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)


Seabourn’s New Order Changes The Balance With Silversea – QE2 On The Way To Asia – Anthem of the Seas For Southampton?

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 21st October 2013.


Two Queens: Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2 (right) seen together in New York on April 25, 2008

Last week Seabourn announced that it was ordering a fourth ship of the Seabourn Odyssey class, which will serve to replace most of the capacity lost by the sale of its original trio to Windstar Cruises, with deliveries over 2014 and 2015. Meanwhile, Silversea has increased its fleet of expedition ships to three. Elsewhere, QE2 Shipping has placed a contract with COSCO Shipyard Group for conversion of the Queen Elizabeth 2 (seen above in New York with her replacement Queen Mary 2) into a 400-room floating hotel, to be based at an as yet unnamed major city in Asia. Meanwhile, rumours seem to indicate that Royal Caribbean intends to replace the Independence of the Seas at Southampton in 2015 with the new Quantum class ship Anthem of the Seas.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                               (See previous columns)

While First Commercial Cargo Ship Transits The Northwest Passage, Passenger Ships Have Been Doing It Since 1984

Nordic OrionThis week came news that the Danish bulk carrier Nordic Orion (right) has become the first commercial cargo ship to traverse Canada’s famed Northwest Passage, with a cargo of 73,000 tons metallurgical coal loaded at Vancouver and bound for Finland. The route saved her 1,000 miles and allowed her to load 25% more cargo than she can normally carry through the Panama Canal.

National_Geo_ExplorerMost people don’t realize, however, that commercial ships have been traversing the Northwest Passage for three decades. The Lindblad Explorer did it for the first time in 1984. Such transits are now offered by no fewer than six operators, including Compagnie du Ponant (Le Soléal) from France, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises (Bremen and Hanseatic) from Germany, Lindblad Expeditions (National Geographic Explorer, pictured) from the US , Adventure Canada (Sea Adventurer) and One Ocean Expeditions (Akademik Ioffe), both from Canada, and Silversea Expeditions (Silver Explorer) from Monaco.

NWPHapag-Lloyd, Ponant and Silversea transit the Northwest Passage to or from Nome, Alaska, or Anadyr, Siberia, while Adventure Canada, Lindblad and One Ocean turn at Coppermine (now called Kugluktuk), in the Canadian Arctic, at the western end of the Passage.

The Cruise People have been booking Northwest Passage passengers for several years now, but remember to book early as despite new ships being added to the route the season is limited to two months in high summer, usually departing in August, and these sailings sell out quickly.

For further information, here are a few earlier posts on the subject:

Northwest Passage post from The Cruise People

And for details on availability and fares please call The Cruise People L:td in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail

New Cruise Destination: The Coast of West Africa – Other Cruise News: Costa Takes Delivery of Costa Fascinosa and Names New CEO


          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 7th May 2012

The Ocean Princess departed Cape Town today for West Africa © Ian Shiffman

Today’s departure of Princess Cruises’ 688-berth Ocean Princess from Cape Town on a 28-night West African Adventure cruise brings attention to a new cruise destination that is slowly attracting more attention from international cruise lines. West Africa now attracts calls by Crystal Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, G Adventures, Noble Caledonia, Phoenix Reisen, Princess Cruises, Saga, Silversea Cruises, Travel Dynamics International and Variety Cruises, to name just some of the more obvious. Among these, Fred. Olsen is a newcomer, and will be making regular calls next winter with its 930-berth Braemar, while Saga will have three of its ships on the coast over the next year and Travel Dynamics International is bringing in a larger vessel with the 100-berth Corinthian. Meanwhile, as Costa Cruises takes delivery of its newest ship, the 3,016-berth Costa Fascinosa, it announces some changes to its safety regime as well as the appointment of Michael Thamm as new ceo of the Costa Cruises Group.

                                          (See previous columns)