MSC Unveils Lineup for Seaside’s Naming

December 15, 2017

Music superstars Ricky Martin and Andrea Bocellli are both scheduled to perform at MSC Seaside’s naming ceremony, with master of ceremonies Mario Lopez and a guest appearance by football legend Dan Marino.

The event, with Sophia Loren as godmother, will take place Dec. 21 at PortMiami.

(MSC)

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Cunard newbuild will be ‘phenomenal,’ Kruse says

December 14, 2017

Cunard’s newbuild is going to be a ‘phenomenal ship. You’ll be astonished when you see it,’ Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Group and Carnival UK…

See full ‘Seatrade’ article – HERE

Malcolm says: Cunard’s new ‘Pinnacle’ design will be based HALs ‘Koningsdam’.

Queen Mary 2 review: HERE

Queen Victoria review: HERE

Natchez Steamboat

December 13, 2017

The Natchez is stern paddle-wheeler which normally operates short cruises on the Mississippi, USA.

She has no accommodation, but does have a real steam engine.

There are now very few paddle-wheelers, powered by steam,  in operation, in the world.

Introducing: The Amadeus Queen

December 12, 2017

Click to enlarge (Image courtesy of Amadeus)

The AMADEUS Queen, the 15th river cruise ship of the Austrian ship operator, will tour the Danube, Rhine and Main rivers as well as Dutch and Belgian waterways from spring 2018. Similar to its prominent predecessors, this ship will also continue the company’s orientation to high quality river cruises in Europe.

(Click to enlarge)

This new vessel follows the award-winning model of the AMADEUS Silver ships but offers even further innovative developments. The popular concept of spaciousness has been maintained. This includes not only generous public areas but also spacious cabins: 12 large suites impress with an outdoor balcony and a cozy reading corner whilst the 69 standard cabins mainly have panoramic window fronts which can be automatically lowered and luxurious bathrooms. A new on-board highlight is the indoor pool, the roof of which can be opened in fine weather. In the evenings, this area may also be used for informative talks, functions and cinema showings.

Amadeus Queen

(Source: Amadeus/Luftner)

Malcolm says: Amadeus Queen will be 135m in length and carry 162 passengers.

I’m quite a fan of Amadeus. My first two river cruises were on-board their vessels – See HERE for my reviews. Amadeus represent good value compared to many other river cruise lines.

Amadeus boats are made in the same boatyard as ‘Emerald Waterways’ fleet. However although similar, in the past the Amadeus boats did not have the indoor pool as Emerald did, that can also convert into a small cinema-space. The new ‘Queen’ will this feature.

Maybe you should think about taking a river cruise in 2018?

The Myths & Reality of River Cruising: HERE

Still no real details about Celebrity Edge!

December 11, 2017

I was about to write about my impatience waiting for today’s cruise lines to real the details of their newbuilds. However Tom has beat me to it:

Tom's Cruise Blog

Celebrity Edge starts cruising in just over 12 months’ time. As far as I can see her first cruise will start on 16 December 2018, and of course cabins are already on sale for cruise in her first season. This will be in the Caribbean, before she sails for Europe in April 2018. But how much do passengers know about the layout of the ship and her attractions? – not a lot…..

The image above, which I’ve taken from the Celebrity UK website today, is of Deck 5. This will be one of the main service decks – this is where there will be bars, perhaps restaurants, guest services, shops, and all the usual things – but as you can see Celebrity are still being remarkably coy. And this is how it’s been since they announced this new class.

I have no idea when they are going to reveal the…

View original post 118 more words

MSC Seaside Tour

December 10, 2017

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I was very keen, like many ship-nuts, to see what MSC’s latest Mega-ship ‘Seaside’, really looks like in the flesh. I found the above tour on YouTube. Admittedly it’s in German, but the footage is very extensive.

MSC Seaside is the first ship in the Seaside Class. At 153,516 GRT and with a guest capacity of 5,119.

MSC Seaside will be homeporting in Miami and will begin her first sailing in the Caribbean where she will call at various ports in the East and West Caribbean.

Fresh on the heels of MSC Seaside, her sister ship MSC Seaview will come into service in June 2018, starting her summer season in the Mediterranean.

Malcolm

Cruise Critic Seaside Review: HERE

MSC Inaugurate Their New Terminal F

December 10, 2017

Click to enlarge (Courtesy MSC/PortMiami)

MSC Cruises and PortMiami have marked the completion of the new Terminal F at PortMiami.

The  new terminal will serve as the homeport for the MSC Seaside as well as the MSC Divina.

The completion of the terminal was celebrated with an official ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, December 7.

The new building is a two-story 38,282-square-foot facility, that offers seating for up to 1,500 guests. It has 60 new ticket counters as well as a VIP waiting area, special group lounge, and a more efficient baggage claim area, according to MSC.

MSC Seaside will arrive in two week time, at her homeport of Miami, Terminal F.

(MSC)

Record Cruise Ship Orderbook

December 8, 2017

(Courtesy MSC)

The global cruise ship order book continues to show a record number of ships on order, with 91 cruise ships set to be delivered between 2018 and 2026 – the most ever on order in the history of the cruise industry.

‘Cruise Industry News’ story HERE

The Last Ship Musical – UK Tour

December 6, 2017

The Last Ship – the acclaimed musical by the internationally renowned musician Sting – is to premiere in the UK when it opens at Northern Stage in Newcastle on 12 March 2018.

The production, which will star Jimmy Nail, has a TONY-nominated original score and lyrics composed by Sting. It will play a 4-week season in Newcastle before embarking on a major UK & Ireland Tour.

