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African River Cruising

Africa River Cruises on the Chobe and Zambezi.

By Ted Scull.

African geography is not well understood for a whole host of reasons.

It is off the map for most people until some news event comes splashing across the screen — a new Ebola outbreak, seemingly endless warfare in obscure lands, continuing slaughter of elephants, and on and on. And yes, Egypt is part of Africa, but most people associate it with the Middle East and the Mediterranean world.

What most people do associate with Africa is wildlife. Thus, the major draw of Africa for most travel aficionados are the many threatened wildlife species.

African River Cruising

Elephants come down to the Chobe River for an evening drink. * Photo: Ted Scull

Wildlife Viewing from a Cruise & a Lodge

If thinking of Africa and rivers or lakes in the same sentence, the pickings generally center on the Nile and Lake Nassar, an integral component of any trip to ancient and modern Egypt. However, Africa does come up occasionally on cruise itineraries that call at ports along the East African or South African coasts, but few venture very far inland.

Further, it’s rarer still, to tie an African river or lake with game viewing from a small overnight cruise vessel.

QuirkyCruise was started to inform those who like offbeat travel and cruises in small ships.

And so we’re glad to tell you about a handful of river cruises that can be easily combined with land stays in south-central Africa.

Africa River Cruising

Ted Scull at a game lodge in Namibia. * Photo: Suellyn Scull

The Chobe & Zambezi Rivers

The Chobe and Zambezi rivers are the only locations that combine game viewing and small-ship cruising. It’s an awesome combo that gets you up close to a splendid adjoining game park and a natural wonder too — Victoria Falls.

All of this comes together in south-central Africa, roughly where Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe meet.

Africa River Cruises map

The Chobe & Zambezi rivers in South-Central Africa * Map: CroisiEurope

At one point, the Chobe joins the Zambezi and forms the northern boundary of Chobe National Park. Its waters plunge off a plateau via Victoria Falls.

The lake is Kariba, created in 1955 when a dam was built across the Zambezi. It’s long at 125 miles and relatively narrow, forming a section of the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Africa River Cruising

Victoria Falls where the Zambezi River plunges off a plateau on the Border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. * Photo: Suellyn Scull

I have arrived in this wondrous region by train from the east and south and via a self-drive safari itinerary from Namibia. We, as with most travelers, stayed within the northwest corner of Zimbabwe, the extreme eastern strip of Namibia and the northern tip of Botswana.

It’s a compact area offering what you have come for without long and often bumpy drives and multiple flights.

Africa river cruising

From the left: my brother, a friend, my wife, me. * Botswana guide

River Cruise … Plus

When a river cruise is included in a tour package, it’s normally part of a larger itinerary that includes much of what’s written just above. However, you can also include a short river cruise in your own private plans. Consider it a game lodge on the water.

The extreme pleasures I have gotten out of game viewing have not come from checking off a list of animals to be seen before moving on to fulfill the still missing, rather the pleasure comes from finding or being shown a location where the wildlife comes near to you.

Some safari lodges dig waterholes to attract game and that can be both exciting and convenient. But, one part is missing, it’s not viewing animals in truly natural surroundings.

Africa River Cruising

A giraffe plays peekaboo. * Photo: Ted Scull

The Evening Scene on the Chobe River

Consider this alternative, sitting on the deck of a small vessel at dusk just off the riverbank watching the cloudless sky change colors, and maybe hearing the sounds of insects beginning their sundown routine. Nobody is talking, perhaps just whispering.

Africa River Cruising

Hippos having a go. * Photo: Ted Scull

Flocks of birds sweep about in unison for some time before alighting on open ground. Little fish chased by unseen bigger fish break the river’s surface. Fish eagles may dive bomb targets just beneath the surface.

Then in the bush land ashore, you see large shapes moving toward the river. One by one elephant adults and their offspring work their way toward the nightly drink and maybe splash about or even take a swim. You can see close up the mutual affection they exhibit, or adult impatience.

It’s all happening right before your eyes and ever-changing. The longer you stay, and the less attention you pay to taking photos, the more interaction and individual personalities you absorb. Then the stars shine as if never seen before and not to end the show, you fantasize lying on a soft mattress and gently tune out.

Africa River Cruising

Sunset over the Chobe. * Photo: Ted Scull

Daytime Game Watching

During the day, visitors travel in small boats along the river while the guides know where game may be seen. Watch giraffes, munching on the vegetation, reaching higher and higher to get what they want. And when it comes to drinking, spreading long legs apart, and looking slightly awkward when leaning over to take that first mouthful.

