Seasons Greetings From Passengers On The 84-day Maiden Voyage Of The 18,000 TEU French-Flag Container Ship CMA CGM Bougainville

CMA CGM BougauinvilleChristmas and New Year greetings from British passengers Pat and John Pridmore, who joined CMA CGM Bougainville (above) in Southampton, the day after her christening in Le Havre as the largest container ship under French flag, for her first round voyage from Europe to the Far East.

anchor

The view from our window is restricted. It is of a steel container,almost near enough for us to reach out and touch. It tells us that it is “super-heavy” and capable of holding “32,500 kilos gross.” You would not want this thing falling on your foot. There are some eighteen thousand such containers on our vessel, stacked in tiers twenty high, eleven below decks and nine above, ranged in ranks from bow to stern.

We are passengers – the only passengers – on the three-month maiden voyage of the CMA CGM Bougainville, one of the world’s largest container vessels. We live in “the castle”, a tall thin tower amidships, surmounted by the bridge, where everyone from captain to galley-hand is housed. (We must hide somewhere else if we are attacked by pirates, but we mustn’t tell you where that is). Our Leviathan is a colossus. One perambulation of the deck is a half-a-mile walk. Most days we complete several circuits. Most days too we  spend time on the bridge. It is a huge privilege to be allowed to visit the bridge whenever we like and to see for ourselves how this enormous ship is guided on its way – even if there is much we do not understand about what we’re seeing.

CMA CGM Bougainville Hollande et Saadé

CMA CGM chairman Jacques Saadé, 3rd from left, with French president Francois Hollande, who christened the CMA CGM Bougainville at Le Havre on October 6, 2015

Our voyage from Southampton has taken us to European ports, through the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal, to ports in China, South Korea, and Malaya. Now we are on the long haul home. This is no cruise. We are spared round-the-clock forced-feeding, tacky stage-shows, and – we hope this doesn’t sound too unsociable – two or three thousand other passengers. To be sure, we are travelling in comfort. We are well-fed – after all, our vessel is French. Our simple cabin is sufficiently furnished. We have the use of facilities provided for the officers and crew. There is a slightly larger version of the tank you find at your fishmonger for the accommodation of live lobsters. In this we can splash around when the surrounding sea which feeds it is warm enough. There is a running machine and a ping-pong table. We are both pretty useless at ping-pong but that at least means we are evenly matched.

We have no Christmas lights to enjoy in our cabin. But we have the highlights of our voyage to savour. Among them have been the warm golden stones of Malta, the unfolding theatre along the banks of the Suez Canal, a day in the Arab Emirate of Khor al Fakkan (for us a window into an unknown world) – and, more disturbing, the menacing shape of submarines off the South Korean coast.

We have taken every opportunity to go ashore in China. Here memories compete to be mentioned. We will return in our mind to the four-storey pharmacy that gave us a glimpse of the range and riches of Chinese medicine. We will remember local restaurants, rich local food and local – and invariably friendly – people. We will remember what we learned from simply watching. For example, we sat by a children’s playground in a public park and noticed how the children, mostly pre-schoolers, played together – or rather how they didn’t play together, for of course each of these children was an only child, an offspring of the state’s “one child” policy.

Our slow boat to China (and back) has given us plenty of time – so hard to find in everyday life – for reflection. We are learning things we hope we’ll remember when we’re home. We’re learning the folly of being in such a hurry. We’re beginning to see that flying across the globe in half a day doesn’t help you understand the people you meet when you land.

And all those containers we carry raise another question – where to draw the line between what we need and what we want. No one knows what is inside these containers, but it is safe to assume that everything “made in China” – that’s to say about everything that furnishes our lives these days – is sealed within them. The question is what proportion of this vast cargo actually contributes to our well-being.

Above all there is the immense presence of the sea itself – the sea which we experienced in some at least of its many moods. Even as passengers with no responsibility for bringing us all safely to harbour, we are learning a fresh respect for the sea. What is the little parcel of dry land to which we cling other than a tiny and precarious bridgehead thrust into the waters  that always threaten to return and engulf us? Tsunamis and rising sea levels should at least suggest that thoughts are not altogether far-fetched.

