NEW YORK -- Several small-ship and niche operators are introducing
vessels this spring. The following is a list of some of the latest
• Norwegian Coastal Voyage. The 674-passenger Midnatsol pushed
off on its first cruise of Norway on April 15.
The Midnatsol is nearly identical to its sister ship, the
Trollfjord -- both boast an increased number of suites, balconies
and Jacuzzis in some cabins and Internet cafes -- but is different
in one noticeable aspect: its color scheme.
"Midnatsol means 'midnight sun' in Norwegian," said marketing
director Monika Tillman. "So, on this ship, the interior is
dedicated to the Norwegian summer -- a lot of oranges, reds and
Norwegian Coastal Voyage operates 12 ships, 11 of which sail up
and down the Norwegian coast. The vessels visit 35 ports, ferrying
people and cars to different cities, delivering supplies and
providing a unique vacation experience.
Tillman said about 20% of the line's passengers are from North
For more information, call (212) 323-7436 or visit the travel
agent section of the line's Web site at www.coastalvoyage.com.
• Swan Hellenic. This month, Swan Hellenic swapped its
tried-and-true Minerva for the larger Minerva II, formerly
Renaissance Cruises' R8.
The Minerva II will continue to offer the line's brand of
"discovery" cruise in a setting that Swan Hellenic says has a
"British country-house flair."
The 684-passenger vessel includes four restaurants, three bars,
a library, a pool, a fitness center and a lounge that serves as the
spot for guest lecturers during the day and entertainment in the
This year, the ship will spend its spring and fall in the
Mediterranean and its summer in the Baltic region and northern
The Minerva II will pass through the Caribbean in December on
its way to South America.
For more information, call (877) 219-4239 or visit www.swanhellenic.com.
• Amadeus Waterways. This new river-cruise entrant christened
the Amadeus Symphony -- a sister ship to the Amadeus Classic -- in
March and started the vessel's maiden cruises through the
Netherlands and Belgium this month.
The Amadeus Symphony will switch to Rhine cruises on May 4 and
then sail on the Danube beginning in June.
For more information, call (800) 262-0126 or visit www.amadeuswaterways.com.
• Uniworld. This Europe river operator is introducing two ships
this year: the River Countess and the River Dutchess.
The 138-passenger River Countess was set to launch April 19 on a
nine-day Netherlands tulip cruise. For most of the spring and
summer, the ship will sail along the Danube, calling as far north
as Amsterdam and as far south as the Black Sea.
In November, the vessel will switch to the Rhine for a series of
The River Dutchess will cruise mostly between Prague, Czech
Republic, and Budapest, Hungary, following its June debut.
For more information, call (800) 733-7820 or visit www.uniworld.com.
• Victoria Cruises. The China operator will introduce three
ships in 2003 for Yangtze River cruises.
The company has been hit hard by SARS-related cancellations;
however, company officials said they still are planning to take
delivery of the ships later this year.
For more information, call (800) 348-8084 or visit www.victoriacruises.com.
• Bora Bora Cruises. Sister ships the Tu Moana and the Tia Moana
are slated to sail inaugural seven-day cruises to the Tahitian
islands of Riatea, Tahaa, Huahine and Bora-Bora in June.
The yacht-size ships are built to slip into smaller Tahitian
lagoons. The cruises will focus on Tahitian culture; guests can
learn about Polynesian dance, fashions and crafts.
For more information about Bora Bora Cruises, visit www.boraboracruises.com or e-mail [email protected].
• American West Steamboat Co. The Empress of the North is on
schedule for a June inaugural sailing.
The ambience of the vessel will be similar to that of the line's
existing ship, the Queen of the West, according to marketing vice
president Joel Perry, but also will include displays of regional
artifacts, photos and paintings.
The ship will operate a series of 11-day cruises between Seattle
and Juneau, Alaska, through September.
From October through May, the Empress of the North will sail the
Columbia, Snake and Willamette rivers.
For more information, call (800) 434-1232 or visit www.americanweststeamboat.com.