By hanging about, you see both their graceful and not-so movements.

Africa River cruising

Giraffes can be graceful but when having a drink… * Photo: Ted Scull

Grunting warthogs and various species of gazelle mingle with the elephants and giraffes as the larger animals provide protection against lions and leopards. Both are elusive creatures, but the better guides know their routines, especially those of the lions.

Later hippos lounge in the waters, sometimes only their eyes and ears above the surface. And another similar sight will be nearly submerged crocodiles that may also be basking on the riverbank.

Who Goes There?

Following are a few options for short 2- or 3-night cruises inserted into longer land-based itineraries.

African Dream

Moving eastward, there are 3-night cruise options located on Lake Kariba, a dammed section of the Zambezi River east of Victoria Falls. Besides the vast waters, cruise a connecting river and sail into a deep gorge.

Some species of game, mostly the non-swimmers, were moved to the adjacent Matsudona National Park. The birds and animals seen roughly match those along the Chobe River such as the African Sea Eagle, Yellow-billed Stork, and Black Heron.

The three-deck African Dream, completed in 2018, takes 16 passengers in eight double cabins with private facilities, along with a lounge bar, dining room and top viewing deck.

Africa River Cruises on the African Dream

The 3-deck African Dream. * Photo: CroisiEurope

African Dream lounge

The salon of the African Dream. * Photo: CroisiEurope

The cruise may be combined with a game lodge and a Victoria Falls stay.

Two small-ship companies covered in QuirkyCruise offer cruise-tour packages incorporating the African Dream:

Chobe Princess

Surf Chobe.com for information on the Chobe Princess. It’s actually the name for three similar vessels (identified with a number), each with four or five cabins. The larger Zambezi Queen has 14 cabins.

Africa River Cruises on Chobe Princess

The Chobe Princess. * Photo: Chobe.com

All accommodations are outside with private facilities. The large expanses of glass in the dining area and lounge keep you in touch with your surroundings. There’s even a hot tub.

hot tub on deck of Chobe Princess

The hot tub on deck of the Chobe Princess, what a view! * Photo: Chobe.com

Chobe.com also describes the lodges available in adjacent Chobe National Park for land-based game viewing. Some face the river and others have inland park locations.

Combine a cruise and lodge stay to maximize the experience.

🦒🦒🦒

Africa River Cruising

Sunset in Namibia. * Photo: Ted Scull

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© This article is protected by copyright, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the author. All Rights Reserved. QuirkyCruise.com.

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QuirkyCruise Review of Ponant

Cruising for over a quarter century, this chic French line is a Francophile’s dream. Ponant’s crew is discreet, the décor is subtle and the food is tantalizing. French desserts, French cheeses and French wines accompany passengers on cruises around the world, from French Polynesia and the Caribbean to the North and South Poles, and lots in between.

Passengers are a well-traveled, well-dressed international lot and the handsome captains stroll around the ship in short sleeves chatting to guests as if they are one of the passengers. Ponant is a bit of Europe no matter where the ships are sailing.

In late 2014, the company’s name was simplified from the French Compagnie du Ponant, to just Ponant, a simpler name for the company’s growing international audience, though Ponant still remains the only French-flagged, French-flavored cruise line out there. Ponant is in the midst of building frenzy, with six 184-passenger expedition vessels in the pipeline between now and 2021. As they are delivered, itineraries will be expanded to offer more frequent sailings and brand-new destinations.

A hybrid electric icebreaker is to appear in 2021 and be able to make it to Geographic 90 Degrees North — The North Pole.

Note: Some sailings are directly operated by Ponant and others are under charter to well-known firms for individual sales as well as for special interest groups.

N.B. In August 2019, Ponant announced that the French-owned line has bought Paul Gauguin Cruises, operating the ship PAUL GAUGUIN in French Polynesia and that the ship will continue to operate under its current name.

