Marella Cruises Replaces Thomson Name – Five Home Ports For SkySea – Voyages To Antiquity Cancels Caribbean Program

The Cruise Examiner for 16th October 2017

Marella Discovery

The 1,830-berth Marella Discovery (ex-TUI Discovery) is one of four balcony-rich ships obtained from Royal Caribbean Cruises

Last week, Thomson Cruises, now the UK’s second-largest cruise line, announced that it was taking on a new name, Marella Cruises, in order to differentiate itself from the German-based TUI Cruises. This will also mean a new naming scheme for the TUI Discovery and other UK ships that had been earmarked for TUI names. Meanwhile, poor bookings have seen Voyages to Antiquity cancel its 2017-18 Caribbean season for the 350-berth Aegean Odyssey, which was to have called on Cuba. And in China, the 1,814-berth SkySea Golden Era has sailed on her two-hundredth cruise for SkySea Cruises, the joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises and China’s Ctrip.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                    (See previous columns)

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Last Minute Great Lakes Opportunity: Catch Polsteam’s m.v. Drawsko, Amsterdam To Cleveland Or Burns Harbor, Fares From $1,772 pp

DrawskoThe 30,000-ton Polsteam bulk carrier Drawsko will shortly be on her way across the North Sea from Immingham to IJmuiden, near Amsterdam, where she is due to arrive on the first week of November. Her next cargo will be Tata Steel for the Great Lakes ports of Cleveland and Burns Harbor and she has one more cabin left for passengers. Sailing date is expected to be early November.

PZM Polish Steamship Company’s Isa first opened this St Lawrence Seaway passenger service in March 2000. The Seaway season lasts from late March to late December each year. Thirteen ships take part in the Great Lakes service, with one or two sailings a month at the moment. All ships feature double and single cabins, all outside and en suite.

Fares, including port charges, are $1,772 per person to Cleveland or $2,012 to Burns Harbor.  Sole occupancy rates are higher. A full US visa (not an ESTA) is required to undertake this voyage.

For further details please call Miri Lopusna at passenger agents The Cruise People Ltd in London om +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

How To Get Away From South Korea By Cargo Ship: For Passengers Wanting To Sail From The Republic of Korea To The USA And Europe

APL New York

The APL New York sails from Qingdao to Los Angeles in 18 days

Since 2014, it has no longer been possible for passengers to depart South Korea by cargo ship as the government has banned all cargo passenger embarkations. Disembarkation is still allowed, however.

For those in Korea wanting to travel by cargo ship, this now means having to travel from a port outside Korea. Japan might come first to mind but most passenger-carrying ships at Japanese ports call inbound first but not outbound, making the longer voyage durations impractical. And travelling via Taiwan can sometimes mean visa complications with China.

With passengers being allowed on the APL New York, however, on the Hangzhou Bay Bridge service, the Port of Qingdao now offers an opportunity for travellers from South Korea, who can catch Weidong Ferry’s overnight boat from Incheon, near Seoul, to Qingdao. Ferry bookings can be made directly with Weidong.

I ncheon-Qingdao ferry

The overnight ferry crossing from Incheon to Qingdao takes seventeen hours

A good summary of this service is provided by The Man in Seat 61:

“Trains link Seoul & Incheon frequently, 39 km, journey time 58 minutes. The ship sails from Incheon’s 2nd International Ferry Terminal at 17:00 on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays arriving Qingdao at 09:00 next day. The one-way fare for a bed in a 4-berth business class cabin is about 88,000 won or 750 RMB.”

Weidong Ferry

Passengers can travel overnight on the Weidong Ferry from Incheon to join their cargo ship in Qingdao

Qingdao to Los Angeles then takes 18 days and the fare is €1,915 per person in one of the two Owners Cabins or €2,095 for sole use of same. But one must plan in advance as there is only one sailing every six weeks. Service is also available to Oakland, which is four days more and an extra €400 per person double or €440 more single.

