Archive for the ‘Cruising’ Category

My Most Unique Ships

August 17, 2018

There are hundreds, of cruise ships out there, but only one modern day Ocean liner.

In 2003, when she entered service, Cunard’s QM2 at 151,400 gross tonnes was the biggest, the longest, tallest and most expensive passenger ship in the world,

The QM2 was built as an ‘Ocean Liner’ for the rigours of the North Atlantic, even in winter. Other cruise ships are now bigger than her, but the QM2 will still retain the crown of world’s biggest ‘Ocean Liner’ for many years to come.

The QM2 is a unique one-off design. She is stronger, more powerful/faster and has a longer endurance than all other cruise ships, which are often designed for fair-weather cruising in the Caribbean.

The other Queen’s (Victoria and Elizabeth) are actually vista design ‘cruise ships’ with Ocean liner decor.

The Queen Mary 2 is DEFINITELY one of my most unique ships, that I have cruised on.

Queen Mary 2 review: HERE

 

 

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Titanic v Queen Mary 2

August 15, 2018

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P&O’s Iona To Sail To Norwegian Fjords In First Season

August 10, 2018

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P&O Cruises giant new ship Iona will run seven-day sailings from Southampton to the Norwegian fjords in its inaugural season.

The 180,000-ton ship is due to start operating the no-fly itinerary from its UK home port from May 2020.

Cruises on the 5,200-passenger Iona go on sale in September.

Iona has been designed to maximise views from three storey high glass walls of its grand atrium as well as new mini suites with conservatories.

Powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), Iona’s ports of call in Norway include Olden, Bergen, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Geirangerfjord, Stavanger, Alesund and Hardanderfjord.

The line has developed excursions ranging from river rafting, kayaking and high speed RIB rides, to a glacier tour by helicopter, ziplining, a light aircraft flight along Norway’s second largest fjord and fishing for crayfish.

P&O Cruises senior vice president, Paul Ludlow, said: “From the initial stages of her build we knew that Iona would be sailing to the fjords and as such, every single detail has been designed to maximise the views, the ever changing vistas and remarkable landscape”.

SkyDome, with its glass roof and temperature control will ensure that guests have an unrivalled viewpoint as the ship sails through the breathtaking vertical expanses of narrow gorges and blue sky and past mountains, glaciers and wildlife”.

“Iona has been designed to make the sea the star. With incredible views guaranteed from all over the ship, the whole season of fjords itineraries will enable guests to have the choice of when they want to travel to this spectacular area.”

He added: “P&O Cruises is the expert in delivering holidays to the fjords and this expertise brings with it the most diverse range of excursion experiences; from action packed adventures to culturally vibrant towns and charming villages offering spectacular discoveries and delicious, traditional foods”.

“Whether it is skiing or swimming, fishing or foraging, walking or whale-watching, a week on Iona will offer it all.”

(TravelWeekly)

Malcolm says: The Norwegian Fjords are beautiful and can be easily reached from UK ports and cruised within 7 days. The P&O itinerary is: Ålesund, Bergen, Geiranger, Olden and Stravanger.

However is one of the biggest ships in the world, with the biggest passenger capacity in the world (6,600 all berths), a suitable vessel for this largely unspoilt destination? I’d suggest a ship 5-6 times smaller (gross tonnage) such as Olsen’s and CMV’s fleets, are much more suitable.

Orderbook Hits Record At 113 New Ships

August 7, 2018

The global cruise ship orderbook has reached another new record, following July ship orders from Seabourn, Princess, TUI and Lindblad. The newbuild contracts pushed the forward-looking orderbook to 113 ships set to be introduced between now and 2027.

Read full ‘Cruise Industry News’ story: HERE

Malcolm says: It is interesting that the explosive of small expedition ships has statistically reduced the average size of new ships. However, in reality the majority  will be enormous (mainly mass market ships) and the minority will be small and exclusive.

Celebrity Edge – 4 Main Dining Rooms

August 5, 2018

It has now been confirmed that Celebrity Edge will have four main complimentary restaurants on-board.

Cosmopolitan Restaurant

Cosmopolitan Restaurant (Courtesy Celebrity)

The walkthrough wine display at the entrance of our Cosmopolitan restaurant sets the scene for the cuisine to be enjoyed here – new American with international influences. With an exclusive menu, including dishes like the Classic Manhattan cocktail, an appetiser of Seared Scallops, and a succulent Braised Beef Short Ribs, you’ll discover favourite dishes prepared in exciting ways that will make them your brand-new favourites all over again.

Cosmopolitan Restaurant is one of the four complimentary main restaurants on-board Celebrity Edge, and maintains the essence of the main dining rooms onboard our Solstice and Millennium Class ships with its wine display.

Cyprus Restaurant

Cyprus Restaurant (Courtesy Celebrity)

In Cyprus Restaurant you’ll discover a stunning atmosphere that perfectly reflects the Mediterranean fare served here. In Cyprus, the menu’s main focus is seafood and features simple, clean dishes that celebrate the food and beverages of the Mediterranean region.

Sip a Black-Olives Brine & Strawberry Martini. Start your meal with a Moroccan Lentil Soup. Amaze your palate with the Basque-style Cod as an entrée. The menu choices are inspired – and exclusive to Cyprus Restaurant.

Cyprus Restaurant is one of the four complimentary main restaurants on-board Celebrity Edge, and is designed by world-renowned designer, Patricia Urquiola.

Tuscan Restaurant

Tuscan Restaurant (Courtesy Celebrity)

Step inside Tuscan Restaurant and discover the delicious ambiance, with a modern classical design inspired by Italian fashion and film and mouthwatering cuisine inspired by authentic southern Italian eateries. In Tuscan Restaurant, you’ll savour Italian-inspired dishes, featuring all homemade pastas prepared with a rustic flair. From a Classic Italian Negroni cocktail to mouthwatering Rosemary Roasted Chicken and a hearty bowl of Tagliatelle Carbonara, your taste buds will get a tour of southern Italy without even stepping ashore.

Tuscan Restaurant is one of the four complimentary main restaurants on-board Celebrity Edge, and is inspired by the speciality dining venue Tuscan Grille found onboard our Solstice and Millennium Class ships.

Normandie Restaurant

Normandie Restaurant (Courtesy Celebrity)

Normandie Restaurant features contemporary French cuisine in a modern, upscale, refined design that evokes the romance of springtime in Paris, with a color palette reminiscent of cherry blossoms in full bloom. Discover regional European wines, unique cocktails, including Le Forum Cocktail (a perfectly proportioned blend of gin, vermouth, and Grand Marnier), tantalising starters like the Alsatian Potato and Gruyere Tart, and main courses such as Cassoulet of Confit Duck. It’s refined, delicious, and oh so French.

Normandie Restaurant is one of the four complimentary main restaurants on-board Celebrity Edge, inspired by our elegant Murano speciality dining venue offered on several of our Solstice and Millennium Class ships.

(Text and images courtesy Celebrity)

Malcolm says: RCI’s experiment with ‘Dynamic Dining’ (multiple dining rooms, very similar to NCL’s ‘Freestyle’) on board their ‘Quantum’ class ships (2014-16: Quantum, Anthem and Ovation) did  not prove popular with their fans. They preferred one large dining room. In fact their ‘Dynamic Dining’ concept was abandoned. The next ‘Quantum-Ultra’ class ship (Spectrum, 2019) will have one large dining room again, plus smaller alternative options.

It will be interesting to see if four dining rooms works for RCI’s ‘Celebrity’ brand with ‘Edge’.

Today At Tilbury

August 5, 2018
20180805_164155

Tilbury 05-08-18

Today at the Tilbury Cruise Terminal, was an uncharacteristically hot day, complete with a blue sky’s. There was  an infrequent visitor, the ‘Aegean Odyssey’.  I took a few photos.

MV Aegean Odyssey is a cruise ship owned and operated by Voyages to Antiquity, a one-ship cruise company established in 2009. Originally built as a ferry, it was converted to a cruise ship in 1988, and substantially rebuilt again in 2010.

Launched: 18 June 1972
Capacity: 380 passengers
Crew: 180
Tonnage: 11,906 GT

Deck Plan: HERE

She was embaking on a 16 night cruise. It the words of the brochure: “Discover the dramatic and unique landscape of Iceland with gushing geysers, rumbling volcanoes and creeping glaciers. Visit the small volcanic island of Heimaey in the remote Westmann archipelago the island’s cosmopolitan capital Reykjavik. From here you will visit the dramatic landscapes of Thingvellir National Park”.

“Sail to the port of Isafjordur on the edge of the Arctic Circle and on to Akureyri with its magnificent green pastures, waterfalls and whale-filled bays. Call at Husavik a charming harbour surrounded by snow-covered mountains, which is full of colourful houses and home to the geothermal Myvatn Nature Baths. On this trip you will also visit Scottish castles, Viking settlements in the Faroe Islands and the remote Orkney and Shetland Islands.”

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I bet her sail-away at 19.00 will be lovely. No rain, no gales, no choppy seas.

I’ve never been on board this ship, but she looks right up my street: intimate and very charming.

Have you cruise on board her? What is she like?

Malcolm

What Do You Want From Me?

August 4, 2018

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Carnival Triumph to Become ‘Sunrise’, After Multi-Million $ Refit

August 2, 2018

(Courtesy Carnival)

The Carnival Cruise Line has announced plans for a “$200 million bow-to-stern makeover” for ‘Carnival Triumph’ in the spring of 2019. This will include renaming the ship ‘Carnival Sunrise’.

The two-month-long refurbishment will take place in Cadiz, Spain, starting March 1.

The drydock will add all of Carnival’s branded food, beverage and entertainment innovations, as well as update all staterooms in a broad spectrum of new accommodations providing guests fresh and exciting seagoing vacation choices, the company said.

Following a renaming ceremony, Carnival Sunrise will re-enter service with a series of five- to seven-day voyages from Norfolk, Va., beginning April 29, 2019, a summer schedule of four- to 14-day departures from New York commencing May 23, 2019, then move to Fort Lauderdale in October.

(Carnival)

Malcolm says: That’s an interesting approach to refreshing an old ship, change it’s name!  I though traditional sailors regarded re-naming a ship as very unlucky?

