Archive for the ‘Cruising’ Category

Hanseatic Nature & Hanseatic Inspiration

July 23, 2017

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Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will take delivery of two state-of-the-art expedition ships in 2019. The Hanseatic Nature and Hanseatic Inspiration are being built at an estimated cost of $155 million each.

“The expedition market has been tremendously successful for us. When I took over the company the plan was to restructure the company and stabilize it. And then we had our most successful year ever in 2016 and had to target growth,” said Karl Pojer, CEO.

The new ships will have a full viewing area on the bow accessible to passengers, which is designed to hold all guests at once.

(Hapag-Lloyd)

The World’s Busiest Cruise Ports

July 22, 2017

Miami port (Courtesy Miamiandbeaches.com)

The top 21 ports reporting their 2016 traffic numbers were:

Miami: 4,898,000 passengers

Everglades: 3,890,000 passengers

Canaveral: 3,685,833 passengers

Cozumel: 3,637,321 passengers

Shanghai: 2,847,000 passengers

Barcelona: 2,683,594 passengers

Civitavecchia: 2,339,676 passengers

Nassau: 2,034,685 passengers

Canary Islands: 1,981,489 passengers

Balearic Islands: 1,957,429 passengers

U.S.Virgin Islands: 1,776,685 passengers

Galveston: 1,730,289 passengers

Grand Cayman: 1,711,565 passengers

Southampton: 1,700,000 passengers

St. Maarten: 1,668,863 passengers

Jamaica: 1,655,565 passengers

Venice: 1,605,660 passengers

Marseille: 1,597,213 passengers

Sydney (Australia): 1,309,000 passengers

Naples: 1,306,151 passengers

New Orleans: 1,070,323 passengers

 

(Source: Cruise Industry News)

Quark Expeditions Adds ‘World Explorer’

July 20, 2017

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Quark Expeditions has announced its 2018-2019 Antarctica program which will introduce the ‘World Explorer’, a new luxury expedition cruise vessel.

Quark, one of the biggest expedition operators confirmed that the new ship will be built to Quark’s own specifications.

Her keel laying will be at an as yet un-named shipyard in Norway shortly, for delivery in late 2018.

The ship is an all-suite all balcony vessel that will embark on 10 voyages during the upcoming season. The ship has six premium suites.

The 1B ice-class hull will be  powered by twin Rolls Royce engines.

Quark’s brochure says:

The personal space is exceptional. Every cabin has either a private walk-out or Juliet balcony for direct ocean views. World Explorer also delivers plenty of public areas to unwind in after a day outdoors, including the glass-domed Observation Lounge for quiet contemplation and full skyline views, the Explorer Lounge for a drink and a chat, and the library for more intimate relaxing and reading. Presentations and discussions are facilitated in a dedicated lecture theatre.

Health and wellness facilities feature an outdoor running track, a small gym and a sauna, plus a spa with change rooms, showers and lockers. For the active adventurers, add-ons include kayaking, camping and stand-up paddleboarding.

Blending high design with total functionality, World Explorer is all set to be your home away from home on the seas.

(Quark Expeditions )

Malcolm says: The luxury Expedition market is experiencing a boom. However they must tread carefully, these regions of the world are more vulnerable to ‘tourist impact’ than most.

Cruise Tourists Overwhelm Europe’s Ancient Resorts

July 18, 2017

Venice (Courtesy Gary Bembridge)

“There are places where the surge of global tourism is starting to feel like a tidal wave”.

“Ancient cities around the shores of the Mediterranean and Adriatic are on the front line, their stone streets squeezed full of summer visitors as budget airlines and giant cruise ships unload ever-growing armies of tourists…”

See full BBC article: HERE

Malcolm says: This subject gives me a moral dilemma. On the one hand I enjoy travelling and the visiting places  that mass market cruises and budget airlines make affordable. On the other-hand cities and islands overrun by tourists are not pleasant and is detrimental for many of the people living there. I guess we can’t have it both ways.

I have been to Venice in August when there were three relatively big ships in port.  That must have equated to at least 6,000 cruise passengers alone, descending on Venice for the day, possibly a lot more. It was difficult to even walk on the pavements. This beautiful city felt like a big shopping mall on Christmas Eve.

Disney Order Third LNG Ship

July 17, 2017
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Disney Dream (Courtesy Disney)

Last year’s the Disney cruise line announced that they would build two more ships at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, to enter service in 2021 and 2023.

However Disney has increased their order from two to three ships, revealing another new ship is set to enter service in 2022.

This latest 135,000-ton ship will be built at the same shipyard and launched the year in between the two previously announced vessels.

All three are designed to be powered by clean-burning liquefied natural gas and have around 1,250 cabins, carrying upwards of 2,500 passengers, so slightly larger than the newest Disney cruise Line ships, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, launched back in 2011 and 2012.

The new names, design plans and itineraries will be announced at a later date.

