New Cruise Line Formed

August 13, 2009

A new cruise line has formed to serve the ever crowded British Market. Cruise & Maritime Voyages will sail exclusive for British guests along the style of Fred.Olsen, Saga, and Voyages of Discovery. These lines cater to a more mature market, think Holland America. Cruise & Maritime Services International is the group starting the venture. Their approach to operations is by chartering two vessels.

One is the Marco Polo of Transocean Tours. You may remember her from the recent H1N1 outbreak. The Marco Polo is currently chartered by Transocean Tours from Marco Polo Chartering Company. The director of Cruise & Maritime Voyages stated that they have the ship for 5 years after the Transocean Tours charter runs out.

The other ship is the Ocean Countess (EX. Cunard Countess, Awani Dream II, Olympic Countess, Ruby). Cruise & Maritime Voyages chartered the ship for 2 years from Majestic International Cruises Group in Greece. Departures for both ships are said to be from Hull, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Greenock, Liverpool and Plymouth, England. The destinations are the normal Europe (North/British Isles/ Mediterranean) and the Canary Islands. No word on a North American voyages.

The voyages are to commence summer 2010.

Well this is another interesting development in the Cruise lines v. “that damn flu.”  Royal Caribbeans Voyager of the Seas pulled into Villefranche-sur-Mer, France today, along with 60 sick crew members and 2 passengers.  French officials according to this Reuters report, say the sick crew tested positive for swine flu. The report also goes on to say that there are 70 other crew members with symptoms that are being quarantined.

Now things get interesting, Gene Sloan over at Cruise Log scored an interview with RCI about this:

Cynthia Martinez tells USA TODAY that 62 crew members and two passenger on board the Voyager of the Seas are experiencing cold and flu-like symptoms…  the sick passengers and crew have tested negative for influenza A. H1N1 is a type of Influenza A…Martinez notes the line can’t test for H1N1 on board ships as that can only be done in a lab.

Now the question is who to beleive: RCI, who have had a massive stock drop and don’t what ANY publicity over even a false alarm. Or the French officials,  who don’t want a repeat of the Scotland incident.