However in February 2010, Triumph was fire-damaged and sustained a loss of propulsion/power which stranded her in the Gulf of Mexico . Conditions on board became very unpleasant for the passengers and even her toilets even stopped working. Triumph had to be towed back to Miami by two tugs. You can see why Carnival would want to erase that episode and change her name.

I do recall ‘Carnival Destiny’ became ‘Carnival Sunshine’. Were there others?

ALMACO to Install Cabins For The Global Class

August 1, 2018

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The ALMACO Group today announced a major order to outfit all the cabins and public areas on both of the Global-class ships for Dream Cruises, under construction at MV Werften’s Wismar shipyard.

The 204,000-ton ships will join Genting’s fleet in Asia in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

In one of ALMACO’s largest contracts, the company will install crew and passenger cabins produced by the yard, as well as various crew public areas and stair cases. The total background and interior outfitting areas surpass 40,000 square meters.

The work on-board one of the worlds largest ships is scheduled to start immediately in Wismar and Warnemünde, where ALMACO will produce and install the suites and will install the yard-produced cabins.

(Courtesy Genting)

(Cruise Industry News)

Malcolm says: Since December 2009, RCI have had the biggest class of cruise ship in the world, with their ‘Oasis’ class. Nothing has challenged their dominance in size, since. However there are now some ships on order, such as Gentling’s ‘Global’ class and MSC’s ‘World’ class,  at around 200,000 gross tonnes. The gap is closing!

Celebrity Edge – Sea Trials

July 30, 2018

(Courtesy of Christophe Dedieu )

The new ‘Celebrity Edge’ began her sea trials last week as the ship left the French, Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard, for the first time.

The 117,000-ton ship is due to be delivered from the yard later this year, and is the first of a four-ship order.

(Celebrity)

More information about ‘Celebrity Edge’: HERE

My Smallest Cruise Ship

July 28, 2018

Just a random image – for fun!

I actual like big, small and medium sized cruise ships. Each size has its advantages and disadvantages.

I don’t normally pick a cruise exclusively for the ships size, other factors such as cost, itinerary and departure date play a part in my decision.

The exception to the rule was my Caribbean cruise on-board ‘Oasis of the Seas’ – the world’s biggest class of cruise ship. I was not particularly drawn to the Caribbean, but the ships record-breaking size did entice me.  Anyway my judgement was sound, the ship really IMPRESSED me, but the Caribbean did not.

In contrast, I have taken cruises on Fred Olsen and Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) vessels, all of which are a fraction of Oasis’s size.

Anyway, I got to thinking what was the smallest cruise ship that I have cruised on. I’m going to discount small Ferries, pleasure boats and rowing boats (over the park) etc. My criteria is ships with overnight accommodation.

Without doubt the smallest ships that I have been on are “River” ones.  I have cruised on three and these have all carried under 170 passengers. However are these “ships” or “boats”? This is open to much debate, but does it matter anyway?

The smallest ocean cruise ship that I have cruised on is CMV’s Astoria. She is 16,144 gross tonnes, carrying 550 passengers. Now to the uninitiated, those numbers may sound pretty big, until you realise that there are many new ships at 150, 000+ gt caring 3,000+ passengers.

Anyway, Astoria is a charming little ship offering a relatively intimate experience, compared to most.  She only has one real disadvantage – she is not so stable in rough seas. She also had no rock walls or water chutes, but I do not see that as a disadvantage.

smaller azores

Astoria (CMV Image)

Never Cruised On A Small Ship?

If you have only ever cruised on mega-ships, the idea of a small ship possibly underwhelms you. However trust me, you are missing out.

After all, on-board a small ship you normally get one main restaurant, one buffet, one theatre and a couple of bars.

Ask yourself this; If your mega-ship had multiple restaurants, entertainment venues and bars, how many did you actually visit?  If the food is very good in one restaurant, do you really need another? If there is a nice friendly bar, with a good range of drinks, do you need another? Likewise with one entertainment venue, which offers a different show each night – do you really need more?

The lack of choice of public rooms on-board small ships can be outweighed by the ships friendliness and intimacy. You are also likely to get better food and service in a restaurant catering for 275 passengers than you are in one catering for 1,500 passengers.

The crew are more likely to remember your name and favourite tipple, on-board a small ship.

Smaller ship have a much better ‘connection with the sea’. Wherever you cabin is, you can be on-deck within a few minute. That deck is not so far from the actual sea.

Small ship somehow offer a more nautical experience, rather than a sports-centre/shopping mall type one.

Here is my: Astoria Review

What is the smallest ship that you have cruised on?

Princess: Two New 175,000 Ton Ships

July 25, 2018

We don’t know what these 175,000 gt ships will look like, yet!

Princess Cruises has announced a memorandum of agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A. to build two new cruise ships on a next-generation platform designed. The new builds are slated to be delivered in late 2023 and spring 2025, respectively.

The new vessels will be Princess Cruises’ first ships to be dual-fuel powered — primarily by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), the marine industry’s most environmentally friendly advanced fuel technology and the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel, which will significantly reduce air emissions and marine gasoil (MGO). The new ships, which will be the largest by capacity in the Princess Cruises fleet, will be built at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

“This revolutionary platform for next-generation, LNG-powered cruise ships will introduce innovative design and leisure experiences driven by the future vacation and lifestyle trends of our guests – further evolving the already best-in-class Princess Cruises experience we deliver today,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “We look forward to collaborating with Fincantieri to bring our vision for this next- generation premium cruise ship into service,” added Swartz.

The two ships will be 175,000 gross tons and will accommodate approximately 4,300 guests (lower berths). Specification details for the ship design, along with anticipated features and amenities of this all-new platform design for Princess Cruises, will be shared in the future.

Added Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri: “We are proud to extend our long-established partnership with Princess Cruises, a brand we have been tied to since our return to the cruise ship building industry in 1990. After so many years, we are ready to enter, together, a new era of this industry, increasingly aimed at reducing even more of our environmental impact. We proudly do this with an all-time record project, both in terms of size and technology. We believe that there are no more significant milestones than these to reaffirm our market-leading position. This builds upon the solid partnership between our country and Carnival Corporation — the largest foreign investor in Italy – while at the same time building upon our technological strength and increasing employment.”

In addition to today’s news, Princess Cruises has three new Royal-class ships on order with Fincantieri, including its next new ship, Sky Princess, which is currently under construction and scheduled for delivery in October 2019. The two other Royal-class ships are planned for delivery in 2020 and 2022.

The agreement for Princess Cruises’ next-generation cruise ships represent Carnival Corporation’s 10th and 11th contracted LNG-based vessels and are part of the company’s ongoing fleet enhancement strategy, aimed at creating excitement in the vacation market while accelerating demand for cruising, the fastest growing segment in the vacation industry. Carnival Corporation currently has 20 new ships under contract and scheduled for delivery between 2018 and 2025.

(Princess)

Malcolm says: When I first stated cruising, some twenty years ago, 70,000 gt was a mega-ship. Today, many are twice as big or more. It will not be long before the standard size for a cruise ship will be a massive 200,000 gt. There are some already in the order books (Msc World class and Genting Global class).  By comparison ‘Majestic Princess’, the newest Princess ship (2017) is a mere 141,000 tons.

This new Princess design may well be a different ‘platform’ to Carnival’s ‘Helios’ class (Around 185,000 gt) which AIDA, Costa, P&O and Carnival will get new ships from.

In the next twenty years,  small and medium sized cruise ships are likely to become increasingly rare.

Introducing Emerald Harmony

July 24, 2018

It’s not all about ocean cruising:

Luxury river cruising along the Mekong

We’re delighted to introduce our newest Star-Ship to the Emerald Waterways fleet: Emerald Harmony. Join our brand new Star-Ship on her inaugural season next year.

Innovatively designed to allow sailing into the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, this spectacular boutique Star-Ship will exceed all of your expectations, as it introduces you to the majesty of the Mekong river.

Boasting luxurious and contemporary facilities, you can savour a sumptuous night’s sleep in our spacious suites, indulge in authentic flavours in our Reflections Restaurant, toast to your travels with a cocktail in our Lotus Lounge, and retreat to the Sun & Pool Decks for tranquil views across Cambodia and Vietnam.

To celebrate the launch of our stunning new Star-Ship, you can enjoy generous savings across our 3 BRAND NEW itineraries. Be one of the first to sail on-board Emerald Harmony by calling our cruise experts to book your place today.

We’d love for you to join us on this unforgettable journey.

The Details

Our spectacular Emerald Harmony Star-Ship will exceed all your expectations, as it introduces you to the majesty of the Mekong. Reaching 239ft (73m) in length, 42 cabins accommodate 84 guests and 40 crew members, enabling us to provide spacious suites and public areas, as well as an excellent staff-to-guest ratio. Unlike other similar sized ships, we have specifically designed the Emerald Harmony to sail into the centre of Ho Chi Minh City, allowing us to dock in the heart of this fantastic city.

HORIZON BAR & LOUNGE

Enjoy a regional beer, glass of wine, cocktail or mocktail in the Asian-inspired surrounds of the Horizon Bar & Lounge. Dark wooden interior and indigenous plants create an authentic environment. And, of course, delicious teas and coffees are always available.

REFLECTIONS RESTAURANT

From delicious buffet breakfasts and lunches to decadent five-course à la carte dining, the Reflections Restaurant is a great place to meet up with your fellow guests and recall the highlights of the day’s on-shore exploration.

SUN & POOL DECKS

These truly remarkable spaces have been designed with your total relaxation in mind. Take a refreshing dip in the pool on warm days, before enjoying a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks from the bar. Sit back and relax in one of the comfortable chairs or sun loungers in the open-air space, or take shelter from the sun, as the river breeze invigorates you.

(Text: Emerald Waterways)

Malcolm says: This looks to be a lovely river boat and its dimensions are not constrained by narrow rivers or locks, hence there are some big suites on offer. Emerald Waterways European boats look very nice too, although they have  a more generic design and size (similar to Amadeus boats).  I will be reviewing Emerald Harmony as soon as they give me a free cruise on her. (Unlikely)

AIDAnova’s Theatrium Offers New Entertainment Experiences

July 23, 2018

Theatrium (Courtesy AIDA)

New ‘Helios’ class ships will join the AIDA fleet in 2018 and 2021. The first ship is named AIDAnova.