Ponant's fleet hits the poles and lots in between. * Photo: Ponant

Ponant’s fleet hits the poles and lots in between. * Photo: Ponant

Ship, Year Delivered & Passengers

LE BOREAL (built 2010, 132 passengers), L’AUSTRAL (b. 2011, 132 p), LE SOLEAL (b. 2013, 132 p), LE LYRIAL (b. 2014, 122 p), LE PONANT (b. 1991, 64 p), LE LAPEROUSE (b. 2018, 184 p), LE CHAMPLAIN (b. 2018, 184 p),  LE  BOUGAINVILLE (b. 2019, 184 p) and LE DUMONT-D’URVILLE (b. 2019, 184 p), LE BELLOT (due April 2020, 184p), LE JACQUES CARTIER (due July 2020, 184p), and LE COMMANDANT CHARCOT (due April 2021, 270 p), specifically designed for polar explorations.

Ponant's mini cruise ships are dwarfed by the giants. * Photo: Heidi Sarna

Ponant’s mini cruise ships are dwarfed by the giants. * Photo: Heidi Sarna

Passenger Profile

Mostly Europeans, heavy on French, Swiss and Germans, with a sprinkling of Francophiles from everywhere else — North America, Brazil, you name it. Children are welcome, but are expected to be well behaved; there is a children’s menu, Wii gaming console, and when there are a number of kids on board, a few activities are organized by a staff member.

On a handful of special family-friendly sailings per year (often a Med itinerary in the summer), a Kids Club is offered with kids’ counselors supervising games and activities for ages 4+. Several firms charter Ponant ships, so they will determine the languages, and a number of them are in the English-speaking markets.

Passenger Decks

6 with elevators to all decks (4 on LE PONANT, the motor sailing yatch, and no elevator)

Price

$$  Moderate to Expensive

Included Features

Open bar throughout ship, stocked cabin mini-bar, and all soft drinks. New for 2019 is free WiFi in all cabin categories on all ships.

PONANT                                                                                 LE BOUGAINVILLE delivered in 2019 as the third ship in the explorer class. * Photo: Ponant

Itineraries

The ships, with such an expanding fleet, roam all over the world on one- to two-week cruises (some longer): Mediterranean and Northern Europe, Alaska and Canada, Caribbean, Central America, both coasts of South America, West Africa and Southern Africa, Madagascar, Seychelles, French Polynesia and Oceania, Hawaii,  Indonesia, East Asia and focus on Japan, Eastern Russia, Australia and New Zealand, Antarctica, the Arctic including the Northwest Passage, trans0ocean positioning voyages. A few highlights include (and it’s a moveable feast:

  • 10- and 16-night Antarctica cruises November – February
  • Iceland & Arctic Circle cruises in summer; also Northwest Passage, Eastern Canada, Great Lakes
  • 6- and 7-night cruises out of Martinique to the Grenadine Islands in the winter; also Cuba (Cuban calls suspended due to a US government ban.
  • 7-night Croatia cruises round-trip out of Venice between May and September; also Western & Eastern Mediterranean and Egypt
  • 9-night New Zealand cruises in January and February; also Australia’s eastern coast
  • 7- to 13-night Alaska cruises in June and July; including Aleutian Islands
  • 13-night Chile cruises in November and February; also Amazon and Orinoco rivers, Sea of Cortez
  • New tropical destinations are being added to include the Seychelles archipelago in the Indian Ocean, also Maldives and Madagascar, and the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, also French Polynesia, Easter Island
  • South and Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Japan, Eastern Russia.
Why Go?

The French flare, the amazing food, the gorgeous interiors — tres chic. In 2018 Ponant signed an agreement with National Geographic Expeditions to have the latter’s experts and photographers come aboard in Australia, New Zealand and Asia/Pacific.

When to Go?

The fleet cruises in different regions of the world at the best time to visit.

Cabins

LE PONANT is an 88-meter, three-masted sailing ship with lots of wood and nautical touches such as navy blue and white bedding and fabrics in the rooms. Most cabins are on the lowest of the four passenger decks and have twin beds — two rooms have king beds — and there are a few triples. Five larger cabins are higher up on the Antigua Deck.

LE BOREAL/L’AUSTRAL/LE SOLEAL/LE LYRIAL are nearly identical sister ships with the majority of cabins measuring between 200 and 236 square feet, not including the balconies (which all but eight cabins have). Cabins are designed in stylish neutrals of champagne, smoky greys or blues, and crisp whites with pops of color, like a red border on a bed throw or pillow.

