MS Cruise Olbia

MS Cruise Olbia is a fast ropax ferry operated by Grimaldi Lines on their Civitavecchia-Olbia route. (Starting from mid April 2016). Built in 2001 as Superfast VI by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) in Kiel, Germany for Attica Group's subsidiary Superfast Ferries, she was sold to the Genting Group in 2013, Renamed Bimini Superfast for the Bimini-Miami route. In 2016 she was sold to her current owners.[1]

MS Cruise Olbia in 2016
History
Name:
  • 2001–2013: Superfast VI
  • 2013–2016: "Bimini Superfast
  • 2016–Present: "Cruise Olbia"
  • [1]
Owner:
  • 2001–2010: Attica Group
  • 2013–2016: Bimini Superfast Ltd[1]
  • [2]
  • 2016–present: Grimaldi Euromed SPA [2]
Operator:
Port of registry:
Route:
Builder: HDW, Kiel, Germany
Yard number: 356[1]
Launched: 11 March 2000[1]
Acquired: 6 February 2001[1]
Maiden voyage: 2 March 2001[1]
In service: 2 March 2001[1]
Identification:
Status: In Service
General characteristics (as built)[1]
Class and type: Superfast V class fast ropax ferry
Tonnage: 32,728 GT[1]
Displacement: 6,420 t DWT
Length: 203.90 m (669 ft 0 in)[1]
Beam: 25 m (82 ft 0 in)[1]
Height: 40.0
Draught: 6.80 m (22 ft 4 in)
Decks: 10
Installed power:
Propulsion:
  • 2 propellers
  • 3 bow thrusters
  • 1 stern thruster
Speed: Service 28.9 knots (53.52 km/h; 33.26 mph)[1]
Capacity:
  • 1608 passengers
  • 842 berths
  • 712 cars
  • 1926 Lane meters[1]

Concept and construction

Superfast VI was built at HDW in Kiel for Superfast Ferries' Adriatic Sea services, along with her sister ship Superfast V. She was the second ship in the third pair of ropax ferries built for Superfast Ferries from various ship yards in Northern Europe. She was ordered in July 1998, alongside sister ship MS Superfast V and another pair for Baltic sea services, Superfast VII and VIII[3] She was launched from dry dock on 11 March 2000 and was due to be delivered at the end of July 2000, but after many months of delays due to technical problems, she was delivered to Superfast Ferries on 6 February 2001.[1] After many months of delays due to technical problems, Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) was forced to pay hefty penalties due to the late delivery.[4]

Service history

2001-2013: Superfast VI

Superfast VI entered service on 2 March 2001 on Superfast Ferries PatrasIgoumenitsa-Ancona route.[1] In March 2013 Superfast VI was sold to Genting Group, she was handed over to her new owners on 6 April 2013.[1]

2013-2016: Bimini Superfast

After Genting Group took over their new ship, she was renamed Bimini Superfast.[1] She departed Patras and sailed to Málaga in Spain for remodeling. After a few weeks she departed Málaga and sailed to USA for final fitting out works to be completed. Bimini Superfast was due to begin service with the Bimini cruise from Miami on 6 June 2013 but the US Coast Guard did not give approval for the ship to sail in US waters. This was due to deficiencies with the crew and the ship, even though it had been sailing in Europe for many years with no compliance issues.[1] After several weeks of work, the US Coast Guard gave Bimini Superfast final clearance to sail.[5] On 20 June 2013 she finally made her first crossing from Miami to Bimini.

Bimini Superfast operated 2 and 3 night cruises from Miami. They depart Miami at 7PM, spend 2 or 3 nights at Bimini and returns to Miami at 1PM on the third or fourth day. Passengers are required to have passports if staying on the Island but this is not required if lodging on the ship. The 50 mile trip to Bimini Island takes about 3 hours.[6] With the completion of the pier in Bimini Bay as of 18 September 2014 passengers are no longer tendered by ferry from the ship to the island.[7] Passengers disembark directly on the island from the cruise ship, saving about 60 minutes of ferry time each way. Once in Bimini, passengers disembark to visit Resorts World Bimini Bay Resort and Casino via a free tram.

Part of the business plan of Genting for the Bimini Superfast was to carry out evening gambling and party cruises to nowhere, but due to visa issues with the hotel staff being foreign nationals, the US government has ruled that they can no longer offer these cruises, as the passengers never set foot in another country. As a consequence Bimini Superfast completed her last cruise to nowhere on 28 November 2013. However the Bimini Superfast ceased operating on 10 January 2016 after only 3 years of operation.[8] Genting announced in January 2016 of its plans to cease the service from Florida to Bimini, initially there were plans to transfer the ship to crystal cruises, a subsidiary of Genting, but a full conversion from car ferry to cruise ship would be too costly, so it was sold to Grimaldi Lines of Italy.

2016-Onwards: Cruise Olbia

In January Grimaldi Lines announced the purchase of the Bimini Superfast, to be placed on Livorno-Olbia route, replacing the MS Zeus Palace, which will be placed on the Civitavecchia-Olbia route.[9]

References

  1. Asklander, Micke. "M/S Superfast VI (2001)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  2. "BIMINI SUPERFAST (9198939)". Equasis. French Ministry for Transport. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  3. "ATTICA GROUP HISTORY". Attica Group. Archived from the original on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  4. Lulurgas, Michele. "H/S/F SUPERFAST VI". ADRIATIC AND AEGEAN FERRIES. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  5. "Coast Guard clears Bimini Superfast Ferry for operations". USA Coast Guard. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  6. "Bimini Superfast". Resorts World Bimini. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  7. Batchelor, Amanda (4 September 2014). "Bimini SuperFast expands service from Port Everglades". Local10.com. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  8. "Genting gambling cruises hit rough waters". Miami Herald Business. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  9. "THE GRIMALDI GROUP ENHANCES ITS SERVICES TO OLBIA". Grimaldi Group. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
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