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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Author & Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer

Please Note: Cruise-Australia and my other related maritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Please be assured that I am NOT associated with any cruise company or any travel or cruise agency, etc! The author has been in the Passenger Shipping industry for over sixty years and although I am now retired, but I am delighted to continue to share my vast knowledge with those who love to take their vacation by sea! Thus I continue to write on worthy Cruise Companies and their wonderful ships, be these ships small or large in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure, but more so to ensure that you, my wonderful readers, will make the best-informed choice possible on which ship will be just right for you!

 

Please Note: our Main-Page is located at … Cruise Australia.com

 

Cruise Companies and their Ships

General details on each ship and the author’s thoughts

 

PART B - 6 Star Cruise Lines: This is an ever-growing list.

SeaDeam Yacht Club:

Here is another recommended Luxury product. Why? This I believe is one of the finest cruise vacation experiences in the world, and it is as simple as that!

SeaDream Yacht Club

SeaDream Yachts offers something very different, for; “It is not just Cruising but Yachting”. This is a unique company that is completely unlike any other cruise operator in the world and in the Berlitz 2019 “SeaDream Yacht Club” has been rated by Berlitz as the Number One small ship cruise operator in the world! SeaDream Yachts operates just two luxurious yet intimate style Yachts perfect for those who are connoisseurs of cruising and travelling prefer these yachts because of their relaxed style and the ultimate in personalised service. But what I hear most is “We love these Yachts for their luxury combined with a relaxed atmosphere and they are never formal.” However, when on the beach would you like some Caviar and Champagne? Be assured, it will be there! For that is what the SeaDream Yachts style of cruising is all about as it offers the ultimate of perfection of luxury small ship Yachting! Comment: If you do go on a SeaDeam Yachts experience and drift away on one of their Heavenly voyages, be assured you will come home completely enriched and ready to go again as over 60% of passengers do!

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PART B - 6 Star Cruise Lines: This is an ever-growing list.

 Scenic Ocean Cruises:

MV Scenic Eclipse             

There is the option for a second ship to be delivered in June 2019 and the Scenic Eclipse will join Scenic Group’s all inclusive luxury fleet of 21 River Cruise ships that sail throughout Europe, Russia and South East Asia! The Scenic Eclipse is 16,500 GRT, and accommodates just 228 guests having 114 luxury Suites each with a verandah, and the fare is completely all inclusive fare including full butler service for every passenger 24 hours per day! This will be the world most advanced, green and safest ship, as well as the best equipped, read this feature and discover why? Comment: This is one of a kind exploration small ship, and without doubt the most advanced in the world, as well as the most luxurious! Do not miss this boat!

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The Yachts of Seabourn:

Seabourn is a highly awarded luxury cruise line offering All-Suite accommodation and an all inclusive fares!

Seabourn

This much awarded Cruise Line offers luxurious and intimate 6 Star All-Suite ships for those who demand nothing but the best! All ships are spacious yet they tend to have relatively small guest occupancy, and thus they retain that special intimate atmosphere combined with a very high standard, as is expected from a luxury Cruise Line! Comment: Once you have paid your fare you will cruise in luxury and everything is included!

Seabourn Venture

This is Seabourn’s new luxury Expedition Ship due in June 2021, with her as yet un-named sister to follow a year later. This two page feature covers all her details and she will also feature two submarines. Page 1 also features ample interior images as well as details of her maiden series of voyages for 2021 & 2022, whilst Page 2 contains her Deck Plan.

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Viking Ocean Cruises:

MV Viking Star                 

Viking Ocean Cruises is a company that has been at the forefront of the ultimate luxury European, Eastern European, Egyptian and Asian River Cruising for many years. The company operates some 55 ships and just in the past year it has launched some 18 new ships and has a further 12 new ships on order and now three super luxury Six Star plus, 47,800 GRT Cruise ships; the MV Viking Star launched on June 23, 2014 and she will commenced cruising in 2015 to high acclaim! She has been joined by her identical sisters the MV Viking Sea, Viking Sky, Viking Sun, Viking Orion and the Viking Jupiter. You will find no Casino’s here nor any children as these are ultra luxury adult cruise & exploration ships! Comment: Let me just say that these luxury ships are simple perfection in every way possible. Highly recommended!

