American Cruise Lines To Build 12 New Ships

January 19, 2022

Here’s some news that may interest my many Amercan readers:

The American Cruise Lines has announced Project Blue, a brand new fleet of go-anywhere ships for the U.S. market, according to a press release.

It will build 12 identical sister ships that will more than double the nation’s current capacity for domestic coastal cruises. The first two vessels are under construction and set for a 2023 debut. 

The new U.S. built fleet will operate exclusively in the United States, with a focus on small towns and close-to-home adventures.

Charles B. Robertson, President & CEO of American Cruise Lines, said: “Project Blue started as a design challenge to create a boat small enough for New England harbors and stable enough for the Alaska Inside Passage, with a draft shallow enough for the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. These boats can run almost anywhere, and because there will be 12 of them, they will be deployed all over the United States.”

They will be 241 feet long, 56 feet wide and will have capacity of just 109 guests. They feature the hybrid catamaran design that enables both shallow draft access and stable sailing along lakes, rivers, bays, and America’s coastline. 

Together with Chesapeake Shipbuilding, we built the first modern riverboats in the country. Now we are proud to introduce another new ship design for domestic exploration. American has specialized in small ship cruising for over 30 years, and continuing to innovate and expand the possibilities for cruising close to home is central to our mission,” Robertson said.

The first two ships will debut along East Coast itineraries and will be named American Eagle and American Glory, namesakes of the company’s first two small U.S. built ships. 

(American Cruise Line)

Malcom says: Ameria is not short of rivers, such as the Mississippi, and great inland lakes, but they have not been as quick to exploit their river resouces, as Europe has. America was very quick to dominate the oceans, for cruuisng, but seem to seemed to put river cruises on the back-burner. The American Cruise Line is clearly re-addressing this imbalnce.

There web site is intersting, even if you can’t afford to go!

Festive Onbaord Events

January 15, 2022

Like CMV, the new Abassador cruise line is offering festive lunches and overnight stays, onboard their first ship, ‘Ambience’, at the end of the year.

They are on sale now!

I’d reccomend them. They used to sell out really fast. See their web site for details:

 Ambassador Cruise Line | Traditional Authentic Cruises

Viva!

January 14, 2022

Norwegian Cruise Line has unveiled Norwegian Viva, the next ship in its new Prima Class set to sail in 2023.

The Norwegian Viva will be delivered from Fincantieri and will begin sailing Mediterranean itineraries in June 2023, homeporting in key Southern European port cities including Lisbon, Portugal; Venice (Trieste) and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; and Athens (Piraeus), Greece.

She will then sail the Southern Caribbean for her 2023-2024 winter season offering cruises from San Juan.

The ship will be 965 feet long, 142,500 tons and accommodate 3,219 guests, according to a press release.

The vessel will not only offer the highest staffing levels and space ratio of any new cruise ship in the contemporary and premium cruise categories and largest variety of suite categories available at sea

(NCL)

Valiant Lady To Sail UK in 2022

January 14, 2022

Virgin Voyages has revealed three new pre-summer voyages setting sail from Portsmouth, England in 2022.

Virgin Voyages’ Valiant Lady will officially make her debut in UK waters before heading to Barcelona to sail the Med in the summer.

With dates ranging from March 18 through May 14, 2022, the Valiant Lady will sail on a series of three new itineraries, including a mix of three-night, 11-night and 12-night voyages.

The Valiant Lady enters service in spring 2022, sailing from the UK to European cities and islands, including late-night and overnight stays in Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, the Canary Islands, Lisbon and Belgium.

The Valiant Lady’s getaways include:

● Itinerary 1 – Long Weekender in Zeebrugge (three-night)

● Itinerary 2 – Coast the Canary Islands, Spain, & Portugal (11-night)

● Itinerary 3 – Late Nights in Portugal and Spain (12-night)

Valiant Lady’s new pre-summer voyages will officially be up for sale on July 21, 2021.

(Virgin Voyages)

Olsen Ship Laid-Up

January 13, 2022

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines today announced that the Braemer won’t operate again until 2023, pushing its restart date by a year.

The company also said the Balmoral will now be back and sailing in May, which is later than originally anticipated, the company said.

(Fred. Olsen)

Ambassador Selects Onboard Entertainment Partner

January 12, 2022

.nn

(Courtsey of Peel)

Ambassador Cruise Line has announced that it has appointed Peel Entertainment as the exclusive full service provider for the onboard entertainment on its first cruise ship, the Ambience.

Ambassador and Peel have agreed on an initial five-year agreement to supply entertainment for the Ambience.

According to a press release, Peel is an awarding-winning entertainment production company that has worked in the cruise industry for over 25 years. It will deliver an exclusive and innovative entertainment program for Ambassador guests including “bespoke production shows, games shows, musicians, guest entertainers, enrichment speakers and craft tutors.”

The day and night-time entertainment will also include Peel’s Theatre@Sea, which is a “blend of new and modern performances that will be unique and not available on any other cruise line,” according to the press release.

Guests of the Ambience will experience sail-away deck parties, West-End and Broadway-style theatre shows, murder mysteries, plays, vignettes performed by actors, gameshows, quizzes and additional daytime activities.

Diverse panel will make sure new national flagship is ‘of its time’

January 9, 2022
The New Flagship Company have produced this rendering for a Britannia replacement

01 Jan. 2022: A new ‘Royal Yacht’ is due to cut metal by the end of 2022 and “that timeline has not been affected”, sources said.

A Minstry of Defence spokesman said: “The National Flagship will promote the UK’s economic prosperity by acting as an iconic diplomatic and trade platform, showcasing the very best in British engineering and green maritime technologies all around the world.

“The accelerated procurement remains on track, with the design stage ongoing before cutting metal by the end of 2022, generating UK jobs, skills, and prosperity throughout our shipbuilding sector.”

The Telegraph has campaigned for a replacement for HMY Britannia to project the UK’s soft power around the world since 2016 when Britons voted to leave the European Union.

In July last year, Mr Wallace told the Telegraph that he wanted the flagship to be like a floating embassy, a place where world leaders can convene to agree trade deals that can showcase the best of British engineering, powered by the most up to date “green technology”.

He said: “There are lots of ways to get more out of the ship, more innovative. There are examples of ships around here that mix basically sail and engine.”

Mr Wallace was dismissive of critics who have said that £250 million can be better spent on other public services like the National Health Service, saying the cost is “less than 0.01 percent of the defence budget” and “we can re-profile other programmes”.

(Daily Telegraph Online)

Malcolm says: To be honest, i’m not sure if £250,000 million for a new “Royal Yacht” would really benifit the country, more than it will the Royal family. Discuss!

