CMA CGM’s French West Indies Line Still Operates Transatlantic Passenger Sailings All Year Round
24/06/2011 1 Comment
Everyone knows the Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 operates a long-standing Transatlantic passenger service. But few know that there is another Transatlantic service, also descended from one of the big names of the North Atlantic trade, that still continues to trade, week in week out all year long. That line, today known as the French West Indies Line, is operated by the French container line CMA CGM as successors to Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, otherwise known as the French Line, which began serving this route 150 years ago, in 1862.
Until about forty years ago, a full passenger service was maintained by ocean liners such as the 19,828-ton Antilles, shown here, the last to be built for the route, in 1952. Note the electric cranes forward, for handling cargo. Ships built for the service in subsequent years were at first cargo liners and then container ships,but all have continued to carry passengers. The Antilles lasted until 1971, when she grounded off Mustique.
A second generation of four container ships was built for the French West Indies Line to maintain a weekly service connecting the French ports of Dunkirk, Rouen, Le Havre and Montoir with Fort-de-France in Martinique and Pointe-â-Pitre in Guadeloupe. The full round voyage takes 28 days, although one-way and stopover fares are also available.
The four ships in question, the CMA CGM Fort St Georges, Fort St Louis, Fort St Pierre and Fort Ste Marie, are 28,000 tons deadweight carrying capacity, built in 2003, and each accommodates twelve passengers, the maximum that can be carried by a cargo ship without a doctor. Passengers are accommodated in an owners cabin and four twin cabins, each of about 195 sq ft, and two single cabins of about 155 sq ft. Each ship is also equipped with a passenger lounge, a gymnasium and an outdoor swimming pool.
Update: In early 2016 the four sister ships on this route were moved to a new service running Rotterdam – Hamburg – Antwerp – Le Havre – Kingston – Cartagena – Santo Tomas – Puerto Cortes – Moin – Kingston – Rotterdam. This leaves just one chartered vessel, the CMA CGM Pointe Marin, for passengers sailing to and from Martinique and Guadeloupe, where passenger frequency is now monthly instead of weekly.
For more details of passenger voyages in CMA CGM container ships please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@aol.com.