​FleetMon – Cruise Ships/Ferry News 5 March 2015

WINDSTAR CRUISES: Leading tall ships cruise line is getting two new fleet members this year – both conventional cruise ships. The vessels in question are currently Seabourn’s two 9,961grt, 212 passenger capacity boutique sisters Seabourn Legend and Seabourn Spirit, which will be renamed Star Legend and Star Spirit when they join the Windstar Cruises fleet in April and May this year following US $8.5m three week refits in Genoa, Italy. Both vessels were built by Germany’s Schichau Seebeckwerft in 1992 and 1989 respectively.

A G EMS: German ferry operator A G Ems is investing in LNG fuel technology for its fleet, both for an existing vessel and a newbuilding. The company’s ferry Ostfriesland is soon to leave the BVT Shipyard in Germany following a €13m conversion which has seen the vessel refitted with two Wärtsilä W20DF diesels capable of operating on LNG fuel and a gas tank from LNGPac. Ostfriesland is also being lengthened by 14m to 94m. This is the first such ferry conversion carried out at a German shipyard. Meanwhile, the ferry operator is also soon to take delivery of a €30m newbuilding ferry which is also powered by LNG fuelled Wärtsilä diesels. This 83m vessel is the first ferry newbuilding driven by LNG fuel to be built in Germany. The vessel’s hull was built by a Polish shipyard which was then towed to Germany’s FASSMER shipyard for outfitting. Delivery of the ferry is set for June 2015.

VIKING CRUISES: The world’s largest operator of river cruise vessels, Viking Cruises, is moving into the US market after ordering six new 400 passenger vessels at a yet to be named US shipyard. The vessels, each costing around US $100m, will be homeported in New Orleans and will operate on the Mississippi River. Delivery of the vessel, which will not have paddle wheels, will be over the period 2015-2018 with two vessels being delivered per year.

SAN SHA 1 HAO: Chinese shipyard Bohai Shipbuilding, on the northern coast of Bohai Gulf, has delivered what is believed to be the country’s first Ro-Pax vessel specifically designed for Chinese owners and built in China, the 120m San Sha 1 Hao. The ferry, which is owned by the Government of Hainan Province can carry 444 passengers, 145 cars and 20 lorries and started operation earlier this year in the South China Sea. The ferry operates from the port of Sansha City to the outlying islands of Xisha, Nansha and Zhongsha – voyages of between 10 and 15 hours. San Sha 1 Hao has been designed by Denmark’s naval architects Knud E. Hansen A/S and is also expected to undertake cruises

WESTERN SHIPYARD, BANGLADESH: The small south-east Asian shipbuilder Western Shipyard in Bangladesh is close to delivering a small passenger/cargo ferry to the Pacific atoll of Tokelau, a non-self-governing territory of New Zealand. The vessel, Mataliki, can carry up to 60 passengers and 50 tons of cargo and supplies. The 500grt vessel will operate between Tokelau and Apia on the island of Samoa, a distance of 270 nautical miles, making the voyage in 24 hours.

BRITTANY FERRIES: French cross-channel ferry operator Brittany Ferries is adding another new vessel to its operations this summer with the charter of DFDS Seaway’s 22,382grt Ro-Pax Sirena Seaways. The vessel, which is to be renamed, will operate a ‘no frills’ service four times a week between Portsmouth (UK) and Le Havre (France) and once a week between Portsmouth and Bilbao (Spain). Meanwhile, Brittany Ferries Ro-Pax Normandie has returned to service on the Portsmouth-Caen service following the retrofitting of exhaust gas scrubbers at the Astander Shipyard in Santander, Northern Spain, a job which took two months to complete. Fleet mate Cap Finistere is currently at the same shipyard have scrubbers fitted and will be followed by Barfleur at the end of March.

PENTLAND FERRIES: Small Scottish ferry operator Pentland Ferries, which operates between the Scottish mainland (Gills Bay) and Orkney (St. Margaret’s Hope) has bought the 38 year old Caledonian MacBrayne ferry Saturn for a new freight only service. Following four years in lay-up Saturn is currently completing a refit at the Garvel Clyde shiprepair facility at Greenock before entering service for her new owners. Besides the freight service to the Orkney’s Saturn will also service the growing renewable energy sector around the Orkneys and the Pentland Firth.