CMA-CGM-Andromeda

The 10-berth CMA CGM Andromeda is one of eight ships running from Qingdao to ports in the Mediterranean

More frequent connections are available to Europe on CMA CGM’s Mediterranean Club Express, Qingdao to Malta in 30 days (from €3,115 per person double, €3,415 single), Qingdao to Barcelona in 36 days (from €3,715 per person double, €4,075 single) and Qongdao to Genoa in 40 days (from €4,115 per person double, €4,515 single).

APL is part of CMA CGM Group. For details of booking cargo ship voyages on APL and CMA CGM please contact Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

Queen Mary 2 Arrives A Year Early At Sept Iles – Norwegian Breakaway From New Orleans – Viking Orion To Alaska

The Cruise Examiner for 9th October 2017

Queen Mary 2 at Sept Iles October 2, 2027

Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 at Sept Iles’ Quai Monseigneur Blanche cruise terminal on October 2, 2017

Last week, on fairly short notice, Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 added a new port of call to her collection when she made her first visit to Sept Iles, on the Quebec North Shore of the Gulf of St Lawrence. A former fur trading centre and now an iron ore port, Sept Iles has been going after cruise business since opening its own cruise terminal at its Quai Monseigneur Blanche berth in 2010. Elsewhere, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that it will be moving its New York ship, Norwegian Breakaway, to the Baltic next summer and then to New Orleans at the end of 2018. Viking Cruises, meantime, has announced that its fifth ship, Viking Orion, will be sent to cruise in Alaska in 2019.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                    (See previous columns)

Last-Minute Single Cabin To Australia, November 21, Cancellation Rotterdam To Melbourne, Fare £5,295 for 50 days.

Widukind

The m.v. Widukind departs Rotterdam November 21 for a 50-day voyage to Melbourne

Due to a cancellation, we have a single cabin available on the m.v. Widukid bound from Europe to Melbourne. The planned itinerary is Rotterdam – Dunkirk – Le Havre – New York – Savannah – Kingston (Jamaica) – Cartagena (Colombia) – Punta Manzanillo (Panama) – Panama Canal – Papeete (Tahiti) – Noumea (New Caledonia) – Brisbane – Sydney – Melbourne.

pad-service

Rotterdam to Melbourne is 50 days and the fare is €5,674 (£5,295) for a single cabin including full board, port charges, deviation insurance and booking fee. The fare to Sydney is €300 (£280 less).

Non-US and Canadian citizens will need full US visas for any US calls as cargo ships are not included in the various visa waiver programs (also known as ESTA).

To book this cabin please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or email PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

CMA CGM La Traviata: Le Havre, New York, Norfolk, Savannah, Charleston, Southampton, Antwerp, Rotterdam And Bremerhaven

Cma-Cgm-La-Traviata-c.CorneliaReports have come back to us from two of our clients who travelled on board the CMA CGM La Traviata recently that may be of interest to intending Transatlantic passengers.

The first is from Heinz K, a German passenger, who told us he wanted “to let you know a little bit about my experience with my travel with CGM CMA from Savannah to Bremerhaven in Germany in June/July 2017.

“I wanted to thank you for all of your effort to go with me through all the booking and set up my freighter voyage. It was a great success. I enjoyed it tremendously and I think I couldn’t have chosen a better company to go with and a better agent to lead me through everything to be able to do this journey on the La Traviata cargo freighter!

“It couldn’t have gone smoother, the ship was great, the crew and all the officers have been just wonderful. The journey crossing the ocean was a fantastic adventure for me, but it couldn’t have been a better crew on board, a better chef like the two French guys cooking for us and a better captain with all his officers. Everybody did the best and made my journey a big success.

For sure I want to get in touch with you again in two years to find me a route and a boat again crossing the ocean and this time going from the US to an Italian port on the Riviera side in the Mediterranean Sea. It was really the best boat and experience I could get on freighter travel!”

