Silversea Cruises is expanding its presence in the adventure tourism sector by acquiring an Ecuadorian tourism company and ship.
The deal will allow the ultra luxury line to add the Galapagos Islands to its list of destinations. The acquisition of Canodros for an undisclosed sum brings with it the 100-passenger ship Galapagos Explorer II.
The Galapagos vessel will get a major overhaul in September 2013, after which it will be renamed.
In the meantime, it will continue sailing its planned cruises under the operation of Canodros. Itinerary information beyond 2012 was not available, a spokeswoman said.
The line has made no secret of its desire to add a second expedition ship to its fleet to complement existing vessel Silver Explorer due to passenger demand.
Twelve new ports of call have been introduced by Fred Olsen Cruise Lines as it expands its ex-UK sailings for next year.
Destinations in Japan, Burma, Australia, Hawaii, Mexico and Iceland are among those added to the line’s 2013-14 Worldwide Cruises brochure which goes on sale on June 27.
The company’s four ships - Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch - will cover 240 different ports in 77 countries and islands, worldwide.
Itineraries range from two-night mini-cruises to the line’s longest-ever voyage, a 114-night world cruise by Black Watch in January 2014. Fred Olsen confirmed the addition of departures from Belfast, Harwich and Liverpool to its list of UK ports as well as winter Canary Islands fly-cruises on Braemar.
Prices start at £199 per person for a two-night mini cruise on Boudicca from Belfast to Liverpool on October 15, 2013. World cruise prices lead in at £9,399 for the 114-night sailing from Southampton on January 14, 2014.
Sales and marketing director Nathan Philpot said: “Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is renowned for offering a wide choice of regional ex-UK departures, and for 2013/14 there will be an even greater choice than ever, with the addition of
three new convenient departure ports: Belfast, Harwich, and a welcome return to Liverpool.
“These ports join the existing line-up of Dover, Southampton, Portsmouth, Newcastle (Port of Tyne), Greenock (Glasgow) and Rosyth (Edinburgh), meaning that 90% of the UK population will be within an hour’s drive of a Fred Olsen departure port.”
Cruise lines have started lining up to take advantage of the decision to allow Liverpool to become a cruise turnaround port.
Fred Olsen said it would be basing its vessel Boudicca in the city next year for spring and summer, with 10 cruises on offer for a number of worldwide itineraries between April and August 2013.
Nathan Philpot, sales and marketing director for Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “This is a great opportunity for the city of Liverpool to boost its status as a major departure port in the UK.
“It also benefits Fred Olen and other cruise operators, as it will improve the accessibility of the port by eliminating locks and increasing the tidal window available to cruise ships.”
Meanwhile, Cruise & Maritime Voyages said it would be the first cruise line to use the new facilities at Liverpool’s Pier Head, with Ocean Countess sailing from the port this Summer.
The largest ship in Carnival Cruise Line’s European fleet has entered service in the Mediterranean.
The 130,000-tonne Carnival Breeze set sail on its inaugural 12-day cruise from Venice to Barcelona yesterday with a full capacity of 3,690 passengers.
The flagship will run a series of 12-day cruises from Barcelona until October 25 when it relocates to Miami for year-round six and eight-day Caribbean cruises from November 24.
Breeze, the 24th ‘fun ship’ in the Carnival Cruise Lines fleet, includes a number of new features.
Multi-dimensional special effects that stimulate viewers’ senses to make them feel as if they are part of a film feature in the Thrill Theatre.
It is the first ship in the fleet to feature all of the entertainment elements of the line’s ‘Fun Ship 2.0’ enhancement initiative.
These include Hasbro, The Game Show, with larger than life adaptations of the brand’s board games, and Playlist Productions, which combines live performances with high-tech LED staging and special effects.
Water slides and a 300-gallon drenching bucket feature as part of the WaterWorks on deck while SportSquare includes a suspended ropes course, miniature golf course and an outdoor fitness area complete with exercise equipment and full running track.
New dining options include Bonsai Sushi, the line’s first full-service sushi restaurant, a free open-air barbecue called Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ, and The Comfort Kitchen, a casual poolside spot for American-style comfort food.
Other choices range from Guy’s Burger Joint, developed with American Food Network personality Guy Fieri, to the Mexican-themed BlueIguana Cantina and Cucina del Capitano, a family-style Italian restaurant.
President and chief executive Gerry Cahill said: “Carnival Breeze represents the continued evolution of our product, offering a huge array of branded experiences for our guests and inviting public spaces each with its own personality and character, all enhanced by the spirited fun that makes a Carnival cruise so memorable.”