Trying To Squeeze Cruise Numbers Up – Iceland’s Volcano – Funchal Returns to The Europe-Australia Run

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 25th August 2014..

 

Selling the Sea Kindle versionLast week, three different publications in three different countries, Cruise Week in the USA, Travel Weekly in the UK and Cruise Business Review in Finland, all highlighted how the cruise lines seem to be having difficulty growing their traditional markets. We have a look at these comments and what might be done, including a quick look at Bob Dickinson’s Selling the Sea, first published in 1997, and now available in Kindle. As Iceland’s volcanic activity raises a possible threat to travellers once more, we also look at the situation there. And finally, the Funchal is returning to Australia in 2015.

Quark Takes Ocean Endeavour For Antarctica – Cruise Like A Mathematician – 4,000 Berths: The New Standard For Cruising

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 18th August 2014..

Ocean Endeavour starboard bow

Ocean Endeavour will cruise Canada’s north next summer before starting her first Antarctic season with Quark Expeditions in 2015-16

 

Toronto’s Quark Expeditions will join Adventure Canada as a joint charterer of Fleetpro’s Ocean Endeavour. While starting in 2015 Adventure Canada will employ her in northern waters by summer, Quark will take her for the Antarctica high season starting in 2015-16. Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Line’s latest “all-inclusive” trial has left people to draw different conclusions. And the number of ships now being built with 4,000 berths is rapidly leaving behind the previous 3,600-berth ship as the standard for mass market cruising.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                               (See previous columns)

TUI Orders Two Ships As Meyer Takes 70% Of Turku Yard – Rivages du Monde Expands – Xiamen Cruise Ship Won’t Be Built

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 11th August 2014..

 

Saint Laurent for'dThe destiny of the Turku shipyard, once Wärtsilä Marine, then Masa-Yards, then Kvaerner Masa-Yards, then Aker Yards Oy, and now STX Finland Oy, is about to be determined by an offer from Meyer Werft to take a 70% shareholding, alongside the Finnish government. Coincidental with this announcement comes an order for two 2,500-berth cruise ships from TUI Cruises, with options for two more, that will allow Germany to surpass the UK as the world’s second largest cruise market. From the growing French market comes news that Rivages du Monde is expanding into ocean cruising and has also developed a new St Lawrence product (above) for 2015. Meanwhile, Xiamen Shipbuilding’s plan to build China’s first 100,000-ton cruise ship has disappeared along with that of the Titanic II.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                               (See previous columns)

Phil Reimer Writes About Freighter Cruising – His Cruising Column Appears In Ten Canadian Newspapers In The Postmedia Network

Freighter cruises long…and unique

Hanjin Amsterdam, which operates the Seattle \'freighter cruise\' route

Hanjin Amsterdam, which operates the Seattle “freighter cruise” route

 

Published: August 9, 2014, 3:00 am
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It’s not the Queen Mary 2 but they sail the same route across the Atlantic. You won’t have a crowded pool, major production shows or a casino. You will have the run of the ship in good weather, swim in an uncrowded pool and have lots to eat, but little choice beyond what’s being served. Your cabins are big and, yes, some are for singles. Don’t wait for an invite to the bridge because you are free to visit whenever you like, within reason. You can even drop down and see the men in the engine room.
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This the world of “freighter cruising.”

When you’re travelling on a freighter, you don’t have to worry about being one of 3,000. The passenger levels are kept at somewhere between six and 12. According to Kevin Griffin, Managing Director of The Cruise People, freighter cruising is growing at the same percentage as river cruising, with a much smaller number of people.

The Cruise People is an agency based in London, but half its business comes from North America and Australia. This company doesn’t actively sell the mainstream large cruise lines because its market is freighters, small ships, expedition ships and luxury brands.

The freighter trips are long and while retirees have the time, Kevin points out you will also find on board young people who, after finishing college, are looking for a getaway before settling down to work life.

According to Kevin, the food is good and hearty but the choice is what the captain and the officers are eating that day.

What about speed?

