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SeaDog-46

New Ice Class in force 1st Jan. 2018

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The new Ice Class that came into force last year will reduce by half the number of cruise passengers going to Antarctica over the next few years.

Zaandam & Prinsendam will run out of certification under the Grandfather clause - expected in May 2020.  

This will also apply to other main line cruise vessels currently visiting Antarctica but they cannot continue past the next 5 year survey.

 

The only current vessels with Class 6 rating that will continue are : - Resolute ex Hanseatic,  Bremen & maybe Orion.

Other vessels either cannot be converted,  are too old, or will be too expensive to upgrade.

 

Known New Expedition vessels buildings :-  World Explorer,  Scenic Eclipse - when it gets completed,  Hanseatic Nature & Hanseatic Inspiration [2019],  Magellan Explorer [2019],  Hondius [2019],  Crystal Endeavour [2020],  La Commandant Charcot [2021]. There maybe some others not yet named or ordered.

 

Only Polar Class 6 passenger vessels will be able to operate south of 60 deg. S in Antarctica  &  North of 60 degrees N. in the Arctic - with exceptions of Iceland & Norway due to Gulf Stream.

 

So if you want to see Antarctica without going on a $1000 per day expedition ship - there seems to be only 1 more season after the current one.

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2 hours ago, SeaDog-46 said:

The new Ice Class that came into force last year will reduce by half the number of cruise passengers going to Antarctica over the next few years.

Zaandam & Prinsendam will run out of certification under the Grandfather clause - expected in May 2020.  

This will also apply to other main line cruise vessels currently visiting Antarctica but they cannot continue past the next 5 year survey.

 

The only current vessels with Class 6 rating that will continue are : - Resolute ex Hanseatic,  Bremen & maybe Orion.

Other vessels either cannot be converted,  are too old, or will be too expensive to upgrade.

 

Known New Expedition vessels buildings :-  World Explorer,  Scenic Eclipse - when it gets completed,  Hanseatic Nature & Hanseatic Inspiration [2019],  Magellan Explorer [2019],  Hondius [2019],  Crystal Endeavour [2020],  La Commandant Charcot [2021]. There maybe some others not yet named or ordered.

 

Only Polar Class 6 passenger vessels will be able to operate south of 60 deg. S in Antarctica  &  North of 60 degrees N. in the Arctic - with exceptions of Iceland & Norway due to Gulf Stream.

 

So if you want to see Antarctica without going on a $1000 per day expedition ship - there seems to be only 1 more season after the current one.

So glad we checked this one of our list in 2015!

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That is the only continent we have not visited, has been on our bucket list. Looks like we may not make it. Thanks for posting. 

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Sounds like Antarctica is becoming only for the rich  ($1,000 a day).   I want to know who makes up these exclusive rules???  Sorry, but I think it is outrageous that only lots of money can buy your way to some place in this world.  If it is that fragile shouldn't everyone be banned?   Shouldn't we get the scientist and research people out of there as well?   This kind of stuff really ticks me off.    I am stepping down off my soap box......

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1 hour ago, Hflors said:

Sounds like Antarctica is becoming only for the rich  ($1,000 a day).   I want to know who makes up these exclusive rules???  Sorry, but I think it is outrageous that only lots of money can buy your way to some place in this world.  If it is that fragile shouldn't everyone be banned?   Shouldn't we get the scientist and research people out of there as well?   This kind of stuff really ticks me off.    I am stepping down off my soap box......

Huh?  What "exclusive" rules are you talking about?  What SeaDog is referring to are the IMO ice classification for ship's safety in ice environments.  It has nothing to do with the environment.  I was wondering when new ice rules were going to come into effect after the popularization of the Northwest Passage cruises.  What makes them "exclusive" at the higher rates is that the larger ships that the mass market lines build cannot justify the additional cost of ice classing when they only do a relatively few of these cruises, while the smaller expedition ships can justify charging more to cover the building cost.

 

As for scientists and researchers, all of the vessels used for these operations are not passenger vessels, but they are all of the appropriate ice class for the regions they operate in.  Most of these research vessels are Polar Class 1 or 2, which are 4 to 5 categories stronger and safer than the new requirement that cruise vessels be Class 6.  Even a Polar Class 6 vessel is only suppposed to operate in areas of first year ice in summer & autumn.  Polar class 1 allows operation in all polar ice conditions (multi-year ice) year round.

