The New Look In Cruise Ships – New Thomson Ships To Take TUI Names – Rolls-Royce And Passenger Ships

The Cruise Examiner for 25th April 2016

Hurtigruten 4

Hurtigruten has ordered two 600-berth bluff-bowed coastal ships from Norway’s Kleven Verft and placed options for two more

The arrival of AIDA Cruises’ new AIDAprima in Hamburg last week has served to introduce a new concept to the world of cruising – the return of the straight bow that was so popular on the ocean liners of a century ago. With sister ship AIDAperla and four similar-looking but larger 5,000-berth ships now on order for AIDA and sister company Costa Cruises, plus four more ships for Hurtigruten and the recently-ordered Crystal Endeavour, AIDAprima is the first of almost a dozen ships now being built to this new design. Meanwhile, TUI subsidiary Thomson Cruises has announced that its newest ships will carry TUI names in future. And we have a brief look at Rolls-Royce’s marine involvements.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                                  (See previous columns)

The Kamchatka Coast: Siberia’s Forgotten Shore – On Heritage Expeditions’ 50-passenger Small Ship Spirit of Enderby

Spirit of EnderbyThe Spirit of Enderby will  take you to discover Siberia’s eastern coastline, one of the most remote and least visited regions of the globe, and the indigenous people that live there, as well as a most diverse array of wildlife and habitats of anywhere on a similar latitude. You will also join a group of naturalists and guides that have devoted their lives to field research on the areas visited by your ship.

KamchatkaDeparting on June 24, 2016, you will be immersed in a 14-day experience on a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel, built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research. Newly refurbished, she can carry up to 50 passengers accommodated in six different cabin grades, triple and double, 29 cabins in total.

From Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski to the Port of Anadyr, you will discover many Russian Far East places, encountering several interesting animal species, stopping in local villages, and walking through deep forested fjords.

2016: Available fares from US $8,000 or $9,200 per person, including pre- and post-cruise transfers, all on board ship accommodations, meals and expedition shore excursions. Flights are extra by private  charter. Only main deck triple and main deck accommodation is left.
 
2017: This same voyage operates from 27 June to 10 July 2017, all cabin categories available. Fares from US $8,000 to $11,900 per person for the Heritage suite.

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For further details please contact Giulia Marri at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@outlook.com

A Revival In The Australian Cargo-Passenger Trade – Princess Cruises Announces 39 Japan Sailings In 2017 – Costa Asia Up To Five Ships

The Cruise Examiner for 18th April 2016

Diamond Princess

The Japanese-built London-registered Diamond Princess will offer 39 cruises from Tokyo and Kobe in 2017

As recently as January, we wrote that the direct Europe-Australia cargo-passenger trade was drawing to a close. Now, only three months later, the vagaries of the world container ship market mean we can report that four 10-passenger container ships are rejoining the route for CMA CGM, offering a one-way passenger capacity of about 150 berths per year. Elsewhere, we cover two Carnival Asia stories. Princess Cruises will next year offer thirty-nine cruises from Japan on its 2,674-berth Japanese-built Diamond Princess. Meanwhile, Costa is sending its 1,578-berth Costa NeoRomantica to China, in a move that will soon see Costa Asia operating five ships in the fast-growing China market.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                         (See previous columns)

A Revival In The Australian Cargo-Passenger Trade With Four Newly-Assigned Ships From CMA CGM And Another From NSB

CMA CGM Bellini at sea

The CMA CGM Bellini is one of five CMA CGM container ships now offering 180 berths per year between Europe and Australia

As recently as January we wrote that the direct Europe-Australia cargo-passenger trade had closed. Now, only three months later, with the vagaries of the world container ship market, we can report that five 10-passenger container ships are joining the route for CMA CGM, with a one-way passenger capacity of about 180 berths a year.

In January,  CMA CGM had just withdrawn the 6-passenger CMA CGM Matisse and CMA CGM Utrillo, its last two remaining passenger-carrying ships on the direct Europe-Australia-New Zealand service via Panama.

At the same time, the 7-passenger MSC Monterey and sister ships were being moved from the Suez route to other services, with the MSC Monterey now serving the Europe to California trade.

Ten years earlier there had been fifteen passenger-carrying container ships running between Europe and Australasia. But now, two basic alternatives remained for cargo ship passengers travelling from Europe, and both involved a change of ship, either in the USA or in Asia. And in recent months, the only direct cargo-passenger service between Europe and Australia has been a single-ship service by the 10-passenger CMA CGM Bellini.

However, there is now very good news for travellers to and from Australia in that the Bellini‘s sister ships CMA CGM Chopin, Mozart, Puccini and Rossini are now joining the North Europe Med Oceania (NEMO) Line via Suez, resulting in sailings about every three weeks.

