A Third Newbuild For Saga?

October 14, 2017

.

Saga Cruises’ chief executive has confirmed the line “would be foolish not to consider a third ship”,if it can fill the two currently on order.

He added advance sales played a significant part in confirming a second new build, Spirit of Adventure, which launches the following year. Saga confirmed the second new-build at a company meeting just last week.

“But clearly if we fill those two ships at the right per diems then we would be foolish not to consider further expansion plans — but [it] is dependent on us filling those two ships.”

The 999-passenger, all-balcony ships will be similar to boutique hotels, with fine-dining options, personalised service and custom-designed cabins.

Shaw emphasised that Saga’s new ships will be unique to the U.K. cruise market as they are the only new-build small ships being built specifically for the U.K. cruiser.

Both ships in the current Saga fleet, which are more than 30-years-old, will be retired: Saga Pearl II by Spirit of Discovery and Saga Sapphire by Spirt of Adventure.

(Cruise Critic)

Malcolm says: I am all in favour of new-small ships. The U.K is lucky that we are served by a number of older-small ships, but new ones are pretty rare. However I assume that Saga will charge a premium fare for these new ships.

Advertisements

Symphony of the Seas

October 12, 2017

.

Symphony of the Seas, the fourth Oasis-class ship launches in April 2018 and will begin home-porting November in Miami, 2018.

After its launch, the ship will offer seven-night Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona; it will then re-position to Miami and sail seven-night Caribbean cruises. Symphony of the Seas will become the fourth Oasis-class ship in Florida when it arrives at PortMiami’s Terminal A, which is under construction and expected to be completed by October 2018.

New Cabin Option for Families

A new Ultimate Family Suite will cater to those with little ones in tow, with features such as a slide from the kids-only bedroom to the living room; a movie theater-style TV room with a popcorn machine and library of video games; a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall; and an air hockey table.

The cabin also will have a 212-square-foot wraparound balcony with a full-sized whirlpool, climbing wall and kid-friendly pool table.

Redesigned Boardwalk

Symphony of the Seas’ Boardwalk will be enhanced with a new entertainment venue.

The Playmakers Sports bar will span the length of the Boardwalk and will be aimed at families, with more than 30 TVs streaming sports games (such as professional football, college basketball and soccer) and a variety of arcade games including Ms. Pacman and Skeeball. A menu offering craft beer and pub-style fare such as wings and burgers also will be available.

Passengers also will be able to satisfy their sweet tooth at Sugar Beach, the Boardwalk’s candy shop — an expanded version of the candy shop found on other Oasis-class ships.

New Dining Venues

Symphony of the Seas will introduce two new eateries to the line. El Loca Fresh will be located in the Sports Zone and focus on quick bites such as tacos and Mexican food to-go.

In the Solarium, seafood lovers can get their fill of New England-inspired fare at Hooked Seafood. The casual venue will feature a menu of fresh seafood and a raw bar; it will be open for lunch and dinner.

New Production Shows and Laser Tag Arena

In addition to its headlining show “Hairspray,” which Royal Caribbean revealed only a couple weeks ago, the Royal Theater will host “Flight,” a historical satire on the evolution of air travel, with homage to the Wright Brothers.

The AquaTheater high-diving outdoor theater and Studio B ice rink theater also will feature new shows: HiRo (a high-energy acrobatic show) and 1977 (inspired by time traveling), respectively.

Another highlight for families, Symphony of the Seas will boast a laser tag arena — which Royal Caribbean touts as the world’s-largest laser tag arena. The experience, which will take over Studio B, will be glow-in-the-dark and boast a galactic theme.

(RCI)

Sister: ‘Oasis of the Seas’ review: HERE

Celebrity Offer Gay Marriages @ Sea

October 12, 2017

Celebrity Cruises has announced that legalised same sex marriages will be offered on all of its ships, effective immediately, making it the world’s first cruise line to legally conduct gay weddings at sea.

(Celebrity)

Thomson Cruises To Rebrand

October 11, 2017

(Courtesy Thomson)

Thomson Cruises will be re-branded and will become ‘Marella Cruises’ for the UK market.

Marella means ‘shining sea’ in Celtic.

The Mein Schiff 1, which was set to transfer to Thomson as the TUI Explorer next year, will now be named the Marella Explorer.