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PART D – 5½ Star Cruise Lines:

Holland America Line:

This is my personal favourite Cruise Company to sail with in addition Holland America Line (HAL) is also one of the most awarded Cruise Company’s! HAL is famed for having “The Spotless Fleet” and they have been in operation since 1873, thus to date (2019) for a good 146 years! In addition, unlike the vast majority of ships around the world, including British ships that are registered in ports of convenience, like the QM2 which is registered in Hamilton Bermuda, but HAL ships have and will always be registered in Rotterdam Holland the place where the company was born! This deluxe 5 ½ Star company gives the very best that is on offer and HAL known for out doing almost every other larger ship cruise company’s! The ms Noordam has made Sydney home from October to April annually, however the very popular Oosterdam is returning once again - more below!

Holland America Line History

This is the new and updated version and it covers the history of Holland America Line HAL and it also looks at their earlier beginnings, from the rather simple chartered ship in 1872, because their new liner SS Rotterdam (I) had been delayed, to the great SS Nieuw Amsterdam of 1938, and the spectacular and popular SS Rotterdam V. Thus the first page covers 1872 to 2000, when the Rotterdam was laid up by Premier Cruises, then named Rembrandt! Page Two coverers the ships from 1993 to the ship due in 2015! But the story continues with many new builds well into the future! Sadly due to Covid-19 most of the S (Statendam) and R (Rotterdam) Class ships have been disposed.

ms Oosterdam 2014 Review

I have a new Pacific Cruise Review based on my 14-day cruise from Sydney December 5 to the 19th. Due to current health reason, I am slowly adding parts of this review and Page One is almost completed. Thus it is wise to check this interesting review, which is very different to all others, on a regular basis. I can say here that Holland America and the Oosterdam crew provided a superb cruise experience and she is certainly a beautiful ship. However, in 2005 she will be replaced by the newer sister the ms Noordam and you will have noted a new feature on her above.

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PART E - 5½ to 4½ Star Cruise Lines & Smaller Luxury Super Yachts:

Emerald Yacht Cruises:

Emerald-Azzurra:

Disxvcover the impressive 110 m long new super luxury yacht owned by “Emerald Yacht Cruises” (part of the all Australian “Scenic Group”) and believe me, she is spectacular in so many ways and she will exceed your ocean cruising expectations. The Emerald Azzurra has just 50 magnificent Suites and fine Staterooms thus she accommodates only 100 guests, thus she offers so much more space throughout her fine facilities aboard this glamorous yacht than most others. There are many spaces to discover and there is always a secluded spot to read a good book, and to enjoy magnificent views of the unspoilt landscapes, or sit and meet your fellow guests at one of the fine meeting spots on board. She also has two elevators (lifts) and they serve all decks onboard, unlike on most other ships that always miss out on their top viewing deck, etc.

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Cunard Line:

Queen Mary 2

It is well known that she is certainly not my favourite ship, externally she is hideous, an enlarged Carnival Vista Class ship, which has a tacked on phoney rounded stern, black painted in pretend decks, attempting to make her look a little like the Grand Old Queen of the Ocean the RMS Queen Mary, but the QM2 is a fake! However internally she is indeed a deluxe floating hotel and offers the very best of everything at a big price of course. Also remember, when you sail with Cunard you join the British “Class” system, for there are three classes on board, pending on your accommodation, which will have you dinning in your separate Restaurant, The super luxury class dines in the Queen Grill, Luxury class in the Princess Grill (both on Deck 7), and the rest dines in the Britannia Restaurant at the bottom of the ship, although it is a big and a beautiful Restaurant! The Grill classes also have their own lounges and Bar as well as their private deck spaces, etc.

