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):


Norwegian Escape to debut in Hamburg

June 20, 2014

Hamburg is preparing to welcome Norwegian Escape in October 2015. Norwegian Cruise Line’s 4,200 passenger newbuild, currently under construction at Meyer Werft, will make its public debut in the city on October 23, becoming the largest cruise ship to call in Hamburg.

(Escape, NCL Image - click to enlarge)

(Escape, NCL Image – click to enlarge)

The first visit is during a two night cruise for the travel trade, followed by a two night sailing from Hamburg to Southampton.

‘The European market has played an important role for Norwegian Cruise Line for years now, with Germany in particular one of our key source markets. Our choice of Hamburg as the venue for the Continental European premiere celebrations for a new vessel for the first time clearly illustrates our commitment to the German market, demonstrating the potential we see here for Norwegian Cruise Line in the coming years,’ says Jürgen Stille, director business development Continental Europe at Norwegian Cruise Line.

‘The presentation of the new vessel on the River Elbe, the cruise industry’s red carpet, is the perfect choice of venue,’ says Gerd Drossel, managing director of Hamburg Cruise Centre.

(Source: Seatrade)

‘Escape’ Speculation:

Cut-Away Diagram of Anthem Revealed

June 19, 2014
(RCI Image)

(RCI Image)

RCI should get a reward for the slowest ‘reveal’ of a cruise ships features in the history of cruising.

Newbuilds, ‘Quantum of the Seas’ will enter service October this year and ‘Anthem of the Seas’  in May 2015. However RCI have only  revealed a few months ago that this new class of ship will have ‘Dynamic Dining’ an RCI version of NCL’s ‘Freestyle’. Likewise they have only just revealed some details about the entertainment on offer.

There are still a few areas on the deck plans labelled “More to Come”.  We have not even seen the internal street (Royal Promenade) yet, if it can be described as such.

However at last a cutaway diagram of ‘Anthem’ has been published by RCI.

Link for full PDF Brochure/Cut-away:

To be honest it does not tell us anything that we did not already know, but does make the locations of the dining rooms and public spaces a little clearer.

(Source: RCI/Unofficial Blog)

Commemorating Marco Polo’s 50th Anniversary

June 17, 2014
(Alexandr Pushkin - CMV image)

(Alexandr Pushkin – CMV image)

During 2015, Marco Polo will be celebrating her 50th anniversary with an exciting programme of cruises sailing from the UK. The high point of the season will be a very special 36 night commemorative voyage to Canada and Greenland. This spectacular cruise retraces this grand lady’s transatlantic service as Alexandr Pushkin between Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and Montreal, via London Tilbury, for the Soviet Union’s Baltic Shipping Company.

Sailing from London Tilbury on 24th July 2015, Marco Polo will call at the Shetland and Faroe Islands enroute to Iceland. There will be four ports of call in Greenland – a mesmerising world of icebergs, dramatic glaciers and Arctic culture – where in summer, the sun never sets. No less than 17 amazing days are spent discovering Eastern Canada, including Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and the contrasting cities of Québec and Montreal as you cruise the mighty St. Lawrence River. Then it’s back across the Atlantic with a stop at Cobh, for a chance to visit Cork, before returning home with memories to treasure of a truly unique voyage.

CMV River Cruises

After the success of CMV’s River Cruises in 2014, they will be chartering three vessels in 2015 and offering a wider range of river itineraries.

The itineraries will be: The Danube, Rhine & Dutch Waterways, Rhine & Switzerland, Rhine & Moselle, Rhone & Saone and Christmas markets.

(CMV Image)

(CMV Image)

(Source: Cruise & Maritime Voyages)

Blue Star Signs AVIC as a Titanic II Project Partner

June 14, 2014
Clive Palmer

Clive Palmer

Blue Star Line Pty Ltd Chairman Clive Palmer today announced Blue Star Line, Deltamarin Ltd and AVIC Kaixin (Beijing) Ship Industry Co Ltd have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) appointing AVIC as its latest Titanic II project partner.

