Royal Caribbean Year Round Deployment in Singapore

May 19, 2014

Royal Caribbean International recently announced that it will have a year-round deployment in the coming year 2015-2016 from Singapore. The cruise line will position its ship, ‘Legend of the Seas’ (a Vision class ships)  in Singapore in the summer of 2015 and that will be followed by ‘Mariner of the Seas’  (a Voyager class ship) at the end of the year.

Mariner (RCI image)

Mariner (RCI image)

With this move, RCI  has shown it is committed to Asia’s huge untapped cruise market by basing two of her cruise ships to operate out of Singapore the year round.

The Legend of the Seas that was earlier based in Singapore from 2008 to 2013, will return to Singapore in summer next year and will run a series of 3- to 10-night roundtrip itineraries to destinations in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Last year, the Legend of the Seas went through a major revitalization.

Asia’s largest ship, the Mariner of the Seas at present is in Singapore for four months of the year from November – March. Come the winter of 2015, it is going to be based full time in Singapore.

(Source: RCI)

Malcolm Says: RCL are certainly committed to the newly emerging cruise markets such as China and Asia. I wonder how long the UK will continue to be the world’s second biggest cruise market?

Slide-show ‘Explorer o f the Seas’ (a Voyager class ship):

Slide-show ‘Splendour of the Seas’ (a Vision class ship):

 

Norwegian Jewel Gets Enhanced

May 17, 2014
(NCL Image)

(NCL Image)

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that Norwegian Jewel will re-enter service on May 17, 2014 following a two-week dry dock where the ship received numerous enhancements before her summer season in Alaska. The Jewel will sail from Houston, starting October 11.

Norwegian Jewel is the first ship to be retrofitted with the O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill (first introduced on Norwegian Epic and also on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway). In addition, the ship’s Moderno Churrascaria, the Brazilian-style steakhouse, was relocated to Deck 13 and the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, first introduced on Norwegian Getaway, was added adjacent to the new restaurant.

O'sheehan's (Epic)

O’sheehan’s (Epic)

Guests will also be able to enjoy delicious cannoli and cupcakes from Carlo’s Bake Shop by Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s Cake Boss and Next Great Baker, that has been added in the Java Café. A number of additional guest area enhancements include: updates to the Casino and Photo Gallery, new carpets and flooring throughout guest areas, window replacements, upgrades in galley areas and updates to the pool deck.

(NCL Image)

(NCL Image)

Norwegian’s digital signage, first introduced on Norwegian Breakaway, will also be added to the ship over the summer. The interactive touch screen signs will allow guests to order specialty items, get directions and reserve dining and shore excursions simply with a scan of their stateroom key.

Norwegian said that technical modernizations also took place during the dry dock. The ship is being outfitted with Green Tech Marine Scrubbers, in order to reduce fuel emissions, overall energy consumption, and the company’s environmental footprint. In addition, the cruise line stated that the ship will receive an Azipod hydrodynamic upgrade and state-of-the-art silicone paint on the hull, in order to further improve fuel efficiency.

Norwegian Jewel will also benefit from the installation of shore power connectivity. Additional significant technical and safety updates include: lifeboat and tender boat release systems upgrade; thrusters and stabilizer maintenance; and ballast and bilge piping replacement.

(Source: cruiseindustrynews.com)

Norwegian Jewel pre re-fit:

Below Norwegian Jade Review (also a Jewel class ship):

http://wp.me/PfRKD-1h

Quamtum Gets New ‘Sonic Odyssey’ Show

May 15, 2014

The ‘Unofficial Royal Caribbeanblog’  has revealed a second* new stage show for Quantum of the Seas, called ‘Sonic Odyssey’.

(RCI image)

(RCI image)

RCI say: “Sonic Odyssey takes the audience on a one-of-a-kind journey of music and sound, featuring the talented cast of the Royal Theatre.  This highly visual production only be seen on-board Quantum of the Seas”.

Sonic Odyssey will feature the Earth Harp, which was designed and created by performance artist William Close.  Close is well known for being the 3rd runner on America’s Got Talent.

(Source: royalcaribbeanblog.com)

Malcolm Says: Well RCI have called Quantum the ‘Technology Ship’. See the video below:


.

*Quantum’s ‘Starwater’ show, see below:

Quatum Gets New ‘Starwater’ Show

May 13, 2014
(RCI Image)

(RCI Image)

A brand new stage show made exclusively for Quantum of the Seas will be called, “Starwater”.