“A good formula,” he says, “is that it take a day to steam as far as a jet will fly in an hour. You can do an around-the-world trip if you fly on the portion from New York to Vancouver [or in reverse]”

Sample of interior room on a freighter ship

On the cruise I am about to highlight there are three different cabin (including the single cabins) configurations. Some are large “as much as 30 square metres.”

Kevin adds that, in a much bigger way, you are part of the overall scene on freighters. They travel all over the world, including the Great Lakes to Europe. One good example is a 42-day return trip from the West Coast, starting in Seattle with stops in Portland and Vancouver before crossing the Pacific. Asian ports are Pusan, Kwangyang, Ningbo and Shanghai, followed by the return  trip back across the ocean to Prince Rupert before returning to Seattle.

Depending on loads, Kevin says the ports can change from time to time so you have to be flexible.

He also adds if you board at Vancouver and depart in Prince Rupert you reduce the cruise by a week and save some money. The fare becomes $4,650 per person including fees and taxes for 35 days or $4,410 single for the same thing.

Here is a summary of what’s on board and what’s for dinner (also breakfast and lunch)…

• Indoor swimming pool, sauna, fitness room, washer/dryer, lounge area, TV/VCR (TV near ports only), steward, cabin cleaning weekly

• Three cabins (owners, double, single)

• Meals with the captain and the officers

• Typical menus: breakfast — sausage goulash, eggs one day, French toast the next; lunch — chicken curry with rice, then breaded fish and ratatouille; dinner — spaghetti Bolognese and garlic bread, then sweet and sour pork with rice.

That’s a small sample of what goes on when travelling by freighter. For all the details, go to cruisepeople.co.uk. For email, use passageenquiry@aol.com.

“Mostly,” adds Kevin, “our passengers want the cruise experience without the 3,000-plus passengers that come with the mainline cruises.”

Would I try it? I’m not sure.

However, judging by the number of questions I receive about freighter cruising, there is a lot of interest.

Following is the complete menu and a list of one ship’s details, followed by pricing information (as a sample) from another ship:

Freighter menu

Hanjin Geneva details

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 11.35.48 AM

© COPYRIGHT – POSTMEDIA NEWS
As published at http://www.canada.com – newspapers in the Postmedia Network include the National Post, The Gazette of Montreal, the Ottawa Citizen, The Windsor Star, the Regina Leader-Post, the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, the Calgary Herald, the Edmonton Journal, The Vancouver Sun and Vancouver’s The Province.

Inland Cruising Market Shows Huge Promise – A Third Royal Class Ship, Fourth Of The Line – Celebrity Eclipse Gets A Refit

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 4th August 2014..

Pearl Mist at Sault Ste Marie ON 02.08.14 © Angela at Sault Ste Marie Tourist Information Centre

Europe’s inland cruising market has been booming, as marked by the christening of 24 new river cruisers in March of this year alone. Now this trend is beginning to spread to North America, as American Queen Steamboat Co adds the 233-berth American Empress and Un-Cruise Adventures  the 90-berth s.s. Legacy to the Columbia River, American Cruise Lines orders three new 150-berth river ships, Pearl Seas Cruises began service this summer (their 210-berth Pearl Mist is shown above at Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, this weekend) and another new operator, Haimark Line, plans to revive a long laid-up coastal and inland vessel and bring her into service next year as the 214-berth Saint Laurent. Meanwhile Princess has ordered another ship, while the UK-based Celebrity Eclipse is due to go in for an update.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                  (See previous columns)

Aranui Adds Bora Bora To 2015 Schedule To Exotic Voyages Through The Remote Marquesas Islands (10% Off Some Voyages)

Aranui 5

The new Aranui 5 (above) is scheduled to take over from the Aranui 3 in September 2015.

The well-appointed passenger-freighter Aranui  has released its 2015 sailing schedule, offering seventeen departures destined to attract a lot of attention. Passengers sailing in 2015 will also now have the pleasure of visiting the legendary island of Bora Bora, which has been added as a port of call on each of the year’s voyages.

