The World’s First Cruise Ships – The New Hapag-Lloyd Cruises – Royal Caribbean To Donate $5 Million To World Wildlife Fund

The Cruise Examiner for 25th January 2016

Augusta Victoria colour
As Hapag-Lloyd Kreutzfahrten renamed itself Hapag-Lloyd Cruises last week, it celebrated the 125th Anniversary of its first cruise, which was offered on the 7,241-ton Augusta Victoria (model, top) in 1891. On the occasion of this event we look back at some of the world’s earliest cruise ships and cruise operations, which date back to the early 1880s. Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean Cruises and the World Wildlife Fund have announced a $5 million cooperation program to help ensure the long-term health of the world’s oceans.

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More Ships For China – Other Cruise News: Norwegian’s “Feestyle Cruising” – Record Cruise Day For Dublin

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 27th July 2015

Quantum of the Seas © Hafen Hamburg

Royal Caribbean International’s 4,180-berth Quantum of the Seas is now the largest Chinese-based cruise ship

Carnival Corp & plc announced last week that it would soon have six ships based in China, three year-round and three on a seasonal basis. On top of this, a member of the 3,560-berth “Royal Princess” class, will be designed and built specifically for the Chinese market. Royal Caribbean Cruises, by comparison, will soon have five ships based in China. Generally larger than those sent by Carnival, they will include the 4,180-berth Quantum of the Seas (seen above in Hamburg) and Ovation of the Seas, as well as the 3,114-berth Voyager of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas. With Norwegian Cruise Line having increased gratuity levels twice this year, as well as adding a room service charge and switching to a la carte pricing in many of its alternative restaurants, we have a look at its new version of “feestyle cruising.” And Dublin sees 13,000 cruise visitors in a day.

Three New Cruise Ships For 2015 – Other Cruise News: Dynamic Dining Not Yet A Complete Success

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 20th April 2015

Viking StarToday sees the christening in Southampton of Royal Caribbean’s new 168,666-ton Anthem of the Seas, while Viking Ocean Cruises’ 47,842-ton Viking Star (above during trials) leaves Venice on her way to her own christening in Bergen next month. The 10,992-ton Le Lyrial will meanwhile make her own maiden voyage from Venice on May 9. This week we compare the three ships, each part of a quartet, while we also assay the implementation of Royal Caribbean’s new Dynamic Dining concept.

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The Other Anthem of the Seas, Behind The Scenes – Montreal and Quebec After More Turnarounds

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 13th April 2015

Anthem of the SeasLast Friday saw the delivery of Royal Caribbean’s new 168,666-ton Anthem of the Seas (above), but rather than repeat what everyone else is saying about the new ship’s passenger features, today’s Cruise Examiner goes behind the scenes to look at her efficiencies. Meanwhile, as Australia rapidly outstrips Canada in terms of the number of cruise passengers each country produces, the St Lawrence ports of Montreal and Quebec will be seeking more embarkations with the help of $55 million from the Quebec government.

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Star Cruises Owner To Acquire Crystal Cruises – Other Cruise News: TUI Cruises To Acquire Splendour of the Seas

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 9th March 2015

Crystal Serenity and Symphony

Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity are being sold by NYK to Star Cruises parent Genting Hong Kong

Surprise news arrived last week when NYK announced it was selling Crystal Cruises to Star Cruises owners Genting Hong Kong, and that a third ultra-luxury ship would be built. Elsewhere, Royal Caribbean Cruises announced that it was transferring its Splendour of the Seas to affiliate TUI Cruises for operation by TUI Group’s UK affiliate Thomson Cruises, something that will introduce hundreds of balconies to the UK operator’s fleet for the first time.

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Quantum of the Seas Sails For New York – Oasis of the Seas Makeover – Cruise & Maritime Voyages Introduces CMV Magellan

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 3rd November 2014... ..

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Quantum of the Seas at SotonThe 4,180-berth Quantum of the Seas (left) visited Southampton last week, following by just sixteen days a similar visit by her larger fleet mate, the 5,488-berth  Oasis of the Seas. As Quantum departed yesterday for New York, we have a look at how she compares with the 2,620-berth Queen Mary 2 and we update readers on the changes effected to Oasis during her drydocking in Rotterdam. With today’s news that the 1,450-berth Magellan is about to join Cruise & Maritime Voyages on charter from Costa Cruises Group, we also have a look at some of the operators and the health of the European market for smaller more traditional ships.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                                 (See previous columns)

Miami Cruise Industry Mourns Lewis A Fraser, Son Of Miami Cruise Pioneer And Himself A Cruise Catering Pioneer

https://i1.wp.com/ak-cache.legacy.net/legacy/images/Cobrands/Herald/Photos/photo_023002_C0A8015418a3231F6CNMG4120BDE_2_aec2e4a5991234688264481ea2514563_20141023.jpgThe cruise industry in Miami is mourning the passing of Lewis ‘Lew’ A Fraser, whose catering concessions once provided the food, beverages, chefs, cooks and waiters for Royal Caribbean, Costa, Regency and Premier Cruise Lines. Fraser died on Wednesday, October 8. He was 75. For the full Seatrade obituary please go here.

