Archive for the ‘P&O’ Category

P&O’s Oceana Refit In Focus

January 15, 2018

Family favourite Oceana recently returned from a well-­deserved refresh at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg. We explore what’s changed and where she’ll head next to show off her new look.

Yacht & Compass, post-refit (P&O)

Oceana has a distinctive style and character that makes her one of our best-­loved mid-sized family ships. With lots of deck space, there’s an open and luxuriously airy feel to life on board – she’s the perfect ship for enjoying outdoor activities and relaxation in the sunshine.

Oceana recently paid a visit to Hamburg’s Blohm+Voss shipyard, where she was given a spruce-up ahead of the spring and summer season. We listened to your feedback and brought Oceana’s wide range of dining, entertainment and relaxation experiences up to the high standards you expect. We also paid particular attention to the spacious decking areas to make this a key feature of life on board.

The refit work was undertaken by RPW Design, one of the world’s leading hospitality interior design practices that specialises in the creation of stunningly sophisticated interiors. The company’s vibrant, creative vision is sure to delight loyal fans of Oceana, while also tempting the next generation of guests to join her for new adventures.

In summer 2018, Oceana will be based in Valetta, Malta for a season of fabulous Mediterranean fly-­cruise itineraries. She is then charged with a special mission: to launch our new Dubai & Arabian Gulf fly-­cruises in early 2019. Her sunny disposition will come into its own in this fascinating part of the world. We hope you’ll join us soon on board the queen of sunshine holidays.

Terrace Bar

Expect a dash of the wow factor with the new-­look Terrace Bar – the place to be for stylish alfresco relaxation and refreshment. A bold new colour scheme, elegant lounge furniture and feature tiling create a retreat-­style space. In addition, hot tubs have been refurbished, new canopy shading has been introduced over the pool and bar area and sculptural planters add points of interest.

The Plaza

With new carpets, feature floor tiling and a fresh colour scheme inspired by marine tones, The Plaza now has a distinct identity with a clearer differentiation between dining spaces. Other upgrades to enhance the environment of this popular dining space include improved lighting and new chairs and banquette seating.

Magnums

The much-­loved Champagne bar is the place to sparkle with a lighter and more luxurious colour scheme in neutrals, teals and soft greens. New bar stools, lounge chairs and sofas enhance the elegant atmosphere, while private spaces and a sense of intimacy have been created by screens with an antique mirror finish.

Yacht & Compass

The hugely popular bar has a strong new identity thanks to a fresh colour scheme in ocean hues, grounded by a stylish new carpet featuring a sail design. Yachting motifs run through the space with roped side tables and fabrics and soft furnishings with nautical details. Night owls with fancy feet can also strut their stuff on a new dance floor.

Youth spaces

Oceana is a family favourite, and young guests can also look forward to some improvements. The entertainment equipment in the children’s clubs and teen areas has been updated, and little ones can get active with new soft play features. Walls and floors have been fully redecorated with new colourful schemes, while furniture and storage for crafts and other activities have been restructured. The night nursery has been relocated to the end of the area, improving the flow and use of space.

(Images & Text courtesy of P&O)

 

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XXL – Is The New Standard

December 30, 2017
(Genting's Global Class)

Genting’s Global Class (201,00 gt)

Have you ever noticed how the major cruise lines tend to build similar sized ships?

O.K, there are exceptions where a luxury line will build a smaller ship. There are also exceptions when a cruise line will build a ship bigger than anybody else’s (normally Royal Caribbean). However in general, the big players are influenced by each other.

I can remember in the mid to late nineties, when many mega-ships were around the 75,000 gross tons, in size. For example, RCI’s five ‘Vision’ class ships and NCL’s ‘Sun’ and ‘Spirt’ classes. Although Carnival (Destiny, 1995) and Princess (Grand Princess, 1998) pushed the boundaries with vessels over 100,000 gt.

Around  2005, many megaships, such as those of NCL, RCI, P&O and Cunard we’re around 90,000 gt. Although Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 had pushed the boundaries in 2002, to 148,000 gt .

However Royal Caribbean’s 225,000 gt ‘Oasis of the Seas’, which entered service in 2008, was the world’s largest cruise ship. She was considerably larger than anything else. The ‘Oasis’ class (Oasis, Allure and Harmony, Symphony and one as yet unnamed) continues to dominate in size and probably will for some years to come.

The 180,000gt Costa LNG ship

The 184,000gt Costa LNG ship

However the goal-posts have moved once again. We are now seeing a new wave of ships, in the order book for 2019 onward, which are around 180-200,000 gt in size.

  • Carnival has ordered seven 184,000gt mega-ships: two for Costa, two for Carnival, two for AIDA and one for P&O to be delivered between 2019 and 2022.
  • Genting has ordered two new “Global” class ships for Star Cruises in 2019 and 2020. These ships will be around 201,000 gross tons.
  • MSC Cruises will be ordering up to four new class cruise ships, called the “World Class”. These will be around 200,000 gt and carry up to 7,000 passengers. They will be  delivered between 2022 and 2026.
  •  Royal Caribbean will have a new class of ship called project Icon, to be delivered in 2022.  The project is so secretive,  all we really know is that the ship will be 200,000 gt and carry around 5,000 passengers.

Carnival, Genting and MSC are clearly catching up to Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis’ class, although still not superseding it.

However this constant race for size, is not without its issues.

Most cruise lines fleet have ships which are growing in size. Economies of scale make bigger ships more profitable to operate. What was once called a mega-ship (say 70,000gt) looks like a ‘medium’ sized vessel now, maybe even a ‘small’ one.

Megaships are packed with facilities, including multiple dining rooms, multiple entertainment venues and even a few gimmicks throw in like a Park or Go-Kart track. However bigger is not always best. These floating theme parks often lack intimacy and a ‘connection’ with the sea. Arguably the world’s best cruise experiences, in terms of fine-dining and attentive service, are not to be found on-board such big ships.

Megaships are also limited to which ports they can visit. They need long berths, deep water and extensive shore-side terminal facilities to deal with the thousands of passengers that they carry.

There is also much debate about the impact thousands of passengers arriving at a Caribbean island (for example) will have on the local environment.

Irrespective of  the negative aspects, the big ships are still coming thick and fast. The ‘masses’ love them. They almost generate their own publicity. A new “Giant Ship” makes a great news headline.  A new “Small Ship” does not.

As a result of the introduction of so many big ships, the existing smaller/older ships will face extinction within the next ten years. However there will always be some intimate ships on offer, but these are likely to get rarer and will become an increasingly expensive option to cruise on.

Malcolm

LNG – The Future Fuel For Cruise Ships

September 23, 2017

Costa Smeralda, 184,000gt LNG Ship (Coutesy Costa)

In June 2015, the Carnival Corporation announced that they have finalised a multi-billion dollar contract with shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Fincantieri, to build seven next-generation cruise ships, between 2019 and 2022.

The new ships will be for the Carnival, AIDA, Costa and P&O brands and will all feature a new “green cruising” design.

The ships will be the first in the cruise industry to be powered at sea by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). They will use LNG in dual-powered hybrid engines to power the ship both in port and on the open sea. LNG will be stored on-board and used to generate 100 percent power at sea. Using LNG to power the ships in port and at sea will eliminate emissions of soot particles and sulphur oxides.

In April 2016, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)  Cruises has announced that it has signed a letter of intent with STX France for the construction of up to four new LNG-powered cruise ships, called the ‘World Class’. These will be more than 200,000 gross tonnes. and will be able to carry 5,400 passengers at double occupancy. 

MSC’s World Class (Courtesy MSC)

The first of the four MSC ‘Wold’ class ships will be delivered in 2022.

In October 2016, Royal Caribbean International announced that its two newest class of ships, ‘Icon’, will be powered by LNG . The vessels will be delivered in 2022 and 2024.

What is LNG?

Using LNG to power ships is not a completely new idea. However to date, LNG use has been restricted to smaller vessels operating rather short runs. This is due to the large size of fuel tanks required and the few bunkering facilities available. However it is a new idea for cruise ships and certainly for a megaship design.

LNG is superior to pipeline gas in quality. This is because LNG is purer, has more methane as well as other energy content, and also because of its chemical structure since it has a stable composition. Its combustion generates no unburned residues, particulates or soot, and releases less greenhouse gas than traditional marine gas oil (MGO). Future maritime emissions regulations, especially in sensitive environments are likely to demand this. Perhaps the most appealing aspect about LNG is that under the right operating conditions it can reduce fuel costs.

In addition, using  LNG can double the maintenance intervals, because the gas is so clean,  ship owners may get  25,000 hours between maintenance intervals, maybe more, opposed to 12,500 hours with standard fuel.

Viking Grace, LNG Ferry

Viking Grace, LNG Ferry

Here is an interesting example: VIKING GRACE is a European passenger ferry (2013, 57,000gt, STX, Finland) powered by LNG. Gas take up more space than fuel-oil. In fact six times more space. Therefore large tanks for the gas are located on deck, of the ferry, to save space in the hull (See image above).

However the renderings of  Carnival’s newbuilds do not appear to have LNG storage tanks on the deck.

(Source unknown)

(Source unknown)

LNG cruise ship ‘concepts’ have been around a long time. The renderings below are a design by Wärtsilä, the marine engine company.

(Image courtesy of Wärtsilä)

(Image courtesy of Wärtsilä)

Interestingly the concept ship uses drive shaft technology, rather than pods. The LNG tans are located internally, below the funnel area.

2-ship-innards

( Wärtsilä)

The engines on-board the new Carnival ships will not exclusively be powered by LNG, but will be ‘dual fuel’ being capable of burring both LNG and liquid fuel, and combinations of both at the same time. burning exclusively LNG could be saved for environmentally sensitive areas. This would reduce the fuel storage space required.

Malcolm

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

October 27, 2016

 

P&O Newbuild 180,000 gt

P&O Model (Courtesy P&O)

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

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

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

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

Our new star of the show, The Dome

P&O newbuild 180,000 gt

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

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

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

A world of even more choice on board

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

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

Partnering with the best in the business

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

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

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

(Source: P&O)

Below slide show:

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

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

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

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

P&O/Costa Megaships Analysed: HERE

What is an LNG ship? See HERE

The New P&O/Carnival Mega-Ships Analysed

September 12, 2016

Carnival has announced that they have ordered seven 180,000gt mega-ships from the German ship builder Meyer Werft: two for Costa, two for Carnival, two for AIDA and one for P&O to be delivered between 2019 and 2022.

So far we have seen the renderings of the ship in the Costa livery and  a model of the P&O version. All versions are likely to be similar, but there are clearly some differences.

As per usual the renderings are not very clear in detail. If fact details can be deliberately withheld on early renderings. However I am not going to let a lack of facts stop me at least speculating about the ships design.

Firstly we can see that the design looks relatively conventional, with no split superstructure (like Oasis) and no unusual external features like ‘North Star’ (Anthem’s observation pod).

These ships will carry a maximum of 6,600 passengers, which is a world record. That’s up to 300 more passengers than Oasis, yet she will be 20% smaller. Therefore I don’t think we can expect Parks, Ice rinks, long Internal promenades or large indoor sports halls.  These sort of features may well be too space-hungry. In addition the Costa, AIDA, P&O and to an extent Carnival brands tend to avoid such ‘gimmicks’.  Their clientele do not expect them , although such big ships are likely to have extensive family/children’s facilities. They cannot ignore that sector of the market, if they want to fill their ships.

In fact the ships design looks rather like AIDA Prima, AIDA’s newbuild. Maybe some of AIDA’s design features will feature on-board the new  megaships?

The new ships bow is quite distinctive and rather like the one featured on AIDAprima. In fact AIDAprima does not have the traditional bulbous-bow, as she uses the MALS system. Maybe these newbuilds will use the same system?

AIDAprima, Nagasaki Japan. No bulbous bow.

AIDAprima, Nagasaki Japan. No bulbous bow.

There are clearly no big LNG tanks on deck, like some LNG ships (see here), so the tanks have been integrated into the ships hull. However I believe they are not allowed to be low/deep within the hull like normal fuel tanks, for safety reasons. This may alter the ships engine room design/internal layout quite significantly.

I count 8 lifeboats per side (Oasis has seven per side). However given the higher passenger numbers, the lifeboats must be bigger. In fact I believe they are the new ‘Fassmer’(See here) ones carrying 414 passengers each, compared to the Oasis/Schat-Harding lifeboats at 370 passengers each.

The lifeboats appear to be served by their own promenade deck, to enable passengers to board the lifeboats. Such prom. decks are not great for giving passengers a sea views as the lifeboats often obscure much of them. However their appears to be a second promenade deck.

The stern features a low extended deck area, reminiscent of MSC’s ‘Seaside’ ships. There appears to be six cabanas against the railings. Seven decks rise from the stern offering prime real-estate: many aft facing balcony cabins. Maybe the row of windows below the stern deck could be a restaurant?

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

The P&O model does NOT appear to show ‘steps’ on the prom, but seems to show a level, uninterrupted one level prom. P&O call it the ‘Lanai’ deck.

NewCostaShipsLNG2ddf3

Above: Courtesy of Costa. (Click to enlarge)

 

2016-10-26-21-49kk-14-1

P&O Model

Costa: CostaThe upper superstructure (amidships) appears to have  a glass skylight and a pool. Some structures run along side of ‘skylight’ and pool, on both the port and starboard sides, sloping down to the deck. Are these the tubes of a slide or maybe a track, for some sort of ride.

200

In front of the funnel appears to be two spirals which definitely look like slides/water chutes (flumes).

(Courtesy of Seatrader)

(Courtesy of Seatradeinsider)

Costa: The central Skylight could suggest a central internal space like AIDA’s ‘Theatrium’ – a combined Atrium and performance space, with seating, rather than a conventional theatre at the bow. Carnival did mention the clever use of internal space with multi-function public rooms . (“An atrium with a glass wall the full height” has recently been reported by P&O)

I was not expecting a ‘tall’ atrium unless it had a duel role, as they are essentially a waste of space on such a busy ship.

23. (Red) AIDAprima Theatrariun

23. AIDAprima Theatrium (amidships)

1167226793

An AIDA Theatrarium – cick to enlarge (Image courtesy of AIDA)

Costa: Towards the front of the upper deck there is a cut-out which appears to be the location for a pool. The structure above it, looks like a sliding roof.

100

Costa: Behind the funnel there appears to be a glass-canopy, probably covering a pool and maybe forming a ‘Solarium’. That makes three pools on the upper deck. (It is now reported by P&O that there are three outside pools and one inside).

'Dome' behind funnel.

‘The Dome’ behind funnel.

It has since been reported by P&O : “The dome at the top of the new ship will be an entertainment space, with a pool and retractable stage, water feature and whirlpools, that can act as an all-weather venue for entertainment and dining during the day”. The Costa renderings do NOT show a Dome. It appears that the P&O’s Dome replaces a water-chute/flume on the Costa ship. This would seem to shrink the space available on the P&O sun deck.

2016-10-26-21-49-14-1bbb

The Dome

Costa: There appears to be a giant outdoor video screen at the very stern (image below), with tiered seating facing it. There appears to be a ‘scenic’ (Princess ‘Skywalkers’ type) walkway above the screen. I’m not sure if a fourth pool is hidden down there in the space.

150new

Costa: Amidships, but nearer the hull, there are three lines of windows on a curved section of the hull. This may be part of a possible ‘Theatrium’ a lounge or a dining room?

Internal Décor: I wonder if the now elderly, Mr. Joe farkus, will be creating more mind blowing interior décor as he has done for Carnival and Costa?  P&O will obviously have a more conservative approach to her décor.

One main dining room and one main theatre each holding half the ships compliment of passengers at two sittings, with two matching show-times, is the most efficient use of space (apart from when they are empty). However it is not very flexible.

Carnival ships have often had this traditional feature. However I would  expect multiple dining rooms – like NCL’s Freestyle/RCI Dynamic Dining. This may be Carnivals first real shot at a ‘flexible dining’ system like NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ or RCI’s ‘Dynamic Dining’. Although RCI have struggled to make their new system work well, so scapped it.

Four entertainment spaces have sine been reported by P&O, the Dome being one. A Theatrium could be a second, a conventional theatre could be a third, the screen with seating, at the stern, could be the fourth.

Costa 180,000gt ship

Courtesy of Costa. (Click to enlarge)

P&O have reported that there will be:

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

In conclusion, the above text is a mixture of observation and guess work.

I do wonder if this new ship design will be a  little more like existing AIDA ships in design, than existing Costa, Carnival or P&O ones.

Interestingly I understand AIDA (aimed at the German market) are more relaxed in style, with a younger, more active demographic whose passengers favour buffet food. The entertainment is not the big Broadway type productions. Whereas Costa (Italian) are more traditional in style, with more formal dining and more lavish production shows.

It’s hard to imagine that one design of ship can entirely satisfies all camps.

I don’t think these ships will be very exciting, in terms of innovative spaces; Carnival tend to ‘play it safe’. They will probably be pretty conventional mass-market ships with thousands of cabins and many bars, dining rooms and shops. I believe that will be designed for maximum income generation and not spaciousness or unique facilities. Carnival have always focused on functionality and profit and leaves the innovation to the likes of RCI and NCL.

The most exciting aspects about these ships design will probably be their ‘scale’ and the LNG propulsion. However, the propulsion of course will have little impact on the passenger experience. (Apart from a soot free deck?)

Even with a half-mile promenade deck, given the passenger numbers, the pool deck is likely to be very crowded at anytime the sun shines.

I’m not suggesting that they will be bad ships. I just don’t think they will have room for generously sized public spaces or too much design-innovation. However the aspects of the design to manage the high passenger numbers, could be classed as an innovation in itself.

However the passenger density and ‘economies of scale’ offered by this ship design should enable Carnival to sell the cabins at very competitive rates.

Of course aspects of my speculation are likely to completely wrong. All comments welcome.

Malcolm

So what is an LNG powered Ship? See Here

Is LNG safe? See Here

Azura Meets Black Watch

September 13, 2015

(Image courtesy of Sergio Ferreira – click to enlarge)

P&O’s Megaship ‘Azura’ (2010) recently met Fred Olsen’s ‘Black Watch’ (1971).

This is what 115,000 gross tonnes ship, that can carry 3,000+ passengers looks like, when compared to 28,000 gross tonnes ship, that can carry 800 passengers.

The ships were built 39 years apart.

Malcolm

Black Watch Review: HERE

Ventura (sister of Azura) Review: HERE

Marco Polo Meets Britannia

June 10, 2015
(Image Courtesy of Karen Bradbury – click to enlarge )

(Image Courtesy of Karen Bradbury – click to enlarge )

In Marco Polo’s 50th years she has seen many different ships but this is the first time she has met P&O’s newest addition to their fleet, Britannia (left of image).

These two ships met in the beautiful Norwegian town of Flam, which gave their meeting a spectacular backdrop.

(S.Law, CMV)

Malcolm says: See, NOT all ships are the same. That’s what 143,000 gross tonnes (4,324 passengers) looks like compared to 22,000 gt (900 passengers).

Marco Polo review HERE