Archive for the ‘Carnival Cruises’ Category

Carnival Mardi Gras: Roller Coaster at Sea

December 14, 2018


Carnival Cruise Line today announced that their new ship, the Mardi Gras, will have the first roller coaster at sea

The ship will debut in 2020 out of Port Canaveral.

Built by Germany-based Maurer Rides, BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster is a “heart-pounding rush of adrenaline offering nearly 800 feet of exhilarating twists, turns and drops with riders reaching speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour,” the company said.

It is an all-electric roller coaster that allows two riders in a motorcycle-like vehicle to race along a track 187 feet above sea level.

The ride will begin with a launch sequence and race car-like levels of acceleration, Carnival said. The experience culminates with a high-powered hairpin turn around the 5,200-guest ship’s funnel.

Riders’ speeds are posted after the race, and guests will have their photo taken during the ride. Guests will be able to choose their own speed.


Malcolm says: It was only a matter of time! We have seen increasingly seen bigger and bigger ships emulate ‘theme parks’.  RCI have their surf-simulators, I-Fly (skydiving experience) and Sky-Pad (Bungee trampoline experience), NCL their water-chutes, the Oasis class have merry-go-rounds and Norwegian Bliss et. al have their go-kart tracks all on their respective sundecks.


Norwegian Encore: Where’s my sundeck gone? (Courtesy NCL)

Although Mardi Gras has a small roller coaster, with just two riders, how would you feel sitting on the sundeck (if you could find room) with one passing over your head? Also imagine the queue. It would probably be in constant use, in good weather conditions/in-port.

The problem is that mass-market ships are getting taller (more decks) but only sometimes a little longer and/or wider. Therefore the sundecks are NOT getting proportionately bigger with the vast increase in the number of passengers. Plus, as we see, ships are now filling their sundecks with ‘gimmicks such as go-cart tracks and now roller coasters!  Only a small number of passengers can benefit from these per hour, given the rides small capacity.

(I can’t wait to hear Edwin’s opinion.)

The original carnival Mardi Gras: HERE


Carnival Panorama

December 8, 2018

(Courtesy of Fincantieri)

The new Carnival Panorama was floated out on the 6th December, 2018,at the Fincantieri shipyard in Venice. She is the Sister of Carnival Horizon and Carnival Vista

Interior fit out will now begin on the 133,500gt vessel, with a delivery date scheduled for autumn 2019.

When Carnival Panorama debuts in Long Beach, California, in December 2019, it will introduce the first indoor trampoline park and challenge zone at sea, in partnership with Sky Zone.

The godmother of the ceremony was Antonella Cazzin, a 35-year employee of Fincantieri’s shipyard.


Carnival Mardi Gras Returns!

December 6, 2018

(Images courtesy of Carnival)

Carnival Cruise Line has announced that it will name its new XL-class ship, Mardi Gras, bringing back the name of the first Carnival Cruise Line ship that entered service in 1972.

The new livery was also revealed. It is an 180,000-ton XL vessel  will be powered by LNG, and homeport at Port Canaveral. With a max of 6,600 passengers she’s the largest Carnival cruise ship ever constructed, to be delivered in 2020.

The construction of a second XL ship will start construction in 2020 and be delivered in 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Carnival Cruise Line’s founding.

“This new ship promises to be truly special, from its ground-breaking technology and one-of-a-kind features to its distinctive livery and hull design that is both timeless and forward-thinking while paying tribute to our nearly 50-year history of making wonderful vacation memories for our guests,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

“We are extremely pleased to work together with Carnival on this large and highly innovative ship. We are also very proud to build the first-ever LNG powered cruise ship for North American market, making this state-of-the-art green technology a reality,” commented Jan Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku.


The Original Mardi Gras


Carnival Cruise Line was founded in 1972 by Ted Arison. Until 1975, the line consisted of only one ship, the Mardi Gras. The ship was built in 1961 as the ‘Empress of Canada’. She was 27,284 gross tonnes and could accommodate 1,048 passengers.

Malcolm says: I though this new class was called ‘Helios’ rather than ‘XL’. This is the same basic design of ship that Costa and Aida will be getting. It will also be P&O’s ‘Iona’. Maybe the class name changes with the cruise line?

