It’s not all about Big Ships!

August 1, 2015
Hebridean Princess, leaving Jersey harbour

Hebridean Princess, leaving Jersey harbour, 28/07/15

Continuing my ongoing theme of praising smaller cruise vessels:

Probably Britain’s smallest cruise ship at just 2,112 gt, carrying 50 passengers, mainly around the Scottish Isles.

She started life as the MacBrayne car ferry and Royal Mail Ship, initially RMS then MV Columba, based in Oban for the first 25 years of her life, carrying up to 600 passengers, and 50 cars, between the Scottish islands.

She underwent a major refit at George Prior Engineering in Great Yarmouth in 1989, emerging as the luxury cruise ship, MV Hebridean Princess. She began operating on 26 May 1989 and provides luxury cruises around the Western Isles of Scotland. More recently, itineraries have been extended to include Ireland, the Orkney and Shetland islands, the Norwegian Fjords and the Isles of Scilly.


Above is the Hebridean Princess leaving Jersey harbour (Channel Islands) on 27/07/15 bound for Guernsey.

Fun fact: Hebridean Princess carries 50 passengers. Each of Oasis’s lifeboats carry 370 passengers each!

On-board Hebridean Princess HERE


New 180,000gt Costa Renderings

July 30, 2015
(Images courtesy of Costa. Click to enlarge)

(Images courtesy of Costa. Click to enlarge)

Carnival cruises has announced that its Italian brand, Costa Cruises, will get two new mega-ships as part of an agreement with German shipyard, Meyer Werft. The deal is to construct four cruise ships with the largest guest capacity in the world, the other two ships being destined for its German brand, AIDA Cruises.

The two new ships for Costa Cruises are expected to be delivered in 2019 and 2020.


(Images courtesy of Costa. Click to enlarge)

Each new cruise ship will exceed 180,000 gross tons, offering more than 2,600 passenger cabins and 5,200 (total capacity, all berths, 6,600 guests). A major part of the new ship design involves making more efficient use of the ship’s spaces, which includes multi-functional common areas, creating an “enhanced on-board guest experience”.

Carnival Corporation’s four next-generation cruise ships for Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises will be the first in the industry to be powered at sea by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel.


(Images courtesy of Costa. Click to enlarge)

These new ships will be phenomenal additions to our fleet, and we’re looking forward to seeing our Costa and AIDA brands bring this ground-breaking new ship design to life for our guests in a way that is customized for each brand,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation.

The new Costa Cruises ships will prominently feature the brand’s “Italy’s finest” experience, with the new ship designs and creative uses of space serving to enhance the overall on-board immersion in Italian culture.

(Source: Costa)

AIDA & Costa To Get Two Mega-ships Each

July 29, 2015
Costa 180,000gt ship

180,000gt design in the Costa livery

The Carnival cruise line recently ordered four 180,000 gross ton mega-ships, with the German ship builder Meyer Werft.

Each ship will accommodate 6,600 passengers (all berths) which is a world record. Carnival have now confirmed that two of the new ships will go to their AIDA brand and two to their Costa brand.

Now although I know who Costa are, I must admit that I don’t much about ‘AIDA’.

I was quite  surprised when I heard that a cruise line that I do not know much about was going to  get two such big ships. At 180,000gt they will be the second biggest ships in the world (based on gross tonnage).

Only Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis’ class ships, at around 225,000gt,  are bigger.


AIDA was acquired by P&O/Princess cruises in 2000. In turn, in 2003 P&O Princess was acquired by the Carnival Corporation to form the world’s largest cruise holiday company, comprising of 11 cruise brands. Following the merger, executive control of AIDA Cruises transferred to the Costa Cruises Group, now responsibility for the European brands.

AIDA ships cater for the German-speaking market and are renowned for their youthful style and casual service. As seagoing “club resorts”, AIDA ships have many on-board amenities and facilities aimed at the younger, more active passengers.