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1 hour ago, Hflors said:

Sounds like Antarctica is becoming only for the rich  ($1,000 a day).   I want to know who makes up these exclusive rules???  Sorry, but I think it is outrageous that only lots of money can buy your way to some place in this world.  If it is that fragile shouldn't everyone be banned?   Shouldn't we get the scientist and research people out of there as well?   This kind of stuff really ticks me off.    I am stepping down off my soap box......

 

The limitation has virtually nothing to do making Antarctica exclusive for the rich.   They’ve made changes to the requirements for ships to handle the potential ice conditions, etc.  A ship designed for cruising the Caribbean or the Med isn’t necessarily equipped to be in the Antarctica.   Of course the result is that they reduced the number of ships rated for that kind of travel and that translates into higher demand for a reduced number of cabins which quite frankly means higher fares.   It doesn’t help that it’s been the smaller and sometimes luxury lines that moved into the expedition ship market well before the mass market lines became seriously interested.   Case in point is Royal Caribbean recently bought a controlling interest in Silversea that seems to be twofold.   One,  it gives RCL a true all-inclusive luxury line that’s maybe a notch above RCL’s Azamara line.  Two, it instantly gave RCL a small fleet of expedition ships, some of which met the ice environment requirement,  that Silversea either owned or had under contract.  

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Safety of ship & passengers make sense. 

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Not happy.  We were planning on Antarctica for our 35th anniversary in 2021.

 

Now I'm really confused.  The Antarctic cruise we almost booked was for 2021 on Celebrity. 

Edited by knittinggirl

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3 hours ago, Hflors said:

....    I want to know who makes up these exclusive rules???  

 .... The International Maritime Organization – the UN specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships. The United States was a founding member, remains the largest single funder and plays a leading role as the world's pre-eminent maritime power. Successive U.S. administrations, both Democratic and Republican, have been at the forefront of tougher rules to prevent ill-equipped or ill-suited vessels from venturing into high-risk areas or fouling international waters by dumping waste. It is, for instance, an IMO regulation that will, from 2020, prevent all ships, including cruise ships, from burning dirty, high-sulpher content, bunker oil which is a major pollutant and greenhouse gas. All ocean-going vessels will be required to burn cleaner fuels or install expensive scrubbers.

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1 hour ago, voyageur9 said:

 .... The International Maritime Organization – the UN specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships. The United States was a founding member, remains the largest single funder and plays a leading role as the world's pre-eminent maritime power. Successive U.S. administrations, both Democratic and Republican, have been at the forefront of tougher rules to prevent ill-equipped or ill-suited vessels from venturing into high-risk areas or fouling international waters by dumping waste. It is, for instance, an IMO regulation that will, from 2020, prevent all ships, including cruise ships, from burning dirty, high-sulpher content, bunker oil which is a major pollutant and greenhouse gas. All ocean-going vessels will be required to burn cleaner fuels or install expensive scrubbers.

Much as I'd love to find this statement correct, I'm afraid the US is not "the world's pre-eminent maritime power", unless you are referring to Naval power, which has absolutely nothing to do with the IMO, since national vessels are exempt from IMO regulations.  Unfortunately, since WWII, when the US was the pre-eminent merchant fleet, it has declined to about 20th in the world.

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I wasn't suggesting the U.S. merchant marine was either the largest or even significant in terms of tonnage or anything else. But the U.S. does remain the paramount maritime power, not only because the U.S. Navy is the largest and most powerful, but also because it remains the only globally deployed maritime force. Only the United States routinely enforces -- by presence -- vital issues such as freedom of navigation in disputed areas to include the Straits of Hormuz and the South China Sea. Certainly other smaller maritime powers make similar forays but without U.S. leadership and power those gestures would be empty. So I stand my assertion, which I deliberately and carefully worded, that the U.S. remains the pre-eminent maritime power, while freely acknowledging that its merchant marine is much diminished. I also think it's a fair statement to assert that the U.S. plays a leading role at the IMO. The top three 'flag states" are  Panama, Liberia and  the Marshall Islands; the top shipowner states are Greece, Japan, China yet, aside from China which may eventually challenge the United States, I would not regard any of those as a major maritime power. I agree that there's a separate debate over  whether the U.S. should build or encourage a significant increase in U.S. owned or flagged vessels.

