Three New Ships For Silversea – Other Cruise News: Rocky Mountaineer Welcomes Brits – Cruise Connections Via Reykjavik

THE CRUISE EXAMINER AT CYBERCRUISES.COM BY KEVIN GRIFFIN

The Cruise Examiner for 15th October 2018

 Rocky Mountaineer’s Gold Leaf service is the premium option. The food, wine, service and upper level glass domes give the best view one can get of the Canadian Rockies

Last week, with the backing of new majority owners Royal Caribbean Cruises, Silversea Cruises announced orders for three new ships, two of a new “Evolution” class for its worldwide fleet and one ship for local use in the Galapagos Islands. This week we also have two cruise-related stories coming to you from the realms of rail, with Vancouver’s Rocky Mountaineer and airlines, with Icelandair from Reykjavik.

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Two “Icon” Class Ships For Royal Caribbean – Europe’s Largest River Cruiser, AmaMagna – Disney Magic Set For Quebec City & Bermuda

The Cruise Examiner for 15th May 2017

AmaMagna

AmaWaterways’s 194-berth AmaMagna is to enter service on the Danube in 2019

In its latest move to greener ships, Royal Caribbean Cruises has confirmed orders for the first two of its new “Icon” ships to be built by Meyer Turku. For delivery in 2022 and 2024, the new ships will fall somewhere between the “Oasis” class and the “Quantum” class ships in size. Disney Cruise Line, meanwhile, has announced new sailings to Quebec and Bermuda, both new destinations for the line. The 1,754-berth Disney Magic will open up both these new routes in the autumn of 2018. And finally, after christening the AmaKristina last week, AmaWaterways has announced that it will build Europe’s largest river cruiser (above), to be called AmaMagna, Regina Magnafor delivery in 2019. The AmaMagna is not the first European cruise ship to carry this name. The last was Chandris Cruises’ Regina Magna (right), which was converted to cruise from Southampton in 1972. Previously she had operated as North German Lloyd’s North Atlantic liner Bremen. In 1988, the Chandris family founded Celebrity Cruises, which is now owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises. The Chandris “X” is still carried by Celebrity ships today.

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Royal Caribbean’s New LNG Orders – Damen Reveals New Expedition Cruise Ship Design – More New Ships For Norwegian?

The Cruise Examiner for 17th October 2016

damen-expedition-ship

Damen Shipyards Group’s contribution to expedition cruise ship design

Last week came news that from Royal Caribbean that it would be introducing a new class of mega 200,000-ton cruise ship to carry 5,000 passengers. But this class will be different because it will be dual-fuelled, relying mainly on LNG for its main proplulsion units by Caterpillar MaK. The first two ships are to be delivered in 2022 and 2024. Meanwhile, the Netherlands-based shipbuilder Damen has released details of a new expedition cruise ship design (above) that joins three or four others that are also now on the market. And from Italy come rumours of a new multi-ship order for Fincantieri from Norwegian Cruise Line.

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Legend of the Seas To Become TUI Discovery 2 – Celebrity’s Exclusive Charter Flights – First Carnival Newbuild Goes For Scrap

The Cruise Examiner for 6th June 2016

Celebrity Canadian North 737

Canadian North’s 136-seat 737 C-GPNL landing at Miami in March 2015 in Celebrity Cruises colours

Last week came news that Royal Caribbean would be selling its 1,800-berth Legend of the Seas to Thomson Cruises, following in the wake of the Splendour of the Seas, which was delivered to Thomson last month and will make her maiden voyage this weekend under the name TUI Discovery. We also have a look at Celebrity Cruises’ dedicated charter flight programs in two different markets, the UK and Canada. And finally, the first of Carnival Cruise Line’s purpose-built cruise ships to go for scrap is the Henna, built in 1986 as Carnival’s third new ship, the Jubilee. She operated for several years as the Pacific Sun for P&O Cruises Australia before going to work for HNA Cruises in China for the last three years of her thirty-year career.

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Harmony of the Seas Enters Service – Koningsdam Christened In Rotterdam – Carnival Vista’s New Attractions

The Cruise Examiner for 23rd May 2016

Harmony of the Seas arrives Soton

Royal Caribbean’s 226,963-ton Harmony of the Seas arrives at Southampton last week

This week we have a look at three brand-new ships, the largest yet built for each of Royal Caribbean International, Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Line. Harmony of the Seas arrived for the first time in Southampton last week, and we compare her not only with her earlier sister ships, but also with the US Navy’s “Nimitz” class aircraft carriers and with the 18,000 TEU container ship CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, which also carries a few passengers. We also have a look at Holland America Line’s Koningsdam, which was christened by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands last week. Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Carnival Vista, also entered service earlier this month.

