Disney Ship Navigates The New Panama Lock

April 30, 2017

(Courtesy Disney)

On the 29th April, cruise ship ‘Disney Wonder’ today became the first passenger vessel to sail through the Panama Canal’s new expanded locks, the first of 18 cruise ships scheduled to make the journey during the 2017-2018 season.

The expanded locks, which opened in 2016, allow larger vessels to make take the journey than before.

‘Disney wonder’ would have fitted through the old lock. However larger ships will make the Panama Canal transit for the first time this year, including ‘Caribbean Princess’, which is wider than the maximum allowed through the old locks.

(Disney)

Panama Canal history: HERE

A New Look For Ships Bows

April 28, 2017

NCL Leonado (Courtesy NCL)

Ship fans will have noticed that many of the new cruise ships that are entering service or are on the drawing board, have a very different looking bow.

The vertical bow which was commonplace a century ago, has made a comeback.

AIDA Cruises’ AIDAprima, which entered service in in April 2016, was one of the first new cruise ships that I saw with a vertical bow.

AIDAprima (Courtesy AIDA)

The new vertical bow is said to be more efficient and often provides better sea-keeping abilities that the traditional flared bow.

Celebrity Edge (Courtesy Celebrity)

The vertical bow also said to cause less stress and strain on the vessel as she slices through heavy seas instead of trying to part them as the  flared bow does.

Expedition ships (Courtesy Hurtigruten)

However  others say that the absence of the flare on the bow can make the forward decks get very wet.

I’m no maritime architect, but personally I really like the look of the new (old) bow.

Malcolm

Genting To Be Fifth Largest Cruise Company In The World

April 28, 2017

Genting’s Global Class (Courtesy Genting)

Genting Hong Kong has set an expansion course that will make it the fifth largest cruise company in the world, according to the 2017-2018 Cruise Industry News Annual Report.

See full story HERE

NCL Takes Delivery Of First Purpose-built Ship For China

April 27, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line today took delivery of Norwegian Joy, the brand’s fifteenth ship and the first custom-designed for the Chinese cruise market, from MEYER WERFT during an on board ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany. At 167,725–gross-tons and accommodating 3,883 guests, Norwegian Joy is the second ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class and features an innovative design with amenities tailored to provide a “First Class at Sea” experience for Chinese guests with the elements of freedom and flexibility that Norwegian Cruise Line has become known for across the globe.

In advance of the delivery, David Herrera and executives from Norwegian’s offices in China gathered for a traditional blessing from the Chinese Goddess of the Sea, Mazu, to ask for safe and pleasant voyages for the ship and all its guests who set sail. The ceremony was at the Mazu Temple in Shanghai where, one year ago, the Norwegian team held a ceremony to obtain a blessing for the coins that were used in Norwegian Joy’s Keel laying ceremony, signifying the start of construction in April 2016. Following this recent visit, a ceramic statue of Mazu was gifted to the company by the temple representatives and brought to Germany for the occasion of the ship delivery. The statue has been given a place of honour aboard Norwegian Joy and will carry the blessings of Mazu on the journey to China.

VIP Casino (Courtesy NCL)

Following her delivery, Norwegian Joy will begin her journey to China, where she will be showcased through a grand inaugural port tour featuring one-day events at the ports of Singapore, Qingdao, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, as well as VIP partner cruises from Norwegian Joy’s home-ports of Shanghai and Beijing (Tianjin). The ship will be christened in an exclusive star-studded event for honoured guests on 27 June, led by her Godfather, the ‘King of Chinese Pop’, Wang Leehom.