(Disney)

CMV’s Columbus Reviews

July 16, 2017

Columbus (Courtesy CMV)

Cruise & Maritime Voyages welcomed their new flagship Columbus into their fleet on the 8th June 2017,  at a glittering naming ceremony at the London Cruise Terminal in Tilbury. The 64,000 tonnes ship will carry up to 1400 people and will be cruising year round from London – Tilbury.

Columbus’s maiden season  includes cruises to the Norwegian Fjords, British Isles, Iceland, Baltic Cities, Canary Islands & Madeira, Scottish Highlights & Faroes, Spain, Portugal, France & Gibraltar and a spectacular 46 night voyage to Cuba, Central America & the Caribbean.

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

Columbus Ship Reviews: HERE

Independence of the Seas Refit – 2018

July 15, 2017

(Images courtesy of RCI)

RCI have announced that ‘Independence of the Seas’ will undergo a major refurbishment during the ship’s dry dock in April 2018.

The ship, which entered service in 2008, has not had a  major refurbishment since 2013.

Independence of the Seas will receive some high-energy features including a trampoline park, water slides, escape room and laser tag.

More details will be revealed at a later date.

(Royal Caribbean)

Damen Expedition Cruise Vessel

July 14, 2017

Malcolm says: Expedition cruising has become quite a growth area and is ideal for those with a sense of adventure and a very large bank balance!

6,000 Cruise Passengers Arrive In Guernsey

July 13, 2017

(Courtesy ITV)

Within cruise forums and this blog, we have often disused the impact on small islands by multiple cruise ships docking for the day. In addition  increasingly bigger cruise ships are replacing the small-medium sized ones.

Traditionally we were often talking about the various Caribbean islands becoming crowded, which are regular ports of call for the worlds biggest ships – normally American ships.

My Back Yard

However in recent years,  the UK has seen more big cruise ship visiting or operating from our ports.  Our own cruise lines like Cunard and P&O now have some vessels twice as big as they were a few decades ago. P&O has a 180,000 gross tonne vessel (Excellence class) on the order books for 2020 that will probably carry up to 6,000 passengers alone.

The UK also has many of it’s own islands, including ‘Gurnsey’, one of our ‘Channel Islands’.

Guernsey has an area of just 25 sq miles and a population of around 63,000. St. Peter Port is the capital, with a harbour. However the harbour is very small, so she is a tender-port for most cruise ships.

Adverse sea conditions and high winds often mean that this charming port of call gets cancelled, even in the UK summer time – but not always…

Read this ITV News Report : HERE

If 6,000 passengers arrive at Guernsey on the same day, the population almost increases by 10%.

I don’t see a problem if big ships are well organised (unlike Meraviglia recently) and stop at cities with good infrastructures (cruise terminals, roads etc.). However a little island like Guernsey must surely struggle to cope with the passenger numbers.

St. Peter Port is pretty small and in some cases there is one bus an hour.  Even tendering two large ships must be a very slow process and must over-crowd the harbour.

What is the solution? Improve the infrastructure and possibly take away some of an islands charm or limit the number/size of cruise ships visiting.

Malcolm

Which Is The World’s Biggest Cruise Line?

July 12, 2017

Carnival Horizon (Courtesy Carnival)

The Carnival Cruise Line is the single largest cruise brand in the world today by passenger capacity, but only barely ahead of Royal Caribbean International.

By 2027, Royal Caribbean will be the largest cruise line at an estimated annual passenger capacity of 5.7 million compared to approximately 5.0 million for Carnival, based on existing ship orders, deployment and known withdrawals.

See full ‘Cruise Industry News’ article: HERE

Which is the World’s Biggest Cruise Ship?

July 10, 2017

Allure of the Seas passes under the ‘Great Belt Bridge’ (RCI)

It’s quite amazing how big some of today’s  cruise ship are. However most of the  future newbuilds will be even BIGGER.

200,000+ gross tonnes, carrying 6,000+ passengers will not be unusual within five years.  Remember the RMS Titanic was only around 45,000 gross tonnes.

The ‘official’ way of comparing a ships sizes is  ‘Gross Tonnage’ which is a measurement of internal volume, not weight.

However occasionally the layman (and the Press) talk about the biggest ship being the one that carries the most passengers. This is a little misleading as the ‘Oasis class’, for example, is the biggest ship in terms of gross tonnage, but there will be slightly smaller ships in the future which will cram more passengers on-board.

(Please note that some of the figures below are  based on rather sketchy details about newbuilds).

Malcolm

By Gross Tonnage

230,000 GT (estimate): Symphony of the Seas, 2018, and another unnamed Oasis class ship, 2021.
226,963 GT: Harmony of the Seas.
226,963 GT: Oasis of The Seas and Allure of the Seas
204,000 GT (estimate): “Global Class”: 2 Genting/Star Cruises ships, due 2020 and 2021.
200,000 GT (estimate). “World Class” – 4 MSC “World Class” cruise ships.
185,000 GT: Carnival brands will get 6x ships 2019-21.
171,598 GT: MSC Meraviglia 171,598 GT
168,666 GT: RCI’s Quantum Class Ships.