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Norwegian Introduces All-Inclusive On Norwegian Sky – Other Cruise News: Royal Caribbean Drops Last Minute Discounting

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 4th May 2015

Norwegian Sky

Earlier this month, Norwegian Cruise Line announced that it would be introducing a new all-inclusive policy to its 3- and 4-night Miami-Bahamas cruises on the Norwegian Sky (above), with effect from 2016. Elsewhere, Royal Caribbean International has introduced a new policy of no cruise discounting within 30 days of sailing. Applied first in North America this policy will probably follow later in Europe. Both moves are innovations.

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New Cuba Cruise Season Opens – More Reports From China – And Individual Ship News

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 24th November 2014... ..

Cuba Cruise Transat

Louis Cruises’ Louis Cristal departs Piraeus this Friday for Havana and her second season with Canadian operator Cuba Cruise

Last week saw the beginning of a new Cuba cruise season, with regular callers Thomson Cruises, Cuba Cruise and Star Clippers now being joined by small ship operator Variety Cruises. Meanwhile, the competition heats up in China as both Carnival Corp & plc and Royal Caribbean Cruises make another move. And finally, Costa abruptly withdraws the Costa Celebration while Semester at Sea announces the withdrawal of its Explorer and her charter to Celestyal Cruises from next June.

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Carnival Plan Evokes Return To The 1930s In Hispaniola – Major Changes At Pullmantur – Book Review: Great French Passenger Ships

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 20th October 2014... ..

.Great French Passenger Ships

This week we look at how Carnival Corp & plc’s investigation into developing a new two-berth cruise port at Haiti’s Tortuga Island, together with its Amber Cove development in the Dominican Republic, take us back to the 1930s. Both are on the island of Hispaniola and relatively close to Miami, especially in these days of high fuel costs. We also look at how Pullmantur is extending its reach far beyond Spain, while at the same time watering down its much-vaunted “All-Inclusive” plan. Finally, for a change, we review Bill Miller’s most recent book, Great French Passenger Ships, just published by The History Press.

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Growth Of Major World Cruise Markets – A Revival Of Sorts At Punta Arenas – North Pole Icebreaker Cruises To Continue Into 2018

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 6th October 2014... …

The Mariner of the Seas, right, one of the Voyager-class vessels

Hong Kong’s new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal opened in 2013 on the site of its old international airport. Seen here is Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas, one of two sister ships that now sail in Chinese waters.

Today we look at comparative growth in different cruise markets and the expected impact of the addition of the Asian market, particularly China, to these figures. While China, Australia, Brazil, Germany and Scandinavia are growing much faster than other markets, Canada seems to be frozen in time, with no growth in five years. Elsewhere, Punta Arenas in Chile is seeing a bit of a revival as a setting off point for fly/cruises to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. One Ocean Expeditions’ Akademik Sergey Vavilov will source most of her 2015-16 Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia passengers from Punta Arenas’s port and airport. And icebreaker cruises from Murmansk to the North Pole have been granted a reprieve until 2018.

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Shipping Connections on the Royal Caribbean Cruises Board – And Carnival Corporation’s Costa Cruises Ups Its Chinese Participation

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 19th May 2014..

Board of Directors - Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Board of Directors has good business links as well as a number with shipping backgrounds

During May, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd announced its most recent board re-elections, some of which are interesting in terms of their shipping connections. At the same time, Carnival Corporation & Plc revealed its latest contribution to the Chinese market, when it announced that the 3,004-berth Costa Serena would be moving to the Chinese market on a year-round basis in 2015. The stories follow here.

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Some Early Royal Caribbean History: The Beginnings of the Eastern Shipping Corporation and the s.s. Nuevo Dominicano

s.s. Nuevo Dominicano in Miami 1953

The 3,445-ton Nuevo Dominicano, formerly the Clarke Steamship Company’s New Northland, seen here at Miami in 1953. This ship pioneered cruising from Miami during the 1920s and 1930s, and again in the early 1950s

The Beginnings of the Eastern Shipping Corporation

In May 1948, the former Canadian cruise ship New Northland, a vessel that had cruised from Montreal in the summer time and from Miami by winter before the war, was purchased by the Flota Mercante Dominicana, or the Dominican Line, which placed her into service between New York, Puerto Plata and Ciudad Trujillo, as Santo Domingo was known under the rule of Dominican dictator President Trujillo.

She was renamed Nuevo Dominicano and crewed by the Dominican Navy, and for a year and a half ran from New York. But not attracting enough passengers to fill her 177 berths, she was soon replaced by cargo ships.

This is where Frank Leslie Fraser comes onto the scene. Fraser, whose family had started a banana shipping business from Jamaica in the 1930s, was the general administrator of the Flota Mercante Dominicana, president of Fraser Fruit & Shipping of Cuba, president of the Dominican Fruit & Steamship Co and managing director of the Maple Leaf Steamship Co of Montreal, through which he had purchased a number of coasters in Canada when his own banana boats had been requisitioned during the war. These coasters he had used to serve the Dominican Republic.

