Allure to sail from Barcelona 2015

February 5, 2014

Royal Caribbean is re-deploying the largest cruise ship in the world, Allure of the Seas to Barcelona, Spain in summer 2015 to offer Mediterranean cruises.

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(O.K. this image is Oasis, but she’s very similar!)

Sailing from Barcelona, while also offering embarkation in Rome, Allure of the Sea’s seven night itinerary will feature calls in Palma de Mallorca, Marseilles, La Spezia (Florence and Pisa), Civitavecchia (Rome), and Naples.

Allure of the Seas will arrive in Barcelona in May 24, 2015 and offer cruises until October 2015.

The Mediterranean cruises will go on sale to Crown and Anchor Society members February 12, 2014 and then go on sale to the general public on February 18, 2014.

(Source: RCI)

Malcolm Says: Well, RC are being very generous to us Europeans: Europe gets a taste of Oasis this summer, a full season of Allure in 2015 and Southampton gets Anthem is spring/summer 2015. Having cruised on the wonderful Oasis, Europe is in for a real treat! Sorry that my blog has recently turned into a Royal Caribbean blog, but they are currently issuing all of the press releases.

A Quantum of Speculation

February 3, 2014
(Meyer Werft Image: One of our first glipses of Quantem)

(Meyer Werft Image: One of our first glimpses of Quantum)

Royal Caribbean are sill very tight lipped about many of the facilities on-board their next ship ‘Quantum of the Seas’, even though it is due to enter service in 9 months time.

I’ve now lost all patience and have decided to make some educated guesses about what’s on-board:

Q: Will Quantum have a ‘Royal Promenade’?

There have been both ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ answers circulating on-line, to this question.

I think the answer is that Quantum will of course have dining options, entertainment rooms and retails spaces on offer, but we will NOT get a ‘Royal Promenade’ like those on-board Voyager, Freedom and Oasis class ships. After all such a long/wide facility takes up a lot of space and is apparently very difficult to design, as it is effectively a ‘hole’ running along the spine of the ship.

I don’t see any tall multi-story atrium’s either, just some double heigh areas.

Looking a the deck plans (which still have many ‘More To Come’ spaces) we can see the deck 5 seem to be where much of the ‘action’ will take place. Deck 5 has the Two70 Degree Lounge at the stern (image far left) the Theatre, at the bow (image far right) and many blank spaces in between. These must surely be dining, retail and other service options – the nearest Quantum gets to a Royal Prom?

(For the record there have also been rumours about a “Royal Square” and/or “Royal Esplanade”.)

The deck above (deck 6) seems to show a long cut-out and a square  area above part of deck 5 which will possible form a double height space with deck six being a balcony looking down onto deck 5  (6 appears to have no shops/dining, just cabins). The square will probably form an atrium. The unidentified feature (see the red arrow further down) may form the centrepiece of the atrium.   It appears not to be a wide street  as previous Royal Proms.  It also does not appear to have any cabins over-looking it. However the deck 5 level does have windows port and starboard which will let in natural light and give some sea views, which no other RC Royal Prom has.

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Deck 5 – Click all images to enlarge (RCI)

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Is the red section a cut-out making the internal space below double-height?

Is the red section a cut-out making the internal space below double-height?

I have grabbed some still image from a Royal Caribbean video about Quantum (called: An Architectural Marvel in the Making: Quantum of the Seas’ ).

The image below shows a model of one of the decks of the ship, which I believe is deck 5. The space at the right hand end of the model is the stern of the ship, where Two70 is located (the guy in they video is holding a model of the Two70 lounge in his hand, which fits at the space at the end/left of image).

(RCI Movie grab)

(RCI Movie grab)

Although the image of the model is not very clear, it definitely replicates the deck plan of deck 5 (see below).

(RCI image - Deck 5)

(RCI image – Deck 5)

I wonder what the semi-circular structure is in the middle area (see red arrow below). It certainly looks like a focal point – maybe a reception desk, bar or art-work? However it even looks like some sort water feature/ fountain to me? Any ideas?

edit

This area of detail (below) looks interesting. it almost looks like houses. Maybe they contain alternative dining rooms or shops?

