Cruise & Maritime Voyages – Ponant Takes Over Travel Dynamics – Crystal To Make A Big Announcement

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 5th January 2015... ..

Magellan

Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ new flagship Magellan enters service in March

Recent months have seen many announcements from Cruise & Maritime Voyages so this week we have a quick look at their successes of the past year. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Ponant has announced its acquisition of small ship operator Travel Dynamics International of New York. And finally, in anticipation of an expected “big announcement” from Crystal Cruises today, rumours originating from Germany that Crystal was about to buy the Deutschland have been denied.

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UK Cruise Market Stagnates, Ports Gain, Airports Lose – Lindblad Buys Orion Expeditions – Travel Dynamics Revives An Old Tradition

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 11th March 2013

A Week's CruiseLast week, the Passenger Shipping Association delivered its final set of annual UK cruise statistics before becoming CLIA UK. The presentation confirmed that there had been essentially no growth in the market, while prices have been dropping. At the same time, the market is changing. While a planeload a day no longer fly to their ships, an extra shipload is sailing from the UK every week. In the expedition sector, Lindblad Expeditions announced the acquisiition of Orion Expedition Cruises of Australia. And New York-based small ship operator Travel Dynamics International is reviving the Great Lakes tradition of cruising to Mackinac Island, with a 4th of July cruise from Chicago in its 130-berth Yorktown. [brochure above, Goodrich Steamship Lines, cruising from Chicago to Mackinac Island in 1913].

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

          THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

          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)

Former Canadian Pacific s.s. Keewatin, Last Surviving Edwardian Liner in the World, Sails on Tuesday For Her Old Home Port in Canada

This photo by “National Post” photographer Darren Calabrese shows the finish on this Clyde-built steamship.

From Kevin Griffin, managing director at The Cruise People in London: I have been posting recently on the subject of the s.s. Keewatin‘s voyage back to Canada and this week, at the invitation of former Keewatin crew member and project manager Eric Conroy, I will actually be joining this historic ship for the final leg of her homeward journey. Eric and I both started our careers as 17-year-old waiters on these ships, he on Keewatin and I on sister ship Assiniboia.

Conroy, who worked two summers on the Keewatin and wrote a book about it called “A Steak in the Drawer” (the title came from ordering an extra steak and putting it in a drawer for later consumption), has been in charge of this project. This involved purchasing the 3,856-ton vessel, the last surviving Canadian Pacific passenger ship and possibly the last surviving Edwardian liner in the world, and bringing her home to Canada. In November, the firm that engaged him, Skyline International Development Inc of Toronto, purchased the 105-year-old Clyde-built ship and after having dredged the harbor at Douglas, Michigan, where she had been used as a museum, at a cost of $1 million to release her, had her towed to Mackinaw City, where she has been waiting.  All of this has been made possible by Skyline International and its founder and president Gil Blutrich, whose vision has brought this about.

Photographer Darren Calabrese rolls up his sleeping bag after spending a night on board in Mackinaw City.

On Monday morning, I cross the Atlantic to join the ship as one of five riding crew, five sailors, a cook and a cameraman, for the final leg of her tow to the Georgian Bay port of Port McNicoll, her base for several decades. In Port McNicoll, the Keewatin will become the centrepiece of a new waterfront park and part of a new resort community being developed by Skyline International, which also owns the King Edward, Cosmopolitan and Pantages Hotels in Toronto and the Deerhurst and Horseshoe resorts in Muskoka and Barrie, Ontario. 

The subject of repatriating this 105-year-old cruise ship to Canada, brings to mind the cruising history of Canadian Pacific, whose Empresses, Duchesses and Princesses operated so many early cruises. Canadian Pacific, one of the early lines to go into cruising, offered a world cruise every year in the 1920s and 1930s, when the St Lawrence River was closed by ice, as well as cruises between Montreal and New York, to Bermuda, to Alaska, to the Mediterranean and to the West Indies, not to mention the Great Lakes. This, and crossing the Atlantic with Canadian Pacific as a four-year-old boy, was what got me into the shipping business and into cruising.

