SCRIBBLINGS FROM BILL MILLER – 04/20/2022
SCRIBBLINGS FROM BILL MILLER – 04/20/2022
From Bill Miller
Above: Norway’s Bergensfjord of 1956
Tue Mar 29th At Home in Secaucus: A call today asking about the fate of Holland-America’s Ryndam of the 1950s & ‘60s. Seems the caller was on one of the ship’s “floating university cruises” back in 1968. It was a four-month voyage completely around the world but with teachers & speakers onboard while passengers were enriched, enlightened and even earned credits (through the Chapman College). The ship is seen below sailing from New York’s Pier 40.
Wed Mar 30th At Home in Secaucus: The horrific situation in Ukraine continues to receive support. The cruise industry has, of course, many Ukrainian staff & crew. Among the honorable examples, Costa Cruises will be offering housing to Ukrainian refugees on its Costa Magica (seen below). A Costa spokesman added, “We have offered one of our ships to the Italian Government to be integrated into the National Civil Protection’s plans as a potential temporary hub for Ukrainian refugees in case of growing numbers of arrivals in Italy in the coming weeks”. Meanwhile, MSC Cruises is offering refugee accommodation in Eastern Europe, particularly Rumania, and while several European river boats are to be used as refugee accommodation. Many cruise lines are allowing Ukrainian staff to break their contracts, return home and even offering return air. Of course, citizens of many countries are providing lodging in their homes. Even the Dutch & Belgian royal families are pitching-in: They are turning unused castles into temporary housing.
Possible comeback! It has been announced that the fleet of insolvent Genting Hong Kong — those ships that sailed for Crystal Cruises, Dream Cruises and Star Cruises — will likely go to auction soon. Auctions are required as part of the legal liquidation process to clear any maritime liens (necessities like fuel, crew wages, supplies, etc.) with priority that rank before mortgages. Upon sale at auction, the ships would be purchased free and clear of any liens. If there are no adequate bids, the mortgage holder could take a ship in exchange for their lien and try to sell it on their own for more money than the auction would have produced, a maritime attorney said.
A number of parties reportedly have expressed interest in the Crystal Cruises ships and some in the company as a whole. One of those parties, Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio’s Heritage Group, confirmed that ‘Heritage maintains a strong interest and we hope to be successful in acquiring [the] Crystal ocean fleet and brand.’ Before the liquidation, Genting HK is understood to have appointed Crédit Agricole — a longtime financial partner — to sell Crystal Cruises, and this process has continued under the subsequent appointment of the joint provisional liquidators. Overall, the hottest sale item is the quite new Crystal Endeavor, the most expensive and luxurious expedition cruise ship yet built. The 350-passenger Endeavor was en route (on Mar 29th) from South America to lay-up in London/Tilbury while the larger Crystal Serenity & Crystal Symphony were in the hands of caretaker crews and lying off Freeport in the Bahamas.
Out of the Basket! Cruise fares, which were very often very low following the long Covid shutdown, are now climbing. Bookings are up and 65% of Americans say they would rather vacation than, say, buy a new car. … More & more ships are returning to service and restricted capacities are now gradually being increased.
Thu Mar 31st At Home in Secaucus: Thanks to geopolitical tensions surrounding Russia’s war in Ukraine, there will soon be a new world’s longest flight — sort of. Cathay Pacific’s service from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) will soon take considerably longer as the airline avoids Russian airspace. Instead of taking a conventional great circle routing that brings departures out of Kennedy over Greenland, Russia, Mongolia and China, the new flight path will bring Cathay’s flights on a more southerly route over the North Atlantic Ocean, Great Britain, continental Europe, the Black Sea and Turkey.