CMA CGM La Traviata - Betty's tablemates at lunch

Betty and luncheon companions enjoy the fare on board CMA CGM La Traviata

The second report (with photos) comes from Betty Steinhauer, a Canadian passenger who has just arrived in New York from Southampton this week. Betty reports:

“The ship was built in 2006, sails under French flag, and is named La Traviata. It is 334 meters in length, beam is 43 meters, gross tonnage is 91,410 tons , holds 8,440 containers, if it is dangerous cargo, they are told what is inside.

“My cabin is large. It has three windows, piles of cupboards, and a large desk. My room is on a corner with a balcony. ‎I have a steward by the name of Tony. He is of course from the Philippines and his contract is for eight months. This is how he supports his family by sending salary and tips back home. The French crew consists of thirty members led by the Captain as we call him. His crew call him Master.”

CMA CGM La Traviata - half of Betty's stateroom

“My room is really excellent. It’s a large corner room with three windows. two to view Ocean and one to see containers. There are two beds, a sofa, coffee table, chair, large desk, full bathroom, and wrap around balcony!” [The balcony is public but is directly outside the cabin.]

More photos and blog postings can be found on Betty Steinhauer’s own blog here.

The CMA CGM La Traviata accommodates up to ten passengers in three double-bedded cabins at 215 sq ft and two twin-bedded cabins of 258 sq ft (see photos above and below). The vessel sails every five weeks on CMA CGM’s Liberty Bridge service between New York, Norfolk, Charleston and Savannah on the US side and Southampton, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven and Le Havre in Europe.

CMA CGM La Traviata - Betty at work in her cabin

Betty Steinhauer hard at work on board CMA CGM La Traviata.

Fare for the full 35-day round voyage is €3,965 per person for a double-bedded cabin and €4,315 single, while a twin-bedded cabin runs to €4,315 per person or €4,665 for sole use. Fares include port charges, evacuation insurance and a booking fee.

The Transatlantic voyage from Le Havre to New York takes 9 nights and a double-bedded cabin runs to €1,285 per person or €1,465 single, while a twin-bedded cabin runs to €1,375 per person or €1,645 for sole use.

In the other direction, Charleston to Southampton takes 13 nights and the fare is €1,545 per person for a double-bedded cabin and €1,675 single. A twin-bedded cabin runs to €1,675 per person or €1,805 single.

For further details of booking with CMA CGM please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or email PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

Heritage Expeditions Completes Two 2017 Northern Sea Route Passages Across Russia, With One Voyage In Each Direction

Akademik ShokalskyNew Zealand-based Heritage Expeditions has just completed its inaugural Northern Sea Route (or Northeast Passage) expeditions between Anadyr and Murmansk and is now preparing for its 2017/18 Southern Ocean and Antarctic expeditions.

This was the first time that an expedition company has succeeded in a double transit of the Northern Sea Route. This was due in large part to changing ice conditions in the Arctic. But while they may be changing, ice conditions are still very unpredictable as Heritage discovered, with significantly more ice on the eastbound expedition than expected due to seasonally low temperatures.

Northern Sea RouteThe success of these voyages is due to some very careful planning and timing. These expeditions were three years in the planning and application process and Heritage expressed its gratefulness to its Russian partner for their part in securing all necessary permits at this timewhen permitting is increasingly complex.    

Heritage Expeditions’ 48-berth Akademik Shokalskiy, under Captain Igor, was the perfect vessel for this. His team was outstanding and worked tirelessly to ensure the success and safety of the vessel and her expeditioners. Navigating through ice and the shallow waters of the Northern Sea Route take both courage and knowledge.

Polar Bear
Each expedition (west and eastbound) visited over twenty Arctic islands, and made more than thirty landings, plus numerous zodiac cruises. The end result was a huge catalogue of highlights, (and thousands of photos) far too many to list here. The trip logs and wildlife lists from each expedition tell the story.

Heritage Expeditions will be monitoring trends in sea and ice conditions in the region before announcing our next Northern Sea Route Expeditions. Meanwhile, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’s 164-berth Bremen will be making the next eastbound passage from Tromnso to Nome between August 11 and September 7, 2018.

If you would like more information please contact The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or email PassageEnquiry@aol.com.