State-of-the-Art Accommodation for Quantum of the Seas

July 27, 2014

Titanic II Progress

July 20, 2014

July 2014:

It’s now been two years since Clive Palmer announced that he was to build the Titanic 2 ship, and so we thought it would be a good idea to look at the progress made in that time. As you might already know, things haven’t gone according to plan for Palmer with the current situation not looking good.

(Clive Palmer)

(Clive Palmer)

Over the past year and half Palmer made great progress with getting the right team in place and even had a model made last year in order to test the design of the ship, which had to be slightly different to the original.

However, since then Titanic 2 progress seems to have stalled because its keel was meant to be laid back in March, and last we heard this was pushed back to September 2014, which would mean a year since the first model test.

Interest was reignited last month in Asia, and so it still seems that the ship is planned to be completed in 2016. However, the news that Palmer could be detained if he enters China has put a huge question mark as to the chance of the Titanic 2 ship ever getting built.

According to the news report, Palmer is not popular with the People’s Republic of China because of some alleged shady goings on. If this is the case and you were hoping to get a ticket to sail on Titanic 2, then you might have to rethink this, as the ship was due to be built in China, something that is now unlikely to happen.


Malcolm says: Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger! I’ve no idea if this story is accurate. I’ve no idea what “alleged shady goings on” means.  However ‘Deltamarin’ claim to be still finalizing the ships design.

NCL Orders Two More Breakaway-Plus Ships

July 15, 2014

NCL  has ordered two more Breakaway-Plus-class ships for delivery in 2018 and 2019.

The two 164,600 gross tonnage, 4,200-passenger ships will be built by Germany-based Meyer Werft. The first will be delivered in the second quarter 2018, while the second will come in the fourth quarter 2019. They will join sister Breakaway-Plus-class ships Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Bliss, due October 2015 and March 2017, respectively.

(NCL Image)

(NCL Image)

The design of the Breakaway-Plus-class ships is based on the two Breakaway-class ships already in Norwegian’s fleet, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway.

The contract price for both new ships is approximately 1.6 billion euros.

(NCL/Cruise Critic)

Malcolm says: O.K NOT the two rumoured 200,00gt mega-ships, but two more impressive additions to the expanding NCL fleet. As for homeports, how about China and the UK? Maybe not the two new breakaway+ ships themselves, but they would free up older tonnage for re-deployment.

What Would NCL Include On A 200,000gt Mega-ship?

July 14, 2014

While daydreaming, I was wondering what the Norwegian cruise might include on-board a 200,000 gross tonne mega-ship.

(November 2013 - Click for bigger image)

Getaway – Andreas Depping

A recent rumour suggest that they might be about to order such a mega-ship (or two) which would be almost as big as Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the seas (225,000 gt).

Firstly I believe that such a ship would have to be a completely new design. NCL have added an extra deck to their ‘Breakaway’ design (146,600gt) to create the ‘Breakaway Plus’ (Escape and Bliss at 163,000 gt) but we are talking about a 200,000gt. That’s more than just two extra decks!

Not only is Oasis the world’s biggest class of cruise ship, carrying the highest number of passengers (6,296 maximum) she also has room for a number of breath-taking public spaces. Not only does she have an enlarged ‘Royal Promenade’, which is an internal street running along much the length of the ship, she has the ‘Boardwalk’, complete with Merry-Go-Round at the stern and the amazing ‘Central Park, an area with real trees and plants. Only the remarkable split-superstructure design and  scale of the ship allows such ‘wow’ spaces.

Central Park (Oasis)

Central Park (Oasis)

Norwegian’s three most recent ships: Epic, Breakaway, Getaway and the forthcoming Escape and Bliss all have a very different design to Oasis.  Third generation ‘Freestyle’ requires almost every inch of the ships to be packed with multiple dining rooms, multiple bars and multiple entertainment venues. This leaves little room for double-height rooms or big spaces. Even their atriums are modest when compared to many other big modern cruise ships.

So what would they do with 200,000 gt? Well more cabins and more passengers than ‘Escape’ is a given. I guess her double occupancy might be around 5,000 passengers, so that’s maybe a 1,000 more than ‘Breakaway’?  Obviously bigger dining rooms and bigger entertainment venues will be required to handle the extra passengers. However NCL’s new ships already have more dining options than you could use in 7 night cruise. Would a new NCL mega-ships really need even more?

