Norwegian Escape – Family Business

December 16, 2014

Norwegian Cruise Line’s largest ship ever, Norwegian Escape, will offer the most exhilarating and action-packed activities for families and thrill seekers alike when she sets sail from her homeport of Miami in November 2015. The ship will feature the largest ropes course at sea, a three-storey multiplex of heart-pounding challenges complete with two planks and five Sky Rails, zip tracks that allow guests to soar through the air.

(Ropes Course - NCL Image, click to enlarge)

(Ropes Course – NCL Image, click to enlarge)

Norwegian Escape’s Aqua Park will be the largest at sea and includes a new Aqua Racer slide, while the expansive sports complex boasts a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle miniature golf course. Adding to the family fun, Norwegian Escape will also feature an expanded Kids’ Aqua Park; entertainment from Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids; along with the line’s first dedicated nursery for young cruisers two and under.

Sports Complex and Aqua Park

The Aqua Park on Norwegian Escape will be the largest at sea and feature four multi-storey water slides, a dedicated Kids’ Aqua Park, two pools and four hot tubs. All-new on Norwegian Escape is the Aqua Racer slide, the newest tandem waterslide at sea where competitors can race side-by-side on tubes as they twist and turn to the finish line. Back by popular demand, Norwegian Escape will also feature the Free Fall, which first debuted on Norwegian Breakaway. These side-by-side slides offer adventurous guests the chance to literally free fall, as the floor drops from underneath, propelling them into a thrilling loop. For those who prefer a more relaxing ride, there is a family-friendly open-flume body slide.


Norwegian Escape will also bring the Kid’s Aqua Park to a new level, with enhanced attractions, an enclosed tube slide and a two-storey climbing structure for kids to explore. This watery wonderland offers an incredible array of new features for kids including a multitude of interactive wet elements such as water cannons and elevated buckets that deliver surprise drenchings.


Both kids and kids-at-heart can test their skills on the new nine-hole, Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Rooftop 9, miniature golf course. Inspired by the Nickelodeon hit-animated television series, this first-of-its-kind miniature golf course.

Norwegian Escape’s sports complex will also include a full-size basketball court for family-friendly competition and a new bocce ball court, a first for the line.

Nickelodeon Entertainment

Norwegian Escape will be the sixth Norwegian ship to offer Nickelodeon branded entertainment, which will delight families with the latest in Nickelodeon activities and events that kids of all ages will enjoy, including an opportunity to meet Nickelodeon characters and participate in a variety of experiences.

Youth Programming

In a first for the line, as part of the Guppies program, Norwegian Escape will offer childcare services for children ages six months to three years. Norwegian Escape’s Guppies program will offer a dedicated open play area for parents and babies to play together.


Norwegian Escape features a centrally-located, expansive Splash Academy complex on Deck 5, offering age-appropriate supervised activities for children ages three to 12.

Splash Academy, the ship’s youth program, will once again have spaces for specific age groups:

Three to five year olds can explore in their own space decorated with vibrant, engaging colours, along with child-sized furniture and open space for active games and an activity centre to encourage creativity.

In a separate area decorated with fun graphics to captivate children’s imaginations, the six to nine year olds will enjoy a “hang out” area for lounging with new friends that also features dedicated gaming stations with the latest video games.

Children ages 10 to 12 years old will also have their own hangout, with access to the central multipurpose visual dance space and corresponding large video screen, open space for active activities and comfortable bean bags for lounging.

Entourage, located on Deck 17, is Norwegian’s high energy, exclusive teen zone for ages 13 through 17. This hip area gives teens their own unique space that includes trendy lounge furniture and a central gaming station. Entourage is conveniently located adjacent to the ship’s video arcade.


Norwegian Escape

Currently being built at Meyer Werft in Germany, Norwegian Escape will sail weekly seven-day cruises from her year-round homeport of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean beginning on 14 November 2015. The 164,600 gross ton ship will be the largest ever 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. Norwegian Escape’s signature hull artwork is designed by marine wildlife artist and champion of ocean conservation, Guy Harvey.