To know more about the this voyage go to Bringing the Keewatin Back to Canada and for photos see here:  Photo essay of the Keewatin‘s voyage from Mackinaw City to Port McNicoll. And for cruising in general please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

Great Video Shots of the Former Canadian Pacific Steamship Keewatin Being Towed Out of Saugatuck-Douglas, Michigan, Last Week

From the lens of Roger Lelievre, publisher of the Great Lakes shipping guide “Know Your Ships,” this video positively brings the 105-year-old s.s. Keewatin alive again.

For details of present-day Great Lakes cruising please feel free to contact The Cruise People Ltd on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk. We are still very much involved with the Great Lakes, as European representative for the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition and also as general passenger agent for the Polish Steamship Company’s cargo-passenger service between Europe and the Great Lakes.

Canadian Pacific’s Last Surviving Passenger Steamship S.S. Keewatin Passes Under The Mackinac Bridge at 10:35 am on June 4, 2012

The former Canadian Pacific Great Lakes steamship Keewatin is seen here at about 10:35 local time this morning passing under the Mackinac Bridge from Lake Michigan into Lake Huron. The 105-year-old Clyde-built steamship will lay over at Mackinaw City for a few days before completing the final leg of her return voyage to her former home port of Port McNicoll, Ontario, where she is due at 2 pm on June 23. This will be one hundred years to the day from when she departed on her first Canadian Pacific passenger sailing from the same port bound for Sault Ste Marie, Port Arthur and Fort William. The Keewatin will become the centrepiece of a waterfront park in her old home port on Georgian Bay. Here now are some of the results of that voyage:  Photo essay of the Keewatin‘s voyage from Mackinaw City to Port McNicoll.

For anyone wanting to cruise the Great Lakes in 2012 please contact The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 for further details of cruises offered by Travel Dynamics International in the 138-passenger m.v. Yorktown, or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

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 cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

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

          THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

          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.


THIS WEEK’S STORY
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Latest Great Lakes Small Ship Advertisement for “World of Cruising”: Blount Small Ship Adventures and Travel Dynamics International

Plans for the s.s. Keewatin Come Together as She is Readied for Her June Tow to Become the Centrepiece of a New Resort Community at Port McNicoll on Canada’s Georgian Bay

Photograph of s.s. Keewatin and dredging equipment at Douglas, Michigan, courtesy of Eric Conroy at the s.s. Keewatin Project

And now for a happier story than the recent Costa cruise ship tragedy and tales of a Shakespearian captain.  What you are looking at here is the 105-year-old former Canadian Pacific Great Lakes passenger ship Keewatin.  At 3,856 gross tons and with dimensions of 350 x 44 feet, she has just been rescued from an uncertain future to become the centrepiece of a new resort development at her old Georgian Bay home port of Port McNicoll, Ontario.

The Keewatin is shown at Douglas, Michigan, near Saugatuck, where she has been used as a maritime museum for the past forty-five years. She has been shorn of her lifeboats in order to lighten ship for a scheduled June tow from Douglas to Port McNicoll. In the foreground is the dredging equipment that was hired to cut the channel from Douglas that will free her. The Edwardian steamship was lying in a bed of mud until December 2011, when she was finally floated again, and after inspection  was said to be in marvellous condition.

This dredging, which is being paid for by the ship’s new owners Skyline International Development Inc, will also open up the dock at Douglas to small cruise ships such as Travel Dynamics’ 2,354-ton Yorktown, 257 x 43 feet, which is scheduled to call at nearby Saugatuck several times this year on her cruises between Detroit and Chicago. The Yorktown has a passenger capacity of 138, compared to Keewatin‘s 288 when she was in service between 1908 and 1965.  For those wishing to cruise the Great Lakes in 2012, the Yorktown will be offering a total of thirteen 7, 10, 11 and 14-night cruises, with fares from $3,995 for seven nights, including the cruise, all port charges, lectures, shore excursions and wine with lunch and dinner.