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Q: What do we know about the Two70 Degree Lounge?

Two70 will be one of a number of “transformational” public  spaces.  It will be a lounge during the day (475 capacity) and a Hi-tech show repeated each evening.  The room will have VistaRama (digital scenery technology) which includes six robotic-performing monitors.

(Meyer Werft Image)

(Meyer Werft Image)

The construction image above gives us a great idea of how big Two70 will actually be. It makes the dock workers standing on it  look like ants.

The RC video has a nice line-drawing of Two70 (see below). You can see that it is a double height room, with big picture windows. there’s a very strong rumour that a ‘Park Café’ (as on Oasis) will be incorporated into the rear of it.

The image below from the design company, complete with trees, could support this:

(5+ design image)

(5+ design image)

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(5+ Design)

(5+ Design)

You can clearly see the location of the bar. There is balcony area overlooking the main floor space.

(RCI)

(RCI)

The robotic monitors will be suspended form those two support arms at the stern of the room and stored in the ceiling when not in use (see below).

(RCI Image - Robotic monitors stowed in the ceiling of Two70)

(RCI Image – Robotic monitors stowed in the ceiling of Two70)

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(RCI Screen grab)

(RCI Screen grab – monitors descend on support-arms)

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270 Degrees (RCI image)

270 Degrees (RCI image)

If you look back at the deck plan, there is a space (labelled ‘More To come’) which adjoins to the back of Two70. I wonder what it is? Maybe it is a foyer/entrance with reception desk?  Curiously this rectangular space is angled off-centre. Maybe it is an area for passengers to  make a booking for the shows in this lounge? Maybe not?

(RCI Two70)

(RCI Two70)

The video also shows a plan of this area (below):

(RCI - click to enlarge)

(RCI – click to enlarge)

Indoor Pool

The indoor pool and two whirlpools are shown on the deck plan (deck 14). This double height space appears to have glass skylights under the arm of North Star observation capsule (deck 16). See below:

(RCI Image - Deck 14)

(RCI Image – Deck 14)

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(RCI Image - Deck 16)

(RCI Image – Deck 16, Pool Skylights?)

This is what the external skylights look on the ships rendering:

(RCI Rendering)

(RCI Rendering)

I think the video inadvertently shows some renderings of the indoor pool area (see below):

(RCI - Screen Grab  - click to enlarge)

(RCI – Screen Grab – click to enlarge)

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An image of a model of the enclosed pool also appeared on the internet, a while ago, which confirms the design:

(Net: Original source unknown)

(Net: Original source unknown)

Other Public Rooms: There are rumours of a New York style, Art Deco “Rainbow Room”.

In conclusion, there are still some secrets to be revealed. However we now know about the ‘Dynamic Dining’ feature. ( http://wp.me/pfRKD-2tF )

The ‘Bumper Cars/Seaplex’ and the ‘North Star’ are the icing on the cake, but the cake itself appears to be pretty standard in design. Two70 is a very nice feature, but there are other ships with big observation lounges (although not so Hi-Tech of course).  However with 18 dining choices it does not look like their will be much room for too many big  ‘wow’ spaces? After all there is definitely no Central Park, no Boardwalk, no Studio ‘B’, no Royal Prom (as we know it) and no  NCL style Waterfront.

Oasis is a VERY difficult act to follow with her unique split superstructure housing a park and boardwalk. On the other hand, maybe RCI may still manage to surprise us all in Quantum’s next reveal.

Malcolm

low_1381061022_SocialPR-DSC-0241

 

Former Cunard Caronia To Retire

January 31, 2014

saga ruby1The last cruise ship to be built on the Tyne has returned to Southampton is shortly retiring.

The Saga Ruby was built by shipyard Swan Hunter in 1972. The vessel used to work for Cunard under the name Caronia.

