Archive for the ‘Royal Caribbean (RCI)’ Category

Which Is The World’s Biggest Cruise Line?

July 12, 2017

Carnival Horizon (Courtesy Carnival)

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

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

See full ‘Cruise Industry News’ article: HERE

Symphony Of The Seas Floated Out

June 10, 2017

(Courtesy RCI)

Royal Caribbean’s newbuild, Symphony of the Seas was floated out at STX France earlier this week.

The 230,000 gross tonne, 6, 860 passenger ship enters service in April 2018.

The French ship-yard will work ton the interior of the ship.

(RCI)

My Extensive ‘Oasis’ review: HERE

RCI’s Passion & Pulse To be LNG Powered

March 24, 2017

(Courtesy RCI)

Royal Caribbean’s fourth ‘Quantum’ class ship (actually called ‘Quantum-Plus’ class) will be named ‘Passion of the Seas’ and will be delivered by Meyer Werft, Germany, in 2019.

Their fifth ‘Quantum-Plus’ class ship, to be named ‘Pulse of the Seas’, will be deliver in 2020.

It has been strongly rumored that both ships will be LNG powered, in keeping with many newbuilds form other major cruise lines, such as Carnival and MSC.

Royal Caribbean’s next class of ship, currently shrouded in secrecy, know as ‘Project Icon’ will also be LNG powered.

Quantum Class: Anthem of the Seas review HERE

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

Symphony of the Seas

January 20, 2017
Oasis (M.Oliver)

Oldest Sister: Oasis of the seas

The name for Royal Caribbean’s fourth Oasis class ship has been leaked.

The release allegedly came from FlowRider, Inc, which manufactures Royal’s signature surf simulators.

In the line’s exclusive announcement that the fourth Oasis-class ship will feature two simulators, the name Symphony of the Seas was revealed. The post has since been taken down from the website.

There is even an image from the shipyard which shows a partial name on the ships hull: “Symph…” so I take that as proof positive.

The ship is currently under construction and like its sister ship, Harmony of the Seas, will sit amongst the largest cruise ships in the world.

There has not been any details on itineraries or the ship itself revealed as of yet, although the line’s International CEO, Michael Bayley, confirmed in an interview that Royal’s next  ship will be coming to the United States, following a brief European summer season.

Bayley has also recently referenced the fourth in the line’s Quantum class by a name unheard of until now: “In 2019 we will have Quantum Plus.”

(cruise.co.uk)

Oasis review: HERE

Titanic Vs Oasis of The Seas

December 26, 2016

wHyxSE0

A few years back I wrote an article for this blog called “Titanic Vs Oasis of the Seas”.

Now I must admit that I did not spend weeks researching it. I put it together quite quickly. It was really just meant to be a bit of fun. Interestingly the article continues to attract more comments than anything else that I have ever written, including some quite negative ones, such as:

“This is stupid, how can you compare these two ships, they are Apples and Oranges”

“These two ships were built 100 year’s apart, of course they are not the same”

“The Titanic was a work of art, Oasis is just a floating shopping mall”

“This article is stupid”

Well, the commentators are fully entitled to their own opinions.  The two ships ARE completely different to each other and they WERE built almost 100 years apart. However silly it is to compare these two ships, I still did it!

It’s quite ironic that the article looks like it will be my  most viewed again, in 2016 as it was in 2015.  If I want a larger readership, I obviously need to write more silly stuff!

You can read it: HERE

XXL – Is The New Standard

October 30, 2016
(Genting's Global Class)

(Genting’s Global Class)

Have you ever noticed how 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 be building a ship bigger than anybody else’s (normally Royal Caribbean). However in general the big players are influenced by each other.

I can remember some 20 years ago (mid to late nineties), when many mega-ships were being built at 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.

In about 2005, many megaships built for NCL, RCI, P&O and Cunard etc. we’re around 90,000 gt. Although Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 had pushed the boundaries in 2002, to 148,000 gt .

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) continues to dominate in size and probably will for some years to come.

The 180,000gt Costa LNG ship

The 180,000gt Costa LNG ship

However the goal-posts have moved once again. We now see a new wave of ships in the order book for 2019 onwards, which are 180-200,000 gt in size. These new mega-ships, or maybe they should be called ultra-ships, will each carry up to 6,600 passengers.

