P&O: Have Carnival Gone Too Far?

September 13, 2016

So in 2020 P&O will get a very big new ship.

The new ship will be 180,000 gross tonnes which currently* makes it the 2nd biggest ship ‘class’ in the world, with only RCI’s ‘Oasis’ class being bigger.

However the new ship will carry up to 6,600 passengers – more passengers than RCI’s ‘Oasis’, yet will be 20% smaller.

The ship will of course have original livery and décor, but the design is likely to be similar to ships that AIDA, Costa and Carnival will also be getting. She will not really be specifically designed for the British market, irrespective of what the marketing will say. (Although she will have some P&O tweaks I guess, like a smaller Casino.)

I assume some of the world’s ports will not be able to accommodate such a big ship, which will limit the possible itineraries. Tendering is likely to be virtually impossible.

The question is “Have Carnival gone too far”?

Do P&O regulars really want such a big ship carrying a world record number of passengers? Is this the direction P&O should go? Is P&O becoming just another crowded mass market line? Or maybe Carnival have got it right as they are increasingly appealing to a new breed of P&O clientele?

Comments welcome.

Malcolm

*(Genting have a 200,000 gt ship due in 2019.  I believe she will have a lower-berth capacity of 5,000, so less then the new P&O vessel)

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

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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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

Art Deco Lover

September 10, 2016

I do love a bit of Art Deco architecture. This was the style that became first became popular in the 1920’s and 30’s.

Art Deco influenced the design of almost everything from paintings, jewellery, clothing, buildings, furniture, cars, movie theatres, trains and ocean liners.

During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress.

Cunard’s original RMS RMS Queen Mary (1936) ocean liner has wonderful Art Deco interiors.

Southampton’s original ‘Ocean Terminal’ also had an Art Deco design and décor to compliment the ocean liners of the day. Unfortunately they knocked it down to build a car park!

(Southampton's 1950 Ocean Terminal)

(Southampton’s 1950 Ocean Terminal)

Fortunately the United kingdom still has some wonderful Art Deco buildings that have been well preserved.

In 2011 I visited the Midland hotel, in Morecambe, Lancashire, on the UK coast. Built in 1933, this 40 bedroom Hotel was an Art Deco marvel. She initially thrived, but would eventually fall into disrepair in the 1990s.

In 2008 her refurbishment was complete. The architects had combined her original feature with some modern facilities.

In 2014 I was lucky enough to visit Burgh island,  a small Tidal island on the coast of South Devon in England near the small seaside village of Bigbury-on-Sea.

There are several buildings on the island, the largest being the Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel and a Pub the Pilchard Inn.

Part of the Hotel is actually shaped like the stern of an old frigate and has a keel. Inside is a ships wheel.

The island is approximately 270 yards from the mainland and is approachable on foot at low tide. At high tide, the sea tractor, which is operated by the hotel, transports passengers back and forth.

The holiday island of ‘Jersey’ (one of the UK’s ‘Channel Islands’) is located nearer the coast of France than it is from the cost of Britain.

This beautiful little island (5 x 9 miles) which still has a lovely 1937 Art Deco Airport building, along with a new terminal building. However I am saddened to hear that the Art Deco building may be demolished in the future.

Malcolm

New 184,000gt P&O Ship – Editors Comment

September 7, 2016
(Courtesy P&O)

(Courtesy P&O)

Wow, a 180,000 gross tonne ship for P&O in 2020 – I was not expecting that.

I would have expected the next P&O ship to be another Princess ‘Royal Class’ like Britannia is. All of P&O ships since Carnival acquired them, have been a Princess designs,  apart form ‘Arcadia’ which is a Carnival ‘Vista’ class.

I wonder what they will call her: ‘Canberra’? Mind you they have not been recycling their names for a while now.

Carnival are definitely back in the “my ship is bigger than yours” game, after sitting on the side-lines for over a decade.  They blamed the unfavourable US Dollar to Euro exchange rate which made big newbuilds unattractive to them.