Port rotation is London Gateway, Rotterdam, Hamburg and Le Havre, then Fos sur Mer, Genoa and Damietta, Egypt, in the Mediterranean, through Suez to Réunion and thence Fremantle, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. The return voyage brings the ships to Singapore and Port Kelang then back to Europe via Chennai, Colombo and Cochin to Damietta, Malta, Salerno and London Gateway.

As well as embarking in London, passengers may now join in the Mediterranean. Genoa to Sydney for example is 33 days compared to 44 days from London. The fastest trip from Europe to Australia is 25 days Genoa to Fremantle. Fares are set at €110 per passenger per day in double or twin cabins, or €120/130 per day single.

On the return voyage, passengers from Australia are able if they wish to transfer at Singapore to the French Asia Line 1, which offers a 21-day transit to Southampton, compared with the 32 days it takes to get to Tilbury on the NEMO Line.

MSC FlaminiaService is also once more available on the MSC route on the MSC Flaminia. But this 5-passenger ship, which is managed by Bremen-based NSB on behalf of German owners, is still subject to last-minute transfers to other MSC routes. Nevertheless, the Australia to UK return can be booked as a through voyage.

The MSC Australia Express starts at the new London Gateway terminal on the Thames, proceeding via Antwerp and Le Havre to Fos sur Mer, La Spezia, Naples and Gioia Tauro in the Med, and via Suez to Mauritius and Réunion before proceeding to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle.

While northbound passages from Australia to Europe can be booked on the NSB ships via Singapore, Colombo, King Abdullah and through Suez to Valencia and London Gateway, the full 91day trip can also be booked as a full round voyage.

For further information on booking your sea passage between Europe and Australia please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

Liverpool-Philadelphia Cargo-Passenger Service Now Offered Three Weeks Out Of Four With the Arrival of Spring

Independent VoyagerThis winter, the North Atlantic passenger service offered by Peter Zylmann Freighter Cruises has been operating with just one ship, the Independent Voyager (left), one of four that operate under charter to the Independent Container Line, with a sailing every 28 days.

Effective this spring, however, the Independent Pursuit and Independent Spirit have once again resumed carrying passengers, so that there is now service from Antwerp and Liverpool three weeks out of four.

The ships generally leave Antwerp on Wednesdays and Liverpool on Saturdays, and ports served in the USA are Chester PA (for Philadelphia) and Wilmington NC. Sailings from Chester take place on Wednesdays and from Wilmington on Fridays.

As only a few cabins are offered one should reserve early for this service. Typical fares for the Liverpool to Chester 10-day voyage are €1398 per person double and €1598 single.

For further details and reservations please call Miri Lopusna at the Cruise People Ltd on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

“Rhythms of the Deep South” – Fly Free – Exclusive Cruiseco Charter, New Orleans to Nashville on Louisiane 14 nights – October 26, 2016

LouisianeriverviewFLY FREE OFFER NOW AVAILABLE : Booking Dates: 12 April 2016 until 22 April 2016 
(Unless sold out prior)

“Rhythms of the Deep South” – Exclusive Cruiseco Charter – 
Cruise America’s Deep South from New Orleans to  Nashville aboard Louisiane : 14 nights – Octobern26 to November 9, 2016

Make a new booking on Cruiseco’s “Rhythms of the Deep South” Charter aboard Louisiane and receive FREE RETURN AIRFARES!

Be one of just 150 lucky guests to explore the Heartland of America cruising America’s Deep South in the comfort of the French-inspired luxury river boat Louisiane, which launches this August. Enjoy the finest of French cuisine, richly appointed staterooms with L’Occitane amenities and premium excursions throughout the itinerary.

LouisianePanoramaStateroomCruising from New Orleans, guests will visit Oak Valley, Natchez, Vicksburg, Memphis, Cape Girardeau, Paducah and Dover before arriving into Nashville.

Voyage Highlights include:
– Overnight port stay in Memphis with private after-hours visit to Graceland
– Music performances in New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville, home of jazz, the blues, rock & roll and country western
– Spectacular scenery along the Cumberland and Ohio Rivers
– Special reception at Dunleith, one of the grandest plantation manor houses in the USA

Fares from £4,660 per person twin share / £9,320 single

Bonus for passengers joining from the “Azamara Quest” Charter from Montreal.

Exclusive extras for Cruiseco’s Atlantic Seaboard of Canada & USA Charter Passengers who extend and add this exciting itinerary include:
– Day City Tour of New Orleans
– Transfer to Louisiane including baggage transfers from Azamara Quest to Louisiane 

Don’t miss out on this sensational FLY FREE offer – Available for a limited time only or until sold out!  

