The Cruise Examiner – Expedition Ships: To Convert Or To Build?

The Cruise Examiner for 28th September 2015

Seabourn Quest © Robin West

The Seabourn Quest in Antarctica, in an image by Robin West, Seabourn’s manager of expedition operations

There have been many changes in the field of expedition cruising in recent years. New ships were built, a few of them. Russian ships were chartered, a few more. And ships were converted, variously from small ships, coastal vessels and ice-class ferries. Last week’s announcement by Silversea that it was converting its Silver Cloud into an ice-class ship followed a move two years ago by Seabourn to ice-strengthen its own Seabourn Quest. Meanwhile, ship managers, naval architects and shipbuilders have all come up with various proposals for new designs. First off the block, a few years ago, was Sunstone Ships of Miami with its Project Unlimited. Then, STX France introduced its Ulysseas design this March, and the Danish firm of Knut E Hansen followed up with its own design six months later. This week we look at the two alternatives of converting or building.


Cruiseco Announces Its Exclusive Signature River Cruises For 2016 – A Choice Of 7, 10, 14, 17 Or 24 Days On The Danube, Rhine And Rhone


Cruise to the Black Sea, or along the Rhone, Danube or Rhine rivers in 2016 aboard an exclusive Cruiseco charter, where guests travel in comfort, with all the inclusions that offer a sensational value for money cruise holiday experience. Following the fabulous feedback received from guests on board its 2015 charters, Cruiseco has again taken exclusive charters of the ms Bellefleur and ms Bellejour in 2016 so The Cruise People can once more offer a river cruise holiday to remember… several of our clients asked for more of the same after their 2015 cruises.

Choose from the following itineraries for 2016:

“Voyage to the Black Sea” – 10 nights Budapest return – ms Bellejour – June 11,  2016

Discover the treasures of Eastern Europe on this exciting 10-night round trip cruise from Budapest aboard the ms Bellejour. Enjoy a traditional Balkan dinner and folklore show in Belgrade, explore the magnificent Danube Delta, where the Danube flows into the Black Sea, by boat, tour the resorts of the Black Sea and ride a horse and cart on a traditional Hungarian farm in Puszta. Departing June 11, 2016, with fares from only £1,575 per person twin share

“The Great Cities of the Danube” – 7 nights Budapest to Nuremberg – ms Bellejour – June 21, 2016

Discover the quiet corners and hidden gems of Europe on a 7 night cruise from Budapest to Nuremberg aboard the ms Bellejour. See the highlights of the old and new city of Budapest, visit Vienna’s famous Schonbrunn Palace and enjoy a tour of the famous Melk Abbey. Departing June 21, 2016, with fares from only £1,095 per person twin share

“The Beautiful & Romantic Rhine” – 7 nights Nuremberg to Amsterdam – ms Bellejour – June 28, 2016

Cruise the magnificent Rhine river for 7 nights from Nuremberg to Amsterdam on the ms Bellejour, where castles and quaint towns surprise you along the way. Enjoy a guided tour through Wurzburg Residence and city, view the magnificent Cologne Cathedral, see the famous windmills of Kinderdijk or enjoy wine tasting along the way. Departing June 28, 2016, with fares from £1,095 per person twin share

“Voyage to the Black Seas & Great Cities of the Danube” 17 nights Budapest to Nuremberg – ms Bellejour – June 11, 2016

Cruise to the Black Sea discovering some of Eastern Europe’s hidden gems, before continuing on up the Danube and through the Mainz-Danube Canal through to Germany. Departing June 11, 2016, with fares from only £2,615 per person twin share

“Great Cities of the Danube & The Beautiful & Romantic Rhone” – 14 nights Budapest to Nuremberg – ms Bellejour – June 21, 2016

If two weeks is all you can spare, then embark on the 14-night cruise up the Danube and Rhine from Budapest through to Amsterdam, and enjoy the very best this part of Europe has to offer. Departing June 21, 2016, with fares from only £2,135 per person twin share

“Grand Voyage from the Black Seas to the North Sea” – 24 nights Budapest to Amsterdam – ms Bellejour – June 11, 2016

Why not combine all three Bellejour itineraries and cruise for 24 nights from the Black Sea to the North Sea for a magnificent European experience. Departing June 11, 2016, with fares from only £3,655 per person twin share