 

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1 hour ago, voyageur9 said:

I wasn't suggesting the U.S. merchant marine was either the largest or even significant in terms of tonnage or anything else. But the U.S. does remain the paramount maritime power, not only because the U.S. Navy is the largest and most powerful, but also because it remains the only globally deployed maritime force. Only the United States routinely enforces -- by presence -- vital issues such as freedom of navigation in disputed areas to include the Straits of Hormuz and the South China Sea. Certainly other smaller maritime powers make similar forays but without U.S. leadership and power those gestures would be empty. So I stand my assertion, which I deliberately and carefully worded, that the U.S. remains the pre-eminent maritime power, while freely acknowledging that its merchant marine is much diminished. I also think it's a fair statement to assert that the U.S. plays a leading role at the IMO. The top three 'flag states" are  Panama, Liberia and  the Marshall Islands; the top shipowner states are Greece, Japan, China yet, aside from China which may eventually challenge the United States, I would not regard any of those as a major maritime power. I agree that there's a separate debate over  whether the U.S. should build or encourage a significant increase in U.S. owned or flagged vessels.

 

While I do agree with you regarding the US Navy, and in our support of the IMO, that while the US may be a pre-eminent maritime power (through its use of force projection), that pre-eminence has almost no bearing on the IMO, as the US is merely one more country that is a member of the IMO, and it's Navy's enforcement of free passage is almost immaterial to the IMO.  I would call the US a pre-eminent Naval power, not a maritime power, JMHO.

Edited by chengkp75

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On 1/27/2019 at 12:33 AM, SeaDog-46 said:

The new Ice Class that came into force last year will reduce by half the number of cruise passengers going to Antarctica over the next few years.

Zaandam & Prinsendam will run out of certification under the Grandfather clause - expected in May 2020.  

This will also apply to other main line cruise vessels currently visiting Antarctica but they cannot continue past the next 5 year survey.

 

 

 

So, just to try to better understand what you are saying, based on new IMO regulations (which seem to now be official, or are they still in the process of being approved and in more of a final draft state?), while the Zaandam will be able to sail to Antarctica in December of 2019 and January of 2020, and while the Volendam will sail to Antarctica during its Jan 2020 to March 2020 Grand South America cruise, neither ship will be able to said to Antarctica in December 2020 or beyond?  (Or really, neither ship could sail there beyond May of 2020, but HAL wouldn't have scheduled them for winter in Antarctica anyway vs waiting until the following summer.) 

 

As someone who has toyed with talking a cruise of this sort, but never actually done it I am disappointed.  Although, I guess it was never enough of a personal draw to cause me to rush out and book such a trip anyway.  Plus, I understand these aren't exactly the safest cruises to operate (largely because there aren't many options for helping a large ship in distress near Antarctica vs. a ship sticking to busy shipping regions). 

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OP SeaDog: Thank you so much for this information - acted on it immediately and booked the Zaandam Antartica for 2020. Not too many cabins left, if one takes the new and totally confusing and irritating HAL website "room selection" feature  seriously. This cruise had been on our bucket list for some vague time in the future - that time is now NOW. Wow. Thanks again.

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OlsSalt - great you were able to get a berth on Zaandam for her final season in Antarctica.  This is the reason I posted so that those wanting to go can get in while able to.

I see that HAL also have Volendam & Amsterdam down there in early 2020, but Coral Princess is the only other large cruise ship listed.

 

The rules are now in force, but some of HAL ships & others that have there Ice Class certificates valid until 31st Dec. 2021 could operate there.  

It is difficult to obtain information on when the 5 year certificates expire & what ships have the current Ice Class.  Could be that all HAL S & R class have the current Ice Class - in which case one could have certificates expiring late in 2021 & could be there in the 2020/21 season.

 

The new rules will also impact on calls to Greenland.  This is the area in 1959 where the brand new ice class cargo liner mv Hans Hedtoft on its maiden voyage ran into an iceberg in a severe storm at 59deg. 30min. North.  All 40 crew & 55 passengers were lost. See Wikipedia.

 

The main reason for the new rules is the safety of passengers should anything go wrong.

 

Hans Hedtoft.jpg

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Nice to know the Volendam and Amsterdam will be tag teaming us in case we run into trouble.

 

Somewhere I read, if given a choice. take the route eastward instead of westward - more of a building anticipation of scenery -but maybe that does not even matter on this abbreviated HAL round the horn  and down route.  We picked the eastward Chile to Argentina route.  Plus for the first time we chose low and middle for our cabin - lower promenade deck and not a verandah.

