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)

Advertisements

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.

Norwegian’s “All-Inclusive” Packages – A Prestige Ship For Bermuda? – Chinese Taishan Enters Service

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 15th September 2014...

.
        NCL All-Inclusive

Last month, Norwegian Cruise Line announced its new 2015 all-inclusive program for North America, and this month it announced a similar program for the UK. There are some interesting comparisons between the two programs in that fare reductions that are a part of the package differ, as do rates of exchange used for different cruise lengths. Elsewhere in Norwegian’s “new” realm since they agreed to acquire Prestige Cruises, Norwegian ceo Kevin Sheehan remarked that Bermuda might see more Prestige ships in future years, as being a good destination fit for the Regent and Oceania cruise brands. And in China, Bohai Cruise has inaugurated its new cruise service using the 800-berth Chinese Taishan, formerly Costa Voyager.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                                  (See previous columns)

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.