The production, which was initially inspired by Sting’s 1991 album The Soul Cages and his own childhood experiences, tells the story of a community amid the demise of the shipbuilding industry in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, with the closure of the town’s Swan Hunter shipyard.

When Gideon Fletcher returns home after fifteen years at sea, tensions between past and future flare in both his family and his town. The local shipyard, around which Wallsend has always revolved, is closing and no-one knows what will come next, only that a half-built ship towers over the terraces.

The show is directed by Lorne Campbell, the artistic director of Northern Stage, with set design by the Tony Award-winning 59 Productions.

This personal, political and passionate new musical from multiple Grammy Award winner Sting, is an epic account of a family, a community and a great act of defiance. With original music and lyrics by Sting, The Last Ship also features a few of his best-loved songs Island of Souls, All This Time and When We Dance.

This is the proud story of when the last ship sails.

Further casting to be announced.

(Sting.com)

The Last Ship tour dates: HERE

Malcolm says: I appreciate that a musical about the decline of UK ship building is not every-bodies cup of tea. However, the album is probably the best thing Sting has ever written, in my opinion. Jimmy Nail plays a superb part. I look forward to catching one of the shows myself.

How about a major cruise line staging it – Cunard springs to mind!

Below is a link to Sting performing some of the songs (but not the Musical production as such).

The Last Ship songs performed : HERE

Sky Princess – The New Love Boat

December 3, 2017

(Image courtesy of Princess)

Princess Cruises next ship will be named Sky Princess. She will enter service in October 2019, and will be the fourth in the line’s ‘Royal Class’ of ship. She will carry 3,600 passengers and will have a gross tonnage of 143,700.

She will enter service in the Mediterranean with 10 cruises and eight different itineraries.

This is not the first Princess cruise ship to carry the name ‘Sky Princess’. When Princess merged with Sitmar Cruises in 1988, Sky Princess joined the fleet and sailed for Princess for 12 years. The American television series ‘The Love Boat’, (1977 to 1986) set on-board a cruise ship was filmed on-board a number of similar Princess ships, including ‘Sky’.

Now, more than 30 years later, a new ‘Sky Princess’ will join the fleet.

Sky Princess will have the signature elements of the Royal-class ships, however Princess teased that Sky Princess will have some new features, with details to be revealed in the coming months.

Sky Princess will be one of a record six ships that Princess is dedicating to Europe in 2019. Tthree ships will be based out of the UK: Sapphire Princess, Crown Princess and Pacific Princess — while Regal Princess and Emerald Princess will join Sky Princess in the Mediterranean.

Princess has plans for a fifth Royal-class ship, which is also currently under construction at a Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. She’s expected to debut in 2020.

(Princess)

Introducing: Carnival Panorama

December 2, 2017

Carnival Panorama has been chosen as the name of Carnival Cruise Line’s new Vista-class 133,500-ton ship scheduled to debut in fall 2019.

Carnival Panorama will join its sister ships – Carnival Vista, which entered service in 2016, and Carnival Horizon, set to debut April 2, 2018, the company said.

Currently under construction at the Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy, Carnival Panorama is scheduled to enter service in November 2019. Homeport and itinerary, along with other new features of this ship, will be announced at a later date.

(Carnival)

Royal Caribbean Expands Cuba Program

(Image courtesy RCI)

Royal Caribbean International has recently announced that it will “double its opportunities for a Cuba adventure next summer,” with two ships sailing Cuba, including the Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas. The company is also adding two new ports: Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos.

Sailings will range from four to eight nights.

The Empress offer cruises year-round from Miami, including a seven-night program calling in Cienfuegos, Havana and Nassau, Bahamas; and five-night sailings visiting Key West, Florida and spending the night in Havana; and also an eight-night journey to Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, Grand Cayman, and Labadee.

Majesty of the Seas will continue the four- and five-night offerings to Havana that include day and overnight stays, departing from Tampa from April to October 2018, and Ft. Lauderdale from November 2018 to March 2019.

(RCI)

More Seasides – And Even Bigger!

November 29, 2017

Today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, MSC Cruises officially took delivery of its new flagship MSC Seaside.

At the occasion of the delivery ceremony of MSC Seaside, the Company’ second newly-built to come into service in 2017, MSC Cruises and Fincantieri also signed firm orders for the construction of two Seaside EVO ships, a further evolution of the Seaside Class prototype, for a total investment of €1.8 billion.

MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco said: “As we are nearing the end of 2017, we can look back on a year when we enjoyed unprecedented capacity growth. With two of the more innovative new ships in the industry having come into service in the past six months and now with the addition of two Seaside EVO ships to our investment plan, we are now even better positioned to further extend our global footprint. We are expecting the delivery of at least one new ship each year through 2026, with six to have come into service between 2017 and 2020. ”

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: “We are proud to have accomplished such an important project: a ship, for a new customer, the largest one ever built in Italy. In fact, I would like to highlight that “Seaview”, the sister ship of “Seaside”, will be delivered in just 6 months in this same shipyard”. Bono added.

Key specs for the new Seaside EVO are as follows:
Length/beam: 339m/41m
Gross tonnage: 169,380 GRT

In addition to offering even more space, Seaside EVO ships will have greater dimensions, more cabins, an even larger Yacht Club – with an additional deck and larger cabins — and will be hosting up to 5,646 passengers.

