Global Dream’s Hull Art

August 13, 2020
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(Courtesy Genting/Dream Cruises)

Dream Cruises ‘Global Dream’, at 208,000 gross tonnes will be one of the worlds biggest ships when she enters into service in 2021 (COVID may delay this?). Only RCI’s ‘Oasis Class’ ships will be bigger.

Global Dream will be able to accommodate up to 9,500 passengers and 2,200 crew members — more people than any other cruise vessel. She will also have a roller coaster. However I realise that these fact will NOT excite all ship fans.

Global Dream will also be the largest ship ever built in Germany.  She will be aimed at the Asian market.

Below we can see a first glimpse of her Hull Art.

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I appreciate that the renderings are not that big or clear, but there appears to be a mermaid on the bow.

The hull art is rather similar to NCL’s and other Dream Cruises ships, in my opinion.

Malcolm

(MSC World Class ships, the first being ‘Europa’ in 2022, will be a similar size to ‘Global Dream’.)

Slide show of the ships interiors – HERE

More info about Global dream – HERE

Viking Cruises Cancels 2020

August 12, 2020

From Viking Cruises Chairman, Torstein Hagen – August 12, 2020

…”we are extending our temporary suspension of operations through December 31, 2020—at which time we believe the world will be in a better position, and international travel will be less complicated.”  (See Viking web site for more info.)

No Cruising This Year For The Industry?

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(Courtesy Getty/Business Insider)

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced today that its ocean-going cruise line members have agreed to “voluntarily suspend” U.S. cruise operations until at least October 31, 2020. Many lines are now cancelling November 2020.

Selected cruise lines like Hurtigruten, Ponant, Paul Gauguin, Viking and Dream Cruises had began operating limited itineraries. However some have already hit problems with crew and/or passengers being diagnosed with Covid. Some itineraries that were to restart in the next month or two have already been cancelled.

Crystal Cruises has cancelled all their remaining ocean voyages aboard the Symphony, Serenity and Esprit through to the end of 2020. Now Viking Cruises have also done the same.

Will other cruise lines follow suit?

Let’s be realistic, It’s starting to look like there will be NO cruising (or very little) in 2020.

Malcolm

Ghost cruise ships become a summer tourist attraction

August 12, 2020
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(Courtesy BBC/Reuters)

One of the more unusual sights of the coronavirus pandemic has been that of cruise ships drifting around in the English Channel, apparently abandoned at sea. But why are they there? And how did they become a holiday attraction? (BBC)

Full BBC new article – HERE

Carnival, RCI and NCL are Burning $1 Billion a Month

August 12, 2020

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‘Cruise Industry News’ has reported that:

Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings are burning through over $1 billion per month without revenue-generating cruises in service.

Malcolm says: No wonder they want to resume ASAP! Income generation and crew/passengers safety will be quite a balancing act.

Update: Royal Caribbean Group today announced that it has secured a binding commitment from Morgan Stanley for a $700 million term loan facility. (CIN)

ScotRail Train Crash

August 12, 2020
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(Courtesy Daily Mail)

A Class 43 Inter7City train from Aberdeen to Glasgow (UK) came off the tracks at 9.40am close to old Carmont railway station, near Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire. Sadly, there has been three fatalities.

Daily Mail  – HERE     BBC – HERE

The End of Four RCI and Carnival Ships

August 11, 2020
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(Scrapping images courtesy of Nautica Goods)

As part of the Carnival Corporations “capacity optimization strategy”: Pullmantur’s  Monarch and Sovereign (ex-RCI) and Carnival’s Fantasy and Inspiration are all now on the beach, in Aliaga, Turkey for their dismantling.

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Carnival Fantasy beached

All four ships entered service in the late 80’s or early 90’s and are in the 70,000 to 74,000 gross tonne range.  Click the links for more information.

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Pullmantur Sovereign being dismantled.

I’m realisably informed that Pullmatur’s ‘Horizon’ (ex Celebrity Horizon, 1990, 46,811 gt) is currently on her way for scrapping in Turkey.

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Horizon (Courtesy Annia Pedreira)

(Scrapping images courtesy of Nautica Goods)

Video of Fantasy being beached – HERE

P&O Extends Pause into November

August 11, 2020

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P&O Cruises has further extended its pause in operations until November 12 and cancelled two extended itineraries due to depart in January 2021. They have also cancelled some longer duration cruises sailing before 31 March 2021.

The line’s last pause was in June until October 15.

The company said the extended pause in operations was “an acknowledgement of Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidance” against taking ocean cruises”.

“As well as cancelling all cruises up until November 12, 2020 we will, sadly, also be cancelling Aurora’s Caribbean and South America Adventure and Arcadia’s world cruise”.

Iona’s Sister To Be Delivered Dec. 2022

The delayed delivery of P&O Cruises new 185,000 gross tonne, 5,200-passenger ship Iona, is now planned for “before the autumn”.

And Iona’s as yet unnamed sister ship will be delivered at the end of December 2022. Itineraries for the second ship will go on sale next spring.

