More Northwest Passage News – Prestige Cruise Holdings’ Vancouver-Montreal Cruises – Titanic II An Unlikely Prospect

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 28th July 2014..

 

The World at Cambridge Bay 30.08.12 © Nunatsiak OnlineLast week Crystal Cruises surprised the world with news that it would sail its 68,870-ton Crystal Serenity through the Northwest Passage from Seward to New York in 2016. This week, we bring you a reminder that the World of Residensea’s 43,524-ton residential ship The World has already done this, having transitted from Nome to Nuuk in 2012 without the publicity a cruise ship generates. On the left, she is seen anchored off Cambridge Bay in an image that was posted by Nunatsiaq Online in 2012. And speaking of passages from west to east, two Prestige Cruise Holdings ships, the 30,277-ton Regatta and 28,803-ton Seven Seas Navigator, will be cruising from Vancouver to Montreal this autumn via Alaska and the Panama Canal. Finally, as Clive Palmer’s companies run into more legal problems in Australia, completion of his Titanic II becomes an even less likely prospect than it was before.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                             (See previous columns)

Duchess of Richmond’s 1939 Pacific Cruise From Montreal And New York To Hawaii, Alaska, British Columbia, California And Mexico

Seventy-five years ago today Canadian Pacific’s 20,022-ton Duchess of Richmond was steaming north from Balboa towards Los Angeles in the course of a 68-day “all in one” 1939 summer cruise that had sailed from Montreal on Dominion Day, July 1, and New York on July 6 for California, Hawaii, Alaska and Mexico. The same itinerary had been offered as a 59-day cruise from New York, from $595 per person, and sold through Thomas Cook with its ads espousing “17 ports, 18,000 miles and 2 World’s Fairs.”

Duchess of Richmond in the West Indies

Canadian Pacific’s Duchess of Richmond tendering passengers in the Caribbean

After departing New York, the Duchess had made calls at Kingston, Cristobal and Balboa and was now bound for Los Angeles, Honolulu, Yakutat Bay, Sitka, Juneau, Vancouver, Victoria, San Francisco, Los Angeles once more, Acapulco, the Panama Canal, Vera Cruz and Havana on her way back to New York and Montreal.

This cruise was unique, and the only one of its kind ever offered by Canadian Pacific. While the Duchess of Richmond had become the largest ship ever to call in Miami on a winter cruise in 1935, she was usually engaged on the North Atlantic in the summer time. The fact that it was 1939 and there were fears of impending war in Europe may have had something to do with it, but at the same time she visited both the World’s Fairs of the year. In New York, she stayed overnight on Wednesday, July 5, and in San Francisco, she spent two nights, from Saturday, August 12 until Monday, August 14.

An ominous-sounding radio news bulletin arrived from London on August 27 and was quoted in the “New York Times” the next day. Under the heading “Admiralty Takes Control,” the “Times” reported,

The Admiralty has taken over control of all British shipping, it was announced tonight. The control came into operation as from midnight last night. It means that all British ships must obey all Admiralty instructions, including changing course and destination while at sea.

On arriving at Vera Cruz on Sunday, August 27, the Duchess of Richmond was instructed to black out and when she arrived that way in New York, she incurred a delay at the pilots’ station because she could not be seen.

Duchess of Richmond on an earlier cruise at Miami

The Duchess of Richmond was the largest cruise ship to call at Miami in the years between 1935 and 1939

On September 1, whilst the Duchess of Richmond was steaming towards New York, Germany invaded Poland and Britain and France each laid down an ultimatum to Germany. The Duchess’s arrival back at New York was scheduled for 8 am on September 3, the day on which both Britain and France declared war on Germany. That very same day, the U-30 torpedoed the Donaldson Line’s 13,465-ton Athenia, while on her way from Liverpool to Montreal, with the loss of 118 lives.

Already in New York when she arrived was the French Line’s flagship, the 83,423-ton Normandie, which had been laid up on her last arrival on August 28 in order to avoid her becoming involved in any possible war in Europe. But the Duchess of Richmond returned to the North Atlantic until November 1940. After the war, she became Canadian Pacific’s second Empress of Canada.