The last time that Carnival built the world’s biggest ship was Cunard’s  ‘Queen Mary 2′ (148,000 gt), in 2003.  In  1998’ it was the ‘Grand Princess’ (109,000 gt ) for the ‘Princess Cruises’ brand and before that it was ‘Carnival Destiny’ (101,353 gt) in 1996.

If launched today, these  180,000 gt newbuilds would  to the 2nd biggest class of ship in the world, in term of size (gross tonnage). They are bigger than anything Princess has, NCL has and bigger than RCI’s Quantum class. (Although there are bigger ships on order for MSC and Genting)

I must say that P&O have been expanding nicely since Carnival acquired them. They have had four big new ships in a space of just ten years: Arcadia, Ventura, Azura and Britannia.

Oriana (1995) an Aurora (2000) were the last two ships purpose built for P&O, inside and out. Both ships are of a unique design specifically for P&O. In contrast  Arcadia is a Carnival ‘Vista’ class ship, Ventura and Azura are derived from Princess’s ‘Grand Class’ and Britannia from Princess’s ‘Royal Class’. P&O call them ‘purpose’ built for the British market, but the only major differences to other similar classes of ships around the world is the P&O livery and décor.

I do find it a little sad that each cruise line no longer necessarily has its own unique designs of ships. Designs have been widely replicated across many of the Carnival’s brands: particularly Carnival, Cunard, P&O, Costa, Princess and HAL.  However I do appreciate ‘generic’ ships are unlikely to worry Joe public.

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

P&O newbuild with it’s entertainment ‘Dome’

It would also appear that the Carnival, AIDA and Costa brands will all be getting some of these ships between 2019 and 2021. Generally when this happens the only variations tend to be the decor, room names and respective liveries. Internally the ships remain very similar. It’s all about economies-of-scale rather than deigning different ships for each brand.

This strategy make the assumption that all passengers, whatever their nationality/cruise line, require the same facilities. I was under the impression, for example, the AIDA ships had less formal dining than most, as the Germany AIDA clientele enjoyed the flexibility of buffets. P&O passengers may not?

We only know three things about these new mega-ships: 180,000 gt, 6,600 passengers (max), powered by LNG.

I have discussed LNG in other articles in my blog.

Although these new ships are not the world’s biggest in size (gt), their passenger capacity is the biggest, which Carnival has actually boasted about.  However a little worrying is the fact that one of the worlds biggest class of ships, RCI’s ‘Oasis of the Seas’ for example, carries a maximum of  6,300 passengers, but  is 20% bigger (gt) than the new Carnival design.

So how will this work? Well Carnival have stated that they will be:  “making much more efficient use of the ship’s spaces”.  Comparing gross tonnage does not give you the whole story, as the ships internal layout and passenger flow also makes a difference. However I’m still a bit sceptical that these ships could  possibly feel spacious.

Competition

I assume P&O new big-ship will homeport at Southampton. I wonder if RCI and NCL (even MSC) will feel the need to operate their newest/biggest ships for Southampton each summer, if the British market can sustain it. P&O obviously think it can.

I wonder how long it will be before P&O loose its older/smaller tonnage: Oriana and Aurora?

Mass-Market?

There was a time that the P&O product was not so dissimilar from their neighbours in Southampton, Cunard.  Both companies had a long nautical history which they often used in their marketing and both offered a refined British product.  Families with children were definitely not their target audience, but the ‘socks and sandals’ brigade (mature passengers) were.

Today P&O see to be trying to be “all things to all men”. Their older/smaller ships, Oriana and Aurora, are still very popular with the P&O stalwarts. Their bigger ships are increasingly feeling like just another  ‘mass-market’ product, as they strive to fill the thousands of berths. Each  summer, many UK families are attracted to P&O’s newer vessels. I guess P&O need new this blood to survive.  However Cunard still retain their more ‘classy’, mainly-adults only, ocean liner image, distinguishing their brand from P&O. However Cunard are a “niche” brand by comparison, with only three ships.