 

MSC’s World Class (Courtesy MSC)

By passenger capacity

6,870 passengers: Symphony of the Seas, due in 2018.
6,850 passengers (estimate): 4 MSC “World Class” ships.
6,780 passengers: Harmony of the Seas.
6,600 passengers (estimated): Carnival brands will get 6 ships.
6,360 passengers: An unnamed RCI Oasis class ship, due in 2021.
6,296 passengers: Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas.

(“Global Class”: 2 Genting/Star Cruises ships, 5,000 lower berths, upper berths unknown.)

A total of 17 ships which will accommodate at least 5,000 passengers are currently under construction.

(Source: The Times)

(Genting’s Global Class)

Oasis of the Seas Review: HERE

Carnival: The Biggest Ship They Never Built

July 7, 2017
Pinnacle?

Pinnacle? (Fincantieri rendering)

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

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

They say project Pinnacle was to be about 200,000 gross tonnes, carrying some 6,000.

Read full article HERE

Malcolm

RCI Registers Two New Cruise Ship Names

July 6, 2017

(Courtsey RCI)

Royal Caribbean filed two new trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for cruise ship names.

Royal Caribbean filed for new trademarks on Apex of the Seas and Joy of the Seas on June 27, 2017.

The registration comes just days after Royal Caribbean registered for a similar trademark for Spectrum of the Seas.

(Source: Matt Hochberg – royalcaribbeanblog.com)

Malcolm says: RCI often file some names that they intend to use and some which are decoys.

Personally I don’t really like any of the three of those names. How can the sea have an “Apex”? This makes me think  “Joy” and “Spectrum” are more likely to be used.

I wish today’s cruise lines would be more inventive with their ship names than the like of ‘Dream’, ‘Joy’ and ‘Sun’.  Some of the original Ocean Liners had great names, like: Caronia, Leviathan, Orsova, Empress of Britain, Britannic and Carpathia etc.

 

Wärtsilä To Supply Engines For Virgin Newbuilds

July 6, 2017

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Wärtsilä solutions have been selected by Virgin Voyages to power its three cruise ships under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard, Italy.

Wärtsilä is a Finnish corporation with its’ headquarters in Helsinki. They manufactures and service power sources and other equipment in the marine and energy markets. The core products of Wärtsilä include large combustion engines used in cruise ships and ferries.

Each Virgin ships will be powered by two eight-cylinder and two 12-cylinder Wärtsilä 46F engines. The Wärtsilä Hybrid Scrubber System has the ability  to use seawater to remove sulphur oxides from the exhaust.

Significant reductions in the emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulates will be made possible by the Wärtsilä system. Wärtsilä will also handle the commissioning of the engines and scrubber systems in cooperation with the shipyard.

Navigation and automation controls for the vessels will be handled by Wärtsilä’s Nacos Platinum solution.

Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin (left), Sir Richard Branson and SVP Marine & Technical, Stuart Hawkins (Courtesy Virgin)

Florida-based Virgin Voyages’ cruises will commence in 2020 from Miami with the first ship. The other two vessels will be delivered in 2021 and 2022.

(Virgin)

Malcolm says: If you are wondering why I have posted such a geeky story, Virgin are still not giving too much information away. We still do not really know what the ships will actually look like, for example. I don’t believe the renderings above are in any way accurate.

Thomson Spirit Gets A Reprieve

July 5, 2017

(Courtesy Thomson)

Thomson Cruises’ Thomson Spirit, will sail a year longer than initially planned.

The ship, Thomson’s longest serving, was due to leave the fleet in November, but will now sail until the end of summer 2018.

Spirit will be based in Palma in April 2018 before moving to Malaga in May 2018.

The decision was a result of ‘overwhelming popular customer demand’.

(Thomson)

Malcolm says: I’ve not cruised on Spirit, but I have her near-identical sister ‘Celebration’. She is a charming ‘smaller’ ship.

Thomson Celebration Review HERE:

Meraviglia – Ship Of Nightmares?

July 3, 2017
abc

Meraviglia/Barcelona – Disembarkation above, customer services queue below (Source Unknown).

MSC’s Meraviglia (‘Wonder’ in English) has been called their most exciting ship yet. She is certainly their most expensive yet and biggest, in terms of gross tonnage and passenger capacity.

Meraviglia is 171,598 gross tonnes and carries up to 5,714 passengers. She is part of a rapid expansion of MSC’s fleet comprising of three new classes of ship: Meraviglia, Seaside and The Word Class.

Last month she complete her maiden cruise and the internet is now receiving reviews form Meraviglia’s maiden cruise and her subsequent cruises.

I’ve not been on the ship myself and I’m unlikely to be welcomed on-board after writing this.  However if you ‘google’ “Meraviglia Reviews”, you will find that many  passengers feel that the ship is genuinely ‘wonderful’,  but there also comments suggesting that everything is not well.

