Introducing Virgin’s: Valiant Lady

November 19, 2019

(Courtesy Virgin)

Virgin Voyages announced its second ship will be called the Valiant Lady and that she will sail seven-night Mediterranean itineraries out of Barcelona, Spain when she debuts in May 2021.

The ship is expected to be very similar to their 1st ship, ‘Scarlet Lady’, at 110,000 gt, carrying 2,700 passengers (double occupancy).

Bookings for the three feature itineraries, that all offer overnight and late-night stops in destinations in France, Italy and Spain, will open December 19, 2019.

Virgin will offer three itinerary options from Barcelona. The first will call in Ibiza, Monte Carlo, Marseille and Olbia. A second offering will call in Ibiza, Toulon, Ajaccio, Marina di Carrara and Cagliari; and a third itinerary focuses on Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca, Malaga and the British port of Gibraltar. All three feature a Friday overnight in Ibiza.

(Virgin Voyages)


CMV Target French Market

November 17, 2019

Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) will enter the French market with a fully French-speaking product on a year-round basis as the company will turn the Astor into the Jules Verne and operate it under the Croisières Maritimes and Voyages banner in 2021.

The ship will sail cruises to Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and already has a world cruise set for 2022.

Apart from the world cruise, average cruise lengths will be around 12 days on the 550-guest ship, according to company executives.

The 1987-built ship will sail from Le Havre and Marseille starting in spring of 2021, taking over a key position in the market as there is no current contemporary cruise brand in France.

Ponant offers a current French product, but in the ultra-luxury and expedition space.


Malcolm says: Astor is a lovely ‘real’ ship. See my review: HERE

MSC Grandiosa Ship Tour

November 14, 2019

Below are some images of this impressive new mega-ship:

Rise Of The Clones

November 11, 2019

SS United states (Top) and SS America, United States Line (Source unknown)

Ships Of State

In the era of the great Ocean Liners, each country that had the resources and know-how designed and built themselves unique ships. These were ‘ships of state’, each representing their country.

For example the UK had the likes of the Titanic and later the Cunard Queen’s ‘Mary’ and ‘Elizabeth’. France had their wonderful ‘Normadie’ and ‘France’. American had their ‘America’ and ‘United states’. Each ship represented their respective countries engineering achievements, excellent design and the finest decor and artwork.

Today cruise ship are much more generic and the design can actually be shared across different cruise brands. In fact the only differences in some cases, may be the funnels, livery and internal decor.

We are going to see even more ‘clones’ over the next few years…

See full article: HERE


Marella Discovery to Sail From Port Canaveral

November 9, 2019

(Courtesy Marella)

For the first time ever, Marella Cruises will base a ship in the United States as the Marella Discovery will sail from Port Canaveral in 2021.

The TUI-owned brand targeted at the British market will sail the Marella Discovery from the port beginning in Summer 2021, offering four new itineraries with 11 port-of-call visits.

Cruise bookings go on sale Thursday, Nov. 7, for 26 seasonal voyages from May 2, 2021, through Oct. 24, 2021.

The ship will sail from Port Canaveral’s Cruise Terminal 5.

Customers sailing on Marella’s American Dream and Big Apple Adventure itineraries will enjoy an overnight stop in New York City. The Discovery will also visit Miami and Turks and Caicos on its Sunshine States and Sands itinerary. And customers can select seven- or 14-night options with an overnight stay in Tampa on the ship’s Floridian Favorites itinerary. Guests choosing one of the four itineraries also have the flexibility to extend their cruise ashore with available cruise-and-stay packages available in Orlando.

The Marella Discovery will make port-of-call visits to the Ports of Charleston, S.C., New York City, Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas, Norfolk, Va., Key West, Miami, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and New Orleans.


Malcolm says: I really liked Thomson’s cruise product, but I’ve not been with them under the ‘Marella’ guise. I still think it is a very silly name. It’s not grown on me at all. I do cruise of Discovery in her previous life, when she was RCI’s ‘Splendour of the Seas’. (Click the link to read my review)

Saga’s first Purpose-built River Ship

November 7, 2019

(Courtesy Saga)

Saga has announced plans to launch a newbuild boutique river cruise ship to sail on European rivers starting in spring 2021.

This is Saga’s first purpose-built river ship.

The popularity of river cruising with Saga customers has been steadily increasing in recent years, the company said.

The Spirit of the Rhine will be sailing on rivers including the Rhine, Moselle, Main and Danube as well as through the waterways of the Netherlands.

(Courtesy Vahali)

The new ship will be built by Vahali who have shipyards in the Netherlands and Serbia.

Bespoke: Every feature of Spirit of the Rhine has been individually designed for Saga guests. This includes a panoramic lounge and bar, an inviting library, fitness area, and an expansive, shaded sun deck with a hot tub and alfresco barbecue. All with levels of service that are second to none.

Dining: Chef-prepared cuisine is waiter served in the main restaurant, offering a tempting choice at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus, dine free of charge at the à la carte restaurant which seats 34 diners in a beautiful, intimate setting.

Cabins: All cabins are beautifully spacious, and with an average floor plan of 17 square metres they’re some of the most generously-sized on the Rhine. Cabins on the Main and Upper decks all have French balconies with floor-to-ceiling picture windows, offering personal, private views of every destination.

(Text/Images Saga)

Would you enjoy a river cruise? SEE HERE.

Malcolm says: I have done four really good river cruises and one really bad one! However it is difficult to get excited about river boats design. Only a few ship yards make them and most of them are virtually identical in size, layout and facilities. They really need to be a little bit more imaginative, especially in term of entertainment and entertainment facilities.

(P.S ‘Spirit of the Rhine ‘is a really silly name for a ship which will sail on different rivers. How about ‘Spirit of the Waterways’ or even ‘Waterways Spirit’.)

The myths and reality of river cruising: SEE HERE.

Real Ships (3): The Onassis Yacht

November 5, 2019

O.K. I have cheated a bit, but I’m the boss!  She’s not a cruise ship, but she is very small and very charming. Edwin might like her!