It would be nice to see at least some of the extra-gross tonnage used for some big new public spaces. I assume the very attractive ‘Waterfront’ feature (bars and dining rooms lining an external promenade deck) will be back. After all it’s a simple, but excellent idea. I would expect such a mega-ship have a much enhanced ‘Waterfront’. They say that Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and the MSC newbuild project ‘Seaside’ will also have a big ‘Waterfront’ like feature.

(The Waterfront)

(The Waterfront)

What would NCL do with the pool-deck? We have already seen their big aqua-parks with mini golf, sports court, ropes course, rock climbing wall and water slides. What next, a Ferris -Wheel or roller coaster? Maybe even a mini-train around the deck?

Personally I like some of the traditional ideas such as a high forward facing observation lounge. This helps give a ship a better ‘connection with the sea’.  Even RCI have abandoned their signature ‘Royal Viking Crown’ lounge on-board their new ‘Quantum’ class ship, which is a shame.

How about pools? Everyone seems to complain that the pools on-board mega-ships are not plentiful enough and too small. I believe this is because they are now always located on the top deck and having too many tons of water up their can compromise the ships stability. How about creating a big pool, on a low deck, inside the ship. This is where the pools were located on-board the ocean liners of yesteryear. Just an idea!

In short, I have no more idea than the next man what NCL might incorporate into a new mega-ship, but its fun to speculate. What facilities do you think a new NCL mega-ship might have?


Quantum For Geeks

July 11, 2014

I’m a little worried about Quantum.

Quantum’s design is a major change in direction for RCI. In the past their ships have always featured impressive ‘Wow’ spaces which few other ships could match: the tallest atriums, the Royal Viking Crown, the Royal Promenade, Studio B, the Boardwalk, the Aqua-Theatre and Central Park etc.

Now that they have adopted an ‘Dynamic Dining’ an NCL like ‘Freestyle’ system, the ships design will focus on the many dining options. If Quantum is like NCL’s latest ships, almost every inch will be dedicated to dining, bars and other smaller revenue generating lounges and entertainment venues. Large open spaces or large public rooms (including double height ones) may well be too much of a luxury to accommodate. The Two70 Degree lounge is probably the main exception.

I am worried that they have thrown out the baby with the bath water.

In addition NCL have had several decades of practice and many ship designs, to make ‘Freestyle’ work properly. Even now it is not without it’s problems. This is RCI’s first attempt at a ‘Freestyle’ like system.

As I said earlier, I am a little worried.


NCL To Build Two Ships Almost As Big As Oasis?

July 8, 2014

Rumours claim that a Norwegian Cruise Line are on the verge of ordering two 200,000-ton prototype ships. These rumours allegedly come from multiple suppliers involved in the bidding process.  If this is true, the ships will approaching the size (in terms of gross tonnage)  of Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis’ class.



The rumours go on to suggest that this order will go to Turku, STX Finland.  It has also been suggested that Meyer Werft and the Finnish Government are signatures away from a deal to see STX Finland end up in the hands of the German shipbuilding company. NCL of course have a very positive relationship with Meyer Werft.

'Breakaway Plus' (NCL Image)

‘Breakaway Plus’ (NCL Image)

These two rumoured NCL mega-ships are not to be confused with their forthcoming newbuilds, the ‘Breakaway Plus’ ship ‘Escape’ (2015)and ‘Bliss’ (2017).  At 163,000 gt these are NCL’s biggest ships yet, but still short Oasis’s 225,000 gt.

(Source: The Net Rumour Mill)

Getaway Review:



CMV River Cruises 2015

July 5, 2014

CMV introduced ‘Signature River Cruises’ to their existing collection of ocean cruises in 2014. After much success, they are expanding the range of river cruises on offer in 2015.

(CMV Image)

(Vienna 1 – CMV Image)

It would appear that CMV will not be chartering ‘Vienna 1′ again in 2015, but three different vessels:

Bellejour: Various itineraries including – Rhine, Dutch waterways, Switzerland , Moselle and Christmas Markets

Belvedere: Danube, Danube Delta

Bellefleur: Rhone & Saone

Full details of the itineraries and fares will be released shortly

(Source: CMV)

Malcolm says: It’s nice to be able to give some news about a smaller cruise line in an industry dominated by big lines and big ships.  I can’t find out much information about ‘Bellejour’, but Berlitz rates ‘Belvedere’ and ‘Bellefleur’ as being 3+ stars (out of 5).  This is probably in keeping with CMV’s budget ocean cruise fares, or at least I hope so.

