The Trend To Mid-Size Ships: Saga Orders A Vessel From Meyer Werft

The Cruise Examiner for 5th October 2015

Saga image courtesy Meyer Werft

Artist’s concept of the new Saga ship seems to indicate a wraparound promenade deck

Last week came news from Saga that it had ordered a 55,900-ton cruise ship from Meyer Werft in Papenburg, builders almost three decades ago, in 1986-92, of such well-respected ships as the Homeric, Crown Odyssey, Horizon and Zenith. The new Saga ship, for delivery in 2019, plus a possible sister for 2021, will join the eight “R” ships that set the precedent for this size of cruise ship in 1998-2001, along with Oceania Cruises’ Marina and Riviera from 2011-12 and the Viking Ocean Cruises trio of 2015-17. Compared to the ultra-luxury ships that have tended to occupy this size bracket in the past, these ships will prove that there is a market to be met between the mass market ships carrying thousands of passengers and the ultra-luxury ships carrying just hundreds. This new class of ship will bring back passengers whose needs have not been met by the very large mass-market ships, no matter how many attractions.

Saint Laurent First Cruise Ship At Montreal – TUI, Royal Caribbean, Hapag-Lloyd and Thomson – Viking Star Christened In Bergen

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 18th May 2015

Aerial Splendor of the Seas in Buzios (Brazil)Last week saw the opening of the St Lawrence cruise season at Montreal and the first cruise into the Great Lakes by Haimark Line’s newly-acquired 210-berth Saint Laurent. We also have a look at the goings on at TUI Group and its cruise arms, TUI Cruises, Thomson Cruises (the 356-balcony Thomson Discovery, ex-Splendour of the Seas, is shown above) and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. And Viking Cruises’ first upper premium ship, the 930-berth Viking Star, was christened at Bergen last night.

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Three New Cruise Ships For 2015 – Other Cruise News: Dynamic Dining Not Yet A Complete Success

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 20th April 2015

Viking StarToday sees the christening in Southampton of Royal Caribbean’s new 168,666-ton Anthem of the Seas, while Viking Ocean Cruises’ 47,842-ton Viking Star (above during trials) leaves Venice on her way to her own christening in Bergen next month. The 10,992-ton Le Lyrial will meanwhile make her own maiden voyage from Venice on May 9. This week we compare the three ships, each part of a quartet, while we also assay the implementation of Royal Caribbean’s new Dynamic Dining concept.

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Viking Star Undergoes Sea Trials – Haimark Line To Commence Service In May – Stern’s Guide to European Riverboats

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 9th February 2015

This week we feature video footage that has just been released by Viking Cruises of their 930-berth Viking Star undergoing sea trials in the Aegean in December. She is due to enter service officially in May. At the same time, US-based Haimark Line will introduce the 210-berth coastal cruise ship Saint Laurent to summer service in the waters of the Great Lakes and St Lawrence. And finally, Stern’s Guide to European Riverboats has been released for 2015

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Viking Star Floated Out At Marghera – A Return To Seagoing Tradition But Every Cabin With A Balcony

Viking StarLast week, Viking Cruises floated out its first ocean-going cruise ship, the 47,800-ton 930-berth Viking Star. This event marks the introduction of one of the most important cruise ships in some years. In one way, she marks a return to the roots of traditional cruising, where destinations and the sense of being at sea, rather than at some fun fair, are an important part of the cruise product. At the same time, she is a step forward as every passenger cabin on board comes with a balcony.

The ceremony took place on Monday, June 23, at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard near Venice. With four sister ships now under construction, Viking Star will be the first to debut, in May 2015 with maiden voyages in Scandinavia and the Baltic. The next to be introduced will be the Viking Sea and Viking Sky, while the fourth ship has yet to be named.

“Today is a proud day for our entire Viking family, as we are one step closer to launching a new era of ocean cruising,” said Viking Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen last week. “Viking Star’s maiden season was sold out before she even touched water, which just demonstrates how enthusiastic our guests are for destination-focused ocean cruises.”

Following a two-day process that floated the Viking Star, she was moved to the nearbyfitting dock for final completion. At 745 by 95 feet, these new ships will be slightly larger than one of the world’s most famous cruise ships, the Green Goddess, otherwise known as Cunard Line’s 34,183-ton Caronia of 1949, which measured 715 x 91 feet and also carried 930 passengers.
The new Viking ships will feature many premium amenities and services, including

– all cabins have a private balcony
– a two-deck high observation lounge at the forward end
– a complete walk-around promenade deck beneath the lifeboats and tenders
– the main dining room has floor-to-ceiling windows that slide open
– al fresco dining is available
– the first true infinity pool at sea
– the spa has been banished from deck 9 on top to deck 1 below.

Fort further details on booking a cruise on Viking Cruises new ocean ships please call The Cruise People Ltd in Europe on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail or in North America 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail

Viking Star Floated Out At Marghera – Saga Takes Space With MSC Cruises – And What Happened In 1914

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 30th June 2014..



Hamburg America Line’s giant Imperator became Cunard Line’s Berengeria after the First World War

Last week saw the float out at Marghera of the latest thing in ocean cruising. Viking Cruises’ Viking Star is a ship that is very traditional and yet is right up to date, with every stateroom having a balcony and all modern luxuries. We also look at Saga’s move back into outsourcing cruises from Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and MSC Cruises, something it has not done in a major way since the 1990s. And we look back at passenger shipping a century ago, how the war delayed the building of fifteen liners, and how it would denude the Hamburg America Line of its six finest ships, from the Imperator to the Tirpitz.

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No More North Pole Departures After 2015 – Royal Caribbean Signs With Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie’s Italian” – The Introduction of Hagenisms

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 31st March 2014..

50 Years of Victory at the North Pole - Poseidon ExpeditionsAfter 2015, there will be no more nuclear icebreaker trips to the North Pole so passengers wanting to visit the North Pole are urged to book now or miss the boat entirely. Northern polar trips in future will concentrate on the Northwest Passage across the top of Canada and the Northern Sea Route above Russia. Between Quark Expeditions and Poseidon Expeditions there will be a record total of six departures for the North Pole in 2015. Elsewhere, Royal Caribbean International scored a coup last week by engaging British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to install the first “Jamie’s Italian” restaurants at sea on board the first two “Quantum” class ships, debuting this year and next. Finally, in view of last week’s Guinness Book of World Records christening of eighteen Viking Cruises river cruisers in a single week, we remember the introduction into the English language of the “Hagenism,” named for Viking CEO Torstein Hagen, by the US edition of Travel Weekly a year ago.

Photo: Poseidon Expeditions’ 2013 Voyage marking the 100th trip to the North Pole by nuclear icebreaker

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