We trust that when we step ashore at Southampton we will not forget what this voyage has taught us. Above all, we hope that we will not forget the Filipinos. The Bougainville is commanded by a French captain and most of his officers are French, but the rest of his crew are all from the Philippines. So it is on most of the world’s container vessels. The round-the-clock maintenance work is done by Filipinos. On back-to-back tours of duty, they  are away from home for nine months at a stretch. But they always seem to be smiling. In this troubled world, they would certainly want to join us in wishing you and yours a joyful Christmas and health and happiness in the New Year.

anchorThe CMA CGM Bouganville sails in the weekly French Asia Line 1 service, 84 days round trip from Southampton via Dunkirk, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge and Le Havre, through Malta and Suez to Khor Fakkan, Yantian, Tianjin, Dalian, Pusan, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Yantian, Port Kelang and back via Suez and Algeciras to Southampton. Each ship in this line carries up to ten passengers in five cabins.

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 PassageEnquiry@aol.com

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Grimaldi Lines Introduce New Cargo-Passenger Service Between Civitavecchia (Rome), Baltimore and Halifax NS, Thence Antwerp

Grimaldi Marocco © John Skelson

The Grande Marocco is one of six ships to offer passenger capacity on Grimaldi Lines’ Civitavechia-Baltimore-Halifax service

Back in January, Grimaldi Lines, one of the world’s largest ro-ro operators with a fleet of more than 100 ships, launched a direct service from Civitavecchia, near Rome, to Baltimore and Halifax, the first direct car carrier connection between the Mediterranean and North America.

Grimaldi made further news in June and July when it ordered five new car carriers, with an option for seven more, and three weeks later signed a contract for three more ships and an option for a fourth, for a total investment of $470 million. All eight of the new orders will be deployed on Grimaldi’s new Mediterranean-North America service transporting Fiat-Chrysler vehicles in both directions. The new ships will carry 7,000 cars each on 13 decks

Now, it has been announced that this service will begin to accept passengers. To start with, Grimaldi will offer Civitavecchia – Baltimore (sometimes other ports as well: Jacksonville, New York, Newport News, Halifax Canada). But for the moment Grimaldi will offer the outward voyage only from Civitavecchia to Baltimore. The ships will carry up to twelve passengers each, the maximum allowed on a cargo ship.  Added on 11.11.15: A Baltimore and Halifax to Antwerp service is now also available for foot passengers and it may be possible later to book accompanying vehicles as well.

Bookings will only be accepted for impending departures, within one month. The initial service will accept passengers only, without accompanying vehicle. Passengers will also be required to have travel and cancellation insurance to include the USA and Canada, passport and non-US and Canadian citizens will each need a B1/B2 Visa. This latter is because cargo ships are not included in the visa waiver scheme.

For the moment the service will be offered with the following vessels:

Grande Marocco, Grande Guinea, Grande Sierra Leone and Grande Benin: Owners cabin and 5 Inside cabins, and Grande Napoli and Grande Roma: 3 Outside cabins (max 4 per cabin)

Fares for 2015 only have been set as follows:

Owners Category EM2: €1,700 per person for two
Owners Category EM1: €2,300 for sole occupancy
Outside Category DE2: €1,300 per person for two
Outside Category DE1: €1,700 for sole occupancy
Inside Categories DI2/BI2: €950 per person for two
Inside Categories DI1/BI1: €1,200 for sole occupancy

The duration of each voyage will be about 11-13 days. When there are more voyages for Halifax it will be possible for passengers to travel with accompanied vehicles.

For details on how to book Grimaldi Lines or any other cargo ship voyage please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail cruisepeopleltd@aol.com.

