Quantum: The Via

October 25, 2014
(The Via - RCI Image)

(The Via – RCI Image)

Quantum of the Seas will feature a brand new area called, The Via, which is an “enclave of elegant dining and boutiques for leisurely moments spent in good company”.

In the Via, you can enjoy a fine wine, do some shopping for fine jewellery, watches, fragrances and more.

The Via will be home to Vintages wine bar and Jamie’s Italian restaurant.

Right around the corner you will find boutique shopping at Hublot and BVLGARI shops. The Via is the place for high-end indulgences.

The Via is a brand new area that we’ve not seen on any other Royal Caribbean ships before. It’s part of the ‘Royal Esplanade’.

(RCI/Unofficial blog)

Malcolm Says: ‘The Via’ was identified on the cut-away diagram a few months back, although we did not have a name for it.



I believe the art-work which is the centrepiece of ‘The Via’ is entitled “Waves of Light”.

Wave of light

RCI describe “Waves of light” as a sprawling, undulating structure which explores the light’s potential as a structural element.


I assume it is called ‘The Via’ because of the dictionary definition “by a route that touches or passes through”, the ‘Royal Esplanade’ being the ‘route’ between public rooms, shops and dining options.


Stop-Press: Finally one week before Quantum arrives at Southampton, the full deck plans have been released:



(Click to enlarge – RCI)

Escape Gets Legendary Miami Bar

October 23, 2014

31st October 2014

In celebration of Norwegian Escape’s one year to launch milestone, Norwegian Cruise Line today announced that Miami’s oldest and most legendary bar, Tobacco Road, will find a new home aboard the line’s newest and largest ship.

32246-5The acclaimed establishment, which was issued Miami’s very first alcohol license, is closing its original location this week after 102 years in business. In an effort to preserve the tradition of this iconic Miami landmark, Tobacco Road and Norwegian Cruise Line partnered to bring the Tobacco Road experience on board Norwegian Escape, which will begin sailing from Miami in November 2015.

Located within 678 Ocean Place, the new location of the celebrated tavern will incorporate elements of the original Tobacco Road, including the iconic neon sign, memorabilia and photographs that will showcase the history of Miami through the lens of events and happenings at the bar over the past century.

In addition to favourite beers and spirits, Tobacco Road Bar on board Norwegian Escape will also feature a selection of cocktails created by Tobacco Road’s resident mixologist, Leo Holtzman. The delicious drinks from Holtzman’s Cocktail Collection will include favourites like the Chili Mule, featuring ginger puree, Cointreau and vodka topped with a sliced seranno pepper; and the Gateway, a rum-based drink that incorporates yuzu juice, elderflower syrup and Prosecco.

(Escape, NCL Image - click to enlarge)

(Escape, NCL Image – click to enlarge)

Norwegian Escape will begin weekly seven-night cruises from her year-round homeport of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean on 14 November 2015. The ship will be the largest to home port year-round in Miami, carrying 4,200 guests to tropical Caribbean destinations including St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas. The ship’s signature hull artwork is designed by marine wildlife artist and champion of ocean conservation, Guy Harvey, which features an underwater scene of marine wildlife.


Malcolm Says: Norwegian Escape will be NCL’s biggest ship at 163,000gt (10% bigger than Breakaway/Getaway). This class will be the worlds third largest, being slightly smaller than RCI’s  ‘Quantum’ class and with RCI’s ‘Oasis’ class being the worlds biggest.  Escape’s design will be similar to Breakaway’s with an extra deck. Some  of Breakaways public rooms will be substituted for new ones. There will also be some extra ones.

I wonder if ‘Tobacco Road’ will be designated non-smoking? That would be ironic!

Quantum – The Top Secret Ship

October 21, 2014
(Meyer Werft Image)

(Meyer Werft Image)

‘Quantum of The Seas’ must be the most secret cruise ship ever built by any cruise line.

On 29th October 2014, Quantum arrives at Southampton, yet amazingly we still do not know all of her secrets.

There are still parts of her deck plans that are labelled “More To Come”.  We have seem some renderings of her internal spaces, but not all of them.  We have seen few real images. Details of some of the cabin grades, the ‘Royal Esplanade’ and the shops are still missing.

I think in the case of  ‘Oasis of the Seas’, RCI were so confident that they released all of the details, as soon as they could.  They let the concept speak for itself.  They knew that the worlds biggest ship would almost  promote itself. I recall that very few secrets were held back, for very long.

Quantum is a very different kettle of fish.

I think RCI were worried that Quantum could seem like an anti-climax when compared to ‘Oasis’. After all she’s smaller.