Norwegian Joy is Norwegian Cruise Line’s first purpose-built ship customized for the Chinese cruise market. The name Norwegian Joy emphasizes the experience that the ship will offer, a promise that guests will ‘Experience Paradise on the Sea.’ Accommodating 3,883 guests, Norwegian Joy is designed to provide First Class at Sea experiences with onboard amenities that cater to the unique vacation desires of Chinese guests. Norwegian Joy will provide a multitude of VIP accommodations including The Haven by Norwegian®, the line’s exclusive, ship-within-a-ship luxury suite complex, which will also include an all-new The Haven Observation Lounge that features 180 degree views, and a Concierge level, an all-new accommodations category that will provide a VIP experience. Accommodation offerings will also include staterooms designed specifically for families including a multitude of connecting staterooms, for extended families travelling together, as well as a wide array of mini-suite, balcony, ocean view and interior staterooms, many with virtual balconies.

(Courtesy NCL)

Norwegian Joy will offer engaging and innovative activities including a first at sea two-level competitive racetrack, an open-air laser tag course, thrilling simulator rides, Oculus virtual reality technology and interactive video walls at the Galaxy Pavilion, hover-bumper cars and two multi-story waterslides. In addition, Norwegian Joy will house a tranquil open space park as well as the line’s largest upscale shopping district, complete with everything from exceptional duty-free shops to world-renowned global luxury brands.

(NCL)

Dilbar Super-Yacht

April 27, 2017

Is Hong Kong’s Cruise Terminal A White Elephant?

April 27, 2017

Kai Tak

Is Hong Kong’s much-hyped HK$6.6 billion Kai Tak cruise terminal a white elephant of an underused facility that resembles a ghost town more than the bustling hub for luxury tourism it was billed as?

See full ‘South China Morning Post’ article: HERE

RCI Makes Inaugural Visit To Havana

April 26, 2017

(Courtesy RCI)

It was a historic day for Royal Caribbean on Sunday 24th April 2017, when the cruise line made its inaugural visit to Cuba with the newly revitalised Empress of the Seas, as part of a five-night sailing from Miami. Adventure-seeking holidaymakers were among the first guests to explore the island country known for its legendary nightlife, iconic music and distinct culture. Guests participated in curated excursions throughout Havana, including rides in 1950s classic American cars to the city’s most famous locales, such as the Old Quarter and the Havana Club Museum.

Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International said, “We’re thrilled to be a part of Cuba’s future, ushering in Royal Caribbean’s next big adventure with Empress of the Seas’ first visit to Havana. Holidaymakers will now be able to experience a destination like no other, with authentic and immersive experiences that bring to life the vibrancy of Havana and its traditions.”

The vibrant Cuban culture extends beyond land to the experience onboard Empress of the Seas. From cortaditos and café con leche in Café Royal, to salsa music and dancing in Boleros Latin lounge, guests will enjoy a range of on-board activities designed to bring the spirit of the island to life throughout the entire journey.

After returning to Miami, Empress of the Seas will reposition to Tampa, Florida, for the summer season – Royal Caribbean’s first ever summer programme from the destination – offering a series of four, five and six-night sailings, including day and overnight visits to Havana, along with stops in Key West and Belize City, as well as Costa Maya and Cozumel. Sailings from Tampa are available until the 4th November 2017, when Empress will return to Miami for the winter season, adding calls to CocoCay and Nassau in The Bahamas.

(RCI)

Cunard: Queen Victoria Refurbishment

April 25, 2017

The Queen Victoria will undergo a $40 million refit at Fincantieri in May, and today Cunard Line announced more details in digital renderings showcasing the new features aboard the ship.

See Cruise Industry News article: HERE

(Courtesy Cunard)

My ‘Queen Victoria’ review: HERE

Motor Yacht ‘A’

April 25, 2017

Big Ships, Big Reviews

April 25, 2017
untitled

(Courtesy P. Massey)

I am fortunate enough to have cruised on some of the world’s  biggest cruise ships. Here are some of my reviews, which are often as big as the ships themselves:

Anthem of the Seas: HERE

Norwegian Escape: HERE

Oasis of the Seas: HERE

Olsen Pulls Out Of Falmouth

April 24, 2017
Boudicca---banner_original

(Courtesy Fred. Olsen)

Fred. Olsen cruises is pulling out of Falmouth and has blamed it partly on the lack of dedicated cruising facilities. Fred. Olsen only began using the port last year, but has already decided it is not suitable.