Stephen Payne’s Royal Yacht

There are a number of concepts on offer, including one by Cunard’s ‘Queen Mary 2’ designer, Stephen Payne.

I recently visited the previous Royal Yacht Britannia, again, after many years. I’d recommend it. Below are my photos:

She would have made a loverly little cruise ship, but just imagine the fares!

Titanic vs Oasis Of the Seas

January 4, 2022

A few years back, I wrote an article for this blog called “Titanic Vs Oasis of the Seas”.

The ‘Oasis’ class is of course the biggest ‘class’ of cruise ship. In comparison, the RMS Titanic was small.

The article was really just meant to be a bit of “fun”.

Some commentators have regarded the premise of comparing two ship built almost 100 years apart as “SILLY”!  However every year the article attracts more views than anything else that I have ever written.

It’s quite ironic that the article was my most viewed again in 2021 and it will probably be by the end of 2022.  If I want a larger readership, I obviously need to write more silly stuff.

You can read my Titanic article: HERE

Malcolm

The ships with an unknown future

December 31, 2021

While most of the world’s cruise ships are now back in service, there are some vessels that continues to sit idle around the globe. These cruise vessels are entering 2022 without any known plans for their future.

The information below is courtesy of “Cruise Industry News”:

Ex P&O Oceana (Courtesy P&O Cruises)

Queen of the Oceans

The former Oceana was sold by P&O Cruises to a Greek ferry operator, Seajets, in 2020, becoming its first cruise ship.

The vessel was renamed the Queen of the Oceans and has remained laid up in Greece since facing an unknown future. The 1999-built vessel was originally intended for Princess Cruises. It has capacity for 2,000 guests and 77,000 tons.

Marella Celebration

In April 2020, TUI Group decided to retire the 1984-built Marella Celebration earlier than planned, citing the COVID-19 pandemic. The 1,250-guest ship was then withdrawn from the Marella Cruises fleet, eventually arriving in Greece’s Elefsis Bay, where it remains anchored to this day.

While there have been rumors of scrapping throughout the year, the former MS Noordam hasn’t moved for 17 months.

Marella Dream

The 1,506-guest Marella Dream is another vessel retired by Marella Cruises earlier than planned and is also accompanied by scrapping rumors and an uncertain future.

The vessel – which was built for Home Lines in 1986 – left the Marella fleet in October 2020. Like the Celebration, it sailed to Greece, where it remains anchored in the Elefsis Bay to this day.

Pearl II

The former Saga Pearl II exited the Saga Cruises fleet in 2019, after being replaced with the company’s first newbuild.

The 1981-built ship was subsequently sold to new owners and has remained out of service since. The 446-guest Pearl II is currently docked in Greece with no known plans for its future.

Astoria

The 1948-built Astoria found itself among some of the oldest cruise ships still in service when the pandemic broke. The 520-guest vessel was formerly an ocean liner. It was converted to cruising in the early 1990s, most recently sailing on charter to the now-defunct Cruise & Maritime Voyages.

In early 2020, the former Stockholm was returned to its owners, who declared bankruptcy shortly after. In 2021, the vessel was reportedly sold to new operators but has remained docked in the Netherlands with no official plans announced.

Century Harmony

A year after leaving the Carnival Cruise Line fleet, the former Carnival Fascination continues to face an uncertain future. The Fantasy-class ship escaped the breakers in October 2020 after being sold to Asian operators who planned to transform it into a floating hotel.

Renamed the Century Harmony, the 1994-built ship was later intended to be operated by Century Cruises, a China-based brand that owns a fleet of Yangtze River cruise vessels. The plans now seem to be cancelled, as the vessel sailed to Sri Lanka amid scrapping rumors.

Horizon

The 1990-built Horizon – previously operated by Pullmantur Cruceros – was returned to Royal Caribbean International when the Spanish cruise line entered administration in July 2020.

The ship has remained laid up in Greece since despite initially being expected to be scrapped like the rest of the Pullmantur fleet. Before joining Pullmantur in 2009, the 1,450-guests ship also sailed for Celebrity Cruises and Island Cruises.

Aegean Myth and Aegean Majesty

Two additional ships were bought by Seajets soon after – the 1993-built Maasdam and the 1996-built Veendam. The vessels were acquired by the Greek operator from Holland America Line in August 2020.

Like the former Oceana, the two ships have been renamed but have no plans for their future in sight while they stay docked in Greece. The Maasdam became the Aegean Myth, while the Veendam is now the Aegean Majesty.

Aegean Goddess

A similar situation saw the former Pacific Aria being bought by Seajeats in October 2020. The 1994-built ship was renamed the Aegean Goddess, but no plans have been announced for it by the Greek ferry operator.

Before the pandemic, the ship – previously operated by P&O Australia – was sold and expected to be transferred to Cruise & Maritime Voyages in 2021. However, the deal was cancelled with the demise of the company.

Majesty

Seajets’ latest acquisition, the 2,354-guest Majesty of the Seas, was previously operated by Royal Caribbean International.

The 1993-built vessel was bought by the Greek operator in early 2021 and has remained laid up in Greece since, with no announced plans for its future.

Black Watch

The 1972-built Black Watch – previously operated by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines – was sold to undisclosed buyers in September 2020 along with its sister ship Boudicca. At the time of the sale, both vessels were expected to be converted into floating accommodations.

While the Boudicca was since beached for scrapping in Turkey, the status of its 807-guest sister ship is still unknown.

(CIN)

Duke of Lancaster, To Be Renovated

December 30, 2021

A ship docked on the River Dee near Mostyn, North Wales (U.K), since 1979 to be turned into a tourist attraction.

“Duke” was set to be a floating leisure complex called The Funship and was decked out with arcade games inside, however this never transpired.

However, in this new plan, the ship could eventually be transformed into a venue fit for plush parties and weddings.

Duke of Lancaster (built 1955/6, 4,450 gt) was one of the last passenger-only steamers built for British Railways.

It was designed to operate as both a passenger ferry and a cruise ship – travelling as far as Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway and Spain.

TSS Duke of Lancaster: A timeline

1956: The ship is built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast as a passenger ferry for British Railways, primarily on the Heysham-Belfast route.

It also operates as a cruise ship around Scotland and to Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Norway.

Circa 1965: Altered to a car-ferry with the main deck reconstructed to make room for vehicles.

1970: Resumes service as a car-ferry on the Heysham-Belfast route.

1975: The vessel is removed from service on the route.

1975-1978: Operates on the Fishguard-Rosslare crossing for a short period of time before becoming the regular relief vessel on the Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire service.

1978: Laid up at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria.

1979: Purchased by Empirewise Ltd, who wanted to re-use it as a dry docked attraction, but was later closed following alleged long-standing legal disputes with the local council.

