Viking Ocean Confirms Two Orders, Two Options – Other Cruise News – The Grand Classica From West Palm Beach – One Ocean’s Canadian Circumnavigation
by Kevin Griffin
This weekend saw two items of news from Viking Ocean Cruises. First, the Viking Sun sailed on the line’s first World Cruise, four months plus from Miami to London. And second, Viking has firmed up orders for its seventh and eighth ships and confirmed options for two more that would bring its ocean fleet to ten ships. Elsewhere, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line reinstates its West Palm Beach to Freeport service this Saturday and has announced that its second ship, to be named Grand Classica, will enter service in April. Finally, One Ocean Expeditions has announced a 56-night “circumnavigation” of Canada, tying its summer Canadian Arctic itineraries with the Akademik Ioffe with a Trans-Canada rail adventure from Vancouver to Halifax that uses Fairmont Hotels ashore.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
Viking Ocean Confirms Two Orders, Two Options
Viking Ocean Cruises confirmed this weekend that it has firmed up contracts for the construction for the seventh and eighth ships in the Viking Ocean fleet, and the company is also exercising options for two more ships. By 2023, therefore, Viking will have a fleet of ten modern ocean cruise ships.
The new ships will be sisters to the 47,800-ton 930-berth Viking Star, with deliveries scheduled for 2018, 2019, 2021, two ships in 2022 and the tenth ship 2023.
Viking is a mainly all-inclusive adult-oriented, destination-focused, children prohibited operation with no casinos, no water slides, no climbing walls and no kiddy characters.
In conjunction with this news, passengers embarked Viking Sun in Miami on Friday for the line’s first world cruise, a five-month voyage to London.
The 141-day itinerary spans five continents, 35 countries and 64 ports. Viking Sun will first explore Cuba and the Caribbean before sailing the Panama Canal to Los Angeles. The ship will then sail for the South Pacific, Australia and Asia, where she is to be christened in Shanghai on March 8.
From Shanghai, the Viking Sun will continue to ports throughout Asia, transit the Suez Canal and then tour Europe before arriving at London Greenwich on May 5.
In keeping with a Norwegian tradition that dates back hundreds of years, six casks of Viking’s own “Linje” aquavit are on board. The Scandinavian spirit will mature in oak barrels during the sailing, crossing the equator twice. It’s believed the motion of the sea and frequent temperature changes cause more flavor to be extracted from the casks.
The Viking Sun will offer another world cruise in 2019 a 128-day voyage from Miami to London, visiting five continents, twenty-one countries and fourty-four ports, from South America and the South Pacific to Australia and Africa.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
The Grand Classica From West Palm Beach
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has announced that latest acqusition, the 1,308-berth former Costa Classica, is set to arrive in April.
The new addition will be named Grand Classica and will join the 1,494-berth Grand Celebration sailing two-night cruises to Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. This will effectively oncrease the frequency on this service to daily.
Bahamas Paradise has signed a three-year agreement with the Bahamas to bring both ships to Grand Bahama Island for two-night cruises. Included in this contract are the use of Bahamian businesses and products, the employment of Bahamians and funding for the training of Bahamians to be employed on both vessels.
The Grand Celebration returns to her regularly scheduled two-night sailings from West Palm Beach this Saturday. She has been employed for the past few months as a hurricane relief and accommodation ship at Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, in the US Virgin islands.
One Ocean’s Canadian Circumnavigation
Starting and ending in Nova Scotia, One Ocean Expeditions has announced a once in a lifetime “circumnavigation of Canada” by sea, air and land, starting on the 90-berth Akademik Ioffe on July 24, 2018.
The expedition will begin in Louisbourg NS and will join together all of One Ocean Expeditions’ summer 2018 itineraries, including Labrador and the Torngat Mountains, Baffin Island and Lancaster Sound, Exploration of the High Arctic, Pathways to Franklin, and the Iconic Northwest Passage.
The Akademik Ioffe will then disembark her circumnavigation guests in Cambridge Bay, from where they will travel by plane to British Colombia and, after exploring Vancouver, journey from West to East in style, on board Via Rail Canada’s recently introduced “Prestige” Class sleeper trains. The rail tour portion heads to Banff and Jasper National Park, before crossing the prairies and following the lakes of northern Ontario, to the bustling centres of Toronto and Montreal.
With extended stops at world-class Fairmont hotels along the way, passengers will arrive back in Halifax NS on September 18, 2018, 56 nights after beginning their journey at Louisbourg.
In some ways, this voyage will resemble those that were offered in the 1930s by the Hudson Bay Company supply ship Nascopie, which set aside 22 of her 150 passenger berths for “official tourists.”
They paid $650 for the full 90-day round trip, but were also able to book one-way voyages, Montreal to Churchill, about 40 days, being $300, while the longer return voyage from Churchill to Halifax was $350.
The Nascopie took the annual mail, supplies and personnel for the trading posts, police detachments, missions, hospitals and schools of the Canadian Arctic. She departed Montreal around July 1 and called at trading posts of the eastern Arctic, as well as the Manitoba port of Churchill, which was joined to the Canadian railway system in 1929.
While tanks to the Nascopie and the railway’s arrival at Churchill it was possible to cruise to within 800 miles of the North Pole, One Ocean’s 2018 voyage will offer all of that plus the West Coast and the Rocky Mountains, as well as Canada’s greatest cities.
This new adventure, designed exclusively by One Ocean Expeditions, will be a voyage like no other.
This unparalleled journey will visit historic sites along Canada’s East Coast, search for polar bear and Arctic wildlife sightings, offer immersive visits to Inuit communities and take guests through the crisp fresh air of the Rocky Mountains, and into the lively culture of Canada’s metropolises, all in one voyage.
The fare in a twin private cabin on the Akademik Ioffe with world class accommodation at Fairmont Hotels ashore, travelling in Via Rail’s newest ‘Prestige’ Class, with extended stays in Jasper National Park, Toronto & Montreal, is US $55,000 per person for 56 nights, Louisbourg NS to Halifax NS.
(Kevin Griffin is managing director of specialist cruise agency The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)