Regatta Vancouver

Oceania’s Regatta, seen here at Vancouver’s Canada Place, underwent an update at Vancouver earlier this year

Cruises like this one rarely come around these days but P&O’s Oriana did a long one from Southampton a couple of years back, and occasionally it is possible to book a Trans-Panama cruise all the way from Montreal to Vancouver or vice versa. This year, for example, Oceania Cruises’ Regatta leaves Vancouver on August 19 for a 40-day cruise that takes her to Ketchikan,  Juneau, Sitka, Victoria, Astoria, San Francisco, Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco, Chiapas, Puntarenas, Cartagena, Norfok, New York, Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, Saint John,  Halifax, Sydney, Corner Brook, Quebec and Monrtreal, where she arrives on September 28.

Seven Seas Navigator

Like Regatta, Regent’s Seven Seas Navigator will cruise from Vancouver to Montreal via Alaska and Mexico later this summer

Regent’s Seven Seas Navigator also leaves Vancouver, on August 20 in her case, for a 41-night cruise that takes her to Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, Sitka, Victoria, Astoria, San Francisco, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco, Chiapas, Puntarenas, Cartagena, Grand Cayman, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Norfolk and New York, Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, Saint John, Halifax, Sydney, Saguenay, Quebec and Montreal, where she arrives on October 2.

Both the Regatta and the Seven Seas Navigator will be offering similar cruises in 2015, leaving Vancouver on August 23 and 26, respectively, so you can plan well in advance.

For further details of such opportunities please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk or in North America on 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@thecruisepeople.ca.

Mid-Size Newbuildings Take On New Importance – Small Ship Fleets Continue To Evolve – Carnival To Charge For Live Concerts

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 27th January 2014..

 

Seabourn Quest AerialRecent deliveries and orders for several new midsize ships in the 40,000- to 60,000-ton range signify a change in cruise ship development. The recent arrivals of Marina, Riviera, Europa 2 and orders for Viking Star, Seven Seas Explorer and a new 40,350-tonner for Seabourn, modelled on the smaller 32,000-ton Seabourn Quest (left), are beginning to hark back to the traditional days of cruising, making the big new ships look like circuses by comparison. The new midsize ships will become the First Class of 21st Century cruising while the megaships are quickly becoming the Tourist Class. At the same time, the small ship market continues to evolve, with the smallest Seabourn ships soon to go to Windstar Cruises. Meanwhile, Carnival Cruise Lines continues the trend of adding extra charges to mainline cruises, with the addition of live concerts at a charge on board eight of its ships in the Caribbean and Mexico.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                  (See previous columns)

The First World Cruises, from 1891 to 1923, And Beyond

Contrary to what most sources say, world cruising did not start with Cunard Line’s Laconia in 1922, but actually got its start way back in 1891 when Canadian Pacific took delivery of the first of three new Empresses, the 5,920-ton Empress of India.

Built at Barrow-in-Furness, in the shipyard where BAE Systems is to-day building seven “Astute” class nuclear-powered fleet submarines for the Royal Navy, the Empress of India was launched on August 30, 1890. After fitting out, she departed Liverpool on Sunday, February 8, 1891, on Canadian Pacific’s first world cruise, one in which it offered a voyage in the Empress of India from Liverpool via the Suez and Hong Kong to Vancouver, a journey across Canada on its famous trans-continental railway and a Transatlantic liner crossing back to Liverpool.

World Cruises - Empress of India (colour)On Tuesday, April 28, 1891, after a voyage of 79 days, the Empress of India thus became the first White Empress to arrive at Vancouver, whereupon her world cruise passengers continued their journey across Canada and the Atlantic Ocean to complete their trip around the world. Within less than six months, Canadian Pacific offered two more such cruises, with Empress of Japan leaving Liverpool on April 11, 1891, and the last of the trio, Empress of China, sailing from Liverpool on July 15. These ships, the first twin-screw liners on the Pacific, had been ordered by Canadian Pacific to fulfil a new mail contract that connected the UK and Hong Kong by way of its recently-completed transcontinental railway, over which the first train had run between Montreal and Port Moody in July 1886, with the line reaching Vancouver in May 1887.