Other ships will get similar name changes, as the TUI Discovery 1 and 2 will become the Marella Discovery 1 and Marella Discovery 2.

There is also a deployment change for winter, 2018: the company will offer an Asia program sailing from Bangkok aboard the Marella Discovery.

For the first time in the company’s history, two ships will be based in Barbados for winter 2018. Marella Explorer will sail its first ever winter season from the Bajan paradise and will be joined by Marella Celebration, operating established itineraries,

Sister travel company ‘Thomson’ will also be re-branding later this month, moving to one aligned, global brand as TUI.

(Thomson)

Malcolm says: I like the Thomson product, but I do not like the new name.  It rhymes with ‘Marbella’ and ‘Piella’, so it sounds like a Spanish cruise line to me. Maybe it’s meant to be ‘exotic’?

Thomson is a very powerful brand and they need to be careful that they are not throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Irish Ferries New: W.B.Yeats

October 9, 2017

.

A new 144 million euro (£112 million) vessel from Irish Ferries is being constructed in Flensburg, Germany and is due to enter service on 1st July, 2018.

The new super-ferry has been named via a public competition “W.B.Yeats”, after Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature.

This new super-ferry will have a cinema, restaurants, shops and premium cabins with balconies. The ship is expected to serve the Dublin to Holyhead in Anglesey route during the week and take passengers from Ireland to France on weekends.

Irish Ferries revealed that the 50,000 tonne ‘Ice Class’ vessel will have capacity to accommodate 1,885 passengers and crew.
Facilities on board, spread over four decks, will include 435 cabins and a choice of bars, restaurants, cinemas and shops.
There will even be dedicated facilities for pets.

For the first time, there will be a dedicated car deck for 300 cars, which will be separate from the parking area for the freight vehicles. There will still be room for 165 freight vehicles with separate facilities for their drivers.

It is also the first time that Irish Ferries are introducing premium accommodation with balconies.

Those staying in these premiums Club rooms will have access to a separate, dedicated lounge with its own dining options.

The new Ice Class ship will be fitted with emissions scrubber technology, which helps to reduce pollution, making it the greenest vessel to date.

Irish Ferries CEO Eamonn Rothwell said that the cruise ferry ‘will offer a premium experience’ for customers.

The new ship will likely replace MV Epsilon on the three-hour journey from Dublin to Holyhead and the 19-hour journey from Ireland to France.

(Irish Ferries)

Ulysses Irish Super Ferry slide-show: HERE

A Closer Look: Cunard’s New Ship

October 7, 2017

.

In 2022, a new ship will join Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth as the fourth member of the fleet, the first new Cunard ship in 12 years and the first time since 1998 that we’ll have four ships in simultaneous service.

She will be the biggest Cunarder yet, in terms of passenger capacity (not volume/gross tonnage). She’s the first new Cunard ship to enter service in 7 years, making it the first time since 1998 that Cunard will have four ships in simultaneous service.

The new ship will be 113,000-gross-tonne and will carry 3,000 passengers. It will be built by the Italian shipbuilder, Fincantieri.

However I hear that the design will be based on Holland America Lines’s  ‘Koningsdam’. This ‘Pinnacle’ class design is a slightly bigger version of the ‘Vista’ class, like Cunard’s QV and QE are. Using existing ship designs is a cheap way for Carnival to add tonnage to thie brands.

QV and QE are around 91,000 gross tonnes and carry up to 2,547 passengers. The new ship will carry 453 more passengers. (The Queen Mary 2 is around 150,000 gt  but only carries up to 2,620 passengers. That’s spacious!)

hero_bro1

Four Ships (Courtesy Cunard)

The new ship is no beauty Queen, with a very top-heavy superstructure, when compare to QV and QE.

 The ‘Koningsdam’ design does have a walk-around promenade deck, but it is not the traditional design, which has always been a popular Cunard feature. The lifeboats sit on the promenade deck with just a narrow walkway behind them, obscuring much of the promenade view. I hear ‘HAL’ regulars were not impressed with this aspect of the design. Will the new Cunarder have the same design flaw?

