MS Victory I Review and Specifications
Specifications of MS Victory I
|Year built||2001 / Age : 18|
|Builder||Atlantic Marine (Jacksonville, Florida USA) BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards|
|Building cost||USD 30 million|
|Owner||American Queen Steamboat Company|
|Operator||Victory Cruise Lines|
|Speed||12 kn / 22 kph / 14 mph|
|Length (LOA)||87 m / 285 ft|
|Beam (width)||15 m / 49 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||4954 gt|
|Decks with cabins||5|
|Former names||Cape May Light, Sea Voyager, MS Saint Laurent|
Review of MS Victory I
MS Victory I cruise ship ("MS Saint Laurent" until 2015) was initially owned by the company Haimark Line (subsidiary of the luxury river cruisetour operator Haimark Travel). Haimark declared bankruptcy in the end of 2015. Currently, the ship is owned by Clipper Group and chartered to Victory Cruise Lines under the name "MS Victory 1". Starting in 2016, this new USA river cruise line operates itineraries on the Great Lakes (USA and Canada) during summer, and to Cuba roundtrip from Florida (during fall and winter months).
From the same series (sistership) is the fleetmate MS Victory 2 (formerly Cape Cod Light, and Sea Discoverer). Both were built in resemblance to the traditional US coastal steamboats of late-19th century. They both started operations on itineraries on the Great Lakes, Canadian Maritime, East Coast USA and Southern USA.
History - construction and ownership
The 210-passenger cruise ship Victory I was built in 2001 (launched as "Cape May Light") by Atlantic Marine (shipyard Jacksonville Florida / now BAE Systems Southeast Florida). Previously, the vessel was operated under the names Clipper Voyager, Sea Voyager, and Saint Laurent. The vessel was originally built for Great Lakes Cruises (US company) and designated for expedition voyages with itineraries in Central and South America.
The cruise ship was built under as “Clipper Voyager” for the based in Copenhagen Denmark company Clipper Group AS. The company specializes in marine shipping, cruise shipping, and also car and passenger ferries. The vessel was operated under charter by Haimark Line – specializing in small ship expedition cruise touring. Before entering service for Haimark, the vessel was extensively refurbished in Charleston SC.
The vessel's current owner is the Copenhagen-based company Albatros Travel, that specializes in polar expedition cruises and tours. The company Cruise Management International Inc provides the ship's deck and engine management, while the sister-company CMI Leisure Management Inc handles the onboard hotel operations.
MS Saint Laurent ship’s inaugural cruises for Haimark was on May 30, 2015 from Montreal Canada. Before the launch, Haimark Line invested USD 3,5 million for an extensive drydock refurbishment of all interior spaces. Then the ship was renamed from "Cape May Light". Unfortunately, on June 18, 2015, with all 274 people on board, the St Laurent cruise ship collided with the concrete wall bumper of Eisenhower Lock (Saint Lawrence Seaway) located near Massena NY. The number of injured was 21.
In April 2016 was announced that vessel's operator Haimark Line Ltd had cancelled all scheduled voyages. All booked Haimark customers were refunded, but the company didn't provide reimbursement for air travel payments, hotels or other expenses that don't constitute water transportation or related services. Booked travelers who have previously obtained a refund from their travel insurance or credit card issuer were not eligible.
In November 2018, American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) signed an agreement to purchase the brand "Victory Cruise Line", as well as its chartered (from Sunstone Ships) vessels. Victory Cruise Line has a separate fleet and management, and operates as subsidiary company of AQSC.
Cruise itinerary program
MV Victory 1 itinerary calendar has regularly scheduled Great Lakes and St Lawrence Seaway cruises in USA and Canada. The ship also operates reglar cruises to Cuba leaving round-trip from Miami Florida. The newly refurbished ship entered service on July 8, 2016.
- Victory Cruise Line's USA-Canada itinerary program offers 15-day itineraries leaving out of Chicago (Navy Pier), Toronto and Montreal. Cuba cruises from Miami started on October 28, 2016. The roundtrip itineraries range from 4-days (Miami to Havana) to 14-days (around Cuba / circumnavigation itinerary.
- In October 2017, Victory Cruise Lines announced the inaugural Cuba cruise season will offer 13- to 15-night island circumnavigation itineraries starting in March 2018. All the themed "Cuba 360-degree" itineraries circumnavigate Cuba and visit UNESCO sites as part of the company's shore excursions program. All-inclusive fares (per person, double occupancy) started from USD 7,000, with promo prices from USD 5,500 plus USD 400 airfare credit.
- The inaugural Cuba cruise departed from Miami on April 20, 2018. The 15-night itinerary visited 4 Cuban ports - overnights in Havana (3 overnights) and Santiago de Cuba (1), plus Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Maria la Gorda. Following the maiden voyage, Victory 1 ship cruises out of Miami on 5 more roundtrip itineraries.
- 2018 Cuban season ended with an 11-day repositioning cruise (May 5) with included flight Miami to Havana and an overnight.
Victory Cruise Lines January-April 2019 itinerary program includes 13- and 14-night Cuba circumnavigation cruises on MS Victory I. For the winter, the company offered reduced pricing plus early booking discounts on all Miami-Cuba cruises. All-inclusive fares for 13-night itineraries started at USD 6,000 pp (included early-booking discount). Select departures had overnight hotel or air credit of USD 500 pp.
Ship's Cuba circumnavigation itineraries are Miami roundtrips - 2019 departures Jan 29, Feb 15, Mar 1, 15, 29. Each voyage features educational activities (interactions with Cuban artists, musicians, naturalists, entrepreneurs).