The announcement follows discussions with German shipyard Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg during a pause in all ocean cruise operations due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Iona was originally due to be delivered to the Southampton-based company in May.

(P&O)

Malcolm says: Filling one leviathan will  prove challenging in the present business environment, let alone two.  I think Fred. Olsen et al will start to look more attractive to P&O traditionalists. What do you think?

Iona’s Aerial Entertainment: See HERE

Seabourn Extends Pause

Seabourn has announced that it will cancel upcoming voyages for three cruise ships in its fleet as a part of its pause in global ship operations.

The announcement applies to Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Ovation, and Seabourn Sojourn:

• Seabourn Encore: with its operations pause effective through November 25, 2020.
• Seabourn Ovation: with its operations pause effective through December 20, 2020.
• Seabourn Sojourn: paused through World Cruise 2021, with its operations pause effective through May 24, 2021.

(Seabourn)

HAL Extends Pause Until Dec. 15

August 11, 2020

Citing the continuation of travel and port restrictions due to global health concerns, Holland America Line is extending its pause of cruise operations and cancelling departures on all ships through Dec. 15, 2020.

The pause extension affects Caribbean, Mexico, Panama Canal, Pacific Coastal, South America, Antarctica, Hawaii, South Pacific, Australia and Asia itineraries.

HAL’s newbuild will be called ‘Rotterdam’

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(Courtesy HAL)

Holland America Line announced it is changing the name of its 2021 newbuild from Ryndam to Rotterdam and designating it the new flagship of the fleet.

The seventh ship to bear this historic name, Rotterdam will be delivered one year to the date on July 30, 2021, pushed back slightly from its original delivery of May 2021.

“The first ship for Holland America Line was the original Rotterdam, the company was headquartered in the city of Rotterdam for many years, and the name has been a hallmark throughout our history since 1872 … so clearly the name is powerful and symbolic,” said Gus Antorcha, Holland America Line’s president. “With the current Rotterdam leaving the company, we knew we had a unique opportunity to embrace the name as our new flagship and carry on the tradition of having a Rotterdam in our fleet.”

(HAL)

Holland America Reflects On 147th Anniversary

SS Rotterdam (Courtesy HAL)

Holland America Line commemorated its 147th anniversary on April 18, 2020

Founded April 18, 1873, as the Netherlands-American Steamship Company, the brand has welcomed more than 150 ships throughout the years.

The SS Rotterdam V (1959)

The SS Rotterdam is the legendary former flagship of the Holland America Line. She entered service on 3 September, 1959. She was 38,645 gross Tonnes. In 2008, after 49 years service, she was withdrawn. However rather than be scrapped, she underwent an extensive, but ‘sensitive’ renovation. In February 201, she opened to the public as a hotel.

See my SS Rotterdam Hotel-Ship review: HERE

Malcolm

Have ‘Blue World Voyages’ purchased a HAL ship?

August 11, 2020

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For starters, it’s a much more intimate vessel.  You won’t find hordes of people standing in line to get their third ‘drink special of the day’. You will find like-minded, healthy, active passengers (and those who aspire to be healthy and active).

An entire deck dedicated to wellness, including the largest spa facility (per passenger) at sea. A whole other deck just for sports and fitness. Including a bike fitting station, the world’s largest ocean-going functional training and strength conditioning facility, even a state-of-the-art golf school.

Our land excursions are equally outside the cruise box. We also threw the traditional cruise buffet overboard.  Instead you’ll find a farm to table restaurant. A wine and food pairing lounge. Cooking demonstration kitchens.

For all the above reasons, Blue World is confident our passengers will call their voyage with us the cruise of a lifetime.

But some can also call it home

As part of our quest to completely turn the traditional cruise world upside down, we offer 40 spacious, spectacular one and two-bedroom Residences.

https://blueworldvoyages.com

Malcolm says: It’s rare to see a new cruise line being launched in the present business environment.  It commences in 2021. One of the 40 residences onboard will cost from $2.3m, I’m told!  I have no details of their ship/s, but I did read this: 

Founder and Chairman Gene Meehan said that: “buying an existing ship that had been operating for around 20 years, with a length of 700 feet and 50,000 gross tonnes, and which could accommodate the planned facilities, plus 525 passengers, was the best direction to take”. Fredy Dellis, co-founder of Blue World Voyages and CEO said: “We will spend about $75m on the refit.” Dellis was also the CEO of The World, the only luxury private residence ship in the world. (Ship-Tenchology.com)

To me their rendering (see slide show above) looks remarkably like an older Holland America Line S-Class ship.  I wonder if they have purchased Maasdam (1993) or Veendam (1996), which Carnival recently sold? (Fred. Olsen has also purchased two These ship are around 55,000 gt and would approximately fit their criteria. The rendering does not have enough lifeboats to be one of those HAL ships, but at reduced passenger capacity, less would be required.

 

Royal Caribbean New Ships Delayed

August 10, 2020

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Royal Caribbean Group will only take delivery of three ships between July 2020 and the end of 2021, as opposed to five as originally scheduled.