The Christina ‘O’ (1943) yacht, owned by millionaire Aristotle Onassis, was moored in London in 2012 and open to the public for a short period.

John & Jackie Kennedy and Winston Churchill were regular guests of Onassis, before Jackie later married him.

Above are my images of this beautiful and very historic yacht.


Introducing MSC Europa, 204,000 gt Ship

November 4, 2019

MSC’s Europa (MSC)

MSC Cruises’ first 204,000-ton, 5,400-guest World Class vessel will carry the name MSC Europa, as Chantiers de l’Atlantique cut steel on the newbuild today in a ceremony in France. The ship will debut in 2022 and is the first of four in the series to be fuelled by LNG. In addition, the MSC and Chantiers de l’Atlantique confirmed innovative fuel cell technology for the newbuild via a new memorandum of understanding.

Codenamed PACBOAT, the research and development project focuses on the integration of a new fuel cell technology. The technology will have an output power of 50KW and will produce electricity and heat using LNG.


MSC’s Europa (Courtesy MSC)

The integration of a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology onboard a cruise ship is a world first.

This technology, which operates at very high temperature (750°C), is the most efficient for high-power marine like applications than the low-temperature Hydrogen-based Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) solutions, the yard said, in a press release.

The SOFC technology offers electrical efficiency up to 60 percent, and as the heat produced can be consumed on board, its total efficiency – heat and electricity – can be much higher, resulting in a direct reduction of energy consumption and therefore of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

This SOFC solution fueled by LNG would thus reduce emission of GHGs by about 30 percent compared with a conventional dual fuel LNG engine, with no emission of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides or fine particles.



Avoid This River Cruise Line!

November 2, 2019

Here is a story about a little boat from a major river cruise line,  however this story DOES NOT have a happy ending!


Porto, on the river Douro.

Imagine a river cruise where crew members smoked on the bridge wings and their smoke drifted into your cabin.

Imagine a river cruise where many of the waiters were poorly trained and there was virtually NO choice of menu.

Imagine a cruise where the included wine was generally ‘plonk’!


Fine dining? Self-service Paella placed in the middle of the table.

After several successful river cruises in Europe, I cruised the Portugal’s Douro river, earlier this year.

The river and scenery were FANTASTIC, however much of the experience on-board the boat was TERRIBLE.  All is revealed below.

My poor river cruise – review: HERE

Three Days, Three Mega-Ships

November 1, 2019

MSC Grandiosa Delivered

And yet another big ship:

(Courtsey MSC)

On 31 October 2019, MSC Cruises took delivery of MSC Grandiosa from Chantiers de l’Atlantique.

She is 181,000 gross tonnes and carries 4,888 passengers.

Gianluigi Aponte, MSC Group Chairman, attended the delivery ceremony, welcoming MSC Cruises’ newest flagship and one of the most environmentally-advanced ships at sea.
Following her christening, the ship will spend the winter sailing in the Mediterranean.

MSC said that the new MSC Grandiosa is its most-environmentally-advanced ship yet and a testament to the company’s long-standing commitment to protect the seas and respect the communities that it touches.


Malcolm says: here is a fact for big ship lovers and haters: Grandiosa‘s size (gross tonnage) puts her in the top ten of the biggest ships in the world.

NCL Takes Deliver of Encore

November 1, 2019

Here’s another very big ship for you:

(Courtsey NCL)

The Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, the Norwegian Encore, in Bremerhaven, Germany, on October. 30th, 2019.

The 170,000 grosse tonne ship left the Meyer Werft shipyard and embarked on a month-long programme preview events in Europe, New York and Miami, including a naming ceremony on November 21st.

The Encore, with a nearly 4,000 guest capacity, will embark on her first preview cruise from Bremerhaven on Oct. 31, arriving at Southampton Nov. 2. During the two-day voyage, guests will enjoy in the state-of-the-art facilities, including the largest GO Kart race track at sea, the new Onda by Scarpetta (Italian restaurant), enhanced Galaxy Pavilion and open-air laser tag attractions, and the at-sea debut of the Kinky Boots musical.

Kinky Boots (Courtsey NCL)

On November 2nd, the Encore will cross the Atlantic, arriving to New York on Nov. 10 for preview events. She will then voyage to Miami for a series of events, concluding with the christening ceremony and celebration on November the 21st. This which includes a live performance by Norwegian Encore’s godmother and Grammy Award-winning singer and television host Kelly Clarkson.


What’s a big, new NCL ship like on-board: SEE HERE

Carnival Panorama Delivered

October 31, 2019

(Courtsey Carnival)

The Carnival cruise lines latest cruise ship, Carnival Panorama was ‘delivered’ on 29/10/19 at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Venice. The Italian Minister of Infrastructures and Transport Paola De Micheli, was present.

The Panorama is 133,500 gross tonnes and can accommodate 4,008 passengers at double occupancy. She is a sisters to the 2016-built ‘Vista’ and 2018-built ‘Horizon’ vessels

Panorama enters service on 11th December 2019.


Malcolm says: 133,550 gt is starting to look medium-sized,  given the even bigger ship due to enter service in the next few years.

Real Ships (2): Black Watch

October 30, 2019


(Above: Two vintage vessels at Dover)

We Brits are very fortunate. We now have quite a range of big/modern ships operating from (or visiting) our shores. We also have two cruise lines, which specialise in smaller/older (“Real”) ships. They are ‘Cruise and Maritime Voyages’ and the ‘Fred. Olsen’ cruise line.  The former is British and the latter is Norwegian, but offers a British on-board experience.

Fred. Olsen are a long established (1848) Norwegian maritime family business.  They have a small fleet of small ocean ships. Their four vessels range from 23,000 gt to 43,000gt (approx.) They carry between 820 and 1,400 passengers as a maximum. The vessels  were build between 1972-1988.

Olsen have quite a hard-core following of satisfied customers, who do not want to cruise in a floating ‘shopping mall’. They also do not require water chutes or a rock-walls to climb.

