Posted by: cruise2 | 25 August, 2016

CMV’s Columbus Plans 121-Night 2018 World Cruise

by Kevin Griffin writing for

Cruise & Maritime Voyages has announced that its Columbus will leave Tilbury on her first CMV world cruise on Thursday, January 5, 2018.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages' Columbus (Courtesy CMV)

Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Columbus (Courtesy CMV)

This vessel was launched as Sitmar Cruises’ Fair Majesty in 1988 before becoming Princess Cruises’ Star Princess in 1989 and P&O Cruises’ UK-based Arcadia (II) in 1997-98.

Before heading for the P&O Australia fleet as Pacific Pearl in 2010 she traded in the Mediterrean as Ocean Village. As P&O’s Arcadia, this ship had served as a replacement for the longstanding P&O flagship Canberra.

Announcing the new programme, Lisa Jacobs, head of trade sales at CMV said: “People dream that when they win the lottery they will take a World Cruise. Now they can without that windfall – CMV has made the wish possible with our buy one get one half price deal.”

P&O Cruises' Arcadia (II) 1997-98

P&O Cruises’ Arcadia (II) 1997-98

The World Cruise includes four continents, three oceans, 40 ports of call including Tahiti, Auckland, Sydney, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai, and the enlarged Panama and Suez canals. Shorter sector options will also be be available.

Columbus’s departure marks to the day the 20th Anniversary of this ship’s inaugural world cruise as P&O’s Arcadia in 1998.
Ms Jacobs said: “Built for deep sea ocean cruising, we believe that Columbus is the ideal ship for this epic circumnavigation of the globe. Her expansive lounge and deck areas offer the perfect surroundings to escape the winter in style and comfort.”

The Ocean VillageOcean Village

The world cruise is available from £8,275 per person in double occupancy – the equivalent of around £68 per day – when booked by 30 November 2016. The cruise is available in North America, in $US, through The Cruise People at CruiseShipCenters tel 647-299-7447.

There are free twin cabin upgrades for early bookers. This fare is based on two people sharing a twin cabin and includes delicious full board cuisine, afternoon tea and late night snacks, Captain’s cocktail parties, deck parties, self service tea and coffee between 6 am and midnight, big show entertainment, cabarets and classical interludes, daytime activities and leisure facilities, Guest speakers and arts & crafts, porterage of luggage port to cabin and port taxes.

A total of 150 cabins are also available on board Columbus for solo travellers, with a 25% single supplement on the equivalent category for twin share prices.

Posted by: cruise2 | 11 August, 2016

New Investors In Hurtigruten?

by Kevin Griffin of The Cruise People, London

According to reports from Cruise Industry News and Bloomberg, Hurtigruten could be on the block again, according to sources familiar with that company.

MS Spitsbergen - Hurtigruten (Ex Atlantida)

MS Spitsbergen – Hurtigruten (Ex Atlantida)

TDR, the British private equity firm which acquired a 90% interest in Hurtigruten in late 2014, is said to be talking to three potential buyers after having received unsolicited offers.

Since 2014, Hurtigruten has acquired and refurbished a new ship, the 335-berth Spitsbergen, in addition to refurbishing four existing ships. It has also more recently ordered two newbuildings, with an option for two more.

When TDR acquired Hurtigruten, the bid at the time valued the company at about $884 million, with in addition to TDR two existing shareholders, Norwegian investor Petter Stordalen and Trygve Hegnar’s Periscopus AS, with 5% each.

Each investor could see the value of their stake double if TDR succeeds in finding new buyers willing to pay a good price. That means the fund’s partners and investors could profit handsomely on a company that also receives large state subsidies. But Mr. Stordalen, known in Norway for his hotel investments, is said to think it is more likely that additional investors will buy into the company.

Strong results are said to have increased interest in the company, which reported an 18.3% increase in operating revenues and a 90.5% jump in operating profits last year. The company nonetheless logged a pre-tax loss because of large one-time charges tied to the acquisition and refinancing of the company in 2014.
Hurtigruten and TDR declined to comment on these reports.