Within 43 years ships have changed beyond all recognition. The original Mardi Gras, purchased second-hand and Carnival’s newbuild, are words apart in terms of size and facilities. For example, the new ship is over 6.5 times bigger!  

Impressively (or shockingly) the new ship design is NOT the world’s biggest, but will be capable of carrying a world record number of passengers, at up to 6,600. 

Carnival Pinnacle

December 4, 2018

Regulars will know that I have discussed “the ship that never was”, Carnival’s ‘Pinnacle Project’, before.

This excellent video about the ship has just come to my attention.

Carnival were ahead of RCI’s ‘Oasis’ class with ‘Pinnacle’ and could have easily stolen their crown with the biggest cruise ship afloat.

However RCI focused on innovation while Carnival just focused on minimal risk and making money!


Carnival have many big impressive ships today and more on order. However none are as big and impressive as Pinnacle would have probably been. RCI, NCL, MSC and now Genting are building increasingly big,  state-of-the-art ships, whereas Carnival’s still look a little ‘safe’


Carnival Legend To Sail European In 2020

December 3, 2018

(Courtesy of Carnival)

Carnival Legend will sail a European season in 2020 with nine- to 16-day voyages calling at 34 ports in 16 countries, Carnival Cruise Line announced.

Itinerary Highlights:

A 16-day Northern trans-Atlantic crossing from New York to London (Dover) June 3-19, featuring day-long visits to these spectacular destinations: Qaqortoq, Greenland; Reykjavik, Iceland; Lerwick, Shetland Islands; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Cork (Cobh), Ireland.

A nine-day Norwegian Fjords cruise round-trip from London June 19-28, visiting six scenic Norwegian ports: Bergen, Olden, Molde, Trondheim, Alesund, and Stavanger, with ample opportunities to view the Norwegian fjords.

A nine-day Western Europe cruise June 28 – July 7 from London to Barcelona, visiting Le Havre (Paris), France; La Coruña, Spain; Leixoes and Lisbon, Portugal; Gibraltar; and Malaga, Spain.
Nine- to 12-day Mediterranean cruises between Venice and Barcelona with stops including Marseilles, France; Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Rome (Civitavecchia) and Naples, Italy; Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Greece; Valletta, Malta; and Dubrovnik and Rijeka, Croatia.

A 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to Tampa Oct. 30 – Nov. 15, highlighted by visits to Malaga, Spain; Funchal (Madeira), Portugal; Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands; Antigua; San Juan; and Amber Cove (Dominican Republic).

Carnival Legend Voyages from Tampa, New York

Before her summer in Europe, the Carnival Legend will operate a 13-day Carnival Journeys Panama Canal voyage from Tampa to New York May 3-16, 2020, with calls in Cozumel, Mexico and Limon, Costa Rica prior to a partial Panama Canal transit followed by visits to Cartagena, Colombia; Aruba; and Grand Turk.

Once in New York, Carnival Legend will operate two nine-day Caribbean sailings departing May 16 and 25, 2020 and featuring San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Grand Turk.

Carnival Legend will also offer a schedule of six- and seven-day Caribbean sailings featuring calls at a variety of tropical islands, including Grand Cayman, Belize, Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), as well as eight-day partial Panama Canal voyages, round-trip from Tampa in winter 2020-21.

(Cruise Industry News)

Malcolm says: Carnival Legend at 88,500 gross tonnes is mid-sized by modern standards.  I was lucky enough to attend her naming ceremony in Harwich in August 2002. Dame Judy Dench was the Godmother.   The Joe Farkus interiors were pretty ‘loud’ as you would expect.

P&O’S Iona: Freedom Dining Only

October 13, 2018

P&O Cruises giant new ship, ‘Iona’,  is due to commence operating from her UK home port of Southampton, from May 2020.

Iona will be around 180,000 gross tonnes and will carry up to 6,600 passenger.

However, many P&O faithfuls were shocked to here than Iona will offer ‘Freedom Dining’ only.

A P&O’s statement said:

“As part of a new approach to dining, Iona will exclusively offer Freedom Dining in all of its main restaurants, a first for P&O Cruises. The move is designed to give more flexibility to each and every guest. They can choose just where and with whom they want to eat, and when they will sit down for breakfast, lunch or dinner.”