Cunard is currently undertaking a fleet-wide upgrade programme that saw $90 million spent on the refurbishment of Queen Mary 2 in 2016 and $40 million spent on Queen Victoria earlier in 2017. Queen Elizabeth is expected to undergo a similar upgrade in 2018.

Cunard’s ‘Vista’ class cruise ships are quite different, from a technical point of view, from the bespoke ‘ocean liner’ Queen Mary 2. She is specifically designed for the rigours of the North Atlantic during transatlantic crossings. The other Cunarder’s (and the new one) are all conventional ‘cruise ships’.

Queen Mary 2 review: HERE

Queen Victoria review: HERE

(Malcolm)

Viking Name Fifth Ship

October 6, 2017

(Courtesy Viking)

Viking Ocean Cruises will take delivery of its fifth ship in 2018, and has renamed the 930-passenger vessel the Viking Orion. It was previously named the Viking Spirit.

Viking Orion will be deployed into Alaska for the 2019.

The line’s sixth ship is on schedule for a 2019 delivery, followed by two more ships being built by Fincantieri, with deliveries scheduled in 2021, and 2022, respectively.

Stop Press:  Dr. Anna Fisher has been invited to be the godmother of Viking Cruises’ fifth ocean ship, Viking Orion, which enters service in July 2018

Dr. Fisher is an American chemist, emergency room physician and recently retired NASA astronaut.

The ship  is named after the prominent constellation and in honour of Fisher’s contributions to NASA’s Orion exploration vehicle project

(Viking)

Featured Ship: Magellan

October 5, 2017

Magellan became Cruise & Maritime Voyages  new flagship in March 2015.

Formerly Carnival’s MS Holiday, she entered service in 1985.

Magellan is  46,052 gross tonnes, so CMV’s biggest vessel, carrying  a maximum of 1,452 passengers.

At 32 years old (In 2017), verses Azores 68 years, Marco Polo’s 52 years and Astor’s 29 years, Magellan will be their second youngest ship.

Read my Magellan ship review: HERE

Breakaway To Homeport In New Orleans For Winter 2018/19

October 4, 2017

.

Norwegian Cruise Line has just announced an update to the line’s 2018/2019 deployment, offering guests an exciting new opportunity to set sail from the Port of New Orleans to their dream Caribbean destinations on one of the line’s newest and largest ships. After returning from her summer 2018 season in the Baltic, the 4,000 passenger Norwegian Breakaway will reposition from the Big Apple to the Big Easy for her winter 2018/19 season and cruise to the Caribbean, visiting ports of call including Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and the beautiful island destination of Harvest Caye, Belize. Harvest Caye offers a diverse, enriching experience highlighting the natural beauty and culture of Belize along with lush native landscaping, a swim up pool bar, luxury beach villas, private pool cabanas, thrilling aerial activities and water sports. The destination also features first ever pier in Belize that allows guests to walk straight off the ship and into paradise. Norwegian Gem, a fan favorite Jewel-class ship, will now sail from New York City for the winter 2018/19 season.

“Norwegian Breakaway will be the largest and newest ship from Norwegian to sail from New Orleans, and we are thrilled to bring our signature Breakaway-class ship to this important homeport,” said Andy Stuart, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line.

With the overwhelming positive response to Norwegian Bliss’ deployment to the West Coast next year, Norwegian is providing guests another new departure port for guests to experience Norwegian’s signature cruise vacation. By repositioning the 145,655 gross ton Norwegian Breakaway to New Orleans, Norwegian is offering a more convenient departure port along with a newer and larger ship for cruisers sailing from the Crescent City to explore. The ship will undergo a two-week dry dock next spring, and will receive a full refresh in public spaces, including new flooring, updated furniture, new décor and new carpeting in staterooms. Norwegian Breakaway will arrive in her new homeport of New Orleans on 11 November 2018 and will sail a variety of cruises to the Caribbean through 7 April 2019.

The recently refurbished Norwegian Gem will remain in New York City and sail a series of cruises to the Caribbean, Canada & New England and the Bahamas & Florida. She will share her Manhattan homeport with Norwegian Escape, which will reposition for summer 2018 for the first time since she was christened in 2015, sailing from New York City to Bermuda on seven-day cruises every Sunday beginning 22 April 2018. Norwegian Escape features entertainment from the Tony-award winning After Midnight and critically-acclaimed For the Record: The Brat Pack, along with a bevy of food and beverage concepts.

