Quite a few things worth noting here, actually, as we begin the long, slow slide into winter. A possible new build. maybe a new cruise line, a big refurb, and some big shifts in deployment are all here in the mix;
AIN’T NO SUNSHINE
After an initially troubled start up following her unprecedented, bow to stern refit, Carnival Sunshine (the former Carnival Destiny) will leave Barcelona on November 1st for a sixteen night transatlantic crossing to New Orleans. With her goes the last deployment of any of the ‘Fun Ships’ in any European cruising region until at least 2015.
Carnival Sunshine will operate seven night Western Caribbean itineraries from New Orleans through April 2014, when she comes around to Port Canaveral to offer six and eight night round trip Eastern Caribbean itineraries.
SERVING UP INDIAN…..
Word is circulating about the likely start up of a new, Indian based cruise line, aimed at tapping the potentially huge local domestic market. Royal Asian Cruise Lines is said to have already bought the laid up Gemini, last used as an accommodation ship at the 2012 London Olympics. The line is also said to be in the market for up to four more, second hand ships of a similar size and vintage.
Final financing arrangements were due to take place in Barcelona this month. The cruise line will initially operate in the Indian Ocean, including the waters around Sri Lanka.
SEABOURN’S FAB FOUR?
Ultra luxury Seabourn Cruise Line is said to be on the cusp of ordering a fourth vessel in the highly successful, 32,000 ton Sojourn class. If so, it will give the line a consistency across the fleet, and a potential depth of world wide deployment that is going to be hard to match. Meanwhile, first of the initial trio, Seabourn Pride, will leave the fleet to join new owners, Windstar, in April next year, with the other two smaller sisters completing the transition in 2015.
LOUIS SWINGS SOUTH
With the season for short Aegean and Greek Islands cruises coming rapidly to a close (the last few sailings are in early November) Louis Cruises is sending two of its ships across the Atlantic on full winter charters.
Louis Aura, currently sailing as the Orient Queen, will be heading for Brazil, to operate a series of itineraries varying in range from between three to seven nights, concentrating mainly on the north east coast of Brazil.
Louis Cristal (familiar to many as Norwegian Cruise Lines’ former Leeward) is off to begin a series of pioneering, seven night fly cruises from Havana, Cuba to the Caribbean. The Louis Cristal is under charter to a Canadian tour operator. Embarkation is also going to be possible for these cruises in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Regent Seven Seas’ Seven Seas Voyager will enter dry dock in Marseille on October 14th for an eight day refit that will see full refurbishment of the Horizon and Observation lounges with new carpetings, furnishings, and a new bar in each. All penthouse suites will also get a comprehensive makeover.
In addition, all balconies will receive new teak decking, and outdoor relaxation areas will be enhanced with new deck furniture. The Constellation theatre and the atrium will be refurbished with new soft fittings, and marble enhancements.
Carpeting throughout the 708 guest all balcony, all inclusive Voyager will be replaced, and new art works added right throughout the ship.
Seven Seas Voyager is due to resume service on October 23rd, with a ten night sailing from Rome to Venice.
I’ll be on board for that, so expect a more comprehensive appraisal soon after. Stay tuned.