Two Le Boreal cruises canceled to repair ship

Ponant has canceled the Nov. 30 and Dec. 10 departures of Le Boreal, a yacht that was damaged by a fire on its previous cruise.

Ponant evacuated all of the passengers from Le Boreal after a fire “of a technical nature” broke out as the ship was cruising near the Falkland Islands. The passengers were repatriated last weekend, Ponant said.

The ship is now at the quay in the East Cove Military Port in the Falkland Islands, and will be towed in the next few days to Punta Arenas’ shipyard in Chile for repairs.

The 264-passenger ship had just started a 15-night round trip Antarctica sailing from Ushuaia, Argentina, on Nov. 15. The itinerary included a visit to South Georgia before landing in Antarctica and touring Deception Island.

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Silversea ship to join its expedition fleet

The Silver Cloud will be converted into an ice-class ship.

Silversea Cruises said it will shift its Silver Cloud vessel to expedition itineraries starting in November 2017.

The 296-passenger Silver Cloud will be converted into an ice-class ship during an extensive refurbishment scheduled to start in August 2017.

Silversea is scheduled to take delivery of a new ship, the 596-passenger Silver Muse, for its luxury fleet in April 2017.

The Silver Cloud, which entered service in 1994, is Silversea’s oldest ship. After conversion to an expedition ship, it will carry 260 passengers at double occupancy, and will be limited to 200 in polar regions. It will still be three times as large as the biggest expedition ship now in Silversea’s fleet.

Silversea currently has three ships in expedition service and five in luxury service.

The last cruise frontier?

Maldives: The last cruise frontier?

By Tom Stieghorst
*Insight In a recent interview, I asked Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman Richard Fain what travel destination was on his bucket list, and after a moment’s thought he said, “the Maldives.”

The islands in the Indian Ocean are so remote that Fain felt like he could get away from everything by going there.

Indeed, the Indian Ocean may be the most out-of-the-way cruise destination you’d ever want to experience. With the rise in expedition cruises to the Antarctic, the Indian Ocean may be the last frontier.

Among the lines going to the Maldives are Costa Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises and Seabourn Cruises.*TomStieghorst

Seabourn describes the islands as “tiny specks in a vast expanse of ocean.” Male, the main inhabited city in the chain, is described by Conde Nast Traveler as “a combination of the Robinson Crusoe paradise of childhood dreams and a honeymoon destination fit for the Hollywood A-list.”

What is there to do there? “Absolutely nothing,” Fain said.

Most of these lines visit the Maldives on an itinerary from southern or eastern Africa to India or Southeast Asia. It is a long, thin route that involves lots of sea days, a long flight from North America — unless you’re on a world cruise — and a considerable expense.

Seabourn’s cruise next January sandwiches a visit to Male and Colombo, Sri Lanka, in the middle of eight long sea days on a voyage between South Africa and Singapore.

Princess has a 46-day journey on its schedule that takes visitors to the Maldives on an “odyssey” from Australia to South Africa.

Oceania Cruises plans to be there Dec. 3 and 4 on a 30-day cruise from Dubai to Cape Town, South Africa. In the next few years Silversea Cruises has four voyages with the Maldives on the itinerary, including a 17-day trip between Singapore and Mombasa, Kenya, next March.

In 2016, Silversea’s new expedition ship, the Silver Discoverer, will offer a 17-night cruise that starts in Phuket, Thailand and ends in Male, after stops in Myanmar, India’s Andaman Islands and Yala National Park in Sri Lanka.

So the next time a client says they’ve “been there done that” when you suggest an ocean cruise, you might respond with, “Have you thought about going to the Maldives?”