The ships will each exceed 180,000 gross tons and have more than 2,500 staterooms. P&O’s ‘Iona’, to be delivered in 2020, will also be based on the ‘Helios’ design.

AIDA Cruises is promising that the new AIDAnova will offer “different and innovative entertainment experiences for all tastes every day in a total of 13 venues.” The company said there will be a number of new entertainment formats exclusive to the ship, for the German market.

AIDA said that five new shows will premier in the Theatrium, which continues to be the brand’s signature entertainment venue. In the evening – it’s showtime on the 360-degree stage, featuring technical highlights such as the 11 LED walls, seven different laser shows and the LED Tube inclusive of an “artists’ elevator.”

A new venue is Studio X, the ship’s TV studio. Guests can observe live how AIDA TV shows are produced.

Another venue is The Mystery Room, where players go on a treasure hunt. In the Rock Box, guests will get “an earful” of music, according to AIDA, either with a mix of favorites from the jukebox, or unplugged and live. Guests can also enjoy dinner in the Time Machine Restaurant – described as the realm of Professor Tempus. He will take them on a voyage through time to distant worlds.

The Four Elements venue is a highlight for the whole family featuring a rope course, waters slide and next door, a Caribbean-like beach that doubles as a night spot with live music and dancing.

In addition is nightly entertainment at The Cube dance club and at the Casino.

(Cruise Industry News)

Malcolm says; As cruise ship increasingly get bigger and in some cases, the cruise lines like to pack them in, I can see that a combined Atrium/Theatre (Theatrium) is a good dual purpose use of space and would save building some other entertainment venues on board. This leaves more space for cabins, bars and alternative restaurants which are all income generating.

I don’t think Iona’s public rooms include a ‘Theatrium’ as such, but she will have ‘The Dome’ which I believe is a multi-purpose space that will be used in part for entertainment.

The United States Line

July 21, 2018
ss-america-3

(Source unknown)

United States Lines was a former transatlantic shipping company that operated cargo services from 1921 to 1989, and ocean liners until 1969—most famously, the SS United States.

SS America was an ocean liner built in 1940 for the United States Lines and designed by the noted naval architect William Francis Gibbs. She was  26,454 GRT and carried 1,202 passengers.

the SS United States entered service in 1952. She was (and still is) the largest ocean liner built in the United States and the fastest ocean liner ever built. She was 53,330 GT and carried 1,928 passengers.

She immediately set transatlantic speed records, capturing the Blue Riband from the Queen Mary.

With the introduction of the larger and faster United States in 1952, America’s reign as queen of the US merchant marine was taken away from her. Their disparity in size and speed prevented them from becoming true running mates like the RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth of the Cunard Line. But she still was a favourite of many.

The SS America is of course somewhat forgotten compared to the SS United States.

The SS America ran-aground in 1994 and the United States was laid-up in 1969 and is rusting away, in Philadelphia, to this day.

See the SS America story HERE

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Susan Gibbs (Daughter of the designer) & Edie Rodriguez, President Crystal Cruises ( AFP)

In 2016 Crystal Cruises launched a plan to renovate the SS United States and return her back to service as a ‘state-of-the-art cruise ship. However they quickly drooped the plan, citing too many technical and commercial challenges.

Below is a slide-show of Crystal’s renderings of a renovated SS United States:

 

Virgin Voyages “Scarlet Lady”

July 20, 2018

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Virgin Voyages has unveiled the long-awaited name of its first ‘Lady Ship’ today – “Scarlet Lady” – at its shipyard in Genoa, Italy.

Founder Sir Richard Branson and president and CEO Tom McAlpin revealed further details about the cruise line’s debut ship, including a ban on single-use plastics on board and the plans for its wellbeing programme, “Vitamin Sea”.

Virgin Voyages describes its Vitamin Sea wellbeing programme for passengers as being inspired by the oceans and their importance in health and well-being for the planet and our daily lives.

VV-Athletic-Club-Training-Center

Looks like hard work! (Courtesy Virgin)

Also on board will be The Runway running track, The B Complex with rooms for spin, yoga and cardio and The Athletic Club, which includes a boxing ring and gym equipment modelled on what you’d find in 1920s New York sports clubs.

Passengers will have ample opportunity for pampering in the ship’s Spa, Redemption, and in the blow dry bar, barber shop, male pedicure spa and mani-pedi spa.

virgin-voyages-scarlet-lady(Text/Image Virgin Voyages)

Malcolm says: The Virgin Voyages fleet will comprise three 110,000 ton, 2,750 passenger ships (lower berths). So they are pretty big, but not enormous, when compared to the P&O’s Iona, RCI, NCL and MSC ships.

The first one, which will debut in 2020, will sail seven-night Caribbean itineraries out of Miami. Deployment for the second and third, which will sail starting in 2021 and 2022, is not yet known.

NCL Announces Enhancements to 2019 & 2020 Itineraries

July 18, 2018

Bliss (Courtesy NCL)

The Norwegian Cruise Line has announced enhancements to its 2019 and 2020 itineraries to leverage the strong global demand environment in highly sought after destinations.

Norwegian Joy will join sister ship Norwegian Bliss sailing seasonally in Alaska in summer 2019 and will offer Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages in winter 2019/2020. Norwegian Pearl will sail to Europe as the cruise line’s sixth ship in the region in summer 2019, while Norwegian Jade and Jewel will significantly expand Norwegian’s presence in Australasia in winter 2019/2020. Maintaining Norwegian Cruise Line’s commitment to serving the Chinese cruise market, Norwegian Spirit will sail seasonally in China beginning summer 2020.

Norwegian Joy to Sail Year-Round on the West Coast of the United States

In April 2019, Norwegian Joy will reposition to Seattle to offer seven-day voyages to Alaska, replacing Norwegian Pearl as Norwegian Cruise Line’s third ship in the region, joining Norwegian Bliss and Jewel. Prior to her arrival in Seattle, Norwegian Joy will undergo approximately $50 million in upgrades to enhance her already popular features and bring her designs and offerings to be virtually identical to those of her sister ship, Norwegian Bliss, the newest and most successful ship in the line’s 51-year history. To complement Norwegian Bliss’ itineraries and provide guests with more places to explore and experience the natural beauty of Alaska, Norwegian Joy will cruise a variety of itineraries featuring Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Holkham Bay and Icy Strait Point, long recognized for its untouched wilderness, rich culture and fresh seafood. She will also call into Victoria, British Columbia.

Following her inaugural Alaska season, Norwegian Joy will sail to Los Angeles for a season of Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages in winter 2019/2020.This move will mark a turning point in the historically underserved winter cruise market on the West Coast of the United States with the arrival of a premier, state-of-the-art cruise ship.

Norwegian Pearl to Offer New Itineraries in Europe

As Norwegian Joy enters the Alaska market in summer 2019, the 2,400 passenger Norwegian Pearl will deploy to Europe, further strengthening the line’s seasonal European deployment to six ships. She will offer new and varied itineraries from Amsterdam, a strategic pre-and-post cruise port where guests will have easy access to the heart of the city as well as Europe’s third largest and fastest growing airport. Norwegian Pearl will also embark on a variety of Mediterranean sailings from Rome (Civitavecchia), Barcelona, and Venice.

Norwegian Jewel and Jade to Deploy to Australia and Asia

Norwegian Joy’s seasonal sailings in Los Angeles in winter 2019/2020 allows for Norwegian Jewel, which will be refurbished this fall, to return to Australia/New Zealand, Asia and the South Pacific for a third year of seasonal cruises from Honolulu, Papeete, Sydney, Auckland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo (Yokohama).

Building even further on the line’s presence in the region, the 2,400 passenger Norwegian Jade will offer a season of sailings throughout Southeast Asia departing from Singapore and Hong Kong in winter 2019/2020. Port of call highlights include high demand locations such as Phuket, Langkawi, Penang, Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) and Ha Long Bay. In addition, Norwegian Jade will offer several unique itineraries through the Suez Canal and Indian Ocean featuring calls in Greece, Israel, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Maldives, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The deployment of Norwegian Jewel and Jade to the region is aimed to take full advantage of the flourishing source market in Australia, which remains the world’s highest-penetrated cruise market and one of its most desirable destinations.

Revitalized Norwegian Spirit to Serve China Market Seasonally Beginning Summer 2020

Norwegian Cruise Line remains committed to serving the Chinese cruise market and will deploy the 2,000 passenger Norwegian Spirit seasonally to the region beginning in summer 2020. Prior to her arrival, Norwegian Spirit will undergo a previously scheduled bow-to-stern revitalization as the final ship to undergo enhancements under the Norwegian Edge® fleet refurbishment program. In February 2020 her journey from Europe to Asia will feature several exclusive sailings with new calls for Norwegian Cruise Line including South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives.

(NCL)

Malcolm says: About a year ago, Norwegian Cruise Line was celebrating its first China-based ship, Norwegian Joy. The ships facilities were designed for the Chinese market. However it looks like NCL are not happy with Chinese demand for cruising.  The Joy (the original Bliss) is on its way to Alaska in early 2019 with $50m refit, to convert her back into an American ship. That sounds like an expensive mistake to me!

I’m no expert, but all the major cruise lines have sent ships to China in recent years. Although I don’t doubt it will be a growing market, it has obviously not grown as fast as they expected.

NCL have lowered their China capacity. The Norwegian spirit will serve the Chinese market seasonally, but she is a smaller ship than ‘Joy’.

Featured Ship: Norwegian Epic

July 15, 2018

An early rendering. (Courtsey NCL)

As NCL announce an additional two new ‘Leonardo’ ships (making a total; of six), lets look at an existing ship: Norwegian Epic

Epic has had an interesting history:  Built in 2010,  she was going to be one of two new ships for the Norwegian Cruise Line. At around 156,000gt these were to be the biggest NCL ships yet.  However for whatever reason, NCL cancelled number two. I believe they had to pay a large penalty to the shipyard for this and probably fell out with the French shipyard,  STX Europe Chantiers de l’Atlantique,  in the process. (They have not constructed a ship for them since).  However all NCL’s  focus (and money) went on making Epic pretty  ‘Epic’.

