Beauty & The Beast

July 14, 2019

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

Duchess Names Discovery

July 6, 2019

Camilla Parker-Bowles, godmother to the new ship, has lead the naming ceremony, joined by 500 guests including Saga management, crew and employees.

The Duchess of Cornwall has carried out the official naming ceremony of Saga’s new £346 million cruise ship.

The Spirit of Discovery is the first ship to be named in Dover in more than a decade.

The Spirit of Discovery is also the first ship to be docked at Berth 4 in the recently developed £250m Dover Western Docks Revival.

The quayside was transformed into a traditional garden party, complete with grass grown in Yorkshire.

Organisers decked the area out with bunting and table settings, foliage, florals, trees and parasols in true garden party spirit.

The 56,000 gt ship, carrying 1,000 passengers, will depart on its on its maiden voyage on Wednesday (July 10) around the British Isles.

(Kent Live)

Malcolm says: Something you don’t see these days very often, a ship registered in London!

Whatever Happened To “Just Cruising”?

July 5, 2019

In my opinion one of the great pleasures of being at sea, is the sea itself.

I like the fragrance of the sea in my nostrils, the wind in my hair and to see the interaction between the ship and the passing land.

The sea is best experienced while walking around a wrap-around (full 360 degree) promenade deck, ideally made of teak.

I don’t need gimmicks when cruising; I just want some good food, with good service, some tranquil lounges and some interesting ports of call…

Read full article: HERE

RCI: A Third Icon Class Ship

July 3, 2019

 

Icon – energy-efficient technology (Courtesy RCI)

Royal Caribbean Cruises has  announced that it has entered into an agreement with shipbuilder Meyer Turku to order a third Icon-class ship powered by LNG for delivery in 2025, according to a statement.

The ship will join its two sister ships – to be delivered in 2022 and 2024, respectively .

“We are thrilled to announce the newest addition to our Icon-class fleet that affirms our commitment to clean-power technologies at sea,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises.  “We’ve designed a class of ships powered by liquefied natural gas that leverages the latest, environmentally-friendly applications. We believe that innovative shipbuilding can reduce our carbon footprint and boost energy efficiencies to help to build a cleaner future.”

“These are exciting times for Royal Caribbean, and we have an incredible partner in Meyer Turku to bring to life now three vessels of what will be a remarkable class of ships,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Building on our vision with the addition of a third order is a testament to our confidence in the innovative design and energy-efficient technology and engineering that will, without a doubt, make Icon class a game changer.”

(Royal Caribbean)

The Mystery Ship: Icon Of The Seas

There is more information on-line about UFO’s than there is about Royal Caribbean’s next class of ship, Project ‘Icon’.

Now alien flying-saucers might not even exist, but the first ‘Icon’ ship definitely will, in 2022. The first steel will be cut late THIS YEAR (2019).

There was a time in the past, when a cruise line would announce the construction of a new ship and within a few weeks, we would have the renderings to look at and most of the details about the new design…

Article continued: HERE

Hurtigruten’s Electric Ship

July 1, 2019

(Courtesy Hurtigruten)

Hurtigruten took delivery of the world’s first hybrid powered cruise ship from Norway’s Kleven ship yard last week.  Roald Amundsen is the first cruise ship able to operate on battery power.

The ship turned on her battery packs for the first time off the west coast of Norway recently, enabling her to silently move through the water completely emission free.

“This opens a new chapter in maritime history. MS Roald Amundsen is the first cruise ship equipped with batteries, something deemed impossible just a few years back. With the introduction of MS Roald Amundsen, Hurtigruten sets a new standard not only for cruising, but for the entire shipping industry to follow,” said Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

The ship is named after polar hero Roald Amundsen, who led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage.

Two more ships are set to follow, including the Fridtjof Nansen, debuting in 2020,  and a yet-to-be-named sister in 2021.

(Courtesy Hurtigruten)

(Hurtigruten)

Spirit of Discovery Arrives in Dover

June 28, 2019

(Courtesy Saga)

Saga’s new Spirit of Discovery made a grand entrance into her official homeport this morning in Dover, U.K.,  ahead of her naming ceremony at the port next week, when she will be officially christened by her Godmother HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

(Saga Cruises)

MSC Seashore: Open For Sale

June 26, 2019

Seashore (Courtesy MSC)

MSC Cruises today announced the opening of sales for the MSC Seashore for her inaugural season in the Western Mediterranean. Starting in June 2021, she will sail a seven-night itinerary calling at Barcelona, Marseille, Genoa, Naples, Messina and Valletta.

Sales open today exclusively for MSC Voyagers Club members for a two-week period. All other guests will be able to book cruises starting July 11, 2019.

The new ship is the first of two enriched Seaside Evo ships with extended public spaces, more staterooms and the highest ratio of outdoor space per guest of any cruise ship in the company’s fleet.

Growing from the Seaside-class, the new vessel is built on a similar platform by Fincantieri, but is 52 feet longer, with capacity growing to 4,560 guests.

The increased size of the vessel has allowed for some of the public spaces to be redesigned, creating new public areas as well as optimizing the location of other areas throughout the ship. A new double deck show lounge has been created below the aft pool, which is now on Deck 8, while the indoor pool on Deck 18 will be extended with an additional deck over and around the pool. The family offering has also been expanded with an even bigger kids’ area and the ultimate state-of-the-art waterpark.

A brand-new restaurant will be introduced for Aurea guests as well as an additional main restaurant.

(MSC)

Iona’s Build So Far

June 23, 2019

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With less than a year to go before Iona’s debut, we’ve started to lift the lid on some of the amazing spaces on board, the people working to create them and the amazing destinations you’ll be able to explore. Here we take a look at some of her latest build updates as well as the traditional coin-laying ceremony.

Iona’s keel-laying ceremony took place on Wednesday 29 May, 2019, at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The traditional event marks a significant milestone in her build.

(P&O)

Carnival: Mardi Gras Virtual Tour

June 21, 2019

Carnival Cruise Line unveiled several exciting new food and beverage concepts aboard its highly anticipated Mardi Gras, set to debut in 2020.

In addition, there are further details on the extensive offerings available within the ship’s Lido and Summer Landing zones.

(Carnival)

Spice Girls Star Tests Out Virgin’s RockStar Suite

June 19, 2019

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Virgin Voyages has employed the spice Girls star Geri Horner to test out its RockStar suites.

