Industry Leaders Confident on China Growth Prospects

September 23, 2016

The headline says it all…..

See ‘Cruise Industry News’ article: HERE

Chinese-Built Cruise Ships

September 23, 2016

The first Chinese-built cruise ships may be getting closer to being officially announced.

It is rumoured that the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and Carnival Corporation could announce a newbuild order for up to five cruise ships to be built in a Chinese yard for a yet-to-be-named domestic cruise brand.

As Chinese shipyards target ship orders, they are developing more varied ship concepts to sell to the cruise industry.

See renderings form ‘Cruise Industry News’: HERE

Chinese-Only Ships Coming to Mediterranean?

One of the next major steps in the Chinese cruise market will be a significant push to send more Chinese cruise passengers outbound, on fly/cruise packages.

According to multiple sources, ships fully tailored to Chinese guests could be the next step, especially in the Mediterranean

A dedicated Chinese ship would enable cruise companies to tailor the full hotel product to Chinese guests, and may make the prospect of a cruise in Europe more appealing to outbound Chinese travellers.


Viking Add River Sailing for Chinese Tourists

Viking River Cruises will offer its first European river sailings on a ship dedicated to Chinese cruisers later this Autum.

The cruises will take place on the Rhine River between Amsterdam and Basel, using an existing Longship. Mandarin will be the primary language onboard.

The move is only the first step in a “selection of cruise products” that Viking is developing for the Chinese tourism market, the company said in a statement.

The company also noted that the new sailings for Chinese passengers will be separate from the ones that are sold to English-speaking passengers from North America, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. The cruises are currently on sale in the Chinese market.


MSC Splendida Moving to China

September 21, 2016
(Courtesy MSC)

(Courtesy MSC)

MSC Cruises has announced that the Splendida is heading to China in 2018.

The 138,000-ton, 3,300-passenger Splendida will be joining the more modest 59,000 ton, 1,560-passenger Lirica, which has recently moved her year-round homeport from Shanghai to Tianjin.

MSC said that the Splendida will undergo a significant drydock refurbishment in late 2017, customizing her for the Chinese market.

Splendida will also be introducing the cruise line’s Yacht Club concept in China.


Malcolm says: Well MSC must be confident about the demand from China. If they are wrong, the Chinese will have a lot of discounted ships to choose from.

China: AIDA Has a U-Turn

September 20, 2016
AIDAbella (Courtesy AIDA)

AIDAbella (Courtesy AIDA)

AIDA Cruises has changed its plans to deploy AIDAbella all year-round in Shanghai, all year-round. This would have started from spring 2017. Instead, the ship will offer more Western Mediterranean cruises.

The news comes just a month after AIDA launched its China marketing campaign.


Malcolm says: We do not know the reason, however the number of berths being re-deployed to China may be in danger of exceeding the growth in demand. Maybe demand for Med cruises is more of a certainty?


Life-Size Replica Of Titanic To Be Assembled Late 2016

September 19, 2016


Not to be confused with Australian billionaire’s ‘Titanic II’ project, which has sunk like the ill fated original, this project is a land-based Titanic replica:

See full article: HERE

Malcolm says: There is always a Titanic story to write from somewhere in the world. This one has been around for a few years now.  It’s probably true as a non ocean-going replica will be a lot cheaper to build than Clive Palmer’s over-ambitious pipedream.

I must say that this text made me laugh: “There will also be masquerades, pool parties and Las Vegas style games on board the replica” – it hardly sounds very authentic, does it? Titanic only had a small indoor pool anyway, so it will not be much of a party. Las Vegas was just a desert in 1912.

Slideshow: Titanic II v RMS Titanic: HERE

Kismet Superyacht

September 18, 2016

(Click to enlarge)

The Kismet superyacht passed Tilbury’s ‘London Cruise Terminal’ today (18/09/16) and later moored in Canary Wharf.

She has come from Gibraltar, some six days ago.

The super-yacht boasting its own helipad was built in 2014 and is worth around £70 million. The Kismet has six bedrooms, a private sundeck, a swimming pool and is around 300 feet long.

It belongs to Shahid Khan – one of the richest men in the world and owner of Fulham FC.

If I had paid that amount of money for a Yacht I would not have expected the ‘I’ and the ‘T’ to have fallen off it’s name!

I love the grey hull/superstructure colour. When I buy mine, I will definitely choose that colour.


American Queen Steamboat Company- New Vessel

September 18, 2016


Two-floor loft suites will be among the features on a new US river cruise vessel to be built by American Queen Steamboat Company.

The 166-passenger American Duchess is due to join the fleet in June 2017 as the Memphis-based line’s third ship.

The company claims the all-suite American Duchess will be the first purpose-built boutique paddlewheeler, featuring the largest suites in every category.

The vessel will sail on the Mississippi and its tributaries offering new overnight stays in destinations such as Nashville as well as shorter itineraries from New Orleans. Departures from Chicago will also be available for the first time.

