Virgin Voyages Names Scarlet Lady – Norwegian Joy To Join Norwegian Bliss To Alaska – Second New Polar Ship For Lindblad

THE CRUISE EXAMINER AT CYBERCRUISES.COM BY KEVIN GRIFFIN

The Cruise Examiner for 23rd July 2018

The Scarlet Lady serves as a logo and the name of Virgin Voyages’ first ship

Last week saw the floating out at Genoa of Virgin Voyages’ first ship, and the announcement of Scarlet Lady as her name. The name was used before by one of Virgin Atlantic’s original 747 jumbo jets, an aircraft that has only recently been retired after a long career with Virgin. Also last week it was announced that Norwegian Cruise Line would move its Norwegian Joy, a “Breakaway Plus” class vessel initially tasked for the China market, to work with sister ship Norwegian Bliss between Seattle and Alaska. Meanwhile, in news from New York, Lindblad Expeditions has announced an order for a second newbuilding polar expedition ship to join the National Geographic Endurance.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                            (See previous columns)

National Geographic Endurance – SkySea Golden Era To Go To Marella – UK Christening For MSC Bellissima

The Cruise Examiner for 26th March 2018

NG Endurance

Lindblad Expeditions’ Polar 5 vessel National Geographic Endurance will carry 126 passengers

Last week, at the keel-laying of Lindblad Expeditions’ new 12,300-ton 126-berth expedition ship, it was announced that she would be named National Geographic Endurance, after Shackleton’s vessel. She could prove to be the first of three such Polar 5 sister ships, higher-rated than any expedition ship other than Ponant’s planned Polar 2 icebreaker. Elsewhere, Royal Caribbean has decided to close its SkySea joint ventuire with China’s CTrip and their SkySea Golden Era will be transferred to TUI’s UK affiliate Marella Cruises as Marella Explorer 2. Finally, MSC has announced that it will christen its 4,500-berth MSC Bellissima in Southampton on March 2, 2019.

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Lindblad Orders X-Bow Ship – New Chinese Cruise Ship Concept – Shell Cruising With LNG And Carnival

The Cruise Examiner for 13th November 2017

Lindblad Ulstein order

Lindblad Expeditions has ordered a 138-berth X-Bow ship, with options for two more

Lindblad Expeditions has now joined Aurora Expeditions in ordering a new 138-berth X-Bow expedition ship in Norway. The similar Aurora ship is being built in China. Elsewhere, current ferry builder Guangzhou Shipyard has exhibited a new design for a mid-sized cruise ship at the China Cruise Shipping event in Sanya last week and Carnival Cruise Line and Shell have announced an agreement for LNG bunker barge fuelling of two new ships in order for Carnival Cruise Line.

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Boom In Expedition Ship Orders – Other Cruise News: A’Rosa Plans New River Ships – Swan Hellenic: Minerva Or Another?

The Cruise Examiner for 13th February 2017

hapag-lloyd-newbuildings-stern

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has ordered two 16,100-ton 240-berth expedition cruise ships

Over the past year there has been a boom in expedition ship orders, with sixteen vessels now on order and options placed for at least five more. Of these, half a dozen will be Polar Class 6, built for summer/autumn operation in medium first-year ice, which may include old ice inclusions, in Arctic and Antarctic waters. Elsewhere, Rostock-based A’Rosa Cruises may be about to order additional river cruisers, while Swan Hellenic is looking for a replacement ship for the Minerva.

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RMS St Helena Sailings Extended As Airport Delayed – Other Cruise News: National Geographic Quest – Iceland Pro Cruises

The Cruise Examiner for 13th June 2016

St Helena © Peter van den Berg

RMS St Helena makes an appearance in London on June 7, 2016, on her final UK voyage before being sold.

This week the news is all about small ships.  First, the 128-berth St Helena and Ascension supply ship RMS St Helena visited London during her last UK visit before leaving service. At the same time, however, because wind shear is preventing safe landings at the new St Helena airport, her contract has been extended for three more voyages from Cape Town. Next up, Lindblad have revealed preliminary itinerary details for their latest ship, the 100-berth Quest, which is due to enter service a year from now. And finally, the 224-berth Ocean Diamond has started her second season for Iceland Pro Cruises out of Reykjavik.

