Two “Icon” Class Ships For Royal Caribbean – Europe’s Largest River Cruiser, AmaMagna – Disney Magic Set For Quebec City & Bermuda

The Cruise Examiner for 15th May 2017


AmaWaterways’s 194-berth AmaMagna is to enter service on the Danube in 2019

In its latest move to greener ships, Royal Caribbean Cruises has confirmed orders for the first two of its new “Icon” ships to be built by Meyer Turku. For delivery in 2022 and 2024, the new ships will fall somewhere between the “Oasis” class and the “Quantum” class ships in size. Disney Cruise Line, meanwhile, has announced new sailings to Quebec and Bermuda, both new destinations for the line. The 1,754-berth Disney Magic will open up both these new routes in the autumn of 2018. And finally, after christening the AmaKristina last week, AmaWaterways has announced that it will build Europe’s largest river cruiser (above), to be called AmaMagna, Regina Magnafor delivery in 2019. The AmaMagna is not the first European cruise ship to carry this name. The last was Chandris Cruises’ Regina Magna (right), which was converted to cruise from Southampton in 1972. Previously she had operated as North German Lloyd’s North Atlantic liner Bremen. In 1988, the Chandris family founded Celebrity Cruises, which is now owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises. The Chandris “X” is still carried by Celebrity ships today.

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Vancouver To Regain Its Lead Over Seattle? – Explorer of the Seas To Australia – Bermuda Forecasts 21,000 More Cruisers This Year

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 14th April 2014..

Zuiderdam Lion's Gate

As the Alaska trade prepares for its first sailings later this month, our main subject this week is the ongoing contest between Vancouver and Seattle. Since coming out of nowhere almost fifteen years ago to capture more than half the Alaska cruise trade in just a few years, an equilibrium seems to have been reached whereby Vancouver will see almost 40% more sailings than Seattle but the average passenger turnaround per ship on Seattle sailings will be more than a third higher than Vancouver’s. Elsewhere, the news has finally broken that after her 2015 season in the UK, Explorer of the Seas will join Voyager of the Seas to become one of “Australia’s two mega liners” during the southern hemisphere cruising season. And as the Bermuda season opens, it forecasts 356,000 cruisers this year, a rise of 21,000 over 2013.

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Holland America Line Returns To Front Street In 2015 – This Time From Boston – And The Story Of The Bermuda Veendams

Last week came good news from Holland America Line for the merchants of Front Street in Bermuda, when it was revealed that the 57,092-ton Veendam will return to Bermuda in 2015. So far sailings have been scheduled for May 2, 9 & 30, June 6 & 27 and July 4, although more could follow for both 2015 and 2016.

Unlike her previous service to Bermuda, however, these will be 7-night Saturday sailings from Boston rather than from New York.

Until 2012, the 1,348-berth Veendam had been regularly engaged on the New York-Bermuda run but late that year she was reassigned to Canada/New England cruises between Boston and Quebec. She entered that trade in the autumn of 2012 and returned for a full summer season in 2013 and will do another this year.

Part of her move from Bermuda to the St Lawrence trade involved incentives of $1.15 million to be paid to Holland America Line over three years by the Province of Quebec and City of Quebec. How this new deployment will affect the St Lawrence trade is not yet known but Holland America Line gains two clear advantages by sending the Veendam back to Bermuda.

Firstly, Bermuda has now passed legislation that allows cruise operators to keep their casinos open from 9 pm until 5 am, which in turn allows their ships to profit from additional on board spend while in port. This previous ban had been one of the reasons that had impelled Holland America not to renew its Bermuda contract after 2012.

The other is that under the regulations of the new (2012) North American Emission Control Area (ECA), it will be possible for the Veendam to burn less expensive fuel with a heavier sulphur content while running from Boston to Bermuda. This is because effective August 1, 2015, the maximum sulphur limit will be lowered from 1% to 0.1% for fuel burned within 200 nautical miles of the coast of North America (see map below).

The marine gas oil that will have to be used while steaming between Boston and Quebec is much more expensive than the heavier fuel that can be burnt while steaming beyond the 200-mile limit to Bermuda.

Although price differences vary, for a vessel burning 100 tones per day a difference of $300 per ton would mean an extra $30,000 a day while steaming. Over 1,200 passengers this comes to an extra $25 per passenger per day on the ticket price.

A third competitive advantage for the Veendam is that, unlike the contract ships operated to Bermuda by Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean international, the Veendam is small enough to steam straight into Hamilton, where she can dock right on Front Street in the capital’s main shopping and entertainment district (see lead photo). The bigger ships have to berth at Dockyard (see Celebrity Summit, left), a 45-minute taxi ride or a 30-minute ferry ride away from Hamilton. The increasing size of cruise ships has meant that Hamilton has had no regular caller since the Veendam left at the end of the 2012 season.

Veendam (ii)Ships with the name Veendam have a long history of serving Bermuda, dating back more than eight decades. The first (right) was the 15,450-ton Veendam, second of the name, built in 1922. She was chartered to the Furness Bermuda Line in 1930 for two summers’ work on the New York-Hamilton run. She stood in as a replacement for Furness Bermuda’s 7,785-ton Fort Victoria, which had been sunk in a collision off New York in December 1929. This Veendam left New York for Bermuda for the first time on July 2, 1930, and was engaged for two summer seasons until Furness Bermuda could take delivery of a new ship, the 22,424-ton Monarch of Bermuda, in January 1932...

