Seabourn Encore Delivered – Three Ships For Thomson Cruises’ Caribbean – Croisières de France to Disappear

The Cruise Examiner for 12th December 2016

Image result for seabourn encore

Recenly delivered in Italy, Seabourn’s new 600-berth Seabourn Encore (above), the line’s biggest ship since the 793-berth Seabourn Sun (1998-2002), has now joined the Seabourn fleet and is on her way to Singapore for her christening by Sarah Brightman. Meanwhile, the Royal Caribbean and TUI-affiliated UK arm of TUI Cruises will have three ships in the Caribbean this winter, with flights by Thomson Airways from a network of ten UK airports. And a week after the announcement of the disappearance of Fathom as a ship operator comes news that a longer-established brand, Croisières de France, is also being assigned to the dustbin of history.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                    (See previous columns)

Winter & Spring Liner Voyages In French Ships: To St Maarten By CMA CGM Container Ship And Back By Croisières de France’s Horizon

CMA CGM Homere © C Costa

CMA CGM Homère and three sister ships carry six passengers on their run from London to the Caribbean and South America

This winter, sail to St Maarten by cargo ship, with regular 12-night sailings from London Tilbury to Philipsburg, and calls at Rouen and Le Havre before leaving Europe. The present ships in this service, CMA CGM Aristote, CMA CGM Herodote, CMA CGM Homère and CMA CGM Platon, are fitted with an Owners and two double cabins, passenger lounge, gym and swimming pool. Passengers dine with the officers and are allowed to visit the bridge.

When the exisiting ships are replaced by three new ships, CMA CGM Cayenne, CMA CGM Marseille and CMA CGM Saint Laurent, this autumn, the present trio will be transferred to a new Med-Caribbean service serving Panama, Colombia and the French West Indies.

Whichever ship you book on, regular sailings give you the opportunity to tailor the length of your stay in St Maarten, with the fare from London Tilbury being €1,200 (about £885) per person double, or €1,320 (about £975) pp in the Owners Cabin, and €1,320 single (about £975), or €1,560 (about £1,155) in the Owners Cabin. Fares for the 10-night crossing from Le Havre start at €1,000 (about £739) or €1,100 (about £815) single. Fares include port charges and complimentary French table wine with lunch and dinner. While French-owned, all four ships are registered in London.

Horizon at St Maarten © Franck Senant

Crosières de France’s Horizon is seen here in an evening view before departing Philipsburg, St Maarten

Then, on March 28, 2016, sail from St Maarten to Barcelona on a 12-night voyage on board Croisières de France’s 1,442-berth Horizon, the first ship ever built for Celebrity Cruises and still trading within the Royal Caribbean group. After an 8-night Atlantic crossing, calls are made at Madeira (April 5) and Gibraltar (April 7) before arriving at Barcelona on April 9. The cruise-only fare for an outside cabin with port charges, drinks package and gratuities included begins at £503 per person and there is also an all-inclusive single fare of £569.

Included in your Horizon fare are all meals in non-speciality restaurants, on board bars and lounges, entertainment, live music, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages including some premium brands, port charges and gratuities. The Horizon is operated for Croisières de France by Pullmantur Cruises of Madrid and is registered in Malta.

Return voyages from St Maarten are also avaialble by cargo ship but as the voyage calls at Trinidad, Guyane and three ports in northern Brazil before returning to Europe, the return to London takes 30 days. Please ask for fares.

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

Carnival Plan Evokes Return To The 1930s In Hispaniola – Major Changes At Pullmantur – Book Review: Great French Passenger Ships

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 20th October 2014... ..

.Great French Passenger Ships

This week we look at how Carnival Corp & plc’s investigation into developing a new two-berth cruise port at Haiti’s Tortuga Island, together with its Amber Cove development in the Dominican Republic, take us back to the 1930s. Both are on the island of Hispaniola and relatively close to Miami, especially in these days of high fuel costs. We also look at how Pullmantur is extending its reach far beyond Spain, while at the same time watering down its much-vaunted “All-Inclusive” plan. Finally, for a change, we review Bill Miller’s most recent book, Great French Passenger Ships, just published by The History Press.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                                 (See previous columns)

Century Sold To Chinese “Joint Venture”– Norwegian Acquires Regent and Oceania – Things That Were Not To Be

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 8th September 2014..

