Is Silversea Becoming An Expedition Company? Plus Windstar’s New Tack & Designed In 2008? Regent’s New Ship

Majestic Maersk Meets Norwegian Star
In Helsingborg, Sweden, Majestic Maersk Meets Norwegian Star. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

You may, or may not, be relieved to know that U.S. Congressional bickering and the federal government shutdown has not altered Avid Cruiser’s web publishing schedule — or the publisher’s desire to remain in Sweden, perhaps indefinitely.

On Monday, I witnessed a spectacle in Helsingborg, Sweden. Anchored in the harbor in shimmering sunlight, the Norwegian Star. While the ship’s visit and the sunny day marked the end of the cruise season in this uber-charming Baltic Sea pearl, the 2,240-guest vessel wasn’t the only “star” of the show.

The real star was Majestic Maersk, one of the world’s largest container ships, which sailed past Norwegian Star in the early afternoon. Thousands were out to photograph the passing of the two ships, including me. Want proof? See 

New Luxury Ships On The Horizon

This week, I’m taking a look at new luxury ships due out in the next couple of years. I’ve already reported extensively on Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2, and I’ve penned a lot of digital ink about Silversea CruisesSeaDream Yacht Club and Seabourn.

Not much is known, however, about Regent’s new Seven Seas Explorer. Two things that I do know: The vessel may have been partially concepted in 2008. Huh? See .

Secondly, one of the design teams has its offices just down the road from me. In fact, I am cycling there today, not to meet with the designers, but to pedal along the gorgeous south Sweden shore, which takes me by their offices. (Tillberg Design AB, if you’re reading, I’ll take my coffee with milk.)

Regent Seven Seas Cruises will expand to four ships in 2016, making it the industry's largest luxury cruise provider in terms of berths offered.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises will expand to four ships in 2016, making it the industry’s largest luxury cruise provider in terms of berths offered.

While Regent’s fleet expands from three to four, Windstar Cruises is readying itself to absorb Seabourn’s three smaller vessels, doubling the size of its fleet. Windstar scored these still-great ships earlier this year, leaving Seabourn with its three newer Sojourn-class vessels.

Bonus point: Who thinks Seabourn will announce a new ship within the next 12 months?

The first of the smaller Seabourn vessels begins operating for Windstar in the spring of 2014. Named Star Pride, the ex-Seabourn Pride will take Windstar on a new tack. See our story about what the acquisition means for Windstar in .

I know you’re getting tired of scrolling, some of you with your iPhone in one hand and a cup of coffee or a croissant in the other, so I’ll finish up with a few final notes.

Is Silversea Becoming An Expedition Company?

I thought you might like to know that I’m readying myself for an expedition cruise early next month. Wildlife watch out, I’m coming to the Galapagos.

Sea Lion with Silver Galapagos in background. Courtesy Silversea Cruises
The welcoming committee: A sea lion with Silver Galapagos in background. Courtesy Silversea Cruises

In the wake of Darwin, I’ll sail in on Silversea’s new Silver Galapagos. Formerly named Galapagos Explorer II, the 100-guest ship embarked just this past weekend on her first-ever voyage as Silver Galapagos. See .

Once I step ashore on those storied islands, I expect to see evidence of evolution, something I’m less likely to see when watching news stories from my homeland about the actions — and inactions — of Congress. But enough of that …

Silversea is in an impressive expansion mode. Last month the company announced yet another new ship — this makes three in the expedition fleet — the Silver Discoverer. You can read more about that vessel here if expedition cruising is your thing, and if it isn’t perhaps it should be.

And for those whose idea of an expedition involves no more than a trek to a fine Italian restaurant or a cozy bar, not to worry: Silversea still has five non-expedition ships — ready and waiting for you to step aboard. Check out What Silversea Does Differently, one of our most popular videos ever.

Seabourn Quest Antarctica
During my sailing last month on Seabourn Quest, Zodiacs for Antarctica landings were brought on board in Civitavecchia. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

One last thing: Silversea is not the only luxury line doing expeditions. In November, Seabourn takes its Quest to the White Continent. The zodiacs are loaded and waiting to take guests ashore. See our story,  (Spoiler alert: One of the captains who will be taking Quest to Antarctica is Captain Geir-Arne Thue-Nilson — just writing that name made me tired).

Here’s hoping that Congress gets its “act” together, and as always, greetings to all avid cruisers, world travelers and to my long-suffering fellow Americans. Is the post office still open? If so, I’ve got mail — and lots of it — so I guess I have to come home after all. — Ralph Grizzle, the Avid Cruiser

What is it that I like so much about Helsingborg? Check out …

P.S. River Cruise Advisor’s Aaron Saunders is cruising Cambodia & Vietnam. Check out his daily reports this week on River Cruise Advisor.

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