Three Cargo Ships On A Round-the-World Itinerary Connected By Rail

For a world cruise that’s different, you can try the French Line CMA CGM. Its Columbus Loop service now offers a total of nine partial world cruises in each direction throughout the year, with the 89,787-ton CMA CGM Dalila, built in 2011, and 90.931-ton CMA CGM Figaro and CMA CGM La Scala, built in 2010.

World Cruises - CMA CGMThese three ships run between New York, Norfolk and Savannah on the East Coast and Seattle and Vancouver on the West Coast, sailing by way of the Suez Canal, or sometimes the Cape of Good Hope, and ports in Malaysia, China, South Korea and Japan.

The only thing is that one must travel by train or plane between the two coasts of the United States in order to complete the full round-the-world circuit.

Ports of call on the way out from New York include Tanjung Pelepas, Hong Kong, Yantian, Shanghai and Pusan, and in the opposite direction back from Seattle, Yokohama, Shanghai, Ningbo, Hong Kong, Yantian and Tanjung Pelepas.

World Cruises - CMA CGM 2013These modern container ships carry seven (7) passengers each in three double cabins and one single. They come equipped with indoor  swimming pools, and meals are taken in the officers’ mess. The fare of €100 per person per day includes full board, port charges, deviation insurance and complimentary French table wine with lunch and dinner. CMA CGM Dalila and CMA CGM Figaro fly the French flag, while CMA CGM La Scala is registered in London.

Part voyages are also possible but the full 112-day round voyage from New York to Seattle and back, or vice versa, costs €11,200 (about $15,495 or £10,075). New York to Seattle is €6,000 (about $8,300 or £5,395) for 60 days and Seattle to New York €5,200 (about $7,195 or £4,675) for 52 days.

The next sailings from New York are by CMA CGM La Scala on August 7, CMA CGM Figaro on September 16 and CMA CGM Dalila on September 30, followed by CMA CGM La Scala again on November 25. Sailings from Seattle are by CMA CGM Dalila on August 8, CMA CGM La Scala on October 3, CMA CGM Figaro on November 14 and CMA CGM Dalila again on November 28. Departues from Vancouver take place three (3) days after Seattle and one-way fares to New York are €300 ($415 or £270) lower per person.

For further details please call Miri Lopusna at passenger agents The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail

A Long World Cruise From Oceania – Early World Cruises – And A Different Kind of World Cruise, By Container Ship

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 29th July 2013

InsigniaWhile European lines such as Hapag-Lloyd Cruises have traditionally offered longer world cruises each winter, stretching up to 180 days, most English-speaking lines have stuck to a formula that sees world cruises come in at 105 to 110 days. Oceania Cruises, however, has chosen for its first world cruise in 2015 in the 30,277-ton Insignia, an extended 180-day itinerary. Ironically, the Insignia (shown above) will be coming back from a charter to Hapag-Lloyd, which has been operating her as its Columbus 2, in April 2014. We also take the opportunity of this announcement to look at some earlier world cruises, dating back to 1891 and 1909, and not just to the usually-quoted 1922 of Cunard Line’s Laconia. Finally, we look at an alternative world cruise that is offered year-round – this time by CMA CGM container ship!

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                         (See previous columns)

How To Book A Round The World Cargo Ship Voyage Using Two Ships

The Rickmers Pearl String Round the World service opened for passengers ten years ago now, with the delivery in May 2002 of the Rickmers Hamburg, the first of nine new multi-purpose cargo ships, the last of which, the Rickmers Genoa, was delivered in January 2004. Seen right is the 2003-built Rickmers Antwerp. All nine ships carry a combination of project and general cargo and heavy lifts as well as containers, and for that reason tend to spend more time in port than pure container ships. One of Rickmers’ more recent contracts is to carry Airbus A350 fuselage sections from the USA to Montoir in France

These 30,000 deadweight ton ships were  built in China, and as well as their cargo they are fitted out to carry up to seven passengers each in Rickmers’ eastabout round-the-world service connecting Europe to  Southeast Asia, the Far East, Japan and the USA with return once again to Europe. Passengers are carried in one 300 sq ft Owners suite, a 180 sq ft Double and three 150 sq ft Single cabins and could originally join ship at either North American or European ports for the full world circumnavigation.