The Trend To Mid-Size Ships: Saga Orders A Vessel From Meyer Werft

The Cruise Examiner for 5th October 2015

Saga image courtesy Meyer Werft

Artist’s concept of the new Saga ship seems to indicate a wraparound promenade deck

Last week came news from Saga that it had ordered a 55,900-ton cruise ship from Meyer Werft in Papenburg, builders almost three decades ago, in 1986-92, of such well-respected ships as the Homeric, Crown Odyssey, Horizon and Zenith. The new Saga ship, for delivery in 2019, plus a possible sister for 2021, will join the eight “R” ships that set the precedent for this size of cruise ship in 1998-2001, along with Oceania Cruises’ Marina and Riviera from 2011-12 and the Viking Ocean Cruises trio of 2015-17. Compared to the ultra-luxury ships that have tended to occupy this size bracket in the past, these ships will prove that there is a market to be met between the mass market ships carrying thousands of passengers and the ultra-luxury ships carrying just hundreds. This new class of ship will bring back passengers whose needs have not been met by the very large mass-market ships, no matter how many attractions.

Three 100,000-tonners For Crystal – Other Cruise News: More Cuba News From Haimark – Norwegian’s A La Carte Pricing

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 20th July 2015

Crystal Exclusive

Three 100,000-ton all-suite all-balcony “Crystal Exclusive” class polar-capable ships, the first of which is due to enter service in late 2018, will carry 1,000 passengers each with a crew of 1,000, and include 48 private residences on the top deck.

Two weeks ago The Cruise Examiner disclosed that the Megastar Taurus was about to join Crystal Cruises, which it will now do in December as the Crystal Esprit. But now comes even bigger news. As well as introducing Crystal Yacht Cruises, the brand will inaugurate Crystal River Cruises as an upmarket all-inclusive river product and Crystal Luxury Air for air cruises. But that’s not all. The really big news is that Crystal is about to order three new all-inclusive ultra-luxury 1,000-berth 100,000-ton Crystal Exclusive class ships, starting in late 2018. Elsewhere, Haimark Line has announced that it will beat Carnival’s fathom brand to the re-commencement of cruise service from Florida to Cuba. Haimark begins service in February and fathom in May. And Norwegian is changing many of its alternative dining venues to a la carte pricing.

Haimark’s Saint Laurent Is The First Ship Of The Season At Montreal

St Laurent at Shed 3 MontrealThe St Lawrence cruise ship season opened on Tuesday May 12, with the arrival of Chicago-based Haimark Line’s 4,954-ton 210-berth Saint Laurent from Charleston, where she had just received a $3.5 million refit for her first season of Great Lakes and New England cruises.

The ship was built in 2001 as the now-defunct Delta Queen Coastal Voyages’ Cape May Light and although she has seen service in Haiti, Labrador and Chesapeake Bay waters, she has spent most of that time laid up at freshwater berths. Her present owners, Clipper Group of Copenhagen, also own sister ship Sea Discoverer, which is now in stationary use at Lerwick. Both ships are registered in the Bahamas.

Something over 71,000 domestic and international cruise passengers are forecast for Montreal this year, representing an increase of more than a quarter over 2014, when the port welcomed 56,466 passengers.

With calls by nineteen ships, Montreal expects a 2015 season that will also include five newcomers – Oceania’s 1,250-berth Marina and 684-berth Insignia, the 2,050-berth AidaDiva, 706-berth Saga Sapphire, and of course the Saint Laurent.

The largest carrier in the St Lawrence cruise trade at the moment is Holland America Line, whose 1,266-berth Maasdam trades from Montreal and 1,348-berth Veendam from Quebec.

The Saint Laurent is using Montreal as its home port for 2015 and became the first vessel of the year to take on passengers, departing on May 13 for a 9-night cruise to Clayton NY, Toronto, Port Weller (for Niagara Falls), Quebec and Trois-Rivieres. She will perform ten of these cruises for Paris-based operator Rivages du Monde.

https://greatlakescruising.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/haimark-deck-plan.jpg?w=630The Saint Laurent will also offer 9-night Great Lakes itineraries between Montreal and Chicago and between Chicago and Toronto that will include all five Great Lakes by adding a brief lockage through the locks at Sault Ste Marie into Lake Superior. Port calls will be made at Chicago, Mackinac Island, Georgian Bay, Detroit/Windsor, the Welland Canal (for Niagara Falls) and either Toronto or Montreal.

In addition to the Great Lakes, the Saint Laurent will offer a number of 9-night Canada/New England cruises between Montreal and Portland, Maine. The May 30 departure from Montreal to Portland will feature as guest speaker renowned US television commentator Dan Rather, and calls will be made at Quebec, Gaspé, Halifax, Yarmouth, Saint John, Bar Harbor and Portland.

All Great Lakes and New England cruises have been scheduled for 9 nights. Outside cabins begin at $4,998 per person, including port charges, while inside cabins start at $4,598.

For a copy of the Great Lakes flyer click here: Cruise the Great Lakes and for further details and bookings please call The Cruise People Ltd in London, England, on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruisepeopleltd@aol.com. In North America call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@thecruisepeople.ca.

Three Great Opportunities To Cruise The Great Lakes This Summer On The 210-passenger Saint Laurent, 10 Days From $4,199

Saint Laurent stateroom

Typical outside accommodations on the main deck of the 210-passenger m.v. Saint Laurent

Space is limited but there is still time to secure your place on a 10-night Great Lakes cruise on board the charming 4,954-ton 210-berth Saint Laurent this summer.

  • Sail into history with the first authentic Great Lakes voyages by classic passenger ship in decades, leaving right from Navy Pier in Chicago or from the Port of Montreal in the heart of that city.
  • A 9-night Great Lakes cruise on board a ship with nostalgic interiors and rich appointments.
  • Special on board events and shore excursions included in each port of call.
  • Elegantly casual dining and entertainment on board wth unlimited beverages, including beer, wine, spirits, cocktails, soft drinks, juices, coffee, tea and water.
  • Spectacular sightseeing through the Soo Locks, the St Lawrence Seaway, the Thousand Islands, the Welland Canal, as well as seeing Niagara Falls and Mackinac Island.
  • Departures from Chicago on July 14 and August 28 – from Montreal on July 5.
  • Fares from $4,199 per person in an inside cabin or $4,599 in an outside cabin plus $399 port charges
Haimark Great Lakes

July 14 & August 28 from Chicago, July 5 v.v. from Montreal

For a full copy of the flyer please click here: Cruise the Great Lakes

For further details and bookings please call The Cruise People Ltd in London, England, on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruisepeopleltd@aol.com. In North America call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@thecruisepeople.ca.

Chinese Cruising Gets Serious – Other Cruise News: Carnival Corp & Plc Orders Nine Ships

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 30th March 2015

Duchess of Richmond

The Duchess of Richmond, one of nine ships ordered by Canadian Pacific in 1926, in the Caribbean

Last week big news broke from both Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corp & plc. Royal Caribbean for its part will be sending its newbuilding “Quantum” class ship Ovation of the Seas to cruise from China next year, bringing the Royal Caribbean International fleet based in that country to five ships sailing from four ports. Meanwhile, for its part, Carnival Corp & plc has announced orders for nine new ships, five from Fincantieri and four from Meyer Werft. As yet, their distribution has not been announced but they are to be delivered between 2019 and 2022 and will be not only for European and North American brands, but also for China. Another company that once ordered nine ships at once was Canadian Pacific, in 1926. Carnival’s first two cruise ships were former Canadian Pacific “Empresses” and every Carnival Cruise Line ship since has had an “Empress” deck, while Princess Cruises took its name from Canadian Pacific’s coastal fleet of “Princesses” that used to cruise from Vancouver to Alaska.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                            (See previous columns)

Lloyd Triestino Adriatic – Far East Cargo-Passenger Route Is Revived

LT CortesiaIn 1993, Taiwan-based Evergreen Line acquired the company Italia Marittima, which up until fairly recently had been know as Lloyd Triestino, and had been famous for running an attractive fleet of ocean liners from the Adriatic to Australia and New Zealand and the Far East. Later, in 2007, the five different Evergreen ship operating companies began operating as one brand, Evergreen Line. But many of the routes still survive and one event marked this month is the revival of passenger service from Trieste to the Far East, on a 70-day round voyage.

