North Pole Icebreaker Cruises To Continue Beyond 2015 Into 2018

50 Years of Victory at the North Pole - Poseidon ExpeditionsPoseidon Expeditions of Moscow today announced that North Pole icebreaker expeditions aboard the nuclear-powered 50 Years of Victory (above) will continue through to 2018.

The president of Poseidon Expeditions, Nikolay Saveliev, said that the vessel’s owner, Atomflot, made the decision to extend the tourism use of the vessel earlier this week. According to Atomflot’s Deputy Director for Fleet Operations, Andrei Smirnov, the extension is related to the earlier-than-planned deployment of another icebreaker, the Soviet Union.

This will allow the 50 Years of Victory to be used for tourist cruises for at least three years beyond 2015. Poseidon Expeditions had announced earlier this year that following next summer’s departures, the nuclear-powered icebreaker would be used to facilitate scientific exploration and transport in hard-to-reach areas of the Arctic and Northeast Passage.

“The Atomflot announcement came as a surprise, but a very pleasant one,” said Saveliev. He noted that Poseidon is currently in negotiations with Atomflot for the additional three seasons. Departure dates and rates beyond the 2015 season are still to be determined.

“We are pleased to continue partnering with Atomflot in providing this experience for travelers looking for such a unique voyage. We have operated 29 North Pole cruises aboard the nuclear icebreakers Yamal and 50 Years of Victory since 2001, and will operate four programs in 2015,” he added.

The 525-foot 50 Years of Victory carries 128 passengers in comfortable accommodations, all with exterior views. Public spaces include a dining room; aft salon for lectures, presentations and socializing, a bow-facing bar and lounge; library and lounge plus a gym, two saunas and swimming pool with heated seawater. The ship has a clinic and physician.

Poseidon Expeditions is a leading provider of polar expeditions in the cruise industry. In addition to offering North Pole cruises aboard 50 Years of Victory, the company provides guests with the unique opportunity to travel to Antarctica aboard the 114-passenger luxury expedition vessel Sea Explorer. Starting in 2015, Poseidon Expeditions will operate the Sea Explorer’s sister ship, the Sea Spirit, to the Arctic and Antarctic regions. A variety of polar itineraries are available.

For details of the 2015 North Pole voyages and other polar cruise adventures please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk. In North America please call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@thecruisepeople.ca.

The Best Ship of 2013 – Changes In Expedition Ship Operations – One Hundred Years Ago: The Allan Line’s Alsatian

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 30th December 2013..

 

Europa 2 StairwellThe year 2013 has seen the arrival of the best new ship to join the world cruise fleet in some time, one that immediately achieved the top score in the Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships. This week we therefore bring you a brief photo essay of the Europa 2, taken on one of this year’s pre- inaugural cruises from Southampton (see one of her stairwells on the right). Elsewhere, we look at recent changes in the world of expedition cruising with the Sea Explorer and Sea Spirit. We also have a historical look at the introduction of the Allan Line’s turbine-powered cruiser-stern Alsatian one hundred years ago next month. This ship became Canadian Pacific’s Empress of France in 1919 and one of the first ships to offer a full world cruise in 1923.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                    (See previous columns)

Oasis of the Seas To Drydock in Europe in 2014 – Quark Expeditions Introduces New Ship in 2014 – Viking River To The Mississippi in 2015

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 1st April 2013

Oasis

The Oasis of the Seas will operate two Transatlantic crossings and three cruises from Barcelona in 2014

Royal Caribbean International last week announced two Transatlantic crossings and a short three-cruise European season for its Oasis of the Seas, in September and October 2014. In some ways this is reminiscent of the way Norwegian Cruise Line used to bring the s.s. Norway to Europe from time to time, but on the other hand it may be an experiment, seeing as Royal Caribbean has recently ordered a third Oasis class ship at STX France. Elsewhere, Quark Expeditions has announced that it will be adding the 114-berth Sea Explorer to its fleet in 2014, to work alongside sister ship Sea Spirit. Meanwhile, Viking River Cruises, in addition to expanding into ocean cruising, has announced that it intends to put a European-style river cruiser into service on the Mississippi River in 2015.

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                               (See previous columns)

Quark Expeditions Makes Plans For Its Latest Ships: Ocean Diamond and Sea Spirit Join Clipper Adventurer and Kapitan Dranitsyn

In the past couple of years, Toronto-based TUI-owned Quark Expeditions has gone from using largely Russian-supplied tonnage to working more closely with International Shipping Partners of Miami as its main supplier of ships. Starting with the 4,200-ton 114-berth Sea Spirit, which was acquired from Cruise West as the Spirit of Oceanus just before that company’s bankruptcy, Quark has now taken on the 8,282-ton 189-berth Ocean Diamond, more recently acquired by ISP, which is being chartered back to her previous owners, Compagnie du Ponant, for whom she operated as Le Diamant, for the summer of 2012.