Guests currently booked onboard Norwegian Gem from New Orleans will have their reservations protected and will be automatically moved to the new vessel and itinerary. Norwegian Breakaway’s new Caribbean itineraries from New Orleans will open for sale on 24 October.

(NCL)

Norwegian ‘Breakaway’ and ‘Escape’ ship  reviews.

Celebrity Edge To Target Conference Market

October 2, 2017

Celebrity Cruises aims to attract conferences and trade shows to its new design-led ship Celebrity Edge.

The latest feature to be unveiled on the vessel is a 1,970-square-foot venue called The Meeting Place.

Designed by Wilson Butler Architects, the space will include advanced audiovisual capabilities, varied seating options, private office space for event planners, mobile bars set up for food and drinks and a fully equipped pantry.

Sales, trade support and service senior vice president Dondra Ritzenthaler said: “Of course, the most advanced ship we’ve ever designed would include the most exciting venues for get-togethers, including The Meeting Place.

The Meeting Place (Courtesy Celebrity)

Previously unveiled venues on Celebrity Edge are also available for private events and meetings, including Eden which spans three decks; the cantilevered Magic Carpet on the side of the ship; the Rooftop Garden; and high-tech Destination Gateway. Each venue offers audio-visual capabilities.

Celebrity Edge is due to enter service in October 2018 with sailings on two seven-night itineraries to the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

Sister ship Celebrity Beyond will follow in spring 2020 with third and fourth Celebrity Edge class ships joining the fleet in late 2021 and 2022 respectively.

(Celebrity)

Celebrity Edge, more info. HERE

Portsmouth International Port Welcomes Viking

October 2, 2017

Viking Cruises made a maiden call at Portsmouth International Port on Friday 29th September 2017, when ‘Viking Star’ arrived at the UK south coast port.

Viking Star berthed after sailing overnight from Le Havre, part of a 15 night cruise. The cruise started in Viking Star’s home port of Bergen, Norway. After leaving Portsmouth the ship is heading to Falmouth, and then onto stops in Portugal and Spain.

Situated just off the English Channel, Portsmouth International Port is scheduled to welcome Viking Cruises again in 2018.

(Viking)

Southseas’s New Hovercraft

October 1, 2017

.

Britain have always been at the forefront of Hovercraft design and manufacture. After all, we invented them!

Hovertravel’s cross-Solent service between Ryde (Isle of Wight, UK) and Southsea (near Portsmouth) is the longest running Hovercraft service in the world. It was established in 1965 and has ran ever since using a number of different models of hovercraft over the years. Hovertravel normally provide a two hovercraft service.

In 2016 Hovertravel introduced two new Hovercraft, the 12000TD craft ‘Solent Flyer’ and ‘Island Flyer’.

There were initially some concerns about the comfort and reliability of these new machines, compared to the previous models.

Malcolm

Q: Have you been on one of the new Hovertravel craft? What are they like?

Malcolm says: They can be noisy and bumpy, but it’s quite a thrill ride!

What Happened To The Giant Hovercraft?

October 1, 2017

Regular readers will know that I’m a big Hovercraft fan.

They were once considered machines of the future, but in the case of the giant car-carrying hovercraft, the SRN4, they are now machines of the past.

.

Malcolm says: It seems that the majority of my readers have never been on a Hovercraft. That’s hardly surprising as there are not too many in public service around the world. They can be noisy and bumpy, but it’s quite a thrill ride!

Mein Schiff 1 Floated Out

September 30, 2017
ms_1_floatout-fill-800x534

(Courtesy TUI)

The new Mein Schiff 1, (My Ship 1) the first in the next generation of TUI Cruises ships, was floated out at Meyer Turku on Friday.

This cruise line is aimed at the German cruise market, which is now bigger than the British one.

The newbuild takes the design to the next level, and is 20 meters longer than the previous generation of Mein Schiff ships built in Finland.

The added length boosts capacity and allowed the cruise line to make substantial changes to the interior spaces, according to a statement. Delivery is set for next spring, followed by a sister ship in early 2019.

