Los Angeles And Oakland Gain CMA CGM Columbus Loop Cargo-Passenger Route While Seattle And Vancouver Get A Branch Line

A CMA CGM container ship approaches the Golden Gate Bridge at dawn, en route to sea.

 

Columbus Loop

The previous Columbus Loop service. Seattle and Vancouver have now been replaced by Los Angeles and Oakland

Until recently, the well-known Columbus Loop service ran from the North American East Coast to Asia via the Cape of Good Hope and on to Seattle and Vancouver, with return to New York via Asia and Suez. But all is about to change as the main Columbus Loop service, now called Columbus Jax, relocates its West Coast port turnarounds to Los Angeles and Oakland, California.

ColumbusJax

The new route between Halifax and New York and Los Angeles (using the newly-acquired APL terminal) and Oakland

Through the Columbus Loop it was possible to build a round-the-world  trip between Halifax, New York and other US East Coast ports and the West Coast ports of Seattle and Vancouver via Asia and return to the other coast by train. This will still be possible but Seattle and Vancouver will now be replaced by Los Angeles, where CMA CGM has recently acquired the dedicated APL container terminal at Terminal Island, and Oakland.

Columbus PNW

Seattle and Vancouver will now have a Transpacific branch line with sailings to China

In lieu of through service to East Coast ports via Suez, Seattle and Vancouver will now get a separate 42-day service called Columbus PNW, that will connect with Yantian, Xiamen, Ningbo, Shanghai and Pusan before returning to Seattle. Two French-flag ships now serve this route, with the 7-passenger CMA CGM Norma and CMA CGM Rigoletto carrying passengers with sailings once or twice a month.

APL Phoenix © Jan Svendsen

The APL Phoenix and APL Columbus now carry four passengers each in two Owners Cabins on the Columbus Jax route.

The Columbus Jax route will feature eleven passenger-carrying vesels, an increase from eight on Columbus Loop. These ships, which will sail about every 11 days, include the 10-passenger CMA CGM Nabucco* and APL Danube, CMA CGM Elbe, CMA CGM Loire, CMA CGM Rhone, CMA CGM Tage and CMA CGM Thames and 8-berth CMA CMA CGM Figaro* and CMA CGM La Scala and 4-berth APL Columbus and APL Phoenix. *French-flag ships.

Hong Kong and Singapore feature prominently on this route, with Oakland to Hong Kong taking 16 days, Hong Kong to Halifax 30 days, Singapore to Halifax 25 days and Singapore to New York 28 days via Suez, as examples.

Among them these 11 ships have berths for 94 passengers. Fares vary between €100 and €110 per person per day double and €110 to €130 per day for singles. Full US visa (not just an ESTA) is required for non-US and Canadian citizens calling at US ports.

Passengers dine with the officers and wine is provided with lunch and dinner. Three ships are equipped with a swimming pool (CMA CGM Figaro, Nabucco and La Scala) while others have a sauna instead andf all are equipped with a gym

Oakland Hotel: For passengers boarding the Columbus Jax ships bound to Asia and the East Coast or indeed other ships bound for Europe or Australasia, we have a local hotel recommendation from Christopher Kyte, chairman of the Oakland-based  tour operator Uncommon Journeys:

Waterfront Hotel a Joie De Vivre HotelThere is a wonderful hotel in Oakland, right on San Francisco Bay, called the Waterfront Hotel. not only is it nice, but there is a regular 25-minute ferry service to and from downtown San Francisco and the hotel has a free shuttle that will take folks to the nearby port of Oakland and their ship. And it is only three blocks from the Oakland Amtrak station. For any cargo ship passengers coming to Oakland, this would be the perfect choice.

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

Felixstowe to Sydney By CMA CGM Magellan And SuperStar Virgo, 16th October, Five Days In Malaysia And Singapore Between Ships

This year, take both a passenger-carrying container ship and a cruise ship on your voyage from the UK to Australia and spend five days (November 17-22) in Malaysia or Singapore between ships. Your first ship is CMA CGM’s 10-passenger container ship CMA CGM Magellan (left), where we have double cabins available for the 31-night voyage leaving Felixstowe on October 16 for Port Kelang (for Kuala Lumpur).

Passengers dine together with the officers and are allowed to visit the bridge. The 150,269-ton UK-flag CMA CGM Magellan was built in 2010 and is equipped with a passenger lounge, indoor swimming pool and gym with rowing machine, home trainer, darts and ping pong table. The spacious cabins are en suite and equipped with two or three windows, a sofa, easy chair, coffee table, office desk and chair and refrigerator. And in the ship’s dining room, table wine is included with lunch and dinner.

