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A Look at Restart Efforts For Niche Cruise European Brands

Several smaller niche brands are back in action in Europe.

Mostly serving local markets, these cruise lines are building up quick restart plans, sailing in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Black Sea, Greek Islands and more.

First sailing: In service
Ships: Le Bougainville, Le Lyrial, Le Dumont-D’Urville, Le Champlain and Le Bellot
Region: Mediterranean, Iceland and France

Ponant resumed guest operations in June. Focusing on Europe, the company plans to offer departures to Iceland, the Mediterranean and France through the summer.

The restart program is highlighted by new itineraries and ports of call, including a unique stop at the brand’s namesake islands, Ponant Islands.

First sailing: June 27, 2021
Ships: Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure
Region: United Kingdom

Saga Cruises restarted operations recently with a domestic program in the UK. Based in Tilbury, the Spirit of Discovery was the first vessel to welcome the guests, on June 27.

The new Spirit of Adventure, meanwhile, is set to sail on its maiden voyage on July 26.

Phoenix Reisen
First sailing:
In service
Ships: Artania, Amera and Amadea
Region: Northern Europe

Phoenix Reisen has been offering Northern Europe cruises since July 10. Sailing from Germany, the local brand is using its biggest ship, the Artania.

According to Phoenix’s website, two additional vessels are entering service in August, the Amera and the Amadea.

Hurtigruten Expeditions
First sailing: August 10, 2021

Ships: Otto Sverdrup, Maud and Spitsbergen 
Region: Northern Europe

Hurtigruten Expeditions is planning to resume service in August, with the Otto Sverdrup. The recently refurbished vessel is set to offer cruises from Germany to the Norwegian Fjords, the North Cape and the Arctic. A second ship, the Maud, is offering similar itineraries departing England, starting in September. 

While Spitsbergen’s Arctic summer program is still being assessed, other vessels are only resuming service later in the year.  

Marella Cruises
First sailing: In service
Ships: Marella Explorer, Marella Explorer 2 and Marella Discovery
Region: United Kingdom and Mediterranean

After restarting service in the United Kingdom with two vessels, Marella Cruises is now seeking the resumption of international itineraries.

Starting in September, the British company will offer three new Greece itineraries on the Marella Discovery, in addition to Spain itineraries on the Marella Explorer 2.

Mano Cruise
First sailing: September 2, 2021
Ship: Crown Iris
Region: Israel and Greek Islands  

Israel-based Mano Cruises is hoping for a 2021 restart. According to the company’s website, the Crown Iris might welcome the guests back on September 2.

In the meantime, Mano recently opened bookings for its 2022 season. Starting on March 31, the Crown Iris is poised to sail a program of short cruises to Cyprus and Greece from Haifa, Israel.

Black Sea Cruises
First sailing: In service
Ship: Prince Vladimir
Region: Black Sea

Black Sea Cruises’ Prince Vladimir reentered service on June 13. The vessel is now offering its regular program of seven-night cruises in the Black Sea, with calls in Russia and Crimea.

Based in Sochi, the itinerary includes visits to Novorossiysk, Yalta and Sevastopol.   

Club Med
First sailing: In service
Ship: Club Med 2
Region: Mediterranean

Club Med is back in action in the Mediterranean. The French brand resumed operations on July 10, with its sole vessel, the Club Med 2.

The restart deployment includes French coast itineraries, as well as cruises to Greece and the Western Mediterranean.

Celestyal Cruises
First sailing: In service
Ships: Celestyal Crystal and Celestyal Olympia    
Region: Greek Islands  

Celestyal Cruises resumed its Greece operations on June 12. On that day, the Celestyal Crystal departed Piraeus on a seven-night cruise calling at Kusadasi (Turkey), Rhodes, Santorini, Lavrion, Mykonos, Milos and Crete.

A few weeks later, the Celestyal Olympia was added to the restart fleet, offering an alternative itinerary from Lavrion.

Sea Cloud
First sailing: August 6, 2021
Ships: Sea Cloud, Sea Cloud II and Sea Cloud Spirit  
Region: Mediterranean

According to its website, Sea Cloud intends to have all of its fleet operating in the Mediterranean by September.

The first vessel set to resume service is the Sea Cloud, slated to sail from Piraeus on a Greek Islands itinerary on August 6, 2021. On September 14, the new Sea Cloud Spirit is scheduled to sail from Civitavecchia on its maiden voyage.

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