  • Carnival has announced that they have ordered seven 180,000gt mega-ships: two for Costa, two for Carnival, two for AIDA and one for P&O to be delivered between 2019 and 2022.
  • Genting Hong Kong announced they have ordered two new ships for Star Cruises in 2019 and 2020. These ships will be 201,000 gross tons.
  • MSC Cruises announced that they would be ordering up to four new class cruise ships, called the “World Class”. These would be around 200,000 gt and would be delivered between 2022 and 2026.

Carnival, Genting and MSC are clearly catching up to Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis’ class.

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

Older/smaller tonnage will be retired. Cruise ships rarely have a life longer than 30 years. This means that most of the cruise lines fleets, have ships growing in size. What was once a megaship (say 70,000gt) look like a ‘medium’ sized vessel now, maybe even a ‘small’ one.

Megaship are packed with facilities, including multiple dining rooms and multiple entertainment venues, even a few gimmicks throw in like a Park or Bumper cars. However bigger is not always best. These floating theme parks 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 mega-ships.

Megaships are also limited to what ports they can visit as 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 passenger arriving at a Caribbean island (for example) has on the local environment.

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

As a result the existing smaller/older ships will be facing extinction. 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

(There are reviews of some of the world’s biggest ships, menu right)

RCI Announce Project ‘Icon’ LNG Newbuilds

October 10, 2016

smaller

Royal Caribbean International has today announced that its newest class of ships will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and will introduce the use of fuel cell technology.

These innovations will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The cruise line said that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with shipbuilder Meyer Turku for the new class of vessel under the project name “Icon.” The vessels will be delivered in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024.

The ships will carry 5,000 passengers. They are expected to also be able to operate using conventional maritime fuel as a well, for ports without the necessary LNG infrastructure.

Icon is the first new ship class announced by RCI since Celebrity Cruises’ new Edge class, which debuts in 2018. (Also shrouded in secrecy)

RCI said it will begin testing fuel cell technology on an existing Oasis-class ship in 2017, and will also run progressively larger fuel cell projects on new Quantum-class vessels being built in the next several years.

Malcolm says: Wow, exciting news – another new ‘class’ of ship from RCI. I was not expecting this so soon after the introduction of the ‘Quantum’ class (see video below). 

Mind you building LNG ships simply follows suit with Carnival and MSC who also have big LNG ships on order. Let’s also not forget that Quantum’s ‘Dynamic Dining’ system was a flop – maybe they are keen to move on?

RCI are masters of secrecy, so I don’t suppose we will get any more details for months/years.

We know very little facts about Icon, apart from she will carry 5,000 passengers, but is that lower berths or full capacity? Even the all-important gross tonnage has been omitted form some press releases.

However several sources suggests that ‘Icon’ will be 200,000 gt which makes  the 5,000 passenger figure  look like a lower-berth statistic. (A 200,000 gt ship with 5K passengers gives us a similar space-ratio to ‘Harmony’)  This size of ship is in keeping with Carnival, MSC and Genting’s newbuilds, so this size sounds very likely to me.

In contrast, the ‘Quantum’ class is  approximately 168,00 gt., carrying 4,905 passengers – all berths. The Oasis class is around 227,000 gt carrying 6, 780 – all berths. Icon would sit in-between the two, in terms of gross tonnage.

I wonder what new innovations RCI will come up with this time? How do you beat a park, bumper-cars, skydiving simulator and an observation pod?  It must get increasingly difficult  to keep being innovative. However, if Icon is a 200,000 gt ship, there will be plenty of room for wow-features onboard, if they want.

The arrival of these new ships may well see the departure of  RCI’s older tonnage.

Majesty has now been in the fleet for 24 years, Grandeur 20 years, Enchantment and Rhapsody 19 years and Vision 18 years. Although the life expectancy of a cruise ship can be 30+ years, in six-eight years time, when the ‘Icons’ arrive, RCI’s older tonnage will look even smaller and more dated.

The pressure is now on NCL to go bigger and go LNG.

Malcolm

STOP PRESS: On October 2016, Royal Caribbean filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for “Icon of the Seas”.

So what is an LNG powered Ship? See Here

RCI Abandons Dynamic Dining On Anthem

September 13, 2016
Not so

Not so “Dynamic” after all? (Image courtesy of RCI)

Earlier this year I wrote an article suggesting that RCI’s culinary innovation: ‘Dynamic Dining’, had failed.

‘Dynamic Dining’ was launched on-board ‘Quantum of the Seas’ in 2014. The entire ship was specifically designed to support it, but it proved very controversial.

‘Dynamic’ was a very significant change in direction for RCI. They completely changed their dining system on-board their newest ‘Quantum Class’ ships after 46 years of cruise ship operations. Up until that moment all their ships had traditional dining with just one main/large dining room, even on-board the giant ‘Oasis of the Seas’.

However ‘Dynamic’ proved to be unpopular with many of RCI guests. In short they felt that feel that the system did not work very well. Some found themselves queuing for a table each evening.

Essentially ‘Dynamic’ was a copy of the Norwegian Cruise Lines ‘Freestyle’ dining concept.

However NCL have had almost twenty years practice to make their system work. RCI have not been so successful at operating theirs.

Malcolm

See full story @ RC Unofficial Blog: Here

Anthem of the Seas review HERE

A 5th Oasis Class For RCI

May 25, 2016
89715678_da2dfa95-8ef8-41e8-8683-6f0cf63bf311

(Image courtesy of BBC)

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding with STX France to build a fifth Oasis-class ship for delivery in spring 2021, and two additional Edge-class ships for Celebrity Cruises that would arrive in autumn 2021 and autumn 2022.

(RCI)

Oasis review: HERE

Malcolm says: The first of the ‘Edge’ class ships is just over two years away and we know nothing about it. I can remember a time when new ships were not so very secretive.

Megaship Review: Anthem of The Seas

June 30, 2015

 

Ripcord

Ripcord -Anthem of The Seas (Click to enlarge)

One of the biggest ships in the world inspired me to write one of the longest reviews in the world (well probably) – it’s around 6,000 words!

Here is a short extract:

Anthem is different to all other RCI ship. If fact she did not feel like a RCI ship to me. This is because the ships basic design is not unlike NCL’s new ships, with multiple dining options and multiple entertainment venues.

‘Dynamic Dining’ is very similar to NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ dining. It does offer more choice and flexibility than on-board any other class of RCI ship. However RCI still appear to be struggling to manage it effectively.

Malcolm

Anthem of the Seas review HERE

Anthem of the Seas Review

May 16, 2015

DSC_0078

At last, I have finished my review of RCI’s latest ship, ‘Anthem of the Seas’.

One of the biggest ships in the world inspired me to write one of the longest reviews in the world (well probably) – it’s around 6,000 words! Even then I only got to comment on a fraction of the public rooms and facilities.

I have tried to address some fundamental question, which many other reviews have ignored:

Does Dynamic Dining actually Work?

Kids look well served, but what does Anthem offer adults?

Have they retained their ‘wow’ factor?

How does Anthem compare to Oasis and the other megaships?

Does the ship feel like RCI or have they morphed into NCL?

It’s not a review for those who want a quick overview of the ship. It’s not all good either – there were bits that I really did not like. It will probably upset some RCI fans.

I hope that you find the time to read at least some of it and find it useful.

Malcolm

Anthem of the Seas review HERE

 

Large and Larger

March 5, 2013
(Source unknown)

(Source unknown)

‘Celebrity Solstice’ (122,000 gt, 2,850 passengers) dwarfed ‘Oasis of the Seas’ (225,000 gt, 5,400 passengers).  Solstice is hardly a small ship!

So How Big Is ‘Oasis of the Seas’?

December 9, 2009

Does my bum look big in this?

The image above is a web cam grab of ‘Oasis of the Seas’ at St. Thomas. She is docked next to ‘Costa Atlantica’ (85,700 gross tons) a Vista class ship like Cunard’s Queen Victoria and many others.  It’s not so long ago that a ship the size of ‘Atlantica’ would have been the worlds biggest cruise ship, but NOT now!