Cruise Ships 2012, The Year In Review: Plantours & Partner / Phoenix Reisen / Hurtigruten / Paul Gauguin Cruises

Continuing Shawn J. Dake’s
Cruise Ships 2012, The Year In Review
Plantours & Partner based in Bremen and catering to German passengers began operating the 15,067 gross ton HAMBURG, built in 1997 as the C. COLUMBUS. The German ship owners, Conti, purchased the vessel from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and chartered it to Plantours. Capacity has been reduced slightly from 420 passengers to 400 guests. The ship was renamed in it’s namesake city of Hamburg on June 7th after beginning this new phase of its career on May 25, 2012.

ARTANIA in Trondheim published under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
ARTANIA in Trondheim published under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Phoenix Reisen provided their passengers with the unique experience of having two of their ships transit the Panama Canal together. On January 5th the “A” ships AMADEA (ex ASUKA) and ALBATROS (ex ROYAL VIKING SEA, ROYAL ODYSSEY, NORWEGIAN STAR, NORWEGIAN STAR 1, CROWN, CROWN MARE NOSTRUM) took “The Path Between The Seas” on their respective long, winter cruises. The company’s largest ship, the 45,488 gross ton ARTANIA (ex ROYAL PRINCESS, ARTEMIS), successfully completely her first full year sailing for German market.

Hurtigruten suffered substantial financial losses for the previous year 2011, largely due to the fire aboard the 11,204 gross ton NORDLYS back in September. The company reported a net loss of NOK69.9 million last year compared to a profit of NOK30.4 million in 2010. The 1994-built NORDLYS underwent extensive repairs and reentered service in March, 2012. On a happier note, Hurtigruten also marked the return of their 15,530 gross ton FINNMARKEN to the Norwegian Coastal Voyage after spending two years as a hotel ship in Western Australia during construction of the Gorgon gas field. The 628-passenger ship is decorated in an Art Nouveau style and is the only ship in the fleet equipped with a swimming pool. Like the other coastal vessels, the itinerary encompasses 12-days and 34 ports between Bergen and Kirkenes sailing on both sides of the Arctic Circle.

Paul Gauguin Cruises acquired their second ship, renaming it TERE MOANA (ex LE LEVANT) in November. The small luxury cruiser measures 3,504 gross tons, is 330 feet in length with a beam of 46 feet. It was built in 1998 and carries 90 passengers. Plans call for it to operate seasonally in the Caribbean before moving on to a series if summer cruises in Europe.

PAUL GAUGUIN surfs the waves off Moorea, photo © Peter Knego 2013
PAUL GAUGUIN surfs the waves off Moorea, photo © Peter Knego 2013

The original ship, PAUL GAUGUIN also branched out to more distant waters in addition to her normal base in Tahiti. As part of a $7 million refurbishment program the ship sailed all the way to Brisbane, Australia where it completed an 11-day dry dock, which was the most extensive in its 14-year career. All suites, staterooms and public areas were renovated. Like its new fleet mate, this ship was also built in 1998 and measures 19,200 gross tons but carries only 332 passengers. Although often overlooked, this is one of the finest small-ship luxury lines in the world.


Shawn Dake is a freelance photo-journalist and regular contributor to For more than a decade he has written his annual “Cruise Ships, The Year In Review” which has now grown to a nearly 15,000 word essay recalling all of the events that have taken place within the cruise industry the previous year.


Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake

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