The company said it is withdrawing departures from half of the ten UK ports it uses from next year, including Falmouth.

It currently runs two cruises a year from the port, a 12-night Canaries and Portugal cruise and a ten-night Around the UK sailing cruise, both on-board Boudicca.

A spokesman said: “Regrettably, one of the five UK ports from which Fred. Olsen has decided to withdraw departure calls, with effect from its 2018/19 cruise season onwards, is Falmouth.

(cornwalllive.com)

Boudicca (1972) review: HERE

 

Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, Reimagined

April 24, 2017

Crystal unveils the complete plans for Crystal Symphony’s and Crystal Serenity’s dry dock transformations. In what the company is calling the “Evolution of Crystal Luxury,” in 2017 and 2018, Crystal will embark on the multi-million-dollar investment that will see the two ships reimagined to new standards of innovative luxury.

The plans for Crystal’s two ocean ships are the latest in its tremendous brand expansion, which will also see new river yachts, new ocean-going vessels and a privately-owned Boeing 777 join the fleet in the next three years.

“Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity are the foundation of Crystal and continue to embody the cornerstones of the celebrated Crystal Experience,” says Crystal CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez.

“These ships have earned us not only acclaim from the world’s most eminent entities and publications for more than two decades, but more importantly, the loyalty of the world’s most discerning travelers and travel partners. We are committed to continuing their reign as the most luxurious ships at sea by investing in changes and updates that will far exceed our guests’ wishes.”

While the two ships’ refurbishments are scheduled almost a year apart, plans for both are predominantly streamlined, offering guests a consistently superlative experience on board whichever Crystal ship they choose to sail. As part of the extensive redesign, several staterooms will be converted into brand new luxurious penthouse categories to take the place of smaller staterooms; imaginative new dining options will be revealed; ships will be loaded with high-tech perks; and modern, elegant décor updates will be made in many public spaces.

New Penthouses and Penthouse Suites

Both ships will gain more of the spacious, butler-serviced Penthouses and Penthouse Suites. Crystal Symphony will see two new categories of accommodations altogether: Seabreeze Penthouse Suite with Verandah (12 new suites added) and Seabreeze Penthouse with Verandah (28 new suites added), both occupying Deck 9, Seabreeze. The new accommodations will boast the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites (367 sq. ft. and 491 sq. ft., respectively), while Seabreeze Penthouses will be connected by a shared an entryway recessed from the hall.

Aboard Crystal Serenity, the 36 additional Penthouses and 2 additional Penthouse Suites will occupy the current Penthouse Deck 10, and will also offer the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites (403 sq. ft. and 538 sq. ft., respectively).

Penthouse accommodations offer guests enhanced all-inclusive Crystal amenities, including butler service and in-room specialty dining. Penthouse guests will also now receive unlimited complimentary dining at the onboard specialty restaurants. The conversion of staterooms into the new penthouse accommodations effectively reduces the ships’ guest capacities – Crystal Symphony to 848 and Crystal Serenity to 980 – and increases the per-guest space ratio aboard the ships to 60.2 and 70.3 respectively. Abundant space throughout its luxury ships has long been a cornerstone of Crystal’s platform, and a key distinction between its ships and competitors.

Refreshed Dining Options

The world-class cuisine served on Crystal ships will also enjoy a revolution, as Crystal mainstays transform into inspired modern venues that still exude the elegant culinary atmosphere for which Crystal is known. Inclusive to the renowned Crystal Experience, the posh eateries feature diverse menus of Michelin-level cuisine inspired by the worldwide destinations Crystal visits.

The Crystal Dining Room, the ships’ centrally located main dining venue, will become Waterside, reflecting the chic décor and sophisticated ambiance of the main dining room aboard Crystal River Cruises’ Crystal Mozart. Additional tables for two and four guests offer expanded options for intimate dining in the expansive space, while a new open seating concept invites guests to dine at their leisure between 6 and 9:30 p.m., eliminating Crystal’s previous format of assigned seating and reservations. Waterside will also continue to serve breakfast and lunch during current timeframes.

