CMA CGM’s “Down Under” Cargo-Passenger Trades – Other Cruise News: Polsteam’s Sixteen Lakers – The Volcanic Ash Cloud of April 2010
by Kevin Griffin
As Christmas draws upon us, we comment on a couple of cargo ship trades carrying passengers, on the old routes of the Australian National Line and to and from the Great Lakes, and remember the volcanic ash cloud of a decade ago, in April 2010.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
CMA CGM’s “Down Under” Cargo-Passenger Trades
Long after CMA CGM’s 1998 acquisition of ANL (once the Australian National Line) and the parent company has recently reinstated passenger service on its London to Sydney cargo route via Suez. And other changes have come about more recently. For example, the ten passenger-carrying ships engaged on CMA CGM’s Australia-Asia trades have in recent months undergone a number of service and schedule changes, which we will outline here.
In addition to the 1998 acquisition of ANL (once the Australian National Line) by CMA CGM, the parent company recently reinstated passenger service on its London to Sydney cargo route via Suez. And other changes have come about more recently. For example, the ten passenger-carrying ships engaged on CMA CGM’s Australia-Asia trades have in recent months undergone a number of service and schedule changes that we will outline here.
The original AAX service offered weekly cargo-passenger service between Singapore and Port Kelang and the Australian ports of Fremantle, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, on a 35-night round trip. Recently, this has been switched to a 46-night voyage that also includes Bangkok (Laem Chebang), with one 10-passenger ship accepting passengers every 46 days. The Australian port rotation is now Fremantle, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and the new AAX service is offered by the CMA CGM Loire.
Meanwhile, a new 42-day round trip called AAX2 has also been started, with half its ships, the 10-berth CMA CGM Bellini, Puccini and Rossini, accommodating passengers.
A third 42-night service, called A3N, has been opened to connect Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane with Yokohama, Osaka, Pusan (disembarkation only), the Chinese ports of Qingdao and Shanghai, and Kaohsiung in Taiwan.
Three ships, the 10-berth CMA CGM Chopin and CMA CGM Mozart and the 4-berth APL Scotland, have been joined by NSB’s 6-berth San Francisco II in this trade.
A fourth 48-day service, called Anzex, runs from Brisbane via the New Zealand ports of Auckland, Port Chalmers, Lyttelton, Napier and Tauranga to Hong Kong, Keelung, three ports in China and Kaohsiung.
Two ships, the 5-berth CMA CGM Amber and CMA CGM Coral carry on this trade. Another ship, the 6-berth Ontario II, operates between the same five ports in New Zealand and Port Kelang and Singapore.
Polsteam’s Sixteen Lakers
Passages aboard the modern ships of Polsteam (PZM) of Szczecin, Poland, are available from April through November on the scenic route between Amsterdam (Port of IJmuiden) and the Great Lakes. The round trip lasts 45-70 days and ships call at Cleveland, Ohio, and Burns Harbor, Indiana, before proceeding to Lake Superior to load a cargo of grain for Europe.
The 30,000-ton Drawsko, Juno, Lubie, Mamry, Miedwie, Resko, Solina and Wicko were built in 2011-12 and carry three passengers each in a double and a single cabin, with an additional two upper berths in the double, while the 35,000-ton bulk carriers Irma, Iryda, Isa, Isadora and Isolda were built in 1999-2000 and carry six 6 passengers each in an Owners, a double and two single cabins.
Their Polish officers and crew are experienced in navigating the Great Lakes and St Lawrence Seaway and passengers can choose among three basic services:
1. Round Trip Tramp Voyage boarding in Europe or North America.
2. Europe to Great Lakes Trans-Atlantic Voyage from IJmuiden (contract service)
3. Great Lakes to Europe Trans-Atlantic Voyage (tramp).
Three more ships, the 30,000-ton Gardno, Jamno and Narie, have been added to the fleet more recently to bring it to fifteen St Lawrence Seaway-size ships.
The Volcanic Ash Cloud of 2010
The recent volcanic erption in New Zealand brought back memories from a decade ago. Who remembers the volcanic ash cloud of 2010, when the airways between Europe and North America were closed for several day by a vast cloud of ash emanating from Iceland.