The company will take delivery of the Silverseas ‘Silver Moon’ this year, RCI’s ‘Odyssey of the Seas’ in the first quarter of 2021, and Silverseas ‘Silver Dawn’ in 2021.

Other ships on order are expected to be delayed by an average of 10 months each.

Other ships the company was expecting to take delivery of in 2021, RCI’s ‘Wonder of the Seas’and ‘Celebrity Beyond’, will be pushed to 2022.

(RCI)

RCI Ship sales: Jason Liberty, executive vice president and chief financial officer, recently said: “The company is evaluating all options, whether that is ship sales or other actions”. (CIN)

Revolutionised Celebrity Silhouette for Southampton

August 10, 2020

 

celebrity-silhouette

(Courtesy Celebrity)

At Celebrity Cruises our iconic “X” is the mark of modern luxury, where our staff provide seamless intuitive service, the culinary experience is designed by our Michelin-starred chef, and our ships are coolly sophisticated, yet warmly inviting.

Celebrity Silhouette, returning to Southampton in 2021 (May to October), is the latest in our fleet to be revolutionised. This luxury upgrade introduces new bars and lounges to enjoy, a refresh of every stateroom and The Retreat – an unparalleled holiday experience exclusively for suite guests.

The UK itineraries are: HERE

(Celebrity)

Global Dream & Crystal Endeavor Delayed

August 10, 2020

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Genting Hong Kong warned on an expected operating loss of at least US$300m and a net loss of at least US$600m for the first six months and said the deliveries of Crystal Endeavor and Global Dream will be delayed by ‘about a year.’

Crystal Endeavor had been due summer this year, Global Dream in 2021.

Both ships are under construction at the Genting-owned MV Werften trio of yards in Germany.

The 19,800gt, 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor is the first of two vessels planned for Crystal Expedition Cruises. The second had been expected to enter service in 2021.

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Crystal Endeavour (Courtesy of Crystal)

Dream Cruises’ Global Dream is the largest ship ever built in Germany. At 208,000gt, she will be one of the largest cruise ships in the world. She will be able to accommodate up to 9,500 passengers and 2,200 crew members — more people than any other cruise vessel.

A Global-class sister, whose keel was laid in September 2019, was scheduled for 2022 delivery.

Genting didn’t specify new delivery dates for Crystal Endeavor or Global Dream, nor did it mention their sister ships.

(Genting)

AIDA to Recommence Sept. 6

August 10, 2020

AIDA Cruises, Carnival Corporation’s German brand, is planning to resume its cruise operations with the first ships from German ports at the beginning of September 2020.

The first itineraries from Kiel will start on September 6, 2020. The first cruises to the Norwegian fjords depart from Hamburg on September 12, 19 and 26, 2020.

(AIDA)

Malcolm says: Too soon? Will the protocols work? Hurtigruten’s and others re-start did not go so well!

Norwegian CEO: Relaunch will take six months

August 9, 2020
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(Courtesy NCL/USA Today)

The outlook for the rest of 2020 remains murky for the cruise industry, to say the least.

On Wednesday, most major lines extended their suspensions through at least the end of October. One day later, the head of Norwegian Cruise Line’s parent company predicted that its ships wouldn’t be back in force until the spring of 2021.

Full USA Today article – HERE

Malcom says: I do hear that Norwegian DO NOT plan on losing any ships from their fleet. ‘Norwegian Spirit’ is their oldest ship. She entered service in 1998.

Can the protocols protect passengers and crew?

August 9, 2020
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An  image that will NOT be appearing in the cruise brochure or web site.

The attempted relaunch of a number of cruise lines has stalled, with some already being struck down with Coronaviruses onboard.

Hurtigruten (one of the first to resume) AIDA, Mein Schiff (TUI), Costa, Viking, SeaDream Uncruise and Paul Gauguin cruises have all reported crew and in some cases, passenger with Covid infections.

Cruise operators have been accused of ‘ignoring the science’ in their rush to start sailing again following the global shutdown caused by coronavirus…

Read full article – HERE

Hurtigruten COO resigns as Covid infections pass 60

August 9, 2020

Hurtigruten chief operating office Bent Martini has stepped down while investigations continue into the Covid-19 outbreak on board the Norwegian cruise line’s ship MS Roald Amundsen.

“We have not been good enough and we have made mistakes.”

Full Travel weekly article: HERE

Malcolm says: This story supports my article above.

La Datcha: Private icebreaker

August 9, 2020

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La Datcha, commissioned by Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov, is 253ft-long and charters at £665k a week. The Icebreaker features a deep-sea submarine, 2 helipads, snowmobiles and on-board sauna and massage room.

The ship, which cost £79.5million to build, can stay at sea for 40 days thanks to its advanced fuel system. The ship was launched this week by shipbuilding firm Damen Yachting from her building hall in the Netherlands.

(Text/Images courtesy Damen Yachting)

Clive Buys A New Toy

August 8, 2020

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Readers may have heard the news in late 2018, that Australian billionaire, Clive Palmer, has resurrected his idea to build a replica Titanic.

Now news about Australian billionaire Clive Palmer’s business ventures and private life is often pretty vague.

However there is strong rumour circulating on the net, that Clive has recently sold his old yacht ‘Maximus II’ and purchased a new one called ‘Vegas’.

Now I appreciate that this is not exactly ground-breaking news, but wouldn’t you like a sneak peak to see exactly what he got for $8.4m? See my…

Dedicated Titanic II Blog: HERE

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Mr. Palmer is also  in a spot of legal bother again!

Mind you, Clive is no stranger to the court room. Just follow the link above.

Malcolm

No Normality for cruising until 2023?

August 8, 2020

The industry will take three years to return to pre-COVID-19 levels of sailing and there could be no cruising from the US for the rest of the year, predicted cruise industry veteran Larry Pimentel during the latest Seatrade Cruise Talks webinar.

‘The runway is very long here… You’re not going to see many vessels this year, at all – if any – for the remainder of the year’, said Pimentel, who resigned from Azamara in April, adding, ‘It’s a very complicated path to recovery. A cruise industry in which there’s no place to cruise? How much worse could it get.’

(Courtesy Seatrade)

Costa Cruises Resume September 6th

August 8, 2020

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Costa Cruises plans to restart its sailings from Italian ports on a gradual basis from September 6, 2020.

The first ship to set sail will be Costa Deliziosa (pictured), on September 6, offering weekly cruises from Trieste to Greece.  Costa Diadema will set sail on September 19, operating seven-day cruises in the western Mediterranean from Genoa.

MSC Resumes August 16th

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MSC Cruises announced today that the MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica will resume operations in the Mediterranean starting from August 16 and 29, 2020 respectively.

The MSC Grandiosa will offer seven-night cruises in the Western Mediterranean calling at the Italian ports of Genoa, Civitavecchia/Rome, Naples, Palermo and Valetta.

The MSC Magnifica will offer seven-night cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean departing from the Italian ports of Bari and Trieste and calling at the Greek ports of Corfu, Katakolon and Piraeus.

For this initial phase of the restart of operations, the two MSC Cruises’ ships operating in the Mediterranean for the current summer season will initially only welcome guests who are residents in Schengen countries (so not Brits or Americans) and subject to any restrictions imposed by the Italian authorities.

MSC Cruises has today cancelled all other cruises in the Mediterranean from August 16 through to and including October 31, 2020. In addition, MSC Cruises announced the cancellation of all U.S. cruise departures through to and including October 31, 2020. MSC also cancelled the Far East cruises from September 10 through to and including October 26.  (MSC)

Malcolm says: Costa and MSC – both far too early? I think that they may come unstuck!

MSC Newbuilds

I bet the major cruise lines are regretting their orders for even bigger cruise ships over the next few years. In many cases these ships will be their biggest ships yet.

The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is a very good example. They have a  massive expansion of their fleet on order, to be delivered over the next eight years. That equates to OVER 26,000 new berths to fill.

Europa will be the first of four ‘World’ Class’ ships and their biggest ‘class’ yet.

Malcolm

(courtesy CIN/MSC)

Below: Keel laying: MSC’s Europa ‘World Class’ ship.

Is Europa BIGGER than Oasis? See HERE

Fred. Olsen: Havana Homeport 2021/22

August 7, 2020
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Braemar (courtesy Fred. Olsen)

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has today announced that the 2021/22 Caribbean season aboard Braemar will be served with the turnaround port of Havana, Cuba, as the company enhances destination experiences for guests.

Fred. Olsen is relaunching its Caribbean itineraries for next year to showcase two types of holiday experience for guests: those looking to refresh and refuel with some winter sunshine, and those looking to immerse themselves in the history and vibrant culture of the islands they visit.

Clare Ward, Customer Services, said: “Too often the Caribbean is thought of as a single destination, but it is so much more than that, with so many islands offering different and unique yet equally exceptional experiences”.

“The eastern Caribbean, with destinations such as St Kitts and St Maarten provide the perfect setting for those looking to recharge their batteries and enjoy the laid back way of life while escaping the colder winter temperatures back home. Guests can take in the many stunning waterfalls and beaches in St Lucia, take a trip on a Rhum Runner in Grenada and indulge their Bob Marley knowledge in Port Royal.

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One of the itineraries (Courtesy Fred. Olsen)

“Meanwhile the western islands offer endless opportunities to explore, immerse and learn. For example, during calls into Cozumel, guests can explore the Mayan Ruins – one of the Seven Wonders of the World – and trek through the jungles in Belize.

“Using Havana, Cuba, as our new turnaround base allows us to really showcase the Caribbean in all its glory. It also means we can offer extended stays into Havana so that our guests have plenty of time to enjoy this vibrant city, with late-night departures or overnight stays where possible”.

(Fred. Olsen)

Malcolm says: An imaginative move. However it’s a pretty short residency in Cuba, with cruises departing December to February 2021 – One cruise Bridgetown to Havana, three round-trip out of Havana (two itineraries) and one Havana to Bridgetown. The fly-cruise fares look pretty high to me, (See Olsen’s web site).

Olsen has recently purchased two new ships, but will they loose two existing ships?

