Crown Princess will break cruise ship record

The cruise ship season is almost upon us and JOHN WARD PHILLIPS reports on some of the interesting early arrivals.

The season starts with the 22,496grt Deutschland on 14th May and ends on 24th September with Marco Polo at 22,080grt; with Shetland’s tonnage record set to be broken on the 9th September when Crown Princess calls at 113,651grt; she has a normal capacity of 2,592 passengers with 1,201 crew.

The Saga Rose and Black Prince will be making their final visits this year because both are being retired at the end of the year, due to the cost of complying with new fire safety regulations.

The future of the Kristina Regina and Funchal is yet to be decided but it is more than possible that this year will be their last.

Deutschland is a 10-year-old classic ship that recreates the liner atmosphere of old. She is sumptuously and tastefully decorated with much use of rich woods. German is the main language but English is spoken. Passengers on the Deutschland tend to be discerning 40-60 plus, and has a normal capacity of 600 passengers with 269 crew. She will be arriving from Bergen and departing to Edinburgh.

Although the Statsraad Lehmkuhl is a three-masted, barque-rigged sail training vessel and not a cruise ship, I have included it because from time to time she does ask for tour guides to carry out shore excursions; people do pay to sail on her and she does have an interesting history.

She first visited this year on her way from Kirkwall to Bergen and she is listed as calling a further six times during 2009. The other dates are: 9th May at 9am, from and to Bergen, leaving on the 10th at 3pm; 31st May at 9am, from and to Bergen, leaving on 1st June at 10am; 10th July at 9am, from Torshavn to Bergen, leaving on the 11th at 9am; 8th September at 8am, from Kirkwall to Bergen, leaving on the 9th at 10am; and finally 16th September at 8am, from and to Bergen, leaving the same day at 10pm.

The Statsraad Lehmkuhl was built at 1,516grt in 1914 by Schittswerke u Maschin Joh. C Tecklenborg at Bremerhaven, Germany as the Grossiierzog Friedricii August, a training ship for the German Merchant Marine.

She was taken as reparations by the British in 1921 and two years later ended up in Bergen, where she was used as a sail training ship up to the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1940 she was seized by the Germans and between 1940 and 1945 she carried the name Westwarts. She can carry 350 day passengers or 150 trainees and her total length including the bowsprit is 98.0 metres.

In the early 1920s Kristofer Lehmkuhl, a former Norwegian Cabinet Minister (Staatsraad) and director of the Bergen Line Steamship Company, noticed her on his many visits to Newcastle, and managed to persuade the Norwegian Ship-owners Association to buy the ship from the British in 1923.

I guess there was no need to twist his arm when the association suggested naming the ship after him in recognition of his achieve­ments in the 1905 government (Norway gained independence from Sweden) and his general interest in Norwegian maritime traditions.

He also founded what was to become the Norwegian School of Economics/Management. All in all a very productive man, and certainly one that the city of Bergen is proud of.

Gross registered tonnage (grt) is a measure of the size or cargo capacity of a ship. The term derives from the taxation paid on tuns of wine, and was later used in reference to the weight of a ship’s cargo; however, in modern maritime usage, “tonnage” specifically refers to a calculation of the volume or cargo volume of a ship. The term is still sometimes incorrectly used to refer to the weight of a loaded or empty vessel.

Measurement of tonnage can be less than straightforward, not least because it is used to assess fees on commercial shipping.

Tons or gross tonnage = total volume of a vessel’s enclosed space, i.e. 2.83m² = one ton.


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