AVIC will represent Blue Star Line in the promotion of the Titanic II project and coordination of Titanic II sponsors from mainland China. .

Mr Palmer said in 2013 AVIC was ranked 212 among Fortune Global 500 companies and the MOU represents an opportunity for China to promote itself to the world via Titanic II.

He said the appointment of AVIC represents Blue Star Line’s confidence in China, as AVIC Group is one of the largest industrial groups authorised and managed by the People’s Republic of China Central Government.

“I would like to welcome AVIC to the Titanic II project,” Mr Palmer said.

“AVIC will assist in promoting the Titanic II and shortlisting sponsors from mainland China on behalf of Blue Star Line.”

“This is a great opportunity for China to showcase its products and promote its artisans and industries to the world.”

Dr Diao Weicheng, Chairman AVIC International Maritime Holdings Ltd, said it is a coup to have the Titanic II built in China.

“I am sure Blue Star Line is well prepared for the project, the world market is well prepared for the project and people the world over are looking forward to seeing Titanic II,” Dr Weicheng said.

“AVIC and Deltamarin will cooperate with Blue Star Line on this project (and) we are confident Titanic II will be a story of success.”

In April, 2012, Mr Palmer commissioned CSC Jinling Shipyard to build and coordinate the construction of Titanic II in China and Deltamarin was later appointed to undertake the preliminary works prior to CSC Jinling commencing construction of the passenger liner.

“Titanic II is scheduled to be launched from its construction base in China in 2018, before her maiden passenger voyage retracing its original journey from Southampton to New York.”

(Source Blue Star line, May 2014)

(Blue Star Line - Titanic II Tank Test)

(Blue Star Line – Titanic II Tank Test)


Vesa Hamarila,  Manager, Concept Development, Deltamarin has recently commented on the Titanic II project’s progress:

“As you may have read in the news the first project development phase has been completed and now the focus is on the evaluation and the project master plan development. More information will be available once this phase is completed”.

(Source: Deltamarin)

Quantum Class Entertainment

June 12, 2014

On-board Anthem of the Seas we reveal the entertainment of the future – a collection of amazing inventions that have never been seen on land or sea. Here, robots dance in unison, and sea views transform to space views in the blink of an eye. Sound is not just heard, but felt head to toe. The incredible Anthem of the Seas will have ground-breaking technology and stunning venues.

Sonic Odyssey – A New Dimension in Sound

Inspired by experimental musician and innovator William Close, and with the talent of more than two dozen musicians, vocalists and dancers, Royal Caribbean Productions is proud to debut this original production on-board Quantum of the Seas showcasing the next dimension in global sound, as never seen before on land or sea.

Sonic Odyssey - RCI Image)

(Sonic Odyssey – RCI Image)


With class and sass – and your inhibitions left at the door – Royal Caribbean Productions invites you to an adults-only diversion, infusing the best of cabaret-style performance art, premium spirits, and late-night club life into one amazing event on-board Quantum of the Seas

(Wink - RCI image)

(Wink – RCI image)


Deep space and deep sea – two wondrous worlds that never meet. Until now. A Royal Caribbean original production, Starwater is a visual spectacle that fuses video mapping, robotic technology and human artistry to tell the story of a muse who enchants the gods of the stars to swim among mermaids and mysteries. You won’t see a show like this anywhere else in the world


(RCI image)

(RCI image)


Two70 is an amazing chameleon-like venue that’s “WOW!” inducing both day and night. In the daytime you can admire the breathtaking 270° ocean views while at nighttime you can take in the spectacular entertainment thrills – hi-tech digital projection and extraordinary performance art. It’s also home to our super-stylish ice bar where our mixologists are waiting to create cocktails just for you.

(Two70 - RCI image)

(Two70 – RCI image)

Who knew artificial intelligence could be so genuinely entertaining? Meet RoboShow, a troupe of six massive Roboscreens soar, twist and spin out scenes as they scamper solo or unite as one. Invented just for Quantum Class, you won’t find them anywhere else in the world.

