Celebrity & Azamara Top Cruisers’ Choice Awards – Nassau Forgot the Epic Was Coming To Town – Two More Ships Going All-Inclusive

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 4th March 2013

Celebrity Eclipse

Last week, Cruise Critic announced its UK and US Cruisers’ Choice Awards for 2013 and Celebrity and Azamara came out at the very top of all the lines, for large and small ships, respectively, while Oceania took top prizes for its medium-sized Marina and Riviera. Disney also captured top places, but only in the US, and a surprise winner on both sides of the Atlantic was Thomson Cruises. You can see the detailed results in this week’s Cruise Examiner. Meanwhile, Nassau forgot one of its regular callers last month and didn’t have a spot for the Norwegian Epic when she arrived for her usual visit the Friday before last, and we take a look at the incursions that the all-inclusive concept is making into the cruise market.

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The World of Cruising According to Condé Nast – Argentina and Falklands Conflict Calms – And A New Home For Queen Elizabeth 2

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 4th February 2013

Silver SpiritCondé Nast Traveler rates both the 540-berth Silver Spirit (above) and the 2,092-berth Queen Elizabeth as medium-size ships, while Berlitz more logically calls the Silver Spirit small and the Queen Elizabeth large.
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Last week, US-based Condé Nast Traveler magazine released the results of its 2013 best cruise ships poll, dividing the fleet into small, medium and large cruise ships plus river cruisers. Among the winners are names such as Azamara, Celebrity, Crystal, Cunard, Holland America, Oceania, Princess, Regent, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn and Silversea, as well as some lesser known cruising names such as Grand Circle and National Geographic. Meanwhile, from Silversea comes news that the situation in Argentina seems to be calming down, with their ships again calling on both Argentina and the Falkland Islands. Elsewhere, we have news of a new future for the iconic Queen Elizabeth 2, in a major Asian city yet to be announced.

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Cruising in the Crystal Serenity – Azamara Club Cruises Going All-Inclusive – The Ocean Liner Society Chooses MS Hamburg

          THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 3rd December 2012

Crystal SerenityOn Wednesday last, The Cruise Examiner boarded Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity at Lisbon for an 11-night cruise to Madeira, the Canary Islands, Morocco and Spain. Here is his first report on the new all-inclusive Crystal Cruises. Meanwhile, Azamara Club Cruises has become the latest to join the all-inclusive cruise lines, leaving Oceania Cruises as the odd man out. Elsewhere, the Ocean Liner Society has chosen Plantours’ MS Hamburg for its 2013 annual group cruise.

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The Latest Cruise Ship Orders – Classic International Australia Charters The Delphin – Cruise Lines Cut UK Agents’ Commissions

           THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 29th October 2012

New orders have been placed in the past fortnight for three cruise ships, one for Norwegian Cruise Line, with an option for a second of a new “Breakaway Plus” class, from Meyer Werft in Germany; plus two new ships, in new classes for each of Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Lines, from Fincantieri in Italy. Elsewhere, after the arrest of four of Classic International Cruises’ fleet of five ships in Europe, that line’s Australian affiliate, working with UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages, has apparently succeeded in obtaining the slightly smaller German-based Delphin to replace the Athena in the Australian market this winter. Finally, after P&O, Princess and Cunard slashed commissions to UK travel agents to 5% at the beginning of 2012, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, and now Norwegian Cruise Line, have followed Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, who acted in March, to cut their own base rate to 10%, in an attempt to stop agents from offering rebates on cruise bookings.

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Yet Another Line Cuts Bermuda Calls – Costa Pacifica Goes Green – Royal Caribbean Keeps Steady Eye on Pullmantur

          THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 13th August 2012

This weekend Bermuda received more bad news from another cruise line. Apart from the fact that Holland America Line will end its weekly service by the Veendam (pictured) from New York to the island’s capital of Hamilton in two weeks, Royal Caribbean has now announced that it will reduce the number of berths it offers to Bermuda next year by 20%. Not only that but its new Baltimore ship, which is where the reductions will occur, will have 15% less capacity than the ship she replaces. Meanwhile, Costa Cruises has commenced a trial recycling program on board Costa Pacifica that will look for further efficiencies in shipboard waste management and recycling. And finally, we have a look at how the Eurozone problems and a weak Spanish economy are affecting the Spanish cruise market.