I have been lucky enough to cruise on all of the Fred. Olsen’s fleet. I can report that they are all intimate and charming.

Black Watch is the second cruise ship that I ever cruised on and probably still one of my favourites, although Olsen’s ‘Boudicca’ is an almost identical sister.

I fully recommend them.

(Courtesy Fred. Olsen)

(Above: The Black Watch in her newer livery)

Black Watch review: See HERE

Norwegian Spirit Gets A $100 Million Refit

October 29, 2019


Norwegian Cruise Line have announced that the Norwegian Spirit will get a $100 million revitalization early next year as part of The Norwegian Edge program.

Norwegian Spirit will enter drydock at Chantier Naval de Marseille in Marseille, France on Jan. 2, 2020 for a nearly 40-day renovation.

The ship will emerge featuring 14 new venues, additional staterooms and an expanded Mandara Spa.

New complimentary dining venues will be introduced including an additional main dining room, Taste; the 24-hour eatery, The Local Bar and Grill; the all-day dining outlet, Garden Café; the Great Outdoors Bar; and Waves Pool Bar, according to the company.

Making their debut are Bliss Ultra Lounge and Spinnaker Lounge, which features the Humidor Cigar Lounge. Splash Academy, the children’s waterpark, will be replaced with the adults-only retreat Spice H2O, a daytime lounge featuring two new hot tubs and a dedicated bar, which transforms into an after-hours entertainment venue.

Mandara Spa will double in size to nearly 7,000 square feet and include a relaxation area with heated loungers, a new Jacuzzi room, a sauna, steam room and water therapy experience. There will also be an expanded fitness center.

The ship will also debut contemporary hull art. In addition, the Company is announcing the introduction of Onda by Scarpetta, A new Italian restaurant onboard the Norwegian Spirit.

The ship will sail extended itineraries of eight to 24 days in Asia, Africa and Europe following her refit.


Malcolm says: It’s nice to an older/mid-sized ship getting a new lease of life. Spirit is a ‘one off’ being known as a ‘Leo’ class ship. She is around 75,000 gt and carries a maximum of around 2,400 passengers. She entered service in 1998

RCI: Three Icon’s and still NO Info.

October 28, 2019

Back to “big” ship news, or in this case a lack of it!

The Secret Ship: Icon Of The Seas

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

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

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

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

(Malcolm/Royal Caribbean)

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

Now alien flying-saucers might not even exist, but the first ‘Icon’ ship definitely will, in 2022. The first steel will be cut this year, in October 2019

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

Article continued: HERE

RCI: Odyssey of The Seas Highlights

October 25, 2019

(Courtesy RCI)

RCI’s  newest ship, the Odyssey of the Seas, will have the largest indoor activity space at sea, featuring bumper car and a flying trapeze. The SeaPlex space will also double as a glow-in-the-dark laser tag arena, pitting Yetis and Snow Shifters against each other as they battle for survival and control of the mythical ice city in Clash for the Crystal City.

In November 2020, the ship’s inaugural year will start in the Caribbean with cruises to Curaçao, Aruba, Grand Cayman and Mexico on eight- and six-night itineraries from Fort Lauderdale. The Odyssey will then sail to her homeport of Civitavecchia in May 2021 and become the first Quantum Ultra Class ship to cruise Europe for the summer.

Adding to the mix, the Odyssey will debut a reimagined Adventure Ocean where kids can choose their own immersive experiences across an entirely new layout, while a new maxed-out teen lounge with gaming consoles, music and movies will provide hangout options indoors and outdoors on an exclusive patio.

Restaurant options include Japanese-themed Teppanyaki, and Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar with rustic Italian dishes and a contemporary flair. Combining the best of Quantum Class with new Royal Caribbean favorites, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade boasts a prime location within SeaPlex, with TVs at every angle to cheer on the home team. Offering club-level views of the competition below and onscreen, sports enthusiasts will catch every play on the court and back at home. Gameday bar fare like buffalo wings, sliders and Playmakers Burger, alongside ice-cold brews, will make for the perfect snack. Guests can also enjoy classic board games, step up to the most interactive arcade at sea, play trivia and pool. Also available is the Owner’s Box VIP area for an MVP experience.

(Odyssey will have an Observation Pod like the other Quantum class ships, such as Anthem)

Entertainment across the ship will be punctuated by high-tech signature productions in the Royal Theater and Two70, where art and multimedia merge for surrounding, unique performances only found on the Odyssey.

The signature FlowRider surf simulator and skydiving simulator RipCord by iFly join a 40-foot rock climbing wall. Adrenaline seekers can also defy gravity with SkyPad, the bungee trampoline experience that transports travelers to another time, place or planet using a VR headset.

The Odyssey’s two-level pool deck will offer a variety of options with two open-air, resort-style pools and four whirlpools, surrounded by plenty of shady casitas and hammocks. Nearby, The Lime & Coconut serves up two stories of prime pool-front views and vacation-mode libations, keeping the island vibes going all day and into the night. Guests can enjoy grab-and-go, authentic Mexican fare at El Loco Fresh, from tacos and burritos, to quesadillas and fresh salsas.

The youngest globe-trotters can head to Splashaway Bay, an aqua park that boasts colorful waterslides, fountains, water cannons and more. Adults can retreat to the Solarium, an exclusive space on the top deck, including swimming pools and whirlpools, a full-service bar, daybeds and hidden nooks for ultimate relaxation.


Quantum Class Review: HERE

Real Ships (1)

October 24, 2019

Over the next few months I will be featuring some “Real” Ship reviews, images and slide-shows.

So what is a “Real” ship, you may well ask. Well to my mind it is:

  • Normally under 45,000gt
  • Normally carries under 1, 500 passengers
  • Often is an older vessel
  • Normally has a 360 Degree wrap around promenade deck, made of teak.
  • Ideally has a front facing observation lounge (normally overlooking the bow).
  • Intimate and charming.

This = “Real”

Let’s look at what a “Real” ship does not have:

  • A crowded sundeck full of rock walls, go karts, roller coasters and surf machines etc.
  • A large sports hall or bumper cars.
  • Public rooms which mainly look inwards, rather than outwards.
  • A partial (non-wrap around) promenade deck or…
  • A narrow promenade deck almost entirely blocked by life boats.
  • No front facing observation lounge.
  • More passengers than the population of some of its’ ports of call.
  • Dimensions so big that it feels like a ‘city’ rather than a ‘home’.

Being the Author, I am allowed to change my criteria at any time, but the text above lays out the basic criteria.

This = NOT “Real” (Courtesy NCL)

Q: Do you agree with me?

Here is an example of a Real ship, if any of you are still unclear:

What’s it like cruising on such a small ship? Review: HERE

MV Funchal: Latest Update

October 23, 2019

At last, another story about a ‘real’ ship:

(Courtesy Ulflarsen)

2018: Below is the original story, in the press:

The much-loved classic ship MV Funchal is set for a new life as a hotel ship in London.

On Wednesday, Dec. 5 the ship was sold at auction for 3.9 million euro to ‘Signature Living’.

Party Boat (Courtesy of the Echo)

Liverpool hotel group Signature Living has unveiled remarkable plans to launch a 600-bed ‘party boat hotel’ to take young ravers from the River Mersey to Ibiza and other party destinations in the Mediterranean. (See update below.)

The ambitious plan comes after company boss Lawrence Kenwright splashed out £3.9 million on a new cruise liner – that he intends to open as a plush party hotel this summer.

Signature Living is intending to launch the ship’s maiden voyage from the banks of the Mersey in Spring 2019.

Converting the ship into a luxury party hotel will be Signature Living’s first venture at sea.

(Courtesy of the Echo)

The company say it will appeal to a younger generation of holiday-makers as it will encompass the famous Alma De Cuba brand.  The hotel-on-water will see sun seekers experience ‘Ocean and Nikki Beach style parties’ with ‘world famous DJs performing from the Mersey all the way to the Mediterranean.’

(Liverpool Echo, 2018)

Update October 2019:

According to industry sources, the classic 1961-built Funchal will soon be towed to Liverpool as new owners Signature Living have made the final payment on the vessel.

“Their plans have changed again and they will not be locating her in Ibiza as previously reported,” said a source familiar with the situation.

Thus, Signature Living plan to tow the ship to Liverpool, refurbish her, and then find a permanent spot for the vessel in the UK as a hotel vessel.

Last December, the vessel was sold at auction for 3.9 million euro to Signature Living, a UK hotel operator.

(Cruise industry News)

Malcolm says: Originally I thought that this was great news – there is a lot of love for this ship, from ‘ship-nuts’. However now I’m not so sure.

I’m not anti-young-person, I used to be one myself, but now that I’m ‘maturing’, I am aware of an incompatibility between the needs of the young and the needs of the grey pound.

‘Signature Living’ own a number of ‘trendy’ hotels including 30 James Street, Liverpool” a Titanic hotel in Liverpool, the former White Star, head office building. They do tend to attract the Hen and Stag party crowd at their hotels. I had a mixed experience while staying at the hotel (click link). I hope that they do not ruin the Funchal’s old world charm and décor with their rather over-the-top style, but the external rendering suggest that they already plan to do so.

Built in 1961, at only 9,563 gross tonnes and 524 passengers, Funchal is a tiny ship when compared to nearly all other modern cruise ships. It’s hard to imagine her as a young persons ship, but I guess you can have a “Rave” almost anywhere. However my Raving days are over!

Two New Cirque Shows For Grandiosa

October 22, 2019

MSC Cruises today announced the details of the new and original Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows coming exclusively to their new brand ship,  MSC Grandiosa.

In COSMOS guests will experience a breathtaking voyage across the galaxy with a brave astronaut on a quest for self-discovery.

Meanwhile, audiences of EXENTRICKS will be caught off guard at every turn in this high-spirited spectacle.

Each Cirque du Soleil at Sea show is an original, never-before-seen production.


Malcolm says: I have recently been quoted as saying that I don’t “need” Hi-Tech entertainment afloat, but it sounds like I am about to contradict myself (the Authors privilege):  I’ve not seen these shows, but it’s nice to see the cruise lines thinking beyond the traditional offerings of show tunes with the compulsory ‘flesh and feathers’.  Having said that, I have seen some great shows featuring both the latter!

Q: What is the best entertainment that you have seen at sea?

Whatever Happened To “Just Cruising”?

October 21, 2019


Inspired by all this talk of  theme parks and roller coasters at sea:


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

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

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

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

Read full article: HERE

Global Dream: Longest Roller Coaster at Sea

October 19, 2019


Dream Cruises will feature the world’s longest roller coaster at sea onboard its new 208,000gt Global Dream ship which is currently under construction in Germany. She is  expected to debut in early 2021.

The “Space Cruiser” will be the highlight of the “Dream Park at the Pier,” the first-ever theme park concept at sea, the company said.

Dream Cruises teamed up with Maurer Rides to develop the world’s longest roller coaster on a cruise ship.

“Outfitted with powerful electric motors and positive-locking drive system, the coaster defies the physical limits experienced by conventional roller coasters, thus allowing acceleration over 1g almost everywhere on the 300-meter track,” said Marco Hartwig, Project Manager, Maurer Rides. “All this guarantees a spectacular and breathtaking ride at up to 60 km/h (37 mph) over the heads of fellow passengers.”

Each of the three Spike carts will provide interactive driving excitement for up to two riders per vehicle with inline seats and an integrated throttle allowing guests to control the speed of the ride.

Due to the unusual perspective, the driver of the Space Cruiser will have the feeling of flying over the sea.

The Dream Park at the Pier will also include a bounce activity area, a trampoline park, and various water park features, including a surf simulator.