Now I fully appreciate all reviews are very subjective, but certain criticism are appearing again and again.

Below are a few lines that I have borrowed form some pubic reviews on the net:

  • Found our 1st cruise very stressful & spent a lot of time queuing & trying to either get an answer or help sorting things out. Found staff & people very rude pushing & shoving & no manners buffet area at times reminded me of a shop sale – getting a table at times was a joke.
  • The ships public area interior is stunning visually but the whole experience was disappointing, due to amateurish dining service and failing IT systems. We know cruise lines have issues in the early days, but queuing for hours on board should never happen daily, new ship or not.
  • For the Brits on board there is the additional problem with the lack of control on any queue – so much so that I had queued at the Cirque de Soleil desk for about 20 minutes, just got to the front when a MSC rep said I had queue jumped and needed to go to the back of the queue which stretched a further 20 yards by this time.
  • BUT the most significant failure was the IT system and inadequate contingency planning as it impacted the dining, billing and bar service. Our MSC app never worked on board.
  • Throughout the cruise we never saw the Customer Services queue take less than 1 hour, morning, noon and night.

(MSC )

Poor Design & Poor Passenger Organisation?

Meraviglia is currently under media, industry and public scrutiny.

It’s not so unusual for a new ship to have teething problems. There is normally a mixture of experienced and inexperienced crew members, all working in a new environment, all trying to form an effective team.  Some service issues are not uncommon, such as slow and/or inaccurate dining room and bar service.

All reviewers agree that Meraviglia  has some excellent ‘hardware’ (the ship itself), but many feel that the ‘software’ (crew/service) has some serious issues. These have been highlighted again and again, in early reviews. Nevertheless, some reviews still have good star ratings, but NOT all.

personally I would be able to turn a blind eye to the number of issues and the scale of the issues, reported on-board Meraviglia in recent reviews. There include poor on-board organisation, poor crowd-control, resulting in queues and congestion.

I never  want to visit customer service during a cruise. If I do, something has clearly gone wrong for me. If passengers are queuing for an hour at Meraviglia’s customer services desk, that must mean 1)The staff are inefficient and/or of an insufficient number. 2) The number of passengers with problems must be considerable.

Some passengers on the maiden voyage seem to have already been put off from cruising on Meraviglia again or even MSC as a whole.

Stiff Competition

Meraviglia is now just one of many family-orientated/high-energy ships available from a number of different cruise lines. MSC are competing with mega-ships operated by Carnival, RCI, NCL, P&O, Princess, Carnival and Costa .

In the past decade ‘Royal Caribbean’ and the ‘Norwegian Cruise Line’ have been very successful at introducing a variety of big new ships into service, such as Oasis, Epic and the Breakaway class. I’m not suggesting that their respective maiden experiences were all perfect, but they often managed to avoid serious service issue from the very start, including handling the large numbers of passengers that their mega-ships carry.

In the case of the ‘Oasis’ class which currently carries the largest number of passengers afloat (up to 6,296) the ship generally feels spacious and not overcrowded, even during embarkation, disembarkation and in the ports of call. So how was this achieved?

Well firstly the ‘Oasis’ class has a better space-to-passenger ratio (more room per passenger) than Meraviglia: 35 Oasis, 30 Meraviglia, based on all berth occupancy.

Secondly the ‘Oasis’ is very well designed with few bottle-necks.

Thirdly RCI have build big dedicated cruise terminals and new docks at Oasis’s ports of call. Swiping on and off in the ports of call take place on the shore-side, rather than on-board.

Fourthly RCI’s on-board organisation is excellent.

MSC have some stiff competition.  Meraviglia represents a $1 billion investment so MSC cannot afford to get it wrong for too long.

Just Teething Problems?

I’m not completely heartless.  I can forgive a new ship and its crew for minor service issues on a maiden cruise.

However early reviews suggest that Meraviglia’s has many issues, some of which sound quite major.

I would expect even the cheapest cruise to have elements of luxury about it. The on-board experience should NOT feel like a last minute shopping at a big mall on Christmas Eve. Nobody should have to tolerate their cruise being an ‘experiment’ or ‘training ground’, unless it’s free!

However some reviewers still gave Meraviglia  4 or 5 stars (out of 5). This is their prerogative of course, but this is over generous, given the content of their reviews.

For me to give a ship to give a ship 4 stars (out of 5) most aspects of the experience would need to be “very good”.  Likewise for me to give 5 stars (out of 5), most aspects of the experience would need to be “excellent”. I could not ignore long queues and disorganisation on-board, happening on a regularly basis.

Before I get flamed by MSC fans: Of course it is too early to call Meraviglia ‘unsuccessful’ and probably far too sensationalist. However it’s not been the great start that MSC had  hoped for.

A Need For Remedial Action

Fortunately service issues and on-board organistion are much easier to rectify that if the hardware had been wrong.

I suspect many of the crew on board Meraviglia are on a steep learning curve.