Accommodations include the company’s signature luxury ship–within-a-ship complex: The Haven by Norwegian; along with Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers; and many options for families, multi-generational groups, spa enthusiasts and more.

Norwegian Escape’s dining and entertainment will include outposts of several popular land-based outlets, including the first-ever floating Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant and Miami’s oldest and most legendary bar, Tobacco Road. Norwegian Escape will also feature the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar, a music venue and outdoor bar on The Waterfront that will feature live nightly performances where guests can enjoy the sounds of the tropics.


Breakaway Review:

Below a very different NCL ship from the past:

Tilbury Gets Busy

December 13, 2014
MPBW 13/12/14

(Click to enlarge)


The Tilbury cruise Terminal (AKA The London Cruise Terminal) is located on the Thames, in Essex, England.

It is now a sleepy place, with maybe a few dozen ship arrivals and departures per year. Many of those are ‘Cruise and Maritime Voyages’ Marco Polo, which homeports there.

There was a time that the Tilbury landing stage was a busy place. It had it’s own railway station at the terminal, a Hotel next door and many ships arriving and departing for Europe, America, Asia and Australia.

However, today was a busy day for Tilbury, by modern standards. There were two ‘classic’ cruise ships in – CMV’s Marco Polo and Fred Olsen’s Black Watch (see image).

In fact they even stopped the Tilbury to Gravesend passenger ferry, because the two ships left little space for the Ferry to operate.

The Marco Polo was offering on-board lunches and dinners, before returning to cruising. Regulars noticed that there were new carpets in some public rooms, which were obviously part of her recent re-fit. The Black watch was offering several mini-cruises from Tilbury.

Although the Marco Polo (front) looks bigger than the Black Watch, it is an illusion, as the Black watch has a slightly bigger gross tonnage. (MP = 22,080, BW = 28,221). The Marco polo is 49 years old and the Black watch is a mere 42.

I’d recommend both ships is you want a ‘real’ cruise experience.



Marco Polo Review:

Quantum of the Seas Naming Ceremony

December 12, 2014

MV Discovery Scrapped?

December 11, 2014

MV Discovery has recently been tracked by cruiseblog contributors (John, Edwin, Bill, Mikep et al) and it appears that she is about to be broken-up, on the beaches of Alang, India.

Owners, the ‘All Leisure Group’ sold the loss-making cruise ship mv Discovery for $5 million, less than half her value.

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.

Discovery departed Bristol, Avonmouth, for the final time on October 9th bound to anchor off Falmouth for a few hours the day after.

Following her brief anchorage off Falmouth she sailed south to the Strait of Gibraltar and upon entering the Mediterranean she was reported to be renamed “AMEN” and flagged in St. Kitts and Nevis. She sailed directly towards Port Said and days later transited the Suez Canal. Like her sister Pacific, it appears that she will also be broken up.

Malcolm Say’s: I cannot yet confirm these events, but If they are true, it is a tragedy. We are losing yet another small ‘classic’ ship – and there are not too many left.

Unfortunately, I never cruised on Discovery, but did visit her in October this year, shortly before she made her final cruise. I was amazed how spacious she was for a small ship and how many public rooms she had. Her interiors reminded me of aspects of the SS France, QE2 and SS Rotterdam. How’s that for a pedigree!

Please see my slide show below:

Britannia Rules The Waves

December 10, 2014
(Carnival Image - click to enlarge)

(Carnival Image – click to enlarge)


P&O’s much-anticipated £500 million vessel, Britannia, has taken to the seas for the first time. She is due to be named and launched, in a ceremony, in Southampton in March 2015

The ship began its ocean trials in Italy on Sunday. These will continue all week long before the vessel returns to its shipyard in Italy, for its final touches.

Once completed, Britannia will be the biggest cruise ship ever built exclusively for British holidaymakers.