The German Cruise Market

The UK cruise market was the second biggest in the world and was only superseded by America. However in the past year UK cruise growth has stagnated.

However Germany is set to become Europe’s biggest cruise market (it my already be so) as record employment levels, wages and leisure time all combine.

Over the last 10 years German passenger numbers have increased threefold. 1.7 million Germans cruised in 2014 and this is expected to rise this year (2015). Therefore it is hardly surprising that AIDA was the first choice to get two of the biggest cruise ships ever built for Carnival.

The AIDA Fleet

(AIDAprima courtesy of AIDA)

(AIDAprima courtesy of AIDA)

I was not aware that Aida currently has ten ships in their fleet:

AIDAcare (1996) is there oldest and smallest ship at 38,531 gross tonnes.

AIDAvita (2002) AIDAaura (2003) are 42,289gt.

AIDAdiva (2007) AIDAbella (2008) AIDAluna (2009) AIDAblu (2010) AIDAsol (2011) AIDAmar (2012) AIDAstella (2013) are all around the 70,000gt mark, give or take a couple of gross tonnes.

AIDAprima will be delivered later this year. A twin (as yet unnamed) will be delivered in 2016. These are the first AIDA megaships at around 125,000gt.

(Courtesy AIDA)

(AIDAprima rendering courtesy AIDA)

Then of course AIDA will have the two new ships at 180,000gt, names and delivery date unknown.


Magellan Returns to Aalborg

July 28, 2015

It’s NOT all about Big Ships!

Magellan, Tilbury 18/07/15

Magellan, Tilbury 18/07/15

British based Cruise Operator, Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), added ‘Grand Holiday’ from Costa Crociere to their fleet, earlier this year.  She was re-named ‘Magellan’.

The Magellan, Originally built at Aalborg Shipyard in 1985, has made the first-ever return to her place of birth, calling in the port of Aalborg ON 24/07/2015.

The reunion was enthusiastically witnessed by a large crowd in Denmark’s fourth city, many of them former yard workers who took part in building what was then one of the world’s biggest cruise ship.

Despite the 30 years since her completion and several renovations, the ship was never forgotten by those who brought her into the world. It took some 3,800 workers to build the ship, many of whom turned up at quayside to enjoy a reunion with the imposing vessel.

To mark the special occasion, 100 former ship yard workers had been invited on board for the so-called Plaque and Keys ceremony. Commercial Director Christopher Coates took the opportunity to thank the yard workers for their fine craftsmanship.

(Cruise Industry News)

I undertook a short cruise on Magellan and have written a review:

New: Magellan Ship review HERE.

Carnival to Build Europe biggest Cruise Terminal

July 27, 2015
Barcelona (source unknown)

Barcelona (source unknown)

Barcelona Port Authorities Board of Directors has awarded planning permission to the Carnival Corp & plc’s for the construction and management of the long-awaited Terminal E on Adossat pier.

A separate lease was awarded to Carnival for the construction of an adjacent parking facility with space for more than 300 cars, the first such facility on the Adossat pier.

The new terminal, costing €30m, will have interior space totalling 11,500sq mtr, the largest cruise terminal in Europe. It  will be used by seven of Carnival’s 10 brands. The company already operates Terminal D, named Palacruceros, adjacent to the new facility.

Construction work on Carnival’s new Terminal E will begin next year. The facility will be operational in 2018.

Carnival adds two ships to its China fleet

Carnival Corporation will add two ships to its China fleet in 2016, making it the first cruise company with six total ships based in China.

The move will increase Carnival Corporation’s total capacity in China by an additional 58 per cent in 2016, further accelerating the company’s leadership position in the growing Chinese market, which is expected to eventually become the largest cruise market in the world.

Carnival Corporation’s fleet of six China-based ships will include one additional ship from both Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises, to meet growing cruise demand in China.

Across the two brands, Carnival Corporation will have three year-round ships and three seasonal ships in the market, representing the largest cruise presence in China in 2016.