Both Sea Spirit and Ocean Diamond will be used in Antarctica, together with a third ISP fleetmate, the 4,376-ton 122-berth Clipper Adventurer, all of which will sail from Quark’s usual base port of Ushuaia, Argentina.

In the meantime, two of Quark’s previous mainstays, the 110-berth Russian-owned 6,450-ton Akademik Ioffe and 6,344-ton Akademik Sergey Vavilov, are moving over one at a time to be operated by Vancouver-based independent One Ocean Expeditions.

In her first season with Quark, from November 2012 to March 2013, Ocean Diamond will perform two 19-night cruises to Antarctica, the Falklands and South Georgia, from $9,695 per person on November 3 or $12,795 on December 26, and eight departures to the Antarctic Peninsula, from $4,295 for 9 nights or $4,795 for 11 nights.

As part of her introductory season, Quark is offering a 25% early booking reduction on all Ocean Diamond departures booked by 30th April 2012. Savings of up to $7,000 can be applied to upgrades to larger cabins or shore excursions or simply remain in your bank account.

Sea Spirit will undertake nine cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula and a cruise to Antarctica, the Falklands and South Georgia, at the same starting fares as Ocean Diamond, plus a 13-night departure to the Weddell Sea, from $11,995, and a 14-night cruise to the Peninsula that will cross of the Antarctic Circle, starting at $12,795, and a 15-night early season cruise on October 28 that will concentrate on South Georgia, from $10,295 per person.

Clipper Adventurer, meanwhile, will perform two new expedition voyages for Quark. Known as the “Antarctic Express,” this will involve two charter aircraft flying the Drake Passage to King Edward Island, where passengers will join ship, 7 nights from $7,995 per person. At the beginning of these cruises, the option will be to sail south and fly north, from $9,995 for 9 nights, and at the end fly south and sail north, from $6,395 for 8 nights, for a total of four shorter cruises that will avoid a double crossing of the Drake Passage.

Clipper Adventurer will kick off the season with a single Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia voyage and will also perform nine Antarctic Peninsula voyages from Ushuaia, with fares similar to Ocean Diamond and Sea Spirit.

Various ships will be chosen to perform different cruises in the Arctic thereafter. For this summer, these will be offered by the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, in her final Quark season, and the chartered Russian icebreaker Kapitan Dranitsyn, which will be offering two cruises from Murmansk, one to Franz Josef Land, 12 nights from $12,995 per person, and one to both Novaia Zemlia and Franz Josef Land, 14 nights from $15,995. Either the Sea Spirit or Ocean Diamond will be used in the Arctic and Spitsbergen in 2013.

And speaking of Russian icebreakers, efforts are apparently also being made to bring back the Kapitan Khlebnikov for further Antarctic departures in the future as well. While we await further news from Quark, it is quite clear that they are in the course of upgrading their fleet to a higher level of comfort than in past years, with ice-strengthened cruise ships replacing the chartered scientific research vessels used in the past. Both the Sea Spirit and Ocean Diamond are known for having worked for more upmarket concerns during their own past careers.

For further details on any Quark Expeditions departure please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

The Cruise Examiner for 13th February 2012: Spirit of Chartwell to Become The Royal Barge For a Day– Other Cruise News: Quark Expeditions Makes Plans For Its Latest Ships – New Cargo-Passenger Voyages to Australia and Canada

The three vessels of the UK’s Magna Carta Steamship Company form a rather unusual cruising fleet, with the Spirit of Chartwell and Passepartout cruising the upper and lower reaches of the Thames and the Lord of the Glens the Caledonian Canal in Scotland. The 36-berth Spirit of Chartwell and 54-berth Lord of the Glens accept overnight passengers, with the latter having more recently been in the news as she has been chosen to act as the Royal Barge for this year’s Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant in early June. As part of a flotilla of close to 1,000 vessels, she will celebrate sixty years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II by carrying the monarch herself. Elsewhere, TUI-owned Quark Expeditions has added two new ships to its expedition cruise fleet with the 114-berth Sea Spirit, ex-Spirit of Oceanus, and the 189-berth Ocean Diamond, ex-Le Diamant. And finally, for those wishing to travel by cargo ship, Germany’s NSB has opened up two new cargo-passenger routes, between Asia and Australia with the NYK Galaxy and between Europe and Canada with the Hanjin Palermo.

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                          (See previous columns)