The Ocean Liner Society 2017 Annual Cruise On Celestyal Nefeli, 7 Nights From Athens (Lavrion) on September 29


The 2017 Ocean Liner Society cruise is planned for the 19,093-ton Celestyal Nefeli (above), the former Gemini, operated by Celestyal Cruises of Piraeus. This 7-night cruise will depart Athens (Lavrion) on September 29, making calls at Santorini, Izmir, Nafplion, Crete, Rhodes, Cesme and Mykonos.

The last time the Ocean Liner Society travelled in Louis (now Celestyal) ships was in 2009, when it cruised back-to-back in the 23,149-ton Aquamarine and the 16,710-ton Aegean Pearl.

Group fares, all inclusive of drinks, shore excursions and gratuities, are as follows:

Category of Stateroom      Regular fare           Earlybird fare
Junior Suite (SJ)                       €1,725, book now for €1,625 per person
Outside Double (XD)                €1,455, book now for €1,375 per person
Inside Double (!D)                    €1,225, book now for €1,165 per person

Single Fares
Outside Single (XD)                  €1,915, book now for €1,795
Inside Single (!D)                      €1,575, book now for €1,485

The Ocean Liner Society is a non-profit organisation whose members celebrate the passenger ship in its many forms. 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 Society group cruises, this includes a subscription to its 48-page quarterly journal, Sea Lines. Further details can be found at Ocean Liner Society

For further details or to book the 2017 cruise  please call agents The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail 

The Evolution of Cruise Ship Design – Noble Caledonia Goes To Three Ships – Louis Expands in France and Canada

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 9th June 2014..

MSC Seaside design

The illustrations for the new MSC “Seaside” class from Fincantieri have provoked some discussion on recent changes in cruise ship design, which we examine today. Elsewhere, Noble Caledonia last week also announced that it was acquiring a third unit of the original eight-ship 114-berth Renaissance small ship class, and the third of four sister ships from the Apuania shipyard south of La Spezia. Meanwhile, Louis Cruises is out to triple its French business to 10,000 passengers and has announced a second season for the Louis Cristal on charter to Cuba Cruise from Havana.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                          (See previous columns)

Image courtesy of Fincantieri

Crystal Cruises Extends Getaway Cruises Offer – Cuba Back on the Map – World’s Largest Container Ship – South Africa Liner Voyages


by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 25th February 2013


Get away for 5, 6, 7 or 8 days on Crystal Cruises, from £1,248 per person all-inclusive for 5 nights

Crystal Cruises has announced an extension until the end of April of its special offer fares for shorter 5, 6, 7 and 8-night cruises for summer 2013. These “Getaway” cruises allow busy executives and first-timers to sample the now all-inclusive Crystal ships at lower fares. While Silversea has also announced some 4 to 7-night cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ new Europa 2 is due to enter service in May. Unlike the existing Europa, which offers longer cruises, she offers exclusively 7-night Mediterranean cruises this summer. Elsewhere, Cuba is back in the news with the announcement that Cuba Cruise will begin offering 7-night Round Cuba cruises from Havana this winter in the Louis Cristal. And CMA CGM, having opened up its largest container ship, CMA CGM Marco Polo, to passenger bookings, now offers almost 600 passenger berths on 70 ships on its various routes worldwide. Finally, Cruise & Maritime Voyages has just announced two South Africa liner voyages for the Astor in  2014.

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                (See previous columns)

Two Alternative Seven-Night Cruises To Cuba – By Cruise Ship From Havana, from $586 to $1,204 – By Cargo Ship From Florida at $950

Louis CristalCuba Cruise of Toronto has announced a new series of 7-night cruises around Cuba, departing from Havana. These will be offered in the 966-berth Louis Cristal.

Cuba Cruise’s new recently-announced Havana season will run from December 16, 2013, to March 31, 2014, offering a total of fifteen departures. Cruise-only fares for the 7-night circumnavigation of Cuba will start at $586 in double occupancy and run to $1,204 per person in an Imperial Suite. Fly/cruise packages will also be available from Canada, the UK and Germany.

Louis Cristal‘s 7-night cruise will leave Havana on Monday at midnight and call at Bahia Nipe, Cayo Coco, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba, Montego Bay (Jamaica), Cienfuegos, Trinidad and sail past Isla de la Juventud on the way back to Havana. It will also be possible to join ship on Fridays at Montego Bay in Jamaica, where departures are scheduled for 11 pm. With the exception of a 5 pm departure from Cayo Coco on Tuesdays, most port departures take place between 9 pm and midnight, giving plenty of time to explore ashore. Included on or near her itinerary will be six UNESCO World Heritage sites and four national parks.