The Lido Café, another hot spot aboard both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, will take on new life as the Marketplace by day and Churrascaria by night. Both venues will feature an open kitchen concept with dishes made to order. The Marketplace will continue to serve casual buffet style breakfast and lunch options, and will transition to Churrascaria, a stylish casual dinner venue, from 6 to 9 p.m., creating an additional evening option for guests. Churrascaria will feature a Caipirinha as a welcome cocktail and serve a selection of Brazilian-inspired tapas, ceviche, salads and grilled seafood and meats presented by Crystal “gauchos” on sword-like skewers.

New to the Crystal menu of onboard restaurants on both ships will be Silk, located in the Trident area of their respective Lido Decks. The contemporary space will offer modern Chinese-inspired fare with family-style dinner plates ideal for sharing, and self-service options for breakfast and lunch that include dumplings, Chinois salad, a soup and noodle bar and other Asian favorites. For the dinner hours between 6 and 9 p.m., reservations will be recommended, although open seating will be accommodated. The Trident Bar & Grill will remain in the adjacent space, serving casual grilled options including burgers and sandwiches.

Silk Road and The Sushi Bar, the specialty dining venues by famed Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, will be rebranded as Umi Uma – reflecting the Japanese word for Crystal’s eponymous seahorses. The authentic venues will still serve the inspired cuisine of Nobu, prepared by his personally trained chefs, and will remain the only Nobu restaurants at sea. All specialty dining reservations for Umi Uma and Prego will be complimentary for Penthouse guests, while all other guests will enjoy one complimentary evening of specialty dining, with additional reservations available for a modest charge. Reservations are always required for specialty dining venues.

Technological Upgrades

Upon completion of Crystal Symphony’s dry dock in November 2017, guests will receive unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi throughout any Crystal voyage aboard all Crystal vessels. Crystal’s investment in technological amenities for guests will include hardware and software enhancements to enable expanded internet connectivity and doubled satellite speed. Additionally, a new guest portal – Crystal Connect – will be launched and featured on the landing page of onboard internet connections. The portal enables guests to easily access the internet, as well as an array of shipboard information including daily menus from each restaurant, daily Reflections, day and evening activities, Crystal Adventures shore excursions and daily port maps. A number of international newspapers will also be available for digital viewing, as well as a library of box office hit movies, Crystal lectures on demand and much more. Crystal Connect will also be available in a mobile application for use on guests’ personal devices.

In all rooms throughout the ships – in each stateroom and in all public areas – ultra-thin, 42-inch, interactive flat-panel TVs will enable guests to conveniently access their onboard folios, view the Crystal Spa & Salon, Connoisseur Wine Selection, and dining menus, with the ability to make any onboard reservations, reserve shore excursions and order room service. These new interactive TVs will also showcase the latest Hollywood movies and hit TV series. Crystal’s acclaimed Computer University@Sea classrooms will also undergo updates and makeover, further enhancing the technological experience and enrichment for guests.

Reimagined Public Spaces

Several favorite shipboard spaces will enjoy reimagined designs, while maintaining their inherent function as part of travelers’ onboard experience. The top-deck, forward Palm Court lounge aboard Crystal Serenity will be entirely redesigned to feature more intimate seating, while Crystal Symphony’s mid-ship Starlite Club, a hub for evening dancing and cocktails, will also be refitted, still boasting panoramic sea views.

Crystal Symphony’s redesign is set for September 19-October 21, 2017; Crystal Serenity’s for October 14-November 10, 2018. The dry docks and subsequent relaunch of both ships mark additional milestones for the Crystal fleet, as the company increases its luxury presence throughout the world’s oceans, Europe’s rivers and the skies.