While these were really positioning voyages to get the new ships from Liverpool to Vancouver, this was not the end of the story for Canadian Pacific. More world cruises would follow when new ships were ordered for its Transpacific service and in the 1920s and 1930s, Canadian Pacific would become one of the best-known names in world cruising, with several of its Empresses offering world cruises, and most particularly the 42,348–ton Empress of Britain (ii) of 1931, the first ship to be designed to cross the North Atlantic by summer and offer a world cruise every winter. Three famous Cunard ships would later follow this pattern, including the 34,274–ton Caronia of 1949, the 65,863-ton Queen Elizabeth 2 of 1969 and the 148.528-ton Queen Mary 2 of 2003, which is celebrating ten years of service this year.

World Cruises - Cleveland 1909After the delivery voyages of Canadian Pacific’s Empresses, the next stage in world cruising occurred in 1909, when a new world cruise routing was offered by Frank C Clark of New York, an early organizer of cruises, who chartered Hamburg America Line’s 16.960-ton Cleveland to offer two world cruises five years before the Panama Canal was opened.

The Cleveland left New York on October 16, 1909, and took 108 days to proceed across the Atlantic to ports in the Mediterranean, Suez Canal, India and the Far East before finishing her world cruise in San Francisco on January 31, 1910. Passengers then returned to their homes from the West Coast by train while the Cleveland operated a second world cruise in the opposite direction, returning from San Francisco to New York by way of Suez. More ships soon followed on similar routings.

Cunard Line’s claim that its 19,680-ton Laconia made the first world cruise in 1922-23 is correct only insofar as this was the first complete circumnavigation of the world by a cruise ship, something that obviously could not be done before the Panama Canal opened in 1914. The first full circumnavigation by Laconia thus left New York in November 1922, took 130 days and called at twenty-two ports on her way around the world.

World Cruises - Laconia 1922In fact, world cruises boomed in 1922-23, with the Laconia being only the first of four ships to leave New York on world cruises that winter. The others, booked either by Frank C Clark or by American Express, were United American Line’s 19,653-ton Resolute, Canadian Pacific’s 18,481-ton Empress of France and Cunard Line’s 19,602-ton Samaria, which sailed in the opposite direction from the other three, proceeding from west to east. The rest, as they say, is history.

Considering a modern-day World Cruise?  With offices in Europe and North America we are perfectly suited to booking your trip of a lifetime.  Start your journey now by calling The Cruise People Ltd in London, England, on 020 7723 2450 or by e-mailing us at cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

A Long World Cruise From Oceania – Early World Cruises – And A Different Kind of World Cruise, By Container Ship

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 29th July 2013

InsigniaWhile European lines such as Hapag-Lloyd Cruises have traditionally offered longer world cruises each winter, stretching up to 180 days, most English-speaking lines have stuck to a formula that sees world cruises come in at 105 to 110 days. Oceania Cruises, however, has chosen for its first world cruise in 2015 in the 30,277-ton Insignia, an extended 180-day itinerary. Ironically, the Insignia (shown above) will be coming back from a charter to Hapag-Lloyd, which has been operating her as its Columbus 2, in April 2014. We also take the opportunity of this announcement to look at some earlier world cruises, dating back to 1891 and 1909, and not just to the usually-quoted 1922 of Cunard Line’s Laconia. Finally, we look at an alternative world cruise that is offered year-round – this time by CMA CGM container ship!

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                         (See previous columns)

Regent Orders A Fourth Ship – Queen Mary 2 Completes 200th Atlantic Crossing – MSC To Double Its Ex-UK Fleet Next September

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 15th July 2013

quenmaryLast week came news that Regent Seven Seas Cruises had finally ordered its long-anticipated fourth ship. The 738-berth 54,000-ton Seven Seas Explorer will have a passenger space ratio of more than 73 gross tons per passenger. This compares to the new record of 80 tons per passenger on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2, introduced this May. Elsewhere, Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 completed her 200th North Atlantic crossing this weekend, having now carried about 500,000 Transatlantic passengers. Meanwhile, MSC Cruises will double its ex-UK presence in September 2014 with the addition of the MSC Magica to the UK-based MSC Opera, and has announced a new UK boss.