When she returns, the Keewatin, shown here at Port McNicoll during her days of regular service between Georgian Bay and Lake Superior, will become a floating community centre and centrepiece for Port McNicoll’s renaissance. Plans are to build a new resort hotel and condominiums and rebuild the old dockside railway station to its original plans. On board, Keewatin will also feature a museum on her main deck and a kind of market in her old main cargo deck, which in her last years was used to carry about forty cars. This will also be made available for community functions. Berthed very near to her old berth, from which she used to sail from every Wednesday for Sault Ste Marie, Port Arthur and Fort William (the last two now called Thunder Bay), the ship will become the hub of what has until now been a sleepy Ontario town.

Just this month Skyline has also acquired a set of vintage railway rolling stock to become part of the scene. The port, with deep water, will naturally be seeking to attract a certain amount of cruise ship trade, and with an attraction such as the Keewatin will be well equipped to do so.

For more information on either the s.s. Keewatin or how to book a Great Lakes cruise in the m.v. Yorktown please contact The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

The Cruise Examiner for 22nd August 2011 – CLIA’s 2011 US Cruise Market Profile Study – Other Cruise News: The Cruise West Fleet Finds New Homes – A Brief History of Great Lakes Cruising

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com
by Kevin Griffin

CLIA’s 2011 US Cruise Market Profile Study – Other Cruise News: The Cruise West Fleet Finds New Homes – A Brief History of Great Lakes Cruising

InnerSea Discoveries' Wilderness Adventurer will cruise in Alaska

Today, we look the latest Cruise Market Profile Study from the US-based Cruise Lines International Association, which is quite positive in view of other factors bearing on the industry today. More ships from the former Cruise West fleet find homes, with three going to American Safari Cruises and its InnerSea Discoveries operation and the largest of the US-flag ships going to Travel Dynamics International of New York. As Travel Dynamics intend to use this ship, the Yorktown,  in the Great Lakes, we also have a brief look at the history of Great Lakes cruising.

THIS WEEK’S STORY

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Detroit Opens A New Cruise Terminal For Great Lakes Cruising

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Later this month, the Detroit-Wayne County Port Authority will open its new Public Dock and Terminal, to be called Port Detroit. This new $22 million facility will be available for use by cruise ships, visiting naval vessels, tall ships and perhaps even by a new ferry service to Windsor, Ontario, across the Detroit River in Canada. The last ferries disappeared with the opening of the present bridge.
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Part of a 5½-mile redevelopment of the whole Detroit waterfront, called River Walk, in addition to customs and border patrol facilities for the clearance of incoming cruise ships the 30,000-square foot Public Dock and Terminal will house new offices for the port authority.

The Grande Mariner, owned by Blount Small Ship Adventures, seen here in the Detroit River

Blount Small Ship Adventures will be the terminal’s first cruise customer, with its 96-berth Grande Mariner making two calls next month. Blount have introduced two new itineraries recently, between New York and Toronto and between Toronto and Georgian Bay. Another cruise line newcomer, Travel Dynamics International of New York, is planning six departures and six arrivals at Detroit between June and September of 2012 with their 138-guest US-flag Yorktown, handling a dozen passenger lists to and from Chicago, Duluth and Quebec City. The Yorktown (below) was last in the Great Lakes when she worked for Clipper Cruise Lines as the Yorktown Clipper .

And there will be others. The largest ship to cruise the Great Lakes in recent years has been Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ 14,903-ton Columbus, which first came into the Great Lakes in 1997. In 2012, she will be taken over by Plantours & Partner of Bremen, to become their MS Hamburg and it is hoped that she will return to the Great Lakes under her new name in 2013. Two other operators from Europe have also been examining the Great Lakes as a new destination for them.
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To learn more about cruising in the Great Lakes and St Lawrence River call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.