Posted by: cruise2 | 8 August, 2016

Montreal’s New Cruise Terminal

by Kevin Griffin of The Cruise People, Ltd – London writing for

The Port of Montreal is in the midst of investing $78 million in restoring its cruise terminal, the Iberville Passenger Terminal, on Alexandra Pier. The terminal is closed for the 2016 season while the facility is being completely rebuilt.

Montreal's existing cruise terminal with Mackay Pier opposite

Montreal’s existing cruise terminal with Mackay Pier opposite

The present terminal is located just below the entrance to the old Lachine Canal on the Alexandra Basin at the foot of McGill Street, where the Cunard Line and Anchor Line Transatlantic ships used to berth, while Canadian Pacific Steamships’ Transatlantic ships docked on the opposite side.

For this year’s season, cruise ships and passengers are being handled at temporary facilities at Pier 34-35 and 36-37, located downstream from the iconic Jacques-Cartier Bridge, about five miles away from Old Montreal.

This bridge, which first opened as the Montreal Harbour Bridge in 1930, has served as the backdrop to many Port of Montreal postcards.

Montreal's temporary terminals at Pier 34-35 & Pier 36-37

Montreal’s temporary terminals at Pier 34-35 & Pier 36-37

Smaller vessels continue to dock at Mackay Pier, which is located close to Bickerdike Terminal but unfortunately on the wrong side of the port, meaning shuttle buses are needed to get to town. Victory Cruise Lines’ 210-berth Victory I and Blount Small Ship Adventures 88-berth Grande Caribe and Grande Mariner are using that facility this year.

For this summer, two large marquees have been put up at Pier 34-35 and at Pier 36-37, offering a waiting area with access for the disabled, tourist information counter, free WiFi, vending machines for coffee, soft drinks and snacks, public telephones and facilities, taxi ranks, shuttle service to Old Montreal and free long-term parking.

Pier 34-35 is primarily serving Holland America Line’s 1,266-berth Maasdam and 1,348-berth Veendam, Regent’s 708-berth Seven Seas Mariner, Silversea’s 388-berth Silver Whisper, and overseas visitors such as Aida Cruises’ 2,050-berth AidaDiva, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ 516-berth Europa 2, Viking’s 930-berth Viking Star plus a single call by Pearl Seas Cruises’ 210-berth Pearl Mist.

Victoria Pier Montreal (© Peg & Jim Healy)

Victoria Pier Montreal (© Peg & Jim Healy)

Pier 36-37 is being used to handle overflow when two ships are in port. Thus Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ 848-berth Marco Polo will call there on September 10-11, Holland America’s 1,404-berth Rotterdam on September 17, Oceania’s 684-berth Regatta on September 30, Seven Seas Mariner on October 1, the 684-berth Azamara Quest on October 23-24, Phoenix’s 594-berth Amadea, with a two-night layover on October 13-15, and the 450-berth Seabourn Quest on October 21.

Seabourn Quest will use all three terminals this summer. She will call at Pier 34-35 on September 11, at Mackay Pier on October 1 (with Rotterdam at 34-35 and Seven Seas Mariner at 36-37) and will be at 36-37 on October 21 (with Seven Seas Mariner at 34-35).

The use of these sections for cruise ships actually raises some history in the Port of Montreal as passenger cruising from Pier 34-35 occurred once before, when the Clarke Steamship Company was based there from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s. Before the war, the piers had been used for ocean vessels while the coastal passenger ships called at Victoria Pier.

But with the 1950s mining boom on the North Shore and increasing purchases by Canada’s newest province, Newfoundland, cargo flows soon outstripped the shed capacity at Victoria Pier.

The 76-berth s.s. North Shore cruised weekly from Montreal's Pier 34-35 to the mighty Gulf of St Lawrence

The 76-berth s.s. North Shore cruised weekly from Montreal’s Pier 34-35 to the mighty Gulf of St Lawrence

In 1955, Pier 34 therefore became the base for Clarke’s passenger and cargo sailings to Newfoundland and the Gulf of St Lawrence. A big reason for this was that Pier 34 had over 44,000 square feet of shed space compared to only 2,970 square feet in Clarke’s previous shed at Victoria Pier.

