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PRINCESS CRUISES: Small ships not in favour
Tuesday, 06 January 2015 00:00

When Renaissance Cruises built eight 30,000-gross-ton cruise ships at the turn of the century, nobody could have foreseen the events of 2001 in the USA, which contributed considerably to the company’s subsequent demise. Of those eight ships, Carnival Corporation has three (two with Princess and one with P&O), NCL’s Oceania Cruises has three, and Royal Caribbean’s Azamara Club Cruises has two.

But the balance is about to change, as Princess has indicated a move away from smaller ships. In fact, it was stated at a recent press conference that Princess Cruises did not envisage building any new ships that were smaller than the recently christened Regal Princess (142,714 gt).

In an opening move, Princess has sold Ocean Princess to Oceania Cruises, with delivery scheduled for March 2016, following which the ship will be renamed Sirena and have a $40 million refit to bring her into line with her recently refurbished sisters, Insignia, Nautica and Regatta. Sirena was built as R Four, Insignia as R One, Nautica as R Five and Regatta as R Two. So now there are just four more to collect to complete the set.

Celestyal Cruises: Explorer returns to her roots
Tuesday, 30 December 2014 00:00

Explorer will once again be used in the Eastern Mediterranean. Rick FrendtExplorer will once again be used in the Eastern Mediterranean. Rick Frendt

When Olympic Explorer was delivered in 2002, it was to a company in which Louis Cruise Lines had a significant stake and in which that company had invested heavily to try to save it. The company was Royal Olympic Cruises, formed in 1995 by the amalgamation of Sun Lines and the cruise business of Epirotiki. A listing on the NASDAQ in 1998 raised $90 million, with which the company would buy two new fast ships.

They were Olympic Voyager and Olympic Explorer, but political turmoil in the Eastern Mediterranean caused much of Royal Olympic’s business to evaporate, and in 1999 the company was in real trouble. Louis came along and saved the day, and the two new ships were eventually delivered, but a further financial crisis struck in 2003. At the end of that year the two ships were seized, leaving Royal Olympic to struggle on for a few more months before going out of business.

CELEBRATION CRUISES: Holed after hitting object
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 00:00

Will this be the end of Bahamas Celebration? Rick FrendtWill this be the end of Bahamas Celebration? Rick Frendt

Celebration Cruise Line’s Bahamas Celebration, which operates two-night cruises between Florida’s Palm Beach and Freeport in the Bahamas, struck an unidentified object while sailing from the latter port on the evening of 31 October 2014 and returned to harbour with a severe list.

Passengers were mustered, but there were no casualties, and around 960 passengers and crew were repatriated on the following day to Miami aboard Bimini Superfast. They were then bussed back to Palm Springs. Initially, cruises in the first two weeks of November were cancelled, but it seems that the ship will be out of service for rather longer than that.


Deilmann Cruise: Is it the end for Deilmann?
Friday, 19 December 2014 09:15

Where to now for Deutschland?  William MayesWhere to now for Deutschland? William Mayes

After 40 years, Deilmann Cruise seems to have come to an end. The owners of Deilmann’s ship Deutschland, investment group MS Deutschland Beteiligungsgeschellshaft, and the operator, Peter Deilmann Reederei, filed for bankruptcy in early November 2014, and a bondholders’ meeting of the former was called.

No decision was made on the ship’s forthcoming major refit and her world cruise that was due to start on 18 December 2014. However, on 27 November 2014 the provisional liquidator took the decision to cancel the world cruise, as no investors had come forward, although there had been expressions of interest in acquiring the ship.

At the time of writing, Deilmann Cruise is still advertising a 2015 cruise programme from May, but by then the ship could well be operating for someone else. The 22,000-ton Deutschland was built for Deilmann in Kiel in 1998, but, following the death of founder Peter Deilmann in 2004, the company has struggled to survive.


CUNARD: Historic delivery made by Queen Mary 2
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 00:00

Queen Mary 2 brings the final bag of Flanders soil to the United Kingdom. WILLIAM MAYESQueen Mary 2 brings the final bag of Flanders soil to the United Kingdom. WILLIAM MAYES

On 8 October Queen Mary 2 delivered a special package to Southampton. Inside was the last shipment of soil from the Flanders Fields World War I cemeteries, which will become part of a Flanders Fields memorial garden at the Guards Museum at Wellington Barracks in London.

This final bag of soil, from the Ypres Cemetery, was brought to Southampton Cruise Terminal having been placed on display for the ship’s 2,600 passengers to view during the crossing from Zeebrugge. The soil was then handed over in a ceremony in Southampton docks. The memorial garden was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 6 November.


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