But most importantly, Fraser was president of the Eastern Shipping Corporation, which would now charter the Nuevo Dominicano to cruise out of Miami.

While visiting Kingston in his native Jamaica, Fraser told the “Gleaner” that the Nuevo Dominicano would make fortnightly trips to Jamaica, with stops at Kingston and Montego Bay as well as Ciudad Trujillo on a 12-night cruise. By arrangement with the Bahamian Government, she would also call at Nassau on Thursdays, leave on Friday morning and be in Miami by Saturday morning.

It was Fraser’s idea to bring the Nuevo Dominicano back to Miami, where she had operated successfully in the past. Under his direction, she was readied for cruising out of Miami once more. Despite her renaming, Eastern still used the old name in brackets, with the new Eastern Shipping Corp brochure exclaiming:-

“An exciting life will be yours aboard the s.s. Nuevo Dominicano (formerly known as the s.s. New Northland) with luxury accommodations for 177 passengers, completely refitted from stem to stern to provide all cruise comforts, modern services and delicious cuisine.

“Attractively and comfortably furnished staterooms make this a giant, floating hotel for your enjoyment. You will delight in the spacious decks for sports or promenading, comfortable lounges, sunbathing and swimming in the ship’s swimming pool.”

The new swimming pool was installed where her forward cargo hatch had been.

The Bahamians were busy behind the scenes however and on April 16, 1950, the “New York Times” reported that the Nuevo Dominicano would offer more Nassau voyages:-

“The Nuevo Dominicano, which made two Miami-Nassau cruises each month during the winter, has inaugurated a spring and summer schedule which includes six stops at Nassau each month. The vessel will visit Nassau twice on her nine-day cruises, one to Ciudad Trujillo, the other to Kingston, Jamaica, stopping at Nassau on both outward and homeward legs. The vessel also will make two Miami-Nassau cruises each month, with a two-day stop in Nassau.”

The ship’s most famous passenger during this period was actor Clark Gable who with his wife travelled to Nassau for a golfing holiday in December 1950.

Although the Eastern Shipping Corporation successfully inaugurated year-round cruises from Miami, at the end of three years it decided to end its charter on the Nuevo Dominicano. For three years, all had gone well for the Nuevo Dominicano, but with a capacity of only 177 passengers, there was not much room for profit. Fraser’s absence would only be temporary, however.

Nuevo Dominicano cruise brochures

The Dominican Republic Steamship Line

To replace Eastern, the Dominicans formed the Dominican Republic Steamship Line in 1953. Unwisely, the naval personnel were withdrawn and a mixed crew took over the deck and engine departments. Standards began to drop. The ship no longer called at Jamaica, but ran 11-day winter cruises on alternate Mondays from Miami to Nassau, Ciudad Trujillo and Port-au-Prince, and 3-night Friday weekend cruises from Miami to Nassau. The 11-day cruises also offered a short one-way passage from Miami to Nassau.

Every Monday and Friday from July through September she ran 3-day cruises from Miami to Nassau. This was the opposite of what had been introduced by the New Northland in 1935 as these were summer cruises and not winter ones.

So9on, however, the new management not only failed in passenger service, but the ship also suffered continual breakdowns. That August, she had to be towed into Miami by the US Coast Guard, and again in September by a salvage tug. At this point, the US Coast Guard suspended her passenger certificate and required a general refit of the safety equipment.

She left Miami on October 9, 1953, for a refit in the Dominican Republic and within twenty-four hours was reported aground off Nuevitas, Cuba. On October 17, she ran aground again, on Punta Guarico, near Baracoa. On November 26, she was refloated and anchored in semi-protected waters but she suddenly went down.

Her end was reported in the “New York Times” on November 26, 1953, under the heading “Jinxed Liner Sinks at Anchor in Cuba”: “After a successful salvage operation, the empty passenger liner Nuevo Dominicano rolled over and ‘died’ in southern waters on Thursday night, it was reported here yesterday. No one was injured.”

This ship had been a true pioneer of cruising from Miami – as the New Northland she had operated the first weekly cruises from that port, in January 1927, the first all-inclusive cruises (as opposed to overnight steamship service) between Miami and the Bahamas, in 1935, and as the Nuevo Dominicano had become Miami’s first year-round cruise ship, in 1950.

The Eastern Story

The loss of the Nuevo Dominicano produced an opportunity for Fraser. His Eastern Shipping Corporation decided to look for a ship to fill the gap left by her loss and in May 1954, he bought Eastern Steamship Lines’ Yarmouth for $500,000. On June 18, 1954, his new ship began a series of 9-day Miami, Jamaica and Haiti cruises that alternated with 4-day Miami, Nassau and Havana cruises.