On the passenger side, two ships sailed every week of the navigation season, usually April through November, from Montreal to the Gulf of St Lawrence. Every Monday and Tuesday, the 76-berth North Shore departed for the Quebec North Shore and the 46-berth North Gaspé for the Gaspé Peninsula, with alternate voyages extending to les Iles de la Madeleine.

Montreal's new terminal rendering (© Port of Montreal)

Montreal’s new terminal rendering (© Port of Montreal)

As Pier 34 was downstream from the Jacques Cartier Bridge, departures were not as dramatic as they had been from Victoria Pier, where ships would swing out from the pier, turn and catch the current and then sweep down under the bridge before proceeding down the St Lawrence. Nevertheless, passengers still had the long sweep of Montreal’s port before following the St Lawrence Ship Channel down towards Quebec.

But after three years at Pier 34, the line’s passenger ships moved back to Victoria Pier, with the cargo ships remaining at Pier 34 and expanding as well to Pier 35, which offered an even bigger cargo shed of 53,600 square feet.

The North Gaspé thereafter sailed from Victoria Pier’s Windmill Basin, but North Shore moved back to the cargo piers in 1959, spending the next three years based at Pier 35. Clarke’s passenger services came to a close, however, with the transfer of the North Gaspé to a new base in Nova Scotia in 1960 and the sale of North Shore to Greece’s Typaldos Lines in 1961. That same space that was once used by Clarke ships is now being used as a temporary home for cruise ships.

Artist impression of the planned glass observation tower with gardens (© Port of Montreal)

Artist impression of the planned glass observation tower with gardens (© Port of Montreal)

Among the attributes of Montreal’s new cruise terminal will be a glass observation tower, from which it will be possible to view not only Mount Royal and the Montreal skyline but also the deep sweep of Montreal’s port, itself a thousand miles from the sea. The new tower will join the earlier Sailors’ Clock Tower on Victoria Pier, which was officially opened by the then Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII and the Duke of Windsor in October 1919.

A Century later, in 2019, the new observation tower will be opened to celebrate Montreal’s 375th Anniversary as one of the oldest cities and centres of civilisation in North America.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the new cruise terminal design, however, is that, like Vancouver’s Canada Place, which was built on Canadian Pacific’s old Pier BC, it will open up Montreal’s port to the public. By being included in the plan, the new terminal’s public areas will allow the public to appreciate the city’s port and historical and economical ties that are still important today.

Posted by: cruise2 | 22 July, 2016

Adventure of the Seas To Acquire 100 More Cabins

by Kevin Griffin writing for

Royal Caribbean International has announced that its 3,114-berth Adventure of the Seas is to receive the most complete refit ever given to a Royal Caribbean ship, at the Grand Bahama Shipyard in Freeport later this year.

The $61 million job will add another 100 cabins plus a FlowRider, dual waterslides and a Splashaway Bay water park for children, as well as new Japanese and Steakhouse alternative restaurants.

The Enchantment of the Seas was lengthened at Rotterdam in 2005

Enchantment of the Seas was lengthened at Rotterdam in 2005

It was of course an executive of Grand Bahama Shipyards that told Seatrade in 2010 that every extra cabin added to an existing ship had the potential to produce $100,000 in annual revenue to the ship. This will be true for every double-occupancy cabin that can generate $1,000 per passenger per week.

For the future 3,314-berth Adventure of the Seas, using this rule of thumb, her new staterooms will be capable of generating about another $10 million a year in passenger revenue.

The last major expansion to a Royal Caribbean ship was Enchantment of the Seas, which was lengthened at Rotterdam in 2005 to provide 151 more cabins. That job cost about $55 million, with the 151 cabins being able to produce about another $15 million in revenue per year.

The newly-enlarged Adventure of the Seas will commence service from San Juan in November.

Posted by: cruise2 | 19 July, 2016

Genting’s German Shipyards

by Kevin Griffin writing for

Genting Hong Kong has announced that the three shipyards in the German State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Nordic Yards) that it bought in April will be renamed as MV Werften, in honour of the state. The yards are located in Wismar, Warnemünde and Stralsund.