I would imagine that MSC  are already making improvements to the various service issues, particularly the passenger-flow.

I bet ‘Geniuses’ are looking at all those unreliable IT systems very carefully.

I’m sure that the management will be doing everything within their power to turn Meraviglia’s early reputation around.

The lack of infrastructure (a suitably big cruise terminal at Barcelona for example) would not have helped Meraviglia’s disembarkation and embarkation. However I believe MSC have plans to invest in new cruise terminals, in homeports.

However Meraviglia is too expensive for MSC to let her fail.

Lessons must be quickly learned. MSC also have  more big ships on the drawing board, including the even bigger ‘World Class’.

The ‘world Class’  will carry up to 6,850 passengers, that’s around 554 more passengers than RCI’s ‘Oasis’ class, the world’s biggest cruise ship. However the ‘World Class’ will be some 25,000 gross tonnes (12.5 per cent) smaller.

MSC really need to get it  right.

(If you don’t agree with me, or even if you do, please post a comment.)

Meraviglia Review

Guest contributor, Tony Barraclough (UK), was on  Meraviglia’s maiden voyage.

In fact Tony did a back-to-back itinerary: Le Havre to Genoa, then Genoa to Barcelona. He occupied two different grades of cabin.

Tony has done ten MSC cruises, as well as ten with other cruise lines, so he knows what he is talking about.

Tony  has written two straight-talking reviews which feature many positives and negatives.  He has kindly given me permission to share his reviews with you.

MSC Meraviglia review: HERE

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World Dream On Schedual

July 2, 2017

(Courtesy Genting)

World Dream (Dream Cruises) part of Genting’s  portfolio, is on target for an October delivery, says the German shipyard Meyer Werft.

The ship will be a sister to the Genting Dream, which was delivered October 2016.

The 151,300-ton ship can accommodate 3,300 passengers and is a similar design to NCL’ s’Breakaway’ class ships.

(Dream Cruises)

CMV’s Columbus Review

July 2, 2017

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Cruise & Maritime Voyages welcomed their new flagship Columbus into their fleet on the 8th June 2017,  at a glittering naming ceremony at the London Cruise Terminal in Tilbury. The 64,000 tonnes ship will carry up to 1400 people and will be cruising year round from London – Tilbury.

The Godmother to Columbus, who named the ship at the ceremony, is TV personality Angela Rippon CBE. Whilst naming the ship, within the splendid Palladium show lounge, she told a delighted audience of the media, travel trade and VIP customers “I look forward to offering Columbus the same respect as my own godchildren.” Angela reminded the audience that Columbus discovered the New World of America on the 12th October 1492. “12th October is my birthday” she said.

Chris Coates, Commercial Director at CMV said “When we introduced Magellan to our fleet just over two years ago, I suggested that it would be a game changer for us. Indeed it has been, and now we begin a new chapter as we proudly introduce our new flagship, Columbus, enabling us to respond to growing customer demand for traditional style cruising on board mid-sized cruise ships. The arrival of Columbus means we are on course to carry 100,000 passengers in 2018 cruising from the UK, which is 10% of the market.”

Columbus’s maiden season  includes cruises to the Norwegian Fjords, British Isles, Iceland, Baltic Cities, Canary Islands & Madeira, Scottish Highlights & Faroes, Spain, Portugal, France & Gibraltar and a spectacular 46 night voyage to Cuba, Central America & the Caribbean.

(CMV)

Columbus Ship Review: HERE

A New Look For Ships Bows

June 30, 2017

NCL Leonado (Courtesy NCL)

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

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

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

AIDAprima (Courtesy AIDA)

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

Celebrity Edge (Courtesy Celebrity)

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

Expedition ships (Courtesy Hurtigruten)

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

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

Malcolm

Celebrity Edge: Eden Revealed

June 28, 2017

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Eden is an evolution of Celebrity’s Sky and Observation lounges, with an added, garden-like feel. Since a closer connection to the sea is one of Celebrity Edge’s guiding principles, the space is surrounded in glass.

Eden is a triple-deck, glass-enclosed lounge/restaurant with programming that changes throughout the day from chill, to playful, to sinful, is the latest exciting reveal for Celebrity Edge.

Spanning Decks 4, 5 and 6 aft and measuring 368,640 cubic feet, Eden melds gastronomic exploration with performance art and lush nature—all spiraled into one gasp-worthy space.

‘We thought we’d have some fun,’ Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and ceo, Celebrity Cruises, told Seatrade Cruise News. ‘It starts out as a chillful, beautiful, pure place. You can go in the morning and sit in a swing and hear a sitar. There’s alfresco dining on both sides. Then it starts transforming, getting a little more playful during the day. It will have pop-up entertainment, lectures, culinary and wine tastings. You can also get a great, quick, light lunch.’

After dark, though, ‘As in Eden, after Eve took a bite out of the apple, it got a bit sinful.’

Patrons can come for a set, five-course dinner or drinks. At the end of the night there will be a ‘surprise, crescendo experience,’ Lutoff-Perlo said.