Two 100,000-ton container ships, the LT Cortesia (above) and Ever Chivalry, each carry up to five passengers in an Owners cabin, a Double cabin and a Single cabin. Passengers dine with the officers and are allowed to visit the bridge, and can avail themselves of an indoor swimming pool and sauna as well as a lounge and deck chairs. Both ships are owned by NSB and chartered to Evergreen Line.

Lloyd TriestinoPorts of call in this service include Trieste, Piraeus, the Suez Canal, Jeddah, Colombo, Tanjung Pelepas, Shekou, Kaoshiung, Qingdao, Shanghai (Yangshan), Ningbo, Taipei, Yantian, Tanjung Pelepas, the Suez Canal, Ashdod, Alexandria, Piraeus, Koper and Trieste.  One-way voyages are possible and passengers bound for India can disembark in Colombo while those bound for Singapore can disembark at Tanjung Pelepas, which is called at in both directions. As well as five Chinese ports, these vessels serve the Taiwanese ports of Kaohsiung outbound and Taipei on the return.

Projected sailing dates from Trieste are as follows:

On/about July 12, 2015
On/about August 2, 2015
On/about September 20, 2015
On/about October 11, 2015

Fares begin at €95 per person per day (€90 per day single) while port charges and deviation insurance are extra.

For further information on cargo ship voyages please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruisepeopleltd@aol.com.

Columbia River Cruise Review: Sailing Aboard Un-Cruise Adventures’ Intimate s.s. Legacy by Jeffrey Ward, The Savvy Navigator

s.s. Legacy 0

Un-Cruise Adventure’ s.s. Legacy has shifted from Alaska to Portland for full time work on America’s Columbia River system

by Jeffrey Ward, from Luxury Cruise News

With the growth of European river cruising, and its appeal to North American travellers, I’ve often wondered why there are not more river cruising vessels and destinations in the USA. I recently had the opportunity to spend a week onboard Un-Cruise Adventures’ s.s. Legacy sailing round trip out of Portland, Oregon, eastbound along the Columbia and Snake Rivers to the Idaho border. This five-star trip is an unparalleled experience here in the States, and I highly recommend the 7-day sailing for all cruise lovers.

The 88-passenger s.s. Legacy was built approximately 30 years ago as the Pilgrim Belle, operating as a coastal steamer in New England. She later traded on the St Lawrence River as the Victorian Empress and on the West Coast and Alaska as the Spirit of ’98. The design of the ship is based on naval architecture from the turn of the last century, but is equipped with today’s modern conveniences. The vessel was brought into the Un-Cruise Adventures fleet in 2013, after a complete refurbishment.

Un-Cruise originally deployed the ship in Alaska, but has decided to base her permanently in Portland for the April – November 2015 season, offering the “Legacy of Discovery” and “Ameritage – Four Rivers of Wine and History” themed cruises.

s.s. Legacy open bridge

s.s. Legacy‘s open bridge policy allows passengers to visit the wheelhouse.

One great appeal of a river cruise on the s.s. Legacy is that everything is included in the fare – meals, accommodation, drinks, activities, a free massage, and airport or hotel transfers. The 44 cabins onboard are set up in either a twin bed or queen configuration. The accommodations are extremely comfortable, with en-suite baths and televisions (used for watching DVDs from the ship’s library) and twice-daily maid service. Another aspect of the ship that very much appealed to me was the open bridge policy. I spent quite a bit of time in the wheelhouse with Captain Dano Quinn and his team, which was mesmerizing – especially during sunrise and sunset.

For The Savvy Navigator, however, the highlight of the cruise was the impressive quality of the food and wine. Three meals are served per day, along with cocktail hour (daily at 5:30 p.m.), and early riser breakfast from 6 to 8 a.m. (where the coffee cake was the best I’ve ever consumed). The variety and quality of the food was excellent, and paired nicely with local beers and wines from the Pacific Northwest. In addition to the open-seating dining room, there’s a large, comfortable lounge on an upper deck above the bow, which is always stocked with snacks, libations, and coffee. (A special shout-out goes to the nocturnal pastry chef, whose bread, rolls, pastries, desserts, and other baked goods turned this non-dessert eater into a ravenous sugar glutton.)