1985: Used as a warehouse for a clothing company.

2011: Featured in BBC 2’s Coast, a documentary series.

2012: Majority of the coin-operated machines were sold to Solitaire Liverpool Ltd.

2013: Ship transformed into an open-air gallery.

2015: Vessel remains beached in a poor condition at Llanerch-y-Mor in Flintshire, north-east Wales.   

Source: National Historic Ships UK 

Malcolm says: I’m all for classic vessels being renovated, but what about all of the fine ships that went to the scrapyard in 2012-2020? I bet buying one of those would have been a cheaper option. I wish this project well, but personally I doubt if it will actually happen.

Ambassador Partnership with ORCA

December 17, 2021

We are proud to announce that we have partnered with ORCA, a charity dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoises in UK and European waters and to launch the first ever cruise “Anti-Whaling” campaign, creating the Ambassador & ORCA pledge.

As part of our pledge ORCA will be placing two Ocean Conservationists onboard Ambience in 2022 and 2023, on 11 sailings, 6 of which are below, totalling over 200 days.

These Ocean Conservationists will visit countries such as Iceland, Greenland and sail the Iberian coast, Black Sea and Irish Sea. During their voyages they will collect important scientific data in key areas, as well as delivering unforgettable wildlife experiences to all guests.

(Ambassador Cruises Line)



28 Vessels Resume Service in December

December 7, 2021

December 2021, will see 28 vessels resuming service for 21 brands around the world. According to data from the latest ‘Cruise Ships in Service’ Report by Cruise Industry News, the number represents another 40,000 berths back and sailing

From the Caribbean to Patagonia, the vessels are bringing the cruise restart to more destinations and also marking the return of more cruise operators.

(Cruise Industry News)

MSC World Europa Floated Out

December 5, 2021
(Courtesy MSC)

MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique today celebrated two significant newbuild milestones for the construction of the line’s next generation of environmentally advanced vessels.

The new MSC World Europa was floated out, while the coin ceremony was held for the MSC Euribia. Of note, MSC also confirmed the World Europa will have a fuel cell onboard.

World Europa Float Out (Courtesy of MSC)

The MSC World Europa and MSC Euribia will become the first LNG-powered vessels to join the MSC fleet next year representing an investment of €3 billion in Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) ships with the construction on MSC World Europa II due to commence in early 2023. 

MSC World Europa To Have Fuel Cells

MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique announced today that the first of MSC’s next generation ships, the World Europa, will have two 75 kW solid oxide fuel cells onboard running on natural gas. The gas will come from the LNG that will fuel the ship’s main engines.

Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, said in conjunction with the announcement that LNG will not only reduce the emissions of the new ship, but once green LNG becomes available on scale, the ship will be able to operate at zero emissions.

In addition, he said that MSC is also studying other fuel technologies, such as hydrogen that could potentially be compatible with LNG engines.

Fuel cells offer another pathway and the two 75 kW units installed on the World Europa will serve as a test project in a real operational environment.

(MSC) 

Malcolm says: I bet MSC regret having such a big series of ships on order, post pandemic. This monster will be 205,000* gt and carry 6,774 passengers, statistics that will scare many people. That’s around 70  more passengers than RCI’s ‘Harmony of the Seas’ (Oasis class), the world’s biggest cruise ship, yet the ‘World Class’ will be some 30,000 gross tonnes smaller (15 per cent smaller). She sounds like she will be a vary exciting, but very ‘busy’ ship! (Edwin, have you booked yet?)

*There is some debate about her actual GT – HERE

Steel Cut for Celebrity Ascent

November 20, 2021

(Courtesy Celebrity)

Work has begun on the fourth cruise ship in Celebrity Cruise’s Edge Class.

The ceremonial first cut of steel of Celebrity Ascent was held on the17th November, 2021.

The ship will be delivered in late 2023, and follows in the Edge series as a sister to the Edge, Apex and Beyond, the latter of which is set to debut next year.

(Celebrity)

MSC Seashore Named

November 19, 2021
(Courtesy MSC)

The new MSC Seashore was officially named on the evening of the 18th November, 2021, following a ceremony at MSC’s private island, Ocean Cay, on Thursday evening.

This was said to have been the first naming ceremony for a cruise ship to be held at a private island and was presided over by Hollywood royalty Sophia Loren, who performed her role as Godmother to an MSC Cruises ship for the 16th time.

Sophia Loren (Courtesy MSC)

The event was attended by travel advisors and media from around the world, as well as other important VIPs and stakeholders.

MSC Seascape Floated Out

Seascape Flout Out (Courtesy MSC)

Also, on the same day, MSC Cruises today celebrated the float out of the new MSC Seascape at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. 

The MSC Seascape will be delivered in November 2022, the second Seaside EVO class ship to enter the MSC Cruises’ fleet, and the fourth vessel in the line’s highly-innovative Seaside class.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises, said: “MSC Seascape – together with MSC Seashore – features some of the latest environmental technologies and solutions to minimise her impact on the environment which will help us take a further step forward towards realising our ambition of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

(MSC)

What’s an MSC ship like? See HERE

Odyssey Gets Named

November 15, 2021

November 2021 – A celebration of adventure took place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida as Royal Caribbean International officially named its newest game-changing ship – Odyssey of the Seas.

Watch as Erin Brown, the ship’s Godmother and the first Bahamian paratriathlete to compete in the Paralympic Games qualifiers, is joined by the cruise line’s crew members,

executives and guests as she bestows a blessing of safekeeping on Odyssey and all those who sail on it for decades to come.

(RCI)

So What is LNG Fuel?

November 10, 2021

Costa Smeralda, 184,000gt LNG Ship (Courtesy Costa)

In June 2015, the Carnival Corporation announced that they have finalised a multi-billion dollar contract with shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Fincantieri, to build seven next-generation cruise ships, between 2019 and 2022.

The new ships will be for the Carnival, AIDA, Costa and P&O brands and will all feature a new “green cruising” design.

The ships will be the first in the cruise industry to be powered at sea by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). They will use LNG in dual-powered hybrid engines to power the ship both in port and on the open sea. LNG will be stored on-board and used to generate 100 percent power at sea. Using LNG to power the ships in port and at sea will eliminate emissions of soot particles and sulphur oxides…

Read full article: HERE

2.5 Million Hits

November 9, 2021

Those with a keen eye, may have noticed that my modest cruise blog has now exceeded 2.5 Million hits!

I started my blog in May 2008*, for a bit of fun, but it is now one of the most popular in the U.K. It also has a growing worldwide following, especially from my American friends.  Some major cruise lines are now taking an interest in it too.

Thanks to all of you out there in cyber-land, who read my blog and even contribute comments to it.

I look forward to achieving 3 Million hits.