(TUI)

Carnival: On Track To Remove Older Ships

September 30, 2017

Carnival Corporation remains on pace to remove one to two older, less efficient ships from its fleet on an annual basis following two recent transactions.

Carnival announced earlier in the week the P&O Adonia has been sold to Azamara for a March 2018 delivery. The Adonia joins the neoClassica, which will leave the Costa fleet around the same time.

Newer ships are not only generally larger, but burn less fuel and generate higher ticket pricing and onboard revenue.

The 2001-built Adonia is one of the smallest ships in the Carnival fleet, at 684 passengers. The neoClassica is also on the smaller side, with capacity for 1,308 passengers, having been built in 1991.

Last year followed a similar beat as the 1988-built Pacific Pearl left the P&O Australia fleet for a new home with Cruise & Maritime Voyages. Her capacity was replaced by the much newer 1997-built Dawn Princess, which was transferred to P&O Australia and renamed the Pacific Explorer.

In 2014, the company moved a number of ships off its books as the Voyager, which was operating for Costa was sold to Bohai Ferry.The Celebration went to Bahamas Paradise after her stint with Iberocruceros. The Grand Holiday, another Ibero ship, was sold to Cruise & Maritime Voayges, and finally, the Ocean Princess was sold to Oceania, a deal in which Carnival even provided financing.

(Cruise Industry News)

Porsche Superyacht Launched

September 27, 2017

.

September 2017: German car-maker Porsche has announced its arrival in the luxury yacht business with the GTT 115, a £12million vessel kitted out with a pool, al-fresco dining area and Italian-styled interior.

Just seven of the yachts will be made, guaranteeing the owners an almost-unique slice of boating history, provided they can stump up the cash to purchase one.

The German car-maker says the boat was designed for ‘car lovers and forward-thinking yacht owners who appreciate the advantages of speed, style and our philosophy of intelligent performance.

Interior styling was taken care of by Italian design-house Minotti, whose works appeared in the film Fifty Shades Darker, and features carbon fibre detailing, marble counter-tops, and fine leather finishes.

The craft was launched at Viareggio, in Italy.

(Porsche)

P&O Loses Adonia, Azamara Gains.

September 26, 2017

(Courtesy P&O)

P&O Cruises can confirm that it has signed contracts for the sale of its 30,277 ton ship Adonia.

The sale will be completed in March 2018 and Adonia’s last cruise as a P&O Cruises ship will be D804 leaving Barbados on February 23 and ending in Barbados on March 9, 2018. Guests booked on any Adonia cruises after March 2018 will be contacted directly either by P&O Cruises or their travel agent.

P&O Cruises SVP Paul Ludlow said: “During her time with us Adonia has captured the hearts of many thousands of P&O Cruises guests. She has ventured into new ports of call around the globe and has negotiated Icelandic Fjords, European rivers and Caribbean coves. We will ensure that these discovery itineraries are continued on other ships in the fleet”.

“With almost six months until Adonia leaves the fleet, we will ensure that each of the cruises in her final season with us are extra special and celebratory.”

(Source: P&O)

Malcolm says: Adonia will be joining Azamara cruises.

We should not be shocked. As the world’s major cruise line fleets expand with bigger and bigger ships, they always shed their older/smaller tonnage.  P&O have a new leviathan scheduled for delivery in 2020.  However a transfer from P&O (owned by Carnival) to another major brand, Azamara (owned by Royal Caribbean) is very unusual.

Below P&O’s next ship:

2016-10-26-21-49-14-12

See the details: HERE

Azamara Announces ‘Azamara Pursuit’.

Azamara Club Cruises, the upmarket cruise line subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., announced today that it has entered into an agreement to purchase a sister ship to Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, with delivery taking place in March 2018.

We are pleased to expand our portfolio by 50%, allowing us to visit even more regions of the world through the acquisition of this sister ship,” said Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises®. “Our loyal guests and travel partners have asked for this expansion for a long time; we are very pleased to deliver this to them.”

The new addition, the Azamara Pursuit, is comparable in size to the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. As such, it will also allow visits to unique ports that larger ships are unable to reach. Together, the three ships will support the brand’s commitment to enrich destination immersion around the world, by staying longer in port to allow guests to experience more.

