One Ocean To Acquire Hanseatic – Other Cruise News: MV Werften Delivers First Ship – TUI Discovery To Be Based At Newcastle

The Cruise Examiner for 7th August 2017

RCGS Resolute profile

One Ocean Expeditions has taken a long-term charter on the 146-berth RCGS Resolute, to enter service in November 2018

Last week, Canadian-based One Ocean Expeditions announced the acquisition of a third ship for its expedition fleet, while indicating that it would probably be doing more business in non-polar regions as well as in the Nova Scotia port of Sydney. Meanwhile, the Baltic shipyard MV Werften has delivered the first vessel under its new ownership by Genting Group of Hong Kong. The 106-berth Crystal Bach, which will cruise the Rhine, Main and Danube, will be the second ship in the Crystal River Cruises fleet, following the 154-berth Crystal Mozart on the Danube. Finally, Thomson Cruises has confirmed that it will base its 1,830-berth TUI Discovery at Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 2018.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                         (See previous columns)

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One Ocean Offer 20% Off July 7-16 Atlantic & Gulf of St Lawrence Cruise, 9 Nights Round Trip From Louisburg NS Now From $4,955

One Ocean GulfEnjoy the prolific wildlife around the remote and otherwise inaccessible islands of Nova Scotia (including Sable Island), Quebec, Newfoundland and the French territory of St Pierre et Miquelon on this quintessentialy Canadian voyage.

The islands of Atlantic Canada offer an abundance of birdlife and marine mammals, in addition to unique fishing and celtic cultures. Beaches and lagoons provide ample viewing opportunities for numerous shorebirds and as we cruise towards the mouth of the St Lawrence we hope to see whales such as the humpback, minke and blue whale as well as grey and harp seals. We will also look for eagles along the beach and gannets fishing the waters. Our onboard naturalists will be spotting and identifying the various creatures that surround us.

Starting and ending in historical Louisbourg on beautiful Cape Breton Island, this voyage offers a rare opportunity to explore this historic and beautiful region and take every opportunity to discover the Maritimes in all their glory. As we sail the Gulf of St Lawrence, we will be accompanied by a Cape Breton fiddler and an East Coast musician with a focus on the music of the small fishing villages.

DAILY ITINERARY 

 Day 1 – Louisbourg, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Our adventure begins in the historic port town of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, where we board our expedition vessel, the 96-passenger Akademik Ioffe. First visited by the English in 1597, the town was fortified by the French in 1713 in recognition of its strategic location.  In the 18th century, Louisbourg was the third busiest seaport in North America. We will board in the late afternoon in time for a dinner of fresh, local lobster as we sail out past the lighthouse and onto the Grand Banks.

Day 2 – Sable Island

Located on the edge of the Grand Banks, hundreds of kilometers from the coast, Sable Island has a storied history as a graveyard of ships, with more than 350 wrecks. Sporadically inhabited by sealers, shipwreck survivors and salvagers, the island is now home to half a dozen year-round inhabitants and a herd of Sable Island ponies, and is now one of Canada’s national parks.

Day 3 – Bird Island

Off the north central coast of Cape Breton, the Bird Islands are home to a number of important species including the Great Cormorant, Atlantic Puffin, Atlantic Razorbill, black-legged kittiwake and an important feeding station for Cape Breton’s bald eagles.

Day 4- The Magdalen Islands (Les Iles-de-la-Madeleine)

These remote islands of the Gulf of St Lawrence, part of the province of Quebec,  are home to unique fishing communities with beautifully maintained waterfront houses and boats, flowing grassy plains and sculpted sandstone shorelines. In addition to the traditional fishing and sealing culture, we will see a wide diversity of bird life.

Day 5 – Bonaventure Island and the Gaspé Peninsula

At Bonaventure Island we drop anchor near the town of Percé and visit the island by zodiac. One of the largest northern gannet colonies in the world, Bonaventure Island is protected as a provincial park of Quebec. We visit the colony, indulging in close up views of these majestic seabirds.