Dates with cargo ships are always subject to change but the itinerary is planned as follows:

Date             Port              Times

16-Oct-15 Felixstowe
18-Oct-15 Rotterdam
20-Oct-15 Le Havre
02-Nov-15 Jeddah (no shore leave)
17-Nov-15 Arrives Port Kelang

Fares for 31 Nights Felixstowe to Port Kelang (including port charges)

Outside €3,100 (about £2,345) per person double, €3,410 (about £2,580) single. 

SuperStar Virgo sternPassengers taking advantage of these two connecting sailings are responsible for their own land arrangements in Malaysia and Singapore. Then five days after arriving in Port Kelang, it is time to catch Star Cruises’ once-only sailing of the 75,338-ton 1,870-passenger SuperStar Virgo (right) for onward connection to Sydney. She is due to arrive on the morning of Wednesday, December 9, well in time for Christmas. As a bonus, there is a choice of a drinks package or a dining package on the SuperStar Virgo .voyage between Singapore and Sydney.

The full itinerary for this cruise follows (fares for part voyages are not available):

Date             Port              Times
22-Nov-15 Sail from Singapore 2000
24-Nov-15 Jakarta (Tanjung Priok) 0800-2000
25-Nov-15 Cruising Krakatoa 0400-0600
28-Nov-15 Geraldton, WA 1100-1900
29-Nov-15 Fremantle, WA 0800-1800
30-Nov-15 Albany, WA 1300-2100
03-Dec-15 Adelaide 0800-2200
05-Dec-15 Melbourne arrives 0800
06-Dec-15 Melbourne sails 0500
07-Dec-15 Tasmania 0900-2300
09-Dec-15 Arrives Sydney 0700

Fares for 17 Nights Singapore to Sydney (including port charges) start at:

Inside         £1,325 per person double, £1,853 single
Outside      £1,640 per person double, £2,325 single
Balcony      £1,890 per person double, £2,700 single

HOW TO BOOK

If you want to sail all the way from the UK to Australia on two different types of ship then this is your opportunity. Overlanders are also welcome to join the SuperStar Virgo at Singapore. For details please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail  cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

Freighter To Paradise – Aranui Cruises Celebrates 30 Years As French Polynesia’s Renowned Adventure Cruise From Tahiti

Aranui 3Aranui Cruises, operator of the Aranui 3 mixed passenger-cargo vessel, is celebrating thirty years as the world’s only soft adventure cruise provider to sail the virtually untouched, lush Marquesas Islands and fully immerse travellers in the culture of French Polynesia.

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the company’s first passenger-cargo voyage, which departed from Papeete in 1984, bound for the northern archipelagos and sparked the beginning of its unique cruise operation.

To honour the occasion, Aranui Cruises has announced it will celebrate with a 30th anniversary sailing on April 25, 2015, which will include a special dinner show and firework-display, as well as commemorative gifts.

Owned and operated by the Wong family through Compagnie Polynésienne de Transport Maritime (CPTM), Aranui Cruises takes travellers on a unique adventure sailing 800 miles north of Tahiti to some of the most spectacular and remote islands in the world, where they are fully immersed in the French Polynesian culture.

“For 30 years Aranui has been offering discerning travellers the adventure of a lifetime across three French Polynesian archipelagos – the Marquesas, Tuamotu and Society Islands – and with transport, meals, accommodation and tours all included, it’s still one of the best value ways to see Tahiti,” said Jules Wong, Marketing Director, Aranui Cruises.

In 1960, the Wong family began offering a cargo service that ferried supplies to the Tuamotu-Gambier Islands and provided passage to Tahitians, becoming the first regular contact the inhabitants had ever had with the outside world. Sensing a market for a soft adventure cruise experience in the region the family spent several years in the early 1980’s modifying its freighter to a mixed cargo and passenger vessel with the introduction of 12 cabins, a new galley, dining room, dormitory and other basic amenities.

On November 22, 1984, the Aranui 1 made its first historic passenger voyage, departing from Papeete with 24 international and local passengers, along with cargo bound for the northern Tahitian archipelagos.

Aranui 3 Baie de VaipaeeThree ships and 30 years later, Aranui Cruises’ vessels have carried over 44,750 passengers, 534,511 tons of freight and sailed more than 917,800 nautical miles between Tahiti and the remote Tuamotu and Marquesas Islands.

Today, the Aranui 3‘s 14-day voyage departs from Papeete, visiting Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Tahuata, Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Ua Huka in the Marquesas, Takapoto and Rangiroa in the Tuamotus, and will add a stop at the famed Society Island of Bora Bora to its itinerary in 2015.