*(I also started a dedicated Titanic II blog in 2018, HERE, which is growing in popularity, by the month).

Malcolm

Wonder of the Seas Sets Sail

November 7, 2021
(Image courtesy of RCI)

Royal Caribbean International’s new Wonder of the Seas left Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard on November 5 following its acceptance by Royal Caribbean International, becoming the biggest ship in the world at 236,857 tons.

The Wonder sailed toMarseilles where she is scheduled to spend some time for some final touches ahead of her entry into commercial service for Royal Caribbean from Port Everglades next March.

“At our yard, we are aware that we have designed and built one of the most exceptional ships in the history of the cruise market,” said Laurent Castaing, General Manager of Chantiers de l’Atlantique. “The Wonder of the Seas is a unique synthesis of innovation, state-of-the-art technologies, and savoir-faire of thousands of engineers and skilled workers. This splendid ship is really a symbol of the faithful and fruitful partnership we have established with Royal Caribbean International for nearly four decades”.

(Courtesy of RCI)

Sister ship, ‘Oasis’ review: HERE

Celebrity Apex Christened

November 5, 2021

.

(Courtesy Celebrity)

The Celebrity Apex kicks off its inaugural Caribbean season setting sail from Ft. Lauderdale’s Port Everglades on November 2nd. 2021.

The festivities include the ship’s official naming ceremony led by her Godmother, Reshma Saujani, the founder of groundbreaking non-profit Girls Who Code and author of bestseller, “Brave, Not Perfect.”

“We are elated to welcome Celebrity Apex to our family of magnificent vessels that push the boundaries of what’s possible on a cruise ship,” said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. “As we welcome guests back to the seas aboard the newest Edge class ship, we are excited to deliver the very best vacation experience that is the hallmark of every Celebrity cruise.     

“Celebrating Celebrity Apex is certainly long overdue and it’s a day I have been waiting to celebrate for quite a long time – 581 days, to be exact. This stunning ship truly represents a new standard in new-luxury travel, and we can’t wait for our guests to finally experience it for themselves,” said Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo. “As we say in our new brand campaign, we know guests will not only, ‘Journey WonderFULL,’ aboard this beautiful ship, but that she will also be the industry’s most talked about new ship.”

(Celebrity Cruises)

My Top Ten Fears Of Cruising

November 3, 2021

Ignoring the terrible Coronavirus for a moment, here is a light-hearted look ay my cruise fears:

10.  Nice ship – wrong passengers

Different cruise ships/lines target different types of passengers. You may not feel very comfortable surrounded by a rowdy bunch of  ‘booze cruisers’ who think ‘formal’ means turning their baseball caps around;  you may not fit in with an elderly crowd hooked on Jigsaw puzzles and napkin folding? You may not feel too comfortable eating dinner in a formal ‘monkey suit’?

It is important that you pick a cruise line/ship which offers an experience that you would feel comfortable with.  So plan very carefully and it will be ‘happy cruising’.

9. The food is inedible and service is atrocious

The food is an important part of any cruise. However not all ships are born equal…

See full article: HERE

Marella Adds Fifth Ship & US Itineraries

October 17, 2021
Marella Voyager (Courtesy Marella)

The Tui-owned line will welcome Marella Voyager – currently Tui Cruises’ Mein Schiff Herz – in June 2023 with the vessel operating its debut season from Palma sailing the Mediterranean.

Originally built as a ‘Celebrity Century’ 1997, Voyager will have the same guest capacity as Marella’s Explorer and Explorer 2 at around 1,900 passengers.

Once refit, Voyager will feature 10 all-inclusive bars and lounges and 10 eateries – with “at least eight” new venues and concepts including a new Mexican dining option and a “discreet” speakeasy bar.

Meanwhile, Marella has confirmed it will operate new US-based itineraries during summer 2023 – with cruises featuring overnight stays in New York, Tampa and New Orleans.

Marella Discovery will homeport from Florida’s Port Canaveral and call also Charleston, Miami and parts of the Caribbean during its stateside stay.

Packages with Tui flights to Florida will be offered, allowing cruise guests to have pre- and post-cruise stays.

The new itineraries – Sunshine and Jazz, Sunshine State and Sands, Floridian Favourites and American Dream – go on sale on 4 November.

Marella hope that by 2023, the cruise line also could be offering different home ports beyond Europe to offer customers a wider range of destinations.

(Marella)

American Queen Steamboat Company Rebrands

October 2, 2021

American Queen Steamboat Company has expanded its fleet with the addition of Victory Cruise Lines’ two small ships sailing the Great Lakes.

The company is also expanding further with Ocean Victory launching next year.

Following the acquisition, the company will now be using American Queen Voyages (AQV) for its portfolio of river, lake and expedition cruises with North American itineraries.

The new brand comprises American Queen Voyages River, American Queen Voyages Lakes & Oceans and American Queen Voyages Expedition.

American Queen Steamboat Review

In 2018, I was lucky enough to take a cruise that was very different from the norm.

If fact the vessel itself was very different, as was the waterway.

Below is my review from a Mississippi cruise on the ‘American Queen’: a real paddle-wheeled steamboat.

So how did the experience differ from an ocean cruise and a European river cruise?

Extensive review: HERE

Malcolm

Black Watch Remembered

September 29, 2021

(Image courtesy of Sergio Ferreira – click to enlarge)

A year ago Black Watch left the Fred. Olsen fleet. She was a small and much loved ship.

If you browse a cruise brochure or web site, most cruise ship look similar in size, but they are NOT. Most newer ships are enormous and are getting bigger each year. Older ships are often significantly smaller.

The ship size is often directly related to the number of passengers onboard and the facilities available. Big ship can be more like floating theme parks, these days, with multiple choices of restaurants and public rooms. Smaller ship are more intimate and friendly.

The image above is when Fred. Olsen’s ‘Black Watch’ (1971) met P&O’s Megaship ‘Azura’ (2010), a few years back.

This is what 115,000 gross tonnes ship, that can carry 3,000+ passengers looks like, when along side a 28,000 gross tonnes ship, that can carry 800 passengers. Azura is around four times bigger!

The two ships were built 39 years apart.

Malcolm

Ventura (sister of Azura) Review: HERE

Gimmick’s at Sea

September 26, 2021

I was reading the details of NCL’s next class of ship, the ‘Leonardo’ class (anybody tell me why it’s called that?) the first being ‘Prima’. It occurred to me that the ship appears to be missing the normal mass-market ‘gimmicks’ (sorry, I mean game-changing facilities).

Of course it has adults-only areas, lots of entertainment, multiple bars, multiple dining options and slides on deck, but surely there must be a major ‘gimmick’?

