Virgin Voyages: Crew Uniforms

September 20, 2019

Virgin Voyages has unveiled items  from its new uniform collection designed by British fashion designer Gareth Pugh.

The uniform collection pairs Pugh’s high-fashion modernist approach with Virgin Voyages’ design ethos of the Modern Romance of Sailing, which embodies a love of the sea and the glory and sophistication of the heyday of the ocean liner with a contemporary yacht-like style.

Gareth Pugh

The collection features a distinct combination of structure and fluidity and includes a wide range of looks from slick razor-sharp tailoring to relaxed pillow-case tunic shirts– referencing the early days of British punk, and more.

“For this project, we were really allowed to push the boundaries, and to redefine the idea of what constitutes a uniform. We ultimately wanted to make everything about it modern, luxurious and desirable — to allow the entire crew to look and feel like a million dollars, in keeping with the rest of the experience,” said Pugh.

(Courtesy Virgin Voyages)

The collection allows for most crew to have a range of looks to choose from both day and night, and also breaks with cruise traditions by having no epaulettes stripes for officers, no ties and no waistcoats.

Putting a twist on the iconic red high-heel worn by Virgin Atlantic, many of Pugh’s designs will be paired with the Mulberry, red sneakers made by San Francisco-based PLAE. The gender neutral, PLAE sneakers are intended to playfully contrast Pugh’s designs for a cheeky yet elevated look true to the Virgin Voyages spirit.

(Virgin Voyages)

Malcolm says: Well it’s very trendy but NOT exactly smart, is it? It’s obviously aimed at a younger set. It does not appear that the crew will be dressing for diner, let alone the guests!

Mustai Karim: New Russian Giant River Boat

September 14, 2019

(с) Михаил Солунин / ТАСС

The new river boat, Mustai Karim, has been completed for the  Russian operator Vodohod at Krasnoye Sormovo ahead of her scheduled 2020 debut.

She is 141 meters in length and nearly 17 meters in beam.

(с) Михаил Солунин / ТАСС

The 333-guest ship carries more than twice as many passengers as most European river boats. However the Russian waterways do not have restrictive locks and bridges, necessitating long narrow/low boats.

The ship will spend the 2020 season sailing Moscow/St. Petersburg itineraries.

(Courtesy Vodohod)

Malcolm says: She looks impressive, but hardly pretty from the rendering!

Would YOU enjoy a river cruise?  – See HERE

MSC to Stretch Magnifica

September 11, 2019

(Courtesy MSC)

The MSC Magnifica will be stretched by 23 meters, adding 215 new cabins ahead of her 2021 summer season from Southampton, U.K., the company has announced.

The stretch project is valued at $140 million, the 215 new rooms will include 92 balcony cabins.

Other additions will include a new water park, a new shopping area, two new restaurants and a redesigned children’s area.

The Magnifica is one of four ships in MSC’s Musica class of vessels, built at Chantiers de l’Atlantique and launched in 2010. She has capacity for 2,550 guests at double occupancy.

Other Musica class vessels include the Musica, Orchestra and Poesia.


Bellissima to Have Swarovski Crystal Stateroom

September 7, 2019

MSC Cruises has revealed that latest ship, MSC Bellissima, will feature a Swarovski Crystal Stateroom with more than 700,000 crystals. This builds on the ongoing partnership between MSC and Swarovski that has featured Swarovski staircases on a number of MSC ships.

Bellissima Crystal Staircase (MSC)

Stateroom 16018 will be located in the MSC Yacht Club and will be available starting mid-November ahead of the ship’s re-positioning to China next April.


MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said:  Every element has been carefully chosen to add elegant touches and complement the design with 700,000 crystals used to embellish the space. This includes crystallized furniture, such as the bedside tables, sideboard and coffee table, according to a press release.

Crystal Stateroom (Courtesy MSC)

In addition to the new stateroom — and the 96 steps with more than 61,000 Swarovski crystals in the ship’s atrium — other details on-board MSC Bellissima include crystal detailed wallpaper in the MSC Yacht Club and a crystallized Active Panel illuminated by custom LED with 500,000 crystals per sqm built into the design of the Champagne Bar to add an extra touch of refinement to the sophisticated bar on deck 7.


Float Out: Norwegian Encore

September 1, 2019

(Courtesy NCL/Meyer Werft)

The new Norwegian Encore recently left the building hall in Germany and is now at Meyer Werft’s outfitting dock ahead of an October delivery.

Her distinctive Hull Art can be clearly seen.

Following her delivery, the 163,000 grosse tonne, 4,200-guest ship, will cross to New York for preview events, before repositioning to her  winter homeport of Miami in late November.

After her debut in Miami, the Encore will move to Seattle in 2021, offering Alaskan cruises.

(Courtesy NCL/Meyer Werft)


What’s a big, new NCL ship like on-board: SEE HERE

First Genting ‘Global Class’ Ship Named ‘Global Dream’

August 29, 2019

(Courtesy Genting)

Genting Cruise Lines  has officially announced that the first Global-Class vessel will carry the name Global Dream.

Global Dream will be built by MV Werften, Germany and will enter into service in early 2021. She will be 204,000 gross tonne, and carry 5,000 passengers.

She will invite even more Asian travellers to sail globally on inspiring voyages on board the largest cruise ship to homeport in the Asia Pacific (Shanghai).


Escalators (Genting)

“Global Dream, the first Global Class ship of Dream Cruises, belongs to a new generation of cruise ships designed for this region featuring the most advanced technology and state-of-the-art facilities. Global Dream will deliver a cutting-edge cruising experience through Artificial Intelligence that will maximize both convenience and speed for our guests on board,” said Kent Zhu. “To balance the new with the traditional, our guests will also be able to enjoy an authentic Asian experience and our signature heartfelt Asian hospitality on Global Dream, developed through the Genting Group’s over 50 years of experience in the Asian hospitality industry. 