Veendam (iii)The second Veendam to serve Bermuda (left), and the third of the name, joined Holland America in 1973. This Veendam, at 23,372 tons, had been built in 1958 as Moore-McCormack Line’s Argentina and was refitted at Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven in 1972. After some time sailing to Alaska for Westours, she began summer sailings to Bermuda on May 20, 1980. This Veendam stayed in the Bermuda summer trade until being sold at the end of 1983, and subsequently operated to Bermuda as the Bermuda Star for Bahama Cruise Line, later Bermuda Star Line.

The present, and fourth, Veendam, built in 1996 and third of the name to serve Bermuda, first came onto the run in 2010, and ran three full summer seasons before being transferred to the Canada/New England trade at Boston at the end of 2012. The new Boston-Bermuda cruises will thus see a fourth return of the name Veendam to the Bermuda trade, in an association that will be eighty-five years old when she returns.

For further details and bookings please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail

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


          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 Cruise Examiner for 12th December 2011: Norwegian Announces Its 2013 Program – Other Cruise News: Queen Mary 2 Under Bermudian Flag – Ocean Diamond Joins Quark Expeditions – Princess Cuts New York-Bermuda Program to Two Cruises

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 12th December 2011

Revitalised: the Queen Mary 2's Commodore Club offers something many ships don't - some great views over the bow

This week, we examine Norwegian Cruise Line’s recently announced deployment plans for 2013. With the delivery of the Norwegian Breakaway, Bermuda will benefit from more capacity, as will both Vancouver and Alaska as Norwegian Sun returns to a trade she left in 2009, while Europe will gain as the larger Norwegian Star replaces the Norwegian Sun. Elsewhere, the now Bermudian-flag Queen Mary 2 sails for New York today after a two-week refit at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, while Quark Expeditions announce the acquisition of a somewhat faster expedition ship with the Ocean Diamond, formerly Le Diamant. Meanwhile, Bermuda takes another hit as Princess Cruises cuts its New York-Bermuda program from eleven cruises this year to just two in 2012.

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The Cruise Examiner for 7th November 2011 – Carnival Abandons Bermuda – Other Cruise News: UK Winter Turnaround – Carnival Hikes Gratuities by 15% – And Tips Down Under

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 7th November 2011

The surprise news has broken that after fifteen calls this year by Carnival Cruise Lines, the line will cut back its 2012 Bermuda program from twelve calls to just one, next April. The curious thing is that no one seems to have said why this is happening, except that Carnival has planned alternate itineraries elsewhere. With complaints that Dockyard, a $35 taxi ride from the capital of Hamilton,  is too far away, with 45 minute waits in long lines in the baking sun for ferries and buses, and the fact that Bermuda does not allow shipboard casinos to open on overnight stays, maybe Bermuda needs to do a little research in an effort to improve its product and keep ships (and paying passengers) coming. In the UK, meanwhile, another chase for revenue maximization means that Royal Caribbean will be abandoning winter cruising from Southampton with its Independence of the Seas next year in favour of warm weather cruising from Fort Lauderdale for the foreseeable future. But P&O will place its Oriana and Oceana in Southampton instead. And back to Carnival again, after ten years of no increase, that line is hiking its recommended daily gratuities per person by 15% while it does away with tipping under a new “tipping not required” policy on its Carnival Spirit Down Under. Celebrity, meanwhile, will retain tipping on its Celebrity Century when she goes Down Under.

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The Cruise Examiner for 24th October 2011 – Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth Leaves UK Registry Today – Other Cruise News: Celebrity Adds A Second UK Ship – Bermuda Seeks Smaller Ship for 2013

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 24th October 2011

Cunard Line's Queen Elizabeth, registration transferred from Southampton to Hamilton, Bermuda, Monday 24th October 2011

Today sees the first Cunard Queen ever to be registered outside the UK while still under Cunard ownership, when the year-old Queen Elizabeth is re-flagged in Bermuda. Last week, after a month of public speculation, Cunard Line announced that it would transfer all three of its Queens to Bermudian flag. That the first ship would be transferred as early as today was unexpected. The Queen Elizabeth,  in Amsterdam today, will be followed by the Queen Victoria on Thursday in Piraeus, and the Queen Mary 2 in five weeks time in Hamburg. Behind it all, many suspect that the official reason for this, being able to offer weddings at sea, is just a cover to help Cunard avoid the mess that is the UK’s new Equality Act, at least as far as shipping is concerned. This act came into effect on August 1 and will adversely affect the competitiveness of UK shipping throughout the world. Meanwhile, Celebrity Cruises will bring a second ship to Southampton when it bases the Celebrity Constellation there next autumn for a series of eight cruises ranging from a 2-night cruise to Amsterdam to a 15-night Transatlantic crossing to Miami. And with word that Holland America’s Veendam may not be back in 2013, Bermuda is looking for another ship to call at Hamilton.


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