P&O are evolving. Unfortunately they may be evolving into something which is not appreciated by some of the P&O traditionalists. They obviously feel the need to compete with the increasing number of other mega-ships in the market.

Fred Olsen and CMV’s smaller ships, British on-board atmosphere and sometimes child-free experience, may begin to look more attractive to the disillusioned.

Am I talking rubbish? Feel free to tell me (politely)!

Malcolm

“Carnival Will Stuff More Than 7,000 Humans Into Its New Cruise Ships”

See Bloomberg Article HERE

The Black Prince Remembered

September 4, 2016
BP Tilbury

BP Tilbury

Does anybody remember Fred Olsen’s ‘Black Prince’? Maybe you even cruised on her? She was very popular with Brits.

She was quite a quirky ship.

She was originally a ferry, that was converted into a cruise ship. She was small, even in her day. Now she would be regarded as minute!

In fact each of the ‘Oasis’ class of ships has lifeboats which each carry more passengers than the ‘Black Prince’ could.

The Black Prince article HERE

Meraviglia Floats, Bellissima Gets Named

September 2, 2016
(Courtesy STX)

(Courtesy STX)

On September the 2nd 2016, at the STX France shipyard, MSC Cruises celebrated the float out of the MSC Meraviglia (Wonder), which will enter service in June 2017.

Meraviglia is 167,000 gross tonnes and will carry up to 5,700 passengers. There will be an internal promenade with a digital sky.

MSC Cruises also revealed that its second Meraviglia class ship, which will enter service in Spring 2019, will be named MSC Bellissima (Beautiful).

(MSC)

What Is The Fastest Ship?

August 31, 2016

I was wondering what the fastest ship is TODAY.

When I say “ship”, I mean “passenger vessel”. Now I don’t doubt that there are some super-charged speed-boats out there, but my criteria is a large vessel that carries paying passengers.

(SS United States Today - source unknown)

(SS United States Today – source unknown)

Ocean Liner fans will know of the SS United States, built in 1952 for the United States Line. She broke the transatlantic speed record on her maiden voyage. She still holds the Blue Riband for being the fastest ocean liner of all time. They say she could achieve 38 knots. (The SS United States was laid-up in 1996 and her fate remains uncertain).

Given the fact that she was a bloody-great Ocean liner carrying 2,000+ passengers, that is a VERY impressive and unparalleled achievement.

The Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 must certainly be one of today’s fastest cruise ships (liner). She can achieve 30 knots, which is faster than most.

(Courtesy Incat)

(Courtesy Incat)

People no longer cruise for speed.  My research tells me that Fast-Ferries (SeaCats etc.) hold the maritime speed records today.

The fastest ferry on the planet is Incat’s ‘Francisco’ (2012). She operates on the Rio de la Plata estuary (River Plate) between Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay.

The 99-metre long ‘Wave Piercing Catamaran’ accommodates 1024 passengers and 150 cars. Her water-jet engines can achieve a maximum speed of up to 58.1 knots, or 67 mph.

Interestingly she can be powered by duel fuel, one being LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) which looks set to also be the future choice of cruise ships.

Malcolm

Video of ‘Francisco’ HERE

Malcolm says: The various fast-ferries around the world are very impressive. However their service normally has to be suspended when the seas get rough. Condor currently operate fast-ferries up to a 3.5 meter wave height.  After this they become very uncomfortable for passengers.  In contrast the QM2 is designed to cross the North Atlantic, in winter, whatever the weather.

The SRN4 Hovercraft HERE

Fast Ferry

August 26, 2016

I know a few of my readers have an interest in ferries and fast-ferries.

DSC_0180

After all the big car ferries (such as Ulysses) are just like state-of-the-art cruise ships with a car deck or two.

