Ponant Orders A Polar Icebreaker – Other Cruise News: Magellan Goes To Mexico – Carnival Australia Does 1 Million Passengers

by Kevin Griffin

Last week Ponant announced its latest order, in this case for a 270-berth Polar Class 2 icebreaker capable of taking passengers to the North Pole. Elsewhere, Cruise & Maritime Voyages is sending its 1,250-berth Magellan to Mexico for the winter of 2019 and Carnival Australia’s seven brands booked a million passengers this year.


Ponant Orders A Polar Icebreaker

French cruise company Ponant has ordered a hybrid-electric and LNG-fuelled icebreaking cruise ship from Vard that it intends to navigate to the North Pole.

Fincantieri’s subsidiary Vard Will Build The First Arctic LNG Cruise Vessel For Ponant (Artist impression, Stirling Design Int.)

Fincantieri’s subsidiary Vard Will Build The First Arctic LNG Cruise Vessel For Ponant (Artist impression, Stirling Design Int.)

The Polar Class 2 icebreaker’s design has been developed in cooperation among Ponant, Stirling Design, Aker Arctic and Vard, the Fincantieri company. The vessel has been specifically designed to take passengers to destinations such as the geographic North Pole (90 degrees North), the Weddell Sea, the Ross Sea and Peter I Island.

The Ponant Icebreaker will be measure about 30,000 gross tons, on dimensions of 459 x 92 feet, and will cruise at about 15 knots in open water. The ship will accommodate 270 passengers in 135 staterooms, in addition to a crew of 180. She will be equipped with two helicopters in on-board hangars.

The Vard order book now includes seven expedition ships:

The orders for Crystal Endeavor, the Hapag-Lloyd pair (above) and Scenic Eclipse are all Polar Class 6 units but at Polar Class 2, the new Ponant ship will be ahead of all the others.

Where PC 6 denotes Seasonal summer and autumn operation in medium first-year ice that may include old ice inclusions, PC 2 denotes Year-round operation in moderate multi-year ice.


Magellan Goes To Mexico

Cruise & Maritime Voyages also announced last week that it will deploy its 1,250-berth Magellan to the Mexican Riviera for the winter 2019 cruise season, launching a new brand for the Mexican domestic market to be called Cruceros Marítimos Vacacionales.

The 1,250-berth Magellan

The 1,250-berth Magellan

The ship will begin week-long cruises on February 3, 2019, sailing through to the end of March from Acapulco and Manzanillo. The voyages will also be marketed internationally.

Chief Executive Christian Verhounig explained that CMV had now developed dedicated source markets and programs in the UK & Ireland, Germany, Australia and France. CMV will be the only exclusive Mexican cruise product available on the domestic leisure market. ”The market offers great potential and we plan to extend the season in 2020. This new initiative is part of the Group’s continued strategic international development plan in achieving our longer term growth objectives”.

Acapulco will be the primary gateway port serving the region of Guerrero and Mexico City. The itinerary will include calls to Manzanillo and Cabo San Lucas in the Baja California peninsula plus two days at sea. Other transit calls include Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.

John Dennis, Vice President Sales & Marketing of the CMV Fort Lauderdale-based sales office, will assume responsibility for the commercial management and business development of the Mexican operation with a maiden season capacity of 12,000 passengers.

CMV will open a dedicated sales office in Mexico City and officially launch Cruceros Marítimos Vacacionales and the 2019 Magellan program during Q1-2018 with big trade launch events planned in Mexico City, Acapulco, Guadalajara and Mazatlan, at the 2018 “Tianguis Turistico” event and a dedicated Spanish language brochure, website and online booking facility will be unveiled during the launch.

Chris Coates, Group Commercial Director, added, “With the recent growth of domestic tourism in Mexico we firmly believe that the market conditions are now suited to the launch of an authentic Mexican cruise product.”

Carnival Australia Does 1 Million Passengers

Sture Myrmell has been appointed president of Carnival Australia, responsible for all seven of the company’s cruise brands — P&O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, Holland America Line, Seabourn and P&O Cruises World Cruising.

Carnival Spirit at Sydney (Courtesy Carnival Cruise Line)

Carnival Spirit at Sydney (Courtesy Carnival Cruise Line)

In Myrmell’s new job, he replaces Ann Sherry, who stepped back as ceo earlier this year to take on the part-time position of executive chairman.

Myrmell was director of hotel operations for Princess Cruises in Los Angeles when Sherry invited him to take on the newly-created position of vp hotel operations for P&O Cruises Australia. In 2015 he became P&O Australia’s svp and on January 1, 2016, he became president.

He will report to Jan Swartz, group president Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia, while Sherry will continue in her role advocating on industry issues.

November 25th, 2015: all five of P&O Cruises Australia's fleet sailing into Sydney harbour

November 25th, 2015: all five of P&O Cruises Australia’s fleet sailing into Sydney harbour

Carnival Australia has ended 2017 with a bang, noting that its ships had welcomed an unprecedented one million Australians and New Zealanders in a 12-month period.

The milestone, which sets a new record, was relised after the line counted its passenger numbers for the period from October 2016 to October 2017. The million passengers travelled on Carnival Australia’s ships, both locally and overseas, across the company’s seven brands.

Myrmell revealed the statistic during an interview today discussing the phenomenal growth of cruising, with 1.28 million Australians taking an ocean cruise last year on all CLIA-member cruise lines. “I think we can grow that demand to reach 2 million by 2020,” said Myrmell.

(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)

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