CMV Charters Azores

June 28, 2014
(CMV Image)

(CMV Image)

28/06/14 On the subject of smaller ships:

British based Cruise Operator, Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), is pleased to announce the introduction of the 550 passenger classic cruise ship Azores to their fleet in 2015.

Azores will replace Discovery as CMV’s second ex-UK cruise vessel operating alongside Marco Polo and will also be dedicated to the British and English speaking markets and positioned as an adult only product (16 years plus). Azores will operate year round sailings commencing operations from Bristol Avonmouth on 26th January 2015 with a 30 night CMV maiden voyage to the West Indies.

Azores will also be sailing from Hull and London Tilbury with programme highlights including; the Solar Eclipse & Northern Lights, Seville Fiesta, Summertime Gardens & Medieval Cities and a Scottish themed Edinburgh Festival cruise, plus all the perennial favourites.


The Azores has been chartered from Lisbon based, Portuscale Cruises on a long term basis. All crewing and ship management services will be handled directly by CMV in line with the services provided by Marco Polo and Astor.


Azores was completely re-built in 1994 at a cost of US$150mio when she was launched as a premium rated product. Azores is a classic ship with a traditional wrap around wooden promenade deck and a wide range of well appointed and inviting lounges and homely retreats. These include an impressive main show lounge, an auditorium, nightclub, casino, a selection of bars and lounges, two dining venues and a stunning marbled reception. 85% of her 277 cabins have an ocean view and almost 20% are of a de-luxe standard including nine balcony suites. All cabins also have a bath tub and mini bar facility.


Chris Coates, Commercial Director of CMV commented, “Azores is an excellent, upgraded addition to our cruise fleet and has been affectionately and very well maintained by her Owners. We are confident that Azores will prove to be a ‘real winner’ with our dedicated growing number of loyal customers and will also attract new clients seeking smaller ship alternatives and regional ex-UK no fly cruise options”.



Full details of CMV’s new ship Azores and her exciting programme alongside Marco Polo and Astor will be unveiled on Tuesday 1st July 2014 when a 2015 first edition preview brochure will be released featuring a cruise collection of over 50 sailings through until October 2015.

Also in 2015, Marco Polo will be celebrating her special golden anniversary and fifty memorable years of ocean voyages and cruising with the highlight being a 36 night commemorative voyage to Canada and Greenland sailing from London Tilbury in July. Special on-board events and surprises are also being planned to mark this notable landmark.

(Source: CMV)

Stop Press – Azores Calendar 2015:

Malcolm says: Good news for British small/classic ship lovers! At 15,614 gt and just 556 passengers (built 1948) she will be one of the smaller ships operating from British ports and at 66 one of the oldest.

See Wiki for her history:

If you have only cruised on big ships, I personally think that you are missing out on the charm of a small ships.

In many ways it is a more a ‘nautical’ experience. Smaller ships have a better ‘connection with the sea’. For example: if you see some nice scenery from your cabin, you can be on the teak wrap-around promenade-deck within a few minutes

However, I do accept that one mans ‘charming’ small ship is another mans ‘old tub’.

Interior images of Azores:

Marco Polo Review:

Viking Star Floats Out

June 25, 2014
 (Fincantieri Image)

(Fincantieri Image)

JUNE 24, 2014 — Fincantieri’s Marghera, Italy, shipyard yesterday started the two day float out of the 930 passenger Viking Star, the first of three cruise ships the shipbuilder has under construction for Viking Ocean Cruises. The ship will now move into the fitting-out stage, leading to its scheduled delivery in the spring of 2015.

Fincantieri has already started work on the Viking Sea and the Viking Sky, the second and third ships in the series. The Viking Sea is set to be delivered from the Marghera shipyard in the spring of 2016 with the Viking Sky following from the Ancona shipyard during the summer of the same year.

“Today is a proud day for our entire Viking family, as we are one step closer to launching a new era of ocean cruising,” Viking Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen said at yesterday’s ceremony. “Viking Star’s maiden season was sold out before she even touched water, which just demonstrates how enthusiastic our guests are for destination-focused ocean cruises. It is this enthusiasm that has led us to place orders for two additional sister ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky.”

(Source: Fincantieri/Viking)

Malcolm says: It’s great to see a new ‘smaller’ ship being built!  Viking are selling their river cruises like hot cakes and at a premium price.  If they are as successful at selling Ocean cruises, they will become a major player in the luxury ocean cruise market. However I doubt if I will be able to afford to be on-board.

Cunard Queen Elizabeth Refit

June 20, 2014

My Queen Victoria Review (Tandem crossing):



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