(Dream Cruises)

Malcolm says: Given the fact that mass-market cruise ship are getting progressively bigger and have become floating resorts, a roller coaster at sea was only a matter of time.  Carnival’s next ship, ‘Mardi Gras’  will be the first ship to have a roller coaster, however ‘Global Dream’ will obviously have a longer one.  Imagine that passing over your head as you try to relax on the sun deck! Saying that, mass-market ship sun-decks are obviously NOT for relaxing. Let’s not forget NCL even have a Go Kart track at sea!

Mardi Gras (Courtesy Carnival)

Global Dream: Hull Art

Genting Cruise Lines as unveiled Global Dream’s hull artwork, “A Dream Through Time and Space.”

(Courtesy Dream cruises)

Shanghai native and London-based Illustrator Shan Jiang was commissioned to create the latest chapter of the Dream Cruises hull art romance for the new 5,000-guest 208,000-ton ship.

Having worked with a variety of notable companies and publications, Shan’s work is strongly influenced by his home city of Shanghai; its skyscrapers and bungalows, contemporary concepts and traditional superstitions and flourishing subcultures, the company said.

The hull art continues the epic journey of the mermaid and the astronaut as they seek to satisfy their boundless curiosity and explore an infinite universe driven by the desire for the extraordinary, the company said, in a statement.

Dream also confirmed the new ship would visit Singapore in early 2021 on her repositioning cruise from MV Werften.

(Dream Cruises)

Malcolm says: It looks too much like NCL hull art to be really distinctive!

Titanic II – Design Continues On Schedule

October 18, 2019

(Courtesy Blue Star Line)

Everybody else has given up talking or writing about the Titanic II, except me!

However the news from Deltamarin, the navel architects designing the Titanic II’,  is that the project is still on and on schedule.

See my dedicated Titanic II blog: HERE

So what do you think about the Titanic II project?

Your opinion seems very divided!

Now on the subject of the original Titanic…

The White Swan Hotel is a hotel in the middle of the historic market town of Alnwick, Northumberland, England.

The hotel is a 300-year-old coaching inn. Its most distinctive feature is the Olympic Suite, a large dining room furnished with interior decorations/panels from the RMS Olympic that are virtually identical to those aboard her sister ship, the RMS Titanic.

P&O Britannia Refit

October 17, 2019

P&O Cruises UK announced that the Britannia is undergoing a multi-million pound refit in which her interiors will be refreshed.

The 3,647-passenger ship, which launched five years ago in Southampton, entered the Damen shipyard in Brest, France, this week.

The atrium will be given a new lease of life creating a lively social hub at the heart of the ship, day and night.


Enhanced Atrium (Courtesy P&O)

This space will have new eye-catching colour schemes, fresh design direction, relaxed entertainment, live music and informal performances all under the sparkling Starburst chandelier.

There will also be a permanent new art gallery next to Blue Bar. The deck 5 experience can be completed by savouring some sweet treats from master pâtissier and Food Hero Eric Lanlard at The Market Café.

The Oasis Spa and Salon with get two new express spa pods boasting a range of treatments.

On deck 7, Java café will now serve alcoholic drinks; guests can relax with a drink and enjoy the birds-eye view of the action below. Also on deck 7, the photo gallery will include a Dixons electronics hub featuring the latest technology for sale.

Britannia will be back in service, at Southampton, on October 23 .


Malcolm says: P&O are the U.K’s most popular/successful cruise line. I have only cruised with P&O once and unfortunately, I did NOT have a great experience: See HERE.

Braemar: Biggest cruise ship to navigate the Corinth Canal

October 15, 2019

(Courtesy Fred. Olsen)

Incredible images show the moment the largest ever cruise ship passes through the Corinth Canal in Greece.

Passengers on the 72 foot (22 metre) wide MS Braemar cruise ship could reach out and touch the sides of canal – which is 78 foot (24 meters) wide at its narrowest point.

The 643 ft (196 metre) long cruise ship can carry more than 1,200 passengers and crew on board and was assisted by a tugboat to guide it into the correct position.

The 24,344-tonne ship is owned by UK-based Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and on Wednesday 9th October, when it became the largest ship to cross the Corinth Canal.

The cruise ship is currently sailing on a sold-out 25-night ‘Corinth Canal & Greek Islands’ cruise, which left from port in the UK in September.

The four-mile long Corinth Canal separates mainland Greece from the Peloponnesian Peninsula and connects the Corinthian and Saronic Gulfs.

The canal, constructed between 1880 and 1893, enables ships in the Aegean Sea that are travelling to the Adriatic take off nearly 185 nautical miles from their journey.

(Fred. Oslen)

Read my Braemar ship review: HERE

Malcom says: A very small ship by modern standards, but big for the Corinth Canal.

Steel Cut For New Cunarder

October 13, 2019

(Courtesy Cunard)

Cunard and the Fincantieri shipyard have celebrated the start of construction on the 249th ship for the cruise line, according to a press release.

The yet unnamed ‘Pinnacle’ class ship will be the second largest ship to fly the Cunard flag when she launches in 2022 with capacity for 3,000 guests at 113,000 tons. (The Queen Mary 2 being the biggest at 150,000 gt.)

The first section of the ship is under construction at Fincantieri’s Castellammare di Stabia ship yard. The shipbuilding group previously delivered Cunard’s Queen Victoria in 2007 and Queen Elizabeth in 2010.

The steel cutting ceremony is a keystone-event in the life of Cunard’s new ship, marking the commencement of building works that will culminate in its delivery in Monfalcone, Gorizia, Italy, in 2022.

Cunard used the occasion to announce the commissioning of a unique sculpture, crafted from the first piece of metal cut for the new ship. Acclaimed sculptor Sam Shendi will complete the work, which will be displayed onboard the ship.

Shendi is an Egyptian-born British sculptor and uses contemporary industrial material, steel, stainless steel, aluminium and fibreglass to create his figurative work.

Cunard said it will open bookings for the 2022 season next year.

