Oriana’s Refit

January 16, 2017

We’re excited to announce that Oriana has undergone a refit to improve the overall cruise experience for our guests. After listening to your feedback, we collaborated with leading cruise-industry architects Richmond on a refit programme that encompasses updates to the cabins, suites, entertainment areas, restaurants, bars and public areas and brought Oriana up to the high standards that we hold across our entire fleet. We have of course retained Oriana’s most distinctive features, but guests can now enjoy new luxurious materials, soft furnishings and carpets, upgraded furniture, improved lighting, rich colour schemes and the ultimate in comfort and relaxation.

Refit Summary

Traditional cruising at its best has become even better. Oriana has undergone a fabulous makeover by Richmond International (famed for creating luxury hotels on six continents, as well as our own beautiful Britannia).

She returns with defining features such as her Tiffany glass ceiling and Art Deco accents still in pride of place. Yet, elsewhere you’ll find subtle changes including renewed cabins, suites, entertainment areas, restaurants, bars and public areas. Looking forward to seeing her revitalised interiors? We can’t wait to welcome you back on board.

The Peninsular & Oriental Restaurants

The Peninsular and Oriental Restaurants are Oriana’s elegant main dining rooms, welcoming hundreds of guests each night and offering world-class dining surrounded by graceful décor and magnificent ocean views.

To refresh the areas, we have replaced the carpets and curtains, upgraded the lighting and changed the colour schemes in both restaurants. This rejuvenation ensures that you can continue to dine in elegance and style for years to come.

Cabins

We know that the place you rest your head while on holiday is one of the most important aspects of a relaxing break. Your cabin should be where you look forward to heading to at the end of the day, and a space for some much-needed time out during busy holiday activities.

To that end, we’ve replaced all soft furnishings with more modern and elegant designs, and repaired furniture to a high standard or replaced it. Bathrooms and toilets have undergone repairs and upgrades to bring them up to the standard that our guests deserve, and maintenance work on balconies ensure that you see the sunset in style and comfort.

Salon, Spa & Gym

To offer guests the best salon treatments, we have introduced a new pedicure station and upgraded salon equipment such as the washbasins and treatment beds, so guests can be pampered to their heart’s content.

Our Spa has a new look, too, we have refurbished the spa and relaxation areas to rival your favourite spa on dry land. We’ve uplifted the sauna, steam-room, whirlpool and changing areas with new tiling, modern furniture and contemporary equipment. And also an improved layout meaning that you can focus on pounding the pounds in the gym area, while the relaxation areas are all about escaping to a calming retreat with soothing décor and natural effects such as wood, flowers and plants.

The Conservatory and The Beach House

Wherever you dine on board Oriana, we want to you to experience the best of our service. The Conservatory and The Beach House include new service counters as well as increased seating and two-seater tables so more guests can enjoy what both areas have to offer.

We also want you to enjoy the elegance and classic luxury of cruising in every part of the ship, so we’ve introduced new lighting designs, upgraded the furniture and replaced the carpet throughout the areas to ensure a refreshed and reinvigorated dining space.

Anderson’s

Named after P&O founder Arthur Anderson, rest assured Anderson’s bar has retained its sense of understated luxury. Only now, it’s an even more ideal venue for a pre-dinner tipple or a relaxing nightcap, with stylishly elegant new bar stools, sofas, chairs, tables, lamps, carpets and rugs.

(Text/Images Courtesy P&O)

Amadeus Provence – The New Flagship

January 15, 2017
Pool Deck (Courtsey Amadeus)

Amadeus Provence, Pool Deck (Courtsey Amadeus)

Many of you may not have heard of Amadeus river cruises (formerly Luftner cruises) before, at least until you read my blog.

Amadeus are a family owned business (the Luftner family) who will introduce their fourteenth river ship in April year.

I have now cruised with them twice simply because of their good quality product and some very competitive fares.