The ship’s décor will be updated to match the brand’s upmarket position. These updates will be similar to the renovations recently introduced on the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, bringing guests the experience of a boutique hotel at sea.

Information about deployment and itineraries for Azamara Pursuit will be available in October

(Azamara).

2022: A New ‘Pinnacle Class’ Cunarder

September 25, 2017

New Cunarder: 2nd from left – click to enlarge  (Cunard)

Over the last few years we have had so much to be proud of at Cunard – from the magnificent celebrations for our 175th anniversary, that drew crowds of more than a million people in Liverpool, to the stunning £120m refurbishments of our flagship Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. And, as we mark 50 years since the naming of our much loved liner QE2, we wanted to share our most exciting news yet.

In 2022, a new ship will join Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth as the fourth member of the fleet, the first new Cunard ship in 12 years and the first time since 1998 that we’ll have four ships in simultaneous service.

Untitledmm

(Courtesy Cunard)

Sharing the iconic livery and red funnels, the new ship will accommodate up to 3,000 guests. Distinct Cunard signatures and brand new experiences will combine as part of this next generation of the Cunard fleet and we’re looking forward to sharing exciting details in the coming years.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Palethorpe
Senior Vice President, Cunard.

Untitledmmccc

(Courtesy Cunard)

Malcolm says: Well that was a surprise. I did not see that one coming.  She will be the biggest Cunarder yet, in terms of passenger capacity (not volume/gross tonnage). She’s the first new Cunard ship to enter service in 7 years, making it the first time since 1998 that Cunard will have four ships in simultaneous service.

Cuanrd have not revealed very much as yet. We do know that the new ship will be 113,000-gross-tonne and will carry 3,000 passengers. It will be built by the Italian shipbuilder, Fincantieri.

However the design will be based on Holland America Lines’s  ‘Koningsdam’. This ‘Pinnacle’ class design is a slightly bigger version of the ‘Vista’ class, like Cunard’s QV and QE are. Using existing ship designs is a cheap way for Carnival to add tonnage to thie brands.

QV and QE are around 91,000 gross tonnes and carry up to 2,547 passengers. The new ship will carry 453 more passengers. (The Queen Mary 2 is around 150,000 gt  but only carries up to 2,620 passengers. That’s spacious!)

The new ship is no  beauty Queen either, she looks a bit like ‘Norwegian Epic’ to me, with a very top-heavy superstructure, when compare to QV and QE.

 The ‘Koningsdam’ design does have a walk-around promenade deck, but it is not the traditional design, which has always been a popular Cunard feature. The lifeboats sit on the promenade deck with just a narrow walkway behind them, obscuring much of the promenade view. I hear ‘HAL’ regulars were not impressed with this aspect of the design. Will the new Cunarder have the same design flaw?

Cunard is currently undertaking a fleet-wide upgrade programme that saw $90 million spent on the refurbishment of Queen Mary 2 in 2016 and $40 million spent on Queen Victoria earlier in 2017. Queen Elizabeth is expected to undergo a similar upgrade in 2018.

Click to enlarge (Courtesy Cunard)

Cunard’s ‘Vista’ class cruise ships are quite different, from a technical point of view, from the bespoke ‘ocean liner’ Queen Mary 2. She is specifically designed for the rigours of the North Atlantic during transatlantic crossings. The other Cunarder’s (and the new one) are all conventional ‘cruise ships’.

Queen Mary 2 review: HERE

Queen Victoria review: HERE

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

Saga Cruises: Second Newbuild

September 22, 2017

.

Saga Cruises has ordered a second new ship to be called ‘Spirit of Adventure’, from the German shipyard, Meyer Werft.

There first newbuild ‘Spirit of Discovery’ will be delivered in 2019. The ‘Spirit of Adventure’ is expected to be delivered in 2020.

Both ships will have a similar in external design, will be around 55,900 gross tonnes and carry less than 1,000 passengers each.

(Saga)

Silver Wind and Whisper: Major Refurbs

.

Silversea has announced plans for the ‘Silver Wind’ and ‘Silver Whisper’ to undergo major refurbishments in December.

The Silver Whisper’s refurbishment will also incorporate a significant redesign of public areas. Many of the public areas will take inspiration from Silver Muse’s décor, which will be reflected in carpet replacements and upgrades for La Terrazza, as well as the Observation and Panorama lounges.