All of Quantum’s dining options leaves little room for too many ‘wow’ type public spaces, which have been RCI’s trademark in the past.  Quantum does not have the popular favourites like Central Park, Studio B, the Boardwalk, a Royal Viking Crown or a Royal Prom (as we know it).

On-board Quantum Technology and the Dining are designed to create the new ‘wows’.

‘Dynamic Dining’ is of course a very fundamental change for RCI and not without risk. It will change the design of every RCI ship from now on. RCI probably feared a backlash. After all ‘Dynamic Dining’ is VERY similar to NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ dining system. The latter still has it fans and critics after several decades of operation.

Few people have been on-board Quantum yet, but we may even find that aspects of Quantum’s design are similar to NCL’s newbuilds: Breakaway and Getaway. They were constructed in the same shipyard too, Meyer Werft, in Germany.

I believe RCI decided that they could generate more excitement about Quantum, by releasing the details very, very slowly, rather than presenting all of the facts up front.

Just my take on the events. Do you agree with me?


Stop Press: Some new interior images have been taken by Ingrid-Fiebak:


My ticket to visit ‘Quantum’ at Southampton next week has obviously got lost in the post! If you are going, here are the things that I want to know:

1) The facilities for youngsters look great, but what does the ship have to offer adults?

2) How does the ‘Royal Esplanade’ differ from a ‘Royal Promenade’?

3) Having multiple dining options leaves a lot less room for ‘wow’ spaces (like the Royal Viking Crown, Central Park, Studio B, Royal Prom. tall atriums etc.). How does this affect the ships ‘feel’.

4) It all that technology just silly gimmicks or real enhancements?

5) The ‘BIG’ question is does Quantum feel like an RCI ship or has there product morphed in NCL.

Stop Press – We finally have more details & deck plans: http://wp.me/pfRKD-2LZ

Cunard Building Disapointment

October 17, 2014

UK: Liverpool city leaders have admitted the dream of turning the Cunard Building into a cruise liner terminal will not be realised.


When the building – one of the city’s Three Graces was bought by the council for 1.5m, it was hoped it could become a spectacular ticket hall for a new city facility.

But Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has now revealed converting the building and the demands of installing border controls would simply cost too much.

It has been suggested that the council only received a consultants’ report showing the “astronomical” price tag after it had gone ahead with buying the building.

Mayor Anderson said the report commissioned by the council – which it is not releasing until the end of the month – suggests the price tag to convert the Cunard would have been anything from £5m to £60m.

In order to satisfy border control requirements, options including creating a monorail from the building to the embarking point would have had to be considered.

“In light of these findings it is clear we will not be able to progress with this plan.  “However, I want to reassure the city that we will find a solution and we will create a first class cruise liner terminal for our city and we have already begun conversations about other possible waterfront locations.”


Cllr Kemp said: “Buying this building without checking if it was feasible to pull it off is like somebody buying a house without having the survey done.

“It’s now about 100% certain it won’t be being used as a ticket hall when we were told that’s what it was going to be.  “If they’re not doing that, then it’s just another office block.”

(Source: Liverpool Echo)

Malcolm Says: Duh! I think the Council have suddenly realised that building a big B&Q style shed (like Southampton’s new ‘Ocean Terminal’) is a lot cheaper than adapting a historic building. Which do you like best:

(Southampton's newer Ocean Terminal)

(Southampton’s newer Ocean Terminal)

(Southampton's 1950 Ocean Terminal)

(Southampton’s 1950 Ocean Terminal)

Titanic Hotel Opens For Business

It’s not all bad news for Liverpool:

The 30 James Street Hotel, “The Home of the Titanic”, in Liverpool, has opened for business.

(30 James Street, Liverpool)

(30 James Street, Liverpool)

The grade-two listed building was once home to the White Star Line HQ, the shipping company responsible for building the Titanic.

The building has been transformed into a luxury 65 bedroom hotel and spa by developers Signature Living.

See: http://www.mstitanichotel.co.uk

Malcolm Says: There is now also ‘Titanic Hotel’ in the regenerated Stanley Doc, Liverpool. I belive the building was a disused warehouse. However unlike ’30 James Street’, it has no connection with the Titanic what so ever.

MV Discovery Sold

October 16, 2014

All Leisure Group has sold its loss-making cruise ship mv Discovery for $5 million, less than half its value.

As long ago as February the cruise and tour operator announced it would sell the ship in the summer having written down its value to £9.9 million.