For further details please contact Giulia Marri at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@outlook.com

Three Cruise Lines To Return To British Shores In 2017 – MSC Orders Four LNG-Powered Cruise Ships – Ovation of the Seas Arrives in Southampton

The Cruise Examiner for 11th April 2016

Norwegian Jade

The 2,466-berth Norwegian Jade returns to round-trip cruising from Southampton in 2017

With the UK market now having been overtaken as the largest in Europe by Germany, it nevertheless grew 9% last year, hitting a record of about 1.8 million Brits having taken a cruise in 2015. With this in mind, three cruise lines that have in the past offered UK departures, namely MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Thomson Cruises, have announced that they will be returning in 2017. Meanwhile, in France came big news of an order for four 200,000-ton 5,500-lower-berth giants from STX in St Nazaire. Regarded as important economic news in France because of the jobs involved, François Hollande participated in the announcement from L’Elysée. Finally, the newly delivered Ovation of the seas arrived in Southampton yesterday.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                            (See previous columns)

The Louisiane: The “Ne Plus Ultra Of American River Cruising”

Louisianeriverview

The 4,225-ton twin-screw 75-stateroom upmarket river cruiser Louisiane

“Intimate, exclusive and elegant” is what the brochures call it, the “ne plus ultra of American river cruising” is how its founder and chairman Christopher Kyte describes it. The newly-established French America Line will introduce the new boutique river cruiser Louisiane to America’s river cruising scene this August.

The 150-berth Louisiane will offer twenty departures between August and December this year, with an exciting choice of exclusive voyages on the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland and Red Rivers.

The new line’s founder began his career with San Francisco-based Matson Lines and eventually established his own travel business in 1990, when he founded Uncommon Journeys as a purveyor of upmarket rail and cruise holidays.

Using Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Amtrak and Via Rail Canada, as well as the Delta Queen Steamboat Company, Kyte built what is today a well-regarded operation that offers the best of rail and cruise holidays, usually in conjunction with each other. In 2012, Kyte helped bring the 360-berth sternwheeler American Queen out of lay up and back into service on the Mississippi River, in the process becoming the first president of the American Queen Steamboat Company.

French America Line ceo Ken Grigsby has also worked with Uncommon Journeys, for twenty-five years in his case, and had previous background in banking and hotels before becoming involved in Uncommon Journey’s first-class rail trips. London-based director Kevin Griffin founded The Cruise People in 1992.

Uncommon Journeys’ president Kevin Tam, meanwhile, another trusted hand, will act as general manager of the new river operator. His business is expected to supply about a quarter of French America Line’s passengers.

Outside investors include Sydney-based cruise specialist Cruiseco Pty Ltd, who have also taken a 14-night full ship charter of the Louisiane from New Orleans to Nashville between October 26 and November 9. Cruiseco has also been appointed exclusive general sales agent for the new line in Australia and New Zealand.

This cruise will tie in with Cruiseco’s exclusive charter of the 684-berth Azamara Quest, which is making a 32-night voyage from Montreal to New Orleans with nineteen ports and nine overnight stays. The Azamara Quest will leave Montreal on September 24 and passengers’ luggage will be transferred between their staterooms on the Quest and new accommodations on the Louisiane on Wednesday, October 26, as they explore New Orleans.

The 4,225-ton Louisiane was built by Leevac Shipyards in Jennings, Lousiana, in 2000 and completed by Cascade General shipyard in Portland, Oregon, who are very active today with cruise ship refits. The vessel, which has been laid up in Portland since 2008 was acquired by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, who took over the assets of previous operator Majestic America Line, in 2011. Xanterra is the parent company of Windstar Cruises, who now operate three tall ships plus three yacht-style ships acquired from Seabourn in 2014 and 2015, and decided to sell the Columbia Queen as the Louisiane was known, as surplus to their needs. Xanterra had already disposed of the 1926-built Delta Queen on the Mississippi.

LouisianeVeranda

The Veranda overlooks the Louisiane‘s stern decks and provides an alternate dining venue

Setting the Louisiane apart from the other American river ships are a complimentary one-night pre-cruise deluxe hotel stay in the embarkation city, with transfers on sailing day, complimentary custom shore excursions in every port, complimentary house wines, select beers, house-brand spirits, coffees, teas, soft drinks and purified water, free 24-hour room service and complimentary Wi-Fi wherever it is available.

The Lousiane will also offer the finest cuisine on America’s rivers, with Southern and Continental menus created by award-winning chef Regina Charboneau, who has worked with Christopher Kyte in the past. As well as a main dining room that doubles as a supper club, guests will be able to dine in the relaxed atmosphere of The Veranda, Louisiane’s complimentary alternative casual dining venue.

The on board ambiance will be casual but sophisticated, with a distinctive French flair. Guests will be able to sail waterways not accessible by larger vessels, and as well as an iPad in every stateroom and suite, will benefit from plush spa-quality bathrobes, slippers and a pillow menu.