At the same time, just like the Seaside Class, the Seaside EVO ships will be equipped with the latest advanced environmental technology, including: a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system, an advanced active emissions control technology system, that significantly reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) into harmless nitrogen (N2) and water; exhaust gas cleaning (EGC) technology to meet the strictest exhaust regulations in port and in operating areas; state-of-the-art waste management and recycling systems; advanced water treatment systems – going above and beyond regulatory standards and meeting the highest industry standards; and, an advanced energy and heat recovery system.

Across the ships, there will be the latest generation of energy-saving devices and all areas will feature LED lighting. The ships will be ultra-hydrodynamic and thanks to optimized hull lines, propellers and rudders, combined with the latest anti-fouling paint, wave resistance will be further reduced, and greater fuel-efficiency will be achieved.

With the addition of these new ships, the Company’s already industry-unprecedented investment plan will now account for 12 new ships to be built by 2026, for an overall investment of EUR 10.5 billion

During today’s delivery ceremony, which pays tribute to centuries-old maritime tradition, Roberto Olivari, Fincantieri’s shipyard director, handed over to Pier Paolo Scala, Master of MSC Seaside, an ampoule holding the first water that touched the hull when the ship was floated out earlier this year. After the closing of the delivery ceremony, MSC Seaside initially set sail for Trieste. From there, she will continue to Miami for her naming ceremony on 21 December.

MSC Seaside is the first ship in the Seaside Class and a completely new prototype pushing the boundaries of innovative ship building and design. At 153,516 GRT and with a guest capacity of 5,119, she is the second newly-built next-generation mega cruise ship in the MSC Cruises fleet and the first one to be delivered by Fincantieri.

MSC Seaside will be homeporting in Miami and will begin her first sailing in the Caribbean where she will call at various ports in the East and West Caribbean.

Fresh on the heels of MSC Seaside, her sister ship MSC Seaview will come into service in June 2018, starting her summer season in the Mediterranean. Today at the delivery ceremony, Mr Vago also announced that MSC Seaview will be christened in Civitavecchia, Italy, on June 2, 2018.

(Fincantieri)

Malcolm says: A big ship gets bigger, that will split public opinion.  Everybody seems to agree that the big new MSC ships are very impressive, but MSC still seem to be struggling to operate them efficiently: A recent External Review Here.

Paddle Wheelers

November 28, 2017

P&O: Oceana and Arcadia refits

November 26, 2017

Arcadia and Oceana are both undergoing refits this autumn, and RPW Design is the team behind the scenes. Here, P&O talk to Director of Projects Elizabeth Lane, who tells us all about the refit experience, from inspiration through to execution.

Elizabeth Lane, director of projects at RPW Design

This autumn, Arcadia and Oceana both hit the shipyards in Hamburg for a refresh. The company in charge of the refits is London-based RPW Design, one of the world’s leading hospitality interior design practices. Here, we talk to Elizabeth Lane – head of the design team working on the projects – who gives us unique insight into the inspirations, challenges and rewards of the assignment.

You’ve worked with major luxury hotel brands, including Fairmont and Hilton. How do these experiences compare with working for P&O Cruises?

Our core background is in high-end hospitality interior design, so we have worked on some incredibly luxurious hotels. That knowledge and design experience translates perfectly to a cruise ship, which is essentially a floating hotel where guests expect a beautiful experience that enhances their holiday. With ship work, however, there are unique challenges to factor in. The main difference being that ships, unlike hotels, move constantly. This brings a whole new level of technical issues that need to be taken into consideration. Plus, there are logistical challenges as the ships are never in the same place, which makes site visits and planning more complicated.

Did you spend time on board the ships before the design work began to get a feel for their personalities and character?

We get to know the ships and see and experience everything on board first hand. We visited both Arcadia and Oceana in Southampton. But they are working ships, so we had to go wherever they happened to be for some site visits – we joined Arcadia in Hong Kong on her World Cruise. We also met Oceana in Venice and enjoyed a mini cruise in the Mediterranean.

You have to get a solid understanding of the space and how people use it. There’s a certain feel to the overall brand, but each ship is unique with its own personality and character. Every time we went on board we got more of a feel for Arcadia and Oceana’s DNA. Importantly, being on board during a cruise lets you feel the mood and the buzz of what’s happening operationally, and how the guests interact with the spaces.

What role do the guests play in your preparations?

The guests who know and love the ships play a huge part in the refit thinking. This is one of the biggest differences between hotel work and working on a cruise ship project. Guests know the ships so well. They have their favourites, they know what makes each one different, and they are incredibly loyal and passionate.

We spoke to lots of people on board; they were all so interested in what we were doing. They told us what they liked and disliked, and spoke with incredible knowledge, having been on so many cruises on either Arcadia or Oceana. Their insights were incredibly valuable and stuck with us as we took the designs forward.

Where do you start with the design ideas?

With hotels, front of mind is always giving the design a sense of place. Ships, however, constantly move to amazing destinations, so in that sense, the levels of service and the experiences of being on board are the driving factors. Everything must be geared towards making wonderful spaces and experiences.

After doing all our research, we start with high-level concepts and pull together inspiration imagery that helps us to express our vision. Then begins a process of presenting ideas, taking in feedback and refining our thinking. Eventually there comes a point when everyone’s happy and we start to look at how the details add character and personality to the space. Of course, there’s also the matter of technical requirements and strict regulations. There’s so much to think about – it’s not simply a case of making everything look pretty!

How is Arcadia’s character brought out in your design vision?