Well further details have just been revealed:

 Go-Karts at Sea

Courtesy NCL

Norwegian, the only cruise line offering go-karts at sea, will up the ante on the Norwegian Prima. The ship will offer the largest and first ever three-level racetrack with the Prima Speedway.

Featuring a longer straightaway with a racetrack of 420 meters in length, and 22 percent larger than the current racetrack on Norwegian Encore, the speedway will now go around and through the funnel of the ship boasting 14 turns. Fifteen drivers will be able to simultaneously race on the open ocean, reaching speeds of more than 50 kilometers per hour.

After racers have completed their ride, they will be able to unwind at the new Prima Speedway Bar located beneath the racetrack.

(Sounds a like a bigger facility than on their previous ships.)

The Bull’s Eye

Maybe not a major ‘Gimmick’, but a minor one:

Courtesy NCK

The Norwegian Prima will debut new, additional activities for guests of all ages with The Bull’s Eye – an elevated twist on the classic game of darts featuring a video tracking system that automatically calculates each guest’s score and offers instant game replays.

(Malcolm/Thanks to NCL)

Norwegian Prima Entertainment

September 24, 2021

Courtesy NCL

Norwegian Cruise Line today announced the new entertainment and onboard experiences available on Norwegian Prima, which is set to debut in summer 2022.

The company announced Tony Award-nominated musical “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” as its interactive headlining act.

The Norwegian Prima will also showcase numerous cruise industry first and new-to-brand elevated onboard experiences when the ship sets sail in summer 2022, including world’s first venue that transforms from a three-story theater into a Vegas-style nightclub, freefall drop dry slides and the largest racetrack at sea, according to a press release.

From the powerhouse production team that brought “Jersey Boys” with current residence on Norwegian Bliss, comes “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.” This is the story of Donna Summer’s meteoric rise from young starlet to the Queen of Disco featuring a score of more than 20 of Summer’s mega hits including “Bad Girls,” “Last Dance,” and “Hot Stuff.” The 75-minute immersive production will be a first at sea where the theater itself transforms into a full disco and guests can become a part of the show and dance to Summer’s all-time medleys.

Courtesy NCL

Taking guests from the disco glam of “Summer” to the neon lights of “Light Balance Universe” featuring Light Balance the golden buzzer winner from “America’s Got Talent,” the dance crew brings visual effects and style to the Norwegian Prima.

All of Norwegian Prima’s headlining acts including some of the new onboard experiences will take center stage in the Sensoria venue. The three-story venue, designed to seamlessly convert the space from a state-of-the art performance stage to expansive dance floor, will feature a customizable seating layout and moving LED screen that lowers from the ceiling and is nearly half the size of the venue

There is also the new LIVE on NCL game show experiences that allows the audience to be part of the show and have an opportunity to win grand prizes. 

Homeport

Courtesy NCL

Norwegian Cruise Line today announced that the Norwegian Prima will homeport for the 2023 and 2024 season in Galveston offering 7-day voyages to the Western Caribbean.

The. Norwegian Prima will call to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Roatan Island, Honduras, with all visits featuring between eight and nine in-port hours, according to a statement from the brand.

The ship debuts next summer in Europe, followed by her 2022-2023 season sailing from a variety of North American homeports.

(NCL)

Tilbury Welcomes Disney Magic

September 14, 2021

The London International Cruise Terminal, located at The Port of Tilbury, has welcomed the Disney Magic as passengers begin their Disney Magic at Sea UK staycation sailings.

The vessel arrived at London’s nearest deep-water terminal on Sept. 14 and will call again at selected dates until Oct. 1.

The Disney Magic will sail two- and three-night voyages from London Tilbury.

A Question Of Decor

September 13, 2021

Cruise ships often have more impressive décor than most shore-side hotels and buildings.

Many ships also have impressive art collections on-board. Some ship even have art work on the deck and/or have impressive hull-art.

Atrium

MSC Meraviglia (Courtesy MSC)

How important is a ships décor really is to the passenger experience?

Cruise lines obviously think that the décor is VERY important, given the fact they spend millions of pounds/dollars/Euros on it. They also regularly undertake refurbishments, re-styling the decor.

I’ve certainly been on-board ships where I  have loved the décor . I’ve also been on-board ships where the décor has not generally been to my liking. However sometimes different public rooms are created by different designers, so it is very possible to love some rooms, think some are mediocre and dislike others – all on the same ship.

There certainly used to be a different between UK and US style  décor on-board ships.

oriana-igb_interior2003-03

P&O Oriana Interior (1995, Courtesy Ian Boyle)

For example P&O ships décor was regarded as rather tasteful, reflecting the British ‘reserve’, when compared to the Las Vegas ‘glitz’ of many American ships. However by American tastes it was understated’ or even bland.

Since Carnival acquired P&O and provided new mega-ships, we have seen a much more vibrant American style décor for British passengers. There have also been frequent visits of big US ships to UK ports, for some years, offering cruises for Brits. Therefore I believe the British cruising public are getting acclimatised to a more bold colour schemes American glitz.

81f2a513954091a07833b688677a62ca-e1552220925526

Carnival Sensation Atrium by J. Farcus (Courtesy Carnival)

Joe Farcus, the American Navel Architect, has designed some mind-blowing interiors for Carnival and Costa ships. He calls it ‘Entertainment Architecture’. It’s very original, very colourful and often very loud.  It’s Las Vegas ‘Glitz’ on steroids, with maybe a dash of psychedelia. His work is definitely not to every-bodies taste.

Décor and ‘taste’ changes over time, of course. I think the pure-glitz is going out of fashion and is being replaced with a more sophisticated cappuccino-café style, as I call it.

For example the ‘Norwegian Cruise Lines’ (NCL) ships built between 2001-2007 (Star, Jade, Gem etc.) all had very colourful décor in places, not unlike Farcus’s work.

01_atrium_lo

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL)

However during NCL’s ‘Norwegian Edge’ which was a $400 million revitalization program of their fleet, the décor was updated.  For example, the image above is Norwegian Gem’s original Atrium’s décor. Below is the refurbishment in 2019, which less over-the-top and more sophisticated.

Norwegian Gem refurbished (Courtesy NCL)

So how important is the décor to you? Have you been on board a  ship where the décor was not to you liking? Do you love some ships décor?  Please tell me.

Malcolm

Beauty & The Beast

September 1, 2021

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:

unitedstates7a

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).

Malcolm

Six American Modern Riverboats

August 9, 2021
(Courtney American Cruise Lines )

American Cruise Lines has taken delivery of the new American Melody from Chesapeake Shipbuilding on time.

In addition, the cruise line announced today the names of the five and sixth modern riverboats, American Symphony and American Serenade, which are currently under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding. The two riverboats are slated for delivery next year, according to a press release.