For added value, travellers can take advantage of a 10% discount on two select voyages (*) while visiting this exotic paradise. The Aranui departs from Papeete on a regularly scheduled 14-day journey. The 2015 schedule includes the following travel dates:

January 10 & 31, February 21, March 14, April 4 & 25, May 16, June 6 (*) & 27, July 18, August 8 & 29 (*), September 19, October 10 & 31, November 21 and December 12, 2015.

On this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, passengers embark from Tahiti on a 14-day voyage sailing 800 miles north to some of most spectacular and remote islands in the world, to be fully immersed in the Polynesian culture.  The Aranui visits Takapoto and Rangiroa in the Tuamotu archipelago, Bora Bora in the Society Islands, as well as Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Hiva Oa, Fatu Hiva, Tahuata and Ua Huka in the Marquesas Islands.

While on shore in Bora Bora, passengers will have the opportunity to take part in optional excursions including a tour of the island by boat, motorized canoe, truck or helicopter, or a visit to see the Manta and other rays that inhabit the island’s waters. The Aranui‘s crew will prepare a full picnic lunch on the beach in the afternoon for guests who can enjoy the rest of the day sunbathing and exploring the island on their own.

Each voyage includes on-shore experiences such as hikes past awe-inspiring waterfalls and sacred ritual sites, encounters with local artisans, a visit to artist Paul Gauguin’s grave, snorkeling in translucent waters, picnics featuring local food, a visit to a pearl farm and more. Featuring a crew primarily composed of local inhabitants from the Marquesas Islands and throughout French Polynesia, the Aranui provides a unique culture-oriented spin on hospitality which combines with mesmerizing scenery to create an unforgettable sailing experience.

Travellers booking a voyage aboard the Aranui can choose from four different cabin categories – Suite, Deluxe, Standard and Class C – each providing different configurations.

The cruise includes three meals with complimentary wine daily, guided excursions as outlined in the itinerary, picnics and meals on shore. Optional excursions such as scuba diving, horseback riding and fishing are additional.

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.

Paula Travels UK To New Zealand Via Panama While Sister Caroline Joins Her From New York To Colombia In The CMA CGM Utrillo

A letter received from client Paula P after her voyage from Tilbury to Tauranga in the CMA CGM Utrillo:
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CC Utrillo in Panama Canal
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You recently arranged the last-minute journey for me on CMA CGM Utrillo from Tilbury to Tauranga (departing 14th May 2014). Caroline, my sister, joined me from New York to Cartagena. I wanted to give you some feedback now that I have arrived safely in New Zealand and am starting to recover from my epic voyage.
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Firstly, I had no idea what to expect and had little time to research what life would be like on a freighter. I was filled with trepidation as I said goodbye to family and set off for a 7 week odyssey.
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Every aspect of my journey was outstanding. The captain ensured that any requests for special meals etc. were met and the food was excellent. We had BBQ and spit-roast nights too which meant we could chat with the crew and enjoy the karaoke and dancing. The cabin and communal areas were nice and clean and well air-conditioned and the pool was filled and re-filled daily while we were in the Pacific.
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I was given access to all the usual areas: bridge, engine room, deck and mess rooms. The crew were always delighted to show me around and answer questions. They were polite and respectful and put safety first with any requests to visit their areas. In fact, the only time that they were not smiling was during fire and evacuation drills which were taken very seriously.
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I enjoyed watching the pilots in port and Panama and the experience of loading and unloading never became boring. Together, with the other two passengers, we watched many sunsets and early departures and arrivals. The weather was great and the oceans calm and there was only one really rough day when most of the crew felt seasick too.
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cc Utrillo wake
I have the most wonderful memories and spectacular photos. I have had forced relaxation with little communication with the outside world and I feel like a new person. Thank you for all your help in arranging this experience. I really look forward to my next trip and hope to be in contact again soon.
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Australia and New Zealand constitute our most popular route but for further details on passenger voyages on any of 300 cargo ships please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.
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Photos courtesy Paul P.
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