All cabins are stocked with L’Occitane toiletries, bathrobes, mini bars and iPods, and a have a great split bathroom set-up — toilet in one little room and a large shower (and/or tub) and sink in another. They also have a desk and great adjustable reading lights on either side of the bed. Many standard cabins can accommodate three people with one on a sofa bed; ideal for families are the Prestige suites, which are ostensibly two connecting standard cabins. There are four large suites on the Deck 6 near the top of the ship.

A lovely standard cabin aboard Le Lyrial. * Photo: Francois Lefebvre

A lovely standard cabin aboard Le Lyrial. * Photo: Francois Lefebvre

The new 184-passenger sisters LE LAPEROUSE (2018), LE CHAMPLAIN,  LE  BOUGAINVILLE, LE DUMONT-D’URVILLE, LE BELLOT, and  LE JACQUES CARTIER  began arriving in mid-2018 and will continue into 2020. A feature on the new ships is the Blue Eye, an underwater sightseeing lounge. They make up what is termed Ponant Explorer Class with enhanced ice-breaking capabilities.

Public Rooms

LE BOREAL/L’AUSTRAL/LE SOLEAL/LE LYRIAL have two restaurants, one main entertainment lounge, one combination lounge/bar, and a lovely outdoor bar with sea views. There is no casino. Each has a spa with a Turkish steam room, hair salon, and an excellent ocean-view gym with a row of treadmills and recumbent bikes, plus a Kinesis wall with weights, pulls and grips for weight training.

A small library area (with a Wii console nearby) and a boutique round out the public areas, unless you also count the medical clinic. The smaller LE PONANT has two restaurants, two indoor lounges and lots of deck space for sunbathing. All five of the vessels have a platform for watersports when anchored in favorable conditions.

Dining

Cuisine is a big part of the Ponant experience, and I still sometimes dream about the dark chocolate mousses we devoured on a L’AUSTRAL cruise to Croatia (I gained several solid pounds on that cruise). Each of the five ships has two restaurants, one a more formal fine-dining multi-course French gourmet venue for dinner and the other a casual buffet restaurant with outdoor and indoor seating and themed offerings. Some of the chefs are French (the pastry chef was on my last cruise) and no matter where they are from, they’ve been schooled in the French culinary tradition.

Desserts to die for. * Photo: Ponant

Desserts to die for. * Photo: Ponant

Meals incorporate fish and grilled seafood, and plenty of delicious soups and salads of all kinds. When possible, local ingredients are used, from cherries in Kotor, Croatia, to rainbow trout from Nunavut, in the Arctic. Amazing desserts on offer might comprise a hazelnut mousse cake, lemon meringue tarts and that to die-to-for chocolate mousse already mentioned; easily the best desserts I’ve ever had on a cruise ship.

A selection of cheeses from France and Italy are a staple in the buffet and of the complimentary wines generously poured, I remember an especially refreshing French rose at lunch on route to our next Croatian port of call. You can always order a bottle off the extensive menu if you want something extra special.

The more formal of two restaurants aboard Le Soleal. * Photo: Ponant

The more formal of two restaurants aboard Le Soleal. * Photo: Ponant

Activities & Entertainment

The ships are in port every day, or nearly so, but if there’s a sea day, most people enjoy simply sunbathing by the pool and soaking up the scenery. In the French way of doing things, there isn’t an abundance of scheduled activities or group events. There are theme cruises from time to time focused on gourmet food and wine, film and topics like oceanography, with experts on board giving talks and demonstrations.

Evenings, a singing duo moves around the ship before and after dinner to serenade passengers as they sip cocktails and chat about the day’s adventures and the ones that lay ahead. At the top of the tiered decks at the stern on LE BOREAL/L’AUSTRAL/LE SOLEAL/LE LYRIAL is a wonderful al-fresco bar, an ideal place to plant yourself as the ship sails off into the sunset — likewise on LE PONANT’s sun deck. After dinner from time to time, a dance performance or film screening may be scheduled in the show lounge of the four sister ships.

The new and larger 184-passenger sisters LE LAPEROUSE, LE CHAMPLAIN,  LE  BOUGAINVILLE, LE DUMONT-D’URVILLE, LE BELLOT, and  LE JACQUES CARTIER started to debut in mid-2018 and continued into 2020, and the larger 270-passenger LE COMMANDANT CHARCOT will launch polar explorations in April 2021.

Ponant passengers love to be outside on deck. * Photo: Heidi Sarna

Ponant passengers love to be outside on deck. * Photo: Heidi Sarna

Along the Same Lines

SeaDream is close.

