees the first voyage from New York of a new four-weekly cargo-passenger service connecting Savannah and New York with Antwerp, Rotterdam and Bremerhaven. Known as ATL4, the new rotation has been opened by Maersk and MSC to supplement the two lines’ existing services.

The 63,510-ton F Laeisz-owned Portugal departs New York tomorrow and will offer subsequent sailings on July 31, August 28, September 25, October 23, November 27 and in late December. Westbound sailings from Bremerhaven will take place on July 16, August 14, September 10, October 8, November 5 and December 3. F Laeisz is a Hamburg shipowner of long standing, having been the owners of the “Flying P” clipper ships Pamir, Passat and Peking, amongst others. The Portugal features a swimming pool, sauna and recreation room in addition to the normal cargo ship traditions of dining with the officers and being allowed to visit the bridge.

The Portugal features three twin-bedded and one double-bedded passenger cabin, with view to the sides or forward. Fares are €89 per person per day plus a total of €252 in port fees, deviation insurance and booking fees. Sole occupancy is €99 per day plus extras. New York to Antwerp in 10 days thus costs €1,142 per person double or €1,242 single, while Le Havre to Savannah takes 9 days and costs €1,053 per person double or €1,143 single.

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


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