LouisianePanoramaStateroom

This Panorama Stateroom is one of four that overlook the ship’s wake

To see the level at which the Louisiane is pitched, it is only necessary to look at the line’s branding agreements – with Hermes and L’Occitane en Provence for bath amenities, with New Orleans-based Café du Monde for beignets and café au lait, as well as boxed Ladurée macaroons from Paris as a welcome aboard gift and Vosges chocolates for turn-down service

Cruises will be divided into Sampler Cruise Tours (4 nights or less), Classic Cruise Tours (5 to 7 nights), Grand Cruise Tours (8 nights or more), and Collector’s Cruise Tours of varying lengths.

There are fifteen different itineraries on offer, with twenty departure dates in total – this is a snapshot of the available itineraries with Steling fares:

Sampler:  Frontier Fete – November 9 – 4 nights from Nashville return. Fares from £1,337 per person twin share.

Classic:  American Adventure – August 27 and September 4 – 7 nights from Pittsburgh to Louisville. Fares from £2,814 per person.

Grand:  Southern Spirit – December 30, 2016 ~ 9 nights from New Orleans to Memphis. Fares from £3,599 per person

Collector’s:  Red River Holiday ~ 8 nights from New Orleans return.
Fares from £3,138 per person.

This year the total number of North Americans taking European river cruisers is expected to exceed 500,000, representing a seven-fold increase since 2001. Even if Viking River Cruises add up to six proposed new 300-berth US-flag vessels starting in 2018, and with existing competition from the three boats operated by American Cruise Lines and American Queen, 14 million North Americans took a cruise last year. This should mean enough business for all lines on the Missisippi and its tributaries

For further details of the new French America Line please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail CruisePeopleLtd@aol.com.

Passenger Capacity To Australia Tripled As CMA CGM Mozart and CMA CGM Rossini Join CMA CGM Bellini On London-Sydney Route

The only direct cargo-passenger service between Europe and Australia in recent months has been a single-ship service by the 10-passenger CMA CGM Bellini (above), but we now have good news for travellers to and from Australia. CMA CGM Bellini‘s sister ships CMA CGM Mozart and Rossini will now join this route, resulting in almost monthly sailings via Suez on CMA CGM’s North Europe Med Oceania (NEMO) Line. Port rotation is as follows:

London Tilbury – Rotterdam – Hamburg – Le Havre Fos sur Mer – Genoa – Damietta – Suez Canal – Pointe des Galets (Réunion) –  Fremantle – Melbourne – Sydney – Adelaide – Singapore – Port Kelang – Chennai – Colombo – Cochin – Suez Canal – Damietta – Malta – Salerno – London Tilbury (91 day round trip). 

Passengers may also embark in the Mediterranean – Genoa to Sydney for example is 33 days compared to 44 days from London. The fastest transit is 25 days from Genoa to Fremantle. Fares are set at €110 per passenger per day in double or twin cabins, or €120/130 per day single.

On the return voyage the ships do not accept passengers between Port Kelang, Malaysia, and Damietta, Egypt, but passengers from Australia are able to transfer at Port Kelang to the French Asia Line 1 service, which offers a 22-day transit to Southampton, as opposed to 31 days to Tilbury on the NEMO route.

Passenger sailings are scheduled by the CMA CGM Rossini, from London on April 7 and Genoa on April 19, by the CMA CGM Bellini, from London on May 5 and from Genoa on May 17, and by the CMA CGM Mozart, from London on May 19 and Genoa on May 31, with subsequent sailings for each ship every 13 weeks thereafter.

Service is also available on the MSC Australia route, but ships in this service are subject to last-minute withdrawals to be sent to other MSC routes. The section Australia to UK can be booked as a through voyage however. MSC rotation is:

London Gateway – Antwerp – Le Havre Fos sur Mer – La Spezia – Naples – Gioia Tauro – Suez Canal – Port Louis (Mauritius) – Pointe des Galets (Réunion) – Sydney – Melbourne – Adelaide – Fremantle – Singapore – Colombo – King Abdullah – Suez Canal – Valencia – London Gateway (91 day round trip).

For further details on any of our Australian cargo ship voyages please contact Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

Boutique River Cruises For America – Other Cruise News: New Ships For March – Another Order For Princess

The Cruise Examiner for 4th April 2016

 

LouisianePanoramaStateroom

Four sumptuous Panorama Staterooms overlook the wake of the twin-screw river cruiser Louisiane

This week, we look at a new product that is being introduced to America’s great Mississippi River system. The New Orleans-based Great Northern & Southern Navigation Company LLC, or French America Line as it will be called, will introduce the new 150-berth river cruiser Louisiane. The new vessel has been designed to supply a level of service not seen before on American rivers. We also have a look at last month’s two new ocean ships, Holland America Line’s Koningsdam and Viking Ocean Cruises’ Viking Sea. And finally, comes news of another new ship for Princess Cruises, in addition to the recently-announced Majestic Princess.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                (See previous columns)