Regent Seven Seas Celebrates Twenty Years – Other Cruise News: Weekend Events in Marseilles


          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 28th May 2012 May 26, 1992, saw the initial departure of the Radisson Diamond, so this Saturday marked the twentieth anniversary of what is now Regent Seven Seas Cruises. We take a brief look this week at the important events that have shaped that line over the past two decades. Also this weekend, Sophia Loren baptised the new MSC Divina in Marseilles and the ms Hamburg departed Nice on her inaugural voyage for Plantours & Partner. She will be officially introduced to the German market at an event to be held in Hamburg in early June. Finally, the Cruise Examiner is on board Croisières de France’s new Horizon, the latest product of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and replacement for the Bleu de France, and will report on the latest French cruise ship next week.

                                          (See previous columns)


A Couple of Good Reads For Our Repeat Cargo-Passenger Clients

Pictured, left to right,  at the 75th Anniversary reception of the Propeller Club of London at IMO headquarters are Lord Ambrose Greenway, past president of Cruise Europe and author of Cargo Liners: An Illustrated History, Kevin Griffin, managing director of The Cruise People Ltd,  Canadian television and print journalist Fred Langan and Jean van Steenberghe, vice president of Fednav Europe Ltd.

Lord Greenway’s latest book Cargo Liners, An Illustrated History can be purchased at Pen and Sword Books for £15.20 a copy, reduced from £18.99. This new book, illustrated with a magnificent collection of more than 300 photographs, begins with the establishment of routes around Europe and across the North Atlantic in the 1850s. Not until compound engines were developed did vessels steam further afield, to the Far East and Australia. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 cemented the dominance of the cargo liner and only with the appearance of the first container ships was that dominance overthrown. Many of these ships carried up to twelve passengers.

For those who speak French, the latest edition of  the Guide des Voyages en Cargo (et autres navires) by Hugo Verlomme and Mark Bombail can be purchased from Amazon UK for £15.54.Listing hundreds of routes across seas and oceans worldwide. Mythical destinations: Buenos Aires, Valparaiso, Singapore, Sydney, Papéeté, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Vancouver … the poles, the tropics, islands, fjords and icebergs. Ships large and small will take you there, merchant ships, working ships, cargo ships, coasters, expedition ships. Sea voyages with style. Thanks to an amazing choice of routes, ships and itineraries, travellers in larger numbers are turning towards the sea, happy to escape the realms of mass market tourism and the dictates of airlines. Included in this work is an interview with Cruise People head Kevin Griffin.

For further details of cargo ship voyages please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail

STX France Mix Up Their Facts on Delivery of MSC Divina – Other Cruise News: Royal Caribbean In Europe: 12 Ships to 9, But UK Goes From 2 to 3 – Salvage Work Begins on Costa Concordia


          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 21st May 2012

After a century and a half of building ships, someone at STX France slipped up last week and left the shipyard’s general manager in the embarassing position of quoting an inaccuracy. Namely, that the yard had built eleven ships that now traded for MSC and that never before had so many ships been built for one owner. Perhaps something was missing in the final version, but this is the same shipyard that built twice as many ships for the old French Line, including the s.s. Normandie, pictured here. Meanwhile, although Royal Caribbean International will be cutting back on the number of ships it bases in Europe in 2013, it will increase by a third the number based in the UK, with Adventure of the Seas and Independence of the Seas sailing from Southampton and Brilliance of the Seas from Harwich. Also last week, details were announced for the salvage of the Costa Concordia.

                                          (See previous columns)

Riviera Confirms Oceania Cruises’ Positioning in the Marketplace

Oceania Cruises’ Riviera, sister ship of Marina delivered in January 2011, was christened in Barcelona on Friday, May 11. At 66,084 tons, she would have been one of the largest in the world two decades ago, but is now just a footnote in an age where cruise ships have exceeded 225,000 tons and carry more than 6,000 passengers. In fact, more than 100 cruise ships exceed the size of these two sisters. But those big ships, with all their children’s attractions (and we all know that some adults are just grown up children), are much more like fun fairs than the cruise ships we used to know.

Riviera and her sister ship, however, are built to a more human scale, retaining their attachment to the sea. They are not, like the big ships, travelling engineering marvels. But they are sophisticated.

As in days of yore, these ships exude quality on board and offer a quality cruising experience, reminscent of the style New Yorkers used to experience in Home Lines’ Oceanic, the first large purpose-built cruise ship, and Holland America Line’s once Transatlantic liner Rotterdam in the 1960s and 70s, and Brits knew with P&O’s traditional Canberra and Oriana after they went cruising, while both sides shared the same experience in Cunard Line’s Caronia. Riviera and Marina are very similar in dimensions if not in tonnage to these well-remembered ships, much as if this style of ship has returned after half a century:

                         Ship                           Built               Gross tons         Dimensions      Lower Berths

                         Caronia                      1949               34,183               715 x 91’              932

                         Rotterdam                1959               38,645               748 x 94’            1,150

                         Oriana                        1960               41,920               804 x 98’            1,350

                         Canberra                    1961               44,807              818 x 103’         1,399

                         Oceanic                      1965               39,241               782 x 97’            1,200

                         Riviera                        2012               66,048              777 x 105’          1,250

Oceania Cruises has furthermore pulled a brilliant coup by positioning their ships as upper premium rather than ultra-luxury. This means that it is easier to exceed passengers’ expectations when the ships’ position in the market is understated.

