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Victory Cruise Lines Conducts Keel-Laying Ceremony for New Vessel



Following a successful inaugural year of cruising the Great Lakes, and waterways and coasts of the American Borderlands, Victory Cruise Lines has now reached another milestone, thanks to a successful keel-laying for its highly-anticipated, new vessel, the M/V Ocean Victory. With it, Victory Cruise Lines plans on bringing its high standards of elegant cruising to both Alaska and British Columbia, beginning in Spring 2021.

The M/V Ocean Victory will be a Sunstone Ships’ third next-generation, INFINITY-class Vessel. European aesthetic and design, and Chinese ship-building efficiency combine to produce these intimate expedition ships that deliver on refinement, along with cutting-edge design and operations.

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The Ocean Victory will include the following dynamic features:

— 104 meters long, 18 meters wide, with a draft of 5.1 meters

— Ice Class 1A, Polar Code 6

— Featuring the X-Bow by Ulstein Design & Solutions

— Equipped with Safe Return to Port, Dynamic Positioning and Zero Speed Stabilizers

With a passenger capacity of 200, and crew capacity between of 85 and 115, the Ocean Victory will be small enough to provide passengers with a sense of exclusivity, yet large enough to incorporate high-end facilities, such as a swimming pool, gym, spa, lounges, restaurants and bars, the Ocean Victory will surpass guests’ expectations of small-ship sailing.

Like its sister vessels, the M/V Victory I and M/V Victory II, Ocean Victory is designed to be agile enough to navigate the narrow locks and canals, hidden ports and secluded bays where larger ships dare not go. Its 2021 itineraries will take discriminating explorers up-close to discover the wonders of British Columbia and Alaska, both from on board ship and with immersive shore excursions.

For more information, visit

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Holland America Ship Given OK to Cross Panama Canal



A Holland America Line cruise ship carrying four dead passengers and dozens of others who are sick – including two who tested positive for the coronavirus – has been given permission to pass through the Panama Canal and return to Fort Lauderdale.

The Zaandam had initially been denied entry into Chile on its South American itinerary and then denied the chance to pass through the Canal to get back to its home port in Florida, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper.

The media outlet said the boat is currently anchored outside Panama Canal waters, where healthy passengers are being transferred to Holland America’s Rotterdam.

The Panama Canal Authority said in a statement it “supports all efforts being made to ensure an expedited return home for cruise passengers and crew on Holland America’s Zaandam.”

Holland America Line released a statement saying “We are aware of reported permission for both Zaandam and Rotterdam to transit the Panama Canal in the near future. We greatly appreciate this consideration in the humanitarian interest of our guests and crew. This remains a dynamic situation, and we continue to work with the Panamanian authorities to finalize details.”

No timetable was given for when the ships would return to Fort Lauderdale, nor did Holland America offer any information regarding whether the number of sick passengers had grown past the previous update of 138. It normally takes 72 hours to travel from the west side of the canal to the east and then back to Fort Lauderdale.

One American citizen is believed to be among the four deceased passengers. The passengers were ordered to self-isolate in their staterooms since March 22.

Whether the Zaandam will be allowed to dock in Fort Lauderdale for the same humanitarian reasons that officials allowed the ship to pass through the Panama Canal remains to be seen. The Sun-Sentinel noted that several Broward County commissioners were alarmed at the idea of the Zaandam docking at Port Everglades.

Commissioner Michael Udine told the paper Sunday morning that Port Everglades notified county commissioners late Saturday with its mandates for the passengers, including the following:

All illnesses and conditions must be accurately disclosed and documented; the cruise line, at its expense, will provide all protective equipment to all responders; temperature readings are required for all disembarking crew and passengers; and the cruise line, at its expense, will arrange for private ambulance transportation, among other issues.

And, “no less than 24 hours in advance of the start of debarkation, the cruise line will present a security plan for review and approval… how passengers will debark orderly, safely and in compliance with current health advisories (i.e. social distancing). Failure to maintain good order may result in an immediate suspension of the debarkation until the situation is under control,” according to the guidelines.

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