Comment: What you do need to know before you decide book on any Cunard cruise is that you better pack your tuxedo and dinner suits and cumber bands, and ladies your finest evening gowns and I do mean full length ones, not just a cocktail dress, as well as your finest jewellery, for believe me there will be diamonds, rubies, sapphires and pearls galore on a Cunard ship, as it is designed for the wealthy. Cunard has many formal nights every single week and they are compulsory. In fact if you are not dressed correctly, you are not permitted to enter the restaurant, or many public venues, if you did manage to get in, believe me, you will be soon shown the door! Also Note: When it is not formal it is semi formal, which means long trousers, collar and tie as well as a jacket, and ladies a cocktail dress is now suitable. But when in port, or on a fancy dress night or another casual entertainment night, it will be “smart casual” meaning slacks and an open neck shirt, and a casual dress. But, if three classes and all those formal and semi formal nights is not for you, just stay far away from joining a Cunard cruise!

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Kudanil Explorer Yacht:

Kudanil Explorer

A new and exciting Indonesian ultra luxury Motor Yacht, the “Kudanil Explorer” which offers nautical voyages through the rarely visited regions of Indonesia and past passengers have told me that “this cruise was truly unique and she offered some of the best service and cuisine, we have ever experienced!”

Aqua Expeditions:

Aqua Blu

This recently refurbished super luxury 5 Star Expedition Yacht “Aqua Blue” has interiors that are beyond exceptional, and she offers an amazingly high quality service, being a one to one crew-to-guest ratio for her 30 Guests all in spacious Suites. She explores some of the most beautiful and exotic undiscovered coastal destinations of East Indonesia, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage site of “Komodo National Park.” M/Y Aqua Blu made her maiden voyage on November 16, 2019. Comment: One of her Guests late last year wrote: “All I can say is this, to sail on an Aqua Blu voyage; you can believe me you will experience a cruise adventure of the Indonesian Islands that will be unlike any you will have ever experienced. It is a delight beyond any other”.

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Coral Expeditions (Australia):

Coral Expeditions

Brand new multi-page feature is now online, covering all of “Coral Expeditions” remarkable four small expedition ships! “Coral Expeditions” was established in 1983 and today this company has become one of Australia’s most awarded “Expedition Cruise Operators.” The company was the first to operate environmentally sensitive cruises around the Great Barrier Reef. Then in 2005 it operated its first ocean going small-cruise ship named the “Coral Discoverer”, which received a comprehensive refurbishment and partial rebuild in 2016 and she continued to operate cruises around the Kimberley’s, to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Indonesian Island, etc. Then in 2019 a brand new 5,599-tonne ship joined the fleet named “Coral Adventurer”. Thus Coral Expeditions are able to offer expedition cruises to the World Heritage-listed “Great Barrier Reef” on their popular ship the Coral Expeditions II, and on their ocean going ships to the famed Kimberley region, Cape York and Arnhem Land, as well as exotic Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, the Islands of the South Pacific, Tasmania, New Zealand, South East Asia and Indian Ocean cruises and so much more. The three larger ships are all SOLAS certified, and the Coral Discoverer, Adventurer and Geographer have active stabilisers. Comment: “Coral Expeditions” is Cruise-Australia’s N° 1 Small Cruise Operator of 2019!

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APT Small Ship Cruising:

Small ship expedition Cruising is all about venturing further, seeing more, and doing more, but also enjoying great food, wine and being pampered along the way. These ships mostly stay close to the coastline, which means there will be no long days spent at sea and more time spent exploring new and exciting places. Rise each morning to a new adventure – a remote island to explore or a sprawling reef to discover. In the evening, kick back on board with your favourite drink and a long, decadent meal and enjoy the entertainment onboard.

APT’s three small expedition ships are indeed small luxury ships that offers great style and all the comforts of a large cruise ship, but they are intimate with just 99 to 118 guests and all are looked after by a crew of 75, who are highly experienced and genuinely friendly. The ships, “Caledonian Sky”, “Island Sky” and “Hebridean Sky” have beautiful Lounges, Bars, a Library, Gym as well as an elegant Dining Room. Cuisine and service on these ships have been hailed by her past passengers, stating as being “Simply outstanding and we gave it 5 Stars.” Their Suites are all exceptionally spacious as well all being outside, many with sliding glass doors to balconies, or with large windows, whilst the lowest grade is 244 square feet and have from 3 to 4 good sized portholes. All Suites have either a separate lounge or sitting area and all having en-suite bathrooms stocked with the fines branded toiletries.