Introducting: Amadeus Imperial

August 7, 2020

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July 27th marked the unforgettable christening of our newest river cruise ship, the AMADEUS Imperial. The Godmother of the beautiful ship was Martina Lüftner, co-founder of Lueftner Cruises. Present were our key partners, all three daughters of the founders, and of course, the crew of the AMADEUS Imperial. The christening party took place in Amsterdam, followed by a 8-day maiden voyage to Basel.

The AMADEUS Imperial joins the ranks of our premium line and is our response to the worldwide demand for top class river cruise products. She offers luxurious balcony suites, a fully equipped modern fitness area as well as multiple dining and bar venues, including the spectacular “River Terrace” at the bow of the ship which offers unparalleled views of the passing river scenery.

(Amadeus/Luftner)

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(Courtesy Luftner)

Malcolm says: That makes a fleet of 16 Amadeus river boats now. Even Fred. Olsen’s riverboat ‘Brabant’ is also chartered and operated by Amadeus.  I’ve cruised twice with Amadeus and they offer a very good quality international experience, at a lower fare than some of their competitors.

There are many myths about river cruising. Would a river cruise appeal to you? However avoid this river cruise line at all costs.

Marella to restart from Corfu in October

August 7, 2020

Marella Cruises has announced it hopes it will start sailing on Oct. 2 from Corfu with the Marella Explorer, and hopes to welcome guests back onboard ships when the government travel advice changes.

To give customers peace mind, Marella Cruises has introduced its Marella Promise, focused on five key commitments to ensure customers can have the safest and enjoyable cruise, the company said. (CIN)

Malcolm says: Too soon?

Southampton to get Fifth Cruise Terminal

August 5, 2020
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P&O’s Britannia at Southampton’s Ocean Terminal

HAMPSHIRE is getting a much-needed boost with the announcement of a £15.9million government package that should create 730 jobs and 1,560 homes.

The Port of Southampton will get a fifth cruise terminal, while 100 jobs will be created at a centre for environmentally, robotic vessels in Woolston.

Full Daily Echo article – HERE

Malcom says: I admire their forward thinking, but Southampton is not going to need any cruise terminal for a while!

I’m not anti-cruise terminals, but as I’ve said before, they also need to improve the road network of Southampton. The terminals share the same road system as ‘West Quay’ shopping centre, many hotels, business, residents and Ikea.  With five terminals, possibly serving five megaships i the future, that could be over 25,000 passengers and their cars, GRIDLOCK will almost certainly result. It occasionally does already.

Virgin Galactic Supersonic Aircraft

August 5, 2020

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Virgin Galactic reveals supersonic jet design capable of carrying 19 people at speeds over three times the speed of sound.

It would travel at speeds of Mach 3 at altitudes above 60,000 feet. The cabin is customized to fit customers’ needs, like business and first class.
Virgin Galactic has also announced a design partnership with Rolls-Royce. Flying time between London and Sydney could be cut to five hours.

(Virgin)

Malcolm says: It’s ironic that the world’s Airlines are desperate to recommence operations with full cabins, yet Virgin have designed a new Supersonic’ aircraft.

Did any readers fly Concorde or even take the QE2/Concord combo? This was regularly on sale via Cunard, from the 1970’s. However 2003 was the last opportunity to “fly the flag” and travel on both these 1960’s icons together.

Maybe Cunard will offer a Virgin Galactic and QM2 combo one day?

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(Courtesy Cunard)

Read my QE2 review – HERE

Empress of the Seas To Be Scrapped?

August 4, 2020
empresscuba

(Courtesy RCI)

There are rumours circulating on the net, that Royal Caribbean’s ‘Empress of the Seas’ is headed for the scrapyard.

This is hardly surprising,  in the current business environment. Empress of the Seas is the oldest ship in the RCI fleet at 30 years old (1990). The major lines do not tend to retain ships after 25 years service.

In addition, at 48,563 tons, she is nearly five times smaller than the line’s Oasis Class vessels.

Empress has already left the RCI fleet once before, In 2008 she was transferred to Pullmantur. Royal Caribbean brought it back in 2016 for cruises into Cuba, before the U.S. government reversed its policy on American travel there. However two sister ships  Monarch and Sovereign (both ex RCI) that had been cruising for the now defunct Pullmantur,  have been scrapped.  Monarch was a year younger than Empress.

However a Royal Caribbean spokesperson responded simply, “Empress is not headed to the scrap yard, she’s still a part of the Royal Caribbean fleet.”

(Net)

Malcolm says: If Empress is NOT leaving the RCI fleet now, the clock must still be ticking. It’s only a matter of time, I’m afraid.

Hurtigruten Axes UK Itineraries

August 3, 2020
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(Courtesy Hurtigruten)

Today cruises are coming and going by the hour:

Hurtigruten has axed plans to sail UK itineraries next month, following an outbreak of coronavirus on its ship Roald Amundsen.

The cruise line announced last month it would embark on a series of short-break expedition cruises round Britain from September.

Four sailings had been confirmed, with the first out of Portsmouth on 2 September, followed by two departures from Liverpool and one from Glasgow.

Hurtigruten’s coastal voyages around Norwegian are still going ahead*.

(Hurtigruten)

Malcolm says: *So far!

2021: Southampton gets Regal Princess

August 2, 2020

We are beyond excited for spring 2021, when we’ll be welcoming Regal Princess to Southampton.

Built in 2014, this Royal-Class ship boasts luxury accommodation complete with the award-winning Princess Luxury Bed, plentiful dining options to suit every mood and occasion, ‘The Best Wi-Fi at Sea’, plus so much more. Where will Regal Princess take you?

Royal-Class ship

Next year will be the first time we’ll have a Royal-Class ship sailing out of Southampton to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and even Canada and New England. There’s a vast array of itineraries to choose from, whether it be a 4-night long weekend break, a 14-night family summer holiday or a 24-night Canada cruise with your loved one in celebration of a special milestone.

(Princess Cruises)

Malcolm says: Regal Princess is 142,714 gross tonnes and carries 3,650 passengers. This is not a particularly attractive size (big) to try and sell in the middle of a pandemic!  However, I do like the Princess product.

Carnival to sell Cunard and Seabourn?

July 30, 2020

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I like to deal in both facts and rumours, so here is a very big rumour for you:

Carnival believed to be eyeing sale of Cunard and Seabourn brands, cruise insiders say.

Sources say the prospective sales of the historic line and Seabourn would likely be prompted by ageing customer demographics and a need to generate higher returns.

Carnival has denied any talk of a sale.  (Courtesy TradeWinds)

Malcolm says: I have no idea if there is any substance to this rumour. Please watch this space.  Cunard at 180 – see HERE

Fascination & Imagination to leave fleet

July 29, 2020
Carnival Fascination

Carnival Fascination  (A.Newman)

On 29/07/20 the Carnival Corporation web site carried a lot of management-speak, but in short it said that they were going to remove a further two more ships from their fleet.

“We have made a decision to remove a further two ships from our fleet. These decisions are intended to align the fleet with the expected phased restart of guest cruise operations while also generating cost savings”.

“On July 23, 2020, senior management of the Company evaluated these two ships for impairment and concluded their carrying values are no longer recoverable when compared to their estimated remaining future cash flows…We plan to continue to evaluate other options to maximize our liquidity and best position our fleet for future operations”.

Carnival have already sold Fantasy, their oldest ship at thirty years old (1990) and sister ship, Inspiration (1996). Both are currently being scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey.

There are four Carnival ships slightly older than Inspiration.  However Carnival have previously stated that: “The Carnival Fascination and Carnival Imagination will move to a long term lay-up status, with no specific timeline identified for a return to operation”.

I have No inside knowledge, but To me, this suggests these two ships are the most vulnerable to leaving the fleet.

Malcolm

 

CMV’s Flagship Columbus

July 29, 2020
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Columbus (Courtesy CMV)

Columbus was Cruise & Maritime Voyages flagship for just three years, from June 2017 until they sadly ceased trading in June 2020. She was definitely a ‘Real Ship’, although a little bigger than my normal criteria.

Columbus entered service in 1988, but did not feel her age. At 63,786 gross tonnes, carrying  1,400-1,800 passengers, she was CMV’s biggest ship.

I have been on the ship and so has guest contributor Bruce Tucker. Therefore we have two reviews for you.

Columbus Ship Reviews: HERE

Malcolm

 

Viking Adds Mekong Ship

July 29, 2020

(Courtesy Viking Cruises)

Viking is adding a new ship* next summer to its Mekong programme called ‘Viking Saigon’.

The purpose-built for the Mekong River, Viking Saigon is currently under construction and will launch on 30 August 2021.

It will accommodate 80 guests in 40 outside staterooms with a veranda or French balcony.

The vessel will have a spa and fitness centre, an infinity pool and upper deck Sky Bar.

Viking Saigon will join Viking Mekong in the region.

(Viking Cruises)

Malcolm says: *Or is it a boat? Slide show – HERE

RCI: Electronic Muster Drill

July 28, 2020

Royal Caribbean announced a new way for guests to conduct the cruise ship safety drill by digital app, which will help with promoting social distancing onboard.

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For full details see ROYALCARIBBEANblog

Malcolm says: This will probably become the norm, or something very similar. The mega-ship owners have been exploring ways of safely mustering 6,500+ people for a few years now. It simply is not safe to have all those people, all moving at once with trailing lifejackets down corridors and up/down stairs. There is probably more chance of a human ‘crush’ than the ship actually sinking.

However I hate to imagine a total evacuation from a megaship. It’s unlikely to have a happy ending for all the passengers, like the ‘Costa Concordia‘ tragedy.

Rebirth of Swan Hellenic

July 24, 2020

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Swan Hellenic is making a return to the cruise business, after three years, with two new expedition ships.

Company statement: “If you are looking to experience the remote Polar regions or explore truly off-the-beaten path destinations and cultures of our spectacular planet, then you are in great company. Swan Hellenic exists to provide its guests with authentic, intimate and unforgettable moments in extraordinary locations and remote landmarks. All the while enjoying a sophisticated elegant atmosphere onboard”.

Two state-of-the-art expedition ships are being built in Helsinki Shipyard, Finland aimed at providing 152 guests an elegant, intimate and personal onboard experience delivered by 120 warm, friendly and knowledgeable staff.

The first ship will set sail for Antarctica in November 2021, the second will be launched in April 2022.

(Swan Hellenic)

Malcolm says: Swan Hellenic is a British cruise line specialising in high-end expedition tours of historical or cultural destinations. Swan Hellenic was first established as Swan’s Tours in the 1950s. In 1983, Swan Hellenic was acquired by P&O and became a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation & plc in 2003, but it ended operations in 2007 after Carnival discontinued the brand. Shortly after, All Leisure Holidays Group purchased and revived Swan Hellenic, but ended its operations in 2017.

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Minerva 2008-17 (Courtesy A.Krasnodar)

Oceana becomes ‘Queen of the Oceans’

July 23, 2020
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(Images courtesy P&O)

P&O: Sadly we announce that Oceana will leave the P&O Cruises fleet this month. Whilst we will all miss Oceana, her departure will allow us to focus on our remaining ships and the delivery of Iona later this year, followed by Iona’s sister ship, scheduled for 2022.

Update: Seajets, a Greek ferry operator, struck a deal to purchase the former P&O Oceana and enter the overnight cruise business. They have renamed her “Queen of the Oceans”.

The Iliopoulos-family led operation began passenger transportation in the Aegean Sea in 2002.  Seajets operates the largest highspeed fleet in the Aegean. They have 17 vessels including some conventional ferries, serving 26 islands.

Malcolm says:  Oceana was originally built in 2000, for the American ‘Princess Cruises’ fleet. She is 77,499 gross tonnes and carries up to 2,272 passengers. This makes her less than half the size of P&O’s latest giant, Iona. I wonder how long P&O’s Aurora has left? 

Oceana slide show – HERE

Bremen To Leave Fleet

July 22, 2020
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(Courtesy Hapag-Lloyd)

The 1990-built Bremen will not sail for the German Hapag-Lloyd Cruise brand again.

However, in 2021, Hapag-Lloyd is welcoming a new expedition ship to its fleet. Under construction at VARD, the Hanseatic Spirit will be a sister to Hanseatic Inspiration and Hanseatic Nature, which entered service in 2019.

(Hapag-Lloyd)

The CMV Tragedy

July 21, 2020
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Columbus laid-up at Tilbury (June 2020)

Cruise & Maritime Voyages,  yesterday (20/07/20) announced that they have gone into administration.

  • They have been in existence since 2009.
  • Around 4,000 staff will probably lose their jobs.
  • CMV offices close in Australia, France, the US and Germany
  • I fear that most/all of their four existing ships will be scrapped.

Their current ships: Marco Polo, Magellan and Columbus served British Passengers at a range of UK ports. That’s a loss on around 4,500 berths a week. Astor served the German market with around 650 berths. Two new additions to their fleet, scheduled for 2012 (Amy Johnson & Ida Pfeiffer) will of course be cancelled.

If I had to sum up the CMV product in three words, they would be “Affordable, friendly and charming”.  What was almost unique about their fleet, was that these are smaller ships, offering a British experience at some very competitive fares. The only other cruise line to offer a similar ‘experience’ on smaller ships, is Fred. Olsen, but their fares are often higher.

There are some luxury cruise lines offering cruises on-board new smaller ships, but their often very high fares are unlikely to attract CMV regulars.  P&O still have Aurora, amongst an increasing fleet of mega-ships, but at 76,000 gross tonnes, she is not exactly small. By comparison Marco Polo is around 22,000 gt.

Fred. Olsen takes delivery of two ex-Holland America ships next year, although they have said that they will lose two of their existing fleet of four ships. I wonder if Olsen might reconsider losing two ships, given the big hole created within the UK market by the loss of CMV.

Finally, I wonder what effect that CMV’s collapse will have on the UK’s regional ports. CMV were Tilbury Cruise Terminal’s main customer, for example.

It’s a very sad day for British cruising.

Malcolm

Olsen’s Bolette Interiors

July 21, 2020

Below is a slide show of the interiors of Holland America Lines ‘Ms Amsterdam’, now sold to the Fred. Olsen line and to be renamed ‘Bolette’ (Full Story here).

Named Bolette, 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.

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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.

Olsen’s ‘Borealis’ Interiors

Below is a slide show of the interiors of Holland America Lines ‘Ms Rotterdam’, now sold to the Fred. Olsen line and to be renamed ‘Borealis’ (Full Story here).

Olsen. will of course change/renovate the décor, but these images give you a good idea of the public spaces on-board this charming ship.
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The Olsen’s used to have a ship called Borealis in their fleet many years ago, in 1948, long before they became a cruise line.

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Olsen’s Borealis cargo ship 1948-73 (R.Cox)

The name ties in well with our company heritage stemming from Norway, with so many people going in search of the Northern Lights – the Aurora Borealis – with us, and celebrates the romanticism of cruising.