If Arcadia were a person, she’d be a modern Audrey Hepburn. She’s stylish, sophisticated, timeless and little bit extravagant. She’s exclusively for adults, so we wanted to bring out these luxurious qualities in our design story. There’s also the sense of travel and adventure, which may sound obvious, but it’s a strong design motif with maps and memories of places visited coming into play. Take the carpet in the Atrium: the design references global travels with overlaid patterns and textures that you may see on those travels. Each section of the pattern is then taken into the landing area carpets so there is a common link to the circulation spaces. It’s about where you’ve been and where you’re going – in style, of course.

And Oceana’s?

Oceana’s a fun ship. As she’s a family ship, she’s more youthful and colourful as a personality. Everything’s a bit bolder in our design approach in terms of colours. She’s bright and sunny and we placed great importance on the outside decks. We wanted to enhance this unique aspect of Oceana and get her ready for seasons in the Mediterranean next year and the Arabian Gulf in 2019.

What about the actual refit?

Unlike hotel deadlines, which usually slip and slip, a ship refit deadline is set in stone. There’s a window in a shipyard when the ship is in a dry dock and that’s when all the major work takes place. Everything has to be lined up and ready, and you have to be incredibly focused. Teams of contractors are involved and they each have their specialist areas to focus on. As the project director, I have to answer lots of questions on all these areas. We have to work and find answers to any problems incredibly quickly. Whatever happens, that ship will be sailing! We’ll be joining Arcadia and Oceana in Germany for the sail-backs to Southampton to make sure everything’s in place and to oversee the finishing touches.

With huge projects like this, do little details make a big difference?

The details and finishing touches can turn something good into something great and really interesting. Take the wallpaper we’ve designed for Arcadia’s Atrium. It features all the destinations overlaid on to a world map in different ways. It’s not as simple as looking and saying, ‘Oh, we’re here’. You have to look at it and interact with it. It’s become a feature.

The Spinnaker Bar is another example of taking the theme of a sail and working it into the details in interesting ways. Look at the carpet and see a sail motif. Look at the curtains and you’ll see references to how sails are made. It shouldn’t be obvious, but it underpins the overall mood.

Which area of Arcadia are you most looking forward to seeing?

I can’t wait to see the Belvedere restaurant. We’re introducing a lot more contrast in that space. It’s a big space so we really tried to give it small pockets of interest within the large space. There are fresh textures and patterns that we’re really excited to see. Plus, I’m really looking forward to seeing the Suites. They’re going to have a lovely fresh colour palette with lots of subtle nautical details to reinforce the notion of ocean travel in a luxurious environment.

And on Oceana, what areas excite you most?

The outdoor areas are going to be special with bold colours, bright features and lots going on. I’m really looking forward to seeing the Terrace Bar. It’s hopefully going to be the destination that people really want to go to – it has an exclusive feel to it.
By contrast, I’m also keen to see The Yacht & Compass bar. It’s going to be a real British-style pub, but we had lots of fun playing with the nautical theme with a name like that.

What are you and the RPW team most proud of?

Although it’s not a complete refit, we’re really proud of making some quite dramatic changes. We want guests to come on board and say, ‘Wow! Something’s been happening here’.

The two ships are so diverse and we’ve loved the opportunity to make a difference and do something special. We’ve had to be clever in our thinking to make it look great and address the technical challenges. It’s been exciting to be made to think a bit harder about the design.

It’s all about giving the guests something new and exciting. It’s also about giving the crew something that they are really proud of and that helps them deliver such exceptional standards of service. I really hope we’ve achieved both goals – and that’s definitely something to be proud of.

(Article courtesy of P&O)

Virgin Rethinks Funnel Design Concept

November 24, 2017

Virgin Voyages is promising to reinvent the cruise experience, and one of the most traditional parts of a cruise ship – the funnel – will be rethought and redesigned for the company’s upcoming trio of Lady-class ships.

See ‘Cruise Industry News’ story: HERE

First Renderings Of The Virgin Ships

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Designed with the glitter and glam of a yacht, the ship’s livery stands out on the high seas. She glides with a unique level of sophistication paired with an unapologetic aire of mystery. A design meant to excite and inspire sailors to want to explore every corner.

“From dining and entertainment to wellness and rejuvenation, nearly every single element of the Virgin Voyages journey will bring a unique Virgin Style to the high seas – and not just for our 2,800 Sailors, but also for the 1,150 crew members who will reside there and make amazing happen”.

(Virgin)

Malcolm says:  The company, led by President and CEO Tom McAlpin, has promised to reinvent the cruise vacation.  Although Virgin is a powerful brand, there is a lot of competition in the cruise market from some very big players such as Carnival, RCI and NCL.  I wonder if Virgin can really offer something original?

The three ships will be built at Fincantieri’s Sestri Ponente yard, in Italy and will enter service in 2020, 21 and 22, respectively. They will each carry  2,800 passengers and be 110,000 gross tonnes. They will offer year-round Caribbean cruises from Miami.

The cruise experience will be for guests aged 18 and over, with no children allowed. Virgin is also offering a pre-sale, in which a $500 deposit will guarantee a spot on the list for a cabin in 2020.

To ensure a close connection to the sea, 86% of all cabins will feature a sea terrace and 93% an ocean view. ‘She will be the most recognizable ship sailing the seven seas, delivering an irresistible sailor experience,’ Richard Branson pledged.