The History Of Flexible Dining

Now, the Norwegian cruise Line (NCL) invented flexible dining and they call it  ‘Freestyle Dining’. They have been operating it on their whole fleet for over two decades.

Even on-board NCL’s largest new mega-ships, ‘Freestyle’ generally works pretty well. However Royal Caribbean International (RCI) ‘borrowed’ the idea for their then new ‘Quantum of the Seas’ ship (2014) and called it ‘Dynamic Dining’. The plan was to extend ‘Dynamic’ to all the Quantum class ships and retro-fit it to other ships in their fleet to accommodate the system, including the ‘Oasis’ class. However RCI’s customers just didn’t like it and RCI COULDN’T make it work for them.

Personally I think ‘Dynamic Dining’ made the RCI experience feel too much like NCL one, with multiple dining rooms rather than one big/impressive main restaurant. RCI lost their identity. After all if RCI customers wanted to cruise NCL, they would.  RCI have since dropped the ‘Dynamic Dining’ concept completely.

I hope that P&O do better with their roll-out of ‘Freedom Dining’ on-board Iona.

More About Iona’s Dining

P&O announced: “The clean lines of the design will offer incredible views through the three storey high glass walls of the Grand Atrium and will also be open for quick and convenient breakfasts,” 

There is also a new “foodie market” as The Quays piazza will be home to a wide range of self-service and “takeaway” venues, with a lively atmosphere for sociable dining. 

P&O said the ship will offer 30 food and beverage venues. 

Other highlights include the The Glass House with small plates, charcuterie and cheese as well as around 40 wines by the glass chosen by wine expert Olly Smith; the British-Med specialities in Epicurean; contemporary fine dining Indian in Sindhu and the best of British in Brodie’s among a long list of restaurants, self-service choices, cafes and bars.

P&O Past and Present

Before being owned by Carnival, P&O used to be a very traditional line, which included the dining: Their ships had one main dining room and two fixed seating times at around 6.00 and 8:00pm.

However a ‘Freestyle’ system fits in better with the modern attitudes to life – many passengers (especially the younger generation) now find the fixed dining times just too regimented. The dress codes on just about all ships/lines are also being softened.

It is also worth bearing in mind that ‘Iona’ is a Carnival ship that other the Carnival brands: AIDA, Costa and Carnival will also be getting. The design of the dining rooms/dining system was probably NOT up to P&O at all – the design had to satisfy all four brands.

Iona will have FOUR main dining rooms and many alternatives.

I think it is increasingly difficult to have one big main restaurant on a ships carrying up to 6,600 passengers. Having said that, Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis’ class manages to achieve this. Their ‘Oasis’ class ships carry 5,000+ passengers and still have one main dining room and two sittings, plus some alternatives.

Personally I love to see a ship with one big/main opulent dining room with a double or triple height ceiling. Many Royal Caribbean ships and Cunard’s ‘Queen Mary 2’ have excellent examples.

‘Allure of the Seas’ Dining Room (RCI Image)

In conclusion

The ‘old’ P&O cruise line which once attracted the more mature ‘socks & sandal’ brigade is rapidly evolving.

P&O are morphing into another mass-market line, with some of the worlds biggest ships,  which need to attract younger passengers, including families, to fill such big ships such as Britannia and Iona.

Traditions will be abolished to achieve this, whether the die-hard fans like it or not. Let’s hope that P&O do not “throw the baby out with the bath water”.

I do wonder how different the Iona experience will really be, from an RCI or NCL one?


Q: Will you miss the tradition of fixed dining time and one main restaurant? Or is ‘freedom Dining’ the way forward?


Are Cruise Ships Getting Too Big?

September 21, 2018

(Image courtesy of RCI)

With all the talk of Carnival’s 180,000 gt, 6,600 passenger ‘Helios’ class ships, many people are asking the question “Are cruise ships getting too big”? 

Four Carnival’s cruise brands: Carnival, Costa, AIDA and P&O will be getting these mega-ships. This design will supersede Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis’ class, in terms of passenger capacity.  In fact it is a world record for a cruise ship.

It is hardly surprising  that one of the biggest concerns about today’s leviathans is just how well will they cope with the huge number of passengers that they will carry…

Article continued: HERE

Carnival’s LNG Ships Compared

August 24, 2018

Although the four Carnival cruise brands (Carnival, AIDA, COSTA and P&O) will get the same basic design of ship, they will be adapted a little for each brand. For example, the bows are different. Carnival and P&O appear to have similar bows to each other (below: top two images ), as  Costa and Aida’s versions are similar to each other (below: bottom two images). 

