Great Lakes Cargo-Passenger Tramp Service To Re-Open Next April

As the Great Lakes season finishes with the last ships leaving the lakes through the St Lawrence Seaway this week, we take this opportunity to bring you an interesting video from Great Lakes Ships.

This clip shows Polsteam’s m.v. Isolda loaded with grain for Europe, leaving Lake Huron and passing under the Blue Water Bridge into the St Clair River. The bridge joins the cities of Sarnia, Ontario, in Canada (to the right) and Port Huron, Michigan, in the United States (to the left). Within a few hours, she will be passing Detroit. The Isolda and her sister ships carry six passengers each, on two sailings each month.

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The Polska Zegluga Morska (Polish Steamship Co) cargo-passenger service re-opens in April 2012 but bookings are now being taken and further details can be found at Polsteam Great Lakes Passenger Service

Great Lakes round voyages can be booked from Amsterdam/IJmuiden, Cleveland, Ohio, or  Burns Harbor, Indiana, at a fare of $5,995 for 60 days, with refund of $100 per day for a voyage of less than 60 days, or surcharge of $100 per day for days over, and a supplement for the Owners Cabin. The eastbound destination ports are not known until the outward grain cargo is stemmed. The eastbound trade being grain (wheat, corn, soybeans, peas, etc) , most ships load at  Duluth, Minnesota, or Thunder Bay, Ontario, with the rest loading at Milwaukee, Toledo, Montreal, Sorel or Quebec. Destinations are not known until the last minute and can be any of Italy, Morocco, Turkey, Spain, Norway, Poland or Russia before returning to Amsterdam/IJmuiden again to load more steel for Cleveland and Burns Harbor.  Don’t miss the last opportunity to sail on a “tramp ship” service, where the ships follow the cargo.

For further details call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

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The Cruise Examiner for 26th December 2011: Viking Ocean Cruises Orders Two Ocean-Going Cruise Ships – Other Cruise News: Passat Revives the Delphin – Saga’s Plans for Quest for Adventure

          THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 26th December 2011

There is some really good news to end 2011. A new company called Viking Ocean Cruises has just ordered two 41,000-ton 888-passenger cruise ships from STX France in St Nazaire, who are also now building Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2. This is the same shipyard that produced the Queen Mary 2, Crystal Serenity, Seven Seas Mariner, the eight “R” clas ships that now work for Azamara, Oceania, P&O, Princess and, as of next spring, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises as well, and Celebrity Cruises’ Millenium class. As well as having built many mass market ships for its biggest customer, MSC, the famous St Nazaire shipyard that built the Normandie and the France, has managed to get a corner on the bespoke cruise ship market as well. Although the new Viking Ocean ships will be built to a more human scale than man y of today’s behemoths, questions remain as to whether they will have proper forward-facing observation lounges, walkaround promenade decks and tiered decks aft, all marks of a comfortable ship. Meanwhile, an Indian entrepreneur will place the Delphin back into service in the German market after a year of lay up in Venice and Britain’s Saga has some interesting plans for the Saga Pearl II, which will become sister brand Spirit of Adventure’s Quest for Adventure next spring with the delivery of the Saga Sapphire, now trading as Bleu de France.

Note dated April 4, 2012: It now appears that the pending order from Viking Ocean Cruises with STX France has collapsed and the work may go instead to Fincantieri in Italy.

Note dated April 19, 2012: It has now been confirmed that a memorandum of understanding has been signed with Fincantieri to build two, option three, ships and they will now carry 998 passengers as opposed to the originally planned 888, and they will be about 10% larger at 45,000 tons.

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                          (See previous columns)

The Cruise Examiner for 19th December 2011: Cruise Line Tag Lines Over The Years – Other Cruise News: Princess To Operate Three World Cruises From Australia in 2013 – Harmony Princess to Cruise From South Korea

          THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

           by Kevin Griffin

      The Cruise Examiner for 19th December 2011

Over the past forty years there have been two cruise line tag lines that have held up well and are remembered. One is Carnival’s “The Fun Ships” and the other is Princess Cruises’ “The Love Boat.” Everyone else has just been trying. Last week, however, Royal Caribbean revealed its latest – The Sea is Calling. Answer it Royally.” This week, we have a look at some cruise line tag lines past and present. Down Under, Princess Cruises has had such success with operating two world cruises from Australia that in 2013 it will offer three such sailings on the 77,000-ton sister ships Sea Princess, Dawn Princess and Sun Princess. And the Costa Marina goes to new South Korean operators. She arrives in Pusan on Thursday and is set to start cruising next March under the new name of Harmony Princess.


THIS WEEK’S STORY
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The Cruise Examiner for 12th December 2011: Norwegian Announces Its 2013 Program – Other Cruise News: Queen Mary 2 Under Bermudian Flag – Ocean Diamond Joins Quark Expeditions – Princess Cuts New York-Bermuda Program to Two Cruises

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com
by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 12th December 2011

Revitalised: the Queen Mary 2's Commodore Club offers something many ships don't - some great views over the bow

This week, we examine Norwegian Cruise Line’s recently announced deployment plans for 2013. With the delivery of the Norwegian Breakaway, Bermuda will benefit from more capacity, as will both Vancouver and Alaska as Norwegian Sun returns to a trade she left in 2009, while Europe will gain as the larger Norwegian Star replaces the Norwegian Sun. Elsewhere, the now Bermudian-flag Queen Mary 2 sails for New York today after a two-week refit at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, while Quark Expeditions announce the acquisition of a somewhat faster expedition ship with the Ocean Diamond, formerly Le Diamant. Meanwhile, Bermuda takes another hit as Princess Cruises cuts its New York-Bermuda program from eleven cruises this year to just two in 2012.


THIS WEEK’S STORY
                                          (See previous columns)

CruiseTricks Chooses Cruise People/CMA CGM Cargo-Passenger Route as one of its Top Ten Unusual Cruises in the World

The German site www.cruisetricks.de has chosen The Cruise People’s CMA CGM New York to Seattle route via Suez as one of its “Top Ten Unusual Cruises in the World” for 2011. In making its choice, CruiseTricks’s Franz Neumeier said,

“That the French company CMA CGM offers the possibility for up to seven passengers to travel on three of its cargo ships is not unusual. Many cargo ships carry passengers these days. What is unusual about the service offered by the CMA CGM Figaro, CMA CGM La Scala and CMA CGM Tosca, however, is that it follows the route of the first World Cruise undertaken by a passenger ship, as performed by Hamburg America Line’s Cleveland in 1909. These voyages can be booked through The Cruise People Ltd in London.”

The CMA CGM Tosca and fleetmates now connect New York and Seattle (as well as Vancouver BC) via the Suez Canal and Far East ports. © Kevin Quick

Three ships, the CMA CGM Figaro, CMA CGM La Scala and CMA CGM Tosca (shown right), now offer an interesting itinerary between New York and Seattle, as well as Vancouver BC, via the Suez Canal. Known as CMA CGM’s Columbus Loop, the full 112-day round voyage is made via ports in the Far East. Eastbound, ships leave New York via Norfolk and Savannah and sail directly to Tanjung Pelepas, a port in Malaysia located just across the water from Singapore. Calls are then made at Hong Kong, Yantian and Shanghai before proceeding to Pusan, in South Korea, and on to Seattle and Vancouver.

The return voyage is made from Vancouver to Yokohama and then calls at the Chinese ports of Shanghai, Ningbo, Hong Kong and Yantian before returning to New York via Tanjung Pelepas.

Voyage time from New York to Seattle is 60 days and from Seattle to New York 52 days (Vancouver to New York is 49 days). This voyage is for those who love the sea, the longest transit being 32 days from Savannah to Tanjung Pelepas (on the return, Tanjung Pelepas to New York is 23 days).

The new routing retraces the route of the first World Cruise, which was offered by Hamburg America Line’s Cleveland before the Panama Canal had even been opened – but takes half the time. Chartered by Frank C Clark of New York, an early cruise organizer, the Cleveland left New York on October 16, 1909, and took 108 days to proceed across the Atlantic to ports in the Mediterranean, Suez Canal, India and the Far East before finishing the world’s first Round-the-World Cruise in San Francisco on January 31, 1910. Passengers then returned to their homes from the West Coast by train while the Cleveland retraced her steps on a second world cruise. Equally, passengers taking the new Columbus Loop cruise can travel around the world in either direction and complete their circumnavigation in less than two months by making the rail journey across North America.

The CMA CGM Figaro and CMA CGM La Scala carry seven passengers each in three double cabins and one single, with fares set at €80 per person per day or €90 per day for sole occupancy of a double cabin. The CMA CGM Tosca carries up to eight passengers in three double cabins and two singles. Fares include full board, port charges, deviation insurance and complimentary French table wine with lunch and dinner. Part voyages are also possible but the full 105112-day round voyage starts at €8,960 (about $11,895 or £7,490). New York to Seattle is €4,800 (about $6,375 or £4,015) for 60 days and Seattle to New York is €4,160 (about $5,525 or £3,475) for 52 days.

For further details please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

The Cruise Examiner for 5th December 2011: Cruise & Maritime Voyages Sells Out Its Winter Program – Other Cruise News: Portsmouth International Port – London’s Cruise Port of Tilbury – Saga and Stern’s Guide to the Cruise Vacation

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com
by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 5th December 2011

Cruise & Maritime Voyages' 800-passenger Ocean Countess and Marco Polo operate no fly voyages from half a dozen UK ports.

This week, we look at a small two-ship cruise line that has managed to sell out its 2012 winter program, half of which are cruises going north of the Arctic Circle in February and March! Cruise & Maritime Voyages has been making good progress since it was formed in 2009 as the cruise-operating arm of Cruise & Maritime Services. The line carried 36,000 cruise passengers in its 800-passenger Marco Polo and Ocean Countess in 2010 and  another 44,000 this year.

We also examine Portsmouth and Tilbury, two of the UK’s second tier cruise ports. Portsmouth, where the Leading Cruise Agents of the UK held their November meeting, opened a new dedicated passenger terminal in May whereas Tilbury’s London Cruise Terminal, the base for Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Marco Polo, was first opened in 1930 and converted to a cruise ship terminal in 1995.

.And we remind Stern’s Guide to the Cruise Vacation that Saga’s minimum age is 50, not 60, while Quest for Adventure will accept any passenger older than 20.

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THIS WEEK’S STORY
                                          (See previous columns)