The new show features, “A beautiful and highly visual production featuring Dancers and Singers all under the spell of our Muse who transports the audience as she orchestrates an eternal fusion the universe and sea to her will. Starwater takes place in our new signature venue Two70 featuring branded technology Vistarama® and Roboscreens™ that can only be experienced onboard Quantum of the Seas.

(RCI Image)

Two70 Degrees (RCI Image)

(Source: RCI/Unofficial Blog)

Malcolm Says: A 360 degree tour by Royal Caribbean (on their Quantum web site) gives us a clue how it might work.

If you navigate the tour and look at the ceiling, you will see six screens stowed on the ceiling, which appear to be mounted on a beam, between two robotic arms. These will obviously descend to the floor/stage area and perform.

RCI Screen Grab:

(RCI Image)

(RCI Image)

Now have a look at the video below, which I believe gives us some clues how these screens will be used to provide a very unique digital-entertainment experience.

Also see this amazing video:  http://youtu.be/lX6JcybgDFo

Viking Name 2nd & 3rd Ocean Ships

May 12, 2014

Viking Cruises second and third ocean ships will be named ‘Viking Sky’ and ‘Viking Sea’ the line revealed. They will join the ‘Viking Star’ in 2016.

Neil Barclay, head of sales U.K., reiterated to Cruise Critic that the decision to build the new ships is a direct result of the success of the line’s first ship, debuting next year.

“Our maiden season in 2015 is already nearly at capacity,” he said.

The ships will sail similar Scandinavia, Baltic and Mediterranean itineraries as Viking Star, but will also do two new British Isles and Northern Europe journeys.

Viking Cruises recently made history with the simultaneous christening of 16 new river boats. This superseded their own record in 2013, of simultaneous christening 10 boats.

(Cruise Critic, Dori Saltzman)

Malcolm Says: There is no denying Viking’s success offering River Cruises, they are adding new boats at the rate of knots. Given the fact that their fares are ‘premium’ with few late discounts, they must be selling all the berths too. They are obviously very confident that they can sell premium ocean cruises too.  If I ever get to try Viking,  I will post a review here.

Where Do River Boats Come From?

Have you ever wondered who builds river boats?  After all it must be a pretty big business theses days.  Viking River Cruises alone have ordered 26 boats in 2013 and 2014. The other major river cruise lines are also adding vessels.

(Neptune Werft - Click for Bigger Image)

(Neptune Werft Image – Click to make bigger)

Many river boats are constructed by the Germany ship-builder, Meyer Werft – in fact it is their subsidiary ‘Neptune Werft’.  Their Ocean ship-building portfolio includes the Breakaway class and the Breakaway+ class for NCL and the Quantum class ships for RCI.  Their  river boat portfolio includes boats for Viking and Arosa.

Web Site:
http://www.neptunwerft.de/de/neptunwerft_de/index.jsp

Queen Mary 2’s Tenth Anniversary

May 10, 2014

10th May 2014:

The three ships of the Cunard fleet sailed into Southampton as part of events to mark the 10th anniversary of Queen Mary 2.

The ships sailed into their home port shortly before dawn on Friday followed by a fire-tug with waterjets.

The Duke of Edinburgh boarded the liner for a reception and lunch.

Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria left the port again after 20:00 BST. There was then a fireworks display.

Hundreds of people lined the Southampton dockside to watch the three ships and the display.

The Queen performed the naming ceremony for Queen Mary 2 in 2004.

During its 10 years at sea, the liner has completed 419 voyages, including over more than 200 transatlantic crossings.

(Source: Cunard)

(Cunard Image - click to enlarge)

(Cunard Image)

 

Malcolm Says: The QM2 is probably my favourite modern ships. I can’t believe ten years have passed since I first cruised on her. Read about my experience below:

Queen Mary 2 Review: http://wp.me/PfRKD-4

Fourth Oasis Ship in 2018

May 9, 2014

 

(Photo from intelcom)

(Photo from intelcom)

09/05/14: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. have announced today that it has agreed with STX France to move forward on the order of a fourth Oasis-class ship for delivery in 2018.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard D. Fain and President and Chief Operating Officer Adam Goldstein, along with STX France Chief Executive Officer Laurent Castaing, announced the planned ship order at the keel-laying ceremony for the third Oasis-class ship at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

“The Oasis Class was a revolution in maritime design when it was launched in 2009. Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas continue to be in a class by themselves both in terms of guest satisfaction and financial returns. Today’s announcement is a reflection of their success,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We are thrilled to announce the order of a fourth Oasis-class ship during the keel-laying milestone of the third. This announcement is also a testament to the men and women of STX France who have worked so hard and so cooperatively on Oasis III.”