(Source: Daily Mail)

CMV On-board Events

December 9, 2014

‘Cruise and Maritime Voyage’s are in for an exciting year in 2015, with two intimate ships being added to their UK based fleet: Azores and Magellan, as well as celebrating the Marco Polo’s 50th year.

(Magellan - Click to Enlarge)

(Magellan – Click to Enlarge)

CMV have a number of lunches and dinners, with shows for sale taking place at UK ports, with optional overnight stays/breakfast. These are excellent events if you have never been and a good way to sample their operation and see their ships.

Thu 18th Dec 14 Festive Welcome Aboard Marco Polo Marco Polo

Wed 25th Feb 15 Spring Welcome Aboard Azores Azores

Fri 13th Mar 15 Spring Welcome Aboard Azores Azores

Fri 13th Mar 15 Consumer lunch & Overnight Event Magellan

Sat 14th Mar 15 Consumer Lunch & Overnight Event Magellan

Fri 30th Oct 15 Autumn Welcome Aboard Marco Polo Marco Polo

Sat 31st Oct 15 Autumn Welcome Aboard Marco Polo Marco Polo

Thu 10th Dec 15 Festive Lunchtime & Overnight Event Magellan

Fri 11th Dec 15 Festive Lunchtime & Overnight Event Magellan

Sat 12th Dec 15 Festive Lunchtime & Overnight Event Magellan

Fri 18th Dec 15 Festive Anniversary Event Marco Polo

Sat 19th Dec 15 Festive Lunchtime & Overnight Event Magellan

Sat 19th Dec 15 Festive Anniversary Event Marco Polo

See: CMV Gets New Flagship -

Sting performs on-board Queen Mary 2

December 7, 2014

Sting fans, also See:

Virgin Cruise Line

December 7, 2014

The Virgin Group has announced the formation of Virgin Cruises, its new cruise line business, as well as the appointment of a CEO and its lead investment partner, Bain Capital. Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.


Proven industry leader Tom McAlpin will join Virgin Cruises as CEO and will head the management team. Most recently, Tom has been President and CEO of The World, Residences at Sea. Tom also served as President of Disney Cruise Line having joined as part of the founding management team.

Virgin Cruises will be headquartered in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area and plans to design and construct two new world class cruise ships.

At this time, the company has not disclosed when it will start operating for competitive reasons. As part of one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands, Virgin Cruises will offer guests an outstanding experience and service aimed at broadening consumer targets for the cruise market.

Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson said, “We plan to shake up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love. They’ll be sailing on the latest ships offering great quality, a real sense of fun, and many exciting activities all delivered with the famed Virgin service.”

Stephen Pagliuca, a Managing Director with Bain Capital, said, “From our earliest conversations with the Virgin team, we recognized there is a unique opportunity here to help build the next great cruise line serving travellers from around the world. We know that thanks to the strategic vision laid out by our collective team – and now under the guidance of Tom McAlpin – Virgin Cruises will help reshape consumers’ expectations of what a cruise experience can be. All of us at Bain Capital are thrilled to partner with the Virgin team on this compelling opportunity.”

Tom McAlpin said, “Cruise guests deserve something better and different to what is being offered today, and Virgin Cruises is committed to creating breath-taking experiences for them and a new generation of guests. Opportunities like this do not come often, so I am very excited to lead this business and introduce the Virgin brand to the cruise industry, as it has always put customers at the heart of what it does.”

Evan Lovell, Partner at Virgin Management Limited said, “Virgin Cruises complements our extensive travel and leisure experience, which includes our award winning global airlines, passenger train service, and new hotel brand which will open its first property in Chicago next month. We are thrilled that Bain Capital is joining us on this journey.”

(Cruise Industry News)

Celebrity Cruises Orders Two New Ships

December 5, 2014

MIAMI, Dec. 4, 2014

Celebrity Cruises has taken a bold step in ship design with the signing of a letter of intent for a new class of vessels, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and French shipbuilder STX France announced today. The two 2,900-guest, 117,000-gross-registered-ton ships, developed under the project name EDGE will build upon the modern luxury experience of the brand’s Millennium and Solstice class vessels.