Then we also have the fast-ferry technology: often catamarans (Seacats) propelled by water-jets.

Below is a slide-show of the fast-ferry ‘Condor Rapide’:

Regular readers will also know that I am a big fan of HOVERCRAFT.

Malcolm

The World’s Biggest Cruise Ships

August 12, 2016
Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

mmmm

Forget about history and the ‘little’ RMS Titanic, the world’s biggest cruise ships are being built now and over the new few years.

It’s pretty clear form the table above that Royal Caribbean are the leaders in the ‘biggest cruise ship’ game at present and have been for a number of years now.

The Norwegian Cruise Line are in second place, but there is quite a gap between NCL’s biggest ship and Royal Caribbean’s.

cvcvcvcvcvcv

However from 2019 a number of newbuilds will dramatically change the leader board.

Royal Caribbean will still have the biggest ships (the Oasis class). However new ships form Star (Genting, Global class), the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC World class), AIDA and  Costa, all of which will be between 201,000-177,000 gross tonnes, will push RC’s smaller ships (the Quantum class), NCL (the Breakaway & Plus classes) and P&O/Princess Royal class etc. further down the list.

In addition, Carnival’s fleet will look increasingly mid-sized by comparison.

(Source Wiki)

Oasis review: HERE

When will NCL build 200,000gt ships? See Here

Genting/Star 201,000 gt megaship slide-show: HERE

Super-Yacht M/Y ILONA

August 8, 2016

20160806_144838

On Saturday 6th August  I was doing a bit of ship-spotting on the Thames.

At around 14:30 a rather large and very stylish private Yacht passed by Tilbury docks,  heading up the Thames towards the city of London.

I googled it for some information.  The Yacht is called Ilona and I believe it is owned by Australian businessman Frank Lowy, of the Westfield Group.  This is what ‘charterworld.com’ said about the yacht:

Motor Yacht Ilona was a milestone launch by Amels Shipyard of Holland in 2004, being a truly custom yacht measuring 73.81 metres (or 242 ft) in length overall. Redman Whiteley Dixon designed the yacht’s flowing exterior and was also employed to create the yacht’s interior design. Yacht Ilona was built with a steel hull and an aluminium superstructure. She has a beam of 12.10m (39.70ft) and a 3.60m (11.81ft) draft.  She sails with an Australian flag and Ilona can accommodate a maximum of up 16 guests, in 6 cabins, whilst cruising overnight and she also accommodates up to 28 crewmembers. Each of her twin engines Caterpillar Inc diesel engines produce 2,635 horse power giving her cruise speed of 16 knots.

Superyacht ILONA is the forth yacht called ILONA which was built and launched for the same owner.  M/Y ILONA is the largest of the four yachts built, so far, and was the inspiration of Amels shipyard in-house team, Redman Whitely Dixon and also the yacht’s owner. Her exterior design is unique with her flowing, balanced and naturally inspired lines and she stands out as being able to be easily identifiable due to her one of a kind good looks and also her formidable size (being one of the the world’s top 100 largest private yachts). In addition to numerous luxury yacht amenities, this boat also boasts a cinema, a massage room and a gymnasium. ILONA has been awarded as the Most Innovative Motor Yacht and The Best Motoryachts Over 43 Meters awards. Another interesting feature of motor yacht Ilona, and indeed one of the greatest design and building challenges, was how and where to incorporate the yachts large helipad and helicopter hangar. The was eventually successfully achieved through innovative design and creativity and without compromising her structure, lines, look or functionality. ILONA IV has the full retractable system of opening doors, on her aft deck, which has been installed to allow a helicopter to land and be stowed in a fire-proof hangar below deck. Overall, superyacht ILONA is a very successful and exceptional motor yacht which combines excellent sea going capabilities with superb design features. (chaterworld.com)

Ilona is apparently worth around $1 million.

She appeared to take a pilot on-board, which I normally see much larger vessels doing. She later berthed at London’s ‘South Quays’, close to the business district of Canary Wharf.