Image1Another example is that the P&O and Costa’s  sterns are different. The Carnival stern looks similar to the P&O one, the Costa similar to the AIDA one.


Top left, clockwise: Carnival (Unnamed), P&O’s Iona, AIDAnova, Costa Smeralda

We do not have the full deck plans or details of the public room yet, for this class of ship, so here are my speculations:

It appears from the renderings that the Carnival and Costa versions will NOT have  a ‘SkyDome’* as the P&O version will. The Costa version has a large open-air glass canopy behind the funnel. The AIDA appears to have a glass-house at the stern, for want of an official name.

SkyDome, Iona (Courtesy P&O)

These differences are because the Carnival and Costa versions of the ship are designed to operate in the warmer Mediterranean climates.  Ships designated for cruises from the U.K. (P&O) and Germany (AIDA) will need a large space protected by a roof (the Dome or ‘glass-house’) for inclement weather that that part of Europe can experience.

It appears from the renderings that the Carnival and Costa versions will NOT have  a ‘SkyDome’* as the P&O version will. The Costa version has a large open-air glass canopy behind the funnel. The AIDA appears to have a glass-house at the stern, for want of an official name.

Early deck plans show that the Costa and AIDA designs have a circular space amidships spanning a number decks 6, 7 and 8, reminiscent of AIDA’s ‘Theatrium’  – a combined atrium and entertainment space featured on their previous ships.  On-board Costa Smeralda it is called ‘Closseo’.


Above: Costa Smeralda (Courtesy Costa)


Above: Theatrium (Courtesy AIDA)

Early deck plans show that the Costa and AIDA designs have a circular space amidships spanning a number decks 6, 7 and 8, reminiscent of AIDA’s ‘Theatrium’  – a combined atrium and entertainment space featured on their previous ships.  On-board Costa Smeralda it is called ‘Closseo’.


Above: Iona’s Grand Atrium (Courtesy of P&O)

P&O’s Grand Atrim and ‘SkyDome’ sounds like a variation of AIDA’s Theatrium and Costa’s Closseo (all being circular) with a dome on top.

Above: Iona, with her ‘SkyDome’ (Courtesy P&O)

The Costa and AIDA sterns features a low extended deck area, reminiscent of MSC’s ‘Seaside’ ships. Seven decks rise from the stern offering prime real-estate: many aft facing balcony cabins. The two rows of windows below the stern deck (5 and 6) are to restaurants sitting on top of each other. There is also a third restaurant sitting on the stern promenade deck (7).

The P&O design  (and maybe the Carnival) appear to have have their stern-promenade located a deck higher. P&O have said that there are four main dining restaurants: Pearl, Coral, Aqua and Opal.  Maybe three are stacked on top of each other below the stern promenade and one is located o the stern promenade. (just a guess!)

Looking at the Costa renderings: Leading from the aft deck area, are some steps to a raised promenade deck which runs along 80% of the side of the ship. This prom deck is above the lifeboats and obviously solely for public use and not for lifeboat boarding. It does not appear to wrap around the bow, unless it has an internal tunnel. The rendering is not specific, but this could feature some bars and restaurants like NCL’s ‘Waterfront’. (“A much wider, half-mile promenade deck allowing for al-fresco dining.” was recently reported by P&O) 

The P&O model and Carnival renderings do NOT appear to show ‘steps’ on the promenade. They show an uninterrupted one level prom. P&O call it the ‘Lanai’ deck.


Costa Smeralda Above: (Courtesy of Costa – click to enlarge)


P&O Model

This ship design of these ships is NOT the biggest in the world, that is RCI’s ‘Oasis’ class at around 35-40,000 gt bigger, but they will have the biggest passenger capacity in the world at an all-berth figure of 6,600.