Tihany Appointed Creative Director For Cunard Newbuild

Adam Tihany

Cunard has appointed designer Adam Tihany, as creative director of their next ship.

Tihany will oversee the entire interior design process of the yet unnamed ship, which will join the Cunard fleet in 2022.

Widely regarded as one of the world’s most talented designers, Tihany has made his name creating beautiful spaces for luxurious and iconic hotels, restaurants and resorts across the globe.

“The name Cunard is obviously magical and I’m very excited to be involved in this project,” said Tihany. “If you look at the history of Cunard, it has always been a forward-looking brand”.

“It has a classic image but actually each ship has been innovative for its period. “We want to continue this tradition and move the brand forward with the creation of an exciting and spectacularly beautiful new cruise liner.”

Tihany promises plenty of surprises. “Guests can expect a much lighter, contemporary feel, but crucially it will still feel like a Cunard ship and Cunard’s loyal guests will feel very at home.
“The new ship will celebrate Cunard’s British heritage but with a whisper, not a shout”.

“Everything a guest expects to see on a Cunard ship will be there, but in a different way to the other three.”

The design work is well underway, in preparation for the ships construction at the Fincantieri shipyard, Italy. Tihany and his team of designers are currently working on plans for the new ship’s dining areas and he confirms that Queens and Princess Grill restaurants will feature among the dining options.


Team of Designers Announced

Cunard has announced the team of designers recruited to create the interiors for its new ship, a variation of HAL’s ‘Pinnacle’ class.

Simon Rawlings (David Collins Studio), Terry McGillicuddy (Richmond International) and Sybille de Margerie (Sybille de Margerie Paris) are already working with the ship’s creative director, Adam Tihany.

“The calibre of talent we have brought together for this project will bring to life our vision of creating a truly world class ship”.

“Working alongside the legendary Adam Tihany, the team is working hard to ensure that every aspect of our new ship is exciting and forward-looking, yet unmistakably Cunard,” said Simon Palethorpe, president, Cunard.

Tihany added: “We have assembled a dynamic, passionate team of talented creatives whose unique design sensibilities and innate understanding of the Cunard brand will move the dial forward while recapturing the beloved spirit of Cunard travel in this next generation cruise liner.”

(Breaking Cruise News)

A closer Look At Cunard’s Newbuild

.In 2022, a new ship will join Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth as the fourth member of the fleet, the first new Cunard ship in 12 years and the first time since 1998 that we’ll have four ships in simultaneous service.

She will be the biggest Cunarder yet, in terms of passenger capacity (not volume/gross tonnage). She’s the first new Cunard ship to enter service in 7 years, making it the first time since 1998 that Cunard will have four ships in simultaneous service.

The new ship will be 113,000-gross-tonne and will carry 3,000 passengers. It will be built by the Italian shipbuilder, Fincantieri.

However I hear that the design will be based on Holland America Lines’s ‘Koningsdam’. This ‘Pinnacle’ class design is a slightly bigger version of the ‘Vista’ class, like Cunard’s QV and QE are. Using existing ship designs is a cheap way for Carnival to add tonnage to thie brands.

QV and QE are around 91,000 gross tonnes and carry up to 2,547 passengers. The new ship will carry 453 more passengers. (The Queen Mary 2 is around 150,000 gt but only carries up to 2,620 passengers. That’s spacious!)


Four Ships (Courtesy Cunard)

From the rendering, the new Cunard ship appears to be no beauty Queen, with a very top-heavy superstructure, when compare to QV and QE.

The ‘Koningsdam’ design does have a walk-around promenade deck, but it is not the traditional design, which has always been a popular Cunard feature. The lifeboats sit on the promenade deck with just a narrow walkway behind them, obscuring much of the promenade view. I hear ‘HAL’ regulars were not impressed with this aspect of the design. Will the new Cunarder have the same design flaw?
Technically the new vessel will be another ‘cruise ship’ like Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria are and NOT a real ‘Ocean Liner’ as the Queen Mary 2 is.
Queen Mary 2 review: HERE

Queen Victoria review: HERE


Wonder of the Seas for Asia

October 11, 2019

Royal Caribbean International has announced that the Wonder of the Seas, the fifth Oasis-class cruise ship currently under construction Chantiers de l’Atlantique, will be deployed year-round out of Asia with a key focus on the Chinese market.

The 5,448-guest ship is set for a spring 2021 delivery and will feature new interior designs and concepts to appeal to the Chinese market.

The Spectrum of the Seas is based year-round out of China, having launched service from Shanghai following her delivery earlier this year. She sails alongside seasonal programs from the Quantum and Spectrum of the Seas. (Quantum class review HERE)


What’s the worlds biggest cruise ship like? Oasis class ship review: HERE

Introducting: Costa Smeralda

October 10, 2019

(Courtesy Costa)

The new LNG-fueled 182,700 gross tonne Costa Smeralda,  has left the Meyer Turku shipyard for her first series of sea trials.

The 5,224 passenger (max. 6,522) Costa vessel has been constructed at a cost of $950 million and is on Carnival’s next-generation Excel-class ship platform. Aida, Carnival and P&O (Iona) ships also share this platform.

The Costa Smeralda’s first cruise will be departing from Savona on November 30, 2019.

The Smeralda will sail from Savona on weekly itineraries, departing every Saturday. It will also call in La Spezia on Fridays. Other calls include Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Civitavecchia.


Introducing: Discovery Princess

October 6, 2019

(Courtesy princess Cruises)

Princess Cruises today announced its 2021 newbuild will carry the name Discovery Princess when she debuts in November 2021.

The sixth Royal-class ship is currently under construction at Fincantieri.

The 3,660-guest Medallion Class Discovery Princess is scheduled to debut on Nov. 3, 2021, on a seven-day Mediterranean & Aegean inaugural cruise from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Athens.

The inaugural season for Discovery Princess includes 30 departures on 21 unique itineraries to more than 50 destinations in 23 countries.