Day 6 – Anticosti Island

At the mouth of the St Lawrence where the river water mixes with Arctic water from the Strait of Belle Isle and the more temperate Atlantic waters, Anticosti Island is rich in marine wildlife. We plan to wander the beaches near the eastern end of the island followed by a zodiac cruise along the cliffs at East Point.  We will be keeping eyes open for shorebirds and seabirds as well as whales and seals as we enjoy Anticosti.

Bonne Bay

Bonne Bay in Gros Morne National Park

Day 7 – Gros Morne National Park

Sailing into majestic Bonne Bay, in the heart of Gros Morne National Park, the cliffs soar up out of the water and are covered in a green blanket of tuckamore – windswept spruce sculpted by the ocean breeze. At Woody Point we are welcomed ashore by a delegation from the community before visiting the loval interpretation centre. From there, guided walks take us into the World Heritage-listed Tablelands and to the lookout for a view over much of the park – a spectacular experience!

Day 8 – Francois

Francois (pronounced Frans-way) is a small, isolated community steeped in the traditions of the sea, perched on the edge of a beautiful fjord on the south coast of Newfoundland. We are welcomed ashore by members of the community and, if we hit it off, we may be invited to a dance at the community hall.

Day 9 – St Pierre et Miquelon

The island of St Pierre, is a European enclave still under French control. Walking down the streets feels like taking a stroll through a provincial French town. There’s an excellent puffin colony here and if weather permits we cruise in the zodiacs to see these colourful birds. Tonight we enjoy a special dinner, attended by the Captain, to mark the end of our Maritime adventure.

Day 10 – Louisbourg

We sail back to Cape Breton across the mouth of the Gulf of St Lawrence, heading again for the historic port of Louisbourg.  We will disembark in the morning and while some of us hustle to the airport, many will add a few extra days in Cape Breton to enjoy one of the gems of Canada’s East Coast.

Fares were from US $6,195 per person in a triple cabin or $7,195 in a double cabin with sem-private facilities or $8,295 per person en suite.

Prices for the 10-day East Coast Wildlife Safari now start at US $4,955 per person including the 20% price reduction and all activities and excursions. Also included is a transfer from the meeting point in Louisbourg to the ship, and transfer from the ship to the departure point in Louisbourg.

Family packages are also available for this voyage: children 16 and under can join an adult for just US $1,500, while young people aged 17-20 can take advantage of a 25% discount.

For further details please call The Cruise People Ltd in London, England, on 020 7273 2450 or e-mail cruisepeopleltd@aol.com. In North America call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.ca.

One Ocean Expeditions Opens Punta Arenas To Antarctica Fly/Cruise Departures From the Falklands and King George Island

One Ocean Expeditions’ Akademik Sergey Vavilov will source most of her 2015-16 Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia passengers from Punta Arenas, Chile, with one direct sailing and half a dozen fly/cruises from Punta Arenas airport.

One Ocean Expeditions’ Akademik Sergey Vavilov will source most of her 2015-16 Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia passengers from Punta Arenas, Chile, with one direct sailing and half a dozen fly/cruises from Punta Arenas airport.

Many years ago, Punta Arenas was used as an important setting off point for cruises to Antarctica. In more recent years, however, it has become more of a wayport for cruise ships running between Brazil and Argentina and Chile’s west coast port of Valparaiso. Ushuaia, meanwhile, in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego, has picked up the lion’s share of Antarctic departures.

Last month, however, One Ocean Expeditions announced its itineraries and fares for its 2015-16 Antarctica season for voyages on board the Akademik Ioffe and Akademik Sergey Vavilov.

In addition to its regular departures from Ushuaia, One Ocean will introduce a new program of expedition fly/cruises starting in Punta Arenas. The Punta Arenas fly/cruise program will be undertaken by the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, while the Akademik Ioffe carries on with its usual direct departures from Ushuaia.

Only the first voyage, on December 8, 2015, will involve boarding at Punta Arenas, as none of the subsequent Vavilov voyages will sail from the Chilean port. Instead, One Ocean will use scheduled flights between Punta Arenas and Stanley in the Falkland Islands, and flights that operate between Punta Arenas and the Chilean Antarctic base on King George Island, to get their passengers to and from the ship, which will sail between Stanley and King George Island. There are of course no flights between Argentina and the Falklands.

In addition to the direct departure from Punta Arenas, three Vavilov departures will be made from Stanley and three more from King Edward Island, where passengers will board or disembark by Zodiac. The resulting 10- and 11-night itineraries have been designed to allow passengers more time in Antarctica – with the added bonus of seeing the king penguins of the Falkland Islands on most departures.

Port Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands

Port Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands

After the Vavilov’s December 8 sailing from Punta Arenas, subsequent fly/cruise departures through to February 2016, will leave from Punta Arenas airport for either Stanley or King George Island and return to Punta Arenas airport at the end of the voyage.

All flights between Punta Arenas and the ship will be included in the fare. The Akademik Sergey Vavilov will then complete her season in March with two 10-night voyages from Ushuaia.

One Ocean customers have also frequently asked the company to offer a South Georgia-only voyage. In response to these requests, the Vavilov will now offer a 14-night South Georgia-only departure, sailing from Stanley on October 17, 2015, and ending in Ushuaia.  This will be followed by two chartered departures, after which the ship will position round to Punta Arenas to start the new program out of Chile.

In order to provide additional space, One Ocean will also bring the passenger capacity on both ships down from 96 to around 70 per voyage, and this on ships that used to carry 110.

One Ocean also has in place an Early Booking Offer of $750 per person off the cruise fare for all departures, subject to availability and withdrawal at any time.

The 210-berth Stella Australis

As well as the Vavilov’s single season-opening sailing, One Ocean will be bringing some new hotel, tour and flights business to Punta Arenas.

But it will not be the only operator there. For twenty-three years now Cruceros Australis, South America’s only local cruise line, has been operating 3-, 4- and 7-night voyages through the Chilean fjords between Punta Arenas and Ushuaia.
Its present fleet consists of the 210-berth Stella Australis, built in 2010, and the 136-berth Via Australis, built in 2005.

For details of the 2015-16 Punta Arenas departures and other polar cruise adventures please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk. In North America please call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@thecruisepeople.ca.

Growth Of Major World Cruise Markets – A Revival Of Sorts At Punta Arenas – North Pole Icebreaker Cruises To Continue Into 2018

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 6th October 2014... …

The Mariner of the Seas, right, one of the Voyager-class vessels

Hong Kong’s new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal opened in 2013 on the site of its old international airport. Seen here is Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas, one of two sister ships that now sail in Chinese waters.

Today we look at comparative growth in different cruise markets and the expected impact of the addition of the Asian market, particularly China, to these figures. While China, Australia, Brazil, Germany and Scandinavia are growing much faster than other markets, Canada seems to be frozen in time, with no growth in five years. Elsewhere, Punta Arenas in Chile is seeing a bit of a revival as a setting off point for fly/cruises to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. One Ocean Expeditions’ Akademik Sergey Vavilov will source most of her 2015-16 Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia passengers from Punta Arenas’s port and airport. And icebreaker cruises from Murmansk to the North Pole have been granted a reprieve until 2018.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                                 (See previous columns)

Thirty Years Of Northwest Passage Cruises – TUI Cruises Places Options For Two More Ships – New Ship Names For Royal Caribbean

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 22nd September 2014... ..

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Lindblad Explorer

Lindblad Explorer transited the Northwest Passage in 1984

northwest_passageThis month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the first full transit of Canada’s Northwest Passage by a commercial passenger vessel, with the Lindblad Explorer arriving in Yokohama on September 29, 1984. The 43-day voyage had departed St John’s, Newfoundland, on August 20. But things are now accelerating in the Northwest Passage. Last year saw the first commercial cargo, 73,000 tons of coal, move from Vancouver to Finland in the Nordic Orion, and this year the first westbound cargo, 25,000 tons of nickel concentrate, moving from Quebec to China in Fednav’s Nunavik. In 2015, Abercrombie & Kent will become the seventh company operating expedition ships through the Northwest Passage by chartering Ponant’s Le Boréal, and in 2016 Crystal Cruises plans to carry 900 passengers from Seward, Alaska, through the Northwest Passage to New York in the 68,870-ton Crystal Serenity.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                                 (See previous columns)

While First Commercial Cargo Ship Transits The Northwest Passage, Passenger Ships Have Been Doing It Since 1984

Nordic OrionThis week came news that the Danish bulk carrier Nordic Orion (right) has become the first commercial cargo ship to traverse Canada’s famed Northwest Passage, with a cargo of 73,000 tons metallurgical coal loaded at Vancouver and bound for Finland. The route saved her 1,000 miles and allowed her to load 25% more cargo than she can normally carry through the Panama Canal.

National_Geo_ExplorerMost people don’t realize, however, that commercial ships have been traversing the Northwest Passage for three decades. The Lindblad Explorer did it for the first time in 1984. Such transits are now offered by no fewer than six operators, including Compagnie du Ponant (Le Soléal) from France, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises (Bremen and Hanseatic) from Germany, Lindblad Expeditions (National Geographic Explorer, pictured) from the US , Adventure Canada (Sea Adventurer) and One Ocean Expeditions (Akademik Ioffe), both from Canada, and Silversea Expeditions (Silver Explorer) from Monaco.

NWPHapag-Lloyd, Ponant and Silversea transit the Northwest Passage to or from Nome, Alaska, or Anadyr, Siberia, while Adventure Canada, Lindblad and One Ocean turn at Coppermine (now called Kugluktuk), in the Canadian Arctic, at the western end of the Passage.

The Cruise People have been booking Northwest Passage passengers for several years now, but remember to book early as despite new ships being added to the route the season is limited to two months in high summer, usually departing in August, and these sailings sell out quickly.

For further information, here are a few earlier posts on the subject:

Northwest Passage post from The Cruise People

And for details on availability and fares please call The Cruise People L:td in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

One Ocean Expeditions Doubles Its Polar Adventure Fleet

One Ocean Expeditions (OOE) has announced that the highly regarded Akademik Sergey Vavilov will join her sister ship Akademik Ioffe as its second polar expedition vessel with effect from November 2012.

The Akademik Sergey Vavilov, seen here in icy Antarctic waters

Both ships were built  in Finland in the late 1980’s for the Russian Academy of Sciences.  They undertook hydro-acoustic research and are consequently extremely quiet, fast and stable ships, widely acknowledged as among the the best expedition vessels for difficult polar waters.

Andrew Prossin, who founded OOE in 2006, is a twenty-year veteran of both Antarctic and Arctic expeditions and has worked extensively with both vessels.

“This addition to our fleet was both necessary and timely for OOE. It is necessary because our 2011/12 season has almost completely sold out and we definitely need a second vessel. It is timely because the opportunity to take the Vavilov now puts us in a leading position with the two best expedition vessels in the world,” said Prossin.

With berths for 105 passengers, (but limited by OOE to 92) the Vavilov will initially be deployed in Antarctica, followed by the 2013 Arctic season. But first, the ship will be extensively refurbished. “The Vavilov is a great ship, and with the forthcoming improvement program we will have no trouble bringing her up to the high expectations of One Ocean Expeditions’ clients”, said Prossin.

Partial view of a typical twin cabin on the Akademik Sergey Vailov

“This is a terrific platform where we can offer an innovative expedition product and continue to hone the high levels of onboard guest services our clients have come to expect from us.” A major renovation is planned, including redecorated cabins, enhanced, modernised public areas and a wellness centre.

For further details of Arctic and Antarctic expeditions with One Ocean please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.