Contact

Ponant Yacht Cruises & Expeditions, 420 Lexington Avenue, Suite 2838, New York, NY 10170; us.ponant.com, 1-888-400-1082.

— HMS

 

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St Helena's life just extended! * Photo: Bruce Heard

St Helena’s life again extended! * Photo: Bruce Heard

The world’s last true Royal Mail Service by sea, from Cape Town to the remote South Atlantic island of St. Helena, was due to be withdrawn in July 2016 following completion of the island’s first airport. However, due to severe wind shear problems at the brand-new runway, the planned weekly commercial air service from Johannesburg to St. Helena has been delayed, and at present no official starting date has been announced. In the meantime, one-off flights are occasionally landing at the island.

So if you have an interest in sailing to one of the most remote places on earth, then have a look at our St. Helena Line Ship & Line Review as there are details of the now even further extended schedule through to February 2018. The 156-passenger and cargo ship RMS St. Helena leaves Cape Town for a five-day sail to St. Helena where passengers disembark for an six-day stay on the island while the ship unloads its cargo, continues to Ascension Island some 800 miles away, picks up passengers and cargo and returns to St. Helena for the return southbound voyage to Cape Town. The complete round voyage takes 16 days.

The ship is a delightful throwback to the traditional way many people once traveled and the rugged, remote island destination is utterly beautiful and unspoiled.

Submit a comment or question below, and having made this trip, I shall endeavor to provide an answer.

TWS

QC copyright

Now Hear This! The Royal Mail Ship service from South Africa to the remote South Atlantic island of St. Helena  was officially withdrawn in early 2018 as a replacement air service had been approved. The last sailing from Cape Town was January 24, 2018, calling at St. Helena and Ascension then returning to St. Helena and Cape Town, arriving there on February 11, 2018. Then it’s finished with engines. The mail ship had been sold  (April 2018) as an accommodation ships for soldiers fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean. Shortly after that brief period, the ship was resold and is now in England. Future plans for the ship will be revealed for aficionados who follow the ship.  The text below is now one for the history books. You can read what you missed. I am sure glad I didn’t. Ted Scull

Snapshot

The Royal Mail Ship ST. HELENA is the very last in a long line of passenger, mail and cargo ships that connected the mother country to her dependents; in this case the dependency is the remote and beautiful South Atlantic island of St. Helena. An airport, nearing completion, will put the island residents within five hours of Johannesburg instead of five days to and from Cape Town, and apart from the convenience for the island’s population, it is hoped that foreign visitors will come in larger numbers for a holiday stay. St. Helena’s remoteness was, for some, its principal attraction, coupled with a true liner voyage albeit rather smaller than the QUEEN MARY 2, the only other true ocean liner afloat.

Ship, Year Delivered & Passengers: ST. HELENA (built 1990 & 156 passengers)

Passenger Profile: The local population is referred to as Saints so they may be of any age, while the generally older visitors hail from South Africa, Great Britain (as the island is a dependency), other Europeans and some Americans. The RMS, as she is affectionately known, also carries passengers’ pets.

Passenger Decks: 4 decks with an elevator serving three of the four.

Price: $ – $$  Moderate to Expensive

Included features: By booking a package, included features would the sea voyage, transfers, hotel accommodation and some sightseeing on St. Helena and perhaps Ascension (a possible port of call).

The RMS docked at Cape Town in the shadow of Table Mountain.* Ted Scull

The RMS docked at Cape Town in the shadow of Table Mountain. * Photo:  Ted Scull

 

Itineraries: The most normal route is embarkation at Cape Town, then a five nights’ voyage to St. Helena where most visitors disembark for six days while the RMS unloads cargo and sails two nights north to Ascension where mostly Saints who work overseas disembark or embark. The ship then returns to St. Helena, finishes whatever cargo handling there may be and re-embarks passengers who have spent almost  a week on the island for Cape Town, again a five-night sail. Very occasionally, the RMS also called at Tristan da Cunha, an even more remote British island dependency, inhabited by less that 300 people of British stock, and located deep in the South Atlantic closer to South Africa than to South America. South African lobster boats provide the only passenger access from January 2018.