(Princess cruises)

What is a Princess cruise like: SEE HERE

Details Revealed: MSC Seashore

September 27, 2019

(Courtesy MSC)

The coin ceremony took place on the 19th September, 2019, at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, as the keel was laid for MSC Seashore.

She is set to debut in June 2021 as MSC’s longest ship at 339 meters.

She is an evolution of the Seaside class of vessels and is one of two on order in the new Seaside Evo class, with a second ship set to follow in 2023.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, said: “Today’s ceremony marks another key milestone in the construction of one of our most innovative all-around ships yet. Most importantly, MSC Seashore – which will feature the latest and most advanced environmental technology currently available…” 

The MSC Seashore will be fitted with a state-of-the-art Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system and a next-generation Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) system along with a shorepower system.

These new features add to other effective environmental technologies deployed on MSC Seashore and across the company’s fleet to minimize and continuously reduce environmental impact, according to a press release.

More than 40 percent of the ship has been redesigned and enhanced from the Seaside, according to a press release.

The ship design has been lengthened by 16 meters, allowing for 200 additional cabins, a larger MSC Yacht Club and an additional double-deck aft lounge. Internally, completely redesigned spaces with two central meeting points positioned at the middle and forward part of the ship are among the highlights, as well as specific measures to further enhance passenger flows.

Overall, the ship has 10,000 square metres of additional deck space.

The ship will feature new cabin designs such as cluster cabins for families that link two or three adjoining cabins and can accommodate between six and 10 people, plus bigger and more spacious cabins for guests with a disability – 75 in total – will be available.

Two brand new restaurants will be introduced, including one exclusively for Aurea guests. There will be a new location for the five specialty restaurants to allow for waterfront seating on the ship’s boardwalk to give guests a greater sea view as they dine al fresco.

The MSC Seashore will also have a new two-deck show lounge at the aft part of the ship, a bigger casino and 20 distinct specialty bars. The ship will feature a new design of her aft pool design, an enlarged indoor pool and a new interactive waterpark will provide thrills and spills for guests of all ages.


Virgin Voyages: Crew Uniforms

September 20, 2019

Virgin Voyages has unveiled items  from its new uniform collection designed by British fashion designer Gareth Pugh.

The uniform collection pairs Pugh’s high-fashion modernist approach with Virgin Voyages’ design ethos of the Modern Romance of Sailing, which embodies a love of the sea and the glory and sophistication of the heyday of the ocean liner with a contemporary yacht-like style.

Gareth Pugh

The collection features a distinct combination of structure and fluidity and includes a wide range of looks from slick razor-sharp tailoring to relaxed pillow-case tunic shirts– referencing the early days of British punk, and more.

“For this project, we were really allowed to push the boundaries, and to redefine the idea of what constitutes a uniform. We ultimately wanted to make everything about it modern, luxurious and desirable — to allow the entire crew to look and feel like a million dollars, in keeping with the rest of the experience,” said Pugh.

(Courtesy Virgin Voyages)

The collection allows for most crew to have a range of looks to choose from both day and night, and also breaks with cruise traditions by having no epaulettes stripes for officers, no ties and no waistcoats.

Putting a twist on the iconic red high-heel worn by Virgin Atlantic, many of Pugh’s designs will be paired with the Mulberry, red sneakers made by San Francisco-based PLAE. The gender neutral, PLAE sneakers are intended to playfully contrast Pugh’s designs for a cheeky yet elevated look true to the Virgin Voyages spirit.

(Virgin Voyages)

Malcolm says: Well the uniforms are very trendy but NOT exactly smart, are they? They are obviously aimed to impress the younger set. It does not appear that the crew will be dressing for diner, let alone the guests!

Mustai Karim: New Russian Giant River Boat

September 14, 2019

(с) Михаил Солунин / ТАСС

The new river boat, Mustai Karim, has been completed for the  Russian operator Vodohod at Krasnoye Sormovo ahead of her scheduled 2020 debut.

She is 141 meters in length and nearly 17 meters in beam.

(с) Михаил Солунин / ТАСС

The 333-guest ship carries more than twice as many passengers as most European river boats. However the Russian waterways do not have restrictive locks and bridges, necessitating long narrow/low boats.

The ship will spend the 2020 season sailing Moscow/St. Petersburg itineraries.

(Courtesy Vodohod)

Malcolm says: She looks impressive, but hardly pretty from the rendering!

Would YOU enjoy a river cruise?  – See HERE

MSC to Stretch Magnifica

September 11, 2019

(Courtesy MSC)

The MSC Magnifica will be stretched by 23 meters, adding 215 new cabins ahead of her 2021 summer season from Southampton, U.K., the company has announced.

The stretch project is valued at $140 million, the 215 new rooms will include 92 balcony cabins.

Other additions will include a new water park, a new shopping area, two new restaurants and a redesigned children’s area.

The Magnifica is one of four ships in MSC’s Musica class of vessels, built at Chantiers de l’Atlantique and launched in 2010. She has capacity for 2,550 guests at double occupancy.

Other Musica class vessels include the Musica, Orchestra and Poesia.


Bellissima to Have Swarovski Crystal Stateroom

September 7, 2019

MSC Cruises has revealed that latest ship, MSC Bellissima, will feature a Swarovski Crystal Stateroom with more than 700,000 crystals. This builds on the ongoing partnership between MSC and Swarovski that has featured Swarovski staircases on a number of MSC ships.

Bellissima Crystal Staircase (MSC)

Stateroom 16018 will be located in the MSC Yacht Club and will be available starting mid-November ahead of the ship’s re-positioning to China next April.


MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said:  Every element has been carefully chosen to add elegant touches and complement the design with 700,000 crystals used to embellish the space. This includes crystallized furniture, such as the bedside tables, sideboard and coffee table, according to a press release.

Crystal Stateroom (Courtesy MSC)

In addition to the new stateroom — and the 96 steps with more than 61,000 Swarovski crystals in the ship’s atrium — other details on-board MSC Bellissima include crystal detailed wallpaper in the MSC Yacht Club and a crystallized Active Panel illuminated by custom LED with 500,000 crystals per sqm built into the design of the Champagne Bar to add an extra touch of refinement to the sophisticated bar on deck 7.