American introduced its first modern riverboat in 2018 with the American Song, and will grow that class to six ships by 2022, cruising both the Mississippi River and the Columbia & Snake Rivers.

Immediately following last week’s successful sea trials, the brand new American Melody headed to New Orleans to ready for its inaugural cruise along the Mississippi River, an eight-day itinerary roundtrip from New Orleans.

The American Melody and 2022 sister ships American Symphony and American Serenade will each accommodate 175 passengers. The American Melody, American Symphony and American Serenade bring American’s overall domestic U.S. fleet to 15 small ships: 10 riverboats and 5 cruise ships. 

(American Cruise Line)

Malcolm says: It’s nice to see America making better use of their big river and lakes. I’ve cruised the Mississippi, but not the great lakes. Unfortunately the fares are eye-watering, even before you add the long-haul flight.

Virgin @ Portsmouth

August 1, 2021

I’m just back from a visit to Portsmouth’s (U.K.) historic dockyard.

During a harbour boat-tour, I was able to photograph Virgin’s Scarlet Lady. She been offering staycations form Portsmouth.

Although only medium sized by modern standards (110,000gt) , she looked enormous! Her grey colour was quite fetching, for a floating office block! However, some people think that she resembles a battleship.

It’s quite ironic that a company called “Virgin” have a ship named after a prostitute. The logo-figurehead is a topless mermaid, how un-politically correct! (Not that I will personally lose any sleep over this matter!)

If you are interested in naval history, live in the U.K. and have never been to Portsmouth’s historic dockyard, you should definitely go.

Malcolm

MSC Names New Ship Seascape

June 30, 2021

.

MSC has announced that a traditional coin ceremony for its second Seaside EVO class ship was heldon 24/06/21 at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy where the keel was laid.

The name of the new ship was revealed – the MSC Seascape – which “pays homage to the beauty of the ocean and demonstrates the ways in which guests will be able to enjoy the stunning sea views from the ship thanks to the innovative design features,” the cruise line said.

The MSC Seascape, like her sister ship MSC Seashore, is a further evolution of the already ground-breaking Seaside class – the Seaside EVO ships are enhanced and extended with a variety of brand-new features, spaces and experiences for guests. The ship is designed to connect guests with the sea through the ship’s innovative design features including 13,000m2 of outdoor space. Scheduled to enter service in November 2022 the 169,400 GT ship will be able to accommodate 5,877 guests.

(MSC)

Malcolm says: MSC are expanding at breakneck speed into the mass market and now the luxury market. I can’t keep pace with the new ship names and delivery dates! I must say that I was impressed with my short time on-board Grandiosa, from a mega-ship/mass market perspective. The art on-board was interesting, if not intriguing.

Introducing MSC’s Luxury Brand: Explora Journeys

June 11, 2021

The MSC Group has announced the company’s entry into the luxury cruise market with the launch of a new brand, Explora Journeys. Built by Fincantieri, the first of four luxury ships will set sail in 2023, with the remaining ships ready in 2024, 2025 and 2026. All ships will have the “highest level of service and amenities” and will utilize the latest technology to provide “journeys of discovery” through destinations “on and off the beaten path,” MSC said.

Designed in partnership with superyacht and luxury hospitality designers, the innovative ship will blend Swiss precision with modern European craftsmanship. With 461 oceanfront suites and residences, guests will enjoy striking views at sea and in port from their floor-to-ceiling windows and personal private terrace. Suites will start at 35 square meters, which is among the most spacious for the category in the industry.

Fourteen decks will provide ample indoor public space, maximizing guest choice and seclusion. While outdoor decks will offer more than 2,500 square meters overlooking the sea, with 64 private cabanas across three outdoor pools. A fourth pool, with a retractable glass roof, will allow swimming and poolside relaxation in any weather. Combined with various indoor and outdoor whirlpool baths on the ship’s promenade deck, the ship was designed with water as a focal point to put guests in an “ocean state of mind,” MSC said. Bookings for the 2023 Inaugural Collection will open in fall 2021.

Steel Cut

The first steel of the Explora I, the first of four new-concept luxury cruise ships that Fincantieri is building for Explora Journeys, the new luxury brand of the cruise division of the MSC Group, was cut yesterday. The order for this class of ships, announced in 2018, is worth a total of over 2 billion euros. The Explora I will be built at the Monfalcone yard with delivery in 2023.

(Images/Text courtesy of MSC)

Malcolm says: MSC are certainly expanding at breakneck speed and obviously want to dominate both the ‘mass’ and ‘luxury’ market. These new ships are 63,900 gross tonnes and will carry around 922 passengers. However MSC currently have a reputation for being “cheap” but not necessarily of a high quality. It’s not the hardware (ships) that is the problem, the regular criticisms are often about the food, service and organisation. Although, everyone seems to agree that MSC’s ‘Yacht Club’ experience is the exception to the rule and is very good, if not excellent. This is what MSC aim to re-create with ‘Explora Journeys’.

Quality should be easier to improve, on-board a smaller ship. Mind you, 63,900 tonnes used to be big! If their fares are at the same level as the other luxury brands, ‘Explora’ would be my last choice of luxury brand! Not because of experience, but because there are so many mediocre reviews of their ‘standard ‘class. I’m not sure that I could trust them, to offer me a luxury experience. At least, not until lots of positive reviews have appeared online.

A New Look For Ships Bows

May 26, 2021
Prima (Courtesy of NCL)

Cruise 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.

Scarlet Lady (Courtesy of Virgin)

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

Ambassador Cruise Line: ‘Ambitious’ Growth Plans

May 22, 2021

The chief executive of Ambassador Cruise Line has outlined the company’s “ambitious” growth plans as the new line prepares to release its debut itinerary programme next month.

The UK-based cruise operator will initially base 1,400-passenger ship Ambience in Tilbury, Essex, but Christian Verhounig plans to deploy more ships in other UK ports and further afield in the future.

Ambience – formerly P&O Cruises Australia ship Pacific Dawn – had previously been bought by Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV).

Ambience

The vessel is currently being repositioned to Europe where it will get “a major upgrade” before it sails its maiden voyage to Hamburg on April 6, 2022.

The ship’s sailings, due to go on sale in June, will be aimed at the over 50s market in the UK and Verhounig said the line hopes to become “the leading premium value provider for the silver market”.

Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, Verhounig, CMV’s former chief executive, said: “We have ambitious plans going forward. We’ll have one ship to start with and we do hope to expand the product with sailings not only from Tilbury but from regional ports in the very near future.

Christian Verhounig

“We are looking at opportunities and when opportunities arise, then we will take the right decision to make this grow into the future. Our plans are ambitious for the future and not limited only to the UK.”