Malcolm says: Does the world need another mega-ship? In fairness this one is for Asia.
It’s a pity cruise lines today cannot think of some more original ship names. It the era of the great Ocean Liners, there were many wonderful named ships. In contrast, today there are quite a few cruise ships called: “Something…Dream”.

Introducing: Disney Wish

August 27, 2019

(Courtesy Disney)

Disney Parks, Chairman Bob Chapek revealed that Disney’s new ship will be called the Disney Wish. The newbuild is set for delivery in late 2021 and is expected to set sail beginning in January 2022.

The Disney Wish is part a new three-ship class that will be powered by liquefied natural gas and, at approximately 144,000 gross tons and 1,250 guest staterooms, will be slightly larger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.


Art Deco Lover

August 23, 2019

I do love a bit of Art Deco architecture. This was the style that became first became popular in the 1920’s and 30’s.

Art Deco influenced the design of almost everything from paintings, jewellery, clothing, buildings, furniture, cars, movie theatres, trains and ocean liners.

During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress.

Cunard’s original RMS RMS Queen Mary (1936) ocean liner has wonderful Art Deco interiors.

Southampton’s original ‘Ocean Terminal’ also had an Art Deco design and décor to compliment the ocean liners of the day. Unfortunately they knocked it down to build a car park!

(Southampton's 1950 Ocean Terminal)

(Southampton’s 1950 Ocean Terminal)

Fortunately the United kingdom still has some wonderful Art Deco buildings that have been well preserved.

In 2011 I visited the Midland hotel, in Morecambe, Lancashire, on the UK coast. Built in 1933, this 40 bedroom Hotel was an Art Deco marvel. She initially thrived, but would eventually fall into disrepair in the 1990s.

In 2008 her refurbishment was complete. The architects had combined her original feature with some modern facilities.

In 2014 I was lucky enough to visit Burgh island,  a small Tidal island on the coast of South Devon in England near the small seaside village of Bigbury-on-Sea.

There are several buildings on the island, the largest being the Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel and a Pub the Pilchard Inn.

Part of the Hotel is actually shaped like the stern of an old frigate and has a keel. Inside is a ships wheel.

The island is approximately 270 yards from the mainland and is approachable on foot at low tide. At high tide, the sea tractor, which is operated by the hotel, transports passengers back and forth.

The holiday island of ‘Jersey’ (one of the UK’s ‘Channel Islands’) is located nearer the coast of France than it is from the cost of Britain.

This beautiful little island (5 x 9 miles) which still has a lovely 1937 Art Deco Airport building, along with a new terminal building. However I am saddened to hear that the Art Deco building may be demolished in the future.


Scenic Eclipse: Maiden Voyage

August 17, 2019

Scenic Eclipse, Rotterdam (Courtsey Aad Hoogesteger)

Scenic Eclipse set sail on her inaugural voyage, on the 15th August 2019, with her first guests. The itinerary was a 13-day discovery itinerary from Reykjavik to Quebec.

She has been designated “the World’s First Discovery Yacht”.

The five star ship is a mere 17,085 gt., carrying just 228 passengers, served by 176 crew.

The ship will be in New York City on Sept. 10 for its christening by Godmother, Actor,  Dame Helen Mirren.

Courtesy Aad Hoogesteger –

(Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours)

Malcom says: The only thing stopping me rushing out and booking a cruise on this charming luxury vessel,  is my Bank Manager!

New Giant Russian River Boat

August 14, 2019

The new river boat, Mustai Karim, is nearing completion for Russian operator Vodohod at Krasnoye Sormovo ahead of her scheduled 2020 debut.

She is 141 meters in length and nearly 17 meters in beam.

The 333-guest ship carries more than twice as many passengers as most European river boats. However the Russian waterways do not have restrictive locks and bridges, necessitating long narrow/low boats.

Having moved out of the building hall earlier this week, the vessel is now almost ready for her launch and then sea trials. With the hull work done, the yard is putting the finishing touches.

The ship will spend the 2020 season sailing Moscow/St. Petersburg itineraries.

(Courtesy Vodohod)

Malcolm says: She looks impressive, but hardly pretty from the rendering!

River Cruising: Myth & Reality – See HERE.

Enchanted Princess Floated Out

August 9, 2019

(Courtesy of Princess Cruises)

The Enchanted Princess, the fifth Royal-class ship built for Princess Cruises, was floated out on August 6th, 2019, at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

The Interior fittings will now begin. The ship is expected to be delivered  in 2020.

(Princess Cruises)

Iona Gets Her SkyDome

August 6, 2019

The Meyer Werft shipyard, in Germany, recently installed the 970-square-meter SkyDome for P&O’s new cruise ship, Iona.

It was raised using a 750-ton crane.

The iconic part of the ship weighs 105 tons and consists of 340 pieces of glass,

(Courtesy P&O)

Iona’s SkyDome is the place to be for relaxation, effortless dining and dazzling entertainment.

Tte SkyDome sits on two decks – deck 16, with food options, drink options and a swimming pool;  deck 17, meanwhile, is a mezzanine level offering a bar and seating area.

Iona debuts in 2020.

(Courtesy P&O)

Iona – A Family Focus

P&O Cruises aims to create a street food atmosphere with a range of options for families to eat on new ship Iona.

Taste 360 is a new concept offering street-food-style dining on deck.

(Courtesy P&O)

A multi-venue dining piazza called The Quays will offering a series of eateries and restaurants ranging from a US-style diner, Asian take-away, fish and chips and Mediterranean sharing platters.

Italian-style gelato will be available at an outlet at the top of the ship’s atrium leading into The Quays.

The previously announced four-screen cinema complex will be called Ocean Studios with screenings throughout the day of age-appropriate blockbusters and family classics.

Iona will also feature The Club House where families can play games and enjoy entertainment and game shows; a range of swimming pools, family-friendly shows in the Headliners Theatre and pop-up performances, including aerial and circus performances, in the Grand Atrium and SkyDome.