The Crystal river yacht vessels Debussy and Ravel (Artist concepts courtesy of Crystal Cruises)

The Crystal river yacht vessels Debussy and Ravel (Artist concepts courtesy of Crystal Cruises)

This acquisition and an investment of €100 million in these yards will enable the company’s shipbuilding interests to build and repair not only its own fleet of cruise ships, but also others. The new MV intends to build three large cruise ships per year.

In addition to its shipyards, Genting Hong Kong operates Star Cruises and Dream Cruises and has more recently acquired Crystal Cruises from Japan’s NYK.

MV Werften will deliver the first of three new 100,000-ton cruise ships for Crystal Cruises as well as four luxury ships for Crystal River Yachts in 2017, the first of a series of 20,000-gross-ton Crystal Endeavour class polar expedition yachts in 2018 and the first of a series of 201,000 gross ton Star Cruises Global Class cruise ships by 2020.

The Crystal Exclusive (Artist concepts courtesy of Crystal Cruises)

The Crystal Exclusive (Artist concepts courtesy of Crystal Cruises)

Genting Hong Kong, which operates Genting’s cruise line interests, established the Lloyd Werft Group in 2016 through the rapid acquisition of Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven and Nordic Yard’s three shipyards in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

With the shipyards and their approximately 1,700 experienced managers and workers, the Lloyd Werft Group will be capable of building cruise ships larger than the biggest currently afloat.

Cruise Ship Marco Polo at Damen Shiprepair Vlissingen

Cruise Ship Marco Polo at Damen Shiprepair Vlissingen

Jarmo Laakso, who has thirty-five years of experience in building passenger ships, acquired in the European shipbuilding industry as well as in executive positions with Royal Caribbean Cruises, has been appointed managing director of MV Werften.

Of the three Nordic Yards, Mathias-Thesen-Werft (MTW) was best known for producing the five 750-berth “Ivan Franko” class ocean liners, of which the second in the series, Aleksandr Pushkin, now renamed Marco Polo, is still sailing after more than fifty years.

The most recent cruise ship produced at Wismar was the 1,936-berth Norwegian Sun of 2001, as well as a midbody section to lengthen Norwegian Majesty, which now sails as the 1,462-berth Thomson Majesty.

Stralsund has meanwhile built three Hurtigruten vessels, the 483-berth Kong Harald and 466-berth Richard With in 1993 and the 475-berth Nordlys in 1994, as well as a series of river cruise ships for Premicon AG in more recent years.

Posted by: cruise2 | 21 June, 2016

Airline Seat Pitches

by Kevin Griffin writing for

Celebrity Cruises’ new Jet Set Sail flights from the UK, described the Titan Airways aircraft they use as having a generous 31″ seat pitch.”

The 130-seat Boeing 737 and the Celebrity private departure lounge

The 130-seat Boeing 737 and the Celebrity private departure lounge

In relative terms, this can be considered generous when UK charter airlines such as Thomas Cook Airlines offer 29″ seat pitch and budget carrier Ryanair 30″.

But as one of our readers from Singapore advised us, one North American airline’s long-haul Boeing 777 fleet has now been refitted for 10 abreast seating and 31″ seat pitch.  He added that “they have lost me as a customer. I used to fly with them to Toronto via Hong Kong, but now I take Eva via Taipei, where the same aircraft has 9-abreast with 34″ seat pitch, and most of the time I am upgraded into Eva deluxe class.”

Eva is owned by a shipping company, Taiwan’s Evergreen Line.

In other words, if you are worried about space on the plane that is taking you to your cruise, it is always worth investigating.
If you can’t get much from your agent or carrier then a good source for this information is by TripAdvisor, which will give you not only seat pitch but aircraft seatmaps and airline comparisons.

Posted by: cruise2 | 13 June, 2016

St Helena Sailings Extended As Airport Delayed

by Kevin Griffin writing in

The well-known 128-berth supply ship St Helena arrived in London last week, where she tied up alongside HMS Belfast to receive HRH Princess Anne, a former passenger, for a function on board on Wednesday evening.

RMS St Helena in London (Photo Peter van den Berg)

RMS St Helena in London (Photo Peter van den Berg)

This is the ship’s last visit to the UK as when the new airport is finally opened at St Helena her passenger capacity will no longer be needed.

