Canada’s 150th Anniversary and Montreal’s 375th – Other Cruise News: – Oceania Chooses New York – Azamara Adds Alaska In 2019

The Cruise Examiner for 3rd April 2017

QM2 at Quebec

Queen Mary 2 at Quebec. The numbers cruising the St Lawrence are expected to exceed 350,000 this year.

This year sees the 150th Anniversary of Canada’s founding as a nation, so on this event we also look back fifty years to the special 100th Anniverary sailings that were offered in connection with Expo ’67 in 1967 that included stays on board. Ships such as the Shalom, Maasdam, FranconiaArgentina, Brasil and South American all offered stays at Montreal, as did the s.s. France and Michelangelo at Quebec.This year will also see a boom for cruising the St Lawrence, with traffic up more than a third on last year. Elsewhere, Oceania Cruises will be basing its Insignia at New York for the late summer this year as well as the summer of 2018. Finally, in a first for the line, Azamara Club Cruises has announced a series of eleven Alaska cruises based on Vancouver for its Azamara Quest in 2019.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                    (See previous columns)

China Closer To Building Cruise Ships – MSC Cruises Adds More China – NCLH Management Triumvirate

The Cruise Examiner for 26th September 2016

carnivalvistaantoniomarano-wikipedia

Carnival’s four new Shanghai-built Hong Kong-owned ships will be based on the Carnival Vista platform

Last week came news that the Carnival-China State Shipbuilding-China Investment cruise shipping joint venture would order two option two 133,500-ton cruise ships from the Fincantieri-China Shipbuilding joint venture. The four ships are to be built by China Shipbuilding’s Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipyard in Pudong. These vessels, along with a number of existing ships to be transferred in from the Carnival fleet, will form the basis of a new Chinese brand to be based in Hong Kong. Just before this announcement, MSC Cruises said that it would be sending its 3,274-berth MSC Splendida to work out of China in 2018. Meanwhile, over at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, each of the three brands, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises has now been given its own president and ceo.

 FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                          (See previous columns)

“The World’s Most Luxurious Cruise Ship” – Other Cruise News: Ponant’s Sea Voyages – Trouble On The Amazon

The Cruise Examiner for 18th July 2016

Le Boreal

Let Ponant’s 10,922-ton Le Boréal take you non-stop from Boston to Panama in 7 nights this October

This week, we look at Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new Seven Seas Explorer, said by Regent to be the most luxurious ship ever built. We assess first reactions and also compare her to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2. Elsewhere, Marseilles-based Ponant is launching a number of sea voyages, mostly non-stop port-to-port ocean voyages such as 8 nights from Vancouver to Honolulu on board Le Soléal this September and 7 nights from Boston to Portland on board Le Boréal (above) this October. And trouble erupted twice on the Peruvian Amazon last week, with one river cruiser, the 40-berth Amazon Discovery, being attacked by bandits while another, the 24-berth Aqua Amazon, sank at her dock in Iquitos, with four crew members missing after an explosion on Saturday.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                         (See previous columns)

Viking Sea Christened In London – Other Cruise News: The Havana Ship The Media Forgot – Viking Sun World Cruise

The Cruise Examiner for 9th May 2016

Viking Sea Cutty Sark Greenwich.co.uk

Viking Cruises’ new Viking Sea being greeted by sailors on the yardams of the preserved clipper ship Cutty Sark at Greenwich

Last Thursday saw the christening in London of Viking Cruises’ second ocean ship, the 930-berth Viking Sea. The largest passenger ship yet to be christened on the Thames, she follows the Great Eastern of 1857, the Radisson Diamond of 1992 and the Seabourn Sojourn of 2010, all of which she exceeds in size. Also last week, the 700-berth Adonia of Carnival Corp & plc’s Fathom brand became the first US-based cruise ship to call on Havana since the late 1970s. And finally, Viking Cruises has announced its first world cruise, using the fourth of their ocean ships, Viking Sun, which will depart Miami on December 15, 2017, on a 141-day epic westabout cruise that will end in London.

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)

Australians Outstrip Canadians In Their Own Port of Montreal

Montreal’s cruise season opened in May with Haimark Line’s 210-berth Saint Laurent (below) and closed last week with the Regent’s 490-berth Seven Seas Navigator.

The 210-berth Saint Laurent. In this pic she is moored in Montreal

In all, Montreal recorded 73 cruise ships visits this year, 29 more than the 44 received in 2014. Preliminary figures indicate that more than 92,000 passengers and crewmembers transited the cruise terminal this season, a near 30% increase over 2014 and a 94% hike since the creation of the Montreal Cruise Committee in 2011. The committee was established with a brief to attract more international cruise lines to the Canadian port.

The St Lawrence River cruise season generally runs from May through October, with the busiest months being September and October, for the autumn leaves. According to data collected by the Montreal Cruise Committee, clients are primarily American (72%), Australian (8.5%), Canadian (7.5%) and English (4.5%).

Like Quebec, Montreal has adopted a bad habit of counting crew members along with passengers. The cruise lines regard crew as a cost centre and passengers as the revenue centre. If we take a ratio of say 2.5 passengers to every crewmember, then 92,000 represents about 66,000 passengers and 26,000 crew.