The Reef onboard activity programme will cater for children aged six months to 12 years while Scene will include the latest gaming technology for those aged 13 to 17. The ship will also have a night nursery.

All family-friendly cabins have been designed to maximise space by day and create flexible sleeping arrangements at night, according to the line.


Viking Sea & Tilbury

August 2, 2019


Viking Sea (Viking Cruise Line) was berthed at the Tilbury Cruise Terminal, on the Thames, yesterday (01/08/19) and today (02/08).

I believe that she was due to actually berth further up the river, at Greenwich, but that was changed at short notice.

Although hardly a big ship by modern standards, at 47,842 gt, carrying 900 passengers, she is bigger than many that berth at the Tilbury terminal.


Steel Cut for Costa Toscana

August 1, 2019

Sister: Costa Smeralda (Courtesy Costa Cruises)

The first steel was cut today at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland for the Costa Toscana, set for a 2021 debut and fueled by LNG.

She will be a sister to the Costa Smeralda, which is nearing completion with the finishing touches being put to the interior fit-out at the same yard in Turku prior to her entry into service in October this year.

The LNG-fueled Costa Smeralda and Costa Toscana are an integral part of the strategic plan for carbon footprint reduction, according to a statement, as defined by Carnival Corporation and fully implemented by Costa Cruises.

“In fact, the measures adopted by virtue of a dedicated investment plan enabled Carnival Corporation to meet its 25% carbon reduction goal for 2020 some three years ahead of schedule, with a 27.6% decrease in emissions from operations already achieved by 2018,” the company said.

The pair of ships are each around 180,000 tons with over 2,600 staterooms.

The Costa Smeralda is set to make her debut on October 20, 2019, with a 15-day preview cruise from Hamburg to Savona.

The official naming of Costa Smeralda will be celebrated at a special ceremony on November 3 in Savona

The Costa Smeralda will be deployed in the Western Mediterranean through April 2021 on one-week cruises porting in Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Civitavecchia and La Spezia.

The Costa Toscana’s cruise program will be announced in the next few months.

(Costa Cruises)

Carnival Panorama Completes Sea Trials

July 21, 2019

(Courtesy Carnival cruise line)

The Carnival Panorama has successfully completed her sea trials in the Adriatic Sea.

The ship launches service from Long Beach  Dec. 11, 2019, becoming the line’s first new ship on the West Coast in 20 years.

Currently in the final stages of construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, the Carnival Panorama had a full contingent of officers, technicians and engineers onboard.

Following an inaugural three-day voyage to Ensenada, the Carnival Panorama will launch year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach Dec. 14. The week-long voyages will visit spectacular seaside resort towns including Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlán.


Titanic II – Design Continues On Schedule

July 17, 2019

(Courtesy Blue Star Line)

News from Deltamarin, the navel architects designing the Titanic II:

See my dedicated Titanic II blog: HERE



Beauty & The Beast

July 14, 2019

Many of my readers enjoy smaller ships. They enjoy their  intimacy and often prefer the aesthetics of smaller (often older) ships to todays floating apartment blocks.

I found this picture below, of two lovely ship models, to illustrate the point:


The apartment block in question is ‘Oasis of the Seas’ (2009).  The smaller ship is the legendary ‘SS United States’ Ocean Liner (1951).

Now I don’t doubt the achievement and facilities that Oasis represents. However in terms of aesthetics, the SS United States wins hands down. She is a machine of beauty and the fastest Ocean Liner ever built.

‘Oasis of the seas’ (and her sisters) are of course extremely successful, while the ‘SS United States’ is in lay-up, slowly rusting away. Over the years, she has regularly faced the prospects of being scrapped.

I love both ships.

You can find my review of  ‘Oasis’ and material about the ‘SS united States,’ on this site, if you want to know more about either ship. (See links above).


Whatever Happened To “Just Cruising”?

July 5, 2019

In my opinion one of the great pleasures of being at sea, is the sea itself.

I like the fragrance of the sea in my nostrils, the wind in my hair and to see the interaction between the ship and the passing land.

The sea is best experienced while walking around a wrap-around (full 360 degree) promenade deck, ideally made of teak.

I don’t need gimmicks when cruising; I just want some good food, with good service, some tranquil lounges and some interesting ports of call…

Read full article: HERE

RCI: A Third Icon Class Ship

July 3, 2019


Icon – energy-efficient technology (Courtesy RCI)

Royal Caribbean Cruises has  announced that it has entered into an agreement with shipbuilder Meyer Turku to order a third Icon-class ship powered by LNG for delivery in 2025, according to a statement.

The ship will join its two sister ships – to be delivered in 2022 and 2024, respectively .

“We are thrilled to announce the newest addition to our Icon-class fleet that affirms our commitment to clean-power technologies at sea,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises.  “We’ve designed a class of ships powered by liquefied natural gas that leverages the latest, environmentally-friendly applications. We believe that innovative shipbuilding can reduce our carbon footprint and boost energy efficiencies to help to build a cleaner future.”

“These are exciting times for Royal Caribbean, and we have an incredible partner in Meyer Turku to bring to life now three vessels of what will be a remarkable class of ships,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Building on our vision with the addition of a third order is a testament to our confidence in the innovative design and energy-efficient technology and engineering that will, without a doubt, make Icon class a game changer.”

(Royal Caribbean)

The Mystery Ship: Icon Of The Seas

There is more information on-line about UFO’s than there is about Royal Caribbean’s next class of ship, Project ‘Icon’.

Now alien flying-saucers might not even exist, but the first ‘Icon’ ship definitely will, in 2022. The first steel will be cut late THIS YEAR (2019).

There was a time in the past, when a cruise line would announce the construction of a new ship and within a few weeks, we would have the renderings to look at and most of the details about the new design…

Article continued: HERE

Hurtigruten’s Electric Ship

July 1, 2019

(Courtesy Hurtigruten)

Hurtigruten took delivery of the world’s first hybrid powered cruise ship from Norway’s Kleven ship yard last week.  Roald Amundsen is the first cruise ship able to operate on battery power.