St Helena arrived at Tilbury Docks last Sunday June 5, with 123 passengers on board. She then moved to the Pool of London and departed on Friday evening to return to the London Cruise Terminal at Tilbury, where 600 members of the public visited on pre-booked tours this Saturday.

AWS Shipping of London, the ship’s managers, had previously advised the final sailing dates via the islands with two calls at each of Ascension and St Helena northbound and two calls at each of St Helena and Ascension southbound and also Tenerife in each direction:

Cape Town May 7 to London June 5, 2016
London June 14 to Cape Town July 15, 2016

The original Canadian built St Helena

The original Canadian built St Helena

The RMS, as she is called, is scheduled to depart from Tilbury at 16:00hrs tomorrow, June 14, en route to Tenerife, Ascension and St Helena.

The present vessel was built in 1989 and replaced a Canadian-built namesake that had served St Helena since 1978, when ocean liners ceased to call on the tiny island.

The present St Helena’s replacement has now been identified as a Dutch-owned general cargo ship called Eemslift Christiaan. As Helena, the replacement ship will be able to carry up to 4,979 tonnes of cargo and twelve passengers.

The Eemslift Christiaan, the replacement ship of the St Helena

Eemslift Christiaan, the replacement ship of the St Helena

Meanwhile, following certification of St Helena Airport on May 10, the presence of wind shear was noted by the first few flights into the Airport.
This has needed work that includes the development of operational procedures to allow use of the northern runway (20), where wind shear has been identified, and options for using the southern runway (02), where wind shear has not been identified as a problem.
Air service, when it eventually opens, is to be provided from Johannesburg by Comair, a South African franchise of British Airways.

RMS St Helena

RMS St Helena

While this work goes on, the St Helena government has extended the contract for St Helena to supply three more voyages for passengers and cargo from Cape Town, on July 8, August 20 and September 9, with final return to Cape Town on September 27. Bookings for the extra voyages opened last week.

St Helena voyage 243 leaves London to-morrow for calls at Tenerife, St Helena, Ascension and St Helena and Ascension again before arriving at Cape Town on July 15 to begin her final three voyages. The vessel is now for sale.

Posted by: cruise2 | 9 June, 2016

First Carnival Purpose-Built Ship To Go For Scrap

by Kevin Griffin writing for

The 1,478-berth Chinese cruise ship Henna last week arrived at Daishan, near Ningbo, south of Shanghai, ready to be delivered to the scrappers after a proposed sale price of $35 million failed to attract any interested parties.

The Carnival Jubilee

Carnival Jubilee

HNA Cruises shut down its one-ship cruise operation with the 1986-built Henna in November last year, just three years after starting up. HNA has ceased operating cruises but carries on now as a cruise booking agency.

Completed by Kockums Varv, Malmö as Jubilee in 1986, this ship was followed the next year by sister ship Celebration. Jubilee was Carnival Cruise Lines’ third newbuilding. She had been preceded by two earlier ships, the 1,022-berth Tropicale of 1982, the line’s first newbuilding, and the 1,452-berth Holiday of 1985. All four ships were completed in Scandinavian shipyards.

The 1,250-berth Magellan (Photo credit M. Witte)

The 1,250-berth Magellan (Photo credit M. Witte)

In 2012, the Henna became the first and largest cruise ship to serve mainland China. The ship was acquired from P&O Cruises Australia, for whom she had operated since 2004 as Pacific Sun.

The decision to close down the one-ship operation came after was based on money.  The now older ship faced very serious price competition with the arrival of newer and larger ships into the China cruising market in 2015.

While Tropicale now sails for Japan’s Peace Boat organization, Henna’s sister ships Celebration and Holiday continue to operate, the former as the Grand Celebration in the Palm Beach to Freeport trade and the latter as Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Magellan.

Posted by: cruise2 | 8 June, 2016

Legend of the Seas To Become TUI Discovery 2

by Keviv Griffin writing for

Following hard on the heels of the news that Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd is selling a 51% interest in Pullmantur Cruises (but not the ships) to Springwater capital, it has entered into an agreement to sell the 1,800-berth Legend of the Seas to Thomson Cruises in the UK.