Each voyage includes on-shore experiences such as awe-inspiring hikes past waterfalls and sacred ritual sites, encounters with local artisans, a visit to French artist Paul Gauguin’s grave, snorkelling in translucent waters, island picnics featuring local food, a visit to a pearl farm and more.

Featuring a crew primarily composed of local inhabitants from the Marquesas Islands and throughout French Polynesia, the Aranui provides a unique culture-oriented spin on hospitality which combines with superb scenery to create an unforgettable sailing experience.

Travellers booking a stay aboard the Aranui 3 can choose from four different cabin categories – Suite, Deluxe, Standard and Class C – each providing different room configurations. The ship offers comfortable, air-conditioned accommodations for about 200 passengers, featuring 63 tastefully designed standard cabins, nine deluxe staterooms and 12 well-appointed private balcony suites.

Prices for the anniversary departure, April 25-May 8, 2015, start at £3,250 per person sharing a standard twin bedded outside cabin with private facilities including all meals with wine, all land-based sightseeing excursions and taxes. Optional excursions such as scuba diving, horseback riding and fishing are additional.

Flights to/from Papeete, Tahiti are not included in these prices. Air Tahiti Nui fly to Papeete with prices from around £1,600 per person return from London.

For further details of Aranui sailings please call Miri Lopusna at 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.

CruiseTricks Chooses Cruise People/CMA CGM Cargo-Passenger Route as one of its Top Ten Unusual Cruises in the World

The German site www.cruisetricks.de has chosen The Cruise People’s CMA CGM New York to Seattle route via Suez as one of its “Top Ten Unusual Cruises in the World” for 2011. In making its choice, CruiseTricks’s Franz Neumeier said,

“That the French company CMA CGM offers the possibility for up to seven passengers to travel on three of its cargo ships is not unusual. Many cargo ships carry passengers these days. What is unusual about the service offered by the CMA CGM Figaro, CMA CGM La Scala and CMA CGM Tosca, however, is that it follows the route of the first World Cruise undertaken by a passenger ship, as performed by Hamburg America Line’s Cleveland in 1909. These voyages can be booked through The Cruise People Ltd in London.”

The CMA CGM Tosca and fleetmates now connect New York and Seattle (as well as Vancouver BC) via the Suez Canal and Far East ports. © Kevin Quick

Three ships, the CMA CGM Figaro, CMA CGM La Scala and CMA CGM Tosca (shown right), now offer an interesting itinerary between New York and Seattle, as well as Vancouver BC, via the Suez Canal. Known as CMA CGM’s Columbus Loop, the full 112-day round voyage is made via ports in the Far East. Eastbound, ships leave New York via Norfolk and Savannah and sail directly to Tanjung Pelepas, a port in Malaysia located just across the water from Singapore. Calls are then made at Hong Kong, Yantian and Shanghai before proceeding to Pusan, in South Korea, and on to Seattle and Vancouver.

The return voyage is made from Vancouver to Yokohama and then calls at the Chinese ports of Shanghai, Ningbo, Hong Kong and Yantian before returning to New York via Tanjung Pelepas.

Voyage time from New York to Seattle is 60 days and from Seattle to New York 52 days (Vancouver to New York is 49 days). This voyage is for those who love the sea, the longest transit being 32 days from Savannah to Tanjung Pelepas (on the return, Tanjung Pelepas to New York is 23 days).

The new routing retraces the route of the first World Cruise, which was offered by Hamburg America Line’s Cleveland before the Panama Canal had even been opened – but takes half the time. Chartered by Frank C Clark of New York, an early cruise organizer, the Cleveland left New York on October 16, 1909, and took 108 days to proceed across the Atlantic to ports in the Mediterranean, Suez Canal, India and the Far East before finishing the world’s first Round-the-World Cruise in San Francisco on January 31, 1910. Passengers then returned to their homes from the West Coast by train while the Cleveland retraced her steps on a second world cruise. Equally, passengers taking the new Columbus Loop cruise can travel around the world in either direction and complete their circumnavigation in less than two months by making the rail journey across North America.

The CMA CGM Figaro and CMA CGM La Scala carry seven passengers each in three double cabins and one single, with fares set at €80 per person per day or €90 per day for sole occupancy of a double cabin. The CMA CGM Tosca carries up to eight passengers in three double cabins and two singles. Fares include full board, port charges, deviation insurance and complimentary French table wine with lunch and dinner. Part voyages are also possible but the full 105112-day round voyage starts at €8,960 (about $11,895 or £7,490). New York to Seattle is €4,800 (about $6,375 or £4,015) for 60 days and Seattle to New York is €4,160 (about $5,525 or £3,475) for 52 days.

For further details please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.