Epic felt like NCL existing fleet of ships on ‘steroids’. Everything was bigger from the entertainment to the number of dining options. The cabins were very stylish, although the in-cabin bathroom arrangement shocked some commentators.

In my opinion Epic was the first mega-ship to really compete with Royal Caribbean’s mega-ships.

I must say that Epic’s private ‘Haven’ complex (a ship within a ship), which is perched above he bridge, makes he look a rather top heavy ship, in fact ugly. I would go as far to say that externally Epic is one of the ugliest purpose-built ships I have ever seen. Fortunately her interiors are very stylish and not too OTT, as NCL ones used to be

NCL later now moved onto the ‘Breakaway’ and ‘Breakaway-Plus’ designs (built by Meyer Werft Germany, this time) however many of the design ideas were  borrowed from ‘Epic’, apart from the bathroom configurations!

Norwegian Epic review: HERE

New Cruise Terminal For Copenhagen

July 15, 2018

According to a statement, Copenhagen will be  building a new cruise terminal with capacity for 5,000 guests, a quay length of 370 meters and a water depth of 12 meters, for  April 2020.

The terminal building will have two floors, totalling 10,000 square meters and two gangway bridges.

Overall more than 1.1 million cruise passengers are expected to visit Danish ports this year, with an economic impact of 200 million euro.

(Net)

NCL Confirms Fifth & Sixth ‘Project Leonardo’ ships

July 13, 2018

Even more big ship news:

July 12, 2018 – Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. today announced it confirmed its previously announced options for the fifth and sixth Project Leonardo Class ships with the Fincantieri  shipyard, Italy, for Norwegian Cruise Line for delivery in 2026 and 2027.

“These orders extend our disciplined and measured newbuild program and strong growth trajectory well into the future and will further drive long-term returns for our shareholders,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “Our six ship Leonardo Class fleet will allow us to broaden our deployment into strong performing and mature unserved and underserved markets and offer new experiences to our guests.”

At 140,000 gross tons and accommodating approximately 3,300 guests, this next generation class of ships will build upon the highly successful offering of freedom and flexibility found across Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet, including the most recent Breakaway Plus Class ships, and feature a host of inventive designs that will further elevate its already award-winning guest experience. A priority of the prototype design is energy efficiency, with the aim of optimizing fuel consumption and reducing the impact on the environment. The smaller footprint will also broaden deployment opportunities around the world. Details on the many innovative guest-facing and first at sea features will be announced at a later date.

“Following the Breakaway Plus Class, the most successful class in our Company’s history, the highly anticipated Leonardo Class will fuel future growth with exciting and innovative offerings that will meaningfully drive demand from new and loyal returning guests alike,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.

With today’s announcement, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has seven ships on order for Norwegian Cruise Line and one for Regent Seven Seas Cruises for a total of eight vessels for delivery through 2027. The Company will take delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, in fall 2019.

(NCL)

Malcolm says: This new ships are based on the Fincantieri MSC Seaside design.  NCL Leonardo compared to MSC Seaside: HERE

A New Cruise Terminal For MSC’s ‘World’ Class vessels.

July 12, 2018

More big ship news:

MSC Cruises and Miami-Dade county announced the signing of an agreement for extended preferential berthing rights as well as of a Memorandum of Understanding for the construction of a new Cruise Terminal at PortMiami. This will be built to accommodate MSC’s 200,000-ton World Class vessels.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, commented: “The new agreement and expanded partnership with PortMiami and Miami-Dade County is another key step forward in the business growth of MSC Cruises, as we continue to strengthen our global footprint, with a strategic focus on North America.”

In 2017, MSC Cruises worked with PortMiami on the completion of Terminal F, home to MSC Seaside, the first MSC Cruises ship to be built specifically for North American market and the Caribbean.

The new terminal is projected to be completed by October 2022.

(MSC)

Dining/Entertainment On-board P&O’s New Iona

July 10, 2018

The Grand Atrium (Courtesy P&O)

“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” (P&O)

Iona will offer guests unprecedented levels of quality and flexibility when it comes to food and drink. The exciting array of options combines brand-new dining and drinking concepts with much-loved signature venues to give new meaning to the word ‘choice’. With 29 different venues to choose from, there’s something for everyone, whatever their mood, at any time of day and night.

A P&O Cruises First, Iona will exclusively offer Freedom Dining in the main restaurants. This puts guests in the driving seat, giving them the flexibility to dine with friends and family any time from 6–9pm. At peak times, a pager will alert them when the table is ready so there’s time to relax with an aperitif.

Other P&O Cruises Firsts include two brand-new dining concepts and a new live music venue.

The Quays is an exciting foodie piazza offering a great range of self-service and takeaway venues and a lively atmosphere for sociable dining. Within The Quays, a host of new dining venues showcasing cuisines from around the world will create a vibrant buzz – from American diner classics to Asian fast-food favourites. Another foodie first is The Keel and Cow, a fabulous British gastropub serving hearty pub fare. The 710 Club serves up live music and stylish cocktails: the perfect combination to let the good times roll long into the night.

Of course, it’s not just about the new. Iona also celebrates the best P&O Cruises dining and drinking traditions with favourites such as Brodie’s, The Crow’s Nest, The Epicurean, Sindhu and The Beach House, along with pool bars and a pizzeria and grill.

Iona brings iconic P&O Cruises stars and new trends in food and dining under one fabulous roof.

The 710 Club, Deck 6

It’s all about the music at The 710 Club. The secret haven – exclusively for adults – is the perfect spot in which to relax and enjoy the musical atmosphere, day or night. During the day, it’s a retreat from the hustle and bustle, offering something a little different. At night, it transforms into a sophisticated venue hosting a diverse range of top-class singers and bands tailored to British tastes: acoustic covers, ‘impromptu’ performances, classic and modern jazz, swing, Rat Pack, modern and acoustic rock music will feature. The 710 Club offers a fun and lively atmosphere, and is sure to captivate guests night after night.

The Keel and Cow, Deck 8

The Keel and Cow is an unpretentious gastropub, where food and drink have been crafted into something truly special. Located on deck 8, it offers a quick and convenient breakfast for those going ashore, and lunchtimes bring top-quality, authentic gastropub fare to the fore, with dishes such as a signature beef and stout burger, beer-battered fish and triple-cooked chips, black-pudding scotch eggs and more. At night, guests can gather with friends to enjoy hearty dishes or select from a range of steaks from the dry-ageing fridge. With views over the Grand Atrium or out to sea, or even to the chefs at work in the open galley, The Keel and Cow is the perfect place to bring friends and family together to enjoy delicious food, real hand-pumped ales and a great selection of craft ales in a relaxed, informal environment.

The Quays, Deck 8

Head to The Quays for informal dining options to suit every mood. This multi-venue dining piazza offers an amazing array of eateries and restaurants and is a lively hub for socialising over food and watching the world go by. There’s a fun street-food atmosphere with plenty of buzz, theatre and colour adding to the beachfront promenade vibe. With access onto the Promenade Deck, outdoor dining is available too. It’s all about flexible, fun, family-friendly food – the perfect place for a quick snack, light lunch or informal dinner.

With such a choice of foodie venues, The Quays will hit the hunger spot, from morning breakfasts to late-night snacks. New dining concepts found in The Quays include:

• The Boardwalk Diner (all-day, self-service): American classics meet Southern soul food with an all-day menu including chargrilled burgers, hot dogs, eggs over easy, southern-fried chicken with a side of slaw and so much more. Head on over for informal fast-food dining from breakfast until dinner.

• Fusion (all-day, take-away): Fusion is a hot spot for lovers of authentic Asian flavours. Offering take-away dishes all day, enjoy an odyssey around South East Asia in a relaxed and casual environment.

• Hook Line and Vinegar (all-day, self-service): For seaside hunger cravings at lunch or dinnertime, nothing beats traditional British fish and chips. Think crispy battered fish, calamari, fish burgers, scampi, crab cakes – all served with chips and mushy peas.

• The Olive Grove (restaurant, lunch and evening service): With a strong focus on food provenance, The Olive Grove celebrates the flavours of the southern and eastern Mediterranean with authentic dishes and sharing platters. Mouthwatering aperitifs and a well-chosen list of regional wines completes the menu and adds to the relaxed dining experience. The Olive Grove is the ideal venue for intimate dinners for two or a celebratory family meal – with options to eat in the restaurant or in the conservatory area.

Eric Lanlard’s Afternoon Tea, Deck 17

For the ultimate daytime indulgence, Eric Lanlard’s Afternoon Tea is an on-board experience not to be missed. His unique twist on this classic British institution elevates the humble afternoon tea into something utterly decadent. As expected from the imagination of master pâtissier Eric Lanlard, delicious savoury and sweet surprises adorn each tempting cake stand, all served with a wide array of speciality teas.

Andersons, Deck 6

By day, Andersons is a quiet lounge bar with a library for browsing – the ideal spot for reading and relaxation. By evening, it becomes the place for before or after-dinner drinks – the main dining restaurants are located next door. The atmosphere is intimate, stylish and sociable with the feeling of a private members’ club. The exciting focal point of Andersons is a boutique gin distillery. Situated to the side of the bar, the statement piece in shining copper champions the art of artisanal gin. Guests will gather around it for masterclasses and gin tastings. Andersons is a must for connoisseurs in search of the finest tipples.

Beachcomber Pool and Bar, Deck 18

Situated to the fore of the ship, the Beachcomber Pool and Bar area offers plenty of space to relax in the sun and shade. The bar will rustle up a wide range of much-loved cocktails while guests relax and soak up the sunshine.

Brodie’s and Casino, Deck 7

Brodie’s, the much-loved British pub, is a sociable place where a good time is guaranteed. It boasts the ship’s largest range of British and international bottled beers, ciders and real ale. There’s a great selection on tap too, not to mention a well-stocked wine menu and tasty traditional British bar snacks such as pork scratchings, peanuts and crisps.

During the day, Brodie’s hosts quizzes and live sport. By night, it’s a popular spot for live entertainment, karaoke, quizzes and game shows. And don’t forget the adjacent Casino, which offers the latest gaming technology and games to suit all pockets, for novices and experts alike.

Crystal Bar and Laguna Bar, Deck 16

These poolside bars offer a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and are perfectly placed for al fresco refreshment when relaxing by the pool or enjoying fun activities such as sail-away parties. Both bars are located in the SkyDome.

