Peace Boat and Arctech signed a letter of intent for their new Ecoship on 30th May. Peace Boat is Japan’s largest cruise organisation and Arctech is a shipyard based in Helsinki. The Ecoship is described as the most innovative and ecologically friendly cruise vessel ever. A final contract for the 2,000-passenger, 750-cabin and 60,000gt vessel is expected to be signed shortly with the new ship scheduled for delivery in spring 2020. The Ecoship, with her natureinspired architectural design by Spanish company Oliver Design, will be the platform for Peace Boat’s round-the-world cruise carrying 6,000 people per year.

Ponant Cruises held a steel cutting ceremony in May for the third and fourth expedition yachts which are due to be delivered in 2019. The vessels will become Le Bougainville and Le Dumont-d’Urville which will be built as 1C class ice Ponant Explorer ships. The quartet of 131m long ships will feature 92 guest cabins and the first two ships in the quartet will be operational in 2018.

IACS Competition

Etstur, a major Turkish tour operator, has chartered the former Louis Aura for a season operating out of Cesme (Izmir) offering cruises to the Greek Islands. The season will run from 24th June to early October with three and four-night cruises offered. The 15,781gt/1968-built and 550 passenger capacity Louis Aura will be renamed Aegean Queen for the season. She was originally launched as the Starward for Norwegian Cruise Line. Etstur had previously chartered the 652 passenger capacity Delphin. Starting as a tour operator in 1991 in Istanbul, Etstur has grown and chartered various ships under its own brand since 2012.

Noble Caledonia’s 4,200gt/1991 built Caledonian Sky made contact with a coral reef in Indonesia on 4th March, causing considerable damage to the reef. The ship was understood to have run aground during low-tide while on a bird-watching theme cruise. Now, the Indonesia government has levied an Rp6 trillion fine, the equivalent of $450 million. The Indonesian environmental ministry said the ship destroyed some 13,270m2 of the coral reef. The company’s insurance company is now negotiating with the government.

Jon Baines Tours

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