Together, the Costa and Princess brands will potentially offer about four million passenger cruise days in 2016, giving Chinese guests more choice and flexibility in both the contemporary and luxury segments.


Malcolm says: Carnival really seem to have fire in their belly now, after a decade of ‘playing it safe’. O.K, they have still been very profitable, but they had left the innovation to NCL and RCI.

Carnival’s four 180,000gt newbuilds (see HERE), will be the second biggest class of ships in the world.




Carnival Must Upgrade Fleet After Disability Violations

July 26, 2015
(Carnival Fleet)

(Carnival Fleet)

Ships operated by the world’s largest cruise provider are about to become more easily accessible for passengers with disabilities, as Carnival Corp. and the Department of Justice (DOJ) reached an agreement to resolve an investigation into complaints that the cruise line failed to adequately provide accommodations for those with disabilities. 

The DOJ said that Carnival would increase accessibility access for people with disabilities on 62 of its ships, as well as provide $350,000 in damages to individuals harmed by the company’s past discrimination.

Under the settlement, Carnival must survey 42 of its existing ships, plus another seven under-construction vessels, to ensure they comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The company must guarantee that 3% of the ship’s cabins are accessible according to three levels: fully accessible cabins, fully accessible cabins with a single side approach to the bed, and ambulatory accessible cabins.

As part of the settlement, Carnival is required to revamp its reservation systems to make it easier for people with disabilities to reserve accessible cabins and suites with specific amenities.


Malcolm says: Carnival have been hogging the cruise headlines quite a lot lately, but this time it is for the WRONG reasons.


AIDAprima on Schedule

July 25, 2015
(Image courtesy of AIDA)

(Image courtesy of AIDA)

AIDAprima is the new flagship of AIDA cruises and the German cruise Industry.

The 125,000 gross tonne cruise ship will carry 3,300 passengers.

AIDAprima photographed at the Mitsubishi shipyard, Nagasaki, Japan on 22/07/15  is looking closer to completion.

The maiden voyage of the ship is on schedule for October 1st, 2015, when she leaves Japan and heading to Dubai.


Celebrity Cruises First Female Master

July 23, 2015
(Image courtesy of Celebrity)

(Image courtesy of Celebrity)

For the first time in Celebrity Cruises’ history, an American female will take the helm of a mega-ton cruise ship.

At 37 years of age, San Francisco native Kate McCue will command Celebrity Summit – a 91,000-ton, 965-foot ship in the Celebrity Cruises fleet, sailing between the eastern United States and Bermuda.

The modern luxury cruise brand, which operates a fleet of ten ships, has elevated McCue to the position of captain based on her 15 years of successful experience and leadership in the maritime industry.

During her tenure, McCue has managed ship logistics while sailing worldwide itineraries, including Europe, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and along the Panama Canal.

(Breaking travel news)

Malcolm says: Sorry, but my wife says that I am not allowed to make any jokes about her ability to park the ship!

Celebrity Equinox review HERE

Clive Palmer & His Ship of Dreams (Titanic 2)

July 22, 2015


The above is a screen-grab from Clive Palmer’s Twitter home-page, the Australia mining entrepreneur and politician.

You can clearly see from the text under his photo, that Clive still thinks that he is building a replica Titanic. Maybe it really is  a “ship of ‘dreams”, because nobody else believes it.

No work appears to have been carried on the design of the ship for over a year, the ‘Blue Star’ website has not been updated for a similar period and the suggested shipyard in China, has no order.


More Titanic 2 speculation HERE

1.5 Million Hits!

July 21, 2015


This modest blog has now received over 1.5 MILLION hits.

A heartfelt thank you to all my regulars and anybody that has just stumbled across my blog.

I hope that most of those 1.5 million hits resulted in some useful information being gained.

Although I do  not win  awards, several major cruise lines have acknowledge the influence of my blog on potential passengers, via my reviews and your comments.

I now look forward to announcing 2 million hits in the future.

Malcolm Oliver


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