The ship turned on her battery packs for the first time off the west coast of Norway recently, enabling her to silently move through the water completely emission free.

“This opens a new chapter in maritime history. MS Roald Amundsen is the first cruise ship equipped with batteries, something deemed impossible just a few years back. With the introduction of MS Roald Amundsen, Hurtigruten sets a new standard not only for cruising, but for the entire shipping industry to follow,” said Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

The ship is named after polar hero Roald Amundsen, who led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage.

Two more ships are set to follow, including the Fridtjof Nansen, debuting in 2020,  and a yet-to-be-named sister in 2021.

(Courtesy Hurtigruten)


Spirit of Discovery Arrives in Dover

June 28, 2019

(Courtesy Saga)

Saga’s new Spirit of Discovery made a grand entrance into her official homeport this morning in Dover, U.K.,  ahead of her naming ceremony at the port next week, when she will be officially christened by her Godmother HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

(Saga Cruises)

MSC Seashore: Open For Sale

June 26, 2019

Seashore (Courtesy MSC)

MSC Cruises today announced the opening of sales for the MSC Seashore for her inaugural season in the Western Mediterranean. Starting in June 2021, she will sail a seven-night itinerary calling at Barcelona, Marseille, Genoa, Naples, Messina and Valletta.

Sales open today exclusively for MSC Voyagers Club members for a two-week period. All other guests will be able to book cruises starting July 11, 2019.

The new ship is the first of two enriched Seaside Evo ships with extended public spaces, more staterooms and the highest ratio of outdoor space per guest of any cruise ship in the company’s fleet.

Growing from the Seaside-class, the new vessel is built on a similar platform by Fincantieri, but is 52 feet longer, with capacity growing to 4,560 guests.

The increased size of the vessel has allowed for some of the public spaces to be redesigned, creating new public areas as well as optimizing the location of other areas throughout the ship. A new double deck show lounge has been created below the aft pool, which is now on Deck 8, while the indoor pool on Deck 18 will be extended with an additional deck over and around the pool. The family offering has also been expanded with an even bigger kids’ area and the ultimate state-of-the-art waterpark.

A brand-new restaurant will be introduced for Aurea guests as well as an additional main restaurant.


Iona’s Build So Far

June 23, 2019


With less than a year to go before Iona’s debut, we’ve started to lift the lid on some of the amazing spaces on board, the people working to create them and the amazing destinations you’ll be able to explore. Here we take a look at some of her latest build updates as well as the traditional coin-laying ceremony.

Iona’s keel-laying ceremony took place on Wednesday 29 May, 2019, at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The traditional event marks a significant milestone in her build.


Carnival: Mardi Gras Virtual Tour

June 21, 2019

Carnival Cruise Line unveiled several exciting new food and beverage concepts aboard its highly anticipated Mardi Gras, set to debut in 2020.

In addition, there are further details on the extensive offerings available within the ship’s Lido and Summer Landing zones.


Spice Girls Star Tests Out Virgin’s RockStar Suite

June 19, 2019


Virgin Voyages has employed the spice Girls star Geri Horner to test out its RockStar suites.

With only 78 RockStar Suites aboard the Scarlet Lady, among them are 15 Mega RockStar Suites, named the Massive Suites, Fab Suites, Posh Suites and Gorgeous Suites.


Slowdown In Growth of River Cruise Market

June 18, 2019

The number of river cruises taken by British and Irish passengers has reached record levels but the rate of growth has slowed by 11%.

Latest Clia figures, announced this morning, show that 232,300 river cruises were taken last year – up by 21,900, or 10.4% year on year.

That compares with a 21% hike in 2017 when the annual total jumped by 36,000 to 210,400.

Clia UK & Ireland director Andy Harmer said: “10% growth in any holiday sector is extremely positive”.

Clia said the average length of a river cruise in Europe increased “slightly” to eight nights and non-Europe cruises had an average length of 6.7 nights, an increase of 3.1% from 2017.

A total of 18 new vessels are due to launch between now and 2020.

(Harry Kemble/CLIA)

Iona: Coin-Laying Ceremony

June 15, 2019

(Courtesy of P&O)

A milestone in the construction of P&O’s Iona has been marked at the Meyer Werft shipyard, in Germany, with the traditional coin-laying ceremony.

A bronze coin from the historic Iona Abbey and a slice of precious green Iona marble from the island were placed under the block housing the bow thrusters before the block was then lowered onto these items.

As part of the ceremony a 461 tons, central steel block, of the 180,000-ton LNG-fuelled vessel, has already been constructed and was floated-out on to the water. (See video below).

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said:  “It is very special to think that a small part of the island of Iona will live within our own Iona. We hope that the qualities of beauty, heritage, pride, camaraderie, mutual support and loyalty from the island which attracted us to the name will be inherent in our ship, its crew and guests”.


Is Iona too big for the Fjords? See HERE

QE2 – The Queens Grill

June 14, 2019


We are delighted to announce that Dubai’s most authentic British restaurant, the Queens Grill, will be undergoing an exciting redesign throughout the summer. It will reopen as a new culinary concept that’s sympathetic to both its heritage and to the modern demands of Dubai’s eclectic culinary scene.

With just a few weeks left, Passengers have the chance to experience this one-of-a-kind historical dining experience with a selection of specials:


Enjoy a three-course tasting menu for just AED 175 per person. Choose from a delicious selection a classic British dishes including slow braised beef cheek, Scottish seared salmon and baby yellow chicken.

Valid on Monday 17th and 24th June 2019 from 7pm – 11pm


Take your tastebuds on a culinary journey with a three-course tasting menu featuring a mouthwatering selection of dishes including confit chicken terrine, lamb’s loin and Loch Fyne salmon. Upon arrival, you will be presented with the QE2 Cocktail – a delightful concoction inspired by the QE2’s 1969 Maiden Voyage. Just AED 265 per person.