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Photo courtesy The Royal Gazette, Bermuda

The Big Names Behind China’s First Cruise Ship – Other Cruise News: San Francisco – A New Cruise Terminal & A Year-Round Ship – All-Inclusive Cruising Spreads Further

          THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 30th July 2012

Last week came further news of China’s new 100,000-ton 2,000-berth cruise ship, tentatively to be named China Xiamen, and among the names involved is not only Royal Caribbean but also Stephen Payne’s PFJ Marine Consulting, Finland’s Deltamarin, the Xiamen International Cruise Co Ltd and the Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry Co Ltd, as well as a new Southeast China International Shipping Centre and Xiamen International Cruise Terminal at Dongdu. Xiamen, located between Shanghai and Hong Kong, has become Royal Caribbean’s fourth Chinese departure port after Shanghai, Tianjin and Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean has been working its 1,800-berth Legend of the Seas and, this year, the 3,114-berth Voyager of the Seas in the China and Asia market. Elsewhere, San Francisco will soon see a revival of sorts with a new cruise terminal under way at Pier 27 and the arrival of the recently rebuilt (2011) 2,600-berth Grand Princess year-round for Princess Cruises. Finally, we have a look at new all-inclusive offers from Compagnie du Ponant and Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.

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Richard Fain Named to UK Travel Hall of Fame – Other Cruise News: Viking Ocean Cruises Order Goes To Fincantieri – Does Princess Cruises Listen To Its Passengers?

          THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 23rd April 2012

Royal Caribbean Cruises chairman and ceo Richard Fain was inducted into the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame last week. As an executive, he spent thirteen years in London with the Norwegian shipping company Gotaas-Larsen, an early one-third shareholder in Royal Caribbean and owner of Eastern Cruise Lines. In Miami since 1988, Fain has been involved with Royal Caribbean for thirty-three years and at its head for almost twenty-five. His biggest regret must be having lost to Carnival a decade ago in his attempt to take over P&O and Princess Cruises. But his success in expanding Royal Caribbean worldwide into half a dozen brands and building the world’s largest cruise ships must far outweigh that set-back. Elsewhere, Viking Ocean Cruises have moved from France to Italy to build their two, option three, new oceangoing cruise ships, which will be slightly larger, at 998 berths and delivered slightly later. Finally, two Panamanian fishermen died in the Pacific last month because the master of the Star Princess was not informed that their small fishing boat was in trouble after some of his passengers reported their plight to a crew member. One has to ask, does Princess Cruises listen to its passengers?


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Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2 Will Be A Stunner – Other Cruise News: Princess Plans Japan Season – Azamara Quest Incident Well Handled

          THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 2nd April 2012

The illustrations released last week for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2 show a vessel that will be decorated in the fashion of the former “ships of state,” the majestic ocean liners that used to ply the North Atlantic.  The French restaurant Tarragon (above) is a stunning room, reminiscent of an earlier era of ocean liner design. And the ship’s Elements Asian restaurantbrings back memories of the Cathay Lounge on Canadian Pacific’s Empress of Britain of 1931 (see our last post below) .  Elsewhere, Princess Cruises will use its Australian-based Sun Princess to run a three-month cruise season in Japan next year. And Azamara Club Cruises leaves no room for a press looking for bad news in its exemplary handling of the fire on board Azamara Quest last week.

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New Celebrity and Carnival Ships for the UK Market – Other Cruise News: Royal Princess Debut A Prelude To New P&O Ship – British and Spanish Cruise Awards

          THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 27th February 2012

Two lines with different UK connections will each add a ship each to the UK market in 2013 when Celebrity Infinity transfers to Harwich and the Carnival Legend to Dover for next year’s summer season. While Celebrity hopes to expand its UK carryings by 70%, Carnival’s ship will be new to market. At the same time Princess Cruises, another North American-based cruise line with ships in the UK, will introduce its latest Royal Princess in Southampton in June 2013 with two 3-day taster cruises followed by a maiden voyage from Southampton to Barcelona on June 16. This ship will be a precursor to P&O’s new vessel due for delivery in 2015. Finally, we have a look at the differing results of two sets of local British and Spanish cruise awards. In the UK, the once-criticised Thomson Dream takes five awards, Celebrity and Azamara win on best value and P&O, Princess and Cunard don’t score.