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We have a Roll Call for Zaandam-January 9, 2020.  Hope you will join if you have not already.  It is the earliest we have ever booked a cruise.

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On 1/27/2019 at 8:31 AM, knittinggirl said:

Not happy.  We were planning on Antarctica for our 35th anniversary in 2021.

 

Now I'm really confused.  The Antarctic cruise we almost booked was for 2021 on Celebrity. 

Westerdam's departing Santiago, Chile bound for Buenos Aires on January 10, 2021, and returns on January 30. Happy anniversary!

After seeing this thread, we booked the 41-day (world cruise) voyage from FLL to Buenos Aires next January. We hadn't had the Antarctic on our bucket list, but thought we'd better see it if HAL wouldn't be going after the next couple of years. We're waiting to see if this will also be offered in '21, and may switch to that if before the final payment date.

Thanks for the heads-up and good info! 

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Having spent some time in Antarctica (3 seasons as part of a USARP research program), I am surprised that it has taken this long for safety restrictions to be tightened. 

 

Look at the difficulties involved in this weeks problems with the Viking Sky, Antarctica is a far more remote and less forgiving environment.  Even though the Peninsula is kind of the banana belt of  Antarctica and does not have the conditions of the Ross sea and other area, if a ship were to encounter difficulties there is little to no infrastructure there for rescues.  Even when relatively small ships have encountered problems  rescue was more dependent upon other ships in the area, not national rescue assets.  A good example is the Lindblad Explorer, an ice strengthened ship, specifically designed for Antarctic waters.  It hit ice and sank close to King George Island. The passengers and crew, 154 in total, spent several hours in life boats before getting picked up by the MS Nordnorge (A Hurtigruten ship) and dropped off at a Chilean research base. Fortunately that accident happened in good weather.

 

Not a good thing if it were to happen to a cruise ship with thousands of passengers.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, kwb101 said:

Westerdam's departing Santiago, Chile bound for Buenos Aires on January 10, 2021, and returns on January 30. Happy anniversary!

After seeing this thread, we booked the 41-day (world cruise) voyage from FLL to Buenos Aires next January. We hadn't had the Antarctic on our bucket list, but thought we'd better see it if HAL wouldn't be going after the next couple of years. We're waiting to see if this will also be offered in '21, and may switch to that if before the final payment date.

Thanks for the heads-up and good info! 

We're doing the November 27, 2020 from Santiago to Buenos Aires that also includes the eclipse.   

Edited by knittinggirl

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1 hour ago, RDC1 said:

Having spent some time in Antarctica (3 seasons as part of a USARP research program), I am surprised that it has taken this long for safety restrictions to be tightened. 

 

Look at the difficulties involved in this weeks problems with the Viking Sky, Antarctica is a far more remote and less forgiving environment.  Even though the Peninsula is kind of the banana belt of  Antarctica and does not have the conditions of the Ross sea and other area, if a ship were to encounter difficulties there is little to no infrastructure there for rescues.  Even when relatively small ships have encountered problems  rescue was more dependent upon other ships in the area, not national rescue assets.  A good example is the Lindblad Explorer, an ice strengthened ship, specifically designed for Antarctic waters.  It hit ice and sank close to King George Island. The passengers and crew, 154 in total, spent several hours in life boats before getting picked up by the MS Nordnorge (A Hurtigruten ship) and dropped off at a Chilean research base. Fortunately that accident happened in good weather.

 

Not a good thing if it were to happen to a cruise ship with thousands of passengers.

I wish someone would explain the ice class certification to me.  How much extra does a ship cost to ice rate the ship?   Why can't they build the new ice class requirements into the new ship builds?

 

Is this an environmental issue or a safety issue?

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So...we are booked for January 10, 2021 sailing on Westerdam.  Am I correct in understanding that the very next year, the Westerdam would not be allowed to make this journey?   🤔

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, AncientWanderer said:

So...we are booked for January 10, 2021 sailing on Westerdam.  Am I correct in understanding that the very next year, the Westerdam would not be allowed to make this journey?   🤔

I contacted HAL.com, and they only told me what ships were scheduled to sail Antarctica.  I obviously worded my question wrong.

 

I'm very disappointed that Greenland is going to be off limits.  Does this mean that Voyage of the Vikings going to have to drop Greenland Ports and Prince Christian Sund soon?

 

Westerdam wasn't even mentioned in early posts of this thread, so I'm confused.  Is the Westerdam a newly converted Polar Class 6?

Edited by knittinggirl

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