Superyacht

(AIS)

(AIS)

Ilona appeared to take a pilot on-board. She berthed at London’s ‘South Quays’, close to the business district of Canary Wharf.

Also on Saturday, the classic tug boat ‘Kent’ was berthed at Gravesend landing stage.

20160806_161417

MT Kent is based in Basin No.1 at Chatham Marina in Kent.

The Kent was built in 1948 by Richards Ironworks of Lowestoft. She began her working life on the Medway berthing ships in the Port of Rochester and Sheerness. When the BP Refinery opened at the Isle of Grain it was the Kent who assisted the first British Tanker onto the berth. Over the years she was deployed in various locations with spells in Scotland, coastal and near continental towing.

In the middle 1980s the Kent was taken out of service after working almost forty years.

In October 1995 the South Eastern Tug Society (SETS) purchased the Kent from J. P. Knight for the sum of £1 on the understanding that she would be restored and preserved.

In 1999 the fruits of their labour paid off. In May 1999 S.E.T.S. sailed the Kent on her first official trip from Strood to Sheerness.

Malcolm

More Ilona info/images HERE

More Kent info/images HERE

The Swanky Super-Yacht

August 8, 2016

The swanky superyacht that has everything a billionaire could ever want: 355ft floating palace comes with an infinity pool, garden and a ‘hole’ where they can throw lavish parties:

Designed by Norway’s Hareide Design, the luxurious concept yacht offers lavish interiors and spacious sun decks

A grand hall is situated in a ‘hole’ in the hull and leads to a stunning 66ft infinity pool and tranquil garden space

Elevated deck contains a dining area and viewing platform, while a shallow pool at the back transitions into the sea

(Mail Online/Hareide Design)

Crystal Drops SS United States Project

August 5, 2016

Following an intensive, six-month evaluation, Crystal Cruises has announced that it has dropped its plans to rebuild and reintroduce the SS United States into service.

In February, Crystal and the SS United States Conservancy announced they had entered into an exclusive option agreement with the goal of converting the iconic 1950s-era vessel into a modern, luxury cruise ship that would comply with all modern safety and technical standards – which would have been unprecedented for a single vessel refurbishment. Crystal said it commenced a comprehensive feasibility study and professional evaluation, convening a world-class team of engineers and experts while incurring over $1 million in costs.

According to Crystal, the technical feasibility study regrettably concluded that while the ship is remarkably intact and structurally sound, modifying the ship for today’s standards for oceangoing service (SOLAS) would require significant changes to the hull that would pose stability challenges. Additionally, the installation of a modern, state-of-the-art diesel electric propulsion plant would have necessitated altering of the existing shaft lines and rebuilding about 25 percent of the hull to reconfigure the ship to a twin shaft-twin rudder arrangement. While it was known that the vessel would need to have been essentially rebuilt from the inside out, these specific challenges, among others, collectively posed significant risk to the success of the project.

“Our company has great affection for this historic and irreplaceable vessel, and we will be making a $350,000 donation which will help support the Conservancy preserve the vessel through the remainder of the year,” said Edie Rodriguez, president and COO of Crystal. “We firmly believe the SS United States is an American treasure and deserves to be preserved and redeveloped as a stationary destination for future generations to experience and enjoy.”

(Crystal/Cruise Industry News)

SS United States: NCL’s Broken Promises: HERE

Exploring the decaying SS United States: HERE

Malcolm says: Such very disappointing news! Crystal are the second cruise line (see ‘Broken Promises’ above) to strongly suggest that they would return this legendary ship back to service.

You would think that a responsible cruise line would do the feasibility study first, BEFORE suggesting that they would return the ship back into to service. After all Crystal even prepared some concept rendings of the renovated ship – see above.

What were Crystal thinking? After all, they have never operated historic ships before. Crystal are all about ‘luxury’ and NOT ‘nostalgia’.

