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?

Malcolm

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

http://www.ingrid-fiebak.de/galerie/categories.php?cat_id=2222

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.

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.

2768276

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.”

reception

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

Image1

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.

Malcolm

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
(Oasis)

(Oasis)

See Link:

http://www.ttgdigital.com/news/how-do-you-dock-oasis-in-southampton-clue-it-isnt-plain-sailing/4692735.article

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.

(NCL)

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?

Malcolm

Oasis To Get Dynamic Dining

October 2, 2014

Royal Caribbean announced a while back announced that ‘Dynamic Dining’ will be introduced to Oasis of the Seas during upcoming revitalization.

Dynamic Dinning is their new system (not unlike NCL’s ‘Freestyle’) and will debut on their newbuilds Quantum of the Seas (2014) and Anthem of the Seas (2015)

The Opus Dining Room, Oasis

The Opus Dining Room, Oasis

There has been much speculation how this could be achieved on-board a ship which was not built with Dynamic Dining in mind. An unofficial source says that Oasis’s giant three tier main dining room ‘Opus’ will be split into three restaurants:

Deck 3 – American Icon Grill

Deck 4 – The Grande

Deck 5 – Silk

Each floor will be decorated differently, but no subdividing of individual floors will be required. I guess this will prove to be a pretty easy and will be mainly cosmetic changes.

(RCI rendering - Quantum)

(RCI rendering – Quantum)

I assume that each tier has probably got it’s own kitchen anyway.

Sadly the Royal Viking Crown will become the ‘Coastal Kitchen’ and a lounge, both for suite guests only. This is quite a loss for the general passengers.

The main dining spaces will be re-modelled during Oasis of the Seas’ dry-docking (October 2014) but Dynamic Dining itself will not begin until March 2015.

New Oasis deck plans here:

http://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2014/10/09/oasis-of-the-seas-deck-plan-changes-coming-after-dry-dock-complete

(Thanks to the Unofficial RCI Blog)

Malcolm Says: I’ve experienced NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ and it has its advantages and disadvantages. However is definitely more suited to the modern lifestyle. Today, many passengers do not want to pay and 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.

The sad thing in my mind, is that Freestyle (and Dynamic) dramatically changes the design of a ship. A purpose built ‘Dynamic’ (or ‘Freestyle’) ship will be crammed with multiple restaurants, bars and multiple entertainment venues. This does not leave very much room for ‘wow’ spaces – just look at Quantum and Breakaway/Getaway. Even double height public rooms and tall atriums become too much of a waste of space, which can be used for more dining options.

If Oasis was purpose built for ‘Dynamic’ I wonder if she would have a Royal Promenade, Central park, Boardwalk and Studio B?

RCI are being very brave because they do not even know how well it will work or how well it will be received until Quantum enters service, yet they are already extending it to Oasis.

NCL did the same some years back and retro-fitted their fleet. Freestyle certainly worked better on the NCL ships that were purpose built for it, than on-board their older tonnage (like Norwegian Dream). There purpose built ‘Freestyle’ ships had so many more dining choices, so more flexibility.

Note: It has now been announced that Dynamic Dining will also be extended to ‘Allure of the Seas’. I guess the whole RCI fleet will get it in time.

‘Oasis of the seas’ review: http://wp.me/PfRKD-Bg

Norwgian Escape Details

October 1, 2014

Norwegian Cruise have revealed that Norwegian Escape will incorporate The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place, the immensely popular design innovation first introduced on Norwegian Breakaway and also on Norwegian Getaway. This concept includes an oceanfront boardwalk lined with restaurants, bars and shops, combined with three expansive, flowing decks of dining, bars, entertainment, gaming and more. The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place have taken cruising to new heights and offer an unparalleled experience with a unique connection to the ocean. Norwegian Escape is currently under construction and is scheduled for delivery in October 2015.

(NCL)

(Click Images to enlarge NCL)

Located on deck 8, The Waterfront is a revolutionary outdoor experience that adds a whole new dimension to Norwegian’s signature Freestyle Cruising, by offering a number of seaside venues that will feature breath-taking views and a sense of connection with the ocean. The hub of the ship will be 678 Ocean Place, a space that uniquely flows, intertwines and connects three decks of daytime and night-time amusements.

A private group dining venue for up to 100 guests will be one of the new features.

As part of Taste, one of the complimentary dining options on board, the Private Room at Taste will accommodate up to 100 guests, offering the opportunity for groups to dine together in a private setting. Located just below the main Taste restaurant on deck 5, the Private Room at Taste features its own entrance, lounge and private dining area.

The new Skyline Bar, will be located within the Escape casino. It is an elegant and sophisticated lounge highlighted by brushed gold and metallic finishes. The lounge will also feature entertainment, a bar with video poker and multiple walls lined with ultra, high definition LED screens that can create an array of scenes to transform the mood of the space.

(Skyline Bar - NCL)

(Skyline Bar – NCL)

The popular Manhattan Room returns (deck 7) as the complimentary aft dining room with cool, sophisticated tones of blue and silver. As guests dine on cuisine that reflects the elegant nature of the room, they will enjoy live music and dancing. The two-story high restaurant showcases floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows looking aft, lined with mirrored accents and glamorous lighting.

(Manhattan Room - NCL)

(Manhattan Room – NCL)

New to Norwegian Escape is a portrait studio, where guests will have the opportunity to take professional photographs. There will also be a number of exciting dining and entertainment venues located within 678 Ocean Place and in other locations on the vessel that will be revealed at a later date.

(The Waterfront - NCL)

(The Waterfront – NCL)

Following inaugural events in Southampton and its maiden transatlantic voyage, Norwegian Escape will begin weekly seven-day 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.

(NCL)

(Teppanyaki Restaurant – NCL)

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. Norwegian’s newest ship is Harvey’s largest canvas to date, at 1065 feet in length.

(Source: NCL)

Malcolm says: Escape is essentially ‘Breakaway’ with an extra deck. There will be some new public spaces, but many will be very similar.

See More about Escape’s design Here: http://wp.me/pfRKD-2oT

Breakaway Review: http://wp.me/PfRKD-238


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