THOMSON CRUISES: UK cruise operator Thomson Cruises, part of Germany TUI Group, has bought Royal Caribbean International’s 69,130grt, 1,804 passenger capacity cruise vessel Splendour of the Seas. The 1996-built vessel will join Thomson Cruises in the summer of 2016 following a refit and renaming and will replace the 1982-built, 40,132grt, 1,504 passenger capacity Island Escape, which is operated by Thomson subsidiary Island Cruises. Splendour of the Seas, which was fitted with 124 cabin balconies during a refit in Spain four years ago, will become the largest vessel in the Thomson Cruises fleet and is the first part of the UK company’s fleet redevelopment plans.

CRYSTAL CRUISES: Luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises, owned by Japan’s NYK Group has been bought by Genting Hong Kong (GHK) and the new owners have announced that Crystal will get a newbuilding cruise ship in 2018 to join its existing two mid-size ships Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony which entered service in 2003 and 1995 respectively. The size of the new ship, passenger capacity and shipyard which will build her have not been revealed, although Crystal Cruises says the vessel will be ‘unlike anything that currently exists in the luxury sector.’ GHK is also a major shareholder in Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Holkdings, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

CRUISE & MARITIME VOYAGES: UK cruise line Cruise & Maritime Voyages will name its latest ship Magellan in London on 12 March. The vessel, formerly Spanish operator Ibero Cruises’ Grand Holiday and before that Carnival Cruises Carnival Holiday and Holiday, has just completed a refit and repainting at the Greek repairer Neorion-Eleusis Shipyard. At 46,052grt, and with a passenger capacity of 1,250 passengers, the 1985-built Magellan will be the largest vessel in the CMN fleet, joining existing vessels Marco Polo, Azores and Astor.

SEABOURN CRUISES: The latest vessel to join the luxury fleet of Seabourn Cruises, Seabourn Encore will be delivered from the Italian shipyard Mariotti in December 2016, with naming of the 40,350grt, 450 passenger capacity vessel taking place in Singapore on 7 January 2017. Following delivery, Seabourn Encore will undertake an inaugural cruise from Piraeus, Greece to Dubai, United Arab Emirates on 4 December 2016, calling at ports in Israel, Jordan and Oman. She will then undertake another inaugural cruise, this time an 18 day voyage from Dubai to Singapore, calling at ports in the Arabian Gulf, India and South East Asia. Following her christening in Singapore on 7 January 2017 Seabourn Encore will sail on her official maiden voyage – a 10 day cruise to Bali, Indonesia. The vessel’s inaugural season will see her sail around the Pacific Rim/Australasia on 16-day cruises, before relocating to Europe in April 2017.

ICELAND PRO CRUISES: The FleetPro Passenger Shipmanagement operated 8,283grt, 189 passenger capacity cruise vessel Ocean Diamond will begin cruises around Iceland and between Iceland and Greenland in May for new company Iceland Pro Cruises. The 1974-built vessel was built as Song of Flower and has also operated as Explorer Starship and Le Diamant.

HAIMARK LINES: New US cruise operator Haimark Lines will introduce the 210 passenger capacity Saint Laurent (ex Sea Voyager) on Great Lakes cruises from May this year. The vessel, designed specifically for operation on the Great Lakes, will also operate further afield, undertaking cruises in Panama and South America.

ADVENTURE CANADA: June this year will see cruise line Adventure Canada launch its Arctic Canada cruise programme using the 12,907grt, 350 passenger capacity Ocean Endeavour, which has just completed a refit to enable her to offer expedition-type cruises in the Arctic. Ocean Endeavour was built in Poland in 1982 as the Soviet ferry Konstantin Simonov and has operated in the Mediterranean as Francesca and The Iris, as well as the Finnish cruise ship Kristina Katarina.

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