However, at the request of the Bahamian Government, which no longer had the services of the Nuevo Dominicano, he soon renamed his ship Queen of Nassau and put her into a two-year contract running between Miami and Nassau. Following the same schedule as the Nuevo Dominicano, the Queen of Nassau left Miami for Nassau every Monday and Friday at 6 pm. If Fraser had not been able to make money with the Nuevo Dominicano‘s 177 berths, he could certainly do so with the 500-passenger Queen of Nassau.

At the end of 1954, Fraser reunited the two sister ships by acquiring the Evangeline after she completed her last season on the Boston to Yarmouth run. The Evangeline did longer cruises but she made it to Nassau every second weekend.

Fraser continued to build his business. In 1959, he acquired the Bahama Star at auction for $512,000 and promptly began advertising her as the largest cruise ship sailing from Miami. Late in 1960, he bought the Ariadne. These two ships at first offered longer cruises, then moved to the 3- and 4-day cycle, out of Miami and Port Everglades respectively, serving both Nassau and Freeport.

Fraser Sells Eastern

Meanwhile, on May 27, 1961, an item in the “New York Times” recorded a change in the ownership of the Eastern Shipping Corporation: –

“The Eastern Shipping Corporation, formerly controlled by the McCormick Shipping Corporation of Panama, has been acquired by W R Lovett of Jacksonville, Fla. Mr Lovett reported yesterday that the corporate name had been changed to Eastern Steamship Corporation. The company is general agent for the cruise ships Evangeline, Yarmouth, Bahama Star and Ariadne, which operate between Miami and the West Indies.”

Three days after this announcement, Rafael Trujillo was assassinated in the Dominican Republic, bringing to an end a dictatorship that had lasted for thirty-one years.And by January 1962, Fraser had passed full control to William Lovett, a 71-year-old financier who was experienced in running banana boats himself, as founder of the Winn-Dixie supermarket chain..

When Eastern changed hands the letter “F” for Fraser on the ships’ funnels was replaced by “L” for Lovett. But unfortunately, Fraser died on July 22, 1962, only a few months after the sale, at the age of 57. And by 1965, Lovett would rename the company once more, this time as Eastern Steamship Lines

Meanwhile, in 1963, the Yarmouth had been sold to another Miami company, Yarmouth Cruises Inc, and was soon joined by the Evangeline, which was renamed Yarmouth Castle to fit in with the Yarmouth Cruise Lines theme. These veterans were placed onto a new run that served Freeport as well as Nassau, on a schedule of four sailings a week. The Yarmouth Castle, of course, is best known now for the loss of eighty-seven lives in a fire off the Bahamas on the night of November 13, 1965.

Eastern Steamship Lines had kept the larger Bahama Star and Ariadne, but in 1968 it acquired the even larger New Bahama Star, formerly the Peninsular & Occidental Steamship Co’s Miami. The New Bahama Star in turn became the largest cruise ship to sail from Miami, and its purchase by Eastern effectively meant the end of a competitor, a company that had introduced the first Miami to the Miami-Nassau route seventy years earlier, in 1898.

Gotaas-Larsen Corporation

Passenger numbers leaving Miami reached 188,000 in 1967 and 246,000 in 1968. In 1970, Lovett, now 79, sold out to Gotaas-Larsen Corporation of Norway, one-third owner of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, which had been formed in 1968. By then, the number of Miami passengers was 610,000 and growing. Royal Caribbean was introducing three new ships to the Miami market in 1970-71 and others had also come onto the scene.

In 1972, Eastern’s new Norwegian owners introduced its largest ship, the 24,458-ton Emerald Seas, acquired from Chandris Lines, partly in exchange for the smaller Ariadne. Although Gotaas-Larsen was involved in both Royal Caribbean and Eastern, any conflict of interest was avoided by Royal Caribbean handling the longer-duration 7- and 14-night cruises while Eastern looked after the 3- and 4-day market, now under its fourth name as Eastern Cruise Lines.

Miami passenger numbers exceeded the million mark in 1977. Ultimately, a merger of Eastern Cruise Lines, its West Coast affiliate Western Cruise Lines and Stardance Cruises led to another new firm, Admiral Cruises, in 1986. By then, Miami was hosting three million passengers a year.

Admiral Cruises was taken over in early 1992 by Royal Caribbean, which decided to sell its older ships and to complete its “Future Seas” newbuilding project as the 48,563-ton Nordic Empress. This was the first ship to be designed and built specifically for the Florida-Nassau short cruise market since Henry Flagler’s Miami of 1898, the trade having been served traditionally by second-hand, seasonal or chartered tonnage.

For further details on how to book a cruise please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

Article by the late Capt Carl Netherland Brown and Kevin Griffin

Illustrations courtesy of Michael L Grace’s “Cruising the Past.”