South Pacific Cargo Ship Voyage: Aranui 5’s Maiden Voyage To The Marquesas and Tuamotu Islands Is Set for 6th June 2015

Aranui 5Compagnie Polynésienne de Transport Maritime (CPTM), who operate the South Pacific island supply ship Aranui 3 from Papéeté to the Marquesas and Tuamotu Islands, have announced that their new Aranui 5 (see image above) will make her maiden voyage from Papéeté on June 6, 2015. The Aranui 5, which is beiong built in China, will replace the present ship and will have additional capacity as well as more facilities for passengers. Details will follow later but below is a detailed outline of the usual itinerary. For further details please call Miri Lopusna at the Cruise People Ltd in London or e-mail

    Day 1: Departure from Papeete dock at 10:30 am

Day 2: Fakarava is the largest atoll in the Tuamotu. There is snorkeling and scuba diving for people of all levels. You can swim and snorkel in the translucent lagoon to watch the colourful ballet of tropical lagoon fish. The entire morning will be spent on shore. Lunch will be served on board while we set sail for the Marquesas.
Day 3: You can relax with a book on one of the sun decks, swim in the small pool or enjoy the immense South Pacific. Balmy evenings mean reading in lounge/library or chatting with an authority on Marquesan culture or archaeology. You’ll probably spend many evenings socializing on the upstairs deck/bar with your fellow adventurers from around the world. The spirited Polynesian crew treat you like welcomed guests and proudly introduce you to their rich culture. Almost every night, they sing and strum hypnotic Polynesian rhythms on their ukuleles and will teach you to move your hips to hypnotic beat of the tamure.
Day 4: We sail into Taiohae’s spectacular bay, a giant volcanic amphitheater dominated by towering cliffs streaked with waterfalls. As the Aranui unloads, you can explore Taiohae, the tiny Administrative capital of the Marquesas. Taiohae Bay is where a 23-year-old sailor , He man Melville and a buddy jumped a whaling ship in 1842. We follow their escape route by jeep along steep, winding dirt mountain roads to the village of Hatiheu to visit an archeological site. We’ll have lunch at Yvonne’s Restaurant, one of the best restaurants in the Marquesas, where the specialty is pig baked in an underground oven. You’ll meet the owner-chef, Yvonne, who also happens to be the town’s energetic mayor. After lunch, we will travel to the valley of Taipivai. The area is dotted with stone tiki gods and sacred ritual sites (me’ae) and immense stone platforms (paepae) where the Taipi built their houses. Enigmatic petroglyphs of birds, sacred turtles and fish are carved on huge boulders. The Aranui’s whaleboats will sail down the river to return you to the Aranui, which is anchored in the bay.
Day 5: From the deck, you’ll see the soaring mountain spires of Ua Pou. Whenever the Aranui stops, villages greet it. As the muscular crew unloads supplies – from cements to sugar – and loads sacks of copra (dried coconut meat), you’ll explore the tiny town of Hakahau with its church with a hand-carved wooden dais. You can meet some talented woodcarvers and hike up a hill for a breathtaking view of the distant cloud-covered mountains. At Rosalie’s Restaurant, you’ll taste your first Marquesan lunch: breadfruit, a marquesan staple, along with curried goat, barbecued rock lobster, poisson cru (raw fish marinated in lime juice and soaked in coconut milk ), taro and sweet red bananas.