Ambience will have a guest space ratio (the number of guests divided by the ship’s gross tonnage) of 50:2, which appealed to the line’s bosses.

Around 600 crew members will serve 1,400 passengers, the line confirmed.

Verhounig said: “We want passengers to get to know each other. They come on as individuals and live as friends. With a spacious vessel there are less gimmicks.”

Prior to Ambience’s launch next year, the ship will become compliant with reduced nitrogen oxide emission protocols due to come into effect on January 1, 2025.

The line said the vessel would be fitted with the latest ballast and sewage water treatment systems which would allow it to sail in seas which are “strictly environmentally protected”.

Verhounig added: “We are seeing massive pent-up demand. People want to travel, especially passengers who are used to cruising. They’re ready to go out and sail again.”

(Courtesy Travel Weekly)

Malcolm says: If you remember CMV expanded at the rate of knots – from a single ship, to five. They also has a major presence in the Australian and German markets. Hopefully, lesson have been learnt. However, I really do welcome a new UK ‘Budget’ cruise line.

Lisa Jacobs Appointed To Ambassador

Newly-launched Ambassador Cruise Line has appointed another former Cruise & Martime Voyages team member as its head of trade sales.

Lisa confirmed her appointment on her Facebook page following the line’s unveiling on Thursday morning.

Jacobs, who joined in March, has more than 30 years’ experience working across the travel and cruise industries. She worked for more than a decade at CMV after joining the team in 2010 and climbing the ranks to head of trade sales and groups.

Her final position at the line before its collapse last year was sales director.

(Courtesy Travel weekly)

CMV Reborn: Ambassador Cruise Line

May 13, 2021

Former Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) bosses have reunited to launch Ambassador Cruise Line, a UK-based operator aimed at the over 50s market which plans to start sailing with one ship in April 2022.

Ambassador’s management team includes chief executive Christian Verhounig, chief commercial officer Christopher Coates, chief information officer Gary Hides and chief financial officer Simon Weeks, who have all previously worked together at CMV before the line went into administration.

Ambassador will operate cruises on Ambience, formerly known as Pacific Dawn as a P&O Australia ship, which was set to become CMV’s flagship under the name Amy Johnson.

The 1,400-passenger ship’ maiden voyage will be a “short-break cruise” out of Tilbury to Hamburg, Germany, starting on April 6 next year.

The ship’s debut full-year programme, running from April 2022 until May 2023, will include 33 sailings, calling at 88 ports across the Baltics, Greenland, the Arctic and Iceland.

During the winter months, Ambassador plans to offer “expedition-style voyages” to the Canaries, Cuba, the Caribbean, Cape Verde and Scandinavia.

All passengers and crew will be required to be vaccinated for Covid-19 prior to departure, the line confirmed.

Lead-in prices for a seven-night European cruise departing from Tilbury, where Ambience will be based, will be about £850.

The line’s no-fly voyages will be aimed at the over 50s market in the UK.

Verhounig told Travel Weekly: “[Ambience] is an authentic, classical vessel, something which we know that the market segment we’re selling to loves to go on.”

He said the new line’s trade sales team had started approaching agents with details of the debut programme, due to go on sale next month.

Ambassador plans to release a 68-page brochure alongside the programme in June.

Website here: http://www.ambassadorcruiseline.com

(You can join their mailing list via their web site).

The line is backed by London-based private equity firm Njord Partners LLP and is currently “debt free”, Verhounig said.

He also confirmed that every passenger who sails on Ambience would be financially protected through an independent trust account set up to hold customer monies.

Funds would only be released once the cruise departs. Customers’ monies and agent commissions will be refunded if a cruise is cancelled, Verhounig said.

Gordon Wilson

Travel industry veteran Gordon Wilson, who was president and chief executive of Travelport until July 2019, has been appointed chairman of the line.

Wilson, who is a member of the board at BCD Holdings which owns global corporate travel management company BCD Travel, plans to create  “at least 100 jobs” from the UK and said a new cruise line would help “reboot the British cruise market and inject confidence into the sector”.

He added: “We are hugely excited to launch the first British cruise line in over a decade. Ambassador Cruise Line offers the best of British cruising. We’re a new company offering a distinctive product but maintaining traditional cruising values which we know are important to our guests.

“This is just the beginning. We have ambitious growth plans, and the travel industry is a crucial partner in this.

“We’re looking forward to working collaboratively with agents, partners and the shipping community. Investment on this scale, and the launch of such a significant business as we emerge from the pandemic will make a significant contribution to the local economy and travel industry, particularly as we look to fill at least 100 jobs from the UK.”

(Courtesy of Travel Weekly)

NCL: Prima Interiors

May 13, 2021

Norwegian Cruise Line has unveiled its new Norwegian Prima, debuting for the 2022 summer cruise season. The Fincantieri-built vessel is one of six in a series through 2027 for Norwegian.

The new ship is notable smaller, at just over 3,200 guests, than compared to Norwegian’s most recently Breakaway-Plus vessels, which were 4,200 guests each.

Norwegian has relocated all 107 Haven suites to the aft (the rear of the ship) within close proximity of private elevators exclusively reserved for Haven guests. These elevators rise directly into The Haven public areas on decks 16 and 17 (pictured above). Norwegian said it has evolved The Haven’s design to be more open to the sea than ever before. 

Norwegian is introducing its first-ever upscale open-air marketplace with Indulge Food Hall, which extends to the aft deck pictured above. Indulge Food Hall offers visitors diverse menu items from a variety of culinary venues (11 in total) as well as a mix of indoor and outdoor seating.

The 11 venues include Coco’s, serving artisan sweet treats; Q Texas Smokehouse, with American Southern comfort food; and Starbucks.

Indulge will unveil first-ever dining venues including Seaside Rotisserie, offering a wide array of rotisserie-cooked dishes; Nudls, a noodle emporium serving noodle dishes from around the world, from Italian to Thai cuisines; Tamara, preparing classic Indian dishes and multiple vegetarian food options; The Latin Quarter, serving classic Latin food with a twist; Tapas Food Truck, cooking elevated Latin-inspired street food; Garden Kitchen, where guest can order customized salads with more than two dozen ingredients to choose from; Just Desserts, featuring classic dessert items such as pies and cakes and Just Ice Cream serving appetizing ice cream flavors and sweet dishes.

Norwegian said the new ship will have the brand’s largest-ever inside, oceanview and balcony staterooms, including the largest-ever bathrooms and showers for standard stateroom categories. 

(CIN)

Introducing: NCL’s New Prima

May 11, 2021

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced its 2022 newbuild will carry the name Norwegian Prima.

The ship is due to enter service after being delivered from Fincantieri next summer and is one of six in a new class of ships.

The ship is also expected to sail in Europe next summer before crossing to the Caribbean. 

It is rumored that the ship would homeport in Port Canaveral. 

Deployment

Deployment for the new Norwegian Prima is out, showcasing an inaugural-tour style itinerary from Norwegian Cruise Line, with a variety of homeports and regions to show the ship off to multiple markets.

Following a string of inaugural cruises and beginning August 2022, the Norwegian Prima will sail in Northern Europe From Aug. 17 to Sept. 13, 2022, she will sail a series of 10-day voyages from Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Copenhagen, Denmark, sailing to Northern Europe, Norwegian Fjords and the Baltic regions.

On Sept. 23, Norwegian Prima will depart Southampton, England, on a 12-day transatlantic voyage  visiting Lerwick, Scotland with an overnight in Reykjavik, Iceland, before arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and ending her journey in New York to start a five-day roundtrip itinerary on Oct. 10 to Bermuda, where she will make her debut as the newest ship sailing the fall and winter season.

On Oct. 15, she will depart from New York on a 12-day open-jaw Caribbean itinerary and will become the first Norwegian Cruise Line vessel to call in Galveston, TX. She will have calls to Willemstad, Curacao; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Oranjestad, Aruba. On Oct. 31, the Norwegian Prima will begin her Caribbean season departing from Galveston, TX, to Miami on an 11-day itinerary.

From Nov. 19 to Dec. 3, the Norwegian Prima will sail from Miami offering three, seven-day Western Caribbean cruises visiting Harvest Caye, in addition to other notable ports including Cozumel, Mexico, and Roatan Island, Honduras.

From Dec. 11, 2022, to March 19, 2023, Norwegian Prima will homeport in Port Canaveral, sailing 15 roundtrip Western Caribbean voyages featuring five, seven, and nine-day port-rich itineraries, according to the company. Calls include Cozumel, Mexico; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, and NCL’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay, in the Bahamas.

Then, from March 28 to May 7, the Norwegian Prima will sail a season of five- and seven-day roundtrip Bermuda voyages from New York. She will call at Norfolk, Virginia and the vessel will also sail to the Royal Naval Dockyard in Bermuda, where itineraries include one or two overnight stays at the Royal Naval Dockyard.

On May 14, the Norwegian Prima heads back to Iceland and Northern Europe, departing on an 11-day transatlantic journey from New York City to Reykjavik, Iceland, visiting Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia, before making calls to several Icelandic ports, including Akureyri, and Isafjordur.

From May 25 to Sept. 7, the Norwegian Prima’s summer 2023 season will offer a mix of 10 and 11-day Norway and Iceland sailings from Reykjavik, Iceland, and Southampton, England,.

On Sept. 17, the Norwegian Prima wraps up her summer 2023 season with a 14-day roundtrip voyage from Southampton, England, with calls in Dublin, Ireland; Isafjordur and Akureyri, Iceland, with an overnight in Reykjavik; and visits to Geiranger, Olden, and Stavanger, Norway.

(Courtesy NCL)

(NCL)

Malcolm says: It is so rare that a cruise lines next class of ship is a little smaller than the one before. However, the ship is not a be-spoke design for NCL. Prima’s the is based on Fincantieri’s Project Mille design, as is Virgin’s ships and MSC’s ‘Seaside’. However 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 142, 500 gross tonnes and carry around 3,300 passengers. The Breakaway and Breakaway plus class were 145k-169k. (See video above).

I’m not aware that these ship have any real gimmicks (Ice bars or Go-kart Tracks etc.) I suppose the gimmick is the ships connection with the sea, which is never a bad thing. Prima’s ‘Ocean Boulevard’ offers over 50% more outdoor space that their Breakaway class did, with their ‘Waterfront’.

Art Deco Lover

April 12, 2021

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.

(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…

Full article: HERE

Malcolm

 

2020/21 – The Unprecedented Loss of Classic Ships

April 8, 2021
Recent scrapping in Turkey (Courtesy of Nautica Goods)

I doubt if we have ever seen two years like 2020/21, for the unprecedented loss of so many ‘classic’ ships. (I like to call them ‘real ships’).

The global pandemic of course necessitated the suspension of most of the worlds cursing. Some lines have taken tentative steps to restart, but it’s a slow process. I doubt if things will really get up and running again until April, 2021, a year after the start of the lockdowns.

The cruise lines found themselves with idle fleets. I assume the take-up of cursing in 2021, will be slow at the beginning. Therefore, it made good business sense, for the cruise lines to prune their fleets and sell their older/smaller, less economically viable, tonnage.

The Carnival Cruise Line, in particular, lost at least 18 ships (with more to come?) ships from their various brands.

In addition, some small lines like ‘Cruise and Maritime Voyages’ and ‘Pullmantur’, simply went bust, with no passengers and the inability to borrow large sums of money to bridge the gap. Both lines operated older/smaller tonnage, the former for the Spanish market, the latter mainly for the British market. Most of their two fleets respective have now been scraped.

Fred. Olsen sold the charming Black Watch and Boudicca. Their identical sister, Albatros, has also been sold. However, I believe that these ships will be used for accommodation, but are unlikely to sever cruise passengers ever again.

Marco Polo 14/01/21 (Courtesy of Gohil Viramdevsinh)

Many of these classic ships are over 25 years old. That is the age that the big players tend to offload them to smaller players. However, many of these ships probably still had 5-10 years of good service, or more, left in them However, the pandemic has accelerated their disposal.

The problem is that not everybody likes cruising on board big modern ships. There are many small ships still available, but there are generally now only the luxury and premium brands (expensive). It is the budget lines that have sold their ships or collapsed.

Classic ships are like vintage cars. A modern car has better comfort, better fuel economy, better acceleration, better speed, better brakes etc. etc. However even though technically inferior and less comfortable, the vintage car has so much more beauty and charm. Would you like a ride in Vintage Rolls Royce? I would!

Classic ships are so much more intimate and friendly. They are not floating theme parks. They are built on a human scale. They often have a great ‘connection with the sea’, that a big ship cannot ever achieve.

Below is a list of ships than have been sold in 2020 and have (or are are expected) to be scrapped. They are all 70,000 gross tonnes or a lot less. This makes them all small to medium sized, compared with modern ships. They are mostly over 25 years old.

Astor, Fremantle (By Bahnfrend – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0)

We have lost: Astor, Marco Polo, Magellan, Columbus, Marella Celebration, Monarch, Sovereign, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival’ Inspiration, Horizon, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Celebration, Ocean Dream, Zenith, Costa Victoria and Marella Dream. 

There are some other ships too, but it is difficult to keep count at the moment. Some have been sold and their future status is still in limbo.

It’s a very sad yer or two, for classic ships.

Malcolm


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