Century CdF

Celebrity Cruises’ Century as she will never appear, in the colours of Croisières de France, as she was sold to China instead


Last week was full of news. First, Royal Caribbean announced that it was selling Celebrity Cruises’ Century to a newly formed subsidiary of China’s Ctrip. This was mixed in with rumours from China about additional ships from within the Royal Caribbean group. On the same day, although rumours had been circulating for some time of the acquisition of Prestige Cruise Holdings, owners of the Oceania and Regent brands, by Norwegian Cruise Line, the deal was finally announced. From Australia came word of the cancellation of Funchal’s short 2015 season, and then from France confirmation that the Zenith would remain with Croisières de France as the Century was now going elsewhere.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                            (See previous columns)

Century To Move To Croisières de France – NCL Shares vs Facebook – MSC’s New 902-Footers

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 9th December 2013..

CenturyLast week Croisières de France announced that in 2015 it would be acquiring Celebrity Cruises’ Century (above), to become the largest ship devoted to the French cruise market since the s.s. France was withdrawn in 1974. Croisières de France and Celebrity Cruises are both Royal Caribbean brands. So this week we have a quick look at the French cruise market for any further prospects of growth. Meanwhile, as Norwegian Cruise Line has announced the sale of 22 million new shares, we revisit our comparison of NCLH and Facebook share prices of earlier this year. And MSC Cruises confirms that Fincantieri Palermo will lengthen all four of its MSC Lirica class ships to 902 feet.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                    (See previous columns)

The Cruise Examiner Tries Out Croisières de France’s Horizon – Other Cruise News: s.s. Keewatin Finally Leaves Douglas, Michigan


          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 4th June 2012

This Sunday in Marseilles, together with twenty-four members of the Ocean Liner Society, The Cruise Examiner completed a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise on board Croisières de France’s new 46,811-ton Horizon. with calls at Santa Margherita (for Portofino), Civitavecchia (for Rome), Salerno (for the Amalfi coast), Trapani and Valletta. He filed his report from on board ship on the way back to Marseilles. Next year’s Ocean Liner Society cruise will be a 4-night voyage departing Hamburg on May 27, 2013,  for Kiel via Sylt and Heligoland, on Plantours + Partner’s m.s. Hamburg, until recently operating as Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Columbus.
Meanwhile, last week, after forty-five years as a maritime museum at Douglas, Michigan, the former Canadian Pacific Great Lakes steamship Keewatin finally left Douglas, after a false start on a sandbar, on the first leg of a trip under tow to her previous home port in Canada. She will lay over at Mackinaw City, Michigan, before departing on her final leg to Port McNicoll, Ontario, where she is due at 2 pm on June 23, a hundred years to the day after her first passenger departure from that port.

                                          (See previous columns)

The Ocean Liner Society’s 2012 Cruise with Croisières de France and its new Horizon – Sunday, 27th May 2012, 7 nights from Marseilles

In 2010, the Ocean Liner Society chose Croisières de France and its 37,301-ton Bleu de France (delivered in 1982 as Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ last Europa) for its annual group cruise. The “all inclusive” cruise proved such a success that in 2012 the Society is returning to Croisières de France to sample its latest ship, the 46,811-ton Horizon, the first new ship to be built for Celebrity Cruises in 1990.

The 2012 cruise will depart from Marseilles on Sunday, 27th May for Portofino, Rome, Salerno, Trapani and Valetta, with a full day spent at sea before returning to Marseilles.