Lew was one of six children of Frank Leslie Fraser, who was heavily involved in the banana shipping business from Jamaica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. In 1950, when Lew was 10, his father founded the Eastern Shipping Corporation. Eastern in turn chartered the 3,445-ton Nuevo Dominicano, a ship that could carry 177 cruise passengers, from the Flota Mercante Dominicana. This ship had first cruised from Miami as the Clarke Steamship Company’s New Northland in the winter of 1926-27. With her, Fraser introduced the first year-round cruises from Miami. The number of cruise passengers handled at Miami in 1950 rose to 61,000, helped by the new year-round cruise service..

css Nuevo Dominicano stbd side

Lew’s father, Jamaican-born F Leslie Fraser, started cruising from Miami with the Eastern Shipping Corporation in 1950. Chartering the 177-passenger Nuevo Dominicano, she was the first to offer year-round cruises from Miami, then a winter port.

During the 1950s, Fraser added new ships to his fleet, starting with the 5,002-ton Yarmouth and Evangeline in 1954, followed by the 7,114-ton Bahama Star in 1959 and the 6,644-ton Ariadne in 1960. During this period, Fraser brought in as a partner William R Lovett of Jacksonville, who owned the Winn-Dixie supermarket chain, and to whom Fraser had been shipping bananas for many years. Lovett had shipping interests of his own and in May 1961, Fraser sold out to Lovett, who renamed the company Eastern Steamship Corporation. Fraser finally turned over full control just a few months before he died in June 1962. Six years later, in 1968, Lovett added the largest Miami ship yet, the 9,914-ton New Bahama Star.

In 1970, Lovett sold out to the Norwegian Gotaas-Larsen Corporation, one of the intial shareholders in Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, which was building three new ships, the Nordic Prince, Song of Norway and Sun Viking. Any conflict of interest was avoided by Eastern sticking to the 3- and 4-night Bahamas trade while Royal Caribbean concentrated on 7- and 14-night Caribbean cruises. By then, the numbers of Miami cruise passengers had risen ten times in twenty years, to 610,000. In 1972, Gotaas-Larsen added the 24,351-ton Emerald Seas to the Eastern fleet, again the largest ship to cruise from Miami.

The company, by now trading as Eastern Cruise Lines, merged with its own affiliate Western Cruise Lines and Stan McDonald’s Stardance Cruises, forming Admiral Cruises in 1986. By this time the Port of Miami was handling 3,000,000 passengers a year. Admiral Cruises became Royal Admiral Cruises and was absorbed into Royal Caribbean in 1992. The last project undertaken by Admiral was a ship called the “Future Seas,” which entered service in 1990 as the 48,563-ton Nordic Empress. Trading today as the Empress for Pullmantur Cruises, this ship was the last and the largest to be purpose-built for the 3- and 4-night Bahamas cruise trade from Miami.

css Farnorth

F Leslie Fraser acquired the Farnorth in Canada in 1937, renaming her Southern Lady. Selling her in 1942, he bought her back again in 1952 and renamed her Lewis Fraser after his son.

In 1952, when he was 12, Lew had a ship named after him (right). When his father purchased the 1,712-ton Ciudad Trujillo from the Flota Mercante Dominicana, from whom he had been chartering the Nuevo Dominicano, he renamed her Lewis Fraser. This was actually the second time the Frasers had owned this ship, as they had first purchased her in Canada in 1937, when she was trading between Boston and the Atlantic Provinces of Canada as the Farnorth. Renamed Southern Lady, she traded for Fraser in the Caribbean until he sold her in 1942 to Cayman Islands owners. As the Lewis Fraser, she was used in the Cuba trade until the eve of the Cuban Revolution under Fidel Castro. Almost fifty years old by then, she was finally sold for scrapping at Baltimore in 1957.

In an interview with Seatrade Cruise Review in March 1996, Lew recounted to Anne Kalosh an interesting story about his own beginnings in the cruise industry – and the name Royal Caribbean:

F Leslie Fraser had run Eastern Shipping Corp, selling the company before his death in 1962. Lewis and a brother created a firm called Royal Caribbean to handle the estate. Their office at the old Port of Miami was one floor above the Yarmouth Steamship Co, managed by Edwin Stephan…

But it wasn’t long before this fourth generation shipping man was drawn back to the sea. He looked up Ed Stephan, now general manager of Commodore, who was introducing Boheme in 1968.

As Fraser tells it, “Ed was looking for a caterer and I was looking to get back into the cruise business. I asked Ed if he’d consider me. He said, “Lew, what do you know about catering?” I said “Nothing, but I do know how to put together an organisation and I like the cruise business.” He got the job.

It was a rough start. But gradually Fraser had things running so smoothly that when Stephan went on to launch his own cruise line, Fraser not only nabbed the catering contract, he also lent the name: Royal Caribbean.

It is forgotten by most now that Lew and his brother Frank L Fraser Jr formed Pan American Cruise Lines, of which Lew was president, in 1965, and chartered an Israeli ship, the Nili, to cruise from Miami. On hearing of the owner’s financial condition, however, Pan American ended the charter and a company called Arison Shipping stepped in and took over, but ended up with no ship. This led to the charter of another ship called the Sunward, but that’s another story. The passing of Lew Fraser closes an interesting chapter in the cruising history of Miami.

For those interested in knowing more about the Fraser days in the 1950s and 60s, there is further information here:

Excerpt from St Lawrence Saga: The Clarke Steamship Story