The Growth of Cruising: A Twenty-Five Year Comparison – Norwegian Cruise Line Float – The New SuperStar Gemini


by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 28th January 2013

Royal PrincessIn 1984, Princess Cruises introduced the 44,348-ton Royal Princess, at 761 x 96 feet and 1,200 passengers.

Riviera - OceaniaIn 2011-12, Oceania Cruises introduced the 66,048-ton Marina and Riviera, at 777 x 105 feet & 1,250 passengers.

Twenty-five years ago, the main players in the cruise industry operated a fleet of around forty ships offering berths for some 37,000 passengers. Today, the same players operate a fleet of around 125 ships capable of carrying in excess of 250,000 passengers at any one time. Not only has the industry grown almost seven-fold during that period but it has in effect divided into the best and the biggest, with seven or eight lines offering the best in service and experience and another seven or eight offering another type of seagoing experience, on very large scale ships at affordable prices. This week, we look at this phenomenon. Elsewhere, Norwegian Cruise Holdings has floated at a 30% premium and another SuperStar Gemini has made her début.

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                        (See previous columns)

Berlitz Guide to Cruising 2013 Now Available – What Goes at Classic International? – Reader Offers, Cruise Agent – Mistral Cruises


          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 24th September 2012

The 28th edition of the Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships has just appeared in Kindle format and hard copies will be available from next Monday. We look at some of the updates to this year’s issue, which now evaluates 284 cruise ships. Top-scoring ships include Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa, Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 in Grill class, the Celebrity Solstice class and of course the ships of Seabourn, Silversea, Crystal, Regent and Oceania – the latter an anomaly as its pay extra ships Riviera and Marina have somehow managed to outscore Regent’s all-inclusive Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Voyager in all categories. And new designs to come next year? Europa 2, Norwegian Breakaway and Royal Princess (iii).

Meanwhile, three out of the five-ship fleet of Classic International Cruises have been arrested in Marseilles and Kotor, while a fourth, the Princess Daphne, continues to trade for Ambiente Kreuzfahrten of Germany.

We also look at how one major cruise agent has been able to stand up to the Carnival UK commission cut to 5% and even see a hefty increase in its profits while doing so.

And finally, Mistral Cruises will be the new kid on the block in Croatia in 2014 with its 34-berth Mistral, which has until now been operating as the Callisto for Travel Dynamics International.

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                       (See previous columns)

The Big Names Behind China’s First Cruise Ship – Other Cruise News: San Francisco – A New Cruise Terminal & A Year-Round Ship – All-Inclusive Cruising Spreads Further


          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 30th July 2012

Last week came further news of China’s new 100,000-ton 2,000-berth cruise ship, tentatively to be named China Xiamen, and among the names involved is not only Royal Caribbean but also Stephen Payne’s PFJ Marine Consulting, Finland’s Deltamarin, the Xiamen International Cruise Co Ltd and the Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry Co Ltd, as well as a new Southeast China International Shipping Centre and Xiamen International Cruise Terminal at Dongdu. Xiamen, located between Shanghai and Hong Kong, has become Royal Caribbean’s fourth Chinese departure port after Shanghai, Tianjin and Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean has been working its 1,800-berth Legend of the Seas and, this year, the 3,114-berth Voyager of the Seas in the China and Asia market. Elsewhere, San Francisco will soon see a revival of sorts with a new cruise terminal under way at Pier 27 and the arrival of the recently rebuilt (2011) 2,600-berth Grand Princess year-round for Princess Cruises. Finally, we have a look at new all-inclusive offers from Compagnie du Ponant and Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                       (See previous columns)

Holland America’s Maasdam Opens Montreal Cruise Season; Record 55,500 Cruise Passengers Expected in 2012, Up 46% on 2011

Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony in the St Lawrence River at Quebec, en route to Montreal

Montreal’s 2012 cruise season, which starts this Saturday with the arrival of Holland America Line’s Maasdam at Alexandra Pier, will set a record: 55,500 passengers are expected to visit Montreal, up 46% over last season. From May 12 to October 24, 2012, 49,000 passengers are expected to transit through the passenger terminal during 35 scheduled international stopovers, and a further 6,500 passengers will embark on domestic cruises, primarily for the Gaspé and the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St Lawrence. Pictured above is Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony, which will operate a 7-night round-trip cruise from Montreal on September 30.

“I am absolutely thrilled by these results that show a very promising future for Montreal’s international cruise industry as well as significant economic spinoffs for the city,” said Sylvie Vachon, president and ceo of the Montreal Port Authority, at a press conference held this morning at Iberville Passenger Terminal. Cruise lines calling at Montreal this season will include Aida Cruises, Blount Small Ship Adventures, Crystal Cruises, CTMA, Holland America Line, Oceania Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, St Lawrence Cruise Lines, Seabourn, Silversea and Travel Dynamics International.

“The success of the 2012 cruise season isn’t a coincidence. Those involved in this rapidly developing industry have joined forces on the Montreal Cruise Committee and have established the success of this sector as a major priority,” said the Hon Charles Lapointe, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tourisme Montréal.

Led by Tourisme Montréal and the Montreal Port Authority, the Montreal Cruise Committee brings together Aéroports de Montréal, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, the Old Port of Montreal Corporation, the Hotel Association of Greater Montreal, the City of Montreal, Casino de Montréal and the Société de développement commercial du Vieux-Montréal. The committee is also supported by the Ministère du Tourisme du Québec. The 2012 cruise season should generate about $14 million in economic benefits.

For more information on cruising to or from Montreal and Quebec as well as New England call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail

The Cruise Examiner for 21st November 2011: The Best World Cruises For 2013 and 2014 – Norwegian Breakaway’s Transatlantic Voyage – Amsterdam River Cruise Expo – Ex-UK Cruise Projections

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 21st November 2011

This week, we look at three upmarket lines, Crystal Cruises, Seabourn and Silversea, and the world cruises they offer, plus Regent’s “build your own” world cruise. On Crystal’s 2014 cruise it is worth noting the lower number of port calls but the much longer stays of two and three nights in several ports as they join all-inclusive Seabourn and Silversea. Almost 20% (17 nights out of 89) of the Crystal cruise will be overnight stays. Elsewhere, Norwegian Breakaway will offer a spring Transatlantic sailing as her maiden voyage in 2013 before ramping up Norwegian Cruise Line’s New York to Bermuda capacity by 75%, while a River Cruise Expo with four river cruisers present has just finished in Amsterdam. We also look at some interesting projections of more people cruising from UK ports as opposed to flying to the ship as it seems 55,000 fewer people will fly to their cruise next year but 75,000 more will sail from the UK.

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                     (See previous columns)