SeaDream’s Caribbean Cruises Start In November – Other Cruise News: Tradewind Voyages Takes Over Flying Clipper – Hope Yet For Cruise & Maritime Voyages?
by Kevin Griffin
Last week saw the introduction, by SeaDream, of its planned new 2020-21 Caribbean season from Barbados. Also, the Croatian-built former Flying Clipper has found a new home in Tradewind Voyages. And CMV’s former ceo is involved in an effort to revive the now-defunct cruise line.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
SeaDream’s Caribbean Cruises Start In November
After a short summer season in Norway, the luxury cruise line SeaDream Yacht Club plans to resume sailing in the Caribbean in November — the only luxury cruise line, and almost the only cruise line to do so.
Other lines have put all their cruises from the US “on pause,” a euphemism for who knows what but in response to the CDC’S “stop sail” program whereby nearly all cruises have been banned from US ports until well after the US election on November 3, or any recount if necessary.
Some ships will not sail until after Christmas and others into January 2021.
In a seminar on Thursday, SeaDream executives outlined what they learnt cruising in Norway this summer and foretold what the new Caribbean season could look like. Despite a Covid-19 scare from a departed guest in August, the Norway cruises were completed without an outbreak.
The line is developing a new series of 7-night cruises from Barbados. Ports of call would include St Vincent & the Grenadines and Grenada. These islands have been chosen because they are friendly to lines such as SeaDream, which operates the 100-berth cruising yachts SeaDream I and SeaDream II.
Emilio Freeman, vice president of destinations, said “We want to go some place that we’re welcome.”
The Caribbean schedule is not without its challenges.
US passengers coming to Barbados might have to take as many as three Covid-19 tests before boarding ship, said Andreas Brynestad, SeaDream Executive Vice President. The Barbados government requires anyone entering the country to present a negative Covid-19 test. People from high-risk countries such as the US will most likely have to take a second test once they land in Barbados. And finally, SeaDream plans to test everyone again before embarkation.
The line will likely conduct temperature checks upon passengers returning to ships in port. But as of now, does not plan to restrict passengers going ashore on their own. Extensive testing and changing realities add uncertainty for different nationalities. But even if Americans don’t book in high numbers, Barbados has enough flights from markets such as the UK and Canada that a successful season could be possible without them, Brynestad said.
The line discovered with its Norwegian sailings this summer that it’s possible to develop new customer bases in a hurry.
SeaDream has instituted numerous health and safety protocols. Among them are luggage sanitation, no touching such as hugs or handshakes, no self-serve buffets, and social distancing in the bars and lounges, with seats marked off. In addition, public areas will be disinfected with fogger and a special UV light used for room sanitization. The cabins each also have their own air system so there is no recirculated air.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
Tradewind Voyages Takes Over The Flying Clipper
A new UK-based company called Tradewind Voyages has been formed to market the former Flying Clipper.
The line new will operate the newly-renamed Golden Horizon, the world’s largest square-rigged sailing vessel. The ship, which will operate under charter, will carry 272 passengers. Built at an estimated cost of $100 million, she is said to be not only the largest but also the most advanced sailing vessel in the world.
The vessel was completed for but never delivered to Star Clippers.
Tradewind Voyages will start offering ex-UK voyages from May to August 2021. In total, nine voyages will be offered from the UK with seven departures from Harwich and two from Glasgow. Northern European itineraries will feature Denmark, Iceland, the Norwegian Fjords and the Baltic.
From September 2021, Golden Horizon is scheduled to travel east through Suez and follow the Maritime Silk Route to Jakarta, and on to Bali. Voyages in late 2021 and into 2022 will feature Australia, the Indian Ocean, Japan, Alaska, the Americas and the Pacific Islands.
Tradewind Voyages ceo Stuart McQuaker is the former chief operating officer of Saga Cruises. Tradewind Voyages also announced it was planning to add additional ships to the fleet over the coming years, with the design process already underway.
Hope Yet For Cruise & Maritime Voyages?
Go to the former CMV website today an you will find a notice: “We are sorry to inform you that South Quay Travel Limited (“SQTL”) – which traded under the name Cruise & Maritime Voyages – was placed into administration on 20 July 2020. Paul Williams, Phil Dakin and Edward Bines of Duff & Phelps Ltd. were appointed Joint Administrators of SQTL. At present the Administrators are evaluating SQTL’s financial position.”
But now, former boss Christian Verhounig has brought the line’s customer database and booking systems, in a big to get things going again. On August 28 came the news that “the administrators of insolvent Cruise & Maritime Voyages confirmed the sale of UK commercial assets to CVI Group Limited (CVI), a company owned by Christian Verhounig, former chief executive of CMV.”
The assets include customer databases; computer systems, including websites and booking systems; office furniture and equipment; information technology infrastructure; intellectual property and motor vehicles.
The administrator in charge of CMV, Duff & Phelps, has sought to sell the business and assets of CMV and its sister companies, however, attempts were unsuccessful.
Joint administrator at Duff & Phelps Peter Williams said: “We have worked hard since being appointed to secure a sale of the business and assets of the companies. Regrettably, given the devastating impact of the global pandemic on the entire travel industry, with a focus on the leisure cruise sector, this has not been possible ….”
“However, I strongly believe that this asset sale not only represents the best value for the companies’ creditors that was achievable in challenging market conditions, but also provides an opportunity for CVI, through its owner Christian Verhounig, to continue to pursue funding opportunities to potentially relaunch CMV’s unique cruise operations to its dedicated customers at some point in the future.”
Former boss Verhounig said ,“the global pandemic had a devastating impact on CMV’s once-flourishing, expanding and profitable business. Having developed a much-loved brand over the past decade and the hugely popular value-based niche no-fly cruise product, we have been simply overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and pleased to re-launch the business. This endorsement across the industry and customer base alike has been a rich source of encouragement and together with my previous management team, we are working hard to plug the huge market gap vacated by CMV’s untimely insolvency.”
(Kevin Griffin is managing director of The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)