Valid on Wednesday 19th and 26th June 2019 from 7pm – 11pm


Start the weekend in style with a delectable three-course menu paired with expertly selected wines. The food menu features a selection of options including pan-fried seabass, slow braised lamb neck and lemon curd. Just AED 325 inclusive of food and beverages.

Valid on Thursday 20th and 27th June 2019 from 7pm – 11pm


Whether it’s pre-dinner drinks and nibbles, or a relaxed evening with friends, head to the adjacent Gin Bar and save 40% off all cocktails as well as an exclusive offer on tapas. Savour three tapas style Queens Grill sampling dishes for the price of AED 70.

Valid on Thursday 20th, Friday 21st, Thursday 27th and Friday 28th June 2019 from 6pm – 8pm

(Mina Rashid, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Malcolm says: I’m so pleased that the QE2 seems to be thriving as a hotel and restaurant in Dubai.  It’s a pity that I d not live nearer!  Mind you it was a long time coming, with a very long lay-up.

I was fortunate enough to take  a crossing onboard the QE2 once.

I’ve no idea what they are going to do to the Queens Grill.  It must be difficult to renovate a classic ocean liner but still retain her original feel.

More about the QE2 Hotel: HERE

Camilla To Name Saga’s New ship

June 10, 2019

(Courtesy Saga Cruises)

The Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla) has been named as the godmother of Saga Cruises’ brand new cruise ship, Spirit of Discovery.

Camilla and Saga Cruises share a common link in that she is patron of charity The Silver Line, which is the cruise line’s first national charity partner. The Duchess has been confirmed to attend the naming ceremony in Dover, Kent, on July 5, 2019 and is also expected to receive a tour of the ship before the celebrations begin.

Spirit of Discovery will be the first cruise ship to be named in Dover for more than a decade and the first to dock at the port’s Dover Western Docks following a £250 million redevelopment.

Saga Group chief executive Lance Batchelor said: “I am delighted that The Duchess of Cornwall has agreed to be godmother of the Spirit of Discovery. The launch of our new ship is a key moment in both the history and future of Saga. Carrying fewer than 1,000 passengers, she is a boutique ship that offers our customers and members the highest standards of accommodation, furnishings, cuisine and entertainment.”

It’s not the first time Camilla has named a cruise ship. In 2007 she named Cunard’s Queen Victoria, although the naming ceremony didn’t quite go to plan when the bottle did not break upon hitting the ship.


U.S. Ban Recreational Travel to Cuba

June 6, 2019

(Source Cuba Tourism)

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has unveiled amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations to further implement the President Trump’s foreign policy on Cuba.

In short, the U.S. will no longer allow people to people travel, which was utilized by many cruise lines to call on Cuba.

Cuba continues to play a destabilizing role in the Western Hemisphere, providing a communist foothold in the region and propping up U.S. adversaries in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua by fomenting instability, undermining the rule of law, and suppressing democratic processes,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“This Administration has made a strategic decision to reverse the loosening of sanctions and other restrictions on the Cuban regime. These actions will help to keep U.S. dollars out of the hands of Cuban military, intelligence, and security services.”

This ban is said to affect 800,000 passengers who have booked for cruises to Cuba.

Royal Caribbean International has already announced its June 5 and 6 sailings will not stop in Cuba, while they review the situation. Norwegian Cruise Line has amended sailings aboard the Sun and Sky following travel restrictions to Cuba. MSC has stated that Opera’s 2019-2020 programme to Cuba is suspended.

The cruise lines are now scrambling to secure replacement ports of call in order to fill the gaps in their itineraries.

(Cruise Industry News)

Malcolm says: This news changes everything, again. The big lines (RCI, NCL, Carnival etc.) will be forced to pull-out of Cuba. There is unlikely to be enough interest from non-US passengers sailing from the US, to regularly sustain a large ship stopping there. Even the new industry start-up, Virgin Voyages have planned regular itineraries to Cuba in 2020.

Spectrum of the Seas Named

June 5, 2019

(Courtesy RCI)

Spectrum of the Seas made her debut in China yesterday (03/06/19) and was also christened in Shanghai.

The first Quantum-Ultra class ship sailed into Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal in Shanghai after completing a 46-night cruise that called in 17 ports.

The milestone also marks Royal Caribbean’s 10th anniversary in China.

“Royal Caribbean has always been known for innovating and pushing the boundaries, and Spectrum of the Seas is a great example of this,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Spectrum brings to life the best of Royal Caribbean along with curated experiences for our Chinese consumers.”

Designed for the Chinese market, the Spectrum of the Seas features bold and unexpected experiences, Royal Caribbean said, including the cruise line’s first private enclave for suite guests.


‘Anthem of the Seas’ (Quantum Class) review: HERE

Introducing: Vasco da Gama

June 4, 2019

Cruise & Maritime Voyages is delighted to announce the arrival of the latest addition to our fleet, Vasco da Gama. Vasco da Gama is the sixth ship to join the CMV fleet as we celebrate 10 years in operation.

Mike Hall, Head of Marketing CMV, said, ‘We are exceedingly happy to announce that we have officially taken delivery of our new ship Vasco da Gama and we are delighted to welcome her into the CMV family.’

At 55,820gt the new ship can accommodate 1,220 passengers in 630 cabins including 120 balcony cabins and 29 suites. Vasco da Gama joins the CMV fleet alongside Columbus (1,400pax), Magellan (1,300pax), Marco Polo (800pax), Astor (600pax) and Astoria (550pax). Following the explorer theme of the fleet, the ship is named after Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, famous for being the first European to reach India by sea. Following in the footsteps of the famous explorer, her maiden voyage sails from Singapore via India to London Tilbury.