Eden – A 90-meter ramp provides panoramic views. (Celebrity).

A 90-meter ramp provides panoramic views, both inward and outward.

World-renowned designer Patricia Urquiola, a Spaniard resident who creates unconventional, experimental furniture and spectacular hotel interiors dreamed up Eden’s towering ‘Library of Plants,’ the hanging plant pillars and distinctive furniture.

Also, Variety Worldwide, the nightlife impresarios behind Queen of the Night—a fusion of dance, music, fashion, circus, culinary delights and theater—created an experience that will transform Eden after dark with some edgy elements.

Eden (Courtesy Celebrity)

(Celebrity)

Malcolm says: call me sceptical but i’m not over excited about ‘Eden’ (or the ‘Magic Carpet’ for that matter).

Eden looks like a nice lounge with sea views, some food, some plants and some entertainment.  However that’s hardly innovative. In fact it reminds me of RCI’s ‘Quantum’ class 360 Degree lounge, not surprising as RCI own Celebrity.

Observation lounges and winter-gardens, on-board ships, must date back some 70 years or more.

I rather suspicious that the video needs 7 minutes to explain what it all means and just how good it is. The best ideas are often simple ones!

I would have thought that Celebrity passengers primarily want good food and service, rather than gimmicks.

In fairness,  I was not impressed with the idea of Oasis’s ‘Central Park’ when I first read about it. It sounded like a very big ‘gimmick’ to me. However when I actually saw and experienced it, I realised what a lovely space it was.

The moral of this story is that I don’t always know what I’m talking about. I should give Celebrity the benefit of the doubt and wait and see.

AIDA Helios-Class Movie

June 27, 2017

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(“Just My Holiday”)

AIDA Cruises has issued a movie of its next class of ships, the Helios-class.

These ships are aimed at the German market and will be in excess of 180,000 gross tons and carry 5,200 passengers (lower berths), powered by LNG.

The first AIDA ship will be delivered from Meyer Werft in late 2018, the second in 2021.

The ships design will have 21 stateroom categories, ranging from penthouse suites to family, veranda staterooms and single cabins.

(Courtesy AIDA)

There will be 17 restaurants, including the traditional German self-service options, a-la-carte restaurants and five specialty options. Among the specialty options will be French Kiss, Casanova and the Brauhaus. (Apparently the German’s like buffets and there will be a good choice of them on-board).

(Image Courtesy AIDA)

The Dome (Image courtesy AIDA)

Deck 16 will be an activity deck with a waterslide, water park, mini golf and a ropes course.

The pool deck will have a light-weight retractable glass roof, making the ships suitable for deployment in Northern Europe, in the winter. This will feature AIDA’s popular beach-club as on-board AIDAprima.

(AIDA Cruises)

The Costa version  (Courtesy Carnival)

Malcolm says: We have now seen renderings of the Costa Cruises version of this amazing Carnival design, the P&O version and a leaked model of the Carnival Cruises version.

The P&O version

Although AIDA is aimed at the thriving German market, it looks as if the P&O and AIDA versions of this ship share a ‘Dome’.

The Costa version does not appear to have this feature, but I guess she will spend much of her time in the hot Mediterranean. It’s not clear if the Carnival version will have  a ‘Dome’, but maybe she will not need it in the Caribbean.

The deck space/prom looks to be extensive, rather like MSC’s ‘Seaside’ design which NCL will also be using.

Malcolm.

Ritz-Carlton Goes Cruising

June 22, 2017

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As part of the newly created Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, the five-star hotel brand will launch three small, ultra-luxury ships.

These luxury ships are expected to cost around $220 million each. The first delivery is in 2019, followed by two sister ships in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

The ship’s design is a radical departure from traditional cruise ships, inside and out. Its exterior is meant to capture “the Maserati effect,” which begs onlookers to see what’s inside.

Fredrik Johansson, owner and executive project director of Tillberg Design of Sweden said that the Ritz-Carlton project represents the first time he’s designing a cruise line’s maiden ship and from scratch. To that end, he drew inspiration from other superyachts — as well as Maserati—rather than from his competitors.

He thinks of the 190-meter (623-foot) vessels as hybrids between ultra-luxury small ships and yachts. If small cruisers carry about 650 passengers, on average, and a typical superyacht can hold a couple dozen, these are right in between, with 298 passengers in 149 suites.

Most small luxury ocean liners that are currently sailing—are being built or reconfigured as expedition ships to meet the demand of a the adventure cruise sector. They’re largely heading to the polar regions of Antarctica and Greenland and the Scandinavian fjords.

So Ritz-Carlton saw an opening in the market: small-ship cruising along the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and New England. They’re classic destinations that are popular with cruisers—yet they’re exclusively serviced by mega-ships that overwhelm the regions’ biggest ports.

The Barreras Shipyard, Vigo, Spain-based shipyard is rumored to be building the three vessels for Ritz-Carlton. It has not previously built cruise ships, but has experience in mega ferries and container ships.