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                             (See previous columns)

Regent Announces Fourth Ship With Its Seven Seas Explorer

Announcing Seven Seas Explorer

Today, Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced the next chapter in its history. The ine hasse entered into a contract with Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard to build the most luxurious cruise ship in the era of modern cruising. The new all-suite, all-balcony ship will be named Seven Seas Explorer with delivery scheduled for Summer 2016.

At 54,000 gross tons and accommodating just 738 guests, Seven Seas Explorer will be the largest vessel in the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet. The ship will boast one of the highest space ratios and staff-to-guest ratios in modern cruise ship design enabling the line to deliver the highly personalised service and extraordinary experience that clients have come to expect from Regent.

This new ship order is part of Regent’s disciplined growth strategy to expand its footprint in the luxury market. Since  purchasing the Regent Seven Seas Cruises brand in 2008, its ships have sailed full with industry-leading yields. Expanding the fleet will allow for a greater array of itineraries.

With the Seven Seas Explorer, overall fleet capacity will grow nearly 40%, making Regent Seven Seas the world’s largest luxury cruise line.

Seven Seas Explorer will feature spacious and sophisticated designer suites, ultra-elegant public areas, a wide-range of dining options with six gourmet restaurants, an expansive Canyon Ranch SpaClub, Regent’s signature nine-deck atrium, two-story Explorer Theater and many other amenities all created with the personality, warmth and soul of classic and timeless design.

The moment guests step aboard Seven Seas Explorer, they’ll know they have arrived somewhere special. The use of exotic stones and polished woods, designer furniture, rich fabrics and sophisticated lighting combined with what promises to be a museum-quality eclectic art collection will clearly position Seven Seas Explorer as the new standard in luxury cruising.

The Seven Seas Explorer follows the 28,550-ton Seven Seas Navigator (490 guests), complete by Mariotti in 1999, the 48,015-ton Seven Seas Mariner (708 guests), launched by Chantiers de l’Atlantique in 2001 and the 41,827-ton Seven Seas Voyager (708 guests), completed by Mariott in 2003.

Further details about Seven Seas Explorer will be announced in the coming months so please stay tuned. In the words of its executives:

“We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your tremendous support over the years. As we look toward the future and the evolution of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, we know that our success will flourish as a result of our mutual partnerships and the powerful value proposition of providing the Most Inclusive Luxury Cruise Experience in the world.”

Signature
Signature
Signature
Frank J. Del Rio
Chairman & CEO
Prestige Cruise Holdings
Kunal S. Kamlani
President
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Graham Sadler
Managing Director UK & Europe, Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Vancouver Anticipates 20% Boost In Cruisers – San Francisco Gains A Year-Round Ship – Bella Desgagnés Arrives In The Gulf of St Lawrence

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 15th April 2013

Bella DesgagnesAfter a few years of battle royal with its rival port to the south, Vancouver stands to gain 20% more cruise business this year, while Seattle stands to lose 10%. Today, we look at some of the differences between the two ports, both important to the Alaska cruise trade. Meanwhile, for the first time in decades, San Francisco has a year-round ship, with the 2,600-berth Grand Princess based there since last month. And the Gulf of St Lawrence has received its first purpose-built passenger ship in seventy-five years. The new Bella Desgagnés (pictured above) will operate a weekly coastal and cruise service between Rimouski, Quebec, and Blanc Sablon, on the Strait of Belle Isle.

 THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                              (See previous columns)

Image courtesy of Deltamarin

New Media: The Big (And Little) Cruise Lines – SeaDream Wins the YouTube Competition – But Do YouTube Viewings Generate Bookings?