Silver Wind will also be upgraded in a similar format, taking inspiration from Silver Muse as well. Public areas will also receive stylish enhancements, the company said.

(Silversea)

Silver Muse, slide-show: HERE

The Isle Of Man

September 20, 2017

.

The ‘Isle Of Man’ is an island in the Irish Sea, between Great Britain and Ireland.

I would imaging most Brits have never been there and most will never go there. Well, they are missing out.

The Isle Of Man served by the ‘Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’ velssels, which is the oldest continuously operating passenger shipping company in the world. They celebrated their 180th anniversary in 2010.

In parts of the this charming island, time has stood still. It still has  a vintage steam railway (1875), a vintage electric railway(1900) and horse-drawn trams still serving the two mile promenade.

Ben-My-Chree ferry slide-show: HERE

A £50m Cruise Terminal For Hull?

September 19, 2017

Artists rendering (courtesy HDM)

An ambitious £50m funding bid is being drawn up aimed at turning plans for a new cruise ship terminal in Hull, U.K.,  into reality…

Full Hull Daily Mail article: HERE

World Dream Navigates River Ems

September 18, 2017

(Courtesy Dream Cruises)

A giant, brightly painted cruise ship has been seen looming above the German countryside, sending herds of perplexed sheep running as it made its seemingly impossible journey down a narrow river…

Full Daily mail on-line article: HERE

Whatever Happened To “Just Cruising”?

September 17, 2017

In my opinion one of the great pleasures of being at sea, is the sea itself.

I like the fragrance of the sea in my nostrils, the wind in my hair and to see the interaction between the ship and the passing land.

The sea is best experienced while walking around a wrap-around (full 360 degree) promenade deck, ideally made of teak.

I don’t need gimmicks when cruising; I just want some good food, with good service, some tranquil lounges and some interesting ports of call…

Read full article: HERE

The World’s Biggest Ship?

September 16, 2017

The ‘World’ class & the ‘Oasis’ class

The title of the ‘World’s biggest cruise ship’ is open for debate.

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class ships (Oasis, Allure, Harmony and Symphony, plus a fourth as yet unnamed vessel) are widely acknowledge to be the biggest, based on gross tonnage (volume) of around 225,000-230,000 gt.

In comparison MSC’s two new ‘World Class’ vessels (2022 and 2024, + 2 more options in 2025 & 2026) will only be a mere 200,000 gross tonnes.

Although the ‘Oasis’ class are about 104 feet longer than the ‘World’ Class, the beam is identical.

However the ‘World’ class will carry up to 6,850 passengers, a record, being 70 passengers more than RCI’s ‘Symphony of the Seas’.

Some press have called MSC’s ‘World Class’ the world’s biggest ship, because of higher passenger capacity. Whatever your viewpoint, the ‘World Class’ will clearly be very big and very busy ships.

I guess half my readers would love to try a ‘World’ class ship and the other half would not touch one with a barge-pole.

The choice is yours.

.

Oasis class review & slide-show: HERE

Costa Smeralda: Costa’s first LNG-Powered Ship

September 13, 2017

The steel cutting ceremony for the first of two ‘Helios-Class’ Costa Cruises ships  was held Wednesday 13th September 2017 at the Meyer Turku shipyard, Finland.

The ship, named Costa Smeralda, (Emerald Coast) is named after Sardinia’s main tourist area.

The ship will enter service in October 2019, with a sister ship following in 2021.

Carnival will be building a total of seven ‘Helios-Class’ cruise ships which will all be fully powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The ships will be shared between the Carnival brands: Carnival (2), AIDA (2), Costa (2) and P&O (1).

Each ship will be around 184,000 gross tonnes and carry up to 6,600 passengers, which will be a record.

Costa Cruises’ president Neil Palomba said, ‘The two new Costa Cruises ships are a true innovation and set new standards for the entire sector. They will be among the first cruise ships powered by LNG, spurring the development of this green technology.’ He added, ‘at 183,900gt, Costa Smeralda is also a step up in ship size – we need the new facilities to answer to the demand of our customers and to increase our competitiveness for the future.’

During the steel cutting ceremony, Costa also announced a new livery that will appear on the bow of all its ships over the coming months. The design is a stylised version of the tricolour Italian flag fluttering in the wind at sea. The ship names will also be updated and will be larger in size than the current names.

(Costa)

Malcolm says: AIDA’s first vessel called AIDAnova also had her steel cut, at the German yard, Meyer Werft on 6th September 2017. The ship will be delivered in late 2018 and an as yet unnamed sister ship, in 2021.

The Helios-class:

P&O’s Helios-class ship, see HERE

Mein Schiff 3 @ Tilbury

September 13, 2017

On Tuesday the 12th of September, the German TUI ship, Mein Schiff 3 (My Ship 3), visited Tilbury cruise terminal (U.K.), on the river Thames.

At 99,526 gt, carrying 2,500 passengers (lower berths), she is probably the biggest cruise ship to ever visit Tilbury.

The ship entered service in 2014.

(Click to enlarge)

Malcolm

Helios-Class: AIDAnova Keel Laid

September 11, 2017

(Courtesy AIDA)

Carnival marked the start of construction of a total of seven ‘Helios-Class’ cruise ships with a keel laying ceremony, of the first. This took place on September 6th, for the AIDAnova, at the Meyer Werft shipyard, in Germany.

The seven vessels will all be fully powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The ships will be shared between the Carnival brands: Carnival (2), AIDA (2), Costa (2) and P&O (1).

Each will be around 184,000 gross tonnes and carry up to 6,600 passengers, which will be a record.

AIDAnova will be delivered to AIDA in late 2018 and an as yet unnamed sister ship, in 2021.

In AIDAnova’s maiden season, the ship will offer trips around the Canary islands for the German market.

Click to enlarge. (Courtesy AIDA)

On-Board

Among the facilities aboard is a revamped Beach Club concepts, with lush greenery, guests can climb above the treetops or float along the Wild River.

For the first time, there will be three water slides on board. Cozy lounge seating offers the perfect spot for daydreaming, while movies and sporting events are screened on the LED wall.

The Art Club is the multimedia version of the AIDA Gallery, offering an exciting mix of art, photography, videos, games and high-tech. Apart from the works of well-known artists that are on show, guests can also enjoy virtual art using 3D glasses. The bar is designed to look like the lobby of a city hotel.

There will be 17 restaurants across the ship, including the traditional German self-service options, a-la-carte restaurants and five speciality options .

Among the speciality options will be French Kiss, Casanova and the Brauhaus.

Deck 16 will be an activity deck with a waterslide, water park, mini golf and a ropes course.

The pool deck will have a light-weight retractable glass roof, giving the ships the deployment option of Northern Europe in the winter. This will also bring back AIDA’s trademark beach-club which has been a solid hit on the AIDAprima.

AIDAnova Beach Club (AIDA – Click to enlarge)

(AIDA)

P&O’s Helios-class ship, see HERE.

Balmoral Pleasure Steamer – Horrific Weather

September 11, 2017

(Courtesy Liverpool Echo)

This cruise was definitely NOT “too comfortable”:

The  700-tonne Balmoral pleasure steamer (not to be confused with Fred Olsen’s cruise ship) experienced very rough sea conditions  cruising the English coast, on Saturday 9 September.

Passengers were reportedly  ‘thrown around like ragdolls’ with some vomiting from seasickness for SIX HOURS.

Daily Mail article/Video: HERE

I enjoyed an excellent river cruise on Balmoral in August 2011.

I took this ‘classic’  motor cruiser  down the Thames, through the Thames estuary, briefly stopping off at Southend pier, then on to the charming Whitstable, and back.

Balmoral was built in Southampton in 1949 and operated under the Southampton Red Funnel Fleet for 20 years.  She later became a floating restaurant and fell into disrepair.

She returned to service in 1986 and to this day operates her main summer season in the Bristol Channel, offering day excursions to popular Coastal Resorts, as well as making visits to other ports & piers throughout the UK in Spring & Autumn.

I’d also recommend the  paddle steamer ‘Waverley’ (1947)  as well, for a day out.

Web Site HERE

In July of this years, the Balmoral unfortunately smashed into a pier as she attempted to navigate choppy seas: HERE

See the Waverley: HERE

Has Cruising Become Too Comfortable?

September 10, 2017

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