Cruise News 22.05.09

Apologies to those who looked for Fram arriving at 6am last Saturday – it should have read 6pm.

However, due to gale force eight south-easterly winds her landing at both Fair Isle and Mousa were abandoned and she arrived at the pilot station at 1.30pm, coming alongside at Victoria pier at 2pm. Her visit to Out Skerries on Sunday was also abandoned; we, nor anyone else, can do anything about at weather.

The Expedition will call on tomorrow and leave the next day (for her first ever visit) and again on Wednesday. She normally carries 125 passengers. She will be arriving from Fair Isle and departing to Invergordon, and from Kirkwall to Bergen on her second visit.

This 6,336 ton vessel replaces the Explorer which sank on 23rd November 2007 while cruising just north of the South Shetland Islands in the Antarctic Ocean, when she hit a growler (an under-water iceberg).

She is an expedition cruise ship owned and operated by the Canada-based GAP Adventures.

She was built as a car/passenger ferry in 1972 by Helsingör Skibs & Maskinbygg, Helsingör, Denmark as MS Kattegat for Jydsk Færgefart A/S.

Subsequently she sailed under the names MS NF Tiger for P&O Normandy Ferries, MS Tiger for Townsend Thoresen and MS Ålandsfärjan for Viking Line, prior to conversion into a cruise ship in 2008. Her sister was the ship we once knew as the P&O ferry St Sunniva Keen ship observers will notice that this vessel has had similar ugly “duck tail” sponsons fitted like those fitted to the old 1973-built Norröna, now renamed Logos Hope. The last visit of the month is on Wednesday with the Polar Star, built in 1969 at 4,998 tons as the Swedish icebreaker Njord. She was converted into an expedition cruise ship in 2000. She has a normal capacity of 92 with 30 crew. She will be arriving from Kirkwall and departing to Dundee.

The Polar Star is the expedition cruising vessel of Polar Star Expeditions. This company, headquartered in Halifax, Canada, is a Norwegian company owned by Karlsen Shipping Company. Karlsen Shipping was founded by the Karlsen Family more than 100 years ago in Norway in the 1800s and expanded to Canada in 1940. The company has extensive experience in marine industries and the Polar regions.

Today all operations are headquartered in Halifax, Canada. Its president, Martin Karlsen is the great grandson of the founder, Karl Karlsen. Martin’s great grandfather opened the coalmines in Kings Bay in Spitsbergen, Svalbard at the beginning of the last century.

Martin’s grandfather pioneered polar shipping. Today Karlsen Shipping is involved in diverse marine activities including offshore supply and standby vessels, harvesting and research vessels and the expedition cruising vessel Polar Star.

In addition to these two “firsts”, Karlsen also introduced the first Canadian single-purpose standby rescue vessel, the Tem. Today Karlsen Shipping is proud to own and operate the first expedition cruise vessel with operations headquartered in Atlantic Canada.

Karlsen Shipping is a well-established, innovative, adaptable and changeable company that has diversified and grown over the past 60 years. The launch of the Polar Star and Polar Star Expeditions shows the vision and foresight that the organization has to diversity and excellence.

Interesting snippet: The German holiday company TUI now offers a refund of fares to honeymoon brides who become pregnant on their Mein Schiff cruises.

Asked on a tour coach: Will we see Scapa Flow?

John Ward Phillips


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