The TUI Discovery (Courtesy Thomson Cruises)

TUI Discovery (Courtesy Thomson Cruises)

Unlike TUI Cruises in Germany, where Royal Caribbean owns a half interest in both the company and its ships, Thomson Cruises is so far owned 100% by TUI Group.

This move follows the delivery last month of the 1,804-berth Splendour of the Seas to Thomson, who have now renamed her TUI Discovery. Under hew new name, TUI Discovery will sail on Saturdays from Palma de Majorca, where she will offer alternating 7-day itineraries.

This TUI Discovery is beneficially owned by Schoeller Holdings Ltd, a Limassol-based private investment company whose activities include shipowning, ship management and liner services. Founded in 1978, Schoeller Holdings and its subsidiaries now have more than 14,000 employees worldwide, and Columbia Ship Management is part of the group.

Mein Schiff 1 in Hamburg

Mein Schiff 1 in Hamburg

The relationship between Columbia Ship Management and Thomson Cruises dates back to 2004 with Columbia’s appointment as technical managers of Thomson Celebration.

Island Escape and Thomson Dream then followed in 2009.

In April 2015, Columbia Cruise Services was established as a Hamburg-based affiliate that is solely dedicated to managing cruise vessels, expedition vessels and luxury yachts.

Legend of the Seas will join the Thomson fleet in May 2017 to sail under the name of TUI Discovery 2. This acquisition will increase the Thomson Cruises fleet to six ships, including two more to be acquired from TUI Cruises in Germany. Mein Schiff 1 will join Thomson in 2018 and Mein Schiff 2 in 2019.

Thomson Celebration (Photo Manuel Moreno at

Thomson Celebration (Photo Manuel Moreno at

Thomson Majesty and Thomson Spirit will then leave the Thomson fleet at the end of 2017, while Columbia Cruise Services will continue to manage Thomson Celebration and Thomson Dream.

Island Escape was sold late last year to US owner Cruise Holdings Inc and renamed Ocean Gala. She has been berthed at Kristiansand, Norway, for the past three months, pending further employment and is still managed by Columbia.

FTI Cruises' Berlin in Venice

FTI Cruises’ Berlin in Venice

Columbia Cruise Services also now manage FTI Cruises’ Berlin and the Hurtigruten expedition-style ship Fram.

The addition of these two more modern Royal Caribbean ships plus the two Mein Schiff sisters from Germany will increase the number of balconies in the Thomson fleet from just a few dozen to well over 1,000.

Posted by: cruise2 | 3 June, 2016

Koningsdam Christened In Rotterdam

by Kenin Griffin writing for

Holland America Line’s new 99,836-ton 2,650-berth Koningsdam was one of two ships to be delivered recently to Carnival Corp & plc brands.

The historic Holland America Line headquarters at the Wilhelminakade in Rotterdam, which now operates as the Hotel New York

The historic Holland America Line headquarters at the Wilhelminakade in Rotterdam, which now operates as the Hotel New York

Koningsdam was christened May 20, by Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, next to the historic Holland America Line headquarters at the Wilhelminakade in Rotterdam, which now operates as the Hotel New York.

To the dismay of many Holland America passengers however, the so-called 360-degree promenade on the new flagship does away with the broad sweep of promenades on earlier ships and reduced to a very narrow passage at some points. The new promenade does not include deck chairs as on Holland America’s more traditional ships. (See video at

Unfortunately, the five decks piled above the bridge do not add to the new ship’s appearance. While less unsightly than the five-deck carbuncle on the 155,873-ton 4,200-berth Norwegian Epic, this new five-deck addition gives the ship a piled up appearance.

Holland America Line's Koningsdam (Courtesy Fincantieri)

Holland America Line’s Koningsdam (Courtesy Fincantieri)

This should be compared with the four-deck height above the bridge on the last Holland America ship, the 86,273-ton 2,106-berth Nieuw Amsterdam, delivered six years ago.

As Koningsdam has only four decks between the main deck and the bridge, the extra deck on top is aesthetically one deck too far.

A sister ship now under construction at Fincantieri for delivery in the autumn of 2018 is oddly to be named Nieuw Statendam. There have been five previous Statendams, including the last, which now sails as P&O Australia’s Pacific Eden.

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