Monfalcone Shipyard Shut For Almost A Week – A New Ship For Hurtigruten – Crystal’s New Expedition Ship?

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 6th July 2015

MegaStar Taurus

Will Star Cruises’ little 72-berth MegaStar Taurus join the newly-acquired Crystal Cruises fleet under a new name?

Last week saw the closure of Fincantieri’s main shipyard at Monfalcone due to a court order seizing certain portions of the yard used to store waste products. A government decree was then passed on Friday so that work can recommence at the yard, which is building two large cruise ships for Carnival and Princess plus the first of its new Seaside class for MSC. Meanwhile, Hurtigruten has acquired a passenger vessel in Portugal that it intends to convert to an expedition ship and unconfirmed rumours from Singapore have Star Cruises’ luxury small ship Megastar Taurus about to join the Crystal fleet.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                           (See previous columns)

Summer Down Under By SuperStar Virgo – This November, Hong Kong to Sydney From £2,965 or Singapore to Sydney From £2,785

SuperStar VirgoStar Cruises has announced that its flagship, the SuperStar Virgo (pictured above), will depart from Hong Kong on November 15 and Singapore on November 22 on an epic 48-day voyage through ports in Southeast Asia and Australia to Sydney.

At 75,338 tons and with 1,870 berths, the SuperStar Virgo is similar in size to the former Queen Elizabeth 2, and with sister ship SuperStar Leo (now Norwegian Spirit) was one of the world’s first Freestyle ships with mutliple bars and restaurants.


As part of this voyage and in conjunction with cruise supplier Cruiseco, we are offering two line voyages,one from Hong Kong to Sydney on November 15, and one from Singapore to Sydney on November 22, on the UK market.

Hong Kong to Sydney
November 15, 2015, with flights ex-UK the 13th
Including return flights to the UK and post-cruise accommodation in Sydney
Fares from £2,965 per person twin share

Singapore to Sydney
November 22, 2015, with flights ex-UK the 20th
Including return flights to the UK and pre- & post-cruise accommodation
Fares from £2,785 per person twin share


Bonus Dining packages, beverage packages and on-board credits are available dependant on cruise length. For these two packages guests can choose either dining OR beverage package for all cabin categories. 

SuperStar packages


Please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail If you’re travelling overland and need to span the sea please also call for our passage-only fares.

Virgin Cruises – Greece & Cruising – Star Cruises To Revisit Australia

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 29th June 2015

virgin cruises

Virgin Cruises’ website, where interested parties can tell Virgin what they think its new cruise product should include.

anchorLast Tuesday saw the announcement by Virgin Cruises that it would be building three 2,800-berth ships at Fincantieri in Italy. Although little has been said about the product itself, we have a look at what this new brand could be like and perhaps should be like. Elsewhere, while Greece looks as if it could soon go back to the drachma, we look at what remains of a once thriving Greek cruise fleet. And, finally, Star Cruises returns to Australia with its SuperStar Virgo later this year.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                           (See previous columns)

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

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at 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.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                                    (See previous columns)

Quantum of the Seas To Go To China – Holland America Expands UK Program (Again) – Who Needs A North Star Capsule When You’ve Got This?

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 21st April 2014..


Last week, Royal Caribbean International shocked the industry by announcing that from June 2015, its newest ship, the 167,000-ton Quantum of the Seas (above), will be based year-round in Shanghai. We take a look at the repercussions for Royal Caribbean and what the other Asia players, Costa, Princess and Star, are up to as well. Meanwhile, Holland America has been quietly growing its UK round-trip cruise market to the extent that in 2015 it will be offering thirteen round-trip UK cruises with a dedicated ship, the Ryndam, and boat trains that come right alongside at Harwich. And finally, we have an interesting look at some overhead views.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                              (See previous columns)

Cruise Examiner Special – Cruise Ferries – Nova Star Cruises – Cruise Ferry Services Worldwide

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 7th April 2014..

Nova StarEvery few weeks The Cruise Examiner brings you a special report on niche areas of the cruise market. Last month it was on cargo ship travel and with today’s arrival in Lisbon of the 27,444-ton cruise ferry Nova Star, en route from Singapore to Canada, the subject is cruise ferries. One of the first such vessels, Kloster’s 8,666-ton Sunward, resulted in the formation of two cruise lines, first Norwegian Caribbean Lines, now Norwegian Cruise Line, and later Carnival Cruise Lines, the acorn from which grew the largest cruise line group in the world. Viking Line gave its starboard-side only promenades to Carnival Cruise Lines and Silja Line its central promenades to Royal Caribbean International. Today, we look on the other side of the fence at what the world of cruise ferries has to offer.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                         (See previous columns)

The Battle For Southampton 2015 – More Large Ships For Star Cruises and MSC – Costa Voyager Goes To Bohai Ferry

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 17th February 2014..Britannia Atrium

Last week, P&O Cruises’ new 141,000-ton Britannia was floated out at Monfalcone, marking the first step towards a battle for cruise supremacy at the UK’s major cruise port of Southampton, to take place in 2015. Just five weeks after Britannia enters service, Royal Caribbean’s 167,800-ton Anthem of the Seas will join her at Southampton and the contest will begin. Above is Britannia‘s stylish three-deck Atrium, while below is Anthem of the Seas‘ more casual Two70 lounge, which overlooks the stern.

Anthem Two70 Lounge

This week, we look at the scene and compare the ships. Elsewhere, Star Cruises has confirmed an order for a second 3,364-passenger cruise ship from Meyer Werft while MSC Cruises is negotiating a larger order for four mega ships at STX France. Meanwhile, Costa Cruises’ Costa Voyager has been sold to China’s Bohai Ferry Co Ltd, who intend to enter the Far East cruise market through a new Hong Kong-based subsidiary.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                        (See previous columns)