Adds Rodriguez, “Throughout this tremendous expansion, our commitment to setting an unprecedented standard of luxury travel experiences is unwavering. We will continue to place the quality of our guests’ experience above all other priorities, and our exquisitely designed vessels are integral to that experience.”

(Crystal Cruises)

NCL’s Leonardo v MSC Seaside

April 22, 2017

‘Made to measure’ or  ‘off the peg’?

Surprisingly the Norwegian Cruise lines next class of cruise ship, called ‘Project Leonardo’, is not a new a class of ship designed by themselves, but by the Italian shipyard Fincantieri.

I guess the advantage of this approach is that it must save development costs and time as the shipyard has already done the hard work.   However the disadvantage is that the shipyard can share this design with other buyers and it appears that they already have!

On closer inspection NCL’s ‘Project Leonardo’ looks remarkably similar to MSC’s ‘Seasisde’ also designed by Fincantieri.

However I believe Leonardo is shorter than Seaside, so will have a smaller gross tonnage and carry less passengers. Seaside is 154,000 gross tonnes and carry  4,140 (lower berth) passengers. Leonardo will be 140, 00 gross tonnes and carry around 3,300 passengers.

Seaside has a glass covered pool in front of her funnel, Leonardo appears to have a non-covered one in this location (for the Haven?) This may leaves just one sun-deck pool aft?

The big attraction of this ship design is the very large promenade deck, which is probably more expansive than NCL’s excellent ‘Waterfront’ feature found on-board their Breakaway and Breakaway+ classes.

I do find it a little sad when different cruise brands share a ship design. It just lacks originality.

I was going to say that Leanardo will be quite different internally to Seaside, as she will be designed to accommodate NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ dining system with multiple dining rooms.

However looking at Seaside’s deck plans (HERE) there are three full decks and two half decks of restaurants and other public rooms. I guess little will need changing apart from the décor and branding. I guess that was part of the appeal of using Fincantieri’s existing design.

os-pictures-norwegian-cruise-line-project-leon-010

(Courtesy NCL)

Malcolm

*(Why is the ship called ‘Leonardo’, anybody?)

Norwegian Bliss – Observation Makes A Comeback HERE

The Norwegian’s Get The Jersey Boys

April 22, 2017

The Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed that their new ship, ‘Norwegian Bliss’ which will debut June 2018, will feature the Tony Award-winning Broadway Musical “Jersey Boys.”

“Jersey Boys,” which won the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical, portrays the story of Frankie Valli and 1960s rock ‘n’ roll band, The Four Seasons.

A second musical, produced exclusively for NCL by Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle, will pay tribute to Cuba’s culture through dancing, music and colourful costumes.

Liverpool’s Cavern club

Additionally, Norwegian Bliss will feature ‘The Cavern Club’. The space, which is a replica of the legendary Liverpool music venue, made famous by the Beatles, will feature tribute bands throughout the week.

(NCL)

NCL To Add Lifeguards

After several highly publicised incidents aboard mega ships, the Norwegian cruise line has announced that it will add lifeguards to its ships.

This follows suit of the Disney and Royal Caribbean lines.

(NCL)

Progress with Liverpool’s new cruise terminal

April 21, 2017
queenmary2-liverpool

QM2 Liverpool (Cunard Image)

Tom has covered this ongoing story nicely:

Tom's Cruise Blog

I’ve done a number of posts in the last few years about Liverpool’s cruise terminal. The earliest of these were about the dispute over financing when Liverpool City Council (who own and operate the terminal) announced their intention to start using it for turn-rounds as well as for day calls – the dispute was because national and EU funding had been obtained for the existing structure on the basis that it would be used for day calls only. Then I visited the terminal in 2015 and had its operation, capabilities and limitations explained, and also received news that Liverpool was seeking to build a new terminal capable of handling turn-rounds for much bigger ships – up to 3,600 passengers. Since then Liverpool City Council has been taking this project forward.

The present position, as I understand it, is that a suitable site has been identified – the old Princes Jetty…

View original post 367 more words