At 984 feet long, 123 feet wide and 190 feet high, Project EDGE will deliver small ship itineraries with large ship amenities, a perfect vacation experience in step with today’s premium vacationer.

“The addition of two project EDGE vessels to our fleet delivers on our long-term strategic plan of moderate capacity growth, and continues the positive momentum the Celebrity brand has achieved in the premium segment of our industry,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

“Our new class of ship will set the standard for premium world travel and deliver the next generation of modern luxury experiences that our guests know and love,” said Michael Bayley, president and chief executive officer of Celebrity Cruises. “STX France designs and builds some of the most innovative and stylish cruise ships in the world, and project EDGE offers them the opportunity to again set a new standard for modern iconic architecture. On this stunning new ship we will bring our guests even closer to the must-see destinations of the world, while indulging them on-board in the most luxurious accommodations, the finest culinary experiences, and the best hospitality delivered by our dedicated staff.”

“We are excited to be collaborating with Celebrity on this dramatic step forward in premium cruise ship design,” said Laurent Castaing, managing director of STX France. “This class of ships will be designed to deliver the destination to vacationers who want to experience all the world has to offer.”

These vessels also represent a significant leap forward in environmentally friendly ship design, benefiting from new technologies to drive significant fuel efficiency and an ongoing process to ensure the extensive use of sustainable materials.

The company expects delivery of the first ship in Fall 2018, with the second vessel delivered in the early part of 2020. The order is contingent upon the completion of customary conditions, including financing.

(SOURCE Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.)

Malcolm says: it’s nice to see that RCI realise that you cannot offer a ‘premium’ experience on increasingly bigger ships. Celebrities ship have been growing up until now. Project Edge is a similar size to the excellent ‘Solstice’ class.

Shocking QE2 Image

December 4, 2014

(Click to Enlarge.  Via Facebook/de Sousa)

Once royalty and celebrities sipped cocktails on her immaculate decks. But how times have changed for the QE2…

Now, workmen in shorts and T-shirts cooking a pig over a barbecue made from half an oil drum is more the norm. Below decks, the bars and dining rooms of Cunard’s former flagship are dirty and dingy too as she is seemingly left to rot in obscurity in a Dubai.

This photograph show how the latest plan for the world’s most famous liner – whose passengers included the Queen, George W Bush, Nelson Mandela and Hollywood legends including Ginger Rogers and Debbie Reynolds – appear to have stalled.

The QE2 has spent the past six years docked in Dubai awaiting renovation. Last year it was announced she was to return to the seas and was scheduled to depart in October 2013 and sail to China.

(QE2 in Dubai)

(QE2 in Dubai)

She was then to be converted into a £60million 400-suite floating hotel before travelling to her final destination, a yet to be announced Asian city, at the end of this year.

The plan also involved revamping the ballroom, seven restaurants, ten lounges and cinema. But she has yet to set sail, and her sorry state has angered former crew and campaigners who want her to be restored to her old splendour.

(One of the concepts)

(One of the concepts)

Louis de Sousa, 43, of Bitzen, Germany, who was a bartender on the QE2 for nine years in the 1990s and received these photos of her from workers he befriended on Facebook, said: ‘The ship is an icon, but she’s just sitting there rotting. It would have been better if she’d just gone to the scrapyard then we could have kept our good memories. Seeing her like this makes me feel sad.’ He described the pig roast photos, taken in 2012 in Dubai’s Port Rashid, as ‘disrespectful’.

The 963ft ship carried almost 2.5million passengers and completed more than 700 Atlantic crossings following her launch from the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank in 1967. The QE2’s home port was then Southampton for 40 years until she left for the last time in November 2008 after being sold to Dubai for £70million. No one from the Oceanic Group, which unveiled the plans to ‘transform the QE2 into a luxurious heritage five-star hotel’ last year, was available to comment.

(Daily Mail)




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