Cuba Cruise

These cruises are not sold in the US as since the Cuban Revolution, the US Government has banned its citizens from travelling to Cuba and its companies from trading there, bans that have kept the big cruise lines away from the largest island in the Caribbean. Under present law, no ship calling on Cuba is allowed to trade into a US port for a period of six months thereafter.

Nevertheless, there is slow progress towards a new opening up. Canada sent about a million tourists to Cuba out of the 2.8 million that visited last year. And while 900,000 Russians also visited, almost 100,000 Americans arrived in Cuba on so-called “people-to-people” visits, as charter flights have now been allowed from several US airports.

The other way of cruising to Cuba is by cargo ship. Two such ships now trade between the US and Havana. One tiny ship has begun service between the Miami River and Havana but for the past ten years Crowley Liner Services has held a license to carry US Government-approved cargo to Havana. Crowley operates a single chartered ship on a sailing every Saturday from Port Everglades to Havana, Santo Tomas and Puerto Cortes – although a second may be added next month. Ships sailing under Crowley’s license are exempted from the six-month ban.

The German-owned 10,700-ton K Breeze carries four passengers in an Owners cabin and two singles, and is now accepting non-US passengers for 7-day round trip freighter cruises from Port Everglades. The K Breeze is the first ship to carry passengers between the US and Cuba since September 1962, when the ferry City of Havana became the last vessel to leave Havana with American passengers after the revolution. A 7-night round trip cruise on the K Breeze from Fort Lauderdale, which includes a call at Havana on Sunday, as well as calls in Honduras and Nicaragua, costs €697 (about $950) per person.

For further information or bookings on either of these Cuba cruise products, please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail

Two New Cruise Ports For Italy? – Other Cruise News: Manhattan Pier To Be Adapted for Norwegian Breakaway – Louis Cruises Goes Back to Greek Roots – Fred. Olsen Outlaws Agent Rebates


          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 26th March 2012

As Italian ports break beyond 10 million cruise visitors annually, local port authorities have not only been looking at the opening of new cruise piers, but also adding new cruise ports. We have a preliminary look this week at the cases of Fiumicino, near Rome, and Port of Stabia, near Naples. In New York, meanwhile, the Manhattan Cruise Terminal will undergo some modifications in preparation for greeting the Norwegian Breakaway in April 2013, when she arrives from Southampton to become the largest New York-based year-round cruise ship. Elsewhere, Louis Cruises has announced that it is going back to its Greek routes to become a specialist in the eastern Mediterranean. And Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines announces that it will punish agents who rebate from their commission rather than those who manage to hold on to most of it and give a good service, as was the case last year with P&O, Princess and Cunard.

                                          (See previous columns)

The Cruise Examiner for 13th September 2011 – The Great American Steamboat Company: Return of an Icon – Other Cruise News: Alaska Steady in 2011 – Louis Drops Genoa and Marseilles To Concentrate on Piraeus – Royal Caribbean’s New Chinese Joint Venture

by Kevin Griffin

The Great American Steamboat Company: Return of an Icon – Other Cruise News: Alaska Steady in 2011 – Louis Drops Genoa and Marseilles To Concentrate on Piraeus – Royal Caribbean’s New Chinese Joint Venture

The American Queen is powered by a steam-driven paddlewheel, assisted by two diesel Z-drives

As a new World Trade Center rises on the New York skyline, with opening scheduled for 2013, and the US is on its way to regaining its place as the world’s largest producer of oil in 2017, another great American icon is about to return, as the Great American Steamboat Company prepares to re-introduce the 436-passenger sternwheeler American Queen to cruising on the Mississippi River in 2012. Elsewhere, after a stinging loss of business in 2010, Alaska manages to hold its own in 2011, while Louis Cruises abandons Genoa and Marseilles in favour of Piraeus. And Royal Caribbean makes a deal with China World Cruises.


(See previous columns) – (Post a comment at the Forum)

The Cruise Examiner for 30th May 2011: The Market for Middle Size Ships – Some Background And A Survey of Mid-Size Cruise Ship Opportunities

by Kevin Griffin

The Market for Middle Size Ships – Some Background And A Survey of Mid-Size Cruise Ship Opportunities

 Now that cruise lines have evolved into mass market operations with mega-ships of well over 1,000 feet long and up to 225,000 tons, capable of carrying up to 6,000 passengers each, the whole industry has changed. Nevertheless, there is a still very much of a market for mid-size cruise ships and new ships continue to be added to those already in service. And contrary to public perception, not all these ships are ultra-luxury ships that the general public cannot afford. There still remains a good element of choice. So this week, we have a look at the mid-size cruise ship market and survey some of the choices that remain.