The 40-year-old ship will now retire from service. It is thought it will become a floating hotel in Burma.

Saga Ruby’s month-long farewell cruise left the UK on 14 December and visited the Mediterranean – ports included Monte Carlo, Monaco, Gibraltar and Funchal, Madeira.

Malcolm Says: it’s always sad to lose a classic ship. Have you ever cruised on her under NCL,  Cunard or Saga.

Oasis 4? Quantum 3.

January 28, 2014

(RCI Image)

(RCI Image)

Oasis Class: Royal Caribbean is deciding if they want to exercise the option to build a fourth Oasis-class class ship.  The decision to go ahead or not needs to be made by mid-2014.  

If Royal Caribbean picks up the option, then the ship would be deployed by 2018.

Royal Caribbean already has an active order for a third Oasis-class cruise ship that is due for delivery in mid-2016.

(Source: Cruise Currents)

Oasis Review Here: http://wp.me/PfRKD-Bg

Quantum Class: Royal Caribbean Chairman Richard Fain has recently announced that the company would not invest in the option to build a fourth Quantum class cruise ship in 2017.

images

“We remain committed to improving our shareholder returns, returning to an investment grade credit and maintaining moderate growth,” said Fain.  “We think that the ships we have on order for our wholly-owned brands will serve us well and we do not anticipate an additional newbuild for delivery in 2017.” 

The option Royal Caribbean had in 2017 was for either a fourth Quantum class cruise ship or a Celebrity Reflection cruise ship.

Currently, Royal Caribbean has plans for its first Quantum class ship, Quantum of the Seas, to debut this fall with sister ship Anthem of the Seas following in spring 2015 and a third unnamed Quantum class ship in 2016.

(Source: Royal Caribbean Blog)

Galveston

Royal Caribbean has reached a deal with the Port of Galveston, Texas for a five-year agreement after the Port of Galveston’s governing board approved the deal on Monday.

In addition, the deal requires making about $10 million in improvements to the port’s Cruise Terminal No. 2.

Royal Caribbean currently operates Navigator of the Seas out of Galveston.

Royal Caribbean is  essentially committing to a year-round vessel in 2014 1nd 2015 with a promise to bring a larger vessel to Galveston next year if improvements were made to the Cruise Terminal No. 2, which has accommodated smaller passenger liners in the past.

(Source: RC Blog)

Getaway Arrives in New York

January 26, 2014

26th Jan 2014: Norwegian Getaway arrived in a cold New York, in the early hours of this morning.

images

The Norwegian Getaway will be docked in New York for the Feb. 2nd Super Bowl Football game, where she will act as the “Bud Light Hotel” for the event.

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Following pre-inaugural events and the Super Bowl, the Norwegian Getaway will head to Miami, where it will be based year-round for seven-night cruises to the Eastern Caribbean.

(Image Source: Facebook )

See Getaway review here:  http://wp.me/PfRKD-2i7

Malcolm Says: I hear that Getaway only carried about 1,200 passengers across the pond (4,000 being her two berth capacity). That must of made her very spacious and over-staffed. I also hear thats he took a very southerly route and the sea conditions were not exceptionally bumpy, given that it’s winter, apart from the final day

Former White Star HQ to Become a Hotel

January 26, 2014

Jan 2014: The unused historic building, built in 1896 on Liverpool’s James Street, will be reopened later this year as ‘30 James Street – Home of Titanic’ following a £7m renovation project.

(Albion house, Liverpool)

(Albion house, Liverpool)

The 65-room hotel will house 310 guests across 11 floors including a spa area, with each room featuring a reference to the White Star Line or the era the Titanic was built, as well as people linked to the ill-fated ship, including suites named after Charles Lightoller, the second officer who helped passengers escape, Wallace Hartley, the English violinist who was the ship’s band leader, as well as the millionaire American businessman Benjamin Guggenheim who died during the 1912 tragedy.