Vasco da Gama’s maiden voyage sails on a spectacular 43-night voyage calling in Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cochin for tours to the Taj Mahal, Goa and Mumbai, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Transit the Suez Canal, Israel, highlights of the Mediterranean, Morocco and Portugal arriving in London Tilbury. Highlights include; the beautiful beaches of Malaysia and Thailand, the Taj Mahal in India, the lost city of Petra from Jordan, shrines to ancient Pharaoh’s in Egypt, some of the holiest sites on earth in Israel, the eternal city of Rome and the souks in Marrakech. Vasco da Gama will spend the summer cruising from Germany and sail from London Tilbury 9 October on a 53-night voyage to Australia calling in Barbados, the Panama Canal, Acapulco, islands of the South Pacific, Auckland concluding in Sydney, Australia, where she will cruise for the winter season.

The new ship offers a wider choice of restaurants and dining options. A first for CMV, Vasco da Gama will offer flexible dining and timings will not be restricted to specific sittings. Guests will be able to dine at any of three main restaurants between 17.30 and 20.30. One offering a classic menu with a twist of British cuisine will be open for all three main meals. For dinner, the other restaurants will offer a choice of styles, one Asian and the other Mediterranean. The Club Bistro will offer buffet style food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Passengers can choose to dine at ‘The Grill’ or the ‘Chef’s Table’ at a supplement. Vasco da Gama was fully refurbished in 2015 and is having new livery painted and revised signage, plus some technical work completed before sailing from Singapore.

(Text & Image CMV)

Titanic II: Maiden Voyage In 2022

May 30, 2019

Clive Palmer

Titanic II, a ship from Clive Palmer’s Australian company ‘Blue Star Line’, is set to sail on its maiden voyage in 2022.

To pay tribute to the original ship, Titanic II will be sailing on the same route as the liner, which famously sank back in 1912 after colliding with an iceberg during its maiden voyage between Southampton and New York City…

(Continued – follow link)

See my new Titanic II blog HERE

Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady To Call At U.K Ports

May 30, 2019

Virgin Voyages’ first ship Scarlet Lady will call at Dover and Liverpool before homeporting in Miami next year

The 2,700-passenger ship will sail from Genoa where it is being built before arriving in the UK in late February.

Agents – known as First Mates by the line – will join media and VIPs at several exclusive events on Scarlet Lady before the vessel sails to Miami.

Virgin Voyages is also expanding its partnership with music producer and DJ Mark Ronson.

The British artist has joined the Virgin Voyages’ Creative Collective – a group of artists and designers which has collaborated with the line.

Ronson will create a series of pre-voyage and onboard playlists for passengers, as well as curating the vinyl record selection in the ship’s RockStar Suites and the onboard music shop called Voyage Vinyl.

Ronson is also scheduled to play four times at The Beach Club, Virgin Voyages’ private beach in the Bahamas, starting on July 9, 2020.


CMV Launches Sea of Cortez Cruises

May 28, 2019

Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) is launching special holiday sailings with two festive Treasures of the Sea of Cortez cruises aboard the Astoria from Puerto Peñasco – Rocky Point.

Among the offerings is a complimentary cabin category upgrade on holidays sailings departing December 18th or December 29th when booked by June 21st, 2019.

CMV say:

Explore the natural splendour and wildlife of the Baja California Peninsula and Mexico’s mainland coast that border the sparkling waters of the Sea of Cortez. This Gulf of California is one of the most ecologically diverse places on the planet. From exotic islands to world-renowned vacation destinations, discover truly breathtaking nature, infused with rich Mexican culture and amazing experiences to cherish always.

The Sea of Cortez is a unique destination that has been described as a ‘living aquarium’ by French explorer Jacques Cousteau and has served as an inspiration to many including John Steinbeck. With its many islands designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it is home to an impressive array of marine mammals, more than 900 species of fish and a lavish array of birds. Diverse land creatures provide even more fantastic wildlife encounters.

Voyage aboard the intimate Astoria offering a distinctive cruise experience and a unique and memorable way to explore the Sea of Cortez. Visiting eight contrasting ports these ‘soft expedition’ voyages are offered on a cruise-only basis sailing from Puerto Peñasco on the Mexican coast which is approximately five to six hours drive from Phoenix, Arizona.


Introducing: Honfleur

May 27, 2019

(Courtesy Brittany Ferries)

Brittany Ferries’ brand-new LNG-powered cruise ferry, Honfleur, will make her debut on the Portsmouth to Caen route next month, June 2019.

Honfleur represents a new generation of cross-Channel ferry combining state-of-the art design and sustainable thinking with a smart, digitally-informed customer experience.

The ship’s passengers will enjoy innovative experiences and fresh service concepts along with the highest standards of French onboard hospitality and catering.

The shape of the hull – of which the keel is the very lowest beam running from bow to stern – has been designed to have a huge impact on a ship’s manoeuvrability in port and its stability at sea.

Honfleur will be 42,400 gross-tonnes and carry up to 1,680 passengers. She will offer 261 cabins, two cinemas, restaurants, boutique shopping and choice of spacious passenger lounges.

(Brittany Ferries)

Honfleur slide-show: HERE

Malcolm says: The only difference between modern ferries and cruise ships is the presence of a car deck or two.  My trip on the Stena Hollandica ferry is a prime example.

Global Class: More Details

May 25, 2019

Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman and CEO of Genting Hong Kong has recently said: . “To accommodate the future of cruising, we are in the process of building the cruise ships of tomorrow at our own shipyards in Germany and we are excited for the upcoming launch of our new, technologically advanced Global class ships in early 2021.”

Of note, the company said the new ships would go global, cruising in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. They will also include the first theme park at sea, the company said.