Emerald Bar, Deck 6

For evening glamour, the stylish Emerald Bar in the Grand Atrium is the cocktail hotspot, thanks to its relaxed living-room feel and a Covent Garden-style buzz. With a large menu of premium cocktails, it’s an ideal location for pre-dinner drinks or as a late-night bar. From mid-morning, the space will host pop-up entertainment such as buskers and musical performances. From the early evening, guests will be treated to aerial circus performances. Whatever the time of day or night, spectacular sea views add to the unforgettable ambience.

Horizon Restaurant, Deck 16

The all-day self-service buffet is the perfect option for casual, flexible dining. The elegant design adds to the relaxed and easy atmosphere. Whatever the time of day or night, Horizon offers a wide range of tempting dishes, from traditional British favourites to foods from around the globe. Catering to a wide range of dietary requirements, vegetarian dishes, gluten-free choices and healthier eating options are all available. To top it off, all meals come with the best panoramic ocean views on the ship.

Main dining restaurants: Pearl, Coral, Aqua and Opal, Decks 6 & 7

All four main dining restaurants will offer Freedom Dining. This allows guests to enjoy dining with little more sense of occasion, and the flexibility to dine with chosen companions at a time that suits them. Although the surroundings are elegant in each restaurant, the atmosphere is always relaxed and welcoming with sittings for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.

All Main Dining venues will also host the popular Gala Nights with a special Gala menu devised by P&O Cruises Food Hero Marco Pierre White.

Each of the restaurants has a distinctive design and style. Although grand in scale, the dining rooms will include more intimate areas with low balustrades and atmospheric mood lighting.

The largest, Pearl and Coral, are located on decks 6 and 7 respectively at the aft of the ship – and combine to make one large dining space over two levels. Here, the dining space spanning both decks is glazed full height with a feature staircase and

uninterrupted views over the ocean. Aqua and Opal are smaller restaurants, located port and starboard side respectively.

Gelateria, Deck 8

Located at the top of the Grand Atrium at the entrance to The Quays, and with access to the Promenade Deck, this is an informal and family-friendly gelateria serving scoops of modern Italian-style gelato in addition to premium tea and coffee. Guests can enjoy their goodies in the Gelateria or take them away to savour on the Promenade Deck.

Sindhu, Deck 16

Visit Sindhu to be treated to authentic Indian cuisine with a British twist. This Select Dining favourite offers a menu that is a triumph of perfectly balanced spices, delicate flavours and wonderful aromas. Dining amidst its sumptuous fabrics and opulent décor is a treat for the senses and an experience not to be missed.

SkyDome Pizzeria and Grill, Deck16

For peckish moments at any time of day, deck 16 is the place to go for fresh oven-baked pizzas and grilled goodies such as top-quality burgers and classic fish and chips. The food venue will also offer more global flavours with popular street foods from around the world.

Sunset Bar, Deck 8

At the aft end of the Promenade Deck, the Sunset Bar is the best place to enjoy a sundowner at the end of the day, with easy access to The Club House and its chilled evening vibe. By day, it’s equally atmospheric with cooling sun canopies to relax under and drink in the sea views.

Sundaes, Deck 16

For happy holiday treats, Sundaes in the SkyDome is perfect for all the family with a wide range of ice cream favourites to choose from.

The Beach House

In the evenings, the forward section of Horizon Restaurant transforms into a fun and informal Select Dining venue, The Beach House. Inspired by South American, Caribbean and Stateside cuisines, the menu offers hearty dishes and comfort-food favourites.

Highlights include the steaks, ribs, grills and burgers, hanging kebabs and a range of sharable sides. Save space for the decadent and delicious desserts.

The Club House, Deck 8

This flexible venue leads out into the aft end of the Promenade Deck to offer relaxing inside and outside spaces. It’s a bright, spacious, multi-purpose lounge by day – ideal for afternoon entertainment and family fun. By night, it transforms into a modern live-lounge and late-night disco, offering entertainment and dancing long into the night. The extensive bar area inside serves drinks and bar snacks.

The Crow’s Nest, Deck 17

The iconic observation lounge is a well-established feature of the fleet. Offering panoramic views of the ocean in a relaxed, modern and elegant setting, it’s a delightful spot for daytime reveries and reading. In the evening, the venue becomes a sophisticated cocktail lounge with a live pianist adding to the nostalgic sense of style. Located adjacent to The Epicurean, it’s a popular spot for aperitifs or after-dinner drinks, and relaxed socialising into the night.

The Epicurean, Deck 17

The Epicurean offers a gastronomic blend of classic and contemporary fine dining in elegant surroundings with uninterrupted sea views. The mood in this Select Dining restaurant is refined and intimate: impeccable service, crisp white tablecloths and a premium wine list complement the extraordinary food.

The focus is on provenance. Dishes are made with the finest and freshest local produce and prepared with great skill, fusing the best modern British and destination culinary traditions. The simple ingredients are the stars of the show. A Chef’s Table and a private dining area for up to eight guests provide further opportunity for special occasions and celebrations.

The Glass House, Deck 7

Created by award-winning wine expert and P&O Cruises Food Hero Olly Smith, The Glass House is for lovers of fine wine and great food. The premium wine bar boasts an impressive wine list curated by Olly and offers a sophisticated environment in which to enjoy breakfast, a light lunch, a leisurely glass of wine or an evening meal with family or newfound friends. Wine connoisseurs are well taken care of: Cellar Door at The Glass House offers wine talks, tastings and wine-pairing dinners. It’s in prime position to enjoy the Grand Atrium’s aerial performances, as well as magnificent views out to the horizon.

The Limelight Club, Decks 6

This supper-club venue is a fixed favourite. After the daytime dancing classes, The Limelight Club is the place to be for adult-only evening dining and entertainment. The club exclusively hosts established and emerging vocalists and is the dedicated venue for resident performers and the house band. As the entertainment gets underway, guests enjoy a unique dining experience: it starts with a welcome drink before a themed multi-course menu is served at intervals throughout the show. After the performances, the bar is open to all and becomes a lively late-night hotspot.

Vistas Café Bar, Decks 6

Located in the heart of the Grand Atrium, Vistas is a warm and welcoming café with a buzzing atmosphere. Serving premium tea, coffee and snacks, as well as tempting treats from P&O Cruises Food Hero and master pâtissier Eric Lanlard, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing pit stop while looking at fabulous ocean views or watching the world on ship go by.

In the evenings, it’s an ideal spot for an after-dinner coffee or wind-down tea. From mid-morning there will also be pop-up entertainment, and from early evening impromptu aerial circus performances will add to the drama and excitement of the Grand Atrium space.

(P&O)

Entertainment:

The 710 Club, Deck 6

This is the venue all about the music, a secret haven exclusively for adults where relaxing in a musical atmosphere is the priority (day or night).

For guests who prefer this vibe during the day, what you will find is a retreat from the hustle and bustle, offering something a little different.

At night though, the spot transforms into somewhere oozing sophistication with a diverse range of top-class singers and bands tailored to British tastes.This can include acoustic covers, ‘impromptu’ performances, classic and modern jazz, swing, Rat Pack, modern and acoustic rock music.

SkyDome, Decks 16 and 17

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.

Ocean Studios, Deck 6

This is one for the film fanatics where you’re greeted with a warm welcome, comfortable seating and a relaxing environment for that premium cinema experience!

Four cinema screens will host everything from classics to recent blockbusters in surround sound with screenings throughout the day, popcorn and snacks for plush boutique surroundings.

The Club House, Deck 8

The non-stop upbeat atmosphere entertains both day and night where daytime sees the space function as a vibrant multi-purpose space that’s perfect for families to play games and enjoy afternoon entertainment including game shows!

Once the sun goes down, The Club House becomes Iona’s late-night venue, offering dancing in a modern ‘live lounge’ environment.

P&O guests can also enjoy the sounds of Iona’s talented house band, Pulse, at night with an indoor/outdoor space, boasting bar areas leading to the outdoor aft end of the Promenade Deck.

The Limelight Club, Deck 6

A feast for the senses, this venue blesses you with fantastic food, great company and top-notch entertainment.

The venue showcases established and emerging entertainers and is the dedicated space for resident performers, all accompanied by a gregarious compère and Iona’s house band.

Exclusively for adults, it’s also a hotspot for dancing, with daytime classes and hosted dancing events; guests can enjoy a drink on arrival before tucking into a menu full of unique, innovative dishes.

To heighten the sense of occasion, P&O have made sure the menus have a ‘show business’ theme where after each night’s show, the club transforms into a late-night venue for post-show drinks and revelry.

Headliners Theatre, Decks 6 and 7

This is perfect for a classic yet contemporary night with a sleek and sophisticated theatre experience: plush, comfortable seating and the latest LED technology deliver the ‘wow’ factor.

The two-deck-high auditorium on decks 6 and 7 ensures everyone has the best view in the house and during the day, guests can enjoy matinee performances and activities such as talks, films and Q&As.

But once night falls, full-scale production shows hit the stage– think dazzling West End style performances, cabaret, comedy and more!

The Ivory Suite, Deck 17

Love is in the air in The Ivory Suite as the primary venue for weddings and renewals of vows, it’s perfect for intimate and mid-sized ceremonies, all tailored to guests’ requests.

The premium location next to the Crow’s Nest and The Epicurean is light, airy whilst the elegant surroundings and ocean views provide a romantic backdrop for photographs.

Kids Clubs:

The Reef, Deck 17

This free on-board activity programme for children is a place to keep them safe and entertained throughout their entire cruise as and when they need, a place they can forge friendships with other children their own age.

Staffed by a crew of enthusiastic and qualified Reef rangers, it offers clubs with a wide range of age-specific entertainment:

  • Nursery (6 months-2 years)
  • Splashers (2-4 years)
  • Surfers (5-8 years)
  • Scubas (9-12 years)

There is also a secure outdoor play area and a designated splash park for these age groups whilst parents can make use of then complimentary Night Nursery available for ages six months to four years, open from 6pm to 2am each night.

A quiet area is created for the perfect surroundings for an infant to sleep; parents are contacted via a pager if their child wakes up.

