The Launch of Culture Cruises … a new approach


Culture Cruises … more than just a cruise

Culture Cruises Limited is pleased to announce the arrival of a new company dealing exclusively with small ship cruising, river cruises and expedition voyages. The new firm will specialise in special interest cruises.

CULTURE CRUISES LIMITED

A new UK-based niche cruise marketing organisation opened last week when Culture Cruises Limited launched its website in London.

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Culture Cruises logo

The new company has been formed by Kevin Griffin and Suzy Cooper, two enthusiastic culture-loving travel entrepreneurs who aim to provide cruises with special interests: the sort of cruises that they would like to go on themselves. Their cruises will be designed for people who prefer to combine the superb relaxation of sea travel with interesting themes, fascinating lectures and superb shore visits.

This sense of purpose, in splendid combination with the unique R&R that a cruise can provide, makes the whole experience more exciting and rewarding for those who want more than just a cruise.”

The new company was formed as a joint venture in September 2018 and is managed by two directors, Kevin Griffin, and Suzy Cooper, its managing director.

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Among others, Culture Cruises is working with Ponant, who are expanding from five ships to a dozen, all newbuildings. Above is Le Lapérouse of 2018 (Photo credit Philip Plisson, Ponant)

Culture Cruises will offer cruises that are equally enjoyable for individuals, couples and groups, and the company will work with only a few carefully-selected cruise operators who provide elegant ships with extremely high standards, and exhilarating itineraries.

Kevin founded The Cruise People Ltd in London in 1992, when the UK cruise market was just beginning to grow (numbering only 229,000 then compared to more than 2 million now).

He was twice chairman of the Leading Cruise Agents of the UK and now holds a minority interest in a US river cruise project, whose vessel is presently operating under charter.

Suzy was a founder member and director of online travel agency Singular Travel, which she formed in 2004. Suzy has worked as an independent tour guide, tour manager for a wine tour operating company, as cabin crew for BOAC/British Airways and is also an Art Historian.

The Singular Travel website campaigned for and provided better deals for single travellers. Still championing that cause, Suzy has now formed Culture Cruises with Kevin in order to help single travellers pay fair prices and also to enjoy the company of like-minded folk … on special interest cruises.

On the river side, Culture Cruises will be working with Ama Waterways, whose AmaKristina is seen here (AmaKristina at Vilshofen on Danube in Germany)
On the river side, Culture Cruises is working with Ama Waterways, whose AmaKristina is seen here at Vilshofen, on the Danube in Germany

Kevin and Suzy describe themselves as “entrepreneurs with a mission.” Their ultimate goal at Culture Cruises is to differentiate themselves from the rest of the cruise market by introducing cruise tours that focus mainly on cultural themes: Art and Architecture and Food and Wine, as examples.

In order to create a reputation for quality and exclusivity, they have developed a small portfolio of selected partners that operate refined ships that carry only between 100 and 540 guests each. They have agreements with Ponant, Ama Waterways and One Ocean Expeditions and are also now working with Crystal River Cruises and Hurtigruten.

Culture cruises first booking was a Northwest Passage transit with One Ocean Expeditions (The 146-berth RCGS Resolute)
Culture Cruises’ first booking was a Northwest Passage transit with One Ocean Expeditions (left, One Ocean’s 146-berth RCGS Resolute)

Culture Cruises has opened as a niche cruise agent, and although its programme has been kept under wraps until now, it has already made its first booking, a transit of the Northwest Passage with One Ocean Expeditions in August.

Now operating as agents for Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL) holders, by 2020-21, the new company’s owners intend to turn the it into a fully-fledged tour operator, with its own programmes, lecturers, tour guides, etc. The company is already researching and recruiting suitable lecturers and guides.

Culture Cruises’ new website has just opened and can be found at www.culture-cruises.com while a dedicated blog is being developed at www.culture-cruises.blog.  Or feel free to Email us at info@culture-cruises.com.

For more information please call Kevin Griffin on 020 7660 1450 or 07842 576270

Norwegian Coast Service To Be Revised – Symphony of the Seas Delivered – Voyage of the Week: One Ocean’s RCGS Resolute

The Cruise Examiner for 4th April 2018

Havila coastal ships for Norway

Havila Shipping will build four new coastal ships for the Norwegian coast run, to enter service starting in 2021

The Norwegian Government has announced that effective January 2021 it will reorganise its subsidised coastal voyages by dividing contracts between two operators, the exisiting company, Hurtgruten, and newcomer Havila, who will build four new ships, with dimensions of 410 x 66 feet. Elsewhere, the world’s largest cruise ship, the 228,081-ton Symphony of the Seas, left Malaga on a sampler voyage on Saturday before setting out on her maiden voyage from Barcelona this Friday. Finally, for our special voyage this week we have chosen One Ocean Expeditions’ newest addition, the RCGS Resolute, which has been chartered by UK-based Exodus Travels for a special Antarctica voyage in November.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                           (See previous columns)

Viking Ocean Confirms Two Orders, Two Options – Grand Classica From West Palm Beach – One Ocean’s Canadian Circumnavigation

The Cruise Examiner for 18th December 2017

Viking Sun.jpg

This weekend saw two items of news from Viking Ocean Cruises. First, the Viking Sun (above) sailed on the line’s first World Cruise, four months plus from Miami to London via the Pacific and Mediterranean. And second, Viking has firmed up orders for its seventh and eighth ships and confirmed options for two more that would bring its ocean fleet to ten ships. Elsewhere, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line reinstates its West Palm Beach to Freeport service this Saturday and has announced that its second ship, Grand Classica, will enter service in April. Finally, One Ocean Expeditions has announced a 56-night “circumnavigation” of Canada, tying its summer Canadian Arctic itineraries with the Akademik Ioffe with a Trans-Canada rail adventure from Vancouver to Halifax that uses Fairmont Hotels ashore.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                           (See previous columns)

One Ocean Expeditions’ Circumnavigation of Canada. By Sea, Air and Rail, 56 Days, Summer 2018

Akademik Ioffe

The Akademik Ioffe offers accommodation for 90 passengers to cruise the Canadian Arctic

Starting and ending in Nova Scotia, One Ocean Expeditions has announced a once in a lifetime “circumnavigation of Canada” by sea, air and land, starting on the Akademik Ioffe on July 24, 2018..