Scanship will provide an advanced wastewater management system. Plus, an innovative energy production system of approximately 1 MW will use the diesel engine’s waste heat. These systems will will reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

virgin-702x336

(What the Virgin ships will NOT look like)

As I suspected,  the new ship rending (page top) does NOT really  look as good as the wonderful Art-Deco style rendering originally ‘leaked’ (above). The ship will clearly has a vertical-bow  like the new AIDA ships, which has gained in design popularity. Most other aspects of the external design of the ship look pretty standard, as far as I can see. Although it does look like the promenade deck will be sheltered and wrap around the bow, which is nice. The stern (see slide-show above) looks a little like MSC’s Seaview’s stern. Interestingly both Virgin and MSC Seaview will be built by Fincantieri.

Maybe the Virgin Voyages interiors will be a little more innovative?

Seaside Entertainment Details

November 23, 2017

(Seaside – MSC Image)

MSC next super-vessel, ‘Seaside’ will feature seven Broadway-style shows and improvised comedy with more flexible times, MSC Cruises has revealed.

Additionally, Seaside will host concerts that range from opera to Latin, accompanied by piano soloists and vocalists.

All these shows and concerts will take place in the 934-seat Metropolitan Theatre.

MSC released details of four of seven Broadway-inspired productions, which “include something for movie fans, with ‘My Life in Music’ presenting the most famous movie soundtracks performed live onstage, as well as something for vintage music fans, with ‘The Dream.’ Another eye-catching show, ‘The Wizard,’ will feature breath-taking illusions, and ‘Peter Punk’ provides a fresh new take on the famous story of Peter Pan.”

The shows, put on by a cast of five singers, 15 dancers and 14 variety artists, will be offered on a rotating basis with as many as four performed nightly.

Seaside’s kids clubs will feature an expanded LEGO partnership, 3D printers and virtual reality games, as well as gameshows and other activities. There will also be movies screened in the theatre, as well as child-parent playtime in the kids club.

(MSC)

Malcolm says: MSC are following in the footsteps of offering activities and the types of entertainment pioneered by RCI and NCL.  I’m not over-excited by the “Peter Punk” concept, but I will try to remain open-minded.

22 Expedition Ships On Order

November 22, 2017

A record-breaking cruise ship orderbook is also playing to the surging expedition market.

The new Celebrity Flora made it a total of 22 total expedition ships on order when the newbuild deal was announced on Nov. 16.

Full ‘Cruise industry News’ article: HERE

Celebrity Flora – click to enlarge (Courtesy Celebrity)

Introducing Celebrity Flora

Joining our fleet in 2019, Celebrity Cruises introduces Celebrity Flora, the first ship of its kind ever to be designed and built specifically with the destination in mind – in this case, the captivating Galapagos Islands.

Celebrity Flora marks an evolutionary turning point in the approach to ship design by allowing the destination and its environment to inspire and influence every decision made. From the luxurious all-suites accommodations incorporating sustainable, natural materials that complement the destination to the Dynamic Positioning System that enables the ship to stay on station without the use of anchors to help protect the seas, we’ve created a ship that truly differentiates between visiting this incredible corner of the world and experiencing it.

Celebrity Flora features our innovative outward-facing design that makes the destination the centre of attention. By focusing the direction of spaces outward at every opportunity, we virtually erase the boundaries between ship and destination. Join us on-board the most state-of-the-art ship to ever sail the Galapagos Islands.

Occupancy: 100
Tonnage: 5,739
Inaugural date: Spring 2019

(Source: Celebrity)

Expedition ships slide-shows: HERE

The Flying Bum Crashes Again!

November 21, 2017

More news about the future of Airships:

Click to enlarge. (Courtesy Daily Mail)

The world’s largest aircraft, Airlander 10, came loose from its moorings causing its hull to rip and deflate.

The part-plane, part-airship, which is the length of a football pitch, lays collapsed in Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire after the mishap at around 9.30am on Saturday 18th November 2017.

It is the latest accident to befall the aircraft, which carried out its first flight in May since crashing in August last year.

Manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) said it was investigating why the £25 million aircraft broke free. “The aircraft was not flying at the time of the incident. Our initial assessment is that the aircraft broke free from its mooring mast for reasons that will be investigated”.

“The aircraft has a safety system which operates automatically in circumstances of the aircraft breaking free of its mast, and is designed to rip open the hull and deflate the aircraft. We are testing a brand new type of aircraft and incidents of this nature can occur during this phase of development.”

(Source: Daily Mail)

Malcolm says: As well as conventional ships, I’ve always been interested in ships of the skys. The Airlander is supposed to be the future of lighter than air aircraft.

Irrespective of the positive ‘spin’ the manufactures put on such incidents, it’s safety record has not been great, in its short life.  It lost control and hit power cables/the ground in 2016. Airlander can carry 10 tonnes and up to 60 passengers. However, would you like it flying over you house carrying ten tonnes?

The damage this time looks considerable to me. Unfortunately, lighter than air aircraft are prone to being seriously affected by strong winds.

The Zeppelin NT is a smaller but more conventional modern ‘airship’ with a proven track record:

2 Million Hits

November 20, 2017

Those with a key eye, may have noticed that my modest cruise blog has recently exceeded 2 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 your comments to it.

I look forward to achieving 3 Million hits.

Malcolm

Introducing: MSC Grandiosa

November 18, 2017

Meraviglia (Image courtesy MSC)

MSC Cruises’ newest ship will be called MSC Grandiosa. She will be the first in the line’s ‘Meraviglia Plus Class’

The name was announced at the ship’s recent steel cutting ceremony at the STX France shipyard, marking the official start of the vessel’s construction.

Grandiosa is one of four ships currently under construction for MSC, which is scheduled to launch 11 new vessels between 2017 and 2020 as part of a €9 billion plan which will double MSC’s fleet.