Following the sale of the ship to Liberty Resources Inc of Nassau, the company said in a statement: “Although the consideration received is less than the current book value of the vessel, the board’s decision to sell mv Discovery to Liberty also took into account the absence of the future liabilities and other uncertainties associated with many other bids.

The statement added that while several higher indicative offers were made, the weaker cash flow profiles of the companies would have meant the prospect of staged payments over several years.

Discovery (20,186 gt, 698 passengers) was originally the ‘Island Princess’, built in 1971, was one of the ships used to film the classic American TV series, the ‘Love Boat’.

For the past few years Cruise & Maritime Voyages have been chartering her.

(Source: TTG Digital)

Malcolm Say’s: There are strong net rumours that she has been sold for scrap. I cannot confirm this. If it is true it is a tragedy that we are losing yet another small and charming ship.

Oasis Visits Southampton

October 15, 2014

15th October 2014

oasis of the seas fire tug welcome southampton pdm 15-10-2014 09-56-56

Click images for full screen

oasis of the seas southampton pdm 15-10-2014 09-58-021

oasis of the seas southampton pdm 15-10-2014 13-54-052

Today the world’sbiggest ship ‘Oasis of the Seas’ berthed at Southampton’s ‘City Cruise Terminal’ after visiting Europe, to embark passengers. Tonight she leaves on her transatlantic crossing, back to Port Everglades, Florida.

(Pictures by kind permission of Pam Massey)

Pam’s excellent web site: http://www.magwa.co.uk/links.htm

Comprehensive ‘Oasis’ review: http://wp.me/PfRKD-Bg

Brits: The Big Ships Are Coming

October 15, 2014


Whether you like it or not, cruise ships are getting bigger and bigger. Many of you have probably already cruised on ships bigger than you ever imagined that we would.

I can remember some fifteen years ago when the UK was almost exclusively served by older/smaller ships. When America did send a ship to Southampton, Dover or Harwich, is was rarely one of their big new ones. These were reserved for the Caribbean.

In fact I can remember when Cunard’s QE2 (1969-1998) at a modest 70,000 gt, was the biggest ship at Southampton. Many of today’s ships are twice  that size, or more (in terms of gross tonnage and often passenger capacity).

Within the next 12 months, or so, there will be quite a collection of big ships based (or at least visiting) Southampton: Quantum of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas (RCL), Britannia (P&O), Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Escape (NCL) and Royal Princess, spring to mind. There are probably more.

Let’s also not forget our home-porting ships: Ventura, Azura (P&O) and Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. None of them are exactly light-weights either.

Having been on some of the world’s biggest ships, the likes of ‘Oasis’ absorbs her 6,000+ passengers remarkably well. Some big ships are in fact more spacious, so feel less crowded, than ships a fraction of their size and with less passengers.

However, I must admit that I am concerned if Southampton’s existing cruise terminals and roads will be able to handle the crowds efficiently. It does not help that the modest road system near the port is now shared with a large shopping centre including an Ikea store. This will almost certainly be an ‘issue’ when multiple ‘big’ ships are in post on the same day, especially if it’s a Saturday.


See the QE2 slide-show: http://wp.me/PfRKD-k

Below: World’s Biggest Cruise Ship/Class (slide show):

How do you dock Oasis in Southampton?

October 14, 2014


See Link:


NCL’s Kevin Sheehan Stands Down

October 14, 2014

Drew Madsen has joined Norwegian Cruise Line as president and chief operating officer. He most recently served as president and COO at Darden Restaurants, the world’s largest full-service restaurant company.

After NCL’s acquisition of Prestige Cruises International, Norwegian Cruise Holdings, President and CEO Kevin Sheehan said that he did not plan to continue serving as president for the Norwegian brand. Instead, he said he envisioned Norwegian, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises would have individual brand leaders.

Sheehan was the driving force behind the Breakaway and Breakaway Plus newbuilds.


Malcolm Says: I wonder if O’sheehan’s Neighbourhood Grill on-board NCL shuips will become O’Madsen’s?

Is Traditional Dining Dead?

October 10, 2014

The Norwegian Cruise Line have their ‘Freestyle’ dining system and Royal Caribbean are about to introduce’Dynamic Dining’. Both do away with the ‘one big main dining room’ system, with two fixed sittings. images3YV6N6EB The traditional system is being replaced by multiple dining rooms and greater flexibility. Flexible dining is definitely more suited to the modern lifestyle. Today, many passengers do not want to pay for a holiday only to be told what to wear and when to eat. In fact it is amazing that RCI have stuck with the ‘one main dining room’ concept for so long.

I can see Carnival quickly following suit on-board their fleet, followed by Princess and then P&O. I

s this the beginning of the end?



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