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:

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.


“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)


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.


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.


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:

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


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:


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


Quantum Takes Shape

January 18, 2014


‘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?


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


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?


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.


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)

Chinese Titanic Theme Park

January 14, 2014

Strange story of the Week:


A new Chinese theme park will include a life-sized replica of the Titanic that will “simulate” the sinking ship.

Developers behind the attraction – which will be built in landlocked Sichuan province, 1,500km from the nearest ocean – say it will give visitors a harrowing sense of the 1912 disaster.

The replica ship will cost $165 million to build and simulation technology will allow several hundred people at a time to feel what the shipwreck was like.

Su Shaojun, chief executive of the Seven Star Energy Investment Group that is funding the project, said: “When the ship hits the iceberg, it will shake, it will tumble.

“We will let people experience water coming in by using sound and light effects.

“They will think ‘The water will drown me, I must escape with my life’.”

Backers of the project have denied that the idea is insensitive to the 1,517 people who lost their lives in the disaster.

Actor Bernhard Hill,  who played Captain Edward Smith in the film, flew to Hong Kong to show his support for the replica and said: “It’s been approached in a very delicate and a very sensitive way and they’re very aware of the extent of the disaster in 1912.

“I don’t think it will belittle that disaster.”

Mr Shaojun added that Asia needed its own Titanic museum.  “We think it’s worth spreading the spirit of the Titanic,” he said.

Construction of the theme park – which will also feature a man-made beach, a “6D” movie theatre and replicas of a Venetian church and European castles – will begin later this year.

It is expected to open in 2016.

(Source: Reuters)

Malcolm Says: The Chinese must love the Titanic. I believe Cameron’s movie was one of the first big western movies to be on general release there. Oh, well if you can’t wait for Clive Palmer’s Titanic II (also to be built in China) the Theme Park might be finished first.  Bernhard Hill used to be a fine and serious actor, I’m sure that he still is, therefore I’m a bit surprised that he is endorsing a Theme Park.  I find the idea more distasteful than a Titanic replica.

Epic to Homeport in Barcelona

January 13, 2014

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that Norwegian Epic, the line’s award-winning ship, will home port year-round in Barcelona, Spain from 30 April 2015. Norwegian Epic will be the largest Norwegian Cruise Line ship to ever home port in Europe year-round.

Top Heavy: Epic at Southampton, June 2010.

Epic at Southampton, June 2010.

“We are excited to announce that our largest ship, Norwegian Epic, will homeport in Europe year-round in 2015,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Norwegian Epic’s innovative accommodations, world-class entertainment and plethora of dining options are the perfect complement to the European cruise market, one of the most sought-after cruise destinations in the world.”

Throughout 2015, Norwegian Epic will offer a variety of exciting European itineraries.  The  Itineraries are scheduled to be announced mid-March.

(Source: NCL)

Malcolm Says: It looks like the news for the next few weeks will mainly be coming from NCL.  This  is excellent news. Epic is a very exciting ships.

See my extensive ‘Epic’ review:


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