(Ritz-Carlton)

Keel Laid for Celebrity Edge

June 21, 2017

(Courtesy STX)

Today, the ceremonial keel laying took place for Celebrity Edge in Saint-Nazaire, France at STX France.

Celebrity Edge will homeport in Fort Lauderdale, FL., making her inaugural sailing on December 16, 2018.

The Ship

(Courtesy Celebrity)

Celebrity revealed that ‘Celebrity Edge’ has an “outward facing design”, which is a quest for a better connection with the sea.

Edge has a Magic Carpet, staterooms with infinite verandas, designer suites and a Rooftop Garden with artificial trees.

The Magic Carpet, by visionary architect Tom Wright, is a platform the size of a tennis court that’s cantilevered from the side of the ship. It serves as a lounge-like tender embarkation area where travellers will be taken ashore via Edge tenders.

The Magic Carpet can rise from sea level all the way up to Deck 16, where a ‘Dinner on the Edge’ experience for up to 90 people will be unlike any other. Or, when alongside Deck 14, the Magic Carpet becomes an extension of the pool area. And, at Deck 5, it provides alfresco seating for the restaurants.

The resort deck, also by Wright, features a Rooftop Garden with artificial trees and plentiful cabanas .  Continuing the quest for a better connection to the sea, the resort deck has sun-loungers which face outward, overlooking the ocean. At night, the space will transform for live music and movie/meal area.

The design of the Edge Staterooms addresses what passengers have always asked for: bigger bathrooms, bigger beds, more storage, more living area and a closer connection to the sea.

The Edge staterooms (900 of them, with 16 for single passengers) will have infinity verandas, making them 23% bigger than the industry standard.

The veranda have elegant French doors, when opened make the veranda a seamless part of the room. When those French doors are closed, creating a separate veranda area, the top of a floor-to-ceiling outside window can be lowered to the open air. (As on board many European river boats).

Celebrity Edge more than doubled the number of suites compared to the industry standard. The Retreat, featuring a private pool, lounge and the exclusive restaurant Luminae form a new, exclusive suites area.

Two suite categories are new. The top grade: a pair of ‘Iconic Suites’, positioned above the bridge. These are over nearly 2,600 square feet with two bedrooms and two baths, panoramic windows and a 700-square-foot veranda with 270-degree views.

Also new are the six split-level Edge Villas, with stunning views from two stories of windows, private plunge pools and direct walk-out access to The Retreat Sundeck.

(Courtesy Celebrity)

The 146 Sky Suites were redesigned with beds that face the balcony, and each has a rocking chair. The bathroom bath has a large oval tub with shower and a view of the sea.

All suites and double occupancy staterooms are fitted with plush king-sized cashmere mattresses, with queen-sized mattresses in the solo rooms.

In all accommodations, small touchscreens control temperature, ‘scenes’, such as romantic mood lighting, curtains, a ‘green’ mode and service request icons.

Celebrity Edge’s maiden revenue cruise sails Dec. 16, 2018. Reservations open today. The ship will alternate weekly cruises to the eastern and western Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades.

The 2,900-passenger, 129,500 gross tonne ship will be based at Port Everglades’ Terminal 25, which is being designed with a tailor-made experience especially for Edge.

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Eden – A 90-meter ramp provides panoramic views. (Celebrity).

(Celebrity)

Celebrity Edge – ‘Eden’ revealed – HERE

Video tour of Infinite Veranda stateroom HERE

MSC: Cirque du Soleil At Sea

June 20, 2017

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MSC Meraviglia is the first cruise ship ever to feature a custom Entertainment Lounge designed in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil to create a unique experience at sea.

In addition, this long-term partnership will be extended to MSC Meraviglia’s three sister ships, which will be launched in 2019, 2020 and 2022. Six nights per week, Cirque du Soleil’s outstanding artists will deliver two unique shows – created exclusively for MSC Cruises – before audiences of 500 guests.

This magical entertainment experience will take place in the purpose-built 1,000 square-metre aft lounge, where guests will be able to enjoy dinner or cocktails whilst witnessing spectacular performances.

FotoFlexer_Photo

Carousel Lounge – built specifically for CDS shows (MSC)

VIAGGIO, the first of the two shows, is the story of a passionate and eccentric artist who hears the call of his Faceless Muse. Mysterious and seductive, she beckons him into the vivid world of his unbridled imagination to complete his masterpiece. With each stroke of his paintbrush, the Painter reveals the details of his grandiose tableau. Electrifying colours fill the space with intriguing motifs and rich textures. Majestic acts transform the theatre into a living canvas. Before our very eyes, a masterpiece comes to life with sound at its heart.

Cirque-du-Soleil-at-Sea_VIAGGIO-1128x500

SONOR – the second show – takes guests on an auditory adventure with dancers, acrobats and characters, all moving to the rhythm. It conjures a world of unique sensations, astonishing sounds, bold music and immersive projections and culminates in a grand finale for the senses.

