Carnival Miracle and Splendor Earmarked For China – Australians Outstrip Canadians In Their Own Port! – Variety Cruises Acquisition

The Cruise Examiner for 2nd November 2015.

Five ships will be in the Port of Montreal between October 18 and 24 with nearly 10,000 passengers embarking or disembarking, ready to explore the city and its attractions. (CNW Group/Tourisme Montréal)

Ridiculous but apparently true – more Australian cruise passengers used the Port of Montreal this year than Canadians

The recent news that Carnival Corp & plc was forming a new Chinese-based cruise line was followed last week by an announcement from Carnival Cruise Line that it would be moving its own 2,124-berth Carnival Miracle to China in 2017, to be followed in 2018 by the 2,974-berth Carnival Splendor. Elsewhere, statistics published by the Montreal Cruise Committee last week underlined a weakness in the Canadian cruise market. The much smaller country of Australia, with a population two-thirds of Canada’s, and located 10,000 miles away, generated more passengers over the Port of Montreal this year than Canada did. Meanwhile, in a surprise move, Variety Cruises announced that it was taking over the 34-berth motor yacht Callisto.

As The US Recognizes Cuba We Look At Cruising To The Largest Island In The Caribbean – And Two New Ships For Grand Bahama

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 22nd December 2014... ..

Thomson Dream arriving Havana

Thomson Cruises’ Thomson Dream arriving in Havana, where she began calling in 2011


Last week, as a result of a number of meetings in Canada that were arranged through the Vatican, President Obama surprised the world by announcing that after more than half a century, the United States would resume diplomatic relations with Cuba. Today, we have a look at what’s been happening in the cruise business in Cuba. Meanwhile, Costa Cruises’ Costa Celebration arrived in Freeport last Thursday to replace the damaged Bahamas Celebration on the Palm Beach-Freeport route – under her last name of Grand Celebration. What could be more appropriate?. Arriving in port that same week was the S F Alhucemas, a full-hulled replacement for the Fort Lauderdale-Freeport catamaran ferry. Both services will offer cruise and stay packages in conjunction with resort hotels in Grand Bahama, all backed by a $3 million advertising campaign by the Bahamian Government.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                                (See previous columns)

Why You Should Go To Panama by Alex Page – To Cruise The Canal On The Variety Voyager

Variety Voyager

Cruise through the Panama Canal on board the mega-yacht Variety Voyager

This summer, the incredible Panama Canal celebrates 100 years of history, having opened to shipping traffic for the first time on August 15th 1914. The local tourist authorities cannot be said to be milking the milestone, though, having been commemorating it for the past year with a variety of events.

Considered the epicentre for world trade, it still sees a phenomenal amount of traffic. Roberto Roy, president of the Panama Canal Authority’s (ACP) board of directors, is among those celebrating its uniqueness. “The Panama Canal has been connecting the world since Aug. 15, 1914,” he told Inside Costa Rica.

“The fact that 14,000 vessels make use of the waterway every year in order to serve 1,700 ports in 160 countries is sufficient proof of this statement.” But what exactly is so special about this spectacular waterway? And why should you make it the focus of your cruise holiday? Trade history The Panama Canal is a 50-mile stretch of water that links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Initially opened for trade, it has also since become something of a cruise favourite thanks to the hive of activity that can be seen on an everyday basis.

The waterway itself was a catalyst for world trade, reducing distances, costs and shipping times for the movement of merchandise between production and consumption centres. Initial construction proved tricky. Started by the French, who later abandoned the project thanks to various difficulties, it was eventually completed by the US after 23 years of work and a ten-year hiatus. But the history doesn’t stop there, as the waterway has seen its fair share of controversy since, including a territorial issue in the 1960s that threatened to close it.

On a cruise As well as experiencing all this history as close to first hand as it is possible to get, there are a number of other advantages to cruising the Panama Canal. Spectacular places to experience along the way include Panama City and the various locks ships have to traverse in order to pass, at which stringent checks are in place.

CC Utrillo in Panama CanalThen there are the various sights and sounds of Panama to experience – Pacific and Atlantic beaches, volcanoes and jungles are just some of the many landmarks to be visited. It is important to bear in mind that there are size restrictions in place on the waterway. Obviously for the mega yacht Variety Voyager, this is not a problem, but more importantly, as a smaller vessel it can access some of the smaller bays and coves beyond the reach of the big ships, allowing guests to experience some of the national parks and tropical natural wonders of the region up close.

What does the future hold  for this iconic waterway? Current projects are on track that will allow the trade route to accept vessels twice the size as the ones that currently float along it, by next year, so a visit in 2014 could be your last chance to witness the Panama Canal in its current state.

If all this has got you itching to experience a cruise on this incredible stretch of water, consider checking out a Costa Rica and Panama Canal cruise. You will not be disappointed by the sights, history and culture on offer.

For further details please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail In North America call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail

Transit The Panama Canal And Explore the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica In The 72-passenger Mega-Yacht Variety Voyager

We get requests all the time from people wanting to transit the Panama Canal by cargo ship. However, these are not really practical requests as in order to do so one must book a long trip from Savannah to Sydney or from Hong Kong to New York and most people do not have that sort of time. But it can be done in a week without taking a huge cruise ship, with canal transit by daylight, obviating the risk that you might go through in the dark!

Variety Voyager PanamaVariety Cruises have an easy 7-night solution – a cruise in the 223-foot Variety Voyager with a small number of passengers starting in Los Suenos, Costa Rica and finishing at the Departure Bay Marina in Colon, Panama – with a visit to the San Blas Islands thrown in. This winter’s departures run from December 21 through March 1, 2015.

The same Panama Canal and Costa Rica exploration can also be booked in the other direction, with boarding at the Departure Bay Marina and sailings running from December 14 through to March 8, 2015. Fares in either direction start at  €2,150 (about $2,999 or £1,785) per person double occupancy for 7 nights, plus €320 (about $445 or £265) port charges. Calls are also made at Curu, Tortuga Island, Puerto Jimenez and Golfito (do you remember that Fyffes banana boat called Golfito?) in Costa Rica and Amador and Coiba Island in Panama.

The Variety Voyager was built at Perama, Greece, in 2012 and can accommodate a maximum of 72 passengers in 36 double cabins.  Her sleek lines and ample deck space are very much what one might expect from a millionaire’s super yacht. Her cabins and public areas are finished with warm fabrics, rich marble, axminster carpeting and soft-tone wood panelling., with unobstructed views from the decks and lounges of the ocean and of ports visited. Above all, you will have the professional service of a crew of 30, always with a smile and a desire to satisfy.

For further details of cruising the Panama Canal and Costa Rica in a small ship please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail or in North America 1-800-961-5536 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)