Scene, Deck 6

Scene is a secret on-board hang-out for teens aged 13 to 17 and is separated from the rest of the children’s club, giving teens a chance to have their own space and allowing them to dip in and out of planned events.

It operates during high peak cruising season and in the low season, it becomes an entertainment space for adults.

Guests should note that in all children’s clubs, including the night nursery, allocation is on a first come, first served basis due to limited spaces available.

(P&O)

Malcolm says: This design of mega-ship will also be given to Costa, AIDA and Carnival. One assumes that much of the hardware, such as the dining rooms, will be similar for all brands. I fear that P&O will lose many of their traditions (such as two sitting for dinner and silver service) and become just another big mass-market line.  This ship will surely be aimed at multi-generational families, just like RCI, NCL and MSC ships are.  The ‘socks & sandal’ brigade are history!

I’m not suggesting that Iona will be a bad ship or offer a poor product. I am suggesting P&O are losing their original identity.  Did you know that ‘Oriana’ (1995) and ‘Aurora’ (2000) were the last two ships specifically built for P&O, all others since have been Princess/Carnival designs. (Oriana will be leaving the P&O fleet in 2019).

Iona will hold the record for the most number of passengers on-board a cruise ship (around 5,200 lower berths, + upper berths), although she is about 22% smaller than RCI’s ‘Oasis’ class, the worlds biggest cruise ships. That sounds a little worrying to me.

CMV’s 2019/20 Programme

July 6, 2018

Cruise and Maritime Voyages’ winter and spring 2019/20 cruise programme includes new winter voyages to Africa, a world cruise, Christmas and New Year cruises to the Canary Islands & Madeira, plus Mexico and Caribbean.

See full SEATRADE article: HERE

(Image Courtesy of CMV)

Details of new ship, Vasgo Da Gama: HERE

HAL’s Prinsendam Sold

July 4, 2018

(Courtesy HAL)

The Holland America Line has announced that Prinsendam has been sold and will leave its fleet July 1, 2019 and transfer to the German cruise company Phoenix Reisen. Following the sale, the 37,983-ton, 835-guest Prinsendam is being chartered back to Holland America Line to continue sailing its planned voyages through July 1, 2019.

Prinsendam’s itineraries from July 1, 2019, onward are scheduled to be assimilated by Rotterdam, Volendam and Veendam. Holland America Line is reaching out to booked guests and their travel professionals to re-accommodate guests on these cruises.

Prinsendam was built in 1988 as Royal Viking Sun for Royal Viking Line. The ship was operated by Cunard Line from 1994 through 1998 and then transferred to Seabourn Cruise Line, where it became Seabourn Sun in 1999. In 2002 the ship joined the Holland America Line fleet and was renamed Prinsendam.

(HAL)

Great Yarmouth Welcomes First Cruise Ship

July 3, 2018

 

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(Image: Courtesy ITV News Anglia)

The American cruise ship, ‘Seabourn Quest’ arrived in Great Yarmouth, U.K., on Saturday 30th June 2018. This the first time the Norfolk town has welcomed a cruise ship.

The luxurious Seabourn Quest, carrying 458 American passengers, docked at Peel Ports Great Yarmouth Outer Harbour, on Saturday morning.

The port of call was part of a Northern European cruise offered by Seabourn Cruise Line.

The passengers visited some of the town’s key attractions such as the Time and Tide Museum and the famous Golden Mile. Other went to the nearby city of Norwich for the day.

(Yarmouth Tourism)

Wonderful Waverley & Brilliant Balmoral

July 1, 2018

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to experience a day river cruise on the Balmoral Motor Cruiser (1949), and the Waverley paddle steamer (1947), both departing from Tilbury, via Southend, cruising the rivers Thames and Medway (U.K.).

Waverley is the only Ocean going paddle steamer left in the world.

Built on the Clyde in 1947 – to replace the original Waverley that sunk off Dunkirk in 1940, the Waverley was originally built to sail only between Craigendorran & Arrochar in West Scotland.

On my Waverley trip, I was  lucky enough to see the ‘Kingswear Castle’, paddle steamer, on route.

The coal-fired paddle steamer KINGSWEAR CASTLE was built in 1924 by Philip & Son of Dartmouth and sailed up and down the River Dart with her virtually identical sister ships and COMPTON CASTLE until the 1960s.

Unfortunately Balmoral is laid-up for 2018 as she needs her hull repainting and funding is often a problem. Hopefully she will be back in service in 2019?

I’d recommend any of these three ‘classic’ ships (Waverley, Balmoral & Kingsear Castle) to you, if you get the chance.

It is amazing to think that the Waverley still sails around Britain annually, Spring to Autumn. She offers regular trips on the Clyde, the Thames, South Coast of England and the Bristol Channel with other calls at various ports & piers throughout the UK. So look out for her at a UK port near you.

Malcolm

Waverley cruises: HERE

Oriana To Leave P&O’s Fleet

June 29, 2018

(Courtesy P&O)

P&O Cruises have announced a new guest experience program for 2019 and that Oriana (1995) will leave its fleet in August 2019.

The company did not specify where the 1,822-guest ship would operate next (but it is rumoured that China has purchased her).

P&O Cruises senior vice president, Paul Ludlow, said: “Oriana is an original, and a much loved P&O Cruises ship. Whilst we will miss her, her departure will allow us to focus on our remaining mid-sized and larger ships as the fleet expands with Iona.

Meanwhile, the new fleet program will cover three key areas of investment in shore excursions, dining and entertainment across mid-sized ships Arcadia and Aurora and Oceana as well as the larger ships Britannia, Azura and Ventura.

Aurora will be refitted next spring, prior to her re-launch as a ship exclusively for adults, when new cabins will be added as well as fixtures, fittings, soft furnishings and enhancements to public spaces throughout the ship.

The final sailing on Oriana will be announced shortly.

(P&O)

Sister ship, ‘Aurora’ slide-show: HERE

Malcolm says: I’m always a little sad when a ‘classic’ (smaller) ship leaves a fleet, probably forced out to make way for the giant ‘Iona’ in this case, which is being delivered in 2020.  At 23 year old Oriana has at least a decade left in her, possibly a lot more.

In contrast to Oriana, Iona will carry a record number of passengers at 5,200 (lower berths).  Iona represents the new P&O brand, aimed at attracting multi-generational families onto a mass market resort.  Oriana is/was a favourite with P&O’s original more mature ‘socks & sandals’ brigade.

Oriana and Aurora (2000) were actually specifically built for P&O – the P&O ships since have been Carnival/Princess designs.

 

Hefty Growth for AmaWaterways

June 20, 2018

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AmaWaterways has been growing at a measured pace of two new vessels a year for some time. In 2019, the company will add three, including the double-wide AmaMagna.

See full SeaTrade news story: HERE

Feature Ship: Brilliance of The Seas

June 17, 2018

Royal Caribbean International are the worlds number two cruise line, yet arguably they are the number one in building some of the worlds most innovative cruise ships. They have also built the worlds biggest cruise ships. These big ships almost generate their own publicity, but do take the focus away from their slightly smaller vessels.

BRILLIANCE OF THE SEAS was the second in a series of four ‘Radiance’ class ships. At 90,090 gross tons she did not break any records for her size at the time, when she entered service in 2002. However she combined very impressive facilities with a slightly more ‘human’ scale.

I took the ships maiden cruise on July 15th, 2002, to the Norwegian Fjord, from Harwich (7 nights, return).

Brilliance of the Seas Review: HERE

Quark Orders New Ship

June 16, 2018

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Quark Expeditions have recently signed an agreement with Croatia’s Brodosplit shipyard, to build a new expedition ship for polar operations, to enter service in 2020.

The 200-passenger, 13,000 gross tonne ship will feature twenty zodiacs as well as two helidecks.

It is one of more than twenty-four new expedition ships for various cruise lines, set to debut between now and 2022.

The ship’s design which will optimise fuel and water, coupled with waste handling systems will deliver an exceptional 40-day operational capability.
This extended rang will make destinations such as the Ross Sea and the remote western Antarctic Coast safely accessible.

Quark Expeditions was founded in 1991 by Lars Wikander and Mike McDowell, specializing in expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic aboard purpose-built expedition vessels.

(Quark Expeditions)

MSC Adds Another Newbuild

June 14, 2018

MSC Cruises and STX France have signed an order for the construction of a fifth Meraviglia class cruise ship.

Due to be delivered in 2023, this vessel will be equipped with a new generation of dual-fuel engines designed to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG).

MSC is adding 13 ships to its fleet between 2017 and 2026, including five LNG-powered cruise ships.

(MSC)

London’s Sky Garden

June 14, 2018

Nothing to do with ships, apart from the fact that this excellent observation platform overlooks London’s river Thames. It is currently free to go up – see their web site for details.

Malcolm

Spectrum of the Seas, Revealed

June 13, 2018

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‘Spectrum of the Seas’ is Royal Caribbean’s  first “Quantum Ultra” class of ship and will enter service in spring 2019.

She will be the first of the line’s ships to have a private suite area. She will also get new features and dining concepts and more for its 4,246 guests. The ship debuts in Shanghai next June.

The exclusive suites-only area, which will feature the exquisite Golden and Silver suite accommodations in a private enclave at the forward end of the ship on decks 13 through 16.

Vacationers booked in these luxury suites will have special keycard access, a private elevator and a dedicated restaurant and lounge. In addition to a range of exclusive amenities, guests will have access to The Balcony – a private outdoor space.

The ship will get a three-level main dining room with 1,844 seats to serve a variety of Chinese and Western a la carte options rotating each day of the sailing. For guests looking for a more casual venue, the Windjammer Marketplace – 20 percent larger than those on other Quantum Class ships – will offer a wide buffet selection of Chinese and Western dishes, including noodles, pizza, Japanese teppanyaki and mini hot pot.

Other specialty venues include Wonderland’s Dadong, a new outpost of Chinese chef Dong Zhenxiang, renowned for his much-coveted roast duck dish; Jamie’s Italian by British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver; Izumi Japanese cuisine; and Chops Grille will join the lineup as well. In addition, the new Leaf and Bean traditional tea room and café parlor will debut on the Royal Esplanade. The spot will offer a range of authentic Chinese teas, classic coffee drinks as well as freshly baked Chinese and Western desserts and pastries. Also for the local market there will be an energetic karaoke.

