Voyages To Antiquity Cancels Ten Cruises – Other Cruise News: Saga Pearl II Sold – More Australian Cargo-Passenger Voyages

by Kevin Griffin

Last week Voyages to Antiquity was forced to cancel ten summer cruises due to engine trouble with their sole ship, Aegean Odyssey. Working With Ponant, Culture Cruises offered to rebook affected passengers on eight cruises by the French line. Elsewhere came the announcement that Saga had sold its Saga Pearl II to owners in the British Virgin Islands. And charters on three passenger-carrying container ships to Australia and New Zealand have been extended.


Voyages To Antiquity Cancels Ten Cruises

On Tuesday April 30, Voyages to Antiquity informed guests that it had been forced to cancel ten cruises aboard the 384-berth Aegean Odyssey this spring and summer while repairs are made to her starboard engine.

The Aegean Odyssey

The Aegean Odyssey

According to a release from Voyages to Antiquity, “All guests affected by these cancellations are being contacted and will be provided with a full refund of payments made.”
“We are working closely with our trade partners and doing everything possible to minimise disruption. Our current Athens to Athens round trip Greek Islands cruise which departed Athens on 26 April 2019 has continued as planned”.

“Voyages to Antiquity would like to apologise for the inconvenience these cancellations will cause to our guests. The mechanical issue experienced was unavoidable and unforeseeable.”

Newcomer Culture Cruises of London is offering to rebook cancelled Voyages to Antiquity passengers at 5% off Ponant rates as a “Helping Hand Fare.” Culture Cruises logo (Courtesy Culture Cruises)

Voyage to Antiquity Confirmations are required to qualify, and intending passengers need to act quickly as some Ponant departures have only three or four cabins left and others are already full.
Summarised below are the affected Voyages to Antiquity voyages and the substitute cruises on Ponant before offered by Culture Cruises.

All bookings are subject to availability.

Voyages to Antiquity: Cancelled Voyages by the Aegean Odyssey

• May 2, 2019 – The Black Sea & Greek Islands (Athens to Athens, 14 days)
• May 13, 2019 – Classical Greece & Southern Italy (Athens to Rome, 15 days)
• May 23, 2019 – Renaissance Italy & Historic Islands (Rome to Seville, 17 days)
• June 4, 2019 – European Connoisseur (Seville to London, 15 days)
• June 18, 2019 – Land of the Midnight Sun (London to Copenhagen, 16 days)
• July 3, 2019 – Baltic Capitals & St Petersburg (Copenhagen to Copenhagen, 14 days)
• July 16, 2019 – The Norwegian Fjords (Copenhagen to London, 15 days)
• July 30, 2019 – Iceland, Faroes & Shetlands (London to London, 16 days)
• August 14, 2019 – The Three Rivers (London to Lisbon, 15 days)
• August 26, 2019 – Mediterranean Odyssey (Lisbon to Rome, 15 days)

Ponant Le Champlain tied up at Olden, Norway as guests kayak in the fjord (Photo credit: Roderick Eime)

Ponant Le Champlain tied up at Olden, Norway as guests kayak in the fjord (Photo credit: Roderick Eime)

Ponant Cruises: Possible Substitute Voyages

• May 14, 2019 – Green & Gentle Lands (London to Bergen, Le Boreal, 9 days from £2,604) *
• June 6, 2019 – Iberian Shores (Barcelona to Lisbon, Le Bougainville, 8 days from £3,243)
• May 27, 2019 – Iceland Voyage (Bergen to Reykjavik, Le Champlain, 4 days from £892)
• May 30, 2019 – Icelandic Mosaic (Reykjavik to Reykjavik, Le Champlain, 8 days from £4,349)
• July 1, 2019 – Treasures of the Adriatic (Athens to Venice, Le Lyrial, 8 days from £3,002)
• July 15, 2019 – The Mediterranean World (Rome to Athens, Le Lyrial, 8 days from £3,183)
• August 12, 2019 – Mediterranean Nature (Athens to Rome, Le Lyrial, 8 days from £3,002)
• Sept 20, 2019 – A Musical Odyssey (Athens to Rome, Le Bougainville, 8 days from £3,603)

* No single supplement
For further details, affected passengers can call Culture Cruises in London on 020 7660 1450 or email with the heading Helping Hand.

Following her rather lengthy drydocking, the Aegean Odyssey will return to service in time to fulfil the last four cruises that had been scheduled for 2019, starting with the Rome-Venice and associated future Grand Voyage itineraries departing from September 7.


Saga Pearl II Sold

The Saga Pearl II (Dec. 2013, photo Ivan T. at Wikipedia)

The Saga Pearl II (Dec. 2013, photo Ivan T. at Wikipedia)

The 456-berth Saga Pearl II, which is being replaced by then new 999-berth Spirit of Discovery, Saga’s first newbuilding, has been sold to Aqua Explorer Holdings, based in the British Virgin Islands. She is now at the Greek port of Perama.

The popular ship’s last voyage was from Portsmouth on a 54-day cruise to South Africa and return. South Africa had in fact been the ship’s first home, where as the Astor she ran from Cape Town to the UK.

She had operated under several names, after Astor, as the Arkona, Astoria, Saga Pearl II, Quest for Adventure and Saga Pearl II once again.

The The Nordpacific (Copyright Brian Saunders)

The The Nordpacific (Copyright Brian Saunders)

More Australian Cargo-Passenger Voyages

Two new ships joined CMA CGM‘s Pacific Australia Direct route this spring and their charters have now been extended, meaning double cabins may soon be available from London Gateway terminal to Australia and New Zealand.

The Nordpacific (built 2018) and Nordserena (2016) have been joined by sister ship Nordmaple (2018).

The CMA CGM’s Pacific Australia Direct route

The CMA CGM’s Pacific Australia Direct route

All three ships are owned by Reederei Nord and have a forward-facing Owners cabin and table tennis, a fitness room and outside swimming pool.

The itinerary for the 91-day full round voyage is London – Dunkirk – Le Havre – New York – Savannah – Cartagena (Colombia) – Panama Canal – Papeete (Tahiti) – Noumea (New Caledonia) – Brisbane – Sydney – Melbourne, with return by way of Nelson – Tauranga – Panama Canal – Punta Manzanillo (Panama) – Savannah – Philadelphia – Zeebrugge – Rotterdam – London. Point-to-point bookings can also be accepted.

(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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