This is one of the regular reports The Cruise People sent to intending clients at the time in an effort to offer seagoing alternatives:
• Sea Travel Situation Report North Atlantic 19.04.10
Herewith is the latest update on the possibilities of sea travel between Europe and North America. If you wish to take up any of these options please contact us as soon as possible as reservations will be made on a first come first served basis.
• Eastbound Passenger Ships – North America to Europe
Apart from two ships that are leaving Fort Lauderdale today, these are sailings for the rest of April. Queen Mary 2 and the bigger cruise ships are all now sold out and on wait list, but there is still space today on three sailings by all-inclusive ships from New York, Barbados and San Juan:
22 April-06 May – Silver Spirit – New York to Southampton (1st European call Cork) (space available). Verandah suites £4,183 per person double, £6,262 for singles (all inclusive with bar and port charges)
24 April-12 May – Star Princess – Fort Lauderdale to Copenhagen (1st European call Lisbon) **W/L**
25 April-07 May – SeaDream II – Barbados to Malaga (space available). Suite rooms from $2,800 per person, no single supplement (all inclusive with bar and port charges)
26 April-11 May – Norwegian Sun – Miami to Dover (1st European call Lisbon) ** W/L **
27 April-15 May – MSC Poesia – Fort Lauderdale to Hamburg (1st European call Lisbon) ** W/L **
29 April-08 May – Queen Mary 2 – New York to Southampton (1st call Hamburg) **W/L**
30 April-13 May – SeaDream I – San Juan to Malaga (space available). Suite rooms from $2,845 per person, no single supplement (all inclusive with bar and port charges)
01 May-15 May – Crown Princess – Fort Lauderdale to Rome (1st port Gibraltar)
**W/L** = Wait list.
We are now checking early May cruise ship sailings but Queen Mary 2’s May sailing is already sold out.
• Eastbound Cargo/Passenger Ships – North America to Europe
Hurry if you want space on cargo ships as this is all that is left on sailings from Philadelphia to Antwerp:
mv Rickmers Jakarta, planned for 02.05.at the moment – Double 513 available now
mv Rickmers Shanghai, planned for11.05 .at the moment – Single 612 and 604 and Owners cabin available now
mv Rickmers Seoul, planned for 3.05. at the moment –Double 513 available now
mv Rickmers Singapore, planned for 07.06. at the moment – Owners available now
Fares are € 960 per person in Single and Owners Double use, € 840 pp in Double 513/double use, € 1020 pp in Double 513/solo use and € 1170 pp in Owners/solo use + 195 in dues and charges in each case.
We may also have some availability on grain ships from the Great Lakes but port of disembarkation in Europe is only known at the last minute.
• Westbound Passenger Ships – Europe to North America
22-27 April – Queen Mary 2 – Southampton to New York **W/L**
15-21 May – Queen Mary 2 – Southampton to New York ** W/L **
No other ships scheduled until June 25 (Ocean Princess, Dover to New York)
• Westbound Cargo/Passenger Ships – Europe to North America
Polish Steamship Co – planned for 27 April – last cabins just booked – next sailing in about 14 days.
The weekly Antwerp-Liverpool-Philadelphia service advises as follows: “Unfortunately there are only a few places left because in some cases the shipping company will transport their own crew because they have no flights either. If you have any requests please send them and we have to see what we can do.”
We are also now checking with one other owner who has sailings scheduled for April 21 and 28 from Antwerp and/or Bremen, but do not yet have a response.
Generally speaking, those in North America are in a better position as there are several cruise ships positioning to Europe for the summer cruise season but nothing but the Queen Mary 2 and only occasional cargo ships offering space from Europe to North America. We would advise those in Europe to seek out other alternatives although we do have some cabins available to the Caribbean as there is a weekly service by 12-passenger ships to Martinique and Guadeloupe.
(Kevin Griffin is managing director of The Cruise People Ltd and a director of specialist cruise operator Culture Cruises Ltd, both of London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)