Theme Park/longest roller Coaster at sea (Gentling)

“This state-of-the-art vessel features the latest hardware and advanced technology – the culmination of Genting’s 50+ years experience in tourism and hospitality,” Genting said. “Be wowed by the industry’s most spacious staterooms and most luxurious suites, the first-ever theme park at sea featuring the world’s longest roller coaster at sea, the largest cinema at sea, voice and facial recognition technology, self-guided mobile assistants and so much more. Enjoy the authentic Asian experience on board with heartfelt Asian hospitality, authentic Chinese cuisine, and the largest variety of Asian and International dining, as you sail from Asia’s major homeports to the region’s most exciting destinations. Better yet, go global with grand voyages to the rest of the world including Australia, New Zealand, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean.”

The Canyon (Genting)

The ships will be 342 meters each with 2,500 staterooms.

Accommodating up to 9,000 passengers at full capacity, the new ships are set to be the largest cruise ships in the world by passenger capacity. The vessels will also feature Dream Cruises’ signature 151-suite luxury “ship-within-a-ship” concept, The Palace.

Featuring 20 square metres of space, Global-class cabins will be the industry’s most spacious staterooms, Genting said, larger than any other cruise line, and are designed for two but can also accommodate up to four guests, suitable for families and group travellers. A unique two bathroom design will allow for several people to get ready at once and the cabin’s sofa bed also easily unfolds to sleep an additional two guests comfortably. A privacy curtain can be closed to divide the room into separate seating and sleeping areas.

Escalators (Gentling)

State-of-the-art technology will include Bluetooth locks and a new smart system allowing passengers to control different functions such as the LED mood lighting and climate control with a smartphone app, voice recognition or through a touch-screen control panel. Smart sensors will also be able to detect occupants in the cabin to automatically adjust the lights and temperature for better energy efficiency and triple vent air-conditioning outlets ensure even air distribution for maximum comfort.

Cinema (Gentling)


Oasis To Get $165 Million Refurbishment

May 22, 2019


The ship that revolutionized the cruise industry, Oasis of the Seas, marks its 10-year anniversary with a larger-than-ever, $165 million amplification.

The first to introduce the unique seven-neighborhood concept and one-of-a-kind AquaTheater entertainment venue, Royal Caribbean International’s original gamechanger will set a new standard for family vacations with first-to-brand experiences and the latest Royal Caribbean hits.

Guest favorites making their way to Oasis as part of the 63-day modernization include a reimagined, Caribbean-inspired pool deck that will feature a Splashaway Bay kids aquapark and The Lime & Coconut signature bar; famed Quantum Class staple, Music Hall; the Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, and the Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea. Debuting alongside this lineup is the cruise line’s first barbecue concept, Portside BBQ, and dedicated karaoke venue Spotlight Karaoke. The amplified Oasis will set sail on Nov. 24, 2019, beginning 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Royal Caribbean’s new, state-of-the-art Terminal A in Miami.

The architectural marvel will break even more records when she heads to the Big Apple in May 2020 as the largest ship to sail from the New York area. Oasis will reposition to her new summer home at Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey, offering 7-night sailings to The Bahamas with visits to Royal Caribbean’s newly transformed private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

“When Oasis of the Seas debuted as the world’s largest and most groundbreaking cruise ship a decade ago, the typical cruise vacation as the world knew it was forever changed. Today, our Oasis Class ships continue to lead the industry and attract vacationers new to cruising,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Now with the opportunity to disrupt the industry once again, we’ve gone all-in with our biggest and boldest amplification yet. Oasis will turn heads when she arrives to Miami this November and the Northeast in May 2020.”

Iconic Top Deck

The Ultimate Abyss

For all-day Caribbean vibes, guests need look no further than the reimagined Pool and Sports Zone. The transformed neighborhood will feature new ways to relax, celebrate and plunge into adventure, joining the popular twin FlowRider surf simulators, nine-deck-high zip line and twin rock-climbing walls.

The adrenaline is turned all the way up with heart-pumping additions, including the Ultimate Abyss, a 10-story test of courage and the tallest slide at sea; and The Perfect Storm, an action-packed trio of multistory waterslides known as Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell. For the youngest, the most thrilling Splashaway Bay at sea yet is to come, with a Splash Pad for tots, three waterslides, water cannons, fountains, pools and the first-ever twin drench buckets.

At the center is the new Caribbean-style pool deck with The Lime & Coconut. The signature bar will be one of the liveliest spots on board, day and night, with poolside cocktails, DJs and live music across two locations. Every pool is only as good as its places to chill, and Oasis will deliver a larger variety of seating and shade, including comfy casitas, daybeds, hammocks and swing seats, new whirlpools on the top deck, and a refreshed Solarium for the adults.

Mouthwatering Dining

Sugar Beach: more than 220 types of candy

The boldest Royal Amplified modernization to-date will introduce various new dining venues that will further diversify Oasis’ 23 specialty and complimentary options.

Royal Caribbean’s latest culinary creation and first-ever barbecue restaurant, Portside BBQ, will offer an authentic, meat-packed menu inspired by the best-in-class barbecue across the United States. From smoked marbled brisket, pulled pork and chicken, to beef ribs and burnt ends, the casual eatery on the pool deck will tie it all together with classic sides – including mac and cheese, homestyle cornbread, baked beans and coleslaw – and down-home desserts such as the Banana Dream and a brownie cookie mashup.

Across the way, guests can find Mexican grab-and-go fare at El Loco Fresh, serving up made-to-order tacos and burritos, quesadillas, mini salads and salsas galore. Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade will anchor the lineup in the signature Boardwalk neighborhood. With 80 big-screen TVs, tabletop games, arcade classics, tournaments, an Owner’s Box VIP room, bar fare and ice-cold brews, Playmakers is where everyone in the family wins. Sugar Beach, with more than 220 types of candy and a new walkup ice cream window, is the icing on the already-tasty offering on board Oasis, which includes Chops Grille, Giovanni’s Table and Izumi.

The new Portside BBQ

Chart-topping Hot Spots

Nights out will take on a whole new meaning on board the newly amplified Oasis. The new Spotlight Karaoke on the Royal Promenade is where budding singers can rock out to their favorite tunes at the dedicated karaoke venue’s main stage or one of two private rooms.

