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Falklands’ cruise season with 33 different vessels and 215 calls

Wednesday, November 18th 2009 - 13:53 UTC
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Plancius ready for her maiden cruise to Antarctic waters Plancius ready for her maiden cruise to Antarctic waters

Thirty-three different cruise vessels are scheduled to visit a total of around 215 Falkland Islands destinations in the coming season.

While Stanley will claim the majority of visits with just over 90 calls, Carcass Island, West Point and New Island are also popular destinations with well over 20 planned visits this summer season.

The Pole-Evans families at Saunders Island are in for another busy year, and will be expecting in the region of 19 calls.

Sealion Island will entertain around eight different vessels, while Bleaker, Steeple Jason and Grave Cove will receive between two and five calls.

November 27 will be a busy day for Stanley businesses with a visit from the grandly proportioned Veendam, although possibly not as bustling as December 29 and February 5 when both the Star Princess and Norwegian Sun will anchor in Port William.

The two have the capability of carrying 4602 passengers and 2118 crew between them.

A far smaller but brand new and rather more exclusive vessel, Plancius, is on her maiden voyage to the Falklands and due to arrive fully booked (110 passengers) at West Point on January 10, and at Carcass Island the following day.

Florian Piper, Director of Product Management of Oceanwide Expeditions who own Plancius, told the Penguin News: “Plancius is now freshly painted and alongside the dock in the Netherlands. While the ship has been waiting for final sea trials a team of builders has been giving the final touch to the interior of the vessel. The crew boarded at the end of October, and departure from the Netherlands is scheduled for early December in order to carry out the first Antarctic voyage.”

Oceanwide Expeditions were recently awarded the World Travel Award 2009 in the category World’s Leading Polar Expedition Operator. The presentation of this international prize took place during a spectacular gala performance in London, on Sunday 8 November.

Following the recent entry into service of Lindblad's 148-berth National Geographic Explorer (a former Norwegian coastal vessel), and Gap Adventures' 120-berth Expedition (an ex-Baltic ferry), the Plancius is the third new conversion to have been added to the Antarctic expedition trade in the last year.

Built in 1976 as the Netherlands oceanographic research ship Tydemann, the refurbished Plancius can now accommodate 110 passengers in fifty-three cabins plus a crew of 36.

The vessel was named by Carla Peijs, the Dutch Queen's Commissioner for the province of Zeeland. She then departs for the Antarctic and leaves Ushuaia on her maiden voyage on January 8, 2010.

The ship is being named for the Dutch astronomer, mapmaker and geologist Petrus Plancius (1552-1622), who postulated the existence of a northern passage to Asia.

His theory provoked several northern discovery voyages at the end of the 16th Century and a Dutch expedition under Willem Brantsz discovered Spitsbergen, but got stuck in the pack ice of Nova Zembla. Today, that route is known as the Northeast Passage. (PN/MP)

Categories: Tourism, Falkland Islands.

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