Cunard Line Announces 2014 Programme – Viking River Names Ten Ships In One Day – Un-Cruise Adventures Acquires Eighth Vessel

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 25th March 2013

Aquitania

Cunard Line’s Aqutania departed Liverpool on May 30, 1914, on her maiden voyage to New York

Cunard Line last week announced itineraries for its three Queens on cruises that will see the ships call at 167 ports worldwide. Special events include the 10th anniversary of Queen Mary 2’s entry into service and the 100th anniversary of the Aquitania’s maiden voyage from Liverpool. Last Wednesday, meanwhile, Viking River Cruises named ten new river cruisers, four in Amsterdam and six in the Neptun shipyard in Roctock. And from across the water comes news that Un-Cruise Adventures is about to acquire its eighth vessel.

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AidaStella and MSC Preziosa Join World Cruise Fleet – European Markets – UK & Canadian Incoming Markets

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 18th March 2013

 

This week sees two new ships join the world cruise fleet, with the AidaStella and MSC Preziosa both due at Genoa on Friday. With last week’s Cruise Shipping Miami convention, we also have a look at recently-released statistics that show a decline in the Italian and Spanish markets but increases in the German and French markets. At the same time, while the UK saw a 10% increase in incoming cruise visitors, a report on Canada indicates that that country receives almost triple the number of cruise visitors annually that the UK does. With $2.38 billion in annual benefits to the country, the Canadian Tourism Commission will once again be a headline sponsor for this year’s UK Cruise Convention in Southampton.

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UK Cruise Market Stagnates, Ports Gain, Airports Lose – Lindblad Buys Orion Expeditions – Travel Dynamics Revives An Old Tradition

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 11th March 2013

A Week's CruiseLast week, the Passenger Shipping Association delivered its final set of annual UK cruise statistics before becoming CLIA UK. The presentation confirmed that there had been essentially no growth in the market, while prices have been dropping. At the same time, the market is changing. While a planeload a day no longer fly to their ships, an extra shipload is sailing from the UK every week. In the expedition sector, Lindblad Expeditions announced the acquisiition of Orion Expedition Cruises of Australia. And New York-based small ship operator Travel Dynamics International is reviving the Great Lakes tradition of cruising to Mackinac Island, with a 4th of July cruise from Chicago in its 130-berth Yorktown. [brochure above, Goodrich Steamship Lines, cruising from Chicago to Mackinac Island in 1913].

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Azamara Club Cruises and Celebrity Cruises Win Hands Down In Cruise Critic Readers’ Awards, With Oceania Cruises Next In Line

Azamara QuestSister lines Celebrity and Azamara walked away with the top positions in the Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice awards last week. Looking at the top five ships in three categories in the US and UK polls, Celebrity scored nine firsts and Azamara eight, followed by Oceania and Thomson with six each in the categories we chose.

For purposes of its polls, Cruise Critic defined a medium-sized ship as carrying between 1,200 and 1,999 passengers, with anything above that being defined as large and anything below as small. The results are laid out below for the best five ships in each category for each of the UK and US, as well as the best ship in each category for dining, entertainment and service for the UK and US. The actual ships’ scores are given in brackets. Some of the surprising results: are given below.

Cruise Critic Cruisers Choice awards 2013 - Scores courtesy of Cruise Critic

       Cruise Critic Cruisers Choice awards 2013 – Courtesy of Cruise Critic

Celebrity EclipseThe most interesting outcome was that of the forty-eight results laid out above, Royal Caribbean brands collected eighteen of the top spots, compared to only four for Carnival brands, despite being severely outnumbered. Proof of a good design and concept, Celebrity’s nine wins were all by 2,850-berth Solstice class ships (Celebrity Eclipse pictured above) except for 1,814-berth Celebrity Century positioning third in the UK medium ships category. Celebrity also took the UK’s top three large ship positions.

Azamara did proportionally even better in that with only two 684-berth ships, it managed to pick up eight of these awards. The other Royal Caribbean win was the 5,408-berth Allure of the Seas, which took third-best large ship in the US results.

oceania_marinaOceania managed six wins in the categories we have chosen, all by its two newest ships, the 1,258-berth Marina and Riviera. But the real surprise was Thomson Cruises walking away with six awards, not only from their own market in the UK but also from US voters. We can think of only one reason for that and that is that the UK results must be included in the US ones, but the website is not clear as to the methodology.

Certainly, with Thomson selling off brands, such as its ski operation, Neilson, and contemplating unloading others to pay down £1.6 billion in debt, any aspiring bidder might look at Thomson Cruises as a possible acquisition. That its older ships should have achieved tops in the mid-size awards for entertainment in both polls and also outscored Carnival’s brand-new 3,690-berth Carnival Breeze makes Thomson worth a look.

Actual cruisers were polled here and of the Carnival brands only one ship from each of Carnival, Cunard, Holland America and Seabourn managed to score in this sample, and none from P&O or Princess. What makes it even odder is that Carnival Breeze won her spot in the UK survey and not the US one. In the US, Disney managed to score as many wins as all Carnival brands combined.

Norwegian Cruise Line and Crystal each achieved three places, but Azamara’s two ultra-premium ships taking eight places to only three for Crystal’s two ultra-luxury ships is an interesting surprise.

To book an Azamara or Celebrity cruise and to book an Oceania cruise please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

Celebrity & Azamara Top Cruisers’ Choice Awards – Nassau Forgot the Epic Was Coming To Town – Two More Ships Going All-Inclusive

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 4th March 2013

Celebrity Eclipse

Last week, Cruise Critic announced its UK and US Cruisers’ Choice Awards for 2013 and Celebrity and Azamara came out at the very top of all the lines, for large and small ships, respectively, while Oceania took top prizes for its medium-sized Marina and Riviera. Disney also captured top places, but only in the US, and a surprise winner on both sides of the Atlantic was Thomson Cruises. You can see the detailed results in this week’s Cruise Examiner. Meanwhile, Nassau forgot one of its regular callers last month and didn’t have a spot for the Norwegian Epic when she arrived for her usual visit the Friday before last, and we take a look at the incursions that the all-inclusive concept is making into the cruise market.

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