Day 6: We have plenty of time to explore Atuona, the second largest village in Marquesas. This is where Paul Gauguin lived and did some of his best work. You can visit the colonial store where Gauguin shopped and go into a replica of the Impressionist’s infamous “House of Pleasure.” As you walk up the hill to the cemetery, you’ll have sweeping views of the harbor. Beneath a huge frangipani tree is a tombstone with the simple words: Paul Gauguin 1903. Nearby is the grave of another famous European who also was seduced by Hiva Oa: Belgian singer-composer Jacques Brel, who died in 1978. You’ll also enjoy another lavish Marquesan lunch at Hoa Nui Restaurant.
Day 7: This is the most lush and remote island of the Marquesan. It’s also a center of Marquesan crafts. As our guides lead you through the village of Omoa, you’ll see women hammering mulberry, banyan or breadfruit bark on logs. They dry it and then paint ancient Marquesan designs on their famous tapa cloth. Fatu Hiva is also well-known for its hand-painted pareus (sarongs) and monoi, a perfumed coconut oil scented with tiare blossoms and sandalwood. Skilled woodcarvers will invite you into their home/studios.
Day 8: We’ll travel by foot or by jeep to the most important archeological sites for tikis (ancient, human-like religious sculptures) other than Easter Island. Our trained guides will show you these mysterious jungle ruins of Puamau and tell the stories of these haunting statues of an ancient civilization. Bring plenty of film.
Day 9: On this leaf-shaped island, the air is thick with fragrant scent of tiare, frangipani and history. In the tiny village of Vaitahu, Spanish explorers landed in 1595 and opened fire on a crowd of the curious islanders, killing about 200. When the first missionaries came in 1797, the generous local chief left his wife with missionary John Harris, with instruction that he treat her as his own wife. Harris fled the next day. Tahuata also is the site of the first French settlement in the Marquesas in 1842. The huge church built by the Vatican, is decorated with beautiful Marquesan carvings. We’ll picnic in the Valley of Hapatoni and swim and snorkel at a nearby beach.
Day 10: We’ll visit a museum with exquisite replicas of Marquesan art. Some Aranui passengers will explore the island by four-wheel drive; others will ride the Marquesan horses. For three hours, we will explore the mountain landscape with heart-stopping views of the Pacific. The wild horses (brought from Chile in 1856) thrive here, outnumbering the islands 476 residents. We’ll have a Marquesan lunch at local restaurant and have plenty of time to visit studios of woodcarvers. We’ll visit the arboretum and the garden of fruits and flower. Back on the Aranui, it’s Polynesian night with dancing and buffet dinner on the decks.
Day 11: The Aranui will dock in Nuku Hiva at Taiohae in the morning. You may take the Le Truck back to the town center and spend free time there. At noon, the ship will sail to Ua Pou, returning to our first stop in the Marquesas, Hakahau. This is your last chance to buy Marquesan crafts.
Day 12: At sea.
Day 13: On lovely Rangiroa, the largest atoll in the world, we’ll picnic on coral beach. Aranui passengers can swim and snorkel in a translucent lagoon. Excellent snorkeling and scuba diving are available for people of all levels. “Rangi” is an underwater jewel box with stunning colors of corals and clouds of tropical fishes. You’ll have the opportunity to purchase black pearls from local black pearl.
Day 14: Arrival back in Pepeete about 9:30 am.For further details please call Miri Lopusna at the Cruise People Ltd in London or e-mail