*(A brand new entertainment done will be the SkyDome and guests can expect it to be one of Iona’s star attractions.  The roof will be one of the most impressive features along with a pool with a retractable stage, offering a unique space whatever the weather and the time of day.  During the day, SkyDome is the ideal place for relaxation and informal dining with a swimming pool, Jacuzzi and poolside features, and shaded seating areas.  But by night, it comes alive with aerial performances, immersive shows and deck parties and above it all, it is a glazed dome roof designed by award-winning British engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan, the team behind glass masterpieces such as Bulgari’s flagship New York boutique.) P&O

P&O’s Iona: Stateroom renderings: HERE

What is LNG? See: HERE

P&O Cruises Reveals Details Of ‘Most Ambitious’ Ship

October 27, 2016


P&O Newbuild 180,000 gt

P&O Model (Courtesy P&O)

Construction of the latest addition to the fleet will get underway next year at Meyer Werft’s Papenburg shipyard in Germany. The ship will enter service in the UK in 2020. At 180,000 tons, it will have a capacity for up to 6,600 guests, making it the largest cruise ship ever built for the British market.

The signature heart of the ship, the Atrium, will be our boldest and brightest yet. Glass walls spanning three decks will let natural light flood in while a grand staircase, gallery and overhead walkways will provide dramatic focal points.

The ship will also be the most environmentally efficient ship in the history of P&O Cruises. Powered at sea and in port by liquefied natural gas (LNG), exhaust emissions will be significantly reduced to help protect the environment.

You’ll be treated to the best British hospitality and standards of service that you know and love.

Our new star of the show, The Dome

P&O newbuild 180,000 gt

A major new entertainment hub called The Dome will be one of the star attractions of our new ship. Featuring an impressive glass roof, a pool with a retractable stage, a water feature and whirlpools, it offers a unique space whatever the weather.

By day, The Dome is the perfect place for entertainment, relaxation and informal dining. By night, the four key entertainment spaces come alive with aerial performances, roof projections and immersive shows.

There will also be much wider than normal, half-mile promenade deck, called the “Lanai” deck, allowing for al-fresco dining.

A world of even more choice on board

Our new ship has been designed by the world’s leading design and guest experience teams to make sure you have a wealth of dining, entertainment, socialising and relaxation options to suit every mood and occasion: Choose from:

• 17 places to eat to suit all appetites and occasions
• Seven speciality restaurants
• 12 places to enjoy a drink and take in sea views
• 16 whirlpools
• Four swimming pools (three outside and one inside)
• 13 entertainment venues from the theatre to venues for adults only, including three pop-up entertainment spaces
• Nine places to have breakfast
• Five places to take afternoon tea
• Seven places to enjoy fresh coffee

Partnering with the best in the business

Design innovation is being taken to new levels by collaborations with award-winning architectural and interior design teams. We’re proud to be working with residential and commercial architects Jestico & Whiles (London), whose work includes Aquashard (London), the Yas Hotel (Abu Dhabi) and the W Hotel (London). We’re once again joining forces with Richmond International (London), who worked with us on Britannia and whose luxury hotel portfolio includes The Langham Hotel (London and Chicago), The Four Seasons Moscow, and Sandy Lane Hotel (Barbados).

The design of cabins and the flow of on-board experiences will also be developed under the expert eye of maritime architecture specialists Partner Ship Design and design experts Acumen, who developed the first lie-flat bed for British Airways and Etihad Airways’ opulent three-room sky suites.

STOP PRESS: P&O cruises has decided that it will throw open the naming process for its new cruise ship to the public. Another ‘Boaty McBoatface’ maybe?

(Source: P&O)

Below slide show:

Malcolm says: Carnival are providing AIDA, Costa and their own brand with these ships. From the P&O information above and the renderings of the Costa version of the ship, there will be some design differences between the Costa and P&O versions. For example the Costa renderings does not show a ‘Sky Dome’.

I’m still not convinced that such a large ship is a good ‘fit’ for P&O. But then I’m forgetting that P&O are no longer just catering for the ‘socks & sandals’ brigade, they are now a mass-market line hoping to attract the same passengers as Carnival, RCI and NCL.

Perhaps the most disturbing fact is that this cruise ship will carry more passengers than any other ship in history, up to 6,600. This is more that RCI’s ‘Oasis’ class, yet will be 20% smaller. You will have a little less room on-board, than on RCI’s ‘Quantum’ and ‘Oasis’ classes.

The port of Southampton will surely need more investment, in order to handle a ship carrying up to 6,600 passengers.

P&O/Costa Megaships Analysed: HERE