With only 78 RockStar Suites aboard the Scarlet Lady, among them are 15 Mega RockStar Suites, named the Massive Suites, Fab Suites, Posh Suites and Gorgeous Suites.

(Virgin)

Slowdown In Growth of River Cruise Market

June 18, 2019

The number of river cruises taken by British and Irish passengers has reached record levels but the rate of growth has slowed by 11%.

Latest Clia figures, announced this morning, show that 232,300 river cruises were taken last year – up by 21,900, or 10.4% year on year.

That compares with a 21% hike in 2017 when the annual total jumped by 36,000 to 210,400.

Clia UK & Ireland director Andy Harmer said: “10% growth in any holiday sector is extremely positive”.

Clia said the average length of a river cruise in Europe increased “slightly” to eight nights and non-Europe cruises had an average length of 6.7 nights, an increase of 3.1% from 2017.

A total of 18 new vessels are due to launch between now and 2020.

(Harry Kemble/CLIA)

Iona: Coin-Laying Ceremony

June 15, 2019

(Courtesy of P&O)

A milestone in the construction of P&O’s Iona has been marked at the Meyer Werft shipyard, in Germany, with the traditional coin-laying ceremony.

A bronze coin from the historic Iona Abbey and a slice of precious green Iona marble from the island were placed under the block housing the bow thrusters before the block was then lowered onto these items.

As part of the ceremony a 461 tons, central steel block, of the 180,000-ton LNG-fuelled vessel, has already been constructed and was floated-out on to the water. (See video below).

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said:  “It is very special to think that a small part of the island of Iona will live within our own Iona. We hope that the qualities of beauty, heritage, pride, camaraderie, mutual support and loyalty from the island which attracted us to the name will be inherent in our ship, its crew and guests”.

(P&O)

Is Iona too big for the Fjords? See HERE

QE2 – The Queens Grill

June 14, 2019

END OF SEASON OFFERS AT THE QUEENS GRILL

We are delighted to announce that Dubai’s most authentic British restaurant, the Queens Grill, will be undergoing an exciting redesign throughout the summer. It will reopen as a new culinary concept that’s sympathetic to both its heritage and to the modern demands of Dubai’s eclectic culinary scene.

With just a few weeks left, Passengers have the chance to experience this one-of-a-kind historical dining experience with a selection of specials:

MAJESTIC MONDAYS

Enjoy a three-course tasting menu for just AED 175 per person. Choose from a delicious selection a classic British dishes including slow braised beef cheek, Scottish seared salmon and baby yellow chicken.

Valid on Monday 17th and 24th June 2019 from 7pm – 11pm

BACK IN TIME TO 1969

Take your tastebuds on a culinary journey with a three-course tasting menu featuring a mouthwatering selection of dishes including confit chicken terrine, lamb’s loin and Loch Fyne salmon. Upon arrival, you will be presented with the QE2 Cocktail – a delightful concoction inspired by the QE2’s 1969 Maiden Voyage. Just AED 265 per person.

Valid on Wednesday 19th and 26th June 2019 from 7pm – 11pm

THE PERFECT PAIR

Start the weekend in style with a delectable three-course menu paired with expertly selected wines. The food menu features a selection of options including pan-fried seabass, slow braised lamb neck and lemon curd. Just AED 325 inclusive of food and beverages.

Valid on Thursday 20th and 27th June 2019 from 7pm – 11pm

THE WEEKEND WIND DOWN

Whether it’s pre-dinner drinks and nibbles, or a relaxed evening with friends, head to the adjacent Gin Bar and save 40% off all cocktails as well as an exclusive offer on tapas. Savour three tapas style Queens Grill sampling dishes for the price of AED 70.

Valid on Thursday 20th, Friday 21st, Thursday 27th and Friday 28th June 2019 from 6pm – 8pm

(Mina Rashid, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Malcolm says: I’m so pleased that the QE2 seems to be thriving as a hotel and restaurant in Dubai.  It’s a pity that I d not live nearer!  Mind you it was a long time coming, with a very long lay-up.

I was fortunate enough to take  a crossing onboard the QE2 once.

I’ve no idea what they are going to do to the Queens Grill.  It must be difficult to renovate a classic ocean liner but still retain her original feel.

More about the QE2 Hotel: HERE

Scenic Eclipse – Sea Trials

June 13, 2019

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Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours has today announced that Scenic Eclipse, the World’s First Discovery Yachts, continues to move closer to her official launch on August 15 2019, with the successful completion of extensive sea trials.

With sea trials complete, Scenic Eclipse will now undergo the final touches to its interior and exterior and the final training of the onboard teams before the official launch and commencement of schedule of sailings.

(Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours)

Camilla To Name Saga’s New ship

June 10, 2019

(Courtesy Saga Cruises)

The Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla) has been named as the godmother of Saga Cruises’ brand new cruise ship, Spirit of Discovery.

Camilla and Saga Cruises share a common link in that she is patron of charity The Silver Line, which is the cruise line’s first national charity partner. The Duchess has been confirmed to attend the naming ceremony in Dover, Kent, on July 5, 2019 and is also expected to receive a tour of the ship before the celebrations begin.

Spirit of Discovery will be the first cruise ship to be named in Dover for more than a decade and the first to dock at the port’s Dover Western Docks following a £250 million redevelopment.

Saga Group chief executive Lance Batchelor said: “I am delighted that The Duchess of Cornwall has agreed to be godmother of the Spirit of Discovery. The launch of our new ship is a key moment in both the history and future of Saga. Carrying fewer than 1,000 passengers, she is a boutique ship that offers our customers and members the highest standards of accommodation, furnishings, cuisine and entertainment.”

It’s not the first time Camilla has named a cruise ship. In 2007 she named Cunard’s Queen Victoria, although the naming ceremony didn’t quite go to plan when the bottle did not break upon hitting the ship.

(Saga)

CMV: A New Ship For UK Market?

June 8, 2019

Vasco Da Gama (Courtsey CMV)

Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) has revealed that another new ship is likely to join its fleet, as early as 2020, aimed at the UK market — marking three ships in three years for the line.

Speaking at a gala event held for new ship Vasco da Gama in Tilbury yesterday, Christian Verhounig, CMV’s CEO and chairman, said: “I know this might seem like we are teasing you with [Vasco da Gama] leaving for Germany tomorrow, but we will have [a new ship] for the UK very soon, possibly by 2020.”

Vasco da Gama debuted in April 2019 and is visiting the UK only briefly before sailing for the line’s sister brand, TransOcean, throughout the summer from Bremerhaven, Germany.

CMV has not yet revealed which ship they are looking to purchase to further grow the fleet.

(Cruise Critic)

Want A Cheap Cruise? Try CMV

Cruise & Maritime Voyages is Britain’s leading independent cruise line and 2018 heralds our ninth year of operating no-fly cruises from a choice of 11 UK ports.

We believe our smaller more intimate ships offer a leisurely and traditional home from home country house style of cruising with the emphasis very much on personal service and going that extra mile. That’s why over 40% of our passengers cruise with us again and again and why over 95% of our guests are satisfied and enjoy their cruising experience with CMV.

Malcolm says: Above is the official marketing blurb from CMV.  However CMV really do offer a very good ‘budget’ product, mainly aimed at Brits, on-board some small and charming ‘real’ ships.

There are many fascinating ‘no-fly’ itineraries on offer in 2019 and 2020, from many regional UK ports. Watch out for their deals, including: BOGOF (pay for one passenger, get one free).

Below are my reviews of five of their current ships: Marco Polo, Columbus, Astor, Astoria and Magellan

Marco Polo review: HERE

mp

Columbus review: HERE

columbus

Magellan review: HERE

ship11-pl

Astor review: HERE

astro

Astoria review: HERE

astoria

Magellan review: HERE

ship11-pl

(NOTE: I’m not a travel agent, I don’t sell cruises, I don’t get any commission or perks from CMV or any other cruise line.)

U.S. Ban Recreational Travel to Cuba

June 6, 2019

(Source Cuba Tourism)

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has unveiled amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations to further implement the President Trump’s foreign policy on Cuba.

In short, the U.S. will no longer allow people to people travel, which was utilized by many cruise lines to call on Cuba.

Cuba continues to play a destabilizing role in the Western Hemisphere, providing a communist foothold in the region and propping up U.S. adversaries in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua by fomenting instability, undermining the rule of law, and suppressing democratic processes,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“This Administration has made a strategic decision to reverse the loosening of sanctions and other restrictions on the Cuban regime. These actions will help to keep U.S. dollars out of the hands of Cuban military, intelligence, and security services.”

This ban is said to affect 800,000 passengers who have booked for cruises to Cuba.

Royal Caribbean International has already announced its June 5 and 6 sailings will not stop in Cuba, while they review the situation. Norwegian Cruise Line has amended sailings aboard the Sun and Sky following travel restrictions to Cuba. MSC has stated that Opera’s 2019-2020 programme to Cuba is suspended.

The cruise lines are now scrambling to secure replacement ports of call in order to fill the gaps in their itineraries.

(Cruise Industry News)

Malcolm says: This news changes everything, again. The big lines (RCI, NCL, Carnival etc.) will be forced to pull-out of Cuba. There is unlikely to be enough interest from non-US passengers sailing from the US, to regularly sustain a large ship stopping there. Even the new industry start-up, Virgin Voyages have planned regular itineraries to Cuba in 2020.

Spectrum of the Seas Named

June 5, 2019

(Courtesy RCI)

Spectrum of the Seas made her debut in China yesterday (03/06/19) and was also christened in Shanghai.

The first Quantum-Ultra class ship sailed into Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal in Shanghai after completing a 46-night cruise that called in 17 ports.

The milestone also marks Royal Caribbean’s 10th anniversary in China.

“Royal Caribbean has always been known for innovating and pushing the boundaries, and Spectrum of the Seas is a great example of this,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Spectrum brings to life the best of Royal Caribbean along with curated experiences for our Chinese consumers.”

Designed for the Chinese market, the Spectrum of the Seas features bold and unexpected experiences, Royal Caribbean said, including the cruise line’s first private enclave for suite guests.

(RCI)

‘Anthem of the Seas’ (Quantum Class) review: HERE

Introducing: Vasco da Gama

June 4, 2019

Cruise & Maritime Voyages is delighted to announce the arrival of the latest addition to our fleet, Vasco da Gama. Vasco da Gama is the sixth ship to join the CMV fleet as we celebrate 10 years in operation.

Mike Hall, Head of Marketing CMV, said, ‘We are exceedingly happy to announce that we have officially taken delivery of our new ship Vasco da Gama and we are delighted to welcome her into the CMV family.’

At 55,820gt the new ship can accommodate 1,220 passengers in 630 cabins including 120 balcony cabins and 29 suites. Vasco da Gama joins the CMV fleet alongside Columbus (1,400pax), Magellan (1,300pax), Marco Polo (800pax), Astor (600pax) and Astoria (550pax). Following the explorer theme of the fleet, the ship is named after Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, famous for being the first European to reach India by sea. Following in the footsteps of the famous explorer, her maiden voyage sails from Singapore via India to London Tilbury.

Vasco da Gama’s maiden voyage sails on a spectacular 43-night voyage calling in Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cochin for tours to the Taj Mahal, Goa and Mumbai, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Transit the Suez Canal, Israel, highlights of the Mediterranean, Morocco and Portugal arriving in London Tilbury. Highlights include; the beautiful beaches of Malaysia and Thailand, the Taj Mahal in India, the lost city of Petra from Jordan, shrines to ancient Pharaoh’s in Egypt, some of the holiest sites on earth in Israel, the eternal city of Rome and the souks in Marrakech. Vasco da Gama will spend the summer cruising from Germany and sail from London Tilbury 9 October on a 53-night voyage to Australia calling in Barbados, the Panama Canal, Acapulco, islands of the South Pacific, Auckland concluding in Sydney, Australia, where she will cruise for the winter season.

The new ship offers a wider choice of restaurants and dining options. A first for CMV, Vasco da Gama will offer flexible dining and timings will not be restricted to specific sittings. Guests will be able to dine at any of three main restaurants between 17.30 and 20.30. One offering a classic menu with a twist of British cuisine will be open for all three main meals. For dinner, the other restaurants will offer a choice of styles, one Asian and the other Mediterranean. The Club Bistro will offer buffet style food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Passengers can choose to dine at ‘The Grill’ or the ‘Chef’s Table’ at a supplement. Vasco da Gama was fully refurbished in 2015 and is having new livery painted and revised signage, plus some technical work completed before sailing from Singapore.

(Text & Image CMV)

Titanic II: Maiden Voyage In 2022

May 30, 2019

Clive Palmer

Titanic II, a ship from Clive Palmer’s Australian company ‘Blue Star Line’, is set to sail on its maiden voyage in 2022.

To pay tribute to the original ship, Titanic II will be sailing on the same route as the liner, which famously sank back in 1912 after colliding with an iceberg during its maiden voyage between Southampton and New York City…

(Continued – follow link)

See my new Titanic II blog HERE

Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady To Call At U.K Ports

May 30, 2019

Virgin Voyages’ first ship Scarlet Lady will call at Dover and Liverpool before homeporting in Miami next year

The 2,700-passenger ship will sail from Genoa where it is being built before arriving in the UK in late February.

Agents – known as First Mates by the line – will join media and VIPs at several exclusive events on Scarlet Lady before the vessel sails to Miami.

Virgin Voyages is also expanding its partnership with music producer and DJ Mark Ronson.

The British artist has joined the Virgin Voyages’ Creative Collective – a group of artists and designers which has collaborated with the line.

Ronson will create a series of pre-voyage and onboard playlists for passengers, as well as curating the vinyl record selection in the ship’s RockStar Suites and the onboard music shop called Voyage Vinyl.

Ronson is also scheduled to play four times at The Beach Club, Virgin Voyages’ private beach in the Bahamas, starting on July 9, 2020.

(Virgin)

CMV Launches Sea of Cortez Cruises

May 28, 2019

Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) is launching special holiday sailings with two festive Treasures of the Sea of Cortez cruises aboard the Astoria from Puerto Peñasco – Rocky Point.

Among the offerings is a complimentary cabin category upgrade on holidays sailings departing December 18th or December 29th when booked by June 21st, 2019.

CMV say:

Explore the natural splendour and wildlife of the Baja California Peninsula and Mexico’s mainland coast that border the sparkling waters of the Sea of Cortez. This Gulf of California is one of the most ecologically diverse places on the planet. From exotic islands to world-renowned vacation destinations, discover truly breathtaking nature, infused with rich Mexican culture and amazing experiences to cherish always.

The Sea of Cortez is a unique destination that has been described as a ‘living aquarium’ by French explorer Jacques Cousteau and has served as an inspiration to many including John Steinbeck. With its many islands designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it is home to an impressive array of marine mammals, more than 900 species of fish and a lavish array of birds. Diverse land creatures provide even more fantastic wildlife encounters.

Voyage aboard the intimate Astoria offering a distinctive cruise experience and a unique and memorable way to explore the Sea of Cortez. Visiting eight contrasting ports these ‘soft expedition’ voyages are offered on a cruise-only basis sailing from Puerto Peñasco on the Mexican coast which is approximately five to six hours drive from Phoenix, Arizona.

(CMV)

Introducing: Honfleur

May 27, 2019

(Courtesy Brittany Ferries)

Brittany Ferries’ brand-new LNG-powered cruise ferry, Honfleur, will make her debut on the Portsmouth to Caen route next month, June 2019.

Honfleur represents a new generation of cross-Channel ferry combining state-of-the art design and sustainable thinking with a smart, digitally-informed customer experience.

The ship’s passengers will enjoy innovative experiences and fresh service concepts along with the highest standards of French onboard hospitality and catering.

The shape of the hull – of which the keel is the very lowest beam running from bow to stern – has been designed to have a huge impact on a ship’s manoeuvrability in port and its stability at sea.

Honfleur will be 42,400 gross-tonnes and carry up to 1,680 passengers. She will offer 261 cabins, two cinemas, restaurants, boutique shopping and choice of spacious passenger lounges.

(Brittany Ferries)

Honfleur slide-show: HERE

Malcolm says: The only difference between modern ferries and cruise ships is the presence of a car deck or two.  My trip on the Stena Hollandica ferry is a prime example.

Global Class: More Details

May 25, 2019

Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman and CEO of Genting Hong Kong has recently said: . “To accommodate the future of cruising, we are in the process of building the cruise ships of tomorrow at our own shipyards in Germany and we are excited for the upcoming launch of our new, technologically advanced Global class ships in early 2021.”

Of note, the company said the new ships would go global, cruising in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. They will also include the first theme park at sea, the company said.

Theme Park/longest roller Coaster at sea (Gentling)

“This state-of-the-art vessel features the latest hardware and advanced technology – the culmination of Genting’s 50+ years experience in tourism and hospitality,” Genting said. “Be wowed by the industry’s most spacious staterooms and most luxurious suites, the first-ever theme park at sea featuring the world’s longest roller coaster at sea, the largest cinema at sea, voice and facial recognition technology, self-guided mobile assistants and so much more. Enjoy the authentic Asian experience on board with heartfelt Asian hospitality, authentic Chinese cuisine, and the largest variety of Asian and International dining, as you sail from Asia’s major homeports to the region’s most exciting destinations. Better yet, go global with grand voyages to the rest of the world including Australia, New Zealand, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean.”

The Canyon (Genting)

The ships will be 342 meters each with 2,500 staterooms.

Accommodating up to 9,000 passengers at full capacity, the new ships are set to be the largest cruise ships in the world by passenger capacity. The vessels will also feature Dream Cruises’ signature 151-suite luxury “ship-within-a-ship” concept, The Palace.

Featuring 20 square metres of space, Global-class cabins will be the industry’s most spacious staterooms, Genting said, larger than any other cruise line, and are designed for two but can also accommodate up to four guests, suitable for families and group travellers. A unique two bathroom design will allow for several people to get ready at once and the cabin’s sofa bed also easily unfolds to sleep an additional two guests comfortably. A privacy curtain can be closed to divide the room into separate seating and sleeping areas.

Escalators (Gentling)

State-of-the-art technology will include Bluetooth locks and a new smart system allowing passengers to control different functions such as the LED mood lighting and climate control with a smartphone app, voice recognition or through a touch-screen control panel. Smart sensors will also be able to detect occupants in the cabin to automatically adjust the lights and temperature for better energy efficiency and triple vent air-conditioning outlets ensure even air distribution for maximum comfort.

Cinema (Gentling)

(Genting)

Oasis To Get $165 Million Refurbishment

May 22, 2019

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The ship that revolutionized the cruise industry, Oasis of the Seas, marks its 10-year anniversary with a larger-than-ever, $165 million amplification.

The first to introduce the unique seven-neighborhood concept and one-of-a-kind AquaTheater entertainment venue, Royal Caribbean International’s original gamechanger will set a new standard for family vacations with first-to-brand experiences and the latest Royal Caribbean hits.

Guest favorites making their way to Oasis as part of the 63-day modernization include a reimagined, Caribbean-inspired pool deck that will feature a Splashaway Bay kids aquapark and The Lime & Coconut signature bar; famed Quantum Class staple, Music Hall; the Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, and the Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea. Debuting alongside this lineup is the cruise line’s first barbecue concept, Portside BBQ, and dedicated karaoke venue Spotlight Karaoke. The amplified Oasis will set sail on Nov. 24, 2019, beginning 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Royal Caribbean’s new, state-of-the-art Terminal A in Miami.

The architectural marvel will break even more records when she heads to the Big Apple in May 2020 as the largest ship to sail from the New York area. Oasis will reposition to her new summer home at Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey, offering 7-night sailings to The Bahamas with visits to Royal Caribbean’s newly transformed private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

“When Oasis of the Seas debuted as the world’s largest and most groundbreaking cruise ship a decade ago, the typical cruise vacation as the world knew it was forever changed. Today, our Oasis Class ships continue to lead the industry and attract vacationers new to cruising,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Now with the opportunity to disrupt the industry once again, we’ve gone all-in with our biggest and boldest amplification yet. Oasis will turn heads when she arrives to Miami this November and the Northeast in May 2020.”

Iconic Top Deck

The Ultimate Abyss

For all-day Caribbean vibes, guests need look no further than the reimagined Pool and Sports Zone. The transformed neighborhood will feature new ways to relax, celebrate and plunge into adventure, joining the popular twin FlowRider surf simulators, nine-deck-high zip line and twin rock-climbing walls.

The adrenaline is turned all the way up with heart-pumping additions, including the Ultimate Abyss, a 10-story test of courage and the tallest slide at sea; and The Perfect Storm, an action-packed trio of multistory waterslides known as Typhoon, Cyclone and Supercell. For the youngest, the most thrilling Splashaway Bay at sea yet is to come, with a Splash Pad for tots, three waterslides, water cannons, fountains, pools and the first-ever twin drench buckets.

At the center is the new Caribbean-style pool deck with The Lime & Coconut. The signature bar will be one of the liveliest spots on board, day and night, with poolside cocktails, DJs and live music across two locations. Every pool is only as good as its places to chill, and Oasis will deliver a larger variety of seating and shade, including comfy casitas, daybeds, hammocks and swing seats, new whirlpools on the top deck, and a refreshed Solarium for the adults.

Mouthwatering Dining

Sugar Beach: more than 220 types of candy

The boldest Royal Amplified modernization to-date will introduce various new dining venues that will further diversify Oasis’ 23 specialty and complimentary options.

Royal Caribbean’s latest culinary creation and first-ever barbecue restaurant, Portside BBQ, will offer an authentic, meat-packed menu inspired by the best-in-class barbecue across the United States. From smoked marbled brisket, pulled pork and chicken, to beef ribs and burnt ends, the casual eatery on the pool deck will tie it all together with classic sides – including mac and cheese, homestyle cornbread, baked beans and coleslaw – and down-home desserts such as the Banana Dream and a brownie cookie mashup.

Across the way, guests can find Mexican grab-and-go fare at El Loco Fresh, serving up made-to-order tacos and burritos, quesadillas, mini salads and salsas galore. Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade will anchor the lineup in the signature Boardwalk neighborhood. With 80 big-screen TVs, tabletop games, arcade classics, tournaments, an Owner’s Box VIP room, bar fare and ice-cold brews, Playmakers is where everyone in the family wins. Sugar Beach, with more than 220 types of candy and a new walkup ice cream window, is the icing on the already-tasty offering on board Oasis, which includes Chops Grille, Giovanni’s Table and Izumi.

The new Portside BBQ

Chart-topping Hot Spots

Nights out will take on a whole new meaning on board the newly amplified Oasis. The new Spotlight Karaoke on the Royal Promenade is where budding singers can rock out to their favorite tunes at the dedicated karaoke venue’s main stage or one of two private rooms.

First introduced on Quantum of the Seas, live music venue Music Hall will make its Oasis Class debut. A roster of live cover bands, an expansive dance floor, pool tables and intimate loungers across two levels give vacationers ample room to end the night on a high note at a place where every seat is the best seat in the house.

Rounding out the list of go-to hot spots is the dynamic duo of robotic bartenders that will mix, muddle, stir and shake cocktails nonstop at the Bionic Bar. The new venues join nightlife favorites on board, including Boleros, Schooner Bar, Blaze Nightclub & Comedy and English pub Atlas & Globe.

The ‘Music Hall’ makes it to Oasis.

Family Time Redefined

Oasis will, yet again, redefine family vacations with a bold combination of programming that brings families together while also providing ways for everyone – from parents, to kids and grandparents – to enjoy time on their own.

Babies, kids and teens are in for a reimagination of their dedicated spaces, enhanced from top to bottom and amplified with technology to offer interactive, personalized and unexpected experiences. Adventure Ocean will receive a total makeover, with newly designed areas organized by activity type and created to fully immerse kids and their families in the adventures they choose based on their interests. Returning offerings include a nursery for the youngest of travelers, and a specialized area with programming for kids 3 to 5 years old. Teens can rejoice in their more off-the-grid hangout. With exclusive features like a “hidden” entrance, gaming lounge, movies, music, and a new, laidback outdoor deck, teens are free to engage however and whenever without interruption.

Spotlight Karaoke

Adding to the variety of activities, featuring ice skating and mini-golf, Oasis will challenge friends and foes with a new glow-in-the-dark laser tag game, Clash for the Crystal City. Two clans, the Yetis and Snowshifters, must go head-to-head to claim the crystal city and defeat impending extinction. At the new Royal Escape Room – Mission Control: Apollo 18, the year is 1973 and travelers must come together to launch Apollo 18 to the moon by solving every mind-bending puzzle before time runs out.

Oasis of the Seas is the first of the cruise line’s renowned Oasis Class – the world’s largest cruise ships – to be modernized as part of the Royal Amplified fleet modernization effort. Rooted in research and guest feedback, Royal Caribbean’s investment of more than $1 billion in the program spans 10 ships in four years and touches every facet of the guest experience to bring new thrills and signature experiences designed to appeal to every generation.

(Text and Images courtesy of RCI)

Norwegian Encore: Hull Art

May 20, 2019

NCL’s new ship, Norwegian Encore now has her hull art.

Eduardo Arranz-Bravo, the Spanish artist, created the hull artwork for the fourth and final ship of its Breakaway-Plus class, debuting in Miami in November 2019.

A representation of his modern and abstract style, the ship’s hull will feature a “labyrinth of color” inspired by Arranz-Bravo’s life by the sea in Barcelona, the company said.

After her debut in Miami, Encore will move to Seattle in 2021, offering seven-day cruises to Alaska.

(NCL)

Spectrum of the Seas – Entertainment Announced

May 15, 2019

Royal Caribbean has revealed the entertainment offerings for Spectrum of the Seas:

Two70

With its signature Vistarama technology, which transforms the 270-degree panoramic windows into a projection surface that measures 135 feet wide and 22 feet tall, Two70 includes a troupe of six, agile Roboscreens come to life in perfect sync with music, special effects and multi-talented live performers.

The Silk Road, an original production created by Royal Caribbean International exclusively for Two70, will take center stage on Spectrum. The incredibly rich and diverse cultures, colors, music and visuals of this famous trade route will come to life as guests are taken on a mystical journey. Combined with world-class, state-of-the-art entertainment technology with the Vistarama and Roboscreens, the audience will be transported into this stunning chapter of human history.

Main Theater

The Effectors introduces guests to four new superheroes with the power to change the world: Captain Coreo, the leader of the pack, has the power to control all forms of movement and motion; Lume, a sassy and dynamic super girl, has the ability to control light, laser and all things visual; Pixel is beautiful, sexy, enigmatic and the most mysterious one of the group who has the total control over video imagery and projection power; Reverb is the most unpredictable and hardest to control, whose power is enormous, as he can control sound and all things audio! The four superheroes unite their powers to fight the evil enemy, Crash, as he tries to stop the show and the world.

Showgirl! Present. Future. takes guests on the iconic journey of the ultimate entertainer – the Showgirl. Presented in the Royal Theater, the show combines next-generation choreography, incredible vocal performances, lavish costumes, and cutting-edge lighting and video effects to deliver an entertainment experience that will stimulate all senses.

Activities

Sky Pad – a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience located on the aft of the ship. Guests strap in and don their VR headset to transport them to another time and planet.

Battle for Planet Z – an epic glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure brings two teams of eight head-to-head in an out-of-this-world adventure to determine who will claim the last planet in the galaxy.

Expedition Two70 – test your adventuring skills in four fully immersive augmented reality games. Raise temples, blast ruins and more on your quest to recover ancient masks and complete your quest.

Star Moment – a lively and energetic karaoke venue where family and friends can belt out and sing like stars

SeaPlex – the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea provides sports experiences from various parts of the world, including China’s national game – table tennis; American style basketball; roller skating originated from Holland; fencing, a popular sport with the upper class of Europe; and modern archery, originated in the UK. SeaPlex also will host new augmented reality walls and floors, providing guests with thrilling, high-tech interactive experiences.

“Technology is the frontline of entertainment and we are pushing those boundaries on Spectrum of the Seas to create exceptional live performances in our theaters,” said Nick Weir, Senior Vice President, Entertainment, Royal Caribbean International. “We use advanced robotic programming and state-of-the-art digital and audio technology, alongside highly trained, world-class performers and aerialists to create an immersive story and unforgettable show for the whole family.”

The first in the Quantum Ultra class of ships, Spectrum will be the largest and most expensive ship in Asia when she sails from Shanghai starting in June 2019.

(RCI)

Southampton Loses It’s Independence

May 10, 2019

(Courtsey RCI)

Royal Caribbean has announced Independence of the Seas will not be based in the UK next year.

The ship had been due to offer sailings from Southampton alongside newer fleetmate Anthem of the Seas throughout 2020’s cruise season.

However,Independence of the Seas will now sail from Fort Lauderdale offering Caribbean sailings including a stop in the line’s newly relaunched private island, Perfect Day at Coco Cay.

(RCI)

P&O Annonce Iona’s Celebrity Chefs

May 8, 2019

P&O Cruises has announced three new “local food heroes” to bring what it calls an authentic taste of the destinations visited aboard its newest ship, the Iona, in 2020.

With the Iona spending her maiden winter season in Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands, guests will be able to enjoy the culinary creations of José Pizarro, a Spanish-born, UK based chef. Pizarro is described as a master of tapas and dedicated to showcasing Spanish cuisine. He is also designing a tapas menu for The Glass House, as well as signature Spanish dishes, such as paella in a new dining option – Taste 360.

To bring local flavors into Iona’s dining experiences while in Norwegian fjords, P&O has enlisted the help of Norwegian chef Kjartan Skjelde and photographer and home cook Marte Marie Forsberg. Kjartan has created a six course Norwegian tasting menu for The Epicurean restaurant on Iona. Forsberg is designing a range of local dishes which will appear in Taste 360. Guests dining in Iona’s main restaurants will be able to sample Norwegian flavors too, with special local dishes appearing across the menus.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “One of the best ways to explore a destination is to try the native dishes that tell stories of the history, culture and lives of the locals. Our new local food heroes will be champions of fresh, seasonal ingredients and recipes that fly the flag for their homelands. We are privileged to have chefs of their caliber helping us to create authentic dining experiences that reflect the ports we are visiting during Iona’s maiden year.”

José Pizarro is from Cáceres in Spain and has now lived in London for 20 years. He grew up on a farm and was inspired by the cooking he saw in his mother and grandmother’s kitchen. Today, he owns four restaurants in London and is a regular on cooking programs, such as BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen, and has written four cook books.

Kjartan Skjelde was born and raised in Stavanger, Norway. He still lives and works there today as the founder and owner of two restaurants: Tango and the Fish & Cow brasserie. Kjartan is a high profile chef in Norway, having appeared as a judge on the TV series MasterChef Norway and Camp Kulinaris, and he has written five cook books.

Born and raised in a small coastal town in the south of Norway, Marte Marie Forsberg is a writer, photographer and home cook. Her work focuses on provenance, local ingredients, traditional recipes and presentation. She has been featured in magazines, newspapers and online articles across the world.

(P&O)

Royal Caribbean: Fifth Oasis Class Ship

April 26, 2019

Royal Caribbean International announced the the steel cutting of a fifth Oasis-class ship, scheduled to be delivered in 2021.

The steel cutting, marking the official start of construction, took place at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, according to a press release.

“The fifth Oasis Class ship will combine the iconic seven-neighborhood concept that her sister ships feature with a bold and unexpected lineup of thrilling experiences, imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology,” the company said.

(RCI)

‘Oasis of the Seas’ ship review: HERE

Miami/MSC: Two New Cruise Terminals

April 24, 2019

 

MSC_-_PortMiami_1

(Courtesy MSC)

PortMiami has announced the signing of a letter of intent between MSC Cruises and Miami-Dade County for MSC to expand its cruise operations at the port.

MSC Cruises is committing to increase its annual passenger throughout at PortMiami and will design, build and operate, at its own expense, two new cruise terminals and associated berths, parking garages, offices, provisioning facilities and marine and other infrastructure.

MSC Cruises currently operates four vessels out of PortMiami: MSC Seaside and MSC Armonia year-round; MSC Divina seasonally; and MSC Meraviglia, which will join the ships sailing from Miami this autumn, seasonally.

With the new cruise facilities, MSC Cruises will bring a total one million guests through PortMiami each year.

Completion date is projected for Nov. 2022.

(MSC)

Malcolm says: MSC continue to expand at breakneck speed, but are they going to fast? Discuss!

UK and Ireland see two million cruise passenger

April 24, 2019

(Courtesy P&O)

Cruise Lines International Association has announced that the number of ocean cruises taken by UK and Irish passengers last year reached over two million for the first time.

The UK and Ireland cruise industry hit a record 2,009,000 in 2018, surpassing the two million mark a year earlier than predicted and up two per cent from 2017.

(Cruise Lines International Association)

 

TUI To Launch River Cruises

April 23, 2019

(courtesy TUI)

TUI is set to launch a host of river cruises in summer 2020, on board three brand new passenger ships.

Named TUI Maya, TUI Isla and TUI Skyla, the three ships will offer plenty of sailings to the likes of Europe.

TUI River Cruises will be offering bespoke adults-only packages, where passengers will be able to choose everything from board basis to drinks packages, cabin types and even your favourite cocktail in the lounge.

Meanwhile, prices will also include tips and service charges.

The new river cruises are expected to go on sale on the TUI website on Thursday 25th April.

(TUI)

Titanic II – Still Ongoing

April 22, 2019

News and press-releases about the Titanic II project have gone worryingly quiet in the past few months. This includes Clive Palmer’s own ‘Blue Star Line’ web site.

Therefore I asked ‘Deltamarin’, the Finnish designers of the ship, for a status update:

See dedicated Titanic 2 blog: HERE

 

Introducing: Amadeus Star

April 16, 2019

(Courtesy Amadeus)

The AMADEUS STAR will be the next highlight of the Amadues river-ship fleet from May 2019.

The new ship offers a total of 70 spacious deluxe cabins and 12 AMADEUS Suites.

 

FotoFlexer_Photo

 

Similar to our other ships, the AMADEUS STAR cabins on the Mozart and Strauss Deck also feature lowerable panoramic windows which extend across the entire cabin front and have been specially designed for the AMADEUS ships.

All deluxe cabins and suites offer comfortable, spacious bathrooms, infotainment systems, flat screen television, telephone, cabin safe, minibar and air conditioning which can be individually regulated. Furthermore, the suites feature walk-on external balconies with seating.

Built: 2019
Registry: Germany
Length x Width: 135 x 11.4 m / 443 x 37.5 ft
Decks: 4
Staterooms/Suites: 70/12
Max. passengers: 164

(Amadeus)

What’s a river cruise like? See: HERE

Amadeus River Cruises

April 11, 2019

 

(Courtesy Amadeus)

There are now a multitude of river cruise lines, cruising Europe’s waterways. ‘Viking Cruises’ are the biggest and have the strongest media presence, but I decided to cruise with a lesser known line.

I chose ‘Amadeus River Cruises’, which was formed by the Austrian ‘Luftner’ family, 30 years ago. Why? Because they offer a five star (well maybe 4.5) product,  but their fares are lower than many of their rivals. (Although it is important to compare what is and is not included).

Amadeus at the time of writing (April. 2019) has thirteen river boats cruising in Europe. More are being added to the fleet.

Malcolm

Amadeus Silver II review: HERE

Amadeus Elegant review: HERE

American Cruise Lines Names 3rd Modern Riverboat

April 4, 2019

(Courtsey ACL)

The American Cruise Lines has announced that ‘American Jazz’ will be the name of its third new ship in its Modern Riverboat Series.

The American Jazz will be slightly larger than both the first and second ships in the series, and it will feature the same advanced opening bow and retractable gangway seen on American Song and American Harmony, the company said.

The new ship is well under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD and is on schedule to begin cruising the Mississippi in 2020.

American Cruise Lines has five modern riverboats planned for the series. The American Jazz will have the unique opening bow and retractable gangway featured on each of American’s Modern Riverboats.

While work is underway on American Jazz, sister ship American Song is already sailing itineraries out West on the Columbia & Snake Rivers and American Harmony begins cruising the Mississippi River in August, according to a company statement.

(American Cruise Lines)

My Most Unique Ships

These days, many new ocean ships are similar to each other and many new river boats, especially European ones, are very similar to each, if not almost identical.

In fact some ocean cruise brands actually have the same design of ship/boat as each other. Often only the livery and decor distinguishes them, from each other. Carnival in particular share ship designs between many of their brands. Likewise many new river boats for different river cruise brands actually come form the same ship yard, with the same basic design.

However the ‘American Queen’ is a totally unique design when compared to nearly all other vessels in the world!

The American Queen is the biggest paddle-steamer ever constructed. She has a real paddle-wheel and a real steam engine.

Internally she feels like a small cruise ship and nothing like a European river boat, for example. Her decor makes her feel like a Victorian steamboat from the golden era.

The American Queen can be found cruising on the Mississippi and other great American rivers.

The American Queen is DEFINITELY one of my most unique ships that I have cruised on. (Or is she a boat?)

My extensive review is: HERE

Malcolm

The QE2 Hotel At One Year Old

April 2, 2019

Renovated luxury Cabin: Click to enlarge (Courtesy QE2Dubai)

The phrase “Eat my hat” springs to mind.

I admit it, I never thought that there would ever be a QE2 hotel. I though it was just a pipe-dream.

After ten years of neglect and uncertainty the classic ship is almost ready to open after two weeks renovation work – impressive!  As the owners put it:“After spending the past 2 weeks in Dubai’s Dry Docks for a bit of a deep cleaning and paint retouch, the Queen Elizabeth 2 took one final voyage back to her new home in Mina Rashid…. “

However the QE2-Dubai opened for business about a year ago, in April 2018. 

Her exterior now looks fabulous as does the images of the new cabins. (I am told that they are NOT just renderings).

The QE2 Ocean Liner  has been docked in Dubai’s Port Rashid, since 2008, after the original plans for a hotel on board fell through.

The ship has a rich nautical history after she was launched by the Her Majesty the Queen, for Cunard, in 1967.

However the Telegraph  reported that the vessel had become “mouldy” and “filthy” during her time in retirement.

Then in 2017, Dubai-based construction company Shafa Construction announced it was going to give the classic ship a refurbishment and  launched a web site.  It promised  “a new take on hospitality” as well as “a royal experience”.  Of course I took this with a pinch of salt – how wrong was I?

How Much To Stay On-board?

I looked at the prices last year. Of course the prices vary with cabin grade, date and occupancy, as with all hotels.

I searched for a ‘room’ (they are calling them rooms) for Saturday 28/4/18, one night, two persons.

Offical QE2 Hotel web site (Courtesy QE2Dubai)

The QE2-Dubai web site gave me six grades of cabin: ‘Standard’ through to ‘Deluxe’. These were priced 955AED (£183, $260) to 1394AED (£268, $379)respectively.  I guess that is the going-rate for a luxury hotel in many parts of the world, although this is of course a very unique one.

I’ve not had time to see if the rates have risen much in 2019 (or dropped). Feel free to tell me!

Of course I never  wanted to see the QE2 scrapped but old ships often don’t tend to have much of a future.

The QE2 is an out-dated vessel by modern cruise ship standards. She was when Cunard retired her. In addition Dubai is full of many impressive hotels and I believe the QE2 is quite isolated, in terms of her location, within a dock.

I assume that you will probably get a bigger (more modern) hotel room in a conventional hotel and extensive facilities (maybe a resort) for the same price, as  a more modest room and modest facilities, offered by an ageing ocean liner.

zxzxzxzx

A standard cabin (Courtesy QE2Dubai)

The Future

The problem is that if they have upgraded the QE2’s accommodation and public rooms too much, she is no longer the QE2. It must be difficult to combine the concept of a museum-ship and a hotel-ship. I’ve not visited her, but the images of public rooms, cabins and deck that I have seen so far, look pretty good.

Hotel-ships traditionally struggle to be profitable   (It must cost more to maintain a floating hotel than a land based one, for example).

The original Cunard ‘Queen Mary’ (in Long Beach, USA) is still a wonderful Ocean Liner but a very mediocre hotel. The SS Rotterdam is still a wonderful ship too, renovated with much taste, but only ship nuts would probably want to stay on her. Mind you, I did.

I genuinely wish the QE2 Hotel every success, but I am still sceptical about her long term viability. However a year on, they seem to be doing a great job of promoting her.

Malcolm

Slide-show – QE2 Transatlantic crossing 2008: HERE

 

The Renovated Ocean Terminal

April 1, 2019

 

Southampton’s Ocean Cruise Terminal’s has undergone the first phase of a multi-million-pound upgrade. It’s reopening marks the beginning of a busy cruise season as it welcomed P&O Cruises Azura.

Phase one has included infrastructure upgrades on the quayside with 18 new 150 tonne bollards replacing the old 50 tonne bollards.

The inside of the terminal has also been significantly improved ready to accommodate an increase in passenger capacity.

This £12 million partnership project with P&O Cruises began in October last year in readiness for May 2020 when the cruise line’s newest flagship, Iona, will arrive in Southampton from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany

The project will complete in early 2020 with the installation of two new air-bridges and a further 2,000 roof-mounted solar panels.

Southampton will be Iona’s home port. She is the first of two new ships of the XL class for P&O Cruises, with the next ship on order to be delivered in 2022 and is the first British cruise ship to be powered by LNG.

(Southampton Port Authority)

Virgin Announces Onboard Record Shop and More

March 27, 2019

Voyage Vinyl (Courtesy Virgin)

Virgin Voyages has announced on a new music experience on its first ship Scarlet Lady, sailing from Miami in April 2020.

The Scarlet Lady will be equipped with an on ship record shop called Voyage Vinyl, The Groupie, a private karaoke and gaming lounge, and curated music and performances by up-and-coming artists as well as music trendsetters.

Virgin Voyages’ residency program will feature performances by world-class talent on ship, in-port destinations and at The Beach Club at Bimini.

Virgin previously announced that the Grammy and Oscar-winning DJ, songwriter and record producer, Mark Ronson, has committed to four performances at The Beach Club at Bimini in 2020.

Based on demand, the company has expanded the residency music line-up to include the multi-platinum chart-topping artist, DJ, producer/ remixer, MK (Marc Kinchen), who has committed to one performance in 2020. The Grammy-nominated electronic music duo Sofi Tukker, known for their smash-hit Best Friend, will also join the Virgin Voyages residency program.

The brand also announced the expansion of their Creative Collective from design, food and entertainment to now include music, working with some of the “most creative and transformative” artists in the industry.

The Groupie (Courtesy Virgin)

There will also be Voyage Vinyl, the record shop aboard Scarlet Lady.

The Voyage Vinyl will be the go-to spot on-board for guests to experience music from all eras and genres.

Voyage Vinyl features personal listening stations for passengers to enjoy their favourite albums both current and classic.

Voyage Vinyl will also double as a performance spot for live sets mixed by Scarlet Lady’s resident DJs.

Sailors can let loose at The Groupie, Virgin Voyages’ bookable karaoke, gaming and movie lounge. Designed by Roman Coppola, The Groupie was designed as a modernist take on a Japanese-style karaoke room for Sailors to enjoy singing along to their favourite tunes with friends.

(Virgin Voyages)

Scarlet Lady slide-show (External): HERE (Internal): HERE