Others ships currently being built include North America-focused ship MSC Seaside, which launches next month. She will be based in Miami and christened there. Seaside’s sister ship, MSC Seaview, will follow next year.

The fourth is MSC Bellissima, a 181,000-ton, 6,334-passenger identical twin to MSC Meraviglia, which launched in June. Bellissima is also being built at STX France, where its coin ceremony and keel laying were held today, immediately following Grandiosa’s steel cutting.

Highlights planned for Grandiosa and Bellissima feature on-board fine-art museums, indoor promenades with virtual skies overhead, extensive water parks, indoor amusement park areas and new entertainment, including Cirque du Soleil performances. MSC also revealed that Bellissima will have a French bistro on-board.

(MSC)

Malcolm says: As yet I’m not sure what the ‘plus’ means in this case. In many cases,  it means a slightly bigger version of a ship’s design – such as NCL’s ‘Breakaway Plus’ class which has an extra deck of cabins and some extra public spaces.

I have heard some great things about MSC’s new ships (the hardware) but I am still hearing about issues with the on-board organisation, crowd control and customer Services (the software). You can build big new ships, but they do not successfully operate themselves.

MSC Seaside ship interiors: HERE

MSC Meraviglia reviews: HERE

Exclusive – Jane McDonald Goes Steamboating

November 17, 2017

(Courtesy American Queen Steamboat Company)

EXCLUSIVE

On Monday 13th November, British celebrity and singing star,  Jane McDonald boarded the ‘American Queen’ paddle wheeled steamboat, In New Orleans.

She is taking a one week cruise, to Memphis, along the Mississippi with her camera crew. They are filming a new episode of her successful U.K. TV show ‘Cruising with Jane’. This new series will be shown in 2018.

The American Queen is the biggest paddle-wheeler ever built (1995), carrying around 428 passengers and has a ‘real’ paddlewheel powered by ‘real’ steam.

This should be a really interesting program, showing a very different type of river cruise, in a very different environment.

I wonder what song Jane will pick to sing at the end credits ‘Proud Mary’ (Rolling on the River) or ‘Old Man River’ maybe?

Malcolm

Arcadia Refit News

October 29, 2017

(Courtesy P&O)

Arcadia, one of our much-loved ships exclusively for adults, is taking time out this autumn for a bit of a spruce up. Having entered service in 2004, she’s won the hearts of all who have sailed on her thanks to her relaxed and intimate atmosphere, classic elegance and array of features designed for pampering and indulgence.

In preparation for her 2018 World Cruise, which departs Southampton in January, she sets sail for the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg at the end of October. Here, she’ll get the TLC she deserves to improve the guest experience on board and reinvigorate the unique character and key features that guests know and love.

We’ve listened to guest feedback and are investing in a range of updates to the Suites, public areas, bars (such as the Piano Bar and Spinnaker Bar), and main restaurants including The Belvedere food court. We’ve entrusted this work to RPW Design, one of the world’s leading hospitality interior design practices that specialises in the creation of stunningly sophisticated interiors. We are sure that guests will be delighted with the new design concepts and improvements to levels of luxury and comfort. Expect new carpets and furniture, soft furnishing refreshes, fixture and fitting upgrades and elegant new colour schemes, among other highlights.

This is an exciting time for Arcadia and we look forward to welcoming her back in time for Christmas. We can’t wait to show off her new-and-improved charms to loyal fans and introduce a new generation of guests to one of our favourite ships.

Aquarius pool and bar

Few moments define a cruise holiday quite like relaxing by the swimming pool, drink in hand. To bring Arcadia’s Aquarius pool and bar up to the task, we’re refreshing the furnishings and creating a brighter colour scheme. Look out for updated chairs, bar stools, sofas, coffee tables, signage, wall tiles and more. This space, located at the stern of the Lido Deck, will soon become your favourite place to relax in the shade and enjoy a cocktail or two.

Atrium/Reception

The Atrium is the heart of any ship. It acts as a focal point; a place for people watching, meeting up with friends and family or simply soaking up the ship’s atmosphere. Following your feedback, we’re updating Arcadia’s Reception and three-deck-high Atrium to give it the true ‘wow factor’ it deserves. We’ll be making changes to a number of items including the carpets, chairs, banquettes and cushions.

Oasis Spa

Arcadia’s Oasis Spa is a key attraction for guests in search of some serious relaxation. The sense of calm and total relaxation will be further enhanced with new carpets and blinds in the reception area. Loungers and armchairs will be refreshed to enhance the soothing atmosphere and new cushions will add the finishing touches.

Intermezzo

Intermezzo will enjoy a refresh with a relaxed but sophisticated new colour scheme referencing the Mediterranean. This will be visible in updated carpets, blinds, chairs, sofas, bar stools, coffee tables, lampshades and more. Look out, too, for subtle nods to nautical details in the lighting and ironmongery.

Suites

Your Suite should be your sanctuary; a relaxing home away from home and a place to unwind at the end of a busy day on ship and on shore. We’ll be giving Arcadia’s Suites a refresh. The new design will create a warm and inviting ambience and introduce an elegant design scheme that reflects the ship’s journey, while also improving energy efficiency. New furniture – including sofa beds, armchairs and coffee tables – will create a comfortable ambience, with the help of new decorative items such as curtains, bed cushions, throws and lamps.

(P&O)

Malcolm says: Arcadia is increasingly looking like a ‘medium’ sized ship, being around 85,000gt, when compared to Ventura and Azura at around 116,000gt.  Oriana and Auora are of course smaller still.  P&O next newbuild (2020) will be  a whopping 184,000 gross tonnes – so more than twice the size of Arcadia.