Two of the rooms will also pay homage to James Cameron’s 1997 film depiction of the disaster, named after the fictional characters Jack Dawson and Rose Dewitt-Bukater, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in the film.

The dining rooms will be modelled after the Titanic’s original dining halls while the hotel’s bar and restaurant Carpathia, named after the ship that rescued the Titanic’s survivors, will offer views of the Liverpool waterfront from two 100-ft long balconies circling the roof of the building.

Guests can also use their smartphones to scan QR codes (Quck Response Codes) placed around the hotel, where an actor will appear on a screen in front of them to explain more about the various characters featured through the property, such as Molly Brown, a wealthy first-class passenger who helped to row one of the lifeboats.

(Source, Soo Kim, Travel Weekly)

Norwegian Getaway Ship Review

January 19, 2014

DSC_0072

I’ve now written my Norwegian Getaway review. It’s very long, so do NOT attempt to read it, unless you have some time on your hands. Enjoy, Malcolm. (Click to make my images bigger)

See Review Here:  http://wp.me/PfRKD-2i7

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Getaway at Southampton’s City cruise Terminal 14-15/01/14

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Quantum Takes Shape

January 18, 2014

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‘Quantum of the seas’, is making good progress at the Meyer Werft ship yard, Germany. (Click for larger image)

Royal Caribbean’s newbuild is due to enter service later in the year.

However much of her design is still a secret.  For example, we know little about her dining options. Will she have a ‘Royal Promenade’ as we know it?

low_1389822582_Quantum-of-the-Seas-MG-5918

We do know that she will be 167,00 gt and carry 4,180 passengers.  The windows at the lower stern are for the Two70 Degree lounge.

(RCI Image)

Two70 Degrees (RCI Image)

(Source: RCI Facebook/Meyer Werft Images)

Below, a slide show:

P&O to get Hull Art

January 17, 2014

P&O Cruises is already a quintessentially British brand, exclusively sold in the UK, with British officers and chefs.

But, just to drive home the message, the cruise ship operator owned by America’s Carnival Corporation has decided to revamp its fleet’s livery – a redesign that includes emblazoning the vessels’ bow with a giant Union Jack flag, “styled in a contemporary way”.

(P&O image)

(P&O image)

The longest version of the flag anywhere in the world, spanning 94m, will adorn the £500m Britannia, P&O’s biggest ever ship, which is under construction and due to be launched in February 2015.

From the end of this year, the company’s eight ships will begin to sport the new colours, which will also see the funnels painted blue and decorated with an illuminated rising sun motif. P&O said it depicts the Oriental part of the Peninsular and Oriental name on the company’s coat of arms.

David Dingle, P&O Cruises’s chief executive, said the new livery “symbolises all that we stand for, pointing to the future and celebrating our British heritage. This bold new look will make our ships yet more distinctive and recognisable across the world.”

(Source: The Telegraph/A.Osborne)

 

Norwegian Getaway In Southampton

January 16, 2014

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Above: The Tropicana Dining Room, one of the most attractive at sea? (Click to make bigger)

I will provide more coverage on this amazing ship, shortly. Stay tuned! Malcolm

North Cape?

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15/01/14 Getaway in Southampton: during a public Q&A session Kevin Sheehan (NCL CEO) was asked if Norwegian ships would be sailing from a UK port next year, maybe to Norway and the North Cape?  We heard Sheehan reply “North Cape, I do not even know where that is”. 

That sounds like a conclusive “NO” to me.

Malcolm

Other NCL news:

Norwegian Cruise Line will be updating its entire fleet with O’Sheehan’s Pub, the new bar that has proven to be popular on its newest vessels – Norwegian Epic, Breakaway and Getaway.

The company’s chief executive Kevin Sheehan told those in attendance for Getaway’s debut in Southampton this week that efforts are also being undertaken to get more passengers to visit the pub, especially at different times of day.  He also said: “O’Sheehan’s has proved to be such a centre point for the ship, for people to gather and socialise, that we have decided to put it on all the ships.”

(Source: Cruise Critic)


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