Trio of US East Coast-Australia-New Zealand Ships Relaunch Cargo-Passenger Service – Three More Ships To Follow

Spirit of Sydney © Roberto Smera

The container ship Spirit of Sydney (ex-Bahia Negra) carries three passengers in an Owners cabin and a single cabin.

With the renaming of the Spirit of Melbourne (ex-Bahia Grande), Spirit of Sydney (ex-Bahia Negra) and Spirit of Auckland (ex-Bahia), the cargo-passenger service from Philadelphia and Charleston to Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, and on to Port Chalmers, Napier and Tauranga sees a relaunch and bookings are once again being taken. Three more ships are likely to follow in the Spirit of Shanghai (ex-Bahia Castillo), Spirit of Singapore (ex-Bahia Blanca) and Spirit of Hamburg (ex-Bahia Laura).

These ships offer one Owners Cabin and one more cabin, either single or double depending on the ship. The quickest southbound transit time is 25 days from Charleston to Auckland or 28 days Charleston to Sydney and the quickest northbound is 26 days from Auckland to Philadelphia or 36 days Melbourne to Philadelphia. The full 70-day round trip starts at €7,085 (about £6,075 or US $10,125) per person and one-way bookings are also possible.

For further details and bookings please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail

The Battle For Southampton 2015 – More Large Ships For Star Cruises and MSC – Costa Voyager Goes To Bohai Ferry

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 17th February 2014..Britannia Atrium

Last week, P&O Cruises’ new 141,000-ton Britannia was floated out at Monfalcone, marking the first step towards a battle for cruise supremacy at the UK’s major cruise port of Southampton, to take place in 2015. Just five weeks after Britannia enters service, Royal Caribbean’s 167,800-ton Anthem of the Seas will join her at Southampton and the contest will begin. Above is Britannia‘s stylish three-deck Atrium, while below is Anthem of the Seas‘ more casual Two70 lounge, which overlooks the stern.

Anthem Two70 Lounge

This week, we look at the scene and compare the ships. Elsewhere, Star Cruises has confirmed an order for a second 3,364-passenger cruise ship from Meyer Werft while MSC Cruises is negotiating a larger order for four mega ships at STX France. Meanwhile, Costa Cruises’ Costa Voyager has been sold to China’s Bohai Ferry Co Ltd, who intend to enter the Far East cruise market through a new Hong Kong-based subsidiary.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                        (See previous columns)

Holland America Line Returns To Front Street In 2015 – This Time From Boston – And The Story Of The Bermuda Veendams

Last week came good news from Holland America Line for the merchants of Front Street in Bermuda, when it was revealed that the 57,092-ton Veendam will return to Bermuda in 2015. So far sailings have been scheduled for May 2, 9 & 30, June 6 & 27 and July 4, although more could follow for both 2015 and 2016.

Unlike her previous service to Bermuda, however, these will be 7-night Saturday sailings from Boston rather than from New York.

Until 2012, the 1,348-berth Veendam had been regularly engaged on the New York-Bermuda run but late that year she was reassigned to Canada/New England cruises between Boston and Quebec. She entered that trade in the autumn of 2012 and returned for a full summer season in 2013 and will do another this year.

Part of her move from Bermuda to the St Lawrence trade involved incentives of $1.15 million to be paid to Holland America Line over three years by the Province of Quebec and City of Quebec. How this new deployment will affect the St Lawrence trade is not yet known but Holland America Line gains two clear advantages by sending the Veendam back to Bermuda.

Firstly, Bermuda has now passed legislation that allows cruise operators to keep their casinos open from 9 pm until 5 am, which in turn allows their ships to profit from additional on board spend while in port. This previous ban had been one of the reasons that had impelled Holland America not to renew its Bermuda contract after 2012.

The other is that under the regulations of the new (2012) North American Emission Control Area (ECA), it will be possible for the Veendam to burn less expensive fuel with a heavier sulphur content while running from Boston to Bermuda. This is because effective August 1, 2015, the maximum sulphur limit will be lowered from 1% to 0.1% for fuel burned within 200 nautical miles of the coast of North America (see map below).

The marine gas oil that will have to be used while steaming between Boston and Quebec is much more expensive than the heavier fuel that can be burnt while steaming beyond the 200-mile limit to Bermuda.

Although price differences vary, for a vessel burning 100 tones per day a difference of $300 per ton would mean an extra $30,000 a day while steaming. Over 1,200 passengers this comes to an extra $25 per passenger per day on the ticket price.

A third competitive advantage for the Veendam is that, unlike the contract ships operated to Bermuda by Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean international, the Veendam is small enough to steam straight into Hamilton, where she can dock right on Front Street in the capital’s main shopping and entertainment district (see lead photo). The bigger ships have to berth at Dockyard (see Celebrity Summit, left), a 45-minute taxi ride or a 30-minute ferry ride away from Hamilton. The increasing size of cruise ships has meant that Hamilton has had no regular caller since the Veendam left at the end of the 2012 season.