Their new ship called ‘Amadeus Provence’ (not Silver 4) is currently being built in the Dutch shipyard ‘De Hoop’.

She will be 110 meters long and carry 140 passengers. She is  shorter than some newbuilds, probably because of the constraints the rivers she will be cruising on. She will sailing on the French rivers Rhône and Saône.

Amadeus Provence (Click to Enlarge)

Amadeus Provence (Click to Enlarge)

In their own words: The AMADEUS Provence offers custom-designed luxury and features a unique combination of modern elegance and superb amenities:
8 spacious Suites with comfortable corner sofa, luxurious bathroom and walk-out exterior balcony
62 Staterooms with mainly drop-down panoramic windows, luxurious bathrooms and walk-in wardrobes
Spacious public areas such as the pool deck with swimming pool and Lido-Bar or the outdoor glass-shielded “River Terrace”.

The AMADEUS Provence will transport you on the river cruise of a lifetime. Don’t miss the breath-taking 8-day cruise “French Savoir Vivre” from/to Lyon and experience world-famous sights such as Pont du Gard, Gorges de l´Ardèche, the nature reserve Camargue und the wine area Beaujolais. 

The design of Provence is a little different to all the other Amadeus ships.

The ship has to pass under a number of low bridges on these itineraries, which means the sun deck has to regularly be closed to passengers.

However I believe the new ‘pool deck’ at the stern (not featured on any of their other ships) is located lower so it can still be used when the sun deck is closed.

Malcolm

Amadeus Silver II ship review: HERE

Amadeus Elegant ship review HERE

Would You Enjoy A River Cruise?

January 14, 2017
(Part of the on-board entertainment)

Part of the on-board entertainment!

Are you a seasoned ocean cruiser but maybe looking for something different?

Have you ever wondered if a river cruise would suit you?

Are they just too expensive?

Would you get bored?

Well, read on: HERE

River Cruising – The Future

January 13, 2017
Douro River (Courtesy visit Portugal)

Douro River (Courtesy visitportugal.com)

River cruising is continuing it’s growth in 2017, with a dozen brand-new river cruise ships scheduled to entering service on Europe’s rivers.

Portugal’s Douro River, is becoming Europe’s most up and coming river destination. The Douro River is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

River cruising has traditionally appealed to mature couples, hence most of Europe’s river ships mainly offer double or twin cabins.

However CroisiEurope’s river vessels have some triples and quads cabins, on board some of its ships, with children being welcome.

MS AmaKristina (Courtsey AmaWaterways)

AmaWaterways’ new AmaKristina will feature triple-occupancy cabins in order to appeal to multi-generational families.

AmaWaterways’ has a partnership with ‘Disney’ in order to appeal to families with kids and persuade them to take a river cruise.

We may well see some river cruise products in the future which are a little more mainstream.

Malcolm

Amadeus Elegant ship review HERE

Crystal Cuts Riverboat Steel

January 11, 2017

Crystal Cruises and MV Werften today celebrated the cutting of the first piece of steel in Wismar,  Germany.

This  ceremony marks the start of construction of Crystal River Cruises’ two additional Rhine-class river yachts, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel, scheduled to sail in spring 2018.

The first plates of the 106-guest river ships were cut in the presence of the Genting Group Executive Chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay and numerous other guests.

(Crystal)

Malcolm says: I don’t doubt the quality of Crystal’s cruise products. However unless they give me a free cruise (which is very unlikely) you will not see a Crystal review on this site. Unfortunately I can’t afford their fares!

Crowded Waters

January 10, 2017

There has been a lot of talk about the increasing number of ocean cruise ships in the past decade. In particular about the negative impact of mega-ships on the environment and their ports of call.

There are now ships on order that will carry in excess of 6,000 passengers, plus crew.

However, what about European river cruising which is a now booming business?