For season 2019 (May through October), Victory Cruise Line scheduled 10-day "Great Lakes" cruises operated with all-inclusive deals. Victory 1 ship was homeported in Toronto and Chicago, with route ports Port Colborne, Cleveland, Detroit, Lake Huron (scenic cruising), Little Current (Manitoulin Island), Soo Locks (connecting Lake Superior with Great Lakes). Sault Ste Marie, Mackinac Island, Lake Michigan. This "Great Lakes Grand Discovery" itinerary on MS Victory 1 in 2019 is offered on (departures) May 13-22-31, June 9-27, August 11-20-29, October 4-13. Signature destinations are Georgian Bay, Niagara Falls, Southern Canadian coastal cruising. Prices started at USD 6390 per person (double occupancy fares).
Victory Cruise Line fares are inclusive of all daily-scheduled tours (excursions ashore), including full-day Niagara Falls and Mackinac Island (Lake Huron). Deals are also inclusive of alcohol (beer and wine) at lunch and dinner.
MS Saint Laurent features a beautifully appointed interior with only 105 staterooms. Its stylish staterooms offer high thread-count bedding, premium mattresses, pillow menus and L’Occitane bath amenities. Passengers enjoy free WiFi Internet access and 24-hour room service, as well as nightly turndown service. The stateroom entertainment systems feature LCD flat screen televisions with satellite programming and radio/alarm clocks with Ipod Docking Station. Outside staterooms include armoires and picture windows for panoramic views.
Dining options - Food and Drinks
MS Saint Laurent dining options include Shearwater dining room, Tavern and Outdoor Grill. Guests can enjoy fine à la carte dining in the main restaurant or the outdoor Cliff Rock Grill & Bar. they can treat themselves to fresh “hot rock” cooking at Cliff Rock, savor regionally inspired cuisine and western classics at Shearwater Dining Room, indulge in delightful afternoon tea service, complete with cakes and cookies, mingle with old and new friends in ship's English-style Seascape Tavern.
Entertainment options - Fun and Sport
The ship has an Observation lounge, Sun Deck, Terrace and Boutique. Expertly guided shore excursions are included. Learn Aboard (shipboard enrichment program) is hosted by experts in culture, history and natural wonders of the places visited.
Victory Cruise Lines deals
Follows the list of onboard amenities and services offered complimentary to all passengers (cruise price inclusive) regardless of cabin grades:
- accommodation: sleeping area (2 twin beds or 1 queen bed / excepting Owners Suites and Category E (with 1 fixed queen bed, 100% Egyptian cotton bedding sets, premium mattresses), en-suite bathroom (robes, slippers, make-up mirror, hairdryer), electronic safe (in the closet), individual climate control, flat LCD TV (satellite programming), direct dial phone (outside line), radio (alarm, docking station)
- daily housekeeping, nightly turndown service
- daily tour (1 excursion in each cruise port)
- complimentary drinks (coffee, tea, bottled water, soft drinks, house brand beers and wine by the glass with all lunches and dinners)
- all onboard meals
- brunch time Consumme and Afternoon Tea service
Not included in the cruise deals are:
- flights (domestic or international airfare to and from the port destination)
- Other beverages (not mentioned above)
- gratuities (onboard and on shore excursions),port charges, cruise insurance.
Victory Cruise Line's closest competitor (in both USA and Cuba) is Pearl Seas Cruises.
MS Victory I wiki
In 2015 Haimark Line invested USD 3,5 million for the refurbishment of the "Cape May Light" ship and renamed it to "MS Saint Laurent". The ship was previously operating also under the names "Clipper Voyager" and "Sea Voyager". The vessel was built in 2001 for the USA line Great Lakes Cruises, which specialized in expedition voyages in Central and South America.
On May 30, 2015, after changing its name from "Cape May Light", the ship started its inaugural season for the Haimark Line with 10-day Canada to USA "Inaugural Cruise" (itinerary May 30 to June 8) leaving from Montreal Quebec to Portland Maine.
Soon after the collision accident (June 18, 2015), Haimark Line filed for bankruptcy. In June 2016 was announced that Victory Cruise Line intends to rename the vessel to "MS Victory I" and start operations with departures from Montreal (Quebec, Canada) to ports in Canada and Great Lakes (USA). The inaugural cruise was scheduled for July 8. Also were announced further plans for Florida to Cuba cruise itineraries.
Ship's first scheduled Cuba cruise was a 7-day / 6-night itinerary round-trip from Port Canaveral (Orlando) Florida (departure Oct 28, 2016). Ship's winter 2016-2017 itinerary program included 3-day to 14-day roundtrips to Cuba out of Miami (through April 2017).
On April 19, 2018, was boat's maiden call at PortMiami, which started Victory Cruise Line's Cuba program. On board were hosted ship tours for travel agents and sales seminar. The inaugural Cuban cruise was on April 20 (themed "Cuba 360" / circumnavigation itinerary). The 15-night roundtrip visited Cuba's 4 main seaports and featured 3 overnights in Havana. The repositioning cruise back to Canada was scheduled for May 5. In 2019 (January through April) were scheduled 13-14-night roundtrips from Miami to Cuba.
In mid-November 2018, the shipowner AQSC (American Queen Steamboat Company) announced an agreement to acquire the brand "Victory Cruise Line", that includes purchasing its two chartered (Sunstone Ships-owned) vessels Victory I (built 2001) and Victory II (built 2004). To AQSC fleet was also added the newbuildOcean Victory (2021) - Sunstone-owned vessel operated under charter. All the 3 ships stay in a separate fleet - under the "Victory Cruise Line" brand. Transaction terms (and price) were not disclosed. The acquisition deal was closed in mid-January 2019.
MS Victory I - user reviews and comments
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