First introduced on Quantum of the Seas, live music venue Music Hall will make its Oasis Class debut. A roster of live cover bands, an expansive dance floor, pool tables and intimate loungers across two levels give vacationers ample room to end the night on a high note at a place where every seat is the best seat in the house.

Rounding out the list of go-to hot spots is the dynamic duo of robotic bartenders that will mix, muddle, stir and shake cocktails nonstop at the Bionic Bar. The new venues join nightlife favorites on board, including Boleros, Schooner Bar, Blaze Nightclub & Comedy and English pub Atlas & Globe.

The ‘Music Hall’ makes it to Oasis.

Family Time Redefined

Oasis will, yet again, redefine family vacations with a bold combination of programming that brings families together while also providing ways for everyone – from parents, to kids and grandparents – to enjoy time on their own.

Babies, kids and teens are in for a reimagination of their dedicated spaces, enhanced from top to bottom and amplified with technology to offer interactive, personalized and unexpected experiences. Adventure Ocean will receive a total makeover, with newly designed areas organized by activity type and created to fully immerse kids and their families in the adventures they choose based on their interests. Returning offerings include a nursery for the youngest of travelers, and a specialized area with programming for kids 3 to 5 years old. Teens can rejoice in their more off-the-grid hangout. With exclusive features like a “hidden” entrance, gaming lounge, movies, music, and a new, laidback outdoor deck, teens are free to engage however and whenever without interruption.

Spotlight Karaoke

Adding to the variety of activities, featuring ice skating and mini-golf, Oasis will challenge friends and foes with a new glow-in-the-dark laser tag game, Clash for the Crystal City. Two clans, the Yetis and Snowshifters, must go head-to-head to claim the crystal city and defeat impending extinction. At the new Royal Escape Room – Mission Control: Apollo 18, the year is 1973 and travelers must come together to launch Apollo 18 to the moon by solving every mind-bending puzzle before time runs out.

Oasis of the Seas is the first of the cruise line’s renowned Oasis Class – the world’s largest cruise ships – to be modernized as part of the Royal Amplified fleet modernization effort. Rooted in research and guest feedback, Royal Caribbean’s investment of more than $1 billion in the program spans 10 ships in four years and touches every facet of the guest experience to bring new thrills and signature experiences designed to appeal to every generation.

(Text and Images courtesy of RCI)

Norwegian Encore: Hull Art

May 20, 2019

NCL’s new ship, Norwegian Encore now has her hull art.

Eduardo Arranz-Bravo, the Spanish artist, created the hull artwork for the fourth and final ship of its Breakaway-Plus class, debuting in Miami in November 2019.

A representation of his modern and abstract style, the ship’s hull will feature a “labyrinth of color” inspired by Arranz-Bravo’s life by the sea in Barcelona, the company said.

After her debut in Miami, Encore will move to Seattle in 2021, offering seven-day cruises to Alaska.


Spectrum of the Seas – Entertainment Announced

May 15, 2019

Royal Caribbean has revealed the entertainment offerings for Spectrum of the Seas:


With its signature Vistarama technology, which transforms the 270-degree panoramic windows into a projection surface that measures 135 feet wide and 22 feet tall, Two70 includes a troupe of six, agile Roboscreens come to life in perfect sync with music, special effects and multi-talented live performers.

The Silk Road, an original production created by Royal Caribbean International exclusively for Two70, will take center stage on Spectrum. The incredibly rich and diverse cultures, colors, music and visuals of this famous trade route will come to life as guests are taken on a mystical journey. Combined with world-class, state-of-the-art entertainment technology with the Vistarama and Roboscreens, the audience will be transported into this stunning chapter of human history.

Main Theater

The Effectors introduces guests to four new superheroes with the power to change the world: Captain Coreo, the leader of the pack, has the power to control all forms of movement and motion; Lume, a sassy and dynamic super girl, has the ability to control light, laser and all things visual; Pixel is beautiful, sexy, enigmatic and the most mysterious one of the group who has the total control over video imagery and projection power; Reverb is the most unpredictable and hardest to control, whose power is enormous, as he can control sound and all things audio! The four superheroes unite their powers to fight the evil enemy, Crash, as he tries to stop the show and the world.

Showgirl! Present. Future. takes guests on the iconic journey of the ultimate entertainer – the Showgirl. Presented in the Royal Theater, the show combines next-generation choreography, incredible vocal performances, lavish costumes, and cutting-edge lighting and video effects to deliver an entertainment experience that will stimulate all senses.


Sky Pad – a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience located on the aft of the ship. Guests strap in and don their VR headset to transport them to another time and planet.

Battle for Planet Z – an epic glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure brings two teams of eight head-to-head in an out-of-this-world adventure to determine who will claim the last planet in the galaxy.

Expedition Two70 – test your adventuring skills in four fully immersive augmented reality games. Raise temples, blast ruins and more on your quest to recover ancient masks and complete your quest.

Star Moment – a lively and energetic karaoke venue where family and friends can belt out and sing like stars

SeaPlex – the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea provides sports experiences from various parts of the world, including China’s national game – table tennis; American style basketball; roller skating originated from Holland; fencing, a popular sport with the upper class of Europe; and modern archery, originated in the UK. SeaPlex also will host new augmented reality walls and floors, providing guests with thrilling, high-tech interactive experiences.

“Technology is the frontline of entertainment and we are pushing those boundaries on Spectrum of the Seas to create exceptional live performances in our theaters,” said Nick Weir, Senior Vice President, Entertainment, Royal Caribbean International. “We use advanced robotic programming and state-of-the-art digital and audio technology, alongside highly trained, world-class performers and aerialists to create an immersive story and unforgettable show for the whole family.”

The first in the Quantum Ultra class of ships, Spectrum will be the largest and most expensive ship in Asia when she sails from Shanghai starting in June 2019.