“Treasures of the Rhone” – 7 nights Lyon Return – ms Bellefleur – July 1, 2016 

Cruise the Rhone River for 7 nights aboard the ms Bellefleur,roundtrip from Lyon, and discover the charm and beauty of Southern France. Step aboard the famous bridge of Avignon and visit the Palace of the Popes, see the magnificent Pont du Gard, marvel at the beauty of the Valley of the Ardeche and the Madeleine Caves and enjoy the vineyards of Beaujolais. Departing July 1, 2016, with fares from only £1,130 per person twin share

All Cruiseco chartered river holidays include:

  • Travel aboard an elegant river boat along the Rhine, Danube or Rhône
  • Well equipped cabins with private bathrooms, air conditioning, and river views through picture windows or French balconies.
  • Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner daily
  • Captain’s Gala Dinner and Captain’s Welcome Reception
  • Soft drinks, sparkling water, beer, wine, house spirits, long drinks and cocktails throughout (some ‘top shelf’ brands excluded)
  • Free WIFI on board
  • Sightseeing tours in all major towns including the services of an English speaking guide and transport as required.

Flights and transfers are extra. Please contact us for a quote from your regional airport.

For further details please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or email

French Asia Line 23 Comes To Felixstowe With Passenger Space To Malaysia, China And Vietnam, And Fast Return From Malaysia

CMA CGM La Perouse inaugurates new Suez Canal

The CMA CGM La Perouse inaugurating the new channel in the Suez Canal on August 6, 2015, with flags of Egypt and France

News has come this week that the new French Asia Line 23 (a combination of the old French Asia Line 2 and French Asia Line 3)  will run from Felixtsowe in the UK, while French Asia Line 2 had formerly departed from Southampton.

First sailing on this route will be by the CMA CGM La Perouse (above), departung Felixstowe on October 4, followed by the CMA CGM Magellan on October 16.On the latter sailing we are able to link passengers to the SuperStar Virgo for Australia. SuperStar Virgo departs Singapore on November 23, five days after CMA CGM La Perouse arrives in Port Kelang, and is scheduled to arrive at Sydney on December 9.

On the new French Asia Line 23 service, calls will be made at Rotterdam and Le Havre before leaving Europe for Port Kelang, the port for Kuala Lumpur (31 days from Felixstowe), and Chiwan, a Shenzhen port very near Hong Kong (38 days from Felixstowe). Further calls are made at Shanghai, Ningbo and Yantian in China and finally Vung Tau in Vietnam before the ship returns to Port Kelang for an outbound call before heading back to Europe.

Inbound European calls are made at Le Havre, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg before returning to Felixstowe. The full round voyage is 84 days and transit time from Port Kelang to Felixstowe is 29 days (or just 20 days Port Kelang to Le Havre, first call in Europe).

Four of the twelve ships engaged in this service, CMA CGM Aquila, CMA CGM La Perouse, CMA CGM Magellan and CMA CGM Titan, will carry passengers on the new route, accommodating up to ten passengers each in five double or twin cabins. Passengers dine with the officers and have access to a swimming pool, gym and passenger lounge, as well as being able to visit the bridge by invitation.

For further details on booking passage on this route or any other cargo voyage please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail

Genting Hong Kong Buys Lloyd Werft – Other Cruise News: Silversea’s Fourth Expedition Ship – Queen Mary 2 Refit Details

The Cruise Examiner for 21st September 2015

Silver Cloud (expedition ship)Following on the order for five Crystal ships from Lloyd Werft and reports in August, it has now been confirmed that Genting Hong Kong is taking a majority interest in the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven. And last Friday, Silversea announced that it would convert its 296-berth Silver Cloud to a 200/260-berth Ice Class polar expedition ship (above). Finally, Cunard Line has confirmed the appointment of SMC Design as lead contractor for the 25-day Queen Mary 2 refit scheduled to take place at Blohm & Voss in Hamburg next spring.