The historical interpretation team offers authentic and entertaining insights into the region’s history.
Another highlight of the onboard experience is the historical interpretation team, who function as the guides for the cruise. Led by historian Ryan Downs, the team did an excellent job of bringing history to life, in an authentic and surprisingly entertaining way.

Older passengers are welcome onboard this cruise (and made up the majority of travellers on my sailing), as the excursions are not particularly active or physically challenging. And the sailing’s appeal isn’t limited to any type of cruiser – I’ve always preferred cruising aboard large ships, and now I’m a small ship convert.

The bottom line is that I loved this cruise. It was comfortable and interesting, led me to gain a few pounds, and exposed me to a completely new part of the world.

For further details please call The Cruise People Ltd in London or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk. In North America call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@thecruisepeople.ca

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.
pGH.p

Cargo Ship Travel Piece Coming Up On BBC World’s The Travel Show

Ind Accord Promenade DeckBBC2 and BBC World’s The Travel Show will be carrying an item on cargo ship travel either this week (ending July 12) or next. It will most likely be next week (ending July 19) as they have just interviewed us today and are doing interviews with one or two of our clients today and tomorrow (photo by client Scott Muc).

BBC   Transmission times for BBC’s The Travel Show

The following times are local to the United Kingdom (BST). Broadcasts are sometimes replaced by other programming at short notice due to the nature of these channels’ reactions to news and current events. Some weeks the 30 minute programme may not be shown due to coverage of live events. In this case, website viewing on the BBC iPlayer is the only way to see it.

UK

Friday: 10:35 BBC Two
Saturday: 05:30 BBC News; Sunday: 01:30, 14:30, 20:30 BBC News

BBC World News

All GMT Saturday: 03:30, 13:30, 18:30 Sunday: 06:30
Monday (N America) 23:30; Wednesday (N America) 01:30; Thursday (N America) 02:30

For further information on cargo ship travel please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk

Viking Star Floated Out At Marghera – A Return To Seagoing Tradition But Every Cabin With A Balcony

Viking StarLast week, Viking Cruises floated out its first ocean-going cruise ship, the 47,800-ton 930-berth Viking Star. This event marks the introduction of one of the most important cruise ships in some years. In one way, she marks a return to the roots of traditional cruising, where destinations and the sense of being at sea, rather than at some fun fair, are an important part of the cruise product. At the same time, she is a step forward as every passenger cabin on board comes with a balcony.

The ceremony took place on Monday, June 23, at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard near Venice. With four sister ships now under construction, Viking Star will be the first to debut, in May 2015 with maiden voyages in Scandinavia and the Baltic. The next to be introduced will be the Viking Sea and Viking Sky, while the fourth ship has yet to be named.

“Today is a proud day for our entire Viking family, as we are one step closer to launching a new era of ocean cruising,” said Viking Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen last week. “Viking Star’s maiden season was sold out before she even touched water, which just demonstrates how enthusiastic our guests are for destination-focused ocean cruises.”

Following a two-day process that floated the Viking Star, she was moved to the nearbyfitting dock for final completion. At 745 by 95 feet, these new ships will be slightly larger than one of the world’s most famous cruise ships, the Green Goddess, otherwise known as Cunard Line’s 34,183-ton Caronia of 1949, which measured 715 x 91 feet and also carried 930 passengers.
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The new Viking ships will feature many premium amenities and services, including

– all cabins have a private balcony
– a two-deck high observation lounge at the forward end
– a complete walk-around promenade deck beneath the lifeboats and tenders
– the main dining room has floor-to-ceiling windows that slide open
– al fresco dining is available
– the first true infinity pool at sea
– the spa has been banished from deck 9 on top to deck 1 below.

Fort further details on booking a cruise on Viking Cruises new ocean ships please call The Cruise People Ltd in Europe on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk. or in North America 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@thecruisepeople.ca.