The stylish French tradition of cruising will return with the revived Paquet Cruises in 2010.


Cruising the future. The stylish French tradition of cruising will return with the revived Paquet Cruises in 2010.

The Costa Allegra will be chartered by Paquet.

The Paquet cruise brand in France is to be revived by Jean-Maurice Ravon through his company TMR. TMR will apparently charter the 820-berth Costa Allegra to operate Med cruises in the summer of 2010. He has apparently chartered the Costa Romantica for various cruises in the past.

TMR had also chartered one of the ex-Renaissance ships for a while before Oceania grabbed it up.

As Costa control the Paquet brand they seem to have come to an agreement with Ravon’s TMR to market the ship under the revived name in an attempt to test the French market against Royal Caribbean’s Croisières de France and their 800-berth Bleu de France.

Whether the Italian ship will carry French officers and/or staff has not been stated.

But a new brand in the underperforming French market may help it grow.

France has a long maritime history, but its inhabitants seem to be among the most reluctant in Europe to embrace cruising, but with two new Ponant Cruises ships being built by Fincentieri as well who knows, maybe France will soon have three cruise brands.

Earlier – classic late mid-century cruise ships operated by Paquet Cruises included:

Rhapsody – (Paquet: 1982-1986) – Rhapsody was built as the Statendam of Holland America Line  in 1957. She was bought by the Paquet group in 1982 and renamed Rhapsody, but sold again to the Lelakis group in 1986, and named Regent Star in the Regency fleet. Her steam turbines were replaced by diesels in 1987. She has been inactive since the Regency Cruises  bankruptcy.

Mermoz – (Paquet: 1965-1998) – Mermoz was built as the  Jean Mermoz of Cie. Fraissinet of Marseille in 1958, sailing to West Africa. She was sold to the Nouvelle Cie. de Paquebots in 1965, initially retaining her name. She was later converted to be more suitable for cruising and renamed Mermoz. Mermoz was sold in 1998 but soon passed to Louis Cruise Lines as the Serenade.

Ancerville – (Paquet: 1962-1973) – Ancerville was built in 1962 for the Marseille-Dakar service of Cie. Navigation de Paquet, and passed to Nouvelle Cie. de Paquebots in 1970. She was sold to the People’s Republic of China in 1973.



About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…