Cruise Ships

       1 February 2001              $1.50, $1.50, $1.50, $1.50                      Mint and CTO                 $6.00

                                                                                                   FDC                               $7.00
 Technical Details

Release Date:             1 February 2001
Denominations:           4 x $1.50
Designer:                    Ron Fulstow, Paraparaumu, NZ
Printer:                       Southern Colour Print, Dunedin NZ
Process:                     Offset Lithography
Paper:                        De La Rue 103gsm non-phosphor
Stamp Size:                40mm diameter (4 circular)
Perforation Gauge:      14 x 2 cm
Format:                       Panes of 2 x 10 stamps
Mint and CTO:           $6.00
First Day Cover:         $7.00

This, the first issue of stamps for 2001, features four of the cruise vessels scheduled to visit Pitcairn during the year.  The circular concept arose from the idea of showing the ships against the island as they may be viewed, through a porthole.

Cruise ship visits to Pitcairn have steadily increased over the past few years.  During 2000, a record ten cruise ships stopped for a day.  In most cases, the Pitcairners take their carvings, basketwork and other crafts out to the ship to sell to passengers.  Where the vessel carries fewer passengers, as with the Hanseatic which called in November 2000 or the Bremen, the passengers are ferried ashore by zodiac or on the island’s longboats, where they spend the day wandering or being guided about the island.

The day of a cruise ship visit is eagerly looked forward to by everyone on the island.  Although Pitcairners enjoy their isolation, meeting visitors and taking the opportunity to demonstrate ‘Pitcairn’ hospitality provides a welcome change.  For months prior to a visit, they will be busy carving or weaving baskets in preparation for the visit.  On rare occasions when the sea is too rough to allow the vessels to call, the disappointment felt by all on the island is enormous.  Many Pitcairners have developed life-long friendships with these visitors and in some cases, have managed to visit them years later.

MV Europa of the Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahten Company will be the first cruise ship of 2001 to call, when it anchors of Pitcairn on 1 February.  This vessel, built in 1999, is 28,400 tonnes, 198 metres in length and cruises at 21 knots.  Europa carries 408 passengers.  This will be the first visit to Pitcairn for the ‘new’ Europa.
MS Rotterdam will be the second vessel to visit during 2001, on 6 February. This is the sixth vessel of the Holland America Line to have this name and it will be this vessel’s first visit to Pitcairn.  Rotterdam VI entered service in 1997.  At 62,000 tonnes and with a length of 240 metres, this huge ship carries 1,318 passengers.
Saga Rose commissioned in 1965 and sailing as the Cunard Line’s Saga Fjord,was a regular caller at Pitcairn.  Since being renamed and operating under the control of the Saga Shipping Company, she has called almost every year at Pitcairn.  She is expected off Pitcairn on 11 February 2001.  Saga Rose is 188 metres long, is 24,474 tonnes and has a passenger capacity of 584.  In 1997, Saga Rose underwent an extensive refit.
MV Bremen built in 1990 for the Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten Company, is currently scheduled as the last cruise ship to visit in 2001, being expected at Pitcairn on 1 November, Henderson Island on 2 November and Ducie Island on 3 November.  At just 94 metres in length and at 6,752 tonnes, Bremen is the smallest of the vessels expected next year.  The passenger capacity is 164.  Bremen specialises in visits to ‘out of the way’ places and has a specially strengthened hull to enable it to voyage into the polar regions.

Although this issue of stamps is being released on 1 February - the day upon which the first of these ships will call, a special cancellor is being produced for the day upon which each ship calls to enable covers printed by the various shipping companies, or postcards, to be cancelled on the day the vessel visits.  The rate of $1.50 was chosen for these stamps, as it is the Air International medium letter rate from Pitcairn to the UK, Europe and other parts of the world.  As most visitors on these cruise ships are from Europe, this is the most appropriate rate.