Known for pushing the boundaries and as part of the cruise line’s continuous improvement mantra, Oasis III will be approximately 20 per-cent more energy efficient than Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

The third and fourth Oasis-class ships will join Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas – which took the cruise industry by storm with their launch in 2009 and 2010, respectively – and share the title of the largest ships in the world.

(Source: RCI)

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

Malcolm Says: I guess the design and the features of Oasis 3 & 4 will be similar to those of Oasis and Allure, with some minor differences. However, surprisingly for such big ships, the Oasis class has one main dining room, plus some alternatives. It will be interesting to see if they RCI now add some of their ‘Dynamic Dining’ features from the Quantum class design.

Regal Princess Completes Sea Trials

May 6, 2014

Regal Princess has accomplished another major milestone in preparation for her May 20, 2014 debut, with the recent completion of her sea trials.

(Princess Image)

(Princess Image)

The new cruise ship set out to sea from her construction dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, and was put through her paces with a series of manoeuvres to test her propulsion, steering and navigational equipment. After a successful five days of trials, the ship is now back in the shipyard for further exterior and interior finishing.

Regal Princess will be ready for her maiden voyage from Venice, a seven-day Mediterranean cruise to Athens including stops in Corfu, Mykonos and an overnight call in Istanbul.

Throughout the summer, the new ship will sail on Princess’ signature Grand Mediterranean cruises, with two itinerary choices.

Regal Princess, a sister ship to Royal Princess, will offer guests a variety of enticing features, including a soaring atrium, the social hub of the ship; a dramatic over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel; plush private poolside cabanas; the Princess Live! television studio; a dedicated pastry shop; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms.

(Source: Princess)

 Malcolm says: ‘Regal’ is the sister of ‘Royal’.  P&O’s new ‘Britannia’ is related to both.

Britannia slide-show:  http://youtu.be/RO0ASqcG-rA

Hovercraft – A Love Affair

May 4, 2014

Many decades ago, when I was a kid, I saw my first Hovercraft, the SRN1 on the Isle of Wight (UK). This was one of the first production Hovercraft in passenger operation.

It was love at first sight: this big machine left the sea and roared up the beach, to stop and deflate like a burst car tyre. After quickly swapping passengers, it re-inflated and rotated 180 degrees like a prima-ballerina, making the transition from beach to sea effortlessly.

I was later to see and experience the SRN6 Hovercraft running a passenger service from Southsea (near Portsmouth, UK) to Ryde, the isle of Wight. This route, which takes just ten minute, is the longest running Hovercraft route in the world. It started in 1965 and still operates daily.

Sitting inside the SRN6 was a rather noisy experience and the spray prevented you from actually seeing much out of the windows, but nevertheless, I loved it.

In the early 1970’s I regularly viewed the giant car carrying Hovercraft (SRN4’s) at Dover and Ramsgate (Pegwell Bay).These mainly went to Calais (France), taking just 30 minutes. The giant machines initially carried 30 cars and 250 passengers. They were of course even more impressive and even more noisy. Later the SRN4 Mk.III had a capacity of 418 passengers and 60 cars.

Mum & Dad took to Calais for the day, on one. What a thrill, although sea conditions on the day made it a very bumpy ride.

In 2000 the last SRN6’s were retired from the Dover route, due to rising fuel costs. There are now no car carrying Hovercraft in commercial service, but my love still lives on.

More Hovercraft slide-shows:

http://malcolmoliver.wordpress.com/hovercraft

Seacat:

http://malcolmoliver.wordpress.com/hoverspeed-seacat

Dynamic Dining: Confused?

April 29, 2014
(RCL Image)

(RCL Image)

I guess everyone has now heard about Royal Caribbean’s ‘Dynamic Dining’ which will debut on their newbuild, ‘Quantum of the Seas’ later this year.

However many potential passengers may be a little bit bewildered by the choice of dining options and which are complementary and those which carry a surcharge.

Fortunately Brian Altshul has created a chart to assist the confused, see:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8K45qWkduXcc190WU5GcGRQZE0/edit?pli=1

I must say that I am a little shocked that some of the surcharges are higher than I expected.  however, on closer inspection many  are  not dissimilar to NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ system which ‘Dynamic’ appears to be based on

Malcolm


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