The Cruise Examiner for 14th November 2011 – Berlitz Guide to Cruising 2012 – Other Cruise News: US Gulf Ports Celebrate New Ships – Vancouver Sees 15% Cruise Passenger Rise

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 14th November 2011

This year’s star cruise ship has got to be Oceania Cruises’ new Marina. By outscoring all three of her stable mates from Regent as well as her three fleetmates at Oceania, she has managed to propel herself into the five-star league to be rated number 18 out of 285 cruise ships worldwide scored in this year’s “Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships.” At the same time, however, we have to wonder why two ships that have changed ownership and operation and a third that has not even changed her name yet end up with identical scores before and after the changes. Elsewhere, the US Gulf ports of New Orleans and Galveston have both greeted big new ships this weekend, with the Voyager of the Seas at New Orleans and the brand-new Carnival Magic greeted by Maroon 5 at Galveston. Meanwhile, as Seattle treads water in 2011, Vancouver has seen a 15% increase in cruise passengers with Oceania’s Regatta, the Disney Wonder and the Crystal Symphony bringing new business. Next year, however, will likely see Vancouver tread water while Seattle makes the gains, most notably with the defection of Disney Wonder from Vancouver to Seattle in 2012.

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                      (See previous columns)

Orion II Sets Off On Maiden Voyage From Vancouver / Will Be Replaced On The Great Lakes in 2012

Australian-based Orion Expedition Cruises’ new Orion II leaves Vancouver today on her 24-night maiden voyage to Otaru, Japan, in Hokkaido. Along the way she will make calls at several ports in Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, Russia’s Kuril Islands and Sakhalin. With her 64-person crew serving only 100 guests, this gives her one of the highest guest-to-crew ratios in the industry.

During 2010, the Orion II was operated by Travel Dynamics of New York, as the Clelia II (she was named after Clelia Haji-Ioannou, Stelios’s sister) on a summer-long season of Great Lakes cruises between Toronto and Duluth. The Orion herself, the ship Orion II joins in the Orion Expedition Cruises fleet, also operated summer cruises in the Great Lakes, so this is the second time that Orion Expedition Cruises have “nicked” a cruise ship from the Great Lakes.

All is not lost, however, as Travel Dynamics will soon be announcing another cruise ship for the Great Lakes in 2012, with a capacity for 130 passengers, or about a third more than the previous two ships. Details will follow shortly.

Fore more details on Orion Expedition Cruises, Travel Dynamics, small ship cruising,  or cruising the Great Lakes please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail