Archive for the ‘Cruising’ Category

Carnival To Dispose of 13 Ships

July 11, 2020


Carnival Corporation said it intends to further accelerate the removal of ships from its fleet in 2020.

It added these are ships that were previously expected to leave the fleet in coming years, the company said, in a press release.

“We have aggressively shed less efficient ships,” said CEO Arnold Donald, on Carnival’s business update call on Friday.

In total, the 13 ships expected to leave the fleet represent a nearly nine percent reduction in current capacity.


Malcolm says:  Only P&O’s ‘Oceana’ and  Costa cruises ‘Costa Victoria‘ have been named so far.  There are rumours about Carnival cruise ships being sold off, such as Carnival Cruise Line’s aging Fantasy-class ships including the Carnival Fantasy. There are also unconfirmed rumours about ‘Diamond Princess’. I wonder hold long P&O ‘Aurora’ has left?

Saga Sapphire Sold

Saga has announced the completion of the previously agreed sale of 1981-built Saga Sapphire to Anex Tour, a family-run Turkish tour operator.  she will re-enter service as Blue Sapphire operating for Anex Tour’s new cruise line.

The Saga Sapphire joined the Saga fleet in April 2012 and served for  eight years under the Saga flag. In 2021,  Sapphire is 37,049 gross tonnes, carrying 748 passengers.


‘Majesty of the Seas’ at Portsmouth

July 10, 2020

10/07/20 (Thanks to Angela Hamilton )

Royal Caribbean’s ‘Majesty of the Seas’ was spotted entering Portsmouth International Port (UK) this morning.

I’m not sure why she’s was there, unless it’s just for supplies and fuel. However at at 73,000 gross tonnes, she now has the honour of being the largest cruise ship to have visited Portsmouth.

Maybe RCI are just trying out the port? She leaves at 8.00pm tonight.

Hurtigruten will be using Portsmouth as an embarkation port, for their around Britain cruises.


RCI Purchases Remaining Shares in Silversea Cruises

July 10, 2020

(Courtesy Silversea)

Royal Caribbean Group announced it has purchased the remaining shares of Silversea Cruises.

The move to full ownership comes two years after Royal Caribbean Group acquired a two-thirds share of the cruise line in July 2018.

“Silversea has been a great fit for our company from the very first day,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. “The cultures of the two organizations have proven to be harmonious, and guests have responded favourably to the combination.”


Sale of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Completed

The TUI Group has successfully completed the sale of its subsidiary Hapag-Lloyd Cruises to TUI Cruises.

Hamburg-based TUI Cruises is a joint venture between TUI and Royal Caribbean Group.

TUI had agreed to the sale in February. The enterprise value was estimated at 1.2 billion euros.


Enchanted Princess Completes Sea Trials

July 10, 2020


The new Enchanted Princess has successfully completed her sea trials and the new Princess Cruise ship now awaits a delivery date later this year.

The Royal-class ship left the Fincantieri shipyard, in yard in Monfalcone, Italy, where it was built, for a series of test manoeuvres, putting the ship through its paces from top speed to crash stops.

The sea trials also present an opportunity to test all technical systems aboard.

Following the successful sea trials, the ship is now back in the Fincantieri shipyard for further finishing.

Enchanted Princess will be the fifth ship in Princess Cruises’ line of Royal-class ships, joining the Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Majestic Princess, and Sky Princess.

(Princess Cruises)

What’s cruising on a Princess ship like? See Here

Britons urged to avoid travelling on cruise ships

July 10, 2020

(courtesy Meyer Werft/P&O)

Britons have been urged to avoid travelling on cruise ships due to the risk of coronavirus, just hours before the government is set to allow quarantine-free travel from dozens of countries across the world.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has today changed its advice, urging all holidaymakers against embarking on cruise ships, over fears of the spread of Covid-19. The government had previously urged over-70s to avoid sailings…

(Daily Mail)

Full Daily Mail article – HERE    Industry responseHERE

Hurtigruten Back in Service

July 9, 2020

(Courtesy Hurtigruten)

After a successful return to sailing last month, Hurtigruten has released its plans to further ramp-up operations with 14 of 16 ships returning in August and September, according to a press release.

In addition, Hurtigruten launches a series of new itineraries in the British Isles over the coming months.

“With the safety and well-being of our guests and crew as our number one priority, the response to our successful return to sailing last month has been extremely positive from both the local communities, our guests and crew. “ said Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

Hurtigruten marked the return of cruising as MS Finnmarken became the first ocean cruise ship in the world to return to sailing with her June 16 departure. With limiting capacity and strict hygiene measures, Hurtigruten currently operates five ships on international and domestic Norwegian itineraries.



Oceana’s Final Departure, Southampton 8 July

July 9, 2020


(Courtesy of magwaus – Ships ‘n More Ships)

Thanks Pam!

See news story – HERE

Flashback: Carnival Legend

July 8, 2020


This is a flashback from the past:

August 2002: A younger Dame Judy Dench is the Godmother, at the naming Ceremony of the then new ‘Carnival Legend, cruise ship, at Harwich, UK. I dont suppose too many Carnival ships have been named in the U.K? (Answers on postcard, please!)

Note Micky Arison, the Carnival Owner, with black hair. The other big guy (short grey hair) is John Heald, Cruise Director.

These images are all original, because I attended and took them myself!


Carnival: The Biggest Ship They Never Built

July 8, 2020

Pinnacle (Fincantieri rendering)

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

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

They say Pinnacle was to be a state-of-the-art ship of  200,000+ gross tonnes, carrying at least 5,000 passengers. There is a fascinating video which reveals the design innovations.

However the project was unfortunately abandoned… but why?

Read my full ‘Pinnacle’ article  – HERE


Carnival Victory Conversion Delayed

July 8, 2020

The Carnival Victory was set to become the Carnival Radiance, following a $200 million drydock earlier this year at Navantia in Spain.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, work on the conversion was stopped.

Now, Carnival Cruise Line said it is hoping to finish the work ASAP, in 2021.


Carnival’s Mardi Gras Delayed

July 8, 2020

Mardi Gras (Courtesy Carnival)

Carnival Cruise Line originally announced that the Mardi Gras was to debut in 2020, but this has been delayed because of the pandemic.

She will now debut in early 2021,  from Port Canaveral. Her first sailing is scheduled for Feb. 6, 2021.


Back in late  2018, Carnival Cruise Line has announced that it will name its new XL-class ship, Mardi Gras, bringing back the name of the first Carnival Cruise Line ship that entered service in 1972.

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

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

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

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


Roller coaster details: HERE

The Original Mardi Gras


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

Malcolm says:  The new Mardi Gras is an ‘XL’ class ships, which is a variation of Carnival’s ‘Excellence’ class. This is the same basic design of ship that P&O (Iona), Costa and Aida will be getting. 

Carnival purchased the original Mardi Gras second-hand. However, over 43 years, cruise ships have changed beyond all recognition. When the original Mardi Gras, is compared to Carnival’s new Mardi Gras, they are worlds apart in terms of size and facilities. For example, the new ship is over 6.5 times bigger!

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

Roller Coaster At Sea


(Courtesy Carnival)

Carnival Cruise Line was to debut in 2020 (delayed) out of Port Canaveral.

To much surprise, Carnival announced that their new ship, the Mardi Gras, will have the first roller coaster at sea

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

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

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

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


Malcolm says: I can’t imagine what challenges a movable platform (a ship) gave the structural engineers designing a roller coaster at sea.

It was only a matter of time! We have seen increasingly seen bigger and bigger ships emulate ‘theme parks’.


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

Although the Mardi Gras roller coaster, accommodates just two persons, how would you feel sitting on the sundeck (if you could find room) with it passing over your head? Imaging the screaming.  Imagine the queuing. In in good weather conditions, it would probably be in constant daily use.

See my article “Where’s the Sundeck Gone?” – HERE


Will P&O’s Aurora be next to go?

July 7, 2020

Aurora (Courtesy of P&O)

Carnival Corporation’s press release 07/07/20:

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

In addition, Carnival has already announced that ‘Costa Victoria’ (Costa Cruises) had been sold for scrap.

This news got me thinking as to when P&O’s Aurora would leave the P&O fleet. It’s not even been suggested yet, so let’s speculate.

I would have predicted that Aurora would have at least five more years of service with P&O. However, everything has changed with the global pandemic…

Read full article: HERE

Oceana sold & leaving P&O fleet

July 7, 2020


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

We know that many of you are very fond of Oceana and have very happy memories of your time on board. We hope that you will be able to find a similar alternative holiday, whether that is from Southampton or a fly-cruise itinerary.

We are so sorry to disappoint our guests who were booked on Oceana and we are pleased to offer a 125% Future Cruise Credit (FCC). There’s no need to contact us; once processed, your FCC will be automatically applied against each individual on the booking. If the FCC does not meet your needs and you’d like to request a refund, please visit our website.


Update: Cruise Industry New’ has reported: P&O Cruises announced that the Oceana has been sold and will leave the fleet. A buyer or a sales price was not named.

Malcolm says: On June 18, the Carnival  Corporation announced, that as part of their capacity optimization strategy, the company intends to accelerate the removal of ships in fiscal 2020.

P&O’s Oceana and Costa’s Victoria (1995) are obviously two of the victims of this strategy.  Victoria is to be scrapped but Oceana has been sold. I’m surprised that any cruise line is brave enough to buy a ship in this present economic climate, but she was probably a bargain.

Oceana was originally built in 2000, for the American ‘Princess Cruises’ fleet. She is 77,499 gross tonnes and carries up to 2,272 passengers. This makes her medium sized by modern standards. To put this in perspective, she is less than half the size of P&O’s latest giant, Iona. She also accommodates less than half the passenger numbers.

Her recent role had been to serve Venice (on her 7-night itineraries from Malta). However, Venice may disappear as a cruise destination, due to complaints from locals about too many cruise ships. Therefore she may not be needed in the future, to fulfil this role.

I wonder how long P&O’s Aurora has left? – SEE HERE

180 years of sailing with Cunard

July 6, 2020


From welcoming legends of the silver screen to transporting troops during WWII, Cunard’s 180-year legacy is an incredible story of mechanical feats, heroic acts and historic world-firsts at sea. Here are just a handful of the extraordinary moments that define our past and continue to inspire our future.


View Cunard timeline – HERE

The future:

The yet unnamed ‘Pinnacle’ class ship will be the second largest ship to fly the Cunard flag when she launches in 2022 with capacity for 3,000 guests at 113,000 tonnes.

The ships design will be based on Holland America Lines’s ‘Koningsdam’.


A Connection With The Sea

July 5, 2020

(Courtesy Pixabay)

“A Connection With The Sea” – no it’s not the name of the next Royal Caribbean cruise line ship. I would like to discuss is how some ships have a better ‘connection with the sea’ than others.

Now, by ‘connection,’ I simply mean that a ship with a good ‘connection’ would have lots of windows in the public rooms, maybe a forward facing observation lounge overlooking the bow, a good promenade deck (ideally a wrap-around type) and adequate deck space to sit and get a sea view. You would never be too far away from a sea-view and the sea itself, wherever you were in or on the ship.

Big Ships vs Small Ships

You cannot normally expect big ships to have as a good a connection with the sea as smaller ships do. Big ships almost certainly have very large, very wide public rooms and the windows can be  relatively small, compared to the overall size of the rooms…

Article continued – HERE

NCL Buck The Megaship Trend

July 5, 2020

Leonardo (Courtesy NCL)

Have you noticed that each time a major cruise line builds a new ‘class’ of ship, it is always bigger than the one before?

Bigger in size means bigger in passenger capacity.

However ‘Norwegian’ (the Norwegian Cruise line) are about to buck the trend.

The Leonard Class

In 2017 NCL announced a new class of ship, project called ‘Leonardo’

I was expecting NCL to announced that ‘Leonardo’ would be around 200,000 gross tonnes or BIGGER.  How surprised I was when it was announced that Norwegian’s new class of ship would be…

Read full article – HERE

Oasis of the Seas – Model

July 4, 2020


What a fantastic model!

See my ‘Oasis of the Seas’ review – HERE

Introducing: Wonder of the Seas

July 3, 2020


The slide show above looks at how Royal Caribbean’s 5th ‘Oasis’ class ship (to be delivered in 2021) differs form the original ‘Oasis’ class ships?

At 230,000 gt approx. she will be slightly the bigger than her four sisters, making her the worlds biggest cruise ship so far.


See my ‘Oasis of the Seas’ review – HERE

MSC Europa Ship Model

July 3, 2020


Above is a slide show, of a model,  of the forthcoming ‘World Class’ ship by the Mediterranean Shipping Company. It will be their biggest ‘class’ of ship, yet.

The first of the class is called ‘Europa’ and will enter service in 2022, followed by five more, at the amazing rate of one per year: 2023, 24, 25, 26 and 27.

The 200,000 gross tonnes, the 1,080-ft vessels, will have a maximum capacity of 6,850 passengers. This is a record number of passengers.

The ‘World Class’ will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and will be the bigger ship ever built for an European company.


Europa keel laying  – HERE

Superstar Ro-Pax Ferries

July 2, 2020


The Finnish Naval architect Deltamarin, is to carry out the  design work for Finnlines’ two new Superstar ro-pax ferries, after signing a contract with the Chinese Jinling shipyard.

The two vessels will be delivered by 2023.

At 230 metres long, carrying 1,100 passengers and 5,100 lane metres for rolling freight, the two newbuilds will be larger than Finnlines’ existing Star-class vessels. The two new ships will be the fleet’s new flagships in terms of size and technology.

The vessels will be built to meet both Finland’s and Sweden’s highest ice-class requirements and will be “pioneers in honouring green values”.

The Superstar ferries will have multiple seating and public areas, a shopping venue and several outdoor spaces for passengers. Finnlines will also implement digital technologies to enhance check-in and on-board services.


Malcolm says: What a futuristic looking ferry.  Deltamarin are the navel architects currently designing Clive Palmer’s  Titanic II. The Jinling shipyard in China,  was Palmer’s original choice of ship builder for the project.

Woman Banned By Royal Caribbean

July 2, 2020

 Not a new story, but never the less an eye opening one:

Late 2019: A woman who was caught posing for photographs while hanging off a railing on a Royal Caribbean ship has been banned for life by the cruise company.

Fellow passenger Peter Blosic branded the unnamed woman an “absolute idiot”, adding: “You cannot fall off of a ship unless you are acting like a moron!”

He took a picture of the spectacle, which shows the woman posing having climbed over a balcony railing on the starboard (right) side of the liner. He then reported the incident to guest services, and the woman was identified by staff, who kicked her off the ship in Jamaica.

“Earlier this week on the Allure of the Seas a guest was observed recklessly and dangerously posing for a photo by standing on her stateroom balcony railing with the help of her companion,” a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean told Fox News.

(Courtesy Fox News)

Malcolm says: ‘Allure of the Seas’ is the world’s biggest class of ship. It’s a very long way down to the sea, from a cabin balcony. The fall itself might kill you or at least render you unconscious – that’s before you drown! Remember nobody falls off a ship accidentally, without doing something stupid. When it does happen, it is normally late at nigh and large amounts of alcohol are often involved. I suppose posing for day time selfies is a who new avenue of stupidity.

‘Odyssey’ Delayed By Six Months

July 1, 2020


Royal Caribbean International’s new Odyssey of the Seas is officially delayed, and won’t be delivered as anticipated this autumn. Originally, the ship was to be delivered in November 2020. The ship is now scheduled to enter service in April 20201.


Malcolm says: Odyssey is a sister to the 2019-built Spectrum of the Seas. The ‘Quantum-Ultra Class’ builds on the successful Quantum, Anthem and Ovation of the Seas ships already in service.  This will give RCI some breathing space. Filling those cabins in November this year, would have been a big challenge.


190th Anniversary: Isle of Man Steam Packet

June 30, 2020

Norman Wisdom & Manx Maid, 1977 (Manx National Heritage) 

This month marks the incredible 190th Anniversary of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, the oldest continuously operating passenger shipping company in the world.

On 30th June 1830, the Company’s first steam engine ship, named Mona’s Isle, was launched from the yard of John Wood, in Glasgow. The Company had been formed in response to the need for a regular ferry service to the Island.

In celebration of the anniversary, on Tuesday 30th June 2020, Steam Packet Company vessels Ben-my-Chree and Manannan will be dressed in bunting and shall sound their whistles at 6pm in Douglas Harbour.

Over the 190 years the Company has witnessed many changes, adjusting to the needs of its passengers and the Isle of Man.

Take a look at our latest blog which provides a brief timeline of just some of the historical highlights of the Company over the years.

Steam Packet Blog – HERE

(Text courtesy of the Steam Packet Company)



The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is the oldest continually operating passenger shipping company in the world, having began operations in 1830.

Today they operate regular ferry (and a fast ferry) services which connect the Isle of Man to Heysham, Liverpool, Belfast and Dublin.

Steam packet carries around 600,000 passengers annually and 170,000 cars and motorcycles. This represents an increase in passenger traffic of around 35% and 50% in vehicle traffic since 1996.

If you have never been, the ‘Isle of Man’ is a charming, un-spoilt little island in the Irish sea, steeped in history. I’d recommend it.

Above is a slide-show of ‘Ben My Chree’ (Woman of my heart) which is their current all-weather ferry. Below is a review of ‘Ben My Chree’ and an ‘Isle of Man’ slide-show.

Ferry Review: HERE


Isle of Man slide-show: HERE

Saga: Spirit of Adventure

June 30, 2020

Saga has announced it will take delivery of the new 1,000-guest Spirit of Adventure this October, 2020, pushed back from July due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new ships inaugural cruise will now depart from the UK for the Mediterranean in early November.


Real Ships: Saga Rose


The Saga Rose was built in 1956. She was 24,528 gross tonnes and carried 584 passengers.

She started life as MS Sagafjord built in 1965 for the Norwegian America Line as a combined ocean liner/cruise ship. Between 1983 and 1996 the Sagafjord was operated by Cunard Line. In 1996–1997 she was briefly operated by Transocean Tours as MS Gripsholm prior to being sold to Saga.

She was last owned and operated by Saga Cruises on worldwide cruises out of the United Kingdom, known as the MS Saga Rose . She was retired in 2009 and scrapped in 2010.


Q: Have you cruised on-board Saga Rose?

Keel Laid For MSC Europa

June 29, 2020

Europa (Courtesy MSC)

A ceremony  took place today at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, when the keel was laid for MSC Cruises’ first LNG powered ship, MSC World Europa. Her delivered is planned for 2022.

The tradition was followed, placing two coins under the keel as a blessing for good fortune of the project, and the ship’s operational life at sea.

MSC Cruises’ next newbuild, the MSC Virtuosa, is currently under construction in Saint-Nazaire and readying for delivery next year. The company also has firm orders with Chantiers de l’Atlantique for two additional LNG powered ships, once each for the MSC World and Meraviglia classes of ships.

Ship Profile 

MSC’s first ‘World Class’ ship, Europa, will have a maximum capacity of 6,850 guests. She will carry more passengers than the current record-holder, Royal Caribbean’s ‘Harmony of the Seas’ (Oasis Class ship).

Four of the gargantuan 200,000 gross tonnes, 1,080-ft vessels will be delivered in 2022, 2024,2025 and 2026. The World will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and will be the bigger ship ever built for an European company.

The World Class’ futuristic “Y” shape structure will enable panoramic sea views and increase the proportion of balcony cabins. The ships’ G bow (vertically positioned at a 90 degree angle) has been designed to improve stability, hydrodynamics as well as to enhance guest comfort.

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


Malcolm says: I bet that MSC are currently regretting ordering such a big ship, with three more of the same class to come. Mind you, who could see the global pandemic coming? They will probably struggle to fill their exiting ships for many months to come.

(I note that Europa is 30,000 gt smaller than ‘Harmony’, yet will carry more passengers. Progress?)

When Was Your Last Cruise?

June 28, 2020

Grandiosa, City Cruise Terminal, Southampton Nov. 2019

Dear Readers,

My last cruise was a mini-one, in back in November 2019. It seems a very long time ago now!

When was yours? Please let me know.

You may of noticed, how the MSC cruise line has been expanding at the rate of knots, in recent years.  Their total number of berths is about to topple NCL from being the third biggest cruise line.

I was lucky enough  to spend a few days on MSC’s brand new flagship ‘Grandiosa’ late last year.

In Early November, 2019, Grandiosa had been delivered straight from the French shipyard. I joined her for a part of her inaugural cruise.

At 180,000gt, carrying up to 6,334 passengers, she is one of the world’s biggest ships.

At the time, I had not been on a big ship for three years.  More recently, I have been drawn to smaller ocean vessels (“real ships”) and river boats.  I had also NEVER been on-board an MSC ship before.

MSC get some very mixed reviews. In fact one commentator said that many MSC reviews actually start with start with the words: “Never again”!  On the other hand, MSC’s ‘Yacht Club’ facility (a ship within a ship complex) normally gets great reviews.  However I was NOT in the Yacht Club.  So what is the MSC experience like?


See my Grandiosa review: HERE

Costa Victoria To Be Scrapped

June 27, 2020

(Image courtesy Costa Cruises)

From the Maritime Executive:

In recent days the Italian media had been reporting that one of Carnival Corporation’s lines, Costa Cruises, had already sold its ship the Costa Victoria to become an accommodation ship at one of Italy’s shipyards.

However, in a surprise announcement, the mayor of Piombino, Italy Francesco Ferrari, announced that the ship had arrived at the Tuscan port to be dismantled. Introduced in 1996, the 75,000 gross ton ship had been an active part of the Costa fleet up until cruise operations were suspended in March…

The full Maritime Executive article – HERE

Malcolm says: This is no surprise really. The cruise lines will want to offload old tonnage in this difficult financial environment, caused by the Coronavirus, but who would want to buy a second-hand cruise ship at the moment?

Contrary to what the article says ‘Costa Victoria’, at twenty-four years old, cannot be regarded as ‘modern’. The big lines often don’t tend to operate ship much older than this. She is 75,166 gross tonnes, so medium sized by today’s standards – but hardly small. She  accommodated up to 2,394 passengers.

Did you know that Victoria is a sister of NCL’s ‘Norwegian Sky’ (1999), which was built for Costa, but re-assigned before delivery. ‘Sky’ is currently still in service with NCL.

I believe P&O’s Aurora may be next on the hit list, at twenty years old. (See HERE)

A New Royal Yacht?

June 26, 2020

A campaign for a new Royal Yacht to be commissioned to help Britain secure post-Brexit trade deals has growing support from politicians and captains of industry.

There is, however, one crucial flaw: I hear that it does not have the backing of the Queen.

During a conversation with a close friend who had observed that the idea of a new Britannia was gaining momentum, the Monarch’s response was described as ‘lukewarm’.

I’m told: ‘Her Majesty said the last thing she wanted was for the Royal Family to be seen as “angling” for something that detractors could claim was just another royal bauble. She was effectively saying she did not want the hassle.’

John Major’s Government announced in 1994 that Britannia would be decommissioned. On 20 October 1997, HMY Britannia left Portsmouth on her farewell tour around the UK, before being decommissioned. Watching it being taken out of service in 1997 was one of the few times the Queen was seen to shed a tear in public. (See image above).

The yacht is now a tourist attraction, berthed in Leith, Edinburgh.

A new yacht, which would cost at least £100 million, was backed by Boris Johnson when Foreign Secretary. He said it would ‘add greatly to the soft power of this country’.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman declined to comment.

(Courtesy Richard Eden, Daily Mail)

The Royal Yacht Britannia (built 1954), Leith, Edinburgh – 5,769 Gross Tonnes.

CMV Ships Laid-Up At Tilbury

June 25, 2020

Tilbury Dock, 15 June 2020 (Courtesy CMV)

Here is a nice image of CMV’s ‘Vasco De Gama’(left), ‘Astor’ (centre) and ‘Magellan’ (right)at tilbury docks, Essex.

The not so nice fact is that these ships are all presently laid-up, with their crews trapped on-board.

CMV’s ‘Astoria’ , Saga’s ‘Spirit of Discovery’ and Saga’s ‘Saga Sapphire’ are also nearby, in the same dock, but not in camera shot.

CMV’s ‘Columbus’ is berthed a little down river, at the Tilbury cruise terminal.


The End of Pullmantur?

June 22, 2020

(Courtesy Pullmantur)

Cruises Investment Holding and Royal Caribbean Group said they have filed for the reorganization of their Pullmantur Cruceros joint venture under the terms of Spanish insolvency laws.

This could mark the end of the Pullmantur brand as reports from crew aboard the company’s ships said that they are removing equipment and other fixtures.

(RCI/PR Newswire)

Malcolm says: Pullmantur serve the Spanish cruise market. They operate three ships: Sovereign (former RCI Sovereign of the seas), Monarch (former RCI Monarch of the seas) and Horizon (former Celebrity Horizon).  Unfortunately this may be the first of a number of cruise lines to go bust, due to the pandemic.

CMV Races For Funds To keep It Afloat

June 20, 2020

A British-based cruise line that employs 4,000 people is racing to secure funding to keep itself afloat after its operations were halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Sky News has learnt that Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) is in emergency talks with lenders and potential investors following the eleventh-hour collapse of a potential rescue deal…

Full Sky News article – HERE

Marco Polo @ Tilbury (Source Unknown)

Malcolm says:  Don’t panic! The CMV web site is still taking bookings. All the cruise lines are being forced to borrow money, even the big ones. (What travel company does not have a big hole in their balance sheet at the moment?) Maybe the press are being over-dramatic in this story? CMV have a very loyal following, almost ‘hard crore’. They offer some excellent fares. In fact on occasions, I feel that CMV have given me more than I’ve paid for. I wish them well.

My CMV fleet reviews: HERE

CMV Pause Until August 25

June 12, 2020


Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) has announced the further the suspension of all worldwide cruises from July 1 to August 25, 2020, citing the continued global pandemic outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus, government advisories still in force and the lockdown of many countries and ports around the world.


Cancelled: UK’s Battle of The Megaships

June 2, 2020

Southampton, U.K. was to be a battleground for three new mega-ships in spring/summer, 2020. However Covid-19 has now delayed all of  the cruise lines plans.

The biggest ship operating/home-porting from Southampton was to be P&O’s new Iona at  around180,000 gross tonnes. She’s not the world’s biggest class of cruise ship, but her passenger capacity is, at a maximum of 6,600. Her maiden cruise was set to be on the 14th may. However she is not expected to enter service now, 15th October, at the earliest.

(Courtesy P&O)

A counter attack was due to come form Royal Caribbean. Their 2020 programme will see the return of Quantum-Class ship ‘Anthem of the Seas’ cruising itineraries from Southampton. Anthem is a mere 168,000 gross tonnes and carries up to 4,905 passengers.

Anthem of the Seas (Courtesy RCI)

RCI planned to send reinforcements in the form of another big new ship, form their premium brand, Celebrity, to Southampton in 2020.

Celebrity‘s second Edge-class ship, Celebrity Apex was to be  named in Southampton in April 2020. She will be a almost modest 129,500 gross tonnes (for a mega-ship) and carry 2,918 passengers (lower berths).

Celebrity Apex (Courtesy Celebrity)

President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said: “When Celebrity Apex launches in Southampton in April 2020, it will be another incredible moment for our company and the UK market, especially as it will be 10 years since we last named and operated a brand new ship from the UK (with Celebrity Eclipse in 2010).”

If this plan had gone ahead,  it would be the very first time that Celebrity would operate two ships from the UK’s largest port, with ‘Celebrity Silhouette’ returning to Southampton for her third consecutive year.

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 (QM2) has been home-porting at Southampton since 2004. At 149,00 gross tonnes, she was very briefly the worlds biggest cruise ships and is of course still the worlds biggest ocean liner. Yet she carries a respectable 2,695 passengers.

However earlier in the year, the  QM2’s  World Voyage,  was suspended. The iconic flagship was to take guests to explore the wonders of the Orient, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa. The itinerary is 99 nights, visiting 28 countries.

Cunard were also preparing fans for the launch of their fourth ship set to join the fleet in 2022! It will be the first time since 1998 that the luxury cruise brand will have four ships in simultaneous service.

I also note that in the Spring/Summer/Autumn of 2020 Princess cruises 113,000 gt ‘Crown Princess’ was planned to be operating from Southampton.

These are unprecedented times.


Empty cruise ships In The Caribbean & Philippines

May 19, 2020


Satellite images reveal fleets of empty cruise ships huddled in the Caribbean and Philippines because they’re unable to dock due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Passengers are no longer on the vessels, but some crew members have been trapped on-board since March.

Real Ships: Waverley & Balmoral, Pleasure Boats

May 4, 2020

O.k. not conventional ocean cruise ships, but definitely “Real Ships”:

Waverly in Dry-dock, Mach 2020 (Courtesy Waverley excursions)

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to experience several day river cruises on the Balmoral* Motor Cruiser (1949), and the Waverley paddle steamer (1947). Both departed 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.

Waverley Boiler Replacement

Unfortunately the PS Waverley was laid-up in 2019 as she requires a major renovation including boiler replacement.

Waverley entered dry dock on Monday March 2 2020, for her annual visit which saw her hull painted.

(Courtesy Waverley excursions)

Waverley’s two new boilers were fitted in the first few days of April, completing a major refit milestone.  Each boiler, weighing 21 tonnes apiece, was gently lowered into position.

Details of the re-launch cruises and other areas will be confirmed later in the year.

Malcolm says: I’d recommend any of these three ‘classic’ ships (Waverley, Balmoral & Kingsear Castle) to you, if you get the chance.  So look out for these ‘real ships’, hopefully later  in 2020 or maybe 2021, at a UK port near you.


Waverley cruises: HERE

*(Not to be confused with Fred. Olsen’s Balmoral cruise ship)

Marella to Retire Celebration

May 3, 2020

Marella Cruises is making capacity adjustments and will retire the 1984-built Celebration.

The ship was built in 1984 by Chantiers de l’Atlantique for Holland America Line as the MS Noordam.  In 2005 she was moved to Thomson Cruises, which eventually became Marella.

“The Marella Celebration is one of the longest standing and most loved ships in the Marella Cruises fleet. She’s sailed with the cruise line for 15 years, carrying almost half a million passengers. The ship was due to homeport in Dubrovnik in summer ’20 and summer ’21 and Cyprus and Dubai for the winter season,” the company said, in a statement.

(Cruise Industry News)

Malcolm says: I believe her sister, Marella Spirit (HAL’s Nieuw Amsterdam) left the fleet in 2018 and was sadly scrapped.  Celebration has now effectively gone, there was no farewell season.

I did two cruises on Celebration (2006 and 2209, see links below) under the ‘Thomson Cruises’ umbrella, and loved her and their budget operation in general. This is another possible loss of a ‘Real Ship’.

Red Sea Magic review: HERE  Colourful Coasts review: HERE

Holland America Line: 147th Anniversary

April 19, 2020

SS Rotterdam (Courtesy HAL)

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

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

Full ‘Cruise industry’ New story: HERE

Below: The Hotel New York (1901) Rotterdam, the former Holland America Line Head Office.

See my SS Rotterdam Hotel-Ship review: HERE

Celebrity Apex Delivered

March 29, 2020

In what may be the first virtual delivery of a cruise ship, Celebrity Cruises accepted official command of the Celebrity Apex via a video conference with officials from Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard.

In keeping with tradition, Captain Dimitris Kafetzis ordered the exchange of the French and American flags, while each country’s national anthem played in the background.

(Courtesy of Cruise Industry News)

Ferries: Stena Hollandica

December 20, 2019

I’ve decided to features some more ferries, over the coming weeks.

The British Isles still has still has fair choice of ferries serving it’s coast, although competition from the budget airlines have caused some routes to become extinct.

In 2014, I travelled to Holland by Stena’s then new ‘Hollandica’ super-ferry.

I must say that she was lovely. She really is cruise ship ‘standard’ with some excellent cabins and passenger facilities.

See my review: HERE 

Has Cruising Become Too Comfortable?

December 3, 2019

A few years ago I wrote an article entitled: “Has Cruising Become Too Comfortable?”

I suspect that many of my readers probably thought that I had gone mad, after all the concept of being “too comfortable” is a difficult one to grasp. Nevertheless, I stand by its sentiment.

Here it is:

Although I love cruising, just occasionally I feel that I am a little too insulated from the outside world and the local cultures, when I’m on-board a cruise ship.

It is worth noting that most cruise ships themselves are very multi-cultural, in terms of the crew and passengers, however a ship is still very much it’s own ‘world’. In fact today’s modern mega-ships are so big that they are no longer just a ‘means of transportation’, they have become the ‘destination’…

See full article HERE