(Roboshow - RCI image)

(Roboshow – RCI image)


Glittering with deco details and revelling in the decadence of the roaring twenties, Gatsby transforms Two70° into a celebration that’s true to the past, but as modern as today. No prohibition here, with speciality cocktails inspired by the time, gambling on the quiet, live DJ, and guests that are dressed the part. The only password you need to get in: WOW.

(RCI Image)

(RCI Image)


Double take, triple take—take as many as you need. You’ll still swear it’s the real thing. Royal Caribbean brings you the best tribute bands anywhere, and now they’re more up-close than ever in the intimate Music Hall, giving you the chance to dance to timeless entertainers from every era.

(RCI Image)

(RCI Image)

Virtual Concert

Virtual Concert projects high-resolution footage across Vistarama and all six Roboscreens® in Two70°, to create a multisensory musical experience as impressive as the real thing. It’s a one-of-a-kind production you’ll find only on Quantum Class ships.

(Virtual Concert RCI Image)

(Virtual Concert RCI Image)

 Mamma Mia! At sea

Dancing queens, your ship has come in. This November, Quantum of the Seas debuts smash hit Mamma Mia!, the fifth show in Royal Caribbean’s lineup of Broadway favourites. For the first time ever, the award-winning musical brings a repertoire of ABBA’s greatest hits to sea.

(RCI image)

(RCI image)

(Source: RCI)

Quantum Entertainment Video

(Please DO NOT share this video)

Designing MSC Seaside

June 2, 2014

Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard revealed a new concept ship earlier in the year, dubbed Project Mille, signalling the future of cruise ships.

(Fincantieri project Millie)

(Fincantieri project Millie)

The purpose of this project is to explore a more modern configuration to the traditional design of passenger vessels. Since shaft and rudder based propulsion has quickly demised, there is no reason to have the diesel generators in the aft section anymore. This ship will have them amidships. By bringing then closer to the centre of gravity, this helps stability. You can note that the funnel has accordingly been brought amidships; right above the engines.

They also made the hull wider and the super structure narrower. Also in another attempt to reduce the weight above the hull. The Oasis class kind of have the opposite of this, but they also have two gaping holes in the superstructure (Central Park and the Boardwalk).

There are also other initiatives to lower the centre of gravity. There will be no large main swimming pool topside. It will be moved somewhere lower in the ship. The spa will also be moved down. By moving any other heavy-weight public area lower, architects are able to yield an entire additional deck of passenger cabins. As these cabins are located in the superstructure, they will be balcony cabins, which mean higher revenue yielding.


Mille offers 10 percent more cabins; 10 percent more open-deck space; 10 percent increase in efficiencies. (10% more cabins represents a very significant increase in revenue generating potential)

Fincantieri says that this design can be scaled accordingly from 60,000grt up to 150,000 grt. And 1,500 pax up to 4,000 pax.

(Source: Cruise Ind)

(MSC image)

(MSC image)

Malcolm says: MSC’s new project ‘Seaside’ mega-ship is clearly based on Fincantieri’s ‘Millie’ project.

Seaside has the distinctive centre funnel and narrower superstructure. The promenade is wide and is above the lifeboats until it drops down at the stern. The stern ‘prom’ is nearer the water level than usual, with a large pool. There is no large centre lido-deck, but an area aft of the funnel. The aft superstructure is narrower for stability.

(MSC Image)

(MSC Image)

Royal Caribbean’s new terminal for Quantum

May 29, 2014

Royal Caribbean has announced that it has entered into an agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to build the next phase of the Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, NJ.

(RCI Concept Image)

(RCI Concept Image)

The $55 million project will include construction of a new, state-of-the-art guest terminal, 900-car parking garage and pier improvements.

The new terminal will be the home for Royal Caribbean’s next generation of cruise ships, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, which both begin service in November 2014 and 2015 respectively.



The new terminal will be complete in November 2014.

(Source: RCI)

Malcom says: Big new ship, big new cruise terminal.  Southampton take note!


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