Felixstowe to Sydney By CMA CGM Magellan And SuperStar Virgo, 16th October, Five Days In Malaysia And Singapore Between Ships

This year, take both a passenger-carrying container ship and a cruise ship on your voyage from the UK to Australia and spend five days (November 17-22) in Malaysia or Singapore between ships. Your first ship is CMA CGM’s 10-passenger container ship CMA CGM Magellan (left), where we have double cabins available for the 31-night voyage leaving Felixstowe on October 16 for Port Kelang (for Kuala Lumpur).

Passengers dine together with the officers and are allowed to visit the bridge. The 150,269-ton UK-flag CMA CGM Magellan was built in 2010 and is equipped with a passenger lounge, indoor swimming pool and gym with rowing machine, home trainer, darts and ping pong table. The spacious cabins are en suite and equipped with two or three windows, a sofa, easy chair, coffee table, office desk and chair and refrigerator. And in the ship’s dining room, table wine is included with lunch and dinner.

Dates with cargo ships are always subject to change but the itinerary is planned as follows:

Date             Port              Times

16-Oct-15 Felixstowe
18-Oct-15 Rotterdam
20-Oct-15 Le Havre
02-Nov-15 Jeddah (no shore leave)
17-Nov-15 Arrives Port Kelang

Fares for 31 Nights Felixstowe to Port Kelang (including port charges)

Outside €3,100 (about £2,345) per person double, €3,410 (about £2,580) single. 

SuperStar Virgo sternPassengers taking advantage of these two connecting sailings are responsible for their own land arrangements in Malaysia and Singapore. Then five days after arriving in Port Kelang, it is time to catch Star Cruises’ once-only sailing of the 75,338-ton 1,870-passenger SuperStar Virgo (right) for onward connection to Sydney. She is due to arrive on the morning of Wednesday, December 9, well in time for Christmas. As a bonus, there is a choice of a drinks package or a dining package on the SuperStar Virgo .voyage between Singapore and Sydney.

The full itinerary for this cruise follows (fares for part voyages are not available):

Date             Port              Times
22-Nov-15 Sail from Singapore 2000
24-Nov-15 Jakarta (Tanjung Priok) 0800-2000
25-Nov-15 Cruising Krakatoa 0400-0600
28-Nov-15 Geraldton, WA 1100-1900
29-Nov-15 Fremantle, WA 0800-1800
30-Nov-15 Albany, WA 1300-2100
03-Dec-15 Adelaide 0800-2200
05-Dec-15 Melbourne arrives 0800
06-Dec-15 Melbourne sails 0500
07-Dec-15 Tasmania 0900-2300
09-Dec-15 Arrives Sydney 0700

Fares for 17 Nights Singapore to Sydney (including port charges) start at:

Inside         £1,325 per person double, £1,853 single
Outside      £1,640 per person double, £2,325 single
Balcony      £1,890 per person double, £2,700 single


If you want to sail all the way from the UK to Australia on two different types of ship then this is your opportunity. Overlanders are also welcome to join the SuperStar Virgo at Singapore. For details please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail

Hamburg Cruise Days 2015 – Other Cruise News: Hamburg’s Third Cruise Terminal – A Visit To TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 4

The Cruise Examiner for 14th September 2015

MS4 at Hamburg

TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 4 passes Hamburg’s Hard Rock Café on her way upstream to join Saturday night’s Cruise Days parade

Seven cruise ships participated in the Hamburg Cruise Days that finished yesterday, an event that followed directly after this year’s Seatrade Europe convention in that famous port city. This week we take a closer look at what is going on in Hamburg – the market, the events and the industry. We examine the Hanseatic port’s third cruise terminal, opened just three months ago, and visit the German cruise fleet’s largest vessel and flagship, Mein Schiff 4, with her American captain.

Harmony of the Seas, The World’s Biggest – Other Cruise News: Knud Hansen’s New Polar Ship – Coral Expeditions

The Cruise Examiner for 7th September 2015

Knud E Hansen design © Knud E HansenAs work proceeds at St Nazaire on the largest cruise ship afloat, the 227,000-ton Harmony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International has announced its newest port, Splashaway Bay, which happens to be the children’s water park on board the new ship. Other details have also been announced recently. Meanwhile, from naval architects Knud E Hansen in Denmark comes news of a new green expedition ship design. And Down Under, Coral Princess Cruises has now renamed itself as Coral Expeditions.