First Genting ‘Global Class’ Ship Named ‘Global Dream’

August 29, 2019

(Courtesy Genting)

Genting Cruise Lines  has officially announced that the first Global-Class vessel will carry the name Global Dream.

Global Dream will be built by MV Werften, Germany and will enter into service in early 2021. She will be 204,000 gross tonne, and carry 5,000 passengers.

She will invite even more Asian travellers to sail globally on inspiring voyages on board the largest cruise ship to homeport in the Asia Pacific (Shanghai).


Escalators (Genting)

“Global Dream, the first Global Class ship of Dream Cruises, belongs to a new generation of cruise ships designed for this region featuring the most advanced technology and state-of-the-art facilities. Global Dream will deliver a cutting-edge cruising experience through Artificial Intelligence that will maximize both convenience and speed for our guests on board,” said Kent Zhu. “To balance the new with the traditional, our guests will also be able to enjoy an authentic Asian experience and our signature heartfelt Asian hospitality on Global Dream, developed through the Genting Group’s over 50 years of experience in the Asian hospitality industry. 

Malcolm says: Does the world need another mega-ship? In fairness this one is for Asia.
It’s a pity cruise lines today cannot think of some more original ship names. It the era of the great Ocean Liners, there were many wonderful named ships. In contrast, today there are quite a few cruise ships called: “Something…Dream”.

Introducing: Disney Wish

August 27, 2019

(Courtesy Disney)

Disney Parks, Chairman Bob Chapek revealed that Disney’s new ship will be called the Disney Wish. The newbuild is set for delivery in late 2021 and is expected to set sail beginning in January 2022.

The Disney Wish is part a new three-ship class that will be powered by liquefied natural gas and, at approximately 144,000 gross tons and 1,250 guest staterooms, will be slightly larger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.


Scenic Eclipse: Maiden Voyage

August 17, 2019

Scenic Eclipse, Rotterdam (Courtsey Aad Hoogesteger)

Scenic Eclipse set sail on her inaugural voyage, on the 15th August 2019, with her first guests. The itinerary was a 13-day discovery itinerary from Reykjavik to Quebec.

She has been designated “the World’s First Discovery Yacht”.

The five star ship is a mere 17,085 gt., carrying just 228 passengers, served by 176 crew.

The ship will be in New York City on Sept. 10 for its christening by Godmother, Actor,  Dame Helen Mirren.

Courtesy Aad Hoogesteger –

(Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours)

Malcom says: The only thing stopping me rushing out and booking a cruise on this charming luxury vessel,  is my Bank Manager!

New Giant Russian River Boat

August 14, 2019

The new river boat, Mustai Karim, is nearing completion for Russian operator Vodohod at Krasnoye Sormovo ahead of her scheduled 2020 debut.

She is 141 meters in length and nearly 17 meters in beam.

The 333-guest ship carries more than twice as many passengers as most European river boats. However the Russian waterways do not have restrictive locks and bridges, necessitating long narrow/low boats.

Having moved out of the building hall earlier this week, the vessel is now almost ready for her launch and then sea trials. With the hull work done, the yard is putting the finishing touches.

The ship will spend the 2020 season sailing Moscow/St. Petersburg itineraries.

(Courtesy Vodohod)

Malcolm says: She looks impressive, but hardly pretty from the rendering!

River Cruising: Myth & Reality – See HERE.

Enchanted Princess Floated Out

August 9, 2019

(Courtesy of Princess Cruises)

The Enchanted Princess, the fifth Royal-class ship built for Princess Cruises, was floated out on August 6th, 2019, at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

The Interior fittings will now begin. The ship is expected to be delivered  in 2020.

(Princess Cruises)

Iona Gets Her SkyDome

August 6, 2019

The Meyer Werft shipyard, in Germany, recently installed the 970-square-meter SkyDome for P&O’s new cruise ship, Iona.

It was raised using a 750-ton crane.

The iconic part of the ship weighs 105 tons and consists of 340 pieces of glass,

(Courtesy P&O)

Iona’s SkyDome is the place to be for relaxation, effortless dining and dazzling entertainment.

Tte SkyDome sits on two decks – deck 16, with food options, drink options and a swimming pool;  deck 17, meanwhile, is a mezzanine level offering a bar and seating area.

Iona debuts in 2020.

(Courtesy P&O)

Iona – A Family Focus

P&O Cruises aims to create a street food atmosphere with a range of options for families to eat on new ship Iona.

Taste 360 is a new concept offering street-food-style dining on deck.

(Courtesy P&O)

A multi-venue dining piazza called The Quays will offering a series of eateries and restaurants ranging from a US-style diner, Asian take-away, fish and chips and Mediterranean sharing platters.

Italian-style gelato will be available at an outlet at the top of the ship’s atrium leading into The Quays.

The previously announced four-screen cinema complex will be called Ocean Studios with screenings throughout the day of age-appropriate blockbusters and family classics.

Iona will also feature The Club House where families can play games and enjoy entertainment and game shows; a range of swimming pools, family-friendly shows in the Headliners Theatre and pop-up performances, including aerial and circus performances, in the Grand Atrium and SkyDome.

The Reef onboard activity programme will cater for children aged six months to 12 years while Scene will include the latest gaming technology for those aged 13 to 17. The ship will also have a night nursery.

All family-friendly cabins have been designed to maximise space by day and create flexible sleeping arrangements at night, according to the line.


Viking Sea & Tilbury

August 2, 2019


Viking Sea (Viking Cruise Line) was berthed at the Tilbury Cruise Terminal, on the Thames, yesterday (01/08/19) and today (02/08).

I believe that she was due to actually berth further up the river, at Greenwich, but that was changed at short notice.

Although hardly a big ship by modern standards, at 47,842 gt, carrying 900 passengers, she is bigger than many that berth at the Tilbury terminal.