CMV – 2018 Programme

March 15, 2017

Columbus (Courtesy CMV)

We are delighted to announce the launch of our 2018 programme with a new preview brochure. The preview is on sale now and contains 100 worldwide cruising prospects.

For 2018, we are offering Buy One Get One Free fares on all summer cruises included in the new programme when booked before 31 May 2017. Our new fleet addition Columbus, which joins the fleet this June, will sail from London Tilbury throughout 2018, meanwhile Astoria is set to return due to popular demand. Nine British departure ports are featured with Harwich a new addition. The introduction of Cobh (Cork) will no doubt please Irish passengers. Fares are available from £379pp for a 6 night European Cities cruise.

Chris Coates, Commercial Director at CMV said ‘Our aim is to reward early bookers so we have issued a preview brochure much earlier. Since adding Magellan and Columbus to the fleet we have increased the number of passengers travelling with us. They in turn re-book and recommend the traditional British cruise experience to their relatives and friends. The new programme is predominantly with no flying involved. Many more people are wishing to cruise from closer to home rather than waste a day out and back at crowded airports. The new CMV brochure makes the decision easy with a choice of nine UK departure ports .’

Among the exciting range of new itineraries is a voyage on Marco Polo that includes a journey into the White Sea and a visit to Murmansk. Astoria has an eye-catching cruise that includes the Scottish Lochs and Glens, and Magellan will be sailing the Mediterranean. Details of the Columbus Round the World cruise in January 2018 are highlighted along with CMV’s most popular choices; the Norwegian Fjords, Baltic Cities & St Petersburg, British Isles and Iceland and in the winter time, the Canaries & Madeira, Amazon & West Indies and the Land of the Northern Lights.

In addition to the BOGOF fare deals 150 twin cabins will be set aside on Columbus and Magellan for the benefit of solo travellers with a modest 25% supplement on the twin share price. This year the two multi-generational cruises introduced on Columbus have been well received. In 2018 CMV are offering a choice of eight multi-generational cruises so guests can take their children and the grand-children. Child fares from £99.

(Cruise & Maritime Voyages)

Web site: http://www.cruiseandmaritime.com

Magellan Review: HERE

Marco Polo Review: HERE

Reviews of the rest of  CMV fleet – See menu right.

Norwegian Bliss

March 15, 2017

This video is a reminder that ‘Celebrity Edge’ is not the only mega-ship in the world.

Celebrity Edge Revealed

March 13, 2017

Click to enlarge (Courtesy Celebrity)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Courtesy Celebrity)

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

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

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

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

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

(Celebrity)

Malcolm says: Well the wait is over, we now know some details about “Celebrity Edge, a ship designed to leave the future behind”.

It’s nice to see Celebrity have only gone a little bigger than the ‘Solstice’ class, but have slightly passenger numbers compared to ‘Reflection’, for example. She’s still a mega-ship though.

A better connection with the sea has become an industry goal (NCL Breakaway, MSC Seaview, etc.) after a period when mega-ships (like RCI’s Voyager class) were very inward-focussed, with the ship becoming more important than the sea. Some mega-ships offered few sea views from their public rooms.  Celebrity have embraced the ‘outward facing’ concept with ‘Edge’.

We still do not entirely know what Edge will actually look like, but we do know a lot about the accommodation and the ‘Resort Deck’.  As I predicted below the ‘Infinite Veranda’ staterooms is a nice idea that is borrowed form European river boats.

I’m not sure if the ‘Magic Carpet’ is a great innovation or a bit of a gimmick – only time will tell. It certainly will not accommodate many passengers. (I was never a  fan of the Oasis classes ‘Rising Tide’ bar).  It will give the ship a strange lopsided appearance.

The only problem with all of those wonderfully spacious  Suites and Villas, is that most of us will never get to stay in one. I saw a price of around $19,399 per person, for a ‘Iconic Suite’ on the maiden cruise. I wonder how much it would cost to charter a private yacht for a week?

Comments Welcome!

Stateroom Of The Future?

March 12, 2017

Click to enlarge (Courtesy STX)

Is this the stateroom of the future?

Positioning the bed to look out to sea makes a lot of sense. Some river boats now have this design.

The window looks like the lower half drops down (moterised) to create a balconly. Once again this is now a common design on new river boats.

(Courtsey STX)

The above images are an STX Shipyard concept from project ‘ULYSSEAS’, a proposed Expedition ship.

However such a design could be adopted on a conventional cruise ship.

Who knows, maybe ‘Celebrity Edge’ will adopt this stateroom design?

Malcolm

Pride of America: NCL’s Highest Yielding Ship

March 10, 2017
(Courtesy NCLA)

(Courtesy NCLA)

President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Frank del Rio recently said, on the company’s fourth quarter and year-end earnings: “These benefits include Pride of America, the highest yielding ship in the Norwegian fleet, is in service for the full quarter, versus the prior year where she was in a 25-day drydock”

(NCL)

Malcolm says: That’s surprising news to me. I’ve always wanted to cruise inter-Hawaiian-islands with NCL, but the fares are quite high and the long-haul air fare from the UK would make it a very expensive cruise indeed.

‘Pride’ gets quite mixed review with the quality of food, mediocre service and small cabins being matters for some customer dissatisfaction. She’s a strange looking ships externally, but her American themed interiors have recently undergone a major re-fit.

A few years ago NCL said ‘Norwegian Epic’ was their best performing ship.  I was not surprised at that news, given the fact that ‘Epic’ is the biggest vessel in the NCL fleet, carrying more passengers. She  has more alternative (surcharge) dining venues that their other ships, so the potential for on-board income generation must be bigger.

The ‘NCL America’ brand was created to cruise the Hawaiian islands, but the brand has been fraught with operational difficulties. ‘Pride of America’ (2005, 80,439 gt) homeports in Honolulu.

I think NCL though that Hawaii would be the ‘new’ Caribbean and passengers would flock there in their millions. NCLA gained a monopoly to cruise inter-Hawaiian islands. They had three large ‘Us-Flagged’ ships operating in Hawaiian waters at one point. They even purchased the legendary ocean liner the ‘SS United States’, for their NCLA, which was in lay-up. They promised to renovate her and return her back to service, but of course they never did. However demand for Hawaiian cruises never did meet NCL’s expectations and ‘Prides’ two fleet mates were re-deployed to other parts of the world.

I understand that NCLA was not  very profitable originally, for three main reasons:

One: The deal with the Hawaiian authorities was that the ships crew must be largely America. Recruiting crew with the correct customer service ethos proved difficult. Also due to the high standards of living in Hawaii/USA the crew had to be paid first world wages.  (Traditionally cruise lines often employ third world staff on lower wages to maximise their profits.)

Two: The NCLA ships were not allowed to operate Casino’s in Hawaiian waters,  which are one of American ships most profitable areas of on-board income generation.

Three: NCLA was faced with higher staff costs, less on-board income generation, but had to offer completive fares with other cruises in American waters, such as the Caribbean.

So back to Frank del Rio’s opening statement saying that ‘Pride’ is their highest yielding ship. Although NCLA has had a turbulent history, the islands are acknowledged as being beautiful, ‘Pride’  still has a monopoly and she can command higher fares.

Any other suggestions as to how they turned things around and achieved this success will be welcomed.

Malcolm

World’s Largest Cruise Ship – Sympnony Of The seas

March 8, 2017

Royal Caribbean has announced a dramatic new ‘PortMiami Terminal A’ which will herald the arrival of what will be the world’s largest cruise ship and the global cruise line’s newest addition, Symphony of the Seas.

She and Oasis-class sister ship Allure of the Seas, each with a bold and unexpected line-up of thrilling experiences that have revolutionised the cruise industry, will unite in November 2018 to offer island-hopping adventures through the Caribbean. Symphony’s inaugural year of Europe and Caribbean itineraries are now available to book; Allure of the Seas’ 2018-2019 itineraries will open for sale later in the month.

The 26th ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet, Symphony of the Seas will be delivered in April 2018 and will spend her inaugural summer season exploring the awe-inspiring destinations of the Mediterranean. She will then arrive to Miami in early November to begin seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries on Saturday 17th November from the state-of-the-art Terminal A, dubbed the ‘Crown of Miami’.

Symphony of the Seas will claim the title of the world’s largest and most adventure filled cruise ship, offering 28 more staterooms than her newest sister ship, Harmony of the Seas, and encompassing 230,000 gross registered tonnes.

Among the award-winning and acclaimed favourites on-board will be the distinct seven neighbourhood concept, imaginative and sophisticated dining, Bionic Bar robot bartenders powered by Makr Shakr, Broadway-calibre entertainment, the iconic waterfront AquaTheatre, the Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, and Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea.

FotoFlexer_Photo

(Courtesy RCI)

The ‘Crown of Miami,’ a 170,000-square-foot terminal, scheduled for completion for the arrival of Symphony and Allure, will be the most innovative cruise facility in the U.S.

(Royal Caribbean)

The Worlds biggest class of cruise ship review: HERE

P&O To Base Ship In Arabian Gulf

March 8, 2017

(José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro)

P&O Cruises is to base a ship in the Arabian Gulf for the first time to operate fly-cruises to destinations such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Oman.

P&O will deploy Oceana to Dubai for a ‘partial season’ between January and April 2019, taking 18,000 UK guests on holiday to the region.

Senior vice-president Paul Ludlow said if successful, the programme would be extended the following year from November to April.

Oceana was built in 2000, is 77,499 gross tonnes and carries 2016 passengers.

(Courtesy P&O)

(P&O)

P&O “To Bring The Outside In”

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Construction of the latest addition to the P&O fleet will get underway at Meyer Werft’s Papenburg shipyard in Germany in 2017.

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.

P&O’s latest slogan is to “bring the outside in”. In keeping with this idea, 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.

P&O 180,000 gt

P&O Newbuild (Courtesy of P&O)

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.

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.

P&O 180,000 gt Newbuild

Prom deck with hot tubs. (Courtesy of P&O)

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.

(P&O)

Malcolm says: I wonder how Southampton will accommodate the new P&O ship in 2020?

The as yet unnamed ship will be able to accommodate up to 6,600 passengers, a world record! Surely none of the existing terminal buildings will be big enough.

Plus other increasingly bigger ship will occasionally be in port at the same time.

If you expand the terminal buildings, the local roads will still be inadequate – they are now, when multiple ships are in port.  Southampton will need a major overhaul in terms of it’s infrastructure.

TUI Discovery – Homeport UK

March 6, 2017

From mega-ships, to modest-ships:

Thomson Cruises has just  announced its summer 2018 cruise programme.

TUI Discovery (formerly RCI’s ‘Splendour Of The Seas’) will be based in the U.K. for the first time.

Thomson Cruises will also offer 12 brand-new itineraries and 15 maiden ports of call — including Monaco, Ancona and Skiathos Town.

The 1,830-passenger ship will homeport in Newcastle from May 2018, offering Norwegian Fjords and Baltic Sea itineraries, including overnight stays in St Petersburg.

The ship will then move to Southampton in September 2018, to offer four separate itineraries — Fantastic Fjords, Baltic Treasures, European Experience and Seeking the Northern Lights.

sister ship TUI Discovery 2  (formerly RCI’s ‘Legend of the Seas’) will debuts in May 2017  and offer four different Eastern Europe itineraries from Corfu Town. Thomson Dream will be based in Palma, Majorca.

Thomson Celebration is set to homeport in Dubrovnik for the entire summer 2018 season, offering a range of Mediterranean itineraries.

(Thomson)

Malcolm says: Good news for Brits! I like the Thomson product. They now own the whole supply-chain from hotels, planes and ships, so they can offer some excellent package deals to fill up their ships in periods of low demand.

I do not have the 2018 itineraries for Thomson Spirit, Dream or Majesty as yet.

Thomson Celebration review: HERE

Norwegian Joy Float Out

March 5, 2017

(Courtesy Meyer Werft)

The new NCL ship Norwegian Joy 喜悦号 (Xǐ Yuè Hào) was floated out of the Meyer Werft building hall on Saturday, March 4, 2017, Papenburg Germany.

The ship is 168,800 gross tonnes and will carry 3,900 passengers.

At the end of March, the Joy will make her conveyance along the Ems River to the North Sea. In the North Sea, the ship will begin sea trials before finally being delivered to NCL in April 2017.

The ship arrives in Shanghai in late June where she will serve the Chinese market all year-round.

(Meyer Werft)

Innovation or Nightmare?

 

 

On of the most unique features of ‘Norwegian Joy’  is on the ships upper deck. Guests will take the ride of a lifetime on a thrilling two-level competitive racetrack– the first ever at sea. Cruisers can race family and friends in electric cars (a 5-6 minute course) and even share a photo of their first place finish. (NCL)

Malcolm says: You can clearly see Norwegian Joy’s two-level go-Kart track on the sun deck. Is this your idea of an innovation or a nightmare?

(Courtesy NCL)

A rather crowded sun-deck (Courtesy NCL, click to enlarge)

The sun deck looks rather crowded to me, with it’s various facilities.

Innovation! (Norwegian Joy)

Norwegian Joy rendering (Courtesy NCL)

On one had Joy’s on-deck facilities impress me , but on the other hand where is the room for the sun loungers?  As somebody wise once said: “Whatever happened to just cruising”?

However ‘Joy’ is built for the Chinese market and I’m told that the Chinese are not big on sunbathing.

Del Rio allegedly said: Norwegian Joy is getting the first race track on board a ship, with two levels and eight turns that can race 10 cars at a time, 35-40 mph, but del Rio said Bliss will get a race track that is 20 percent longer and have 10 turns, two of which will be banked and cantilevered over the side of the ship. “I want to see somebody beat that” .

nclkart-fill-600x450

(Courtesy Cruise Industry News)

Has The Mega-Ship ‘Bubble’ Burst?

March 3, 2017

Pop?

We have come a long way since the ill fated RMS Titanic was the world’s biggest ship. Today a ship of the Titanic’s size (about 46,000 gross tonnes) would be regarded as ‘small’.

However, has the mega-ship ‘bubble’ finally burst?

Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis’ class of ships are currently the world biggest cruise ship. ‘Oasis Of The Seas’ entered service in 2007 at around 225,000 gross tonnes. She was more than twice the size* of many of her rivals. She currently has two sisters, which are both slightly bigger.

We are now experience a ‘boom’ period of  shipbuilding. However ten years on, the ‘Oasis’ class is still the biggest cruise ship design by far, with nothing bigger on the horizon.

Very big ships do of course have the space for some amazing public rooms, suites and facilities on board. The cruise line also benefit from the economies-of-scale that such a big ship brings.

However ports of call and cruise terminals can be a major issue. Some ports simply cannot physically accommodate such a big ships and their thousands of passengers.

Let’s not forget that some passengers simply do not want to share their cruise with 5,000 other people. They are looking for a more intimate experience.

No one appears to be planning to build a bigger ship than the ‘Oasis’ class, including Royal Caribbean, as far as we know. In fact mega-ships design appears to be shrinking a little.

For many years now, it has been the norm that a cruise lines next class of ship would be bigger than the previous one. However, the Royal Caribbean class which superseded the ‘Oasis’ class,  called the’Quantum’ class is around 168,000 gt.

Royal Caribbean’s ‘Project Icon’ (2022) newbuilds will be around 200,000 gt so a step up from the ‘Quantum’ class. However this is still significantly smaller than their ‘Oasis’ class.

NCL’s recently announced new ships will be around 140,000 gt. Once again this is significantly smaller than their current class, the ‘Breakaway Plus’ at 164,000 gt.

The Exceptions To The Rule

They are exceptions to the rule. Some cruise lines will be building their biggest vessels yet, within the next few year and are definitely not down-sizing.

Carnival have  newbuilds on order for their brands: Carnival, Costa, AIDA and P&O (2019-22), at around 180,000 gt.

The Mediterranean shipping company are also undergoing an impressive expansion over the next few years.

MSC Seaside (Nov. 2017) will be 154,000 gt. Meraviglia (May 2017) will be 167,000 gt and  Megaviglia Plus (2019) will be 177,000. MSC’s ‘World Class ships (2022-2026) will be an impressive 200,000 gt.

Genting (Star cruises) have their ‘Global Class’ ship (2019-20) on order at  to 200,000 gt. Either  Genting’s ‘Global Class’ and MSC’s ‘World Class’ will be the world’s second biggest class of ship, depending which on is bigger. However it will still be 25,000 gt smaller than the Oasis class.

So back to the opening question: has the mega-ship bubble burst? Will anybody ever build a ship bigger than RCI’s Oasis class?

To be honest, I don’t know. Maybe ship size has reached it’s practical limit. Maybe not?

Malcolm

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*(Gross tonnage is a measurement of a ships volume, not weight. GT is the standard way to compare ship sizes to each other).