‘Viking River Cruises’ are a good example of success and expansion…

Read more…HERE

A busy Danube - Three Amadeus vessels (Click to enlarge)

A busy Danube – Three Amadeus vessels (Click to enlarge)

 

The Danube

January 7, 2017

Below is a short slide show of the Danube River form on-board Amadeus Elegant:

 
Amadeus Elegant ship review HERE.

Don’t Book An Ocean Cruise…

January 5, 2017

…until you have read my latest review.

dsc_0115

For twenty years I have been ocean cruising. I am lucky enough to have experienced many big ships, small ships, old ships and new ships.

To keep the whole thing fresh I tried many different ships and some different cruise lines. These have included Cunard, P&O, Fred. Olsen, RCI, P&O, Princess, Celebrity, Thomson and CMV.

Each ship and line is different, yet they are all similar.

While searching for something different, I tried my first European River Cruise in 2015.

I did enjoyed it, it made a refreshing change, but the experience still felt a little ‘alien’ to me compared to an ocean cruise.

However something drew me back to river cruising this year (after fitting in another ocean cruise) and I took my second European river cruise over Christmas 2016.

This time something ‘clicked’ inside of me. (And I don’t mean my spine or knee cartilage.)

I really got into the format and style of the experience this time around. Many aspects of the experience were actually better than on-board most ocean ship.

Amadeus Elegant ship review HERE

I’m NOT seriously suggesting that you give up ocean cruising, but maybe your New Year’s Resolution should be to seriously consider the idea of a River cruise in 2017.

I would bet that some of your most dreaded annoyances about ocean cruises probably do not exist on river cruises.

Happy New Year

Malcolm

The Collapse of ‘Swan Hellenic’ & ‘Voyages of Discovery’?

January 3, 2017
Minerva (Courtesy Swan Hellenic)

Minerva (Courtesy Swan Hellenic)

All Leisure Group has cancelled January sailings aboard the Voyager and Minerva.

The Voyager, sailing for Voyages of Discovery, was set to sail from Malaysia on a 15-day cruise on January 4, while the Minerva, under the Swan Hellenic brand, had a January 3 15-day Canary Islands voyage cancelled.

The Group cited “operational reasons” in a brief post on Twitter.

The company also owns and operates the Hebridean Island Cruises brand, but that seasonal operation does not start until later in the year.

All Leisure, which owns other associated travel businesses, has not been without its own challenges, posting a slim 1.1 million pound operating profit for fiscal year 2015.

RJ Allard, chairman, wrote in a letter to investors in early 2016 that “the cruise division continued to be unprofitable,” noting an improvement in operating losses from 2014 to 2015.

(Cruise Industry News)

Voyager (Courtesy Voyages of Discovery)

Voyager (Courtesy Voyages of Discovery)

Malcolm says: It has now been confirmed that the ‘All Leisure’ group has collapsed although I hear the Hebridean  Cruises (Hebridean Princess) is safe.  I find it sad when small cruise lines operating intimate ships can no longer compete against the big players and their mega-ships. Bigger is definitely NOT always best.

Also Hebridean Princess  Interiors – HERE

Kevin Sheehan Returns To The Cruise Industry

December 31, 2016
(CEO Kevin Sheehan by A.Kolosh)

(Kevin Sheehan dines in O’Shehan’s, by A.Kolosh)

Kevin Sheehan, the former president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, has made a return to the cruise industry.

Sheehan is part of a recently-formed ownership group that has purchased Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, which operates the Grand Celebration on short cruises from Palm Beach to the Bahamas. The new company is Paradise Cruise Line.

Sheehan was named president and CEO of Scientific Games Corporation earlier this year.

“The purchase of Paradise Cruise Line is a family investment with a strong executive management team,” said Sheehan. The company planned to “add more capacity.”

(Cruise Industry News)

Malcolm says: The NCL ‘Breakaway’ and ‘Breakaway+’ classes have an Irish pub/eatery named O’Sheehan’s after him. It has been extended to the  older ships in their fleet. I met him once. He certainly has a very down-to-earth charisma. He had quite a high profile with NCL passengers.