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The Northwest Passage: Yet Another Cruise Ship For 2017

The Cruise Examiner for 2nd May 2016

Seven Seas Navigator

The Seven Seas Navigator is a cruise ship that was built on an ice-strengthened hull

The fabled Northwest Passage took three years to cross when Raould Amundsen first traversed it from east to west in his Gjoa in 1903-06 and Henry Larsen of the RCMP made it the other way in the St Roch in 1940-42. A century later, however, large passenger ships such as the 43,524-ton residence ship The World and the 68,870-ton cruise ship Crystal Serenity are threatening to turn it into a tourist playground. Last week came news that yet another cruise ship, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 28,550-ton Seven Seas Navigator, would join the Crystal Serenity in making the passage in 2017. While Crystal sail from Seward to New York, Regent will be sailing from Seward to Montreal.

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MSC Cruises To Introduce Its New Seaside Class In North America – Overnight Sidewheelers Return – New Lindblad Ships To Be US-Flag

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 23rd March 2015

MSC Seaside

Artist’s impression of MSC Seaside, which will resemble Miami Beach in more ways than one.

MSC Cruises has been trying to bust the US market for more than a decade now but has not yet been able to do it in a meaningful way. But two-and-a-half years from now, it will introduce its best ship, the 4,140-berth MSC Seaside, first of a brand-new design, into service from a modernized dedicated pier in Miami. Elsewhere, sidewheel paddle steamers now cruise only two of the world’s rivers, the Nile and the Murray, but that number is about to double when the 96-berth Loire Princesse is added to the Loire next month and the Elbe Princesse to the Elbe next spring.

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Germany Surpasses UK In Cruise Passenger Numbers – Other Cruise News: Lindblad Expeditions To Float

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 16th March 2015

Aida Prima

Aida Cruises’ new 3,250-berth Aida Prima will become Germany’s largest cruise ship when she enters service in September

Just as P&O Cruises and Royal Caribbean International introduce two new ships to the UK market comes news from Germany that it has finally surpassed the UK in terms of the number of ocean cruisers it produced in 2014. With Germany’s 1.77 million ocean cruisers in 2014 to the UK’s 1.64 million (a drop), the market is now the largest in the world outside the United States and 8% larger than the UK. With Aida and TUI both in the course of introducing new tonnage, Germany will have introduced five large new ships (with 14,000 berths) by the end of next year compared to the two (with 7,827 berths) that are now being introduced in the UK. Meanwhile, a new merged Lindblad Expeditions will float in the US later this year, with the news breaking at the same time of plans to order at least two new expedition ships for delivery in 2017 and 2018.

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Thirty Years Of Northwest Passage Cruises – TUI Cruises Places Options For Two More Ships – New Ship Names For Royal Caribbean

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 22nd September 2014... ..

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Lindblad Explorer

Lindblad Explorer transited the Northwest Passage in 1984

northwest_passageThis month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the first full transit of Canada’s Northwest Passage by a commercial passenger vessel, with the Lindblad Explorer arriving in Yokohama on September 29, 1984. The 43-day voyage had departed St John’s, Newfoundland, on August 20. But things are now accelerating in the Northwest Passage. Last year saw the first commercial cargo, 73,000 tons of coal, move from Vancouver to Finland in the Nordic Orion, and this year the first westbound cargo, 25,000 tons of nickel concentrate, moving from Quebec to China in Fednav’s Nunavik. In 2015, Abercrombie & Kent will become the seventh company operating expedition ships through the Northwest Passage by chartering Ponant’s Le Boréal, and in 2016 Crystal Cruises plans to carry 900 passengers from Seward, Alaska, through the Northwest Passage to New York in the 68,870-ton Crystal Serenity.

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Canadian-Owned m.v. Nunavik Takes First Westbound Cargo Through The Northwest Passage As Our 2014 Passengers Arrive In Anadyr

Nunavik

Fednav, a Canadian-owned company and world leader in Arctic navigation, announced that its vessel, the m.v. Nunavik sailed from Deception Bay en route to China via Canada’s Northwest Passage, with a full cargo of nickel concentrate. The Nunavik will be one of the first commercial vessels to transit the Northwest Passage completely, and the first to do so unescorted with an Arctic cargo, and with Canadian expertise.