The American Duchess will feature a generous space ratio showcased by three 550 sq. ft. Owners’ Suites, and in an US riverboat first,

Accommodation will include four 550 sq. ft. duplex-style, two floor, two bathroom loft suites.

(American Queen Steamboat Company)

Malcolm says: I’ve always fancied the idea of cruising down the Mississippi on board a paddle-steamer (sorry, paddle-wheeler, there’s no steam here).  However I think somebody will have to pay for me. Any offers?

Call To Recommission The Royal Yacht

September 16, 2016

U.K. Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, calls for return of Royal Yacht Britannia as floating embassy to drum up billions of pounds of post-Brexit global trade deals.

Full Daily Mail article: HERE

Malcolm says: HMY (Her Majesty’s Yacht) Britannia (1954) left Portsmouth on 20th October 1997, on her farewell tour around the UK, before being decommissioned.

She is now a floating-museum at Edinburgh, Scotland. She is just 5,769 Gross Tonnes.

She was designed and built by John Brown & Co. who also constructed the original 1936 Cunard Queen Mary.

A Yacht is not a bad idea, but in this case I’m not sure that Boris knows what he is talking about. I have toured Britannia  and she’s very dated and surprisingly un-palatial by modern standards. Would her ageing engines still function? How’s the condition of the hull?  She would need much new equipment such as radar, maybe lifeboats etc. She almost certainly does not meet the modern SOLAS (safety) regulations.

It would probably cost more to recommission her than to build a new Yacht. However, I recall the Queen requested a new Yacht at the time, but the Government deemed it as being far too expensive for public money.

Converting a second-hand vessel makes more sense.

The Non-Return Of The Great Ocean Liners

September 15, 2016

I’m a bit of a dreamer when it comes to the golden age of the Ocean Liners.

You know, the 1930’s – the era of the original Cunard Queen Mary and France’s Normandie. The age when the glamour and excitement of ocean travel was at its height.

Celebrities regularly travelled by ship and even the ships Captains were the superstars of their day, know by the general public.

Normandie (Source unknown)

I must admit that I got very  excited when the Australian multi-millionaire, Clive Palmer, said that he was going to build a replica Titanic called ‘Titanic II’.

Now although almost nobody believe that it would ever be built, Palmer did enlist  the respected Finish navel architects ‘Deltamarin’ to design the ship. Quite a lot of work was done on the project at a significant cost. A model of the ships hull was even tank-tested and cabin mock-ups were built.

Titanic II, (Blue Star Line)

Titanic II, (Blue Star Line)

Nobody is quite clear what happened, but Palmer seemed to replaced his nautical aspirations with political ones.  He run out of enthusiasm and possibly money? He had hoped that the Chinese state shipyard, Jingling, would be his partner and actually build the ship. However they did not seem particularly interested at the end of the day and Palmer abused the Chinese people when he lost control of his tounge during an ABC’s TV program

Then there was the ‘SS United States’, the laid-up 1950’s ocean liner. She still holds the ‘Blue Riband’ for the fastest transatlantic crossing for an ocean liner.

In February 2016, Crystal and the SS United States Conservancy announced they had entered into an agreement with the goal of converting the iconic vessel into a modern, luxury cruise ship that would comply with all modern safety standards. Following an intensive, six-month evaluation, Crystal Cruises announced that it had dropped its plans to rebuild/reintroduce the SS United States into service.

According to Crystal, the technical feasibility study regrettably concluded that while the ship is remarkably intact and structurally sound, modifying the ship for today’s standards for oceangoing service (SOLAS) would require significant changes to the hull that would pose stability challenges. Additionally, the installation of a modern, state-of-the-art diesel electric propulsion plant would have necessitated altering of the existing shaft lines and rebuilding about 25 percent of the hull to reconfigure the ship to a twin shaft-twin rudder arrangement. While it was known that the vessel would need to have been essentially rebuilt from the inside out, these specific challenges, among others, collectively posed significant risk to the success of the project.

(SS United States Today - source unknown)

(SS United States Today – source unknown)

I’m no navel architect, but an aging Ocean Liner must be a little like a vintage car. If you decide to renovate a rusty one and get it road-worthy again, you are going to spend a small fortune. The restored car is never going to perform as well or be as comfortable as a new one.  You are very unlikely to do this for profit, it’s normally done for love.  It’s always going to be cheaper to build a brand new cruise ship, than attempt to renovate an old one to  comply with modern safety standards and includes today’s creature comforts.

However there is also the more complex issue of US registry which would probably require any construction work (adaptation of the SS United States) to be done at a US shipyard, rather than a European one, making the work very expensive.

Here is an article I wrote about these two projects, when they both looked like they might just happen. See HERE


USS Zumwalt

September 14, 2016

Zumwalt: Is not a cruise ship, she’s the new $4.4 billing dollar futuristic U.S. Navy stealth destroyer: