Queen Mary 2 v RMS Titanic

September 22, 2021


A modern Ocean Liner, the Queen Mary 2 (2004) compared with a classic one:  the RMS Titanic (2012).

Tilbury Welcomes Disney Magic

September 14, 2021

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

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

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

A Question Of Decor

September 13, 2021

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

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


MSC Meraviglia (Courtesy MSC)

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Carnival Sensation Atrium by J. Farcus (Courtesy Carnival)

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

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

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


Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL)

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

Norwegian Gem refurbished (Courtesy NCL)

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


Beauty & The Beast

September 1, 2021

Many of my readers enjoy smaller ships. They enjoy their  intimacy and often prefer the aesthetics of smaller (often older) ships to todays floating apartment blocks.

I found this picture below, of two lovely ship models, to illustrate the point:


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).


The Sinking Of The Edmund Fitzgerald

August 25, 2021

I really enjoy many different genres of music.  Here is a story and a song which I knew nothing about, until I stumbled across it on YouTube:

SS Edmund Fitzgerald was an American Great Lakes freighter that sank on Lake Superior during an extratropical cyclone on November 10, 1975, with the loss of the entire crew of 29. When launched on June 7, 1958, she was the largest ship on North America’s Great Lakes, and she remains the largest to have sunk there.

For 17 years, Fitzgerald carried taconite iron ore from mines near Duluth, Minnesota, to iron works in Detroit, Michigan; Toledo, Ohio; and other Great Lakes ports. Known as a “workhorse,” she set seasonal haul records six times, often breaking her own previous record.

Carrying a full cargo of ore pellets with Captain Ernest M. McSorley in command, she embarked on her ill-fated voyage from Superior, Wisconsin, near Duluth, on the afternoon of November 9, 1975. En route to a steel mill near Detroit, Fitzgerald joined a second freighter, SS Arthur M. Anderson. By the next day, the two ships were caught in a severe storm on Lake Superior, with near hurricane-force winds and waves up to 35 feet (11 m) high. Shortly after 7:10 p.m., Fitzgerald suddenly sank in Canadian (Ontario) waters 530 feet (160 m) deep, about 17 miles (15 nautical miles; 27 kilometers) from Whitefish Bay near the twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario—a distance Fitzgerald could have covered in just over an hour at her top speed.

Although Fitzgerald had reported being in difficulty earlier, no distress signals were sent before she sank; Captain McSorley’s last message to Anderson said, “We are holding our own.” Her crew of 29 perished, and no bodies were recovered. The exact cause of the sinking remains unknown. Fitzgerald might have fallen victim to the high waves of the storm, suffered structural failure, been swamped with water entering through her cargo hatches or deck, experienced topside damage, or shoaled in a shallow part of Lake Superior.

The disaster is one of the best-known in the history of Great Lakes shipping. Gordon Lightfoot made it the subject of his 1976 hit song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”.

The sinking led to changes in Great Lakes shipping regulations and practices that included mandatory survival suits, depth finders, positioning systems, increased freeboard, and more frequent inspection of vessels.


Malcolm says: These days you can take a cruise on the great lakes, if you can afford one.

Roller Coaster at Sea

August 22, 2021


The first roller coaster at sea is open for business – and amazing point-of-view video footage of the ride in action shows that it’s a spectacular experience.

The ride is called Bolt and it winds its way around the top of the £1billion Carnival ship the Mardi Gras.

Described as the ‘Ultimate Sea Coaster’, the clip sees the ride shooting around the ship’s ‘Ultimate Playground’ water slides and its funnel, with the azure blue water of the ocean to one side.


Malcolm says: Regular reader “Edwin” just can’t wait to try it!

50% Of The World’s Ships Are Back

August 17, 2021

As restart operations accelerate around the world, just under 50 percent of the entire global cruise fleet is expected to be back in service by the end of August.

The data is from the August 2021 edition of the Cruise Ship In Service Report by Cruise Industry News.


Malcolm says: Well its been a very long wait. I can feel “normal” coming over the horizon!

Prima Floated Out

August 15, 2021

NCL’s new Norwegian Prima was recently floated out at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Venice, the first of six in a class of newbuilds for the Miami-based cruise line.

She is 142,500 gross tons, and will accommodate 3,215 guests at double occupancy. 


More info HERE and HERE

Six American Modern Riverboats

August 9, 2021
(Courtney American Cruise Lines )

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

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

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

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

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

(American Cruise Line)

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

Hovertravel: Griffon Hovercraft

August 6, 2021

Regular readers will know that I have a “love” of Hovercraft. Unfortunately, there are no giant car carrying Hovercraft in operation today, but there are still some passenger models.

The U.K. still has the oldest Hovercraft route in the world, Southsea (near Portsmouth) to the Ryde, the Isle of Wight. The passenger route, operated by ‘Hovertravel’, has been in continuous operation since 1965. It’s just a ten minute journey at 40+ knots.

Various different models of Hovercraft have served the route over the years, such as the classic SRN6.

Presently, Hovertravel operates a pair of 12000TDs, produced by sister company Griffon Hoverwork, called ‘Solent Flyer’ and ‘Island Flyer’.

They are significantly quieter and more fuel efficient that the Hovercraft of old. The early models used noisy Gas Turbine engines, now they use diesel. The craft used to sound more like a helicopter, now they sound like a bus. Local residents must be pleased.

Above are some images that I took in July 2021.


(Off-topic: anybody interested in steam railways might like these images: HERE)

Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard

August 5, 2021

I recently visited Portsmouth’s historic dockyard (UK). It’s been a few decades since I last went.

In fact the last time that I went, the Mary Rose was still being squirted with fluid to dry her out, but not anymore.

My slides above give you a quick overview of what is on offer.


Astoria To Cruise Again

August 3, 2021

On July 25 it was announced that the ‘Astoria’ will be refitted for further cruise service after having been sold to the same consortium of five high net-worth individuals from the US who in January acquired the cruise ship ‘Funchal’ at auction which were previously operated in the fleet of Lisbon-based Portuscale Cruises until it became insolvent in 2015.

Teamson Lda, which became the registered owner of the ‘Funchal’ in April, has sent the ship to Naval Rocha Shipyards near Lisbon for a two-month dry-docking.

The ‘Astoria’ will be towed to Lisbon from its current lay-up moorings in Rotterdam, after which it will also undergo an extensive refit at Naval Rocha.

The ‘Funchal’ will be converted into a luxury boutique hotel that will be docked in Lisbon. The ‘Astoria’ will be used to operate cruises from Lisbon to Portugal’s island territories in the Atlantic.

(Teamson Lda)

SS Funchal


With the collapse of  UK cruise line CMV, in June 2020, the fate of their fleet quickly became apparent. Marco Polo, Astor, Magellan and Columbus have all been scrapped.

At 72 years old, she was the oldest ocean going cruise ship in operation. Ships half her age have been scrapped in 2020/21, mainly due to the suspended animation of the global cruise industry.

The 550 passenger Astoria joined the CMV fleet in January 2015 to replace Discovery. An inaugural 30-night voyage from Plymouth on 26thJanuary 2015 to the West Indies, set a course of varied cruise itineraries. In 2016,

Astoria commenced a summer charter to French tour operator Rivages du Monde with CMV operating spring and autumn sailings from the UK, which continued for five years.

She was not owned by CMV and had in fact been leased to them. She actually left their fleet, before their demise.

My Smallest ship Experience

Without, doubt, the smallest ocean cruise ship that I have cruised on is CMV’s Astoria. She is 16,144 gross tonnes, carrying 550 passengers. Now to the uninitiated, those numbers may sound pretty big, until you realise that there are many new ships at 150, 000+ gt caring 3,000+ passengers.

Astoria is a charming little ship offering a relatively intimate experience, compared to most.  She only has one real disadvantage – she is not so stable in rough seas. She also had no rock walls or water chutes, but I do not see that as a disadvantage.

Never Cruised On A Small Ship?

If you have only ever cruised on mega-ships, the idea of a small ship possibly underwhelms you. However trust me, you are missing out.

After all, on-board a small ship you normally get one main restaurant, one buffet, one theatre and a couple of bars.

Ask yourself this; If your mega-ship had multiple restaurants, entertainment venues and bars, how many did you actually visit?  If the food is very good in one restaurant, do you really need another? If there is a nice friendly bar, with a good range of drinks, do you need another? Likewise with one entertainment venue, which offers a different show each night – do you really need more?

The lack of choice of public rooms on-board small ships can be outweighed by the ships friendliness and intimacy. You are also likely to get better food and service in a restaurant catering for 275 passengers than you are in one catering for 1,500 passengers.

The crew are more likely to remember your name and favourite tipple, on-board a small ship.

Smaller ship have a much better ‘connection with the sea’. Wherever you cabin is, you can be on-deck within a few minute. The open decks are also not so far from the actual sea.

Small ship offer a more ‘nautical’ experience, rather than a sports-centre/shopping mall type one.


Here is my: Astoria Review

Virgin @ Portsmouth

August 1, 2021

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

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

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

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

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


Icon of the Seas

July 28, 2021

Construction of Royal Caribbean’s next new class of cruise ships reached a milestone at the end of May 2021.The first blocks of the vessel were shipped by the Neptun Werft shipyard in Rostock, Germany to the  Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland

Royal Caribbean first announced ‘Project Icon’ in October 2016. It’s now 2021 and we know little more than we did in 2016. For example: we still have no idea what the ship will look like or anything about the facilities on-board. Even people in the cruise industry, have probably forgotten that that the ship is even coming!

What We Know:

RCI signed a memorandum of understanding with shipbuilder Meyer Turku in 2016 for the new class of vessel under the project name “Icon.” Two vessels will be delivered in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024. A third was later added for 2025.

‘Icon’ is the first new ship class announced by RCI since Celebrity Cruises’ new ‘Edge’ class, which debuts later in 2018. (Also shrouded in much secrecy, for months.)

Icon will carry 5,000 passengers and will be around 200,000 gross tonnes. This suggests that the 5,000 passenger figure look like a lower-berth statistic. (MSC’s forthcoming ‘World Class’ ships and Genting’s ‘Global Class’ will be a similar  gross tonnage).

In contrast, the ‘Quantum’ class is approximately 168,00 gt., carrying 4,905 passengers – all berths. The Oasis class is around 227,000 gt carrying 6, 780 – all berths. Icon will sit in-between the two, in terms of gross tonnage.

LNG and Fuel Cells

Icon will be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and will introduce the use of fuel cell technology, as used in spacecraft. These innovations will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Interestingly, Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley confirmed in early 2019 that the cruise line is looking at bringing the Infinite Veranda idea form the Celebrity ‘Edge’ class over to Royal Caribbean. However some commentators and passengers have been critical of this design of cabin.

Below may be an insight into a ‘playscape’ design for Icon.


Olsen’s Borealis Stuck at Portsmouth

July 17, 2021

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Borealis is stuck in Portsmouth with a technical issue.

“We recently upgraded our onboard technology, and although in our sea trials this worked perfectly, we have since identified a potential issue which we are working hard to resolve,” the company said in a statement on social media.

The next cruise on the ship has been cancelled.

“We would like to give you a further update on Borealis and her location. It has been confirmed that we will not now arrive in Liverpool at the time we had planned. Our technical team continue to work to resolve the issue.”

Fred. Olsen bought the ship from Carnival Corporation’s Holland America Line brand in 2020, where it had sailed since 1997 as the Rotterdam.

(Fred. Olsen)

Malcolm says: Apparently, the Captain reported to passengers that they can’t start the engines due to a computer software problem.

Valiant Lady To Sail UK in 2022

July 10, 2021

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

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

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

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

The Valiant Lady’s getaways include:

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

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

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

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

(Virgin Voyages)

Southampton’s New Horizon terminal opens

July 4, 2021

SOUTHAMPTON’S new £55m cruise facility will welcome its first passengers on Saturday 3rd of July, 2021, ahead of its official opening later this year.

Horizon Cruise Terminal is fitted with more than 2,000 roof-mounted solar panels, which means that on a day-to-day basis it will generate more power than it uses.

The huge £55m complex will also boast shore-to-ship power connectivity, allowing ships berthed alongside to switch their engines off.

Horizon is the fifth cruise terminal to be built at the port

Its opening is a further boost for the city’s cruise industry as it continues to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.

Alastair Welch, director of ABP Southampton, said: “We’re incredibly proud to be building the infrastructure for the future of cruise with a commitment to sustainable operations.

(Text/Images courtesy of Southampton Echo)

MSC Names New Ship Seascape

June 30, 2021


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

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

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


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

Ambassador Is Live!

June 24, 2021

Britain’s newest cruise line, Ambassador, formed from the ashes of CMV, started selling their 2022 cruises today.

A brochure may have dropped through your letterbox, if you were on their mailing list. Their web site went live today with all the itineraries and prices.

However, I hear that the the website slowed up and their tele-sales have struggled to cope with the first day of demand.

The 2022 itineraries, all from Tilbury, range from a couple of one night Festive events (meals on-board, in port) to a 42 night Cuba/Caribbean itinerary.

The Brochure’s First Edition fares did not strike me as exactly “bargain basement”, but I’m sure that deeper discounts will come later. There are some drinks packages, with ‘gratuities included’ deals on offer.

Ambience is around 70,000gt with a passenger capacity of 14,00. That is about the same passenger capacity as CMV’s ‘Magellan’ and ‘Columbus’, so a small ship (or medium at most) by modern standards. Ambience would have been CMV’s Amy Jonson.

Personally, I’m just pleased to see a budget ship, providing no-fly cruises for us “silver” Brits again, from Tilbury.


Back story – HERE

Introducing MSC’s Luxury Brand: Explora Journeys

June 11, 2021

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

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

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

Steel Cut

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

(Images/Text courtesy of MSC)

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

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

MSC World Europa to Debut in Middle East

June 2, 2021

The MSC World Europa is set to debut at the end of 2022 sailing in the Middle East with bookings opening for MSC’s first World class vessel.

Europa, with a maximum capacity of 6,850 guests, around 205,000 gross tonnes and will be 1,080-ft long.

She will set sail in December 2022 and will spend her inaugural season in the Gulf. Her season will commence with a special four-night sailing from Doha in Qatar to her new homeport of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The MSC World Europa will offer seven-night cruises from Dubai to the nearby Abu Dhabi and then onto Sir Bani Yas Island. Her program in the Gulf has also been enriched with calls in the port of Dammam, Saudi Arabia, visiting Al Ahsa oasis.

The ship also calls Doha, the capital of Qatar, before returning to Dubai with an overnight in the city.

Departing Dubai on March 25 2023, the MSC World Europa will head to the Mediterranean where she will offer seven-night cruises calling the Italian ports of Genoa, Naples and Messina, as well as Valletta in Malta, Barcelona in Spain and Marseille in France.


MSC Cruises is breaking down the public areas of MSC World Europa into distinct districts.

MSC Cruises said MSC World Europa would have an adults-only “Zen district” and a separate “family district” that houses as many as 10 new kids facilities. There also will be a central interior promenade with entertainment, shops and bars.

Notably, the promenade on MSC World Europa will measure 341 feet long and will be half open to the sky and half-covered by an LED “sky screen” that will light up with different displays throughout the day.

One of the signature features of the promenade will be The Spiral, a record breaking dry-slide that plunges 11 decks from near the top of the ship to the promenade area.


Ambassador Cruise Line To The Rescue

May 28, 2021

Towards the end of 2020, I wrote an article entitled “The Unprecedented Loss of Classic Ships”.

It was a direct response to large number of older/smaller ships that were being scrapped at the time. I’m not even clear how many were lost. I lost count after fifteen. It is probably double this, by now.

Now I know that some of my readers are probably thinking “So What? A few rust old tubs have been scrapped. Good riddance”.

In recent years the cruise industry has focused on bigger and bigger new floating theme parks. Even some ‘premium’ products like Celebrity Cruises, operate very big ships. There are many smaller luxurious ships in service, but their fares are very expensive. There is a real market, especially in the UK, for smaller tradition ships, offering cruises at affordable fares. Departures from UK regional ports (no-fly) is also a bonus.

Many Brits feel that smaller, intimate, traditional ships, offer a friendlier, more nautical experience. Gimmicks are not required. A wrap around teak promenade deck, good food and entertainment, will surffice.

In short, I am so pleased that the new ‘Ambassador Cruise Line’, created by Ex-CMV executives, will be filling some of the gap left by CMV. I will welcome new ship ‘Ambience’ at Tilbury port next year, which would have been CMV’s ‘Amy Johnson’.



A New Look For Ships Bows

May 26, 2021
Prima (Courtesy of NCL)

Cruise ship fans will have noticed that many of the new cruise ships that are entering service or are on the drawing board, have a very different looking bow.

The vertical bow which was commonplace a century ago, has made a comeback.

AIDA Cruises’ AIDAprima, which entered service in in April 2016, was one of the first new cruise ships that I saw with a vertical bow.

AIDAprima (Courtesy AIDA)

The new vertical bow is said to be more efficient and often provides better sea-keeping abilities that the traditional flared bow.

Celebrity Edge (Courtesy Celebrity)

The vertical bow also said to cause less stress and strain on the vessel as she slices through heavy seas instead of trying to part them as the flared bow does.

Scarlet Lady (Courtesy of Virgin)

However others say that the absence of the flare on the bow can make the forward decks get very wet.

I’m no maritime architect, but personally I really like the look of the new (old) bow.


Ambassador Cruise Line: ‘Ambitious’ Growth Plans

May 22, 2021

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

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

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


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

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

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

Christian Verhounig

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Courtesy Travel Weekly)

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

Lisa Jacobs Appointed To Ambassador

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

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

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

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

(Courtesy Travel weekly)

CMV Reborn: Ambassador Cruise Line

May 13, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gordon Wilson

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

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

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

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

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

(Courtesy of Travel Weekly)

NCL: Prima Interiors

May 13, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Introducing: NCL’s New Prima

May 11, 2021

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Courtesy NCL)


Malcolm says: It is so rare that a cruise lines next class of ship is a little smaller than the one before. However, the ship is not a be-spoke design for NCL. Prima’s the is based on Fincantieri’s Project Mille design, as is Virgin’s ships and MSC’s ‘Seaside’. However Leonardo is shorter than Seaside, so will have a smaller gross tonnage and carry less passengers.

Seaside is 154,000 gross tonnes and carry 4,140 (lower berth) passengers. Leonardo will be 142, 500 gross tonnes and carry around 3,300 passengers. The Breakaway and Breakaway plus class were 145k-169k. (See video above).

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

Marella (Thomson) Celebration Remembered

May 1, 2021

A year ago, in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic,  Marella Cruises announced that they were retiring the 1984-built Celebration.

(I am not clear if she HAS actually been scrapped by now? Anyone?)

The ship was built in 1984 by Chantiers de l’Atlantique for Holland America Line as the MS Noordam.  In 2005 she was moved to Thomson Cruises, which eventually became Marella.

“The Marella Celebration is one of the longest standing and most loved ships in the Marella Cruises fleet. She’s sailed with the cruise line for 15 years, carrying almost half a million passengers. The ship was due to homeport in Dubrovnik in summer ’20 and summer ’21 and Cyprus and Dubai for the winter season,” the company said, in a statement.


Malcolm says: I believe her sister, Marella Spirit (HAL’s Nieuw Amsterdam) left the fleet in 2018 and was sadly scrapped.  

I have very fond memories of Celebration and the Thomson.  I did two cruises on Celebration (2006 and 2209, see links below) under the ‘Thomson Cruises’ umbrella (Pre the Marella rebranding). I loved her and their budget operation in general. This is another loss of a ‘Real Ship’.

Red Sea Magic review: HERE  Colourful Coasts review: HERE

Art Deco Lover

April 12, 2021

I do love a bit of Art Deco architecture. This was the style that became first became popular in the 1920’s and 30’s.

Art Deco influenced the design of almost everything from paintings, jewellery, clothing, buildings, furniture, cars, movie theatres, trains and ocean liners.

During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress.

(Southampton's 1950 Ocean Terminal)

(Southampton’s 1950 Ocean Terminal)

Fortunately the United kingdom still has some wonderful Art Deco buildings that have been well preserved…

Full article: HERE



2020/21 – The Unprecedented Loss of Classic Ships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Olsen’s New Bollette For Tilbury

March 27, 2021

One of Fred Olsen’s new additions to their fleet, named “Bollette”, will be offering six cruises from Tilbury, Essex, UK, in 2022.

These itineraries are in October and December 2022 and range from 5 to 15 nights.

Olsen will also offer cruises from Dover, Southampton and a number of other regional ports, including Scotland and Ireland.

I assume Olsen is keen to capture some of CMV’s past passengers. However their fares can be 50% higher, in my experience.

For the record, I like the Olsen product, but £139 per person, for an inside cabin, in the winter, is a lot of money. After all they are NOT a Luxury or Premium cruise line either. Let’s hope that some deep discounts emerge later on.

Below is an image of the former Holland America Lines ‘Ms Amsterdam’, which was sold to the Fred. Olsen line in 2021 and renamed ‘Bolette’.


The ships is named Bollette, after Fred. Olsen Junior’s great-great-grandmother, and Fred. Olsen Senior’s great-grandmother. She was married to one of the original Olsen brothers behind the business, Petter Olsen, and was extremely well regarded in her community.


1903 Stave Church, Hvitsten

There is a church in Hvitsten in Norway, where the Olsen’s family live, that she helped to build and gifted to the village. The family have had many ships named after her.

(Fred. Olsen)

Malcolm says: It’s a pity that Olsen did not retain Black Watch and Boudicca for a few more years and offered them as a budget product. I believe CMV fans would have embraced both vessels, if the price was right.

P&O’s Arvia: Caribbean Homeports

March 26, 2021

P&O’s next ship, Arvia, will offer a Caribbean maiden season of fly/cruise holidays from home port Barbados and Antigua.

Arvia is Iona’s near identical sister and enters service in December 2022,

The new Caribbean itineraries, running from January to March 2023, will also feature La Romana in the Dominican Republic – a maiden port of call for P&O Cruises; Curaçao; Martinique; St Kitts; St Lucia and St Maarten.

Arvia’s seven and 14-night fly/cruises from the UK also all include an overnight call in Barbados. 22-night holidays departing from or returning to Southampton with UK flights are also available.


Arvia Steel Cut

February 23, 2021

(Courtesy P&O Cruises)

The first piece of steel has been cut for P&O Cruises’ latest ship Arvia.

The 5,200-passenger sister ship to Iona is being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. It is the second LNG-powered Excel class ship to join the P&O Cruises fleet.

The Arvia will be delivered in December 2022, and holidays on it will go on sale in March.

(P&O Cruises)

Introducing: P&O’s Next Ship Arvia

February 20, 2021

(Courtesy P&O)

P&O Cruises has revealed the name of their new 5,200-passenger, second LNG-powered Excel class ship, through a video reveal.

The ship, which will join the P&O Cruises UK six-ship fleet in December 2022, will be named Arvia.

The name means “from the seashore” in Latin.

“The Arvia will join the Iona as an innovative and future-focused ship offering an outstanding, varied and contemporary holiday. The Arvia has been designed to travel to the sun year-round and to maximize views of the ocean and the seashore from everywhere on board, so it seemed a very fitting name and one which will reflect the experience for guests on board,” said P&O Cruises President Paul Ludlow.

Cruises on the Arvia will go on sale in March and further details of the ship, its design and experiences onboard will be released over the coming months.


Malcolm says: Ariva will be a twin sister of Iona, a Carnival design of course, shared by other Carnival brands such as AIDA, COSTA and Carnival itself.

I believe the stated capacity above is double occupancy. She will actually accommodate up to 6,264 passengers. Bring back the Marco Polo and Astor!

The new name reminds me of  the UK bus company name’.  I note that P&O pronounce it: Ah – via.

(Not P&O’s Newbuild!)

The Innovative Solid Sail Project

February 18, 2021

(Courtesy Chantiers de l’Atlantique)

Chantiers de l’Atlantique has announced that it will install a prototype of its Solid Sail/AeolDrive at the shipyard.

Under development for more than a decade, the Solid Sail project hopes to eventually bring wind power to mid-sized cruise ships, in the 200-meter-long range. The eventual goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent using wind power.

The prototype will be one of the tallest composite masts of the world, towering 95 meters above the ground when it is installed in 2022. The centre-piece of the system, the rigging named AeolDrive – a mast tiltable through 70° – will support the Solid Sail, a 1,200 m² sail made entirely of composite materials.

(Chantiers de l’Atlantique)

Malcolm says: I believe MSC were very interested in such a concept.  I’m all for protecting the environment, as I believe that even modern cruise ships, are big polluters. However, most passengers (inc. me) will be primarily interested in a good cruise fare. If they can achieve both environmental progress and good value, that’s great!

Carnival Celebration To Visit UK

December 6, 2020

(Courtesy Carnival cruise Line)

Carnival Cruise Line has opened bookings for its newest ship Carnival Celebration, even thought it does not enter service until 2022.

The ship is due to enter service in 2022, the sister ship to highly anticipated Mardi Gras Carnival’s first XL-class ship.

Carnival Celebration is the sister ship to Mardi Gras – launching next year (2021).

Carnival Celebration is making its debut in 2022 as part of Carnival Cruise Line’s 50th-anniversary celebrations, which will kick off in March of that year.

Carnival has revealed that Carnival Celebration will offer 14 day transatlantic crossing from Southampton to Miami.

The ship will depart on 6 November 2022 and arrive in Miami on 20 November 2020.

Stops on the inaugural cruise will include La Coruna, Vigo, Maderia and Tenerife.

Following on from her maiden voyage, Carnival Celebration will then sail year-round itineraries in the paradise waters of the Caribbean.

BOLT (Courtesy of Carnival)

Celebration will be the second Carnival ship ever to have the BOLT rollercoaster – following on from Mardi Gras which is due to launch next year.


Carnival’s Next Ship To Be Named Carnival Celebration

August 21, 2020

The original Carnival Celebration (1987-2008)

Carnival Cruise Line today announced that its next Excel-class ship arriving in 2022 to coincide with its 50th birthday celebration will be named “Carnival Celebration.”

A full roster of Carnival partners, including Kathie Lee Gifford, Guy Fieri and Shaquille O’Neal, unwrapped boxes that revealed the letters of the Celebration name, which is both a throwback to one of the popular early ships in the Carnival fleet, as well as a recognition of Carnival’s 50th birthday celebration that will take place in 2022 when the new Carnival Celebration will join the fleet, the company announced.

The Carnival Celebration will debut from PortMiami in November 2022, and will be a sister ship to the Mardi Gras, the first in the Excel series scheduled to enter service on Feb. 6, 2021 from Port Canaveral, Fla. The addition of Carnival Celebration to Miami will maintain PortMiami’s position as the top embarkation port for Carnival Cruise Line.

Carnival’s 50th Birthday celebration kicks off in March 2022 – the company’s birthday month – with a series of commemorative sailings that will feature special entertainment and itineraries then continue all year long, culminating with the arrival of Carnival Celebration to Miami in November 2022.


The new Celebration with roller coaster (Carnival)

Fred. Olsen Buys Two HAL Ships

July 16, 2020

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has bought the Amsterdam and Rotterdam from Holland America Line as it works to modernize its fleet.  The vessels will be renamed MS Bolette and MS Borealis, the company said. (I wonder why Olsen have not gone for Scottish names, as per usual?)

“This acquisition forms part of an optimization of the Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ fleet composition and with a high yielding cabin mix and large public spaces, these vessels will enhance Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ earnings capabilities once operations can safely resume. Delivery is expected to take place in the UK during September 2020,” said Fred. Olsen in a statement.

The 1997-built Rotterdam and 2000-built Amsterdam will help bring Fred. Olsen’s fleet up to date while also adding considerable capacity as both ships are approximately 1,400 berths.

However Olsen. said that the company would retire two vessels in its current fleet: See which ones HERE.

The current Fred. Olsen fleet is made up the 1972-built Black Watch and Boudicca, the 1993-built Braemar and the 1988-built Balmoral.

(Cruise Industry News)

Malcolm says: What a surprise! A year ago or so Olsen was considering a newbuild or two. These ships must have been a bargain.  Both HAL ships will be their biggest and youngest. However their passenger capacity at around 1,400 is very respectable for their size.  At around 63,000 gross tonnes the HAL twins are a bit bigger than Balmoral (1988) at around 43,000gt, but over twice as big as the other three vessels: Black Watch, Boudicca, and Braemar. (Click on links in first paragraph for images)

Carnival: The Biggest Ship They Never Built

July 8, 2020


Pinnacle (Fincantieri rendering)

In 2004, the Carnival Corporation launched a development program called the ‘Pinnacle Project’.

The project was shrouded in secrecy, however the aim was to design the world’s biggest cruise ship, at the time.

They say Pinnacle was to be a state-of-the-art ship of  200,000+ gross tonnes, carrying at least 5,000 passengers. There is a fascinating video which reveals the design innovations.

However the project was unfortunately abandoned… but why?

Read my full ‘Pinnacle’ article  – HERE


Keel Laid For MSC Europa

June 29, 2020

Europa (Courtesy MSC)

A ceremony  took place today at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, when the keel was laid for MSC Cruises’ first LNG powered ship, MSC World Europa. Her delivered is planned for 2022.

The tradition was followed, placing two coins under the keel as a blessing for good fortune of the project, and the ship’s operational life at sea.

MSC Cruises’ next newbuild, the MSC Virtuosa, is currently under construction in Saint-Nazaire and readying for delivery next year. The company also has firm orders with Chantiers de l’Atlantique for two additional LNG powered ships, once each for the MSC World and Meraviglia classes of ships.

Ship Profile 

MSC’s first ‘World Class’ ship, Europa, will have a maximum capacity of 6,850 guests. She will carry more passengers than the current record-holder, Royal Caribbean’s ‘Harmony of the Seas’ (Oasis Class ship).

Four of the gargantuan 200,000 gross tonnes, 1,080-ft vessels will be delivered in 2022, 2024,2025 and 2026. The World will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and will be the bigger ship ever built for an European company.

The World Class’ futuristic “Y” shape structure will enable panoramic sea views and increase the proportion of balcony cabins. The ships’ G bow (vertically positioned at a 90 degree angle) has been designed to improve stability, hydrodynamics as well as to enhance guest comfort.

Other guest-centric innovations include family-friendly villages, a panoramic aft, and a glass pool lounge.


Is Europa BIGGER than Oasis? See HERE