The main ports of call for passengers now include Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Shanghai (Luojing terminal), Dalian, Xingang, Qingdao, Masan in South Korea, Kobe and Yokohama in Japan, a transit of the Panama Canal and then Houston, New Orleans and Philadelphia before returning to Antwerp, Hamburg and Genoa. Other calls are made according to cargo requirements and can include ports in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, China or Japan as well as the USA.

Since Rickmers announced last year that it would no longer carry passengers between Genoa and Singapore, an 18-21 day stretch out of the 124-day voyage, The Cruise People have come up with a solution that will still allow people to sail all the way around the world.

That solution is a fast container ship voyage from either Europe or North America to Singapore, so that world travellers can join the Rickmers  round-the-world service there. Europeans can board a container ship at Southampton, Hamburg or Rotterdam, and North Americans at US East Coast ports to connect with Rickmers in Singapore for the rest of the circumnavigation via the Far East, the US Gulf, East Coast and back to Europe.

Hanjin BrusselsFor European passengers, NSB’s Hanjin Brussels (right) and her four sister ships running from La Spezia sail directly via the Suez Canal to Singapore and offer the quickest transit time for connecting with Rickmers at Singapore. There are also possible connections from Trieste with both NSB and CMA CGM.

North Americans for their part can catch the CMA CGM Columbus Loop service from New York, Norfolk or Savannah direct to the Malaysian port of Tanjung Pelepas, just twenty-two miles from Singapore. This routing can be either via Suez or the Cape of Good Hope. NSB also offers connections from New York, Norfolk, Jacksonville and Savannah. Of course, both North American and European passengers need to build in sufficient layover time in Singapore and environs to allow for a good connection. The overall elapsed time for the two voyages will depend on your particular routing but will most likely run between 130 and 150 days.

To start putting together your own round-the-world freighter package please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail

New US East Coast to West Coast Passenger Route via Suez Canal Retraces Original World Cruise Route of 1909

Colombus LoopThree ships, the CMA CGM Figaro, CMA CGM La Scala and CMA CGM Tosca (shown below), now offer an interesting itinerary between New York and Seattle, as well as Vancouver BC, via the Suez Canal. Known as CMA CGM’s Columbus Loop, the full 112-day round voyage is made via ports in the Far East. Eastbound, ships leave New York via Norfolk and Savannah and sail directly to Tanjung Pelepas, a port in Malaysia located just across the water from Singapore. Calls are then made at Hong Kong, Yantian and Shanghai before proceeding to Pusan, in South Korea, and on to Seattle and Vancouver.

The CMA CGM Tosca and fleetmates now connect New York and Seattle (as well as Vancouver BC) via the Suez Canal and Far East ports. © Kevin Quick

The return voyage is made from Vancouver to Yokohama and then calls at the Chinese ports of Shanghai, Ningbo, Hong Kong and Yantian before returning to New York via Tanjung Pelepas.

Voyage time from New York to Seattle is 60 days and from Seattle to New York 52 days (Vancouver to New York is 49 days). This voyage is for those who love the sea, with the longest transit being 32 days from Savannah to Tanjung Pelepas (on the return, Tanjung Pelepas to New York is 23 days).

World Cruises - Cleveland 1909The new routing retraces the route of the first World Cruise, which was offered by Hamburg America Line’s Cleveland before the Panama Canal had even been opened – but takes half the time. Chartered by Frank C Clark of New York, an early cruise organizer, the Cleveland left New York on October 16, 1909, and took 108 days to proceed across the Atlantic to ports in the Mediterranean, Suez Canal, India and the Far East before finishing the world’s first Round-the-World Cruise in San Francisco on January 31, 1910. Passengers then returned to their homes from the West Coast by train while the Cleveland retraced her steps on a second world cruise. Equally, passengers taking the new Columbus Loop cruise can travel around the world in either direction and complete their circumnavigation in less than two months by making the rail journey across North America.

The CMA CGM Figaro and CMA CGM La Scala carry seven passengers each in three double cabins and one single, with fares set at €80 per person per day or €90 per day for sole occupancy of a double cabin. The CMA CGM Tosca carries up to eight passengers in three double cabins and two singles. Fares include full board, port charges, deviation insurance and complimentary French table wine with lunch and dinner. Part voyages are also possible but the full 112-day round voyage starts at €11,200. New York to Seattle is €6,000 for 60 days and Seattle to New York is €5,200 for 52 days.

For further details please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail