The Amerikalinjen Hotel, Oslo – Other Cruise News – Costa Venezia Being Built For China – Pampa Cruises In Argentina
by Kevin Griffin
Every once in a while a hotel opens somewhere that might appeal to travellers by sea. This week we examine Oslo’s The Amerikalinja, once the headquarters of the Norwegian America Line. Elsewhere, christenening ceremonies have been scheduled for the new Chinese-based Costa Venezia for Trieste in early March. And next month sees the introduction by Pampa Cruises of Argentina of its 510-berth Arrecife, which has just been acquired from owners in Cyprus.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
The Amerikalinjen Hotel, Oslo
Occasionally a new hotel opens that would be of special interest to passengers departing on a cruise, and following by twenty-five years the renovation of the old Holland America Line headquarters in Rotterdam into the Hotel New York, the time has now arrived for the same to happen in Oslo.
The former Norwegian America Line building is being converted into Amerikalinjen, an upmarket high-end luxury boutique hotel.
This iconic building, built in 1915, was once the home of the Norwegian America Line, a company that operated ships carrying passengers, tourists, mail and emigrants between Norway and America.
Now, more than a century later, in March 2019, the edifice that was once the starting point of so many hopeful Norwegian emigrants, boarding passenger ships to America, will become Amerikalinjen, a new Oslo hotel with a significant seafaring legacy.
The early history of this building is tied to emigration. The line’s first voyage, with 1,800 emigrants, was undertaken in 1913 by the 10,699-ton Norwegian America Line ship Kristianiafjord, sailing from Oslo to New York. It is said that over 900,000 emigrants travelled on the Norwegian America Line, seeking new challenges in America.
A third Norwegian America ship, the 12,977-ton Stavangerjord, arrived in 1917, and kept the same name for forty-seven years, until to her scrapping in 1964. Only the Queen Elizabeth 2, at forty-nine years in service, has beat that record under the same name.
Later in the 20th century, the building became the offices of an exclusive cruise brand, Norwegian America Cruises, which was acquired by Cunard Line in 1984.
Amerikalinjen’s venerable headquarters lie near the Opera, shopping in Kvadraturen, Oslo Central Station and the nightlife on Youngstorget, and of course the Oslo waterfront.
All rooms have high ceilings and large windows, comfortable heavenly beds and a desk, and the bathrooms have walk-in showers.
The new 122-room hotel is being decorated by Helsinki-based interior design firm Puroplan, with the top Triton Suite having a balcony overlooking the Opera.
The restaurants and bars will include the Atlas Brasserie and Café, an all-day dining destination, while Pier 42, named after Norwegian America’s terminal in New York will serve up craft cocktails and the Gustav Club will offer live jazz music, dancing and drinks.
The Amerikalinjen and its Norwegian American Line link will thus be reminiscent of Rotterdam’s 72-room Hotel New York, which was intalled in the former headquarters of Holland America Line in 1993.
The Hotel New York building dates back to 1901 however.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
Costa Venezia Being Built For China
The naming ceremony for Costa Venezia will be held in Trieste on March 1, 2019. The ship, currently under construction at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard, is a Costa Cruises vessel designed to offer the best of Italy to the Chinese market.
Built specifically for the Chinese cruise market, the 4,032-berth Costa Venezia, first of Costa’s “Vista” class ships, will be similar in appearance, except for her Costa paint pot funnel, to Carnival Cruise Line’s “Vista” class ships.
The Costa Venezia is in fact being built on the same platform, with accommodations with patios that open up to the Deck 5 promenade, a large water park, covered lido deck pool, sports deck with ropes course, mini golf and basketball and a garden retreat forward.
The new 135,000-ton Costa Venezia will sail varied itineraries throughout Asia, sailing from Shanghai and from Hong Kong.
Costa Venezia is part of an overall expansion plan that will see seven new ships delivered to the Costa Group by 2023, for a total investment of over 6 billion euros. Costa Venezia will be the biggest ship ever introduced to the Chinese market by Costa. It will offer a series of innovations designed specifically for Chinese clients, introducing guests to Italian culture, style and taste, starting with interiors inspired by the city of Venice.
Pampa Cruises In Argentina
South America’s first local year-round cruise operation is set to start next month as Pampa Cruises will start cruise service in January.
The Argentina-based cruise line has acquired the 510-berth Salamis Filoxenia, which will arrive in South America later this month. The Finnish-built ex-Van Gogh has just been drydocked in Greece and will be renamed Arrecife.
The Arrecife will sail thirty-three cruises from Recife from January to June, ranging from 3- to 6-nights, calling on Fernando de Noronha archipelago. Other ports will include Cabedelo, Natal and Maceió. All ports are relatively unique when compared to those served by other operators in South America.
The first cruise is planned for to leave Recife on January 23, 2019. Repositioning cruises are set for June, departing from Recife and Santos as the vessel moves to Buenos Aires for her summer program.
Launched in 1975 as the Gruziya, the Arrecife was built as a cruise ferry. In the 1980s she was converted to full-time cruising and she was last refurbished in 2002. The vessel was acquired by the Cyprus-based Salamis Cruise Line in 2009 and will fly the Bahamian flag.
(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)