SS Great Britain

March 31, 2015

I have recently returned from an excellent weekend in Bristol, UK.

Bristol has been an important seaport for more than a thousand years.  The term “ship-shape and Bristol Fashion” is said to have originated from Bristol and refers to their ability to build strong ships, that can sit on Bristol’s Avon river bed, when the tide goes out, without sustaining damage.

One of the highlights is visiting the ‘SS Great Britain’, now a museum ship.

The SS Great Britain is a former passenger steamship, which was very advanced for her time. She was the longest passenger ship in the world from 1845 to 1854. She was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the Great Western Steamship Company’s transatlantic service between Bristol and New York. While other ships had been built of iron or equipped with a screw propeller, Great Britain was the first to combine these features in a large ocean-going ship.

She was the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic, which she did in 1845, in the time of 14 days. Her four decks provided accommodation for a crew of 120, and 360 passengers who were provided with cabins and dining and promenade saloons.

When launched in 1843, Great Britain was by far the largest vessel afloat. However, her protracted construction and high cost had left her owners in a difficult financial position. In 1884 the SS Great Britain was retired to the Falkland Islands where she was used as a warehouse, quarantine ship and coal hulk until scuttled in 1937.

In 1970, the vessel was towed back to the UK, Great Britain was returned to the Bristol dry dock where she was built. Now listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, she is an award-winning visitor attraction and museum ship in Bristol Harbour.


Web site:

Titanic 2 On Ice

March 29, 2015

March 2015: It’s official (well almost):


Clive Palmer’s plan to build a replica of the Titanic is on hold (or cancelled completely).

ABS News has quoted ‘Deltamarin’ he project’s Finnish naval architects who were designing the ship: “Deltamarin has confirmed that work with Mr Palmer’s Blue Star Line had come to a halt”.

“At the moment we have no work ongoing,” a company spokeswoman told the ABC.

(ABC/Peter McCutcheon)

More about Titanic II:

Malcolm says: I would suggest Titanic fans book a crossing to NY on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, a modern day Ocean liner. This is the nearest that you are likely to get to a crossing on-board the legendary Titanic.

Queen Mary 2 review:

CMV’s New Flagship

March 28, 2015

Not all cruising is about big new American ships:

British based Cruise Operator, Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), has added ‘Grand Holiday’ from Costa Crociere to their fleet. She commenced ex-UK operations under the CMV livery earlier in March 2015.

(Magellan at Tilbury, March 2015. Jack Willis).

(Magellan at Tilbury, March 2015. Courtesy Jack Willis).

She has been re-named Magellan and at 46,052grt will carry about 1250 passengers becoming the proud new flagship of the CMV ocean fleet operating as an adult only (16 years plus) ship alongside Marco Polo (800pax), Astor (600pax) and Azores (550pax).

Chris Coates, Commercial Director commented, “We are delighted to have secured this excellent addition to our fleet which we believe will be very well suited to our core British market. The introduction of Magellan will increase UK capacity by 40% increasing carryings up to 74,000 passengers. Having already sold 65% of capacity for next year we remain confident that Magellan will help satisfy the growing demand for our product”.

The maiden voyage of Magellan for CMV was a 12 night cruise to Iceland and the Faroes for the Solar Eclipse and Northern Lights sailing which left from  London Tilbury on Sunday 15th March 2015. She will also be sailing from Newcastle Tyne.


Malcolm Says:  I plan to try her out ASAP and review her here.

MS Grand Holiday is a ‘Holiday’ class cruise ship, formerly owned by Carnival Cruise Lines and entered service in 1985. In April, 2010, she underwent dry dock refurbishment and was then transferred to the Ibero Cruises fleet. Sailing as the Grand Holiday began on May 18, 2010.


At 46,052 gross tonnes Magellan will be CMV’s biggest ship (although hardly big by modern standards. At 29 years old (in 2015), verses Azores 66 years, Marco Polo’s 50 years and Astor’s 27 years, Magellan will be their second newest ship.

The Ibero refit looks rather good, see video link below:

(CMV have made very few changes as yet, apart from changing public room names, painting the funnel and the outside of the hull white and removing the kids facilities to make the ship adults only.)

10 New Ships For Carnival, Including Worlds 2nd Biggest?

March 26, 2015

It has been rumoured by the Italian media that the Carnival Corporation could be about to place the biggest cruise ship order in history, 10 newbuilds.

(Carnival Fleet)

(Carnival Fleet)

It has been said that Carnival will order equally from both Fincantieri and Meyer Werft.  The ships would be delivered between 2018 and 2028.

The order may well include the much-rumoured new class of ship for Costa cruises, at around 175,000 gross tonnes. This will be the second biggest class of ship in the world next to Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis’ class at 225, 000 gross tonnes.

The vessels will probably be divided across the nine  Carnival brands: AIDA cruises, Carnival cruise lines, Costa Cruises, Cunard line, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises, P&O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises and Seabourn Cruise Line.

The order may possibly including new tonnage for the emerging  Chinese market.

(Net Rumour)

Another 12 Vessels for Viking

March 26, 2015

On the 24th March 2015, Viking Cruises christened 12 new river vessels in Europe, bringing the total number of ships in its fleet to 60.

(Viking image)

(Viking image)

Torstein Hagen, Viking’s chairman, also revealed that the company has six new river vessels on order for 2016, with the option to build more.

All the new ships continue to bear the name of Norwegian gods: Viking Astrild, Beyla, Eir, Gefjon, Lofn, Mani, Mimir, Modi, Skirnir, Ve, Vidar and Vili.

The new ‘Longships’ will initially be sold exclusively to the U.S. market and sail on European itineraries.

This year also sees ‘Viking Star’, Viking.s first Ocean Vessel enter service in April, carrying 928-passenger.


Malcolm says: The expansion of river cruising continues at the rate of knots (pardon the pun). Let’s hope that as supply begins to match demand, the fares will become more reasonable. It would be nice to see some river products aimed at other demographics, apart from the more wealthy ‘grey-pound’.

I wonder if any of the major Ocean Cruise lines will ever venture into river cruising. I appreciate that we may never see ‘Carnival River Cruises’, but I could imagine ‘Celebrity River Cruises’, for example.

Ovation For The UK & China

March 25, 2015

Royal Caribbean’s ‘Quantum Class’ newbuild, ‘Ovation of the Seas’, will make her 2016 debut in the UK before being deployed in China.


Three cruises from Southampton have been scheduled for the ship next spring.

The vessel will then set off on a 52-night ‘golden odyssey’ voyage to its new home port of Tianjin, 70 miles south of Beijing, as the line’s fifth ship based in the region.

Currently under construction, Ovation of the Seas will join Quantum of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Legend of the Seas in China.

The five ships will make up the largest fleet deployment by any cruise brand in China, home-porting in Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Xiamen sailing to destinations in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The line’s president and chief executive, Michael Bayley said: “Cruising has become very popular for Chinese consumers and Royal Caribbean is already capturing their imaginations with our industry-leading cruise ships.

“In addition, we are significantly expanding our investment in the training and employment of Chinese talent so they can join us in delivering our amazing and distinctive vacations to Chinese travellers.”


Stop-press: I now here that NCL are considering sending a newbuild to China, in 2018.  They obviously do not want to miss out on this growing cruise market either.

Disney Cruise Line to Sail U.K. Cruises

March 24, 2015

On June 5th 2016, Disney Magic will depart Dover on a cruise around Britain for the first time in 2016 when she embarks on a 12-night itinerary. In addition, Disney Magic will return to Norway, Iceland, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

(Image Courtesy of Disney)

(Image Courtesy of Disney)

On June 17, she will sail from Dover to Iceland, Norway and Scotland, with an overnight in Reykjavik, before disembarking in Copenhagen. A July 13 cruise will also visit Iceland, Norway and Scotland, starting in Copenhagen and finishing in Dover.

In addition, Disney will sail its first Norwegian fjords cruise out of Dover, a seven-night voyage departing May 29. Other summer Disney Magic cruises of seven nights or longer will visit northern Europe, the Greek Isles and Mediterranean destinations, calling in more than 15 different countries.
The new 2016 itineraries open for booking on March 26, 2015.


A visit to Britannia – lounges and other spaces

March 22, 2015

Malcolm Oliver:

Below is Tom Burke’s final instalment his tour of P&O’s new Britannia. (I still cannot understand how my ship-visit invitation went astray?)

Originally posted on Tom's Cruise Blog:

I’ve almost come to the end of my review of what I saw on my trip round Britannia a few days ago. This final post will cover some lounges and other rooms that so far I’ve missed.

The Crows Nest and other nearby spaces

The previous post about my visit to Britannia covered the open decks. Let’s stay up near the top of the ship and look at some internal spaces in that area, starting with the Crows Nest and the rooms immediately adjacent to it.

The Crows Nest itself is an excellent room,  looking very spacious and inviting. I think this will be a wonderful place to while away some hours during the daytime. The bar will be majoring on gin – there are supposed to be 20 gins available, including a number of ‘artisan gins’, plus a range of mixers.

View original 783 more words

Titanic Hotel, Liverpool

March 21, 2015

Last month I had an excellent weekend break in Liverpool, UK.

I stayed at a newish hotel “30 James Street” which was the former offices of the ‘White Star Line’ (owners of the Titanic).

Below is a slide show.

I have now written a full review of my stay at the hotel, which unfortunately is not very favourable:

My review:

Hotel web site:

Harmony of the Seas Deck Plans

March 20, 2015

The American RCI web site (not the UK one at the time of writing) now features Harmony’s deck plans.

Fans will notice a mix of the public areas that feature on-board ‘Oasis’ and ‘Allure’, coupled with innovations first seem on the Quantum class, such as the ‘Bionic Bar’.


Deck 4 now features 15 single cabins.

In keeping with ‘Dynamic Dining’, each floor of the original three tier dining room is a separate restaurant. Deck 3 = American Icon Grill, 4 = The Grand and 5 = Chic.

Malcolm says: you would think that an international cruise line could manage to update the .com and web sites simultaneously!


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