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

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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