Veendam (ii)Ships with the name Veendam have a long history of serving Bermuda, dating back more than eight decades. The first (right) was the 15,450-ton Veendam, second of the name, built in 1922. She was chartered to the Furness Bermuda Line in 1930 for two summers’ work on the New York-Hamilton run. She stood in as a replacement for Furness Bermuda’s 7,785-ton Fort Victoria, which had been sunk in a collision off New York in December 1929. This Veendam left New York for Bermuda for the first time on July 2, 1930, and was engaged for two summer seasons until Furness Bermuda could take delivery of a new ship, the 22,424-ton Monarch of Bermuda, in January 1932...

Veendam (iii)The second Veendam to serve Bermuda (left), and the third of the name, joined Holland America in 1973. This Veendam, at 23,372 tons, had been built in 1958 as Moore-McCormack Line’s Argentina and was refitted at Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven in 1972. After some time sailing to Alaska for Westours, she began summer sailings to Bermuda on May 20, 1980. This Veendam stayed in the Bermuda summer trade until being sold at the end of 1983, and subsequently operated to Bermuda as the Bermuda Star for Bahama Cruise Line, later Bermuda Star Line.

The present, and fourth, Veendam, built in 1996 and third of the name to serve Bermuda, first came onto the run in 2010, and ran three full summer seasons before being transferred to the Canada/New England trade at Boston at the end of 2012. The new Boston-Bermuda cruises will thus see a fourth return of the name Veendam to the Bermuda trade, in an association that will be eighty-five years old when she returns.

For further details and bookings please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail

New Cargo-Passenger Service To The Amazon By The Buxharmony

Buxharmony © lappinoFor the first time in many years, we are able to offer a cargo ship service for passengers wanting to visit the Amazon, as well as other parts of East Coast South America and the Caribbean.

Buxharmony routeEvery 63 days, NSB’s Buxharmony (seen above) sails from Rio de Janeiro to Manaus by way of Salvador da Bahia, Port of Spain (its is also possible to join in Trinidad), Cartagena Punta Manzanillo, Panama, and Kingston, Jamaica, to Manaus. After the ship leaves Manaus she  calls at Suape, Vitoria, Santos, Zarate, Buens Aires, Monteviedo, Rio Grande, Itajai, Paranagua and Santos before returning to Rio de Janeiro.

The full nine-week voyage can be made for €5,985 plus €330 in dues and taxes, for a total of €6,315 (about £5,465 or US $8,965) per person. The Buxharmony carries up to five (5) passengers in one Owners, one Double and one Single cabins and port-to-port voyages are also possible.

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

Veendam To Return To Bermuda In 2015 – Queen Mary 2 Celebrates Ten Years – Allure of the Seas To Follow Oasis To Europe

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 10th February 2014..Veendam at Hamilton


Last week, Holland America Line’s forward schedules revealed that, after an absence of two seasons, the Veendam would be returning to Bermuda starting in May 2015. Unlike the usual contract ships that sail to Bermuda, the Veendam can dock right on Front Street in Hamilton (see photo above). This decision would appear to be a result of two things: a recent legalization of gambling on ships docked in Bermuda that will allow cruise lines to profit from more on board revenue, and a change in the North American ECA regulations that will increase fuel costs by reducing the maximum sulphur content for fuels burned within 200 miles of the North American coast from 1% to 0.1%. In other news the Queen Mary 2 celebrates ten years of service this year, while the world’s largest cruise ship, Allure of the Seas, will come to Europe for a full season in 2015.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                        (See previous columns)

Holland America’s New “Pinnacle” Class – New Policy Coming For Hapag-Lloyd Cruises – Cruise & Maritime Takes Over Transocean

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 3rd February 2014..


This week we have a look at the latest order for Holland America Line’s first “Pinnacle” class vessel (see artist’s conception of Koningsdam above) in comparison to other ships, particularly the line’s own “Signature” class ships Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam, their competitor’s “Celebrity Equinox” class, and the “Costa Luminosa” class, the basic platform of which is apparently being used for the new design. Elsewhere, we have a look at an impending change of marketing policy at Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and the takeover of Germany’s TransOcean Cruises by UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                     (See previous columns)

Image courtesy of Holland America Line