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(MSC)

Malcolm says: It’s nice to see the major cruising offering entertainment beyond the normal ‘flesh & feathers’ type.

MSC ‘World Class’ Movie

June 16, 2017

MSC/STX official movie:

Here is how two of the biggest ships in the world measure up:

Stats Harmony Of The Seas MSC World Class
Year built 2016 2022
Builder Saint-Nazaire (STX France) Saint-Nazaire (STX France)
Building cost USD 1,35 billion USD 1,125 billion
Owner Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd MSC Cruises
Class Oasis World
Speed 23 kn TBA
Length (LOA) 362 m / 1188 ft 330 m / 1083 ft
Beam (width) 46 m / 151 ft 47 m / 154 ft
Gross Tonnage 227000 gt 200000 gt
Passengers 6780 6850
Crew 2193 TBA
Decks 17 TBA
Cabins 2747 2760

Meraviglia+ Duo To Showcase Original Masterpieces

MSC Cruises is set to showcase masterpieces of classic art, such as original works by Renaissance and Impressionist artists, in an on-board Museum of Culture, on the pair of Meraviglia-Plus ships delivering in 2019 and 2020.

See full ‘Seatrade article’: HERE

Magellan To Homeport In Acapulco

June 9, 2017

Acapulco, Mexico,  has announced it that it will be the homeport for Cruise and Maritime Voyages ‘Magellan, starting in the winter of 2018. The roundtrip cruise will depart from Acapulco and make stops in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas.

Cruise and Maritime executives also announced that the first stage in the company’s plan for expansion will focus on this route on the Mexican Pacific, while a second stage will include the Panama Canal and the Mexican Caribbean.

Magellan became Cruise & Maritime Voyages  new flagship in March 2015.  Formerly Carnival’s MS Holiday, she entered service in 1985.

Magellan is  46,052 gross tonnes, so CMV’s biggest vessel, carrying  a maximum of 1,452 passengers.

At 32 years old (in 2017), verses Azores at 68 years, the Marco Polo’s 52 years and Astor’s 29 years, makes Magellan their second youngest ship.

(CMV)

Read my Magellan ship review: HERE

Marco Polo Stays & New Ship Talk

Marco Polo from the deck of Magellan – Click to enlarge

CMV management have now said:  “We are actively looking for new ships, expect an announcement very soon.”

“Marco Polo will remain in the fleet and that 2019’s programming is underway.”

(CruiseCritic)

My Marco Polo review HERE

Regal Princess, Hi-Tech Makeover

June 7, 2017

The Regal Princess (Princess cruises) will set sail this November 2017, with a new “Medallion Class” Hi-Tech makeover.

The ship is 142,714 gross tonnes and carrying 3,560 passengers.

Introducing MSC’s World Class

June 1, 2017

World Class – click to enlarge (Courtesy MSC)

MSC Cruises has now confirmed their order for up to four LNG-powered cruise ships of 200,000gt at STX France and released the first rendering of their new design.

The total order is valued at €4.5bn.

The delivery schedule is 2022 and 2024, with the options in 2025 and 2026. Each ship will have 2,760 staterooms and accommodate up to 6,850 passengers—the highest capacity of any cruise ship.

Click to enlarge (MSC)

MSC Cruises said the Y-shaped profile will enable panoramic sea views and increase the proportion of balcony cabins. The ships’ G bow—vertically positioned at a 90-degree angle—has been designed to improve stability for passenger comfort and hydrodynamics for fuel efficiency.

Click to enlarge (MSC)

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

(MSC)

Click to enlarge (MSC)

Malcolm says: Wow, she certainly looks original from the front, although the rear split superstructure is of course RCI Oasis style. The thought of 6,850 passengers will scare many people. That’s around 554 more passengers than RCI’s ‘Oasis’ class, the world’s biggest cruise ship, yet the ‘World Class’ will be some 25,000 gross tonnes (12.5 per cent) smaller. She sounds ‘busy’!

One of her innovations is a ‘square’ cabin design. We have yet to see the renderings of the cabins.

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(MSC)

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Celestyal Cruises New Website

May 27, 2017

Celestyal Crystal (Courtesy Celestyal Cruises)

Celestyal Cruises has launched a completely new version of their  website http://www.celestyalcruises.com

The company said it is now compatible with all browsers and mobile devices, offering visitors a faster, simpler booking process and a comprehensive introduction to the company’s cruises, services and unique selling points.

Celestyal specialise in around-Cuba and Greek cruises.

The cruise line operates three ships (see the web site for more details).

(Celestyal)

Balmoral Cruises From Newcastle Again

May 23, 2017

Balmoral (Courtesy Fred Olsen)

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Balmoral will be starting her second cruise season from the Port of Tyne, Newcastle, on May 25.

The 1,350-guest Balmoral will be setting sail on a total of 13 voyages from Newcastle in 2017 – an increase on the 11 departures offered in 2016.

(Fred. Olsen)

My Balmoral review: HERE