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The Cruise Examiner for 2nd January 2012: Happy New Year from The Cruise Examiner – Top Ten Cruise Predictions For 2012 and Beyond

          THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 2nd January 2012

Viking Line’s new LNG-powered cruise ferry, to be delivered by STX in 2013 (photo courtesy STX/Viking Line)

Those involved in the cruise industry over the past few decades have been lucky to work in one of the most dynamic industries on Earth (or water). Not that other industries are not dynamic but this is one of the most interesting. Since the dawn of modern cruising just over forty years ago, ships have grown in size from 19,000 tons to 250,000 tons and their capacities from about 1,000 passengers to over 6,000. Growth has been constant, especially in the past decade, where markets such as the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Australia and now China are all substantially adding to the overall numbers taking a cruise every year. With the dawn of a new year we have a look at some of the things that will affect cruising in not only the year to come but the years beyond. For our top ten predictions for 2012 and beyond take the left hand link below.
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The Cruise Examiner for 26th December 2011: Viking Ocean Cruises Orders Two Ocean-Going Cruise Ships – Other Cruise News: Passat Revives the Delphin – Saga’s Plans for Quest for Adventure

          THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 26th December 2011

There is some really good news to end 2011. A new company called Viking Ocean Cruises has just ordered two 41,000-ton 888-passenger cruise ships from STX France in St Nazaire, who are also now building Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2. This is the same shipyard that produced the Queen Mary 2, Crystal Serenity, Seven Seas Mariner, the eight “R” clas ships that now work for Azamara, Oceania, P&O, Princess and, as of next spring, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises as well, and Celebrity Cruises’ Millenium class. As well as having built many mass market ships for its biggest customer, MSC, the famous St Nazaire shipyard that built the Normandie and the France, has managed to get a corner on the bespoke cruise ship market as well. Although the new Viking Ocean ships will be built to a more human scale than man y of today’s behemoths, questions remain as to whether they will have proper forward-facing observation lounges, walkaround promenade decks and tiered decks aft, all marks of a comfortable ship. Meanwhile, an Indian entrepreneur will place the Delphin back into service in the German market after a year of lay up in Venice and Britain’s Saga has some interesting plans for the Saga Pearl II, which will become sister brand Spirit of Adventure’s Quest for Adventure next spring with the delivery of the Saga Sapphire, now trading as Bleu de France.

Note dated April 4, 2012: It now appears that the pending order from Viking Ocean Cruises with STX France has collapsed and the work may go instead to Fincantieri in Italy.

Note dated April 19, 2012: It has now been confirmed that a memorandum of understanding has been signed with Fincantieri to build two, option three, ships and they will now carry 998 passengers as opposed to the originally planned 888, and they will be about 10% larger at 45,000 tons.

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The Cruise Examiner for 19th December 2011: Cruise Line Tag Lines Over The Years – Other Cruise News: Princess To Operate Three World Cruises From Australia in 2013 – Harmony Princess to Cruise From South Korea

          THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

           by Kevin Griffin

      The Cruise Examiner for 19th December 2011

Over the past forty years there have been two cruise line tag lines that have held up well and are remembered. One is Carnival’s “The Fun Ships” and the other is Princess Cruises’ “The Love Boat.” Everyone else has just been trying. Last week, however, Royal Caribbean revealed its latest – The Sea is Calling. Answer it Royally.” This week, we have a look at some cruise line tag lines past and present. Down Under, Princess Cruises has had such success with operating two world cruises from Australia that in 2013 it will offer three such sailings on the 77,000-ton sister ships Sea Princess, Dawn Princess and Sun Princess. And the Costa Marina goes to new South Korean operators. She arrives in Pusan on Thursday and is set to start cruising next March under the new name of Harmony Princess.


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