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With nearly all cruise lines now having their own YouTube accounts, it is worth looking at the number of views each has attracted in its initial efforts, from mid seven digits down to low four digits, as at mid-day February 14, 2013:-

Princess Cruises (5,481,289)
Royal Caribbean International (4,287,689)
Carnival Cruise Lines (2,745,277)
Norwegian Cruise Line (2,064,530)
P&O Cruises (1,548,271)
Cunard Line (1,480,265)
Holland America Line (1,140,017)

MSC Cruises (740,467)
Celebrity Cruises (638,858)
Azamara Club Cruises (313,628)
Costa Cruises (276,417)
SeaDream Yacht Club (233,115)
Silversea Cruises (166,966)
Oceania Cruises (111,591)

Voyages of Discovery (93,588)
Regent Seven Seas Cruises (64,577)
Seabourn (55,563)
Paul Gauguin Cruises (54,632)
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines (39,624)
Swan Hellenic Cruises (28,111)
Louis Cruises (27,236)
Crystal Cruises (15,532)

Voyages to Antiquity (1,380)

Aside from the big numbers up top, the most notable of all these entries is SeaDream Yacht Club, which is punching way above its weight with over 1,000 views for every berth it has in its two-ship fleet. Compare this with only 7.5 views for every lower berth on Crystal and you will see what we mean.

But do YouTube viewings generate bookings? The question is probably of the same relevance today as asking if colour magazine advertisements generated business in their time (which is now largely past). Where Twitter and Facebook are probably not very productive, Blogs and YouTube videos are capable of conveying some of the actual experience of these products. Many of these videos can be found on our Cruise Lines Video Links Page.

Then if you want to know more about the art of cruising call 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

The World of Cruising According to Condé Nast – Argentina and Falklands Conflict Calms – And A New Home For Queen Elizabeth 2

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 4th February 2013

Silver SpiritCondé Nast Traveler rates both the 540-berth Silver Spirit (above) and the 2,092-berth Queen Elizabeth as medium-size ships, while Berlitz more logically calls the Silver Spirit small and the Queen Elizabeth large.
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Last week, US-based Condé Nast Traveler magazine released the results of its 2013 best cruise ships poll, dividing the fleet into small, medium and large cruise ships plus river cruisers. Among the winners are names such as Azamara, Celebrity, Crystal, Cunard, Holland America, Oceania, Princess, Regent, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn and Silversea, as well as some lesser known cruising names such as Grand Circle and National Geographic. Meanwhile, from Silversea comes news that the situation in Argentina seems to be calming down, with their ships again calling on both Argentina and the Falkland Islands. Elsewhere, we have news of a new future for the iconic Queen Elizabeth 2, in a major Asian city yet to be announced.

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THIS WEEK’S STORY
                                     (See previous columns)

The Growth of Cruising: A Twenty-Five Year Comparison – Norwegian Cruise Line Float – The New SuperStar Gemini

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 28th January 2013

Royal PrincessIn 1984, Princess Cruises introduced the 44,348-ton Royal Princess, at 761 x 96 feet and 1,200 passengers.

Riviera - OceaniaIn 2011-12, Oceania Cruises introduced the 66,048-ton Marina and Riviera, at 777 x 105 feet & 1,250 passengers.

Twenty-five years ago, the main players in the cruise industry operated a fleet of around forty ships offering berths for some 37,000 passengers. Today, the same players operate a fleet of around 125 ships capable of carrying in excess of 250,000 passengers at any one time. Not only has the industry grown almost seven-fold during that period but it has in effect divided into the best and the biggest, with seven or eight lines offering the best in service and experience and another seven or eight offering another type of seagoing experience, on very large scale ships at affordable prices. This week, we look at this phenomenon. Elsewhere, Norwegian Cruise Holdings has floated at a 30% premium and another SuperStar Gemini has made her début.

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                        (See previous columns)

CLIA Goes Global Today – Holland America, Seabourn & P&O Cancel Argentina Calls – Australian Consumer Protection

          THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 17th December 2012

CLIA logoThe Cruise Lines International Association has announced today that it is going global and will in future have arms such as CLIA UK (the Passenger Shipping Association/Association of Cruise Experts), CLIA Europe (the European Cruise Council), CLIA Brazil (ABREMAR) and CLIA Australasia (the International Cruise Council Australasia), among others. Meanwhile, with Argentina having refused to take any action to ensure the freedom of the seas for cruise ships calling on both Argentina and the Falkland Islands, some cruise lines are beginning to announce the cancellation of calls in Argentina, while others are dropping the Falkland Islands. Finally, we see what progress (if any) is being made towards Australian consumer protection.

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                       (See previous columns)