Below P&O’s next ship:

2016-10-26-21-49-14-12

See the details: HERE

World Dream Delivered

October 28, 2017

World Dream (By Arno Redenius)

Genting Hong Kong and Dream Cruises have taken delivery of the second vessel for the brand, the World Dream.

The handover ceremony took place at the Meyer Werft shipyard, Papendurg, Germany on Thursday 26th October 2017.

The ship is 150,695 gross tonnes and will carry 3,360-passengers.

Dream is the second ship in the series, following the Genting Dream that was delivered a year ago. In November, the World Dream will launch year-round service in China’s Pearl River Delta, sailing from Nansha and Hong Kong.

The ship also carries a small deep sea submarine that can take four guests down to a depth of up to 200 meters. There is also a motorboat which can be booked for excursions.

(Meyer Werft)

Carnival Horizon LED Artwork Unveiled

October 26, 2017

Carnival Cruise Line announced today that the LED “Dreamscape” atrium sculpture on the new Carnival Horizon will featured artwork created by patients of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital when the ship debuts next spring.

Full ‘Cruise Industry News’ story and picture: HERE

(Cruise Industry News)

Malcolm Says: I appreciate the work involved and the raising of awareness for a good cause, but I do hope that the sculpture looks a lot more impressive in the flesh, than it does in the image.

Horizon enters service in March 2018. She will be 133,500 gross tonnes and will carry up to 4980 passengers.

Take a virtual tour of our newest ship HERE, Carnival Horizon! It’s an incredible place in the middle of the sea that brings out the fun ‘you’ that’s kept hidden too often. Get a sneak peek at favorites like SkyRide, the ropes course, and the brand new Dr. Seuss WaterWorks which features the Cat in the Hat slide and the Fun Things slide! Feeling hungry? Take a look at everything Carnival Horizon has to offer – from the brand new Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse Brewhouse to the Far East flavors of Bonsai Sushi and Teppanyaki.

(Carnival)

Carnival To Accelerate Removal Of Old Tonnage?

Finnish news sources have rumoured that that Carnival Corporation & plc is in talks with Meyer Turku shipyard for three newbuilds.

Should this happen, it could accelerate removal of older ships from the Carnival group fleet and demolition of old units worldwide

(cruisebusiness.com)

Tilbury Cruise Terminal Invests

October 25, 2017

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London International Cruise Terminal Tilbury continues to invest in its facilities with £1.5m (€1.68m) being spent on refurbishing the old baggage hall.

In addition the roof of the terminal is being renewed at a cost of £1m. The second part of the landing stage was completed at the end of September at a cost of £2.5m which provides for a quay of 350m in length and 10m depth and hence no restriction on the size of cruiseship that can come alongside.

Visiting the port this year for the first time are Voyages to Antiquity with Aegean Odyssey, TUI Cruises and AIDA Cruises. Passengers can travel on Thames Clipper vessels into Greenwich in 35 minutes or to Tower Bridge in 50.

There were 64 calls this year, 55 of which were from Cruise & Maritime Voyages. Next year 71 are booked with 2019 also looking promising. On September 12, TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 3 called as part of a seven-night European cruise. The 293m-long vessel carrying 2,700 passengers is the largest that the terminal has welcomed to date.

(Cruise Europe)

Cunard Are Back In Alaska

October 24, 2017

(Courtesy Cunard)

For the first time in 20 years Cunard are back in Alaska.

Join Queen Elizabeth on her maiden Alaska season.

Itineraries include:

25 Jun 19 – 29nts – Vancouver to New York with The Rocky Mountaineer
15 Jun 19 – 53nts Vancouver to Southampton with The Rocky Mountaineer & Reykjavik
25 Jun 19 – 44nts – Vancouver to Southampton with The Rocky Mountaineer & Panama Canal
1 May 19 – 22nts – Tokyo to Vancouver with The Inside Passage
5 June, 10 June, 15 Jun 19 – 12nts – Best of Alaska with The Rocky Mountaineer

(Cunard)

U by Uniworld unveils first ship, The B

October 21, 2017

The above headline is probably one of my most obscure. Uniworld have obviously discovered the joys of the alphabet.

‘U’ by Uniworld is a sub-brand form the river cruise line. In their own words: “U by Uniworld is a new take on experiential travel, with cruises designed for those with a passion for exploring and a taste for authentic adventures. We at U have always believed that travel should be relaxing, exhilarating, convenient and tailored to your interests — all at the same time. And on a U by Uniworld river cruise, that’s exactly what you’ll experience.”

Still confused? I believe ‘U’ is the first-ever river cruise brand for millennials (those born in the 1980’s or 90’s.) This is of course a younger demographic than river cruising normally attracts.

girls-on-train-tracks

Would these young women book a river cruise? (U by Uniworld)

‘U’ by Uniworld has debuted its first ship in Paris, recently. The B is the only ship on the river to reveal a unique all-matte black exterior.

The ‘B’ set sail on its maiden voyage along the Seine River for invited guests.

“We’re thrilled to make history with the launch of U by Uniworld and introduce a whole new generation to river cruising,” said Ellen Bettridge, president of Uniworld.

The ship was originally called Uniworld’s River Baroness. The renaming ceremony was led by the ship’s ‘Guardian Angel’ Petra Nemcova, supermodel and noted philanthropist. The a renaming ceremony where guests released biodegradable lanterns to symbolize starting anew with The B.

(Courtesy Uniworld)

‘B’ accommodates up to 120 “fun-loving” travelers per voyage, spread across its four suites, 26 balcony bedrooms, 29 studio bedrooms and two studio bedrooms with triple occupancy – all with waterfront views and equipped with built-in Bluetooth speakers.

The inaugural events included a drum circle creating a spiritual energy onboard and sabering champagne on the top deck.

During the remainder of the maiden voyage, guests experienced yoga, camping on the top deck, a silent disco party, mixology, impressionist painting and wine classes.

(Uniworld)

Malcolm says: I am a fairly new convert to river cruising. I am on record as saying that I’d like to see a broader range of river cruise products, aimed at a broader range of clientele and not just the ‘mature’ variety. Therefore I welcome ‘U’ by Uniworld.

‘U’ certainly sounds a little different, if not a little bizarre, but then I was not on-board. The brochure is full of images of young people. In fact I am a little cynical that Uniworld can really attract people as young as the ones pictured, but I wish them luck.

I think one of the big weaknesses of river cruising is the very low-key entertainment that is normally offered on-board most river ships. I’m not clear if ‘U’ addresses this on-board ‘B’?

The other big issue is the often high fares. I wonder how many financially comfortable millennials want to spend their money on a river cruise? An RCI, MSC or NCL mega-ship, full of high-energy activities and ‘gimmicks’, sounds much more likely to appeal to millennials, in my opinion.

Is river cruising for you? See HERE

Which Ship Was I On?

I took a cruise at the very end of 2016. Can you guess what type of ship I was on?

question-mark-on-a-circular-black-background_318-41916

  1. Embarkation and disembarkation took five minutes.
  2. The meals were all served in a single sitting.
  3. The food was five star.
  4. The wine with dinner was free.
  5. There was no ‘scrum’ for breakfast. There were no queues for anything.
  6. The sun deck had a chair for every passenger.
  7. The waters were very calm so nobody got sea-sick.
  8. There were no inside cabins.
  9. The ship was easy to get around and nobody got lost.
  10. The views were almost constant.
  11. Coach excursions at the ports of call were not generally required.
  12. I did not ever need to dress-up.
  13. There was no hard sell.
  14. There were no kids, water slides or rock climbing walls.

Malcolm

See the answer HERE

World’s Largest Cruise Ship Will Be Early

October 19, 2017

(Courtsey RCI)

Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, the line’s fourth Oasis class ship, will enter service earlier than planned, with its first sailing now departing three weeks ahead of schedule.

Symphony of the Seas will now sail three additional voyages. The first, a pre-inaugural sailing departing March 31, 2018, will be a five-day cruise out of Barcelona with stops in Naples and Rome. Two seven-night cruises will depart on April 7 (the ship’s official inaugural cruise) and April 14, with stops in Palma De Mallorca, Marseille, Livorno, Civitavecchia and Naples.

Symphony of the Seas will be the world’s largest cruise ship . She will introduce new-to-the-line cabin categories, restaurants and entertainment venues, as well as a re-imagined Boardwalk.

(Royal Caribbean)

Sister: ‘Oasis of the Seas’ review: HERE

Celebrity Announces 2019 European Program

October 18, 2017

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Celebrity Cruises has announced its 2019 European deployment, highlighted by the new Celebrity Edge, which will spend the summer sailing in the Mediterranean.

The new state-of-the-art Celebirty Edge will offer seven- to 11-night sailings from Barcelona and Rome. . The itineraries will also feature two of the new ports of call: Nauplion, Greece, and Santa Margherita, Italy.

In addition to Celebrity Edge, four more ships will be in Europe: the Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Reflection, and Celebrity Silhouette.

In 2019, Celebrity Infinity will return to Europe for the first time since 2014, offering seven- to 12-night itineraries with to countries such as Italy, Malta, Greece, and Croatia.

The Celebrity Constellation will also be returning to Europe in 2019 with new itineraries, including visits to a brand-new port of call, Rijeka, Croatia. The ship will offer sailings from Venice, Barcelona and Rome.

For the 2019 season, Celebrity Reflection will call Dublin and Amsterdam home with eight- to 12-night sailings across northern Europe, from the British Isles to Scandinavia, Russia, and Iceland.

The Celebrity Silhouette returns to Southampton in 2019 to offer a variety of three- to 14-night sailings.

(Celebrity)

Silver Spirit To Be Lengthened

October 17, 2017

Silversea has unveiled plans for its first-ever ship lengthening.

The turnkey transformation of ’Silver Spirit’ will take place early next year at Fincantieri’s Palermo shipyard.

Starting in March 2018, ’Silver Spirit’ will be lengthened by inserting a pre-built 49 ft long mid-section housing six Silver Suites, 26 Veranda Suites and two Panorama Suites. Other technical upgrades will also undertaken.

As the ship’s extensive re-design is based on the innovations of the line’s new flagship, ’Silver Muse’, creative dining concepts will be incorporated, and stylish décor enhancements will be made to existing suites and throughout the public spaces and outdoor areas.

The above news follows Silversea’s plans to upgrade their fleet to the same standards as ‘Silver Muse’ (‘Muse-ization’) with ‘Silver Wind’ and ‘Silver Whisper’ scheduled to drydock this December.

‘Silver Whisper’ will have a “significant redesign” of its public areas. Silver Wind will have similar upgrades, also drawn from Silver Muse, the company said. Among the improvements will be new chairs and carpets in the casino and floor upgrades in the spa and salon.

(Silversea)