I will also take you on a Deck-by-Deck tour of each ship, which is accompanied by relevant photographs on each of their five decks..

MS Caledonian Sky MS Island Sky and MS Hebridean Sky.

 

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The Majestic Line:

Andy Thoms and Ken Grant who have lived and sailed throughout the west-coast of Scotland and the many beautiful Islands and the many lochs, purchased two 1972 built, but laid up Irish timber hulled herring trawlers, one in 2004 and the second in 2017. Both were completely stripped and lovingly refitted into amazingly comfortable small-cruise-ships for just 11 guests maximum. In 2004 the M/V Glen Massan commenced to cruise the west-coast and Islands and the Lochs of Scotland and she was followed up in 2006 by the M/V Glen Tarsan. These two vessels were such a massive success not just because for the magnificent destination, but the superior cuisine served on board, with the freshest food, which passengers simply loved. The crew of four were acclaimed for their friendliness, knowledge and always being ready to call guests out on deck to see whales, porpoises, or other land based special views. All cabins have private facilities. Then in 2016 and 2019, two newly constructed steel hulled vessels joined the fleet the M/V Glen Etive and Glen Shiel respectively, these having additional facilities. Many repeat passengers tend to prefer the older vessels, but will sail on the new ships as they do operate on longer and new destinations.

Comment: I highly recommend “The Majestic Line” for it is an amazing cruise experience with a difference, and all past guests rate it 5-Star and as “one of our best cruise experience ever!

The Majestic Line

A two page feature that contains an Introduction, the early ships the M/V Glenn Massan & Glen Tarsan. There is also a “Food & Dining on Board” feature, and a Cruise Review, including one from TV presenter June McDonald on Page One. Whilst Page Two covers the M/V Glen Etive & Glen Shiel and much more.

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Star Clippers:

Royal Clipper

Come and discover some of the finest and some of the most refined interiors imaginable and all that on a 5,061-ton luxury sailing yacht Royal Clipper. She accommodates just 226 passengers in glamorous style. The ship has an elegant three-deck atrium that graces the heart of the vessel and it is located directly above her Restaurant on Commodore Deck. Cuisine on Star Clippers is famed to be the very best anywhere and all reports I have received over the years on this ship and the other clippers, it just cannot be faulted! Comment: This is cruising where dreams come true, as you sail under the sails, combined with the best of service, cuisine, and supreme venues and accommodations!

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Part F - 4½ Star Cruise Lines:

P&O World Cruises (UK):

MV Aurora

The superbly built MV Aurora, completed in 2000 and I joined her maiden World Voyage in 2001 is an excellent ship! However in December 2014 she will receive a £26 million pound refit and this will see her beautifully upgraded to an even better ship! Includes my thoughts of my voyages in brief and countless photographs! Comment: Enjoyed my Line voyage from Brisbane to Southampton and San Francisco to Sydney, great memories!

P&O UK Cruise Ships

A complete review of all the P&O ships, complete with photographs of each ship! Please Note: Sadly, the much loved MV Oriana has been sold to CTS or “China Travel Service” and COSCO, “China Ocean Shipping Company” and they have taken delivery of her in August 2019. V-Ships Leisure has been awarded the contract to handle both technical and her hotel operation management. The Chinese cruise trade has simply exploded over the last years!