The Nunavik is the most powerful conventional (non-nuclear) icebreaking bulk carrier in the world, and sails from Deception Bay, Northern Quebec year round, transporting product from the Canadian Royalties mine. The Nunavik will deliver 23,000 tons of nickel concentrate to Bayuquan in China.

Meanwhile, our own Northwest Passage passengers for 2014 arrived in Anadyr, Siberia, this week from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, which they left on on August 26, in Ponant’s L’Austral. Ice conditions are fairly heavy this year. The ship needed an icebreaker in the Passage and was late arriving at Cambridge Bay and had to cancel her call there. The ice that is clogging the Northwest Passage right now is mostly multi-year ice breaking off from polar ice-packs and being pushed down from the Arctic Ocean.

We now have six companies offering the Northwest Passage: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Ponant and Silversea offering the full transit while One Ocean Expeditions, Adventure Canada and Lindblad transit the passage from the east and turn at Coppermine or Cambridge Bay. You will find some of the links here on our Expeditions page. Crystal Serenity in the ice

Crystal Cruises will transit the Northwest Passage from Seward, Alaska, to New York in 2006 with the 1,090-berth Crystal Serenity. Her passage has been planned by EYOS Expeditions and has been in the making for two years. Please call Gay Scruton on +44 (0) 20 7723 2450 for further details on this departure.

For further details on booking any transit of the Northwest Passage please contact The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk. In North America call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@thecruisepeople.ca.

Northwest Passage Now Boasts Six Operators – Is The Day Of The Big Show Lounge Over? – Ambiente To Return In 2014 With MS Azores

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 30th September 2013

Hanseatic

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Hanseatic sails Russia’s Northern Sea Route from Nome, Alaska, to Bodo, Norway, in 2014

Last week saw the first cargo ship take the fabled Northwest Passage through Canada’s Arctic, on the way from Vancouver to Pori, Finland. This was big news in Canada and in the shipping world but no one mentioned that passenger ships have been transiting the Northwest Passage since 1984. Nor that next year six different expedition cruise operators will be offering such voyages. Elsewhere, as Carnival Sunshine’s show lounge loses one of its three decks we ask whether the day of the great show lounge is over. And finally, we have received news that Germany’s Ambiente will re-enter the cruise business in 2014.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                             (See previous columns)

While First Commercial Cargo Ship Transits The Northwest Passage, Passenger Ships Have Been Doing It Since 1984

Nordic OrionThis week came news that the Danish bulk carrier Nordic Orion (right) has become the first commercial cargo ship to traverse Canada’s famed Northwest Passage, with a cargo of 73,000 tons metallurgical coal loaded at Vancouver and bound for Finland. The route saved her 1,000 miles and allowed her to load 25% more cargo than she can normally carry through the Panama Canal.

National_Geo_ExplorerMost people don’t realize, however, that commercial ships have been traversing the Northwest Passage for three decades. The Lindblad Explorer did it for the first time in 1984. Such transits are now offered by no fewer than six operators, including Compagnie du Ponant (Le Soléal) from France, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises (Bremen and Hanseatic) from Germany, Lindblad Expeditions (National Geographic Explorer, pictured) from the US , Adventure Canada (Sea Adventurer) and One Ocean Expeditions (Akademik Ioffe), both from Canada, and Silversea Expeditions (Silver Explorer) from Monaco.

NWPHapag-Lloyd, Ponant and Silversea transit the Northwest Passage to or from Nome, Alaska, or Anadyr, Siberia, while Adventure Canada, Lindblad and One Ocean turn at Coppermine (now called Kugluktuk), in the Canadian Arctic, at the western end of the Passage.

The Cruise People have been booking Northwest Passage passengers for several years now, but remember to book early as despite new ships being added to the route the season is limited to two months in high summer, usually departing in August, and these sailings sell out quickly.

For further information, here are a few earlier posts on the subject:

Northwest Passage post from The Cruise People

And for details on availability and fares please call The Cruise People L:td in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.