Celebrity Cruises was formed as an upmarket division of Chandris Cruises in April 1988 in order to fulfil a new cruise contract it had negotiated with the Government of Bermuda to replace Home Lines. As well as acquiring the Italian liner Galilio Galileo, which it rebuilt in 1988/89 and renamed Meridian, Celebrity built two sister ships specifically for the Bermuda run. These were the Horizon of 1990 and the Zenith of 1992. The Horizon‘s initial run was the weekly service between New York and Bermuda, serving both St George’s, on the islands’ east end, and Hamilton. Regular service between New York and Hamilton had been started as far back as 1864 by the Quebec Steamship Co Ltd, which was taken over in 1919 by the Furness Bermuda Line, which in turn lasted until 1966.

In 1997, Celebrity Cruises was bought by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and the newer and larger ships of the Century and Millenium classes were introduced, eventually making the Horizon the smallest ship in the fleet. In 2005, the Horizon was allocated to a new joint venture with TUI Group called Island Cruises, taking on the new name of Island Star. When Royal Caribbean withdrew from Island Cruises, she rejoined her sister ship Zenith at Royal Caribbean-controlled Pullmantur Cruises in Spain and was again renamed, this time as Pacific Dream. Now having reverted to her original name, Horizon will join Pullmantur’s French-based cruise operation Croisières de France in the spring of 2012 to replace the Bleu de France, which has been sold to Saga Cruises to become the Saga Sapphire.

OLS group fares are valid for a minimum number of double cabins, and there is a limited number of category DE and DI cabins available for singles with no single supplement provided enough doubles are booked. Bookings can be made through the OLS group agent The Cruise People Ltd in London. But apply now while there is still space. There is only four months before sailing.

The 2012 Horizon fares compare very well with Bleu de France fares in 2010 as lead-in prices are lower – €510 per person for an inside cabin compared to €585 in 2010 and €630 per person for an outside cabin compared to €850 in 2010. While fares are all-inclusive of passage, full board, port charges and drinks, spirits, wine and beer in the dining rooms and bars on board, a service charge of €65 per person for gratuities will be added to your on board account.

Daily Itinerary

Depart MARSEILLES 17:00 hrs Sunday 27th May 2012

PORTOFINO (Santa Margherita) from 09:00 to 18:00 Monday

ROME (Civitavecchia) from 08:00 to 19:00 Tuesday

SALERNO from 08:00 to 19:00 Wednesday

TRAPANI from 08:00 to 19:00 Thursday

MALTA (Valletta) from 09:00 to 17:00 Friday


Arrive MARSEILLES 08:00 hrs Sunday 3rd June 2012 

Ocean Liner Society Group Fares – Horizon 27th May 2012

(Fares are cruise-only and include port charges of €175)

Tutti Frutti 27 May 2012

Brochure Fare (1)

Early Booking (2)

OLS Group (3)





DI Discovery Inside  




HI Horizon Inside  




DE Discovery Outside  




HE Horizon Outside  




C Comfort Outside  




P Prestige Outside  




PB Prestige with Balcony





JS Junior Suite




JB Junior Balcony Suite




S Royal Suite




S Royal Balcony Suite




(1) Fares are cruise only per person in double occupancy and do not include service charge of €65, which is added to your on board account [Croisières de France published brochure fares are €65 higher than fares shown here].  (2) For bookings made prior to 120 days before departure.  (3) OLS Group fares include no single supplement on a limited number of cabins in Categories DI and DE, provided the minimum number of double cabins is booked. Note: This allocation is now sold out, but we are able to offer a lump sum single supplement of €275 on any grade, subject to availability.

A deposit of 25% will confirm a reservation and penalties for cancellation by the passenger are as follows:

More than 31 days before departure: Euros 90

61-90 days before departure: 25% of the fare amount

30-60 days before departure: 50% of the fare amount

Fewer than 30 days before departure: 100% of the fare amount

Members of the general public can qualify to travel on this cruise by joining the Ocean Liner Society. Membership is £20 in the UK, £23 in Europe and £25 in the rest of the world. As well as the opportunity of joining OLS group cruises, this includes a subscription to their 48-page quarterly journal, Sea Lines. Further details can be found at

For further information and availability for this cruise please contact The Cruise People Ltd at 020 7723 2450, Freephone 0800 526 313 or e-mail