The Maasdam departing Montreal on a cruise. On the left is  the Sailors’ Memorial clocktower on Victoria Pier. This is where the Canada Steamship Lines and Clarke Steamship Company cruise ships sailed from

Holland America Line’s Maasdam departing Montreal on a cruise. She is Montreal’s most frequent caller. 

Reducing the passenger number further means about 5,600 Australian passengers outnumbered the roughly 5,000 Canadians who took a cruise over Montreal by 12 to 13%, which is quite ridiculous. Montreal is inside in a country with a population of 35 million, while Australia has only 23 million. And Sydneysiders have to travel 10,000 miles to get to Montreal!

Perhaps as well as attracting foreign cruise lines, the Montreal Cruise Committee should start working on attracting more domestic passengers to their local port, which is just down the street, along the highway or less than a half-hour drive away from Trudeau Airport.Essentially, this research means the number of Canadians cruising through Montreal numbers only one in every 7,000 of the country’s population and the nearby Americans outnumber them almost ten to one.

By comparison, this year Vancouver is expected to handle some 805,000 cruise passengers to Montreal’s 66,000, or about twelve times as many as its St Lawrence sister port, with 228 calls compared to Montreal’s 73.

Azamara QuestIf you want to cruise from Montreal next year, The Cruise People Ltd highly recommends Cruiseco’s charter of the Azamara Quest from Montreal to New Orleans, a voyage of 32 nights, next September and October, with 19 ports and 9 overnights.  Further details of the Montreal to New Orleans cruise can be found here

Ironically, this cruise is being offered by the Australian group Cruiseco, who will be bringing several hundred more Australian passengers to Montreal next year.

One way to reach this cruise will be a Transatlantic sailing from Southampton from September 9 to 24. Further details of this Atlantic crossing can be found here. 

For further details on these or any other Montreal cruises call us in London on 020 7723 2450 or email cruisepeopleltd@aol.com.

A Prestige Ship For Bermuda At Some Time In The Future?

Norwegian Cruise Line ceo Kevin Sheehan was quoted in Bermuda recently as having said that with its acquisition of Prestige Cruises the “new” Norwegian group might take a bigger interest in the now underused Bermuda ports of Hamilton and St George’s. The maximum length of ship allowed in Hamilton is about 720 feet, on 26 feet of draft, and similar limitations apply at St George’s. The great advantage to Hamilton of course is that ships dock right on the city’s main thoroughfare of Front Street.

Seven Seas Mariner and Voyager in Hamilton April 2008

Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Voyager together in Hamilton, Bermuda, in April 2008

Both Regent and Oceania have been to Bermuda in the past and indeed in 2003 Regent (then Radisson) ran the 560-foot 490- berth Seven Seas Navigator on eleven weekly cruises from New York and Norfolk to Hamilton and St George’s. Oceania, on the other hand, has put ships into Bermuda, on positioning voyages or seasonal cruises.

At 594 feet, Oceania’s 684-berth “R” class ships Insignia, Nautica and Regatta can get into Hamilton and St George’s, but because of their length, the 776-feet 1,250-berth Marina and Riviera are restricted to Bermuda’s outlying Naval Dockyard. The “R” ships are only slightly longer than the Furness Bermuda Line’s 580-foot Queen of Bermuda and Monarch of Bermuda, which at one time were the mainstay of the New York-Hamilton trade.

Of the three Regent ships, not only the Seven Seas Navigator but also the 709-foot Seven Seas Mariner and 677-foot Seven Seas Voyager, both with 708 berths, have docked on Front Street in the past. Indeed the Mariner and the Voyager became two of the largest ships to do so when they docked together in Hamilton in April 2008. At 732 feet, the 738-berth newbuilding Seven Seas Explorer, due in 2016, will be subject to approval by the local authorities as to whether she will be able to berth in Hamilton. That means that five or six out of the eight existing Prestige ships could be candidates for Bermuda.

But whether a regular upmarket service to Bermuda can survive since the relaxation of the shipboard casino opening laws has yet to be proven. Sheehan told the Royal Gazette, “We would be open to bringing more of the smaller ships into Bermuda – it seems like the perfect market.”

Hamilton will see only seven calls this year, with nothing between late April and mid-October, and St George’s only two cruise ship calls in the whole year.

Azamara Club Cruises tried one season with its 684-berth “R” ship Azamara Journey on the New York-St George’s-Hamilton run in 2007 and then left.

Between 2010 and 2012, in which year she made 19 voyages, Holland America Line ran its 719-foot 1,348-berth Veendam between New York and Hamilton, but she did not call at St George’s. After not being able to make enough money sailing to Bermuda, Holland America switched the Veendam to the Boston to St Lawrence trade at the end of 2012.

However, with ships’ casinos now allowed to open in port, Veendam will test the waters again in 2015, making six sailings between Boston and Hamilton between May and July, alternating with her Boston sailings to the St Lawrence.

Norwegian of course holds Bermuda contracts for the New York-Bermuda and Boston-Bermuda trades and has the largest ship in the Bermuda trade with the 4,000-berth Norwegian Breakaway serving New York, and the 2,476-berth Norwegian Dawn on the Boston route. Their ships will make 48 calls at Dockyard in 2015.

For further details of cruising with Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises please call Gay Scruton at 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.