This formula has won the day for Oceania and the proof of it is in the 2012 issue of the Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships. Not only has Marina, the first of the twins, scored highly, achieving a full five stars and 1701 points out of 2000, but she has eclipsed her own supposedly more upmarket stablemates over at Regent Seven Seas Cruises, the all-inclusive arm of Prestige Cruise Holdings. Ironically, and I’m sure this is not what Prestige intended, the three Regent ships have received only four stars plus and an average of 1633 points out of 2000.

The reviews for both of the new ships have been consistently good, with the only criticism being that unlike the traditional cruise ships named above the new sisters have no walkaround promenade deck. However, the new Oceania sisters measure an impressive 52.8 tons per passenger, offering about a third more space per passenger compared to the average of about 40 on most contemporary ships.

The Riviera will offer a total of twenty Mediterranean cruises before heading for her new home port of Miami in November. Meanwhile, with two new ships now delivered to Oceania, it was reported that the top executives from both Prestige Cruise Holdings and the Italian shipbuilders Fincantieri who built the latest pair, were back on board Riviera negotiating the next newbuilding for Regent Seven Seas. And in the UK market, Oceania last week introduced free flights from London.

For details on any Oceania or Regent cruise please call Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail

Caledonian Sky Enters Service – Other Cruise News: Could Greek Cruises Get Cheaper? – Riviera Confirms Oceania Cruises’ Superb Positioning in the Marketplace


          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 14th May 2012

.Present-day view of London’s West India Docks from Caledonian Sky‘s Lido Deck.
After two and a half years sailing out of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Genoa as a sheik’s private yacht, Noble Caledonia’s latest acquisition, the Caledonian Sky, was shown off to the public in London last week. Having undergone conversion back to a cruise ship at Gothenburg over the winter, the former Hebridean Spirit was on show to invited Noble Caledonia clients and trade visitors. The Cruise Examiner therefore took advantage of the opportunity to have a look at her on Friday in London’s West India Docks. Elsewhere, with some observers pointing to the chances of Greece having to leave the euro as 50% to 75%, we speculate as to what that might do to cruising in Greece. Finally, with the christening of Oceania Cruises’ new Riviera in Barcelona on Friday we look at Oceania’s rather successful positioning in the marketplace.

                                          (See previous columns)

Holland America’s Maasdam Opens Montreal Cruise Season; Record 55,500 Cruise Passengers Expected in 2012, Up 46% on 2011

Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony in the St Lawrence River at Quebec, en route to Montreal

Montreal’s 2012 cruise season, which starts this Saturday with the arrival of Holland America Line’s Maasdam at Alexandra Pier, will set a record: 55,500 passengers are expected to visit Montreal, up 46% over last season. From May 12 to October 24, 2012, 49,000 passengers are expected to transit through the passenger terminal during 35 scheduled international stopovers, and a further 6,500 passengers will embark on domestic cruises, primarily for the Gaspé and the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St Lawrence. Pictured above is Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony, which will operate a 7-night round-trip cruise from Montreal on September 30.

“I am absolutely thrilled by these results that show a very promising future for Montreal’s international cruise industry as well as significant economic spinoffs for the city,” said Sylvie Vachon, president and ceo of the Montreal Port Authority, at a press conference held this morning at Iberville Passenger Terminal. Cruise lines calling at Montreal this season will include Aida Cruises, Blount Small Ship Adventures, Crystal Cruises, CTMA, Holland America Line, Oceania Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, St Lawrence Cruise Lines, Seabourn, Silversea and Travel Dynamics International.

“The success of the 2012 cruise season isn’t a coincidence. Those involved in this rapidly developing industry have joined forces on the Montreal Cruise Committee and have established the success of this sector as a major priority,” said the Hon Charles Lapointe, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tourisme Montréal.

Led by Tourisme Montréal and the Montreal Port Authority, the Montreal Cruise Committee brings together Aéroports de Montréal, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, the Old Port of Montreal Corporation, the Hotel Association of Greater Montreal, the City of Montreal, Casino de Montréal and the Société de développement commercial du Vieux-Montréal. The committee is also supported by the Ministère du Tourisme du Québec. The 2012 cruise season should generate about $14 million in economic benefits.

For more information on cruising to or from Montreal and Quebec as well as New England call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail

New Cruise Destination: The Coast of West Africa – Other Cruise News: Costa Takes Delivery of Costa Fascinosa and Names New CEO


          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 7th May 2012

The Ocean Princess departed Cape Town today for West Africa © Ian Shiffman

Today’s departure of Princess Cruises’ 688-berth Ocean Princess from Cape Town on a 28-night West African Adventure cruise brings attention to a new cruise destination that is slowly attracting more attention from international cruise lines. West Africa now attracts calls by Crystal Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, G Adventures, Noble Caledonia, Phoenix Reisen, Princess Cruises, Saga, Silversea Cruises, Travel Dynamics International and Variety Cruises, to name just some of the more obvious. Among these, Fred. Olsen is a newcomer, and will be making regular calls next winter with its 930-berth Braemar, while Saga will have three of its ships on the coast over the next year and Travel Dynamics International is bringing in a larger vessel with the 100-berth Corinthian. Meanwhile, as Costa Cruises takes delivery of its newest ship, the 3,016-berth Costa Fascinosa, it announces some changes to its safety regime as well as the appointment of Michael Thamm as new ceo of the Costa Cruises Group.

                                          (See previous columns)