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Part G - 4½ to 3½ Star Cruise Lines:

Aranui Cruises - Tahiti:

MV Aranui 5

Although the popular current passenger-freighter, the MV Aranui 3 has been successfully operating for 12 years, but in January 2016 the all new luxurious MV Aranui 5 will offer well over five times the number the private balcony staterooms than the older ship, in fact 60 out of her 103 suites and staterooms will have a balcony. Her public rooms, dining facilities and recreational facilities are both luxurious and offer the very best of French and international cuisine as well as offering ample deck space, a swimming pool, a gym as well as anything a full cruise ship can offer! Enter my new feature and be amazed at these tropical voyages from Papéeté sailing to countless ports and small villages around the remote Tuamotu and Marquesas archipelago’s. Comment: Highly recommended, but being French, but somewhat expensive!

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Albatros Expeditions:

MV Ocean Atlantic

This beautifully refurbished Expedition Ship with an international Ice Class Rating of 1B offers an excellent standard and although she is not in the luxury class, “she does offer a 3½ to 4 Star value experience, making Antarctica more accessible to many more adventurers than ever before”. It is well known that most other expedition ships tend to be 5 to a 6 Star ultra luxury rating, and thus they come at an extremely high fare. Ocean Atlantic’s Public Venues and Accommodations are stylishly appointed, and her suites are especially spacious, most of her accommodations are outside, with just six very spacious inside cabins, all have private bathrooms, hairdryers, individual temperature control, a phone for internal calls, and a flat screen TV. She offers and amazing 20 zodiacs, with water level boarding on two sides of the ship.

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P&O Cruises (Australia):

MV Pacific Explorer

The MV Pacific Explorer is P&O’s exciting new (well a 24 year old) cruise ship, which joined the fleet in June 2017 and she became P&O’s flagship, and she will be until the arrival of the 114,147 ton MV Pacific Adventure in 2020. However, the Pacific Explorer is already well known to Australian’s for she was the Dawn Princess she received a massive refit in Singapore, making her an amazing looking ship! This feature contains two pages including her Deck plan, etc. It has also been announced, that her sister, the Star Princess will also join the fleet late in 2021, and her name will be released later. Details are on this page. Comment: She is P&O’s newest (23 year old) ship and I have received a few positive reviews on her, but also some poor ones, due to her having the smallest and I do mean (VERY, YERY SMALL) indoor cabins of any cruise ship anywhere! I sailed on her when she was the Dawn Princess on an around the word cruise Sydney/Sydney, then we continued on to Brisbane, a total of 106 nights, and I saw these cabins and they are terrible! I rated then 1 out of 10. Comedians always made jokes about these cabins, “are you living the life in your broom closets.”

MV Pacific Adventure

P&O’s first 114,147 Ton Grand Class cruise ship, where guests will be at the leading edge of a global revolution when P&O Cruises Australia welcomes its first “Ocean Medallion” enabled ship, the Pacific Adventure in October 2020. A much better ship than the Explorer!

Comment: But as far as cabins is concerned, the Pacific Aria has the best cabins in the entire P&O Fleet as even an inside cabin has a lounge area with sofa and an table yet P&O is getting rid her, try and work that out. But, is it that their thinking is more related to that they do not sell enough booze on her as it has a slightly more senior clientele, Carnival/P&O prefer their ships to be filled with gamblers, losers and drunks as their spend far more money, and Carnival just loves your money!

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Captain Cook Cruises (Australia):

PS Murray Princess

The wonderful PS Murray Princess is a genuine inland Paddle Wheeler especially built in 1986 to sail along the great Murray River, and she certainly continues a great Australian character and that special charm of yesteryear. She is the largest inland Paddle Wheeler located in, or operating in the southern hemisphere. This fine stern driven Paddle Wheeler accommodates just 120 passengers in great comfort and she offers all the unique advantages of small ship cruising to the remarkable, if not one of the most beautiful river setting of Australia’s outback. She operates 3 and 4 night cruises in different directions, as well as a 7 night combined cruise from Mannum, South Australia. Comment: She is the best cruise on the Murray!

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Please Note: Cruise-Australia and its associated pages are 100% non-commercial and privately owned cruise sites and are NOT associated with any cruise company or travel agency! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960 and is retired, but continues to write cruise and ship reviews and articles in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts and provide information for those intending a cruise in the future.

Bon Voyage!

Reuben Goossens.

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