The expedition will begin in Louisbourg NS and will join together all of One Ocean Expeditions’ summer 2018 itineraries, including Labrador and the Torngat Mountains, Baffin Island and Lancaster Sound, Exploration of the High Arctic, Pathways to Franklin, and the iconic Northwest Passage.

The Akademik Ioffe will then disembark her circumnavigation guests in Cambridge Bay, from where they will travel by plane to British Colombia and, after exploring the remarkable City of Vancouver, journey from West to East in style, on board Via Rail Canada’s recently introduced “Prestige” Class sleeper trains. The rail tour portion heads to Banff and Jasper National Park, before crossing the prairies and following the lakes of northern Ontario, through the bustling cebtres of Toronto and Montreal. With extended stops at world-class Fairmont hotels along the way, passengers will arrive back in the embarkation province of Nova Scotia 56 nights after beginning their journey.

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The Hudson’s Bay Conpany’s Nascopie offered cruises for 22 passengers in the Canadian Arctic in the 1930s

In some ways, this voyage will resemble those that were offered in the 1930s by the Hudson Bay Company supply ship Nascopie, which set aside 22 of her 150 passenger berths for “official tourists.” They paid $650 for the full 95-day round trip, but were also able to book one-way voyages, Montreal to Churchill, about 40 days, being $300, while the longer return voyage from Churchill to Halifax was $350.

The Nascopie took the annual mail, supplies and personnel for the trading posts, police detachments, missions, hospitals and schools of the Canadian Arctic. She departed Montreal around July 1 and called at trading posts of the eastern Arctic, as well as the Manitoba port of Churchill, which was joined to the Canadian railway system in 1929. Churchill was called at first so the Hudson’s Bay Company could take advantage of the additional cargo capacity made available by the tons of fuel that was burned on the way up from Montreal, which allowed her to load more cargo for the Arctic.

Thanks to the Nascopie and the rail connection at Churchill it was possible to cruise in the footsteps of the early explorers on a trip that took guests to within 800 miles of the North Pole. But the 2018 voyage will offer all of that plus the West Coast and the Rocky Mountains, as well as Canada’s greatest cities. This new adventure, designed exclusively by One Ocean Expeditions, and informed by their extensive experience of these regions, will be a voyage like no other.

Canada Circumnavigation Voyage – July 24 to September 17, 2018

 

OOE Canada Circumnavigation

One Ocean Expeditions’ Plan For Its Circumnavigation of Canada in 2018

For the first time, guests will have the chance to join the most comprehensive circumnavigation of Canada ever offered. This unparalleled journey visits historic sites along Canada’s East Coast, searches for thrilling polar bear and Arctic wildlife sightings, offers immersive visits to Inuit communities, takes guests through the crisp fresh air of the Rocky Mountains, and into the lively culture of Canada’s metropolises all in one voyage.

⚓ Twin-Private cabin on board the Akademik Ioffe
⚓ World-class accommodation at Fairmont Hotels whilst on land
Travelling on land on Via Rail’s newest ‘Prestige’ Class
Extended stays in Jasper National Park, Toronto & Montreal
56 nights / 57 days
Embark in Louisbourg NS, disembark Halifax NS
Price US$55,000 per person

For further details on this exciting itinerary please contact The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or email PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

One Ocean To Acquire Hanseatic – Other Cruise News: MV Werften Delivers First Ship – TUI Discovery To Be Based At Newcastle

The Cruise Examiner for 7th August 2017

RCGS Resolute profile

One Ocean Expeditions has taken a long-term charter on the 146-berth RCGS Resolute, to enter service in November 2018

Last week, Canadian-based One Ocean Expeditions announced the acquisition of a third ship for its expedition fleet, while indicating that it would probably be doing more business in non-polar regions as well as in the Nova Scotia port of Sydney. Meanwhile, the Baltic shipyard MV Werften has delivered the first vessel under its new ownership by Genting Group of Hong Kong. The 106-berth Crystal Bach, which will cruise the Rhine, Main and Danube, will be the second ship in the Crystal River Cruises fleet, following the 154-berth Crystal Mozart on the Danube. Finally, Thomson Cruises has confirmed that it will base its 1,830-berth TUI Discovery at Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 2018.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                         (See previous columns)

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.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                           (See previous columns)

The Cruise Examiner – Expedition Ships: To Convert Or To Build?

The Cruise Examiner for 28th September 2015

Seabourn Quest © Robin West

The Seabourn Quest in Antarctica, in an image by Robin West, Seabourn’s manager of expedition operations

There have been many changes in the field of expedition cruising in recent years. New ships were built, a few of them. Russian ships were chartered, a few more. And ships were converted, variously from small ships, coastal vessels and ice-class ferries. Last week’s announcement by Silversea that it was converting its Silver Cloud into an ice-class ship followed a move two years ago by Seabourn to ice-strengthen its own Seabourn Quest. Meanwhile, ship managers, naval architects and shipbuilders have all come up with various proposals for new designs. First off the block, a few years ago, was Sunstone Ships of Miami with its Project Unlimited. Then, STX France introduced its Ulysseas design this March, and the Danish firm of Knut E Hansen followed up with its own design six months later. This week we look at the two alternatives of converting or building.

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