Royal Caribbean will enhance SeaPlex – the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea where families can enjoy bumper cars, roller skating and basketball – with new augmented reality walls and floors. Spectrum of the Seas will feature new experiences, including the iconic Sky Pad, a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience located on the aft of the ship. Guests will strap in and don their VR headset to transport them to another time and planet. (The Sky Pad will be added to nine additional ships.)

Spectrum of the Seas will also feature the Ultimate Family Suite, which debuted on Symphony of the Seas.

(Royal Caribbean)

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(Courtesy RCI)

Malcolm says: An all-suites complex has of course been pioneered by the likes of NCL (The Haven) and MCS (The Yacht Club) and have proved to be very popular with guests and of course command a premium fare.

As for ‘one large main dining room’, this confirms the death of ‘Dynamic Dining’, RCI’s attempt to copy NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ dining system. However if RCI fans wanted an NCL experience they would have booked a cruise with NCL, NOT RCI.  I always felt that the ‘Quantum’ class felt more like an NCL ship than an RCI one, see my review:

Windjammer Marketplace (the buffet) will be 20% bigger,  which might suggest the other ‘Quantum’ Class ships have a buffet that are too small!  However the dining have been completely revamped in the move away form ‘Dynamic Dining’.

‘Anthem of the Seas’ review: HERE

U.K. Ferries

June 11, 2018

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Given the fact that the United Kingdom is an island, in fact a series of islands, its hardly surprising that we have quite a lot of ferries operating form our ports.

The UK is just 24 miles from the French coast, between Dover and Calais (France). Although we built a channel (train) tunnel, I understand that the Ferries are still thriving on this popular route.

There are ferries to Ireland, Holland, Spain, the Channel Islands and the Scottish Isles, to name just a few destinations.

P&O’s Spirit Of Britain

P&O ‘Spirit of Britain’ review: HERE

However we have lost some ferry routes, including those to Scandinavia, probably due to the success of the budget Airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair.

The good news is that the latest ferries have more in common with cruise ships in size, facilities and decor, than the rusty old tubs that they once were. The food and service can also be pretty good too!

Ben My Chree (IOM Ferry) review: HERE

Ben My Chree

Ferry slide-shows: HERE

Stena Hollandica review: HERE

Expedition Ships

June 10, 2018

“Hanseatic nature” & “inspiration” (Courtesy Hapag Lloyd)

I have a number of slide-shows of Expedition ships on my blog.

Expedition cruising is about to experience a boom. Twenty-eight new expedition ships are scheduled for introductions between June 2018 and the second quarter of 2022, and more are coming.

For example: SunStone Ships has an order for four expedition newbuilds with an option for six more. There are many more examples.

Expedition ships used to be pretty rare and were often very non-luxurious scientific vessels.

The new breed of Expedition ship are small and very luxurious cruise ships. They offer fantastic creature-comforts with cruises to remote locations, such as Antarctica, for the general public – if they can afford it.

There are also some other Expedition ships which are millionaires (and billionaires) private play-things.  Us mortals are unlikely to  ever step on-board one. However it is interesting to at least look at what the other half own.

Malcolm says: Although these ships are small, 28 will bring a lot of passengers to sensitive environment. If.successful more will be built and possibly bigger.

Expedition Ships: see HERE

MSC Seaview, Delivered

June 5, 2018

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MSC Cruises took delivery of the its 15th ship on Monday 4th June, the MSC Seaview, form Italy’s Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard.

Seaview will spend the summer in the Mediterranean before repositioning to Brazil for the winter season.

Seaview is the sister-ship to Seaside, which was delivered Autumn 2017. Miami is Seaside’s home-port where she offers Caribbean cruises.

The Seaview is the third ship to be built under MSC Cruises’ EUR 10.5 billion investment plan for 12 next-generation ships.

Seaview will make a three-day voyage from the shipyard, arriving in her homeport of Genoa on June 7. Seaside is to be named at festivities on June 9th by Sophia Loren, who will serve as her godmother. Seaview will then commence her inaugural cruise on June 10.

MSC are merely nine months away of the completion of their next ship, MSC Bellissima, another Meraviglia-class ships

(MSC)

Carnival Horizon – Named

May 25, 2018

Atrium LED Centrepiece – Click to enlarge (Courtesy, Carnival)

Carnival Horizon was named by godmother Queen Latifah in a ceremony in New York on Wednesday evening 23/05/18.

The evening that also showcased the talented young artists from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital whose artwork adorns the Dreamscape, a stunning three-deck-high LED sculpture in the ship’s atrium.

(Carnival)

P&O’s New Mega-ship Named: Iona

May 24, 2018

rst .

On Thursday 24 May at 4pm P&O announced live to the world, the name of our their new ship, which enters service in 2020.

She will be called: IONA

The announcement comes as a result of a competition that P&O ran last year, when we invited members of the public to suggest a suitable name for the ship. Over 30,000 submissions were received with a panel of experts making the final decision. 

Iona, a Carnival ‘Helios’ class design will be delivered in 2020. A sister ship for P&O is due for delivery in 2022.

The Scottish island of Iona.

Construction

P&O says: On 25 April 2018, the very first piece of steel was cut for Iona at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. At around 184,000 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 Iona, 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.

Iona 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.

po_steel_cutting-fill-800x619

Our new star of the show, The Dome

A major new entertainment hub called The Dome will be one of the star attractions of Iona. 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.

(Courtesy P&O)

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

Iona 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.

(Source: P&O)

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(Courtesy P&O)

See Iona’s Dining/Entertaining options: HERE

Malcolm says: The name ‘Iona’ comes from the beautiful scottish Island of the same name. Arthur Anderson, one of P&O’s co-founders, was born in Scotland. P&O was created in 1837.

Carnival are providing AIDA, Costa and their own brand with ‘Helios’ class 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’.

Perhaps a little worrying, is the fact is that this new class of 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 and it’s infrastructure (terminals, parking and roads) will surely need more investment, in order to handle multiple ships, two of which can carry up to 6,600 passengers each.

P&O/Costa Megaships Analysed: HERE

What is an LNG ship? See HERE

Introducing: Fred. Olsen’s ‘Brabant’

May 23, 2018

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Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ new 156-guest river ship, Brabant, commenced its inaugural cruise season from Amsterdam in April 2018.

Fred. Olsen is operating its inaugural European river cruising programme between April and November 3rd.

Guests can choose from a total of 30 departures on Brabant in 2018, on durations ranging from five to 25 nights, complemented by a selection of high-quality chargeable shore excursions, designed to enhance guests’ experience of the destination.

Fred. Olsen guests – who are predominantly British – will also feel at home on board Brabant, with English spoken throughout and all transactions conducted in sterling.

The British taste will also be reflected in the cuisine, customer service and shore tours on offer.

(Fred.Olsen)

Malcolm says: Olsen’s ‘Brabant’ is the ‘Amadeus Princess’ which entered service in 2006. It seems that this will essentially be an ‘Amadeus’ (Luftner Cruises) product, with Olsen tweaks, such as sterling as the on board currency and British menus.  I like the Amadeus product.

Amadeus Elegant ship review HERE

Malcolm

Featured Ship: Sapphire Princess

May 21, 2018

Princess Cruises are a well respected American cruise line, which was formed in 1965. They currently have 17 big ships, with more on order.

Sapphire Princess (2004) at 115,875 gross tonnes, carrying 2,670+ passengers, is representative of their ‘Grand Class’ ships.

Most of the Grand class were built by the Italian shipyard, Fincantieri, but two: ‘Sapphire’ and ‘Diamond’ were built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan. They both are fractionally larger in terms of GT (about 3,000), than the rest.

The ‘Grand Class’ was a very successful class of ship. It evolved into the ‘Gem’, ‘Caribbean’ and ‘Crown’classes, which had enhancements, including some having an extra deck. Nine ships were built between 1998 to 2008. However another Carnival brand, ‘P&O’, received two ‘Grand Class’ variations, called the ‘Ventura’ class: ‘Ventura’ (2008) and ‘Azura'(2010).

Malcolm

Sapphire Princess Review: HERE

Revealed: Celebrity Edge Spa

May 19, 2018

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Celebrity Cruises has unveiled The Spa on the Celebrity Edge with more than 22,000 square feet of space.

The company said The Spa was inspired by nature, and masterfully designed by world-renowned designer Kelly Hoppen, MBE, and features an “ahh-inspiring assortment of treatments in collaboration with industry-leading partners.”

SEA THERMAL SUITE

Eight distinct experiences. One incredible place to relax.

At the heart of The Spa on Celebrity Edge is the SEA Thermal Suite, a playground for the senses where connecting with your fellow spa-goers is as central to the experience as time alone to focus on you. We’ve taken everything that has made the Persian Garden such a hit on our current fleet and brought it to a new a whole new level of tranquility. At the Thermal Suite, you’ll embark on a wellness journey made up of eight distinct spaces each harnessing natural elements.

THERAPIES & TREATMENTS

Inspired by nature’s most rejuvenating elements.

Choose from a number of enticing options inspired by nature’s most rejuvenating elements, each one ending with the mellow tones of sound therapy. Our therapies and signature treatments include the Salt Stone Therapy, ELEMIS Thousand Flower Detox Wrap, and Thai Herbal Poultice Massage – just to name a few. Our treatments combine the restorative natural elements of sea, earth, and air with state-of-the-art technology.

ELEMIS BIOTEC FACIALS

For the first time on Celebrity, we’re thrilled to offer a collection of ELEMIS BIOTEC facials, using the latest and most advanced facial technology to help increase your skin’s natural cellular energy. Oxygen, light therapy, and galvanic stimuli switch your skin back on. Choose from eight ground-breaking BIOTEC skin therapies focused on anti-aging, skin pigmentation and brightening, and regular care and maintenance.
High-Tech Treatment Table.

Celebrity Edge is the first ship ever to feature a Spa Wave MLW Amphibia table, with water-filled cushions that adapt to your unique anatomy for the ultimate in comfort, as well as customizable color therapy lighting. And, introducing another first for Celebrity – the WellMassage 4D table. This award-winning treatment table uses breakthrough technology to deliver a deeper and more relaxing massage. We’re also excited to offer the first MLX Quartz table in our fleet. Warm crystals mould and shape around your body, releasing muscle tension and promoting a deeper state of relaxation.