(Fred. Olsen)

Will Olsen’s Black Watch & Boudicca Be Scrapped?

July 17, 2020

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has bought the ‘Amsterdam’ and ‘Rotterdam’ from Holland America Line (HAL) as it works to modernize its fleet.  These two ship will be their newest and biggest, although hardly ‘very big’ at around 63,000 gross tonnes. Great!

However, Fred. Olsen said it would retire two vessels in its current fleet, but did not elaborate on which ships would exit*. Not so great!

Don’t panic! I do NOT know which ships will go. This article is mainly speculation.

Olsen’s current fleet comprises of:

Black Watch (1972), 28,000gt
Boudicca (1972), 28,000gt
Balmoral (1988), 43,000gt
Braemar (1993), 24,000gt

(Click on the ship names to read my reviews)

Lets speculate which two ships will go.

Now firstly, the physical and mechanical state of the ships will be considered by the cruise line. I have no idea of the ships condition ‘under the bonnet’, so to speak. Only the Olsen bean-counters know which ships in the fleet sell the best, too. Only they know which are the most efficient run.

What I can tell you,  is that after 25 about years of service, many cruise lines say goodbye to their ships, even if they are still popular. By that time they have normally become outdated in terms of onboard facilities and start to cost a lot to maintain. It may also become increasing difficult to adapt them to me the latest maritime safety regulations (SOLAS) each year.

However Olsen regulars like smaller/older ships. They are often happy to sacrifice a big balcony cabin, to be onboard a charming and intimate vessel, They do not require a rock wall or water park on deck.

Balmoral is the currently the Olsen flagship, currently being the biggest ship in their small fleet. She is in a  very nice condition, but she’s not the youngest. I believe Balmoral will be ‘safe’, even though she’s 32.

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Balmoral (courtesy Fred. Olsen)

Braemar is the smallest. She has a shallow draft, so can be a little unstable, but can reach shallow waters which the other vessels can’t. Her youth might ‘save’ her. I say ‘youth, but she’s now 27.  She’s not a bad ship at all, but she is my least favourite.

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Braemar (Courtesy Fred. Olsen)

The charming ‘Black Watch’ and ‘Boudicca’ sisters were built for the Royal Viking line in 1972. They are the oldest in the Olsen fleet, both being 48 years old. However I believe they both had new engines installed, so may be more efficient to run that younger ships. I do not have that information.

However many of their cabins are particularly ‘compact’, with old fashioned style port holes. Their show lounge is not raked and gets a little overcrowded, so sightlines can be compromised.  They can’t offer the range of facilities and alternative dining  options than even today’s medium sized vessels can. It is also important to note that the features that they don’t have, like multiple alternative dining, extensive Spas and big Casinos generate more income for the cruise line.

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Boudicca, Tilbury (By me)

However these two ship exude grace and charm. Their fantail (stern) design with a pool overlooking the wake, surrounded by tiered decks is beautiful.

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Pool Deck, Black Watch

The wrap around teak promenade deck is a joy to walk on. How many bars and dining rooms do you really need if the food and drink served is good?

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Black watch (Courtesy Fred Olsen)

Unfortunately,  I suspect that ‘Black Watch’ and ‘Boudicca’ will depart the Olsen fleet to make way for the two newer/bigger HAL vessels. (Amsterdam is 28 years younger!)

Unfortunely, I suspect no other cruise line will want to buy two 48 year old ships, so they will be scrapped.

Another end of an era.

When will this happen?  All the Olsen fleet have cruises in the calendar until March or April 2022. However these ca be revised.  An Olsen press release said “Delivery (of the two new ships) is expected to take place in September 2020.”. I assume that both ships will undergo some Olsen-ization at a European shipyard, pre-delivery. Maybe they will be ready join the Olsen. Fleet (and the two ships will retire) in late 2020 or in early 2021. If I’m right, that will not give a lot of time for farewell cruises to be offered.

Malcolm

*(source: Cruise Industry News, 15/07/20)

Celestyal Buys NeoRomantica

July 17, 2020
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(Courtesy Costa)

As part of the Carnival sell-off,  Celestyal Cruises announced that it has bought Costa NeoRomantica from Costa Cruises.  Details of the ship’s delivery and deployment will be announced at a later date. (Celestyal Cruises)

Celestyal Cruises (formerly Louis Cruises and Louis Cruise Lines) is a Cyprus-based cruise line.  It is a subsidiary of Louis plc, founded in 1935. There are four ships under Celestyal’s operation. Celestyal runs an Eastern Mediterranean program traveling to Greek and Turkish ports as well as a Cuba program. The company has historically chartered several ships to Marella Cruises, previously Thomson Cruises. (Wikipedia)

Costa Romantica was completed in 1993 and is a sister ship to Costa Classica. In November 2011, Costa Romantica underwent a major refurbishing and the ship was renamed Costa neoRomantica. Her gross tonnage is 56,769 tons.

Malcolm says: The major cruise lines tend to offload tonnage when it is around 25 years old – NeoRomantica is 27.