The classic view over Jamestown to the tiny speck that is the RMS St. Helena. * Photo: Bruce Heard

The classic view over Jamestown to the tiny speck that is the RMS St. Helena. * Photo: Bruce HeardWhy Go? The RMS ST. HELENA and the ship’s namesake island provide one of the most unusual travel experiences imaginable. You travel, not on a cruise ship, but aboard a pocket cargo-liner, with local islanders and a small group of lucky visitors who will then enjoy a remote island stay. Some book into one of several small hotels, bed and breakfasts (some with half or full board), and self-catered accommodations in Jamestown or in the countryside. The sights are Jamestown, a charming pastel-colored 19th-century Georgian town, its main street serving as the island’s social center and offering a couple of restaurants; Longwood, Napoleon’s exile home and gardens, and official French property; the 1791-built Plantation House, home to the island’s governor and a nearly 200-year-old Seychellois tortoise named Jonathan; lovely island drives on mostly one-lane roads with passing places; wonderful hikes, and deep sea fishing. The island operates a charabanc, a pre-WWII open-top tour bus. You can drive down to the shore, but the volcanic island has very little sand at its edge, except for a small stony beach at Sandy Bay. N.B. The week that my wife and I spent on the island could have easily lasted two.

Admiring Jonathan, the Seychellois turtle and nearly 200 years old, on the grounds of Plantation House. * Photo: Ted Scull

Admiring Jonathan, the Seychellois turtle and nearly 200 years old, on the grounds of Plantation House. * Photo: Ted Scull

When to Go? The ship offers regular voyages now until September 2016.The island’s subtropical climate is peaceful and calm with no temperature extremes at either end of the scale. The voyage to and from Cape Town can be rough near to South Africa during the Southern Hemisphere winters.

Cabins: Most cabins are outside and of small to moderate size with two lower beds; two lowers and an upper; two lowers and two uppers; or just one upper and one lower. These have private shower and toilet. Economy accommodations are mostly for four, though some are two berths, and without windows or portholes and shared facilities in the corridor.

8K RMS93005A Bruce Heard

An outside upper & lower berth cabin. * Photo: Bruce Heard

A two-berth, twin-bedded outside cabin. * Photo: Ted Scull

A two-berth, twin-bedded outside cabin. * Photo: Ted Scull

Public Rooms: The forward observation lounge has a bar, and as does the aft Sun Lounge that opens onto the rear deck where there are deck games and a pool. WiFi is now available.

Dining: The restaurant operates with a main and late seating, and the top officers and purser host tables at dinner. The food is British and South African fare with most of the fresh produce brought aboard in Cape Town. Highlights will be lunchtime curries, evening roasts and fish. A light buffet breakfast and lunch are served daily in the Sun Lounge.

The dining room aboard the RMS St. Helena.* Photo: Bruce Heard

The dining room aboard the RMS St. Helena.* Photo: Bruce Heard

Activities & Entertainment: The ship operates like a traditional liner with deck games such as shuffleboard and skittles, even cricket!, and after dinner, films, bingo, quizzes, and frog races. The last named involve flat wooden “frogs” tethered to a spring line that you tug at to drag the frog across the deck. Pull too fast and the frog flips over; pull too slowly and you are sure to lose.

Deck tennis on the forward hold. * Photo: Ted Scull

Deck tennis on the forward hold. * Photo: Ted Scull

Special Notes: The cargo handled will be everything the island needs from fresh and frozen food stuffs to building materials, the Royal Mail, including items that the Saints have ordered on line, medical equipment and drugs, vehicles, possibly live farm animals, and perhaps a shipment of St. Helena stamps, one of the island’s only sources of revenue. The loading whether by container or on pallets is worth watching.

The funnel marking is affectionatelt referred to as the South Atlantic prawn. * Photo: Bruce Heard

The funnel marking is affectionately referred to as the South Atlantic prawn. * Photo: Bruce Heard

Along the Same Lines: Some aspects parallel of C.P.T.M.’s ARANUI 5, where the ship also provides a life line to an island chain but it’s a round voyage with just daytime calls and no island stopover. Most of the accommodations are plusher than the RMS.

Contact: Andrew Weir Shipping (SA) Ltd.,Thibault Square, Foreshore, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa;  rms-st-helena.com, +27 21 425 1165

Special Note: Captain Rodney, master of the RMS St. Helena, died whilst on leave in early January 2017. He joined his ship as a cadet in August 1980 and rose to captain in August 2000, the first St. Helenian to assume this role. He was hugely popular with both crew and passengers, and he will be missed. Adam Smith, also a Saint, is now captain.

TWS

QC copyright