There’s nothing like coming home from a vacation looking better than when you left. So we’ve turned to the leading experts in the field when it comes to offering unrivaled cosmetic treatments on Celebrity Edge. Ideal Image® Ocean, The Advanced MedSpa, will feature Dysport® Wrinkle Treatments, Restylane® Dermal Filler Treatments, Thermage®, and Botox®. We’re also proud to offer CoolSculpting®. Everyone back home will want to know your secret to looking so fabulous, but our lips are sealed.

THE FITNESS CENTRE

Take your fitness game to the next level.
The Fitness Centre on Celebrity Edge will have you looking for any excuse to work out. The latest, state-of-the-art Technogym® weight machines and cardio equipment will challenge you to take your fitness game to the next level. With floor-to-ceiling windows that keep you connected to the sea at all times, you couldn’t ask for more refreshing views as you work up a sweat.

Hot Yoga

Hot Yoga is heating up the fitness world. A first on-board Celebrity, this restorative form of yoga uses a heated environment and variety of props to stimulate and relax your mind and body.

RYDE

The next evolution in indoor cycling classes, RYDE®, powered by Technogym®, ups the thrill factor by giving you a real road-cycling sensation and surrounding you in an immersive, inspirational atmosphere that’s sure to get your adrenaline and endorphins flowing.
Pulse Barre

Challenge yourself to the max and discover why barre is considered one of the fastest, most effective total body workouts you can do. Balance is the key to this high-intensity, low-impact workout.

The Contender

A Celebrity first, this cardio boxing class will increase your stamina and strength together in one exhilarating workout.

Fitness on  Demand

The first Fitness on Demand programme in our fleet puts more than 1,200 pulse-pounding workouts instantly at your fingertips, all led by expert instructors and perfect for individual or small group workouts.
Peloton

Celebrity Edge is the first ship ever to feature high-tech Peloton® cycles, which offer the freedom and flexibility of cycling on your own while taking part in live-streamed classes that give you the motivation you need to go the extra mile.

DINING AT THE SPA

Spa-inspired cuisine at its best.

On Celebrity Edge, you can enjoy a truly spa-inspired holiday from the massage table to the dining table. The Spa Café and Juice Bar is the perfect place to refuel after your workouts and spa treatments with something fresh and flavourful. You’ll love our creative take on healthy cuisine, from nourishing salads to nutritious smoothies and cold-pressed juices.

Or, for our guests staying in AquaClass accommodation, we have the exclusive dining venue Blu. In Blu you’ll savour clean, crisp flavours and inventive cuisine complemented by an extensive list of sustainable and biodynamic wines. Pair all of that with personalised service, inviting surroundings, and natural light, and you have the fresh and bold experience of Blu.

(Source: Celebrity)

Celebrity Edge, the Dining rooms: HERE

Malcolm says: I’ve never met too many people that use ships Spas, but I guess that their fees make up for those of us who do not!

Introducing Seabourn Ovation

May 16, 2018

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In 2018, Seabourn will introduce Seabourn Ovation (40,350gt, 604 passengers), a sister-ship to the already prestigious Seabourn Encore. Seabourn Ovation represents another welcome stage in the evolution of small-ship cruising, which Seabourn pioneered and has consistently expanded and enriched. Both ships will deliver a wealth of new concepts, a fresh vision and a host of illuminating ideas to delight the world’s most discerning travellers.

(Seabourn)

Hapag-Lloyd Orders Third Expedition Ship

May 12, 2018

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Inspired by a strong financial performance  this year, the TUI Group said its board had approved a third Hanseatic-class newbuild for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

The 230-guest ship will join the Hapag-Lloyd fleet from VARD in 2021, following the  and Hanseatic Nature and Inspiration, which will be delivered next year.

Hanseatic Nature and Inspiration: Internal Images: HERE

Itineraries

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has announced itineraries for their new Hanseatic Inspiration, which will be delivered in October 2019, offering an international experience to English- and German-speaking guests.

The Hanseatic Nature debuts six months earlier, in April 2019, offering a German-speaking experience.

Hapag-Lloyd’s two new expedition ships will both hold a ‘Polar Class 6’, the highest ice class ranking for passenger ships.

The almost identical ships raise the bar in the expedition segment, according to the company, and feature numerous structural elements that make the expeditionary experience even more intense.

“Retractable glass balconies give guests the feeling of hovering directly above the water, and guests can stand on the circuit on the bow of the ship to be closer to the action, even closer than the captain.” a Hapag-Lloyd spokesperson said.

Sample Itineraries:

HANSEATIC INSPIRATION:
Maiden voyage, October 14-29, 2019 (15 days) from Antwerp, Belgium to Tenerife, Spain including travel via France (Honfleur), the Channel Islands (Guernsey), Spain (including La Coruna, Islas Cies), Portugal (overnight in Lisbon, Portimao), Morocco (Casablanca), Madeira (Porto Santo Island, and overnight in Funchal).

Expedition Amazon, March 25-April 11, 2020 (17 days) from Belem to Iquitos: upstream on the Lower and Upper Amazon with numerous expedition activities and Zodiac landings (via Manaus).

The Great Lakes, June 3-17, 2020 (14 days) with cruises on the Detroit River, Lake Huron (including Tobermory, Parry Sound and Mackinac Island), Sault Ste. Marie, Lake Superior (including Thunder Bay), and Lake Michigan.

(Hapag-Lloyd)

RMS Titanic In Colour

May 6, 2018

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Featured Ship: Cunard’s Queen Victoria

May 1, 2018

MS Queen Victoria (QV) is a Vista-class cruise ship operated by the Cunard Line and is named after the British Monarch Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria is of the same basic design as other Vista-class cruise ships including Queen Elizabeth. The external and internal designs are more in keeping with Cunard’s style and at 90,049 GT, and is the smallest of Cunard’s ships in operation.

Queen Victoria’s facilities include seven restaurants, thirteen bars, three swimming pools, a ballroom, and a theatre.[3]

Unlike many previous Cunard ships, Queen Victoria is not a traditional ocean liner as she does not have the heavy plating throughout the hull nor the propulsion system of a dedicated transatlantic liner. However the bow was constructed with heavier plating to cope with the transatlantic run, and the ship has a high freeboard. The Queen Mary 2 had cost approximately $300,000 US per berth, nearly double that of many contemporary cruise ships, so Cunard made the economical decision to base Queen Victoria on a modified Vista-class cruise ship, and Queen Elizabeth retains the same design with some minor changes.

Originally destined to be an addition to the Holland America Line fleet, the order for a Vista-class vessel put into Fincantieri was soon transferred by Carnival Corporation & plc (parent company to Holland America, Cunard, and P&O) to Cunard with the intent that the vessel would become the MS Queen Victoria.

(Wikipedia)

Cunard Queen Victoria review see: HERE

Don’t book an ocean cruise…

April 29, 2018

…until you have read my river cruise reviews.

DSC_0092

For twenty years I have been ocean cruising and was  lucky enough to have taken cruises many big ships, small ships, old ships and new ships.

To keep the whole thing fresh, I also tried many different cruise lines. These have included Cunard, P&O, Fred. Olsen, RCI, P&O, Princess, Celebrity, Thomson and CMV.

Each cruise is different, each ship is different, yet they are all similar.

While searching for something ‘more’ different, I tried my first European River Cruise in 2015.

I did enjoyed it, it made a refreshing change. However the experience still felt slightly ‘alien’ to me, compared to the many an ocean cruises that I have done.

Yet something drew me back to river cruising and I took my second European river cruise over Christmas 2016.

This time something ‘clicked’ inside of me. (And I don’t mean my spine or knee cartilage.)

I really got into the format and style of the experience this time around. Many aspects of the experience were actually better than on-board most ocean ship.

Amadeus Silver II ship review: HERE

My most recent river cruise was something different again. It was on the  Mississippi river, on-board the ‘American Queen’, a real paddle-wheeled steamboat.

So how did the experience differ from an Ocean cruise and a European river cruise? Please read on….

 

American Queen ship review: HERE

Malcolm

Hamburg Slide-Show

April 28, 2018

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The nautical city of Hamburg, Germany is famous for it’s impressive port, its shipping and the notorious Reeperbahn, where the Beatles learnt their trade there.

Hamburg also has an excellent Zoo, Maritime Museum and an attraction called ‘Miniature Wonderland’ (see slides).

Seabourn Ovation Delivered

April 27, 2018

(Courtsey Seabourn)

The new 604-guest Seabourn Ovation was delivered today at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Sestri, Genoa, Italy.

Among the participants of the ceremony, welcomed by the CEO of Fincantieri, Giuseppe Bono: Giovanni Toti, Governor of Liguria, Marco Bucci, Mayor of the city of Genoa, Micky Arison, Chairman of Carnival Corporation, and Richard D. Meadows, President of Seabourn Cruise Line.

The Ovation is a sister ship to the luxury Seabourn Encore, which was also built by Fincantieri and entered service in 2016.

The new ship is 40,350 gross tons, 210 meters long and 28 meters wide and is able to reach a cruising speed of 18.6 knots.

(Seabourn)

NCL: New PortMiami Terminal

April 27, 2018

(Courtesy NCL)

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings today celebrated the ‘groundbreaking’ of the new and dedicated Norwegian Cruise Line terminal at PortMiami.

The Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners approved the project on April 10, 2018, with construction beginning May 1.

At nearly 166,500 square feet, the Norwegian terminal will accommodate ships of up to 5,000 passengers and will feature state-of-the-art technology to support faster and more efficient embarkation and disembarkation, the company said, as well as expedited security screening and luggage check-in. 

(NCL)

Bellissima For China

April 24, 2018

(Courtesy MSC)

MSC Cruises has just announced that the new MSC Bellissima will be based in China and Asia-Pacific starting in 2020.

The ship will reposition to Shanghai in spring of 2020, MSC announced, at an event coinciding the MSC Splendida’s arrival into the Chinese market this week.

The 4,500-guest Bellissima will be delivered from STX France in March 2019 and will spend its inaugural season in Europe before moving to Asia. In China, it will become the largest ship homeporting in the local market.

(MSC)