I’m no navel architect, but an aging Ocean Liner must be a little like a vintage car. If you decide to renovate a rusty one and get it road-worthy again, you are going to spend a small fortune. The restored car is never going to perform as well as a new car or be as comfortable. You are very unlikely to do this for profit, it’s normally done for love.

It’s always going to be cheaper to build a brand new cruise ship, than attempt to renovate an old one which complies with modern safety standards and includes todays creature comforts.

For example the hulls of old ocean liners often do not meet the modern regulations for stability.

Even Cunard’s fleet are three state-of-the-art ships themed to resemble historic Ocean Liners, inside and out. However they still offer all of the modern amenities, expected by modern consumers, including  hundreds of balcony cabins.

On the subject of Ocean Liners, Clive Palmers ‘Titanic 2’  turned out to be a rich mans five minute wonder!

Livorno To offer LNG

July 26, 2016
(Livorno Port Authority)

(Livorno Port Authority)

In the future, the port of Livorno Italy, could play into LNG bunkering, with a LNG terminal just 12 miles from the port.

Livorno is of course a very popular Italian port and the gateway for excursions to Pisa and Florence.

“We are looking at using the LNG plant to re-fuel new LNG ships,” said Giovanni Spadoni, technical and commercial director for the Port.

“We are working on authorization procedures and feel we will be on the first ports with (gas) availability.”

The close-proximity LNG supply may mean cruise lines could bunker directly without barges or trucks.

(Livorno Port Authority)

Need more info? See article below:

LNG – The Future For Cruise Ships?

July 26, 2016
Costa's 180,000gt LNG ship

Costa’s 180,000gt LNG ship

June 2015: The Carnival Corporation announced that they have finalized a multi-billion dollar contract to build four next-generation cruise ships with the largest guest capacity in the industry.

This is part of a larger order with shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Fincantieri for nine new ship orders between 2019 and 2022.

The four new ships will also 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.

April 2016: The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) SC Cruises has announced today that it has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with STX France for the construction of up to four* new LNG-powered cruise ships that will be more than 200,000 tons. The ships will be able to carry 5,400 passengers at double occupancy. (*Two firm orders, two options.)

The four ships, the first one of which will be delivered in 2022, will be based on a new advanced next-generation prototype and will form what will be known as the “World Class” of MSC Cruises’ ships.

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

Crystal Symphony @ Tilbury

July 24, 2016

Crystal Symphony (Crystal Cruises) was berthed at Tilbury cruise terminal yesterday (23rd July 2016). She’s did a turn-around, bound for Guernsey, the Channel islands.

To see a ‘luxury’ ship Tilbury is quite rare. Crystal use the Tilbury terminal only very occasionally.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages ‘budget’ fleet are the regulars. Occasionally Fred Olsen vessel’s also make an appearance.

Symphony at 51,044 gross tons, must be one of the biggest ships to use the terminal.

She was built in 1992 and carries just 922 passengers, hence the ‘luxury’ tag.

She is the sister-ship of Crystal Serenity and Crystal Harmony.

Malcolm

MSC Announce ‘Seaview’

July 4, 2016
(Seaside - MSC Image)

(Seaside – MSC Image)

MSC Cruises has announced that the second of its ‘Seaside’ class vessels, due to enter service in June 2018, will be named MSC ‘Seaview’.

MSC Seaview’s sister ship MSC Seaside, the first of the ‘seaside’ class enters service in December 2017, sailing year-round from Miami to the Caribbean

Seaview will spend her inaugural season in the Western Mediterranean, homeporting in Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona.

Described by MSC as the ‘ship that follows the sun’ the design of the Seaside-generation ships, under construction at Fincantieri, is based on a beach condo concept.

A design feature of MSC Seaview and Seaside is the 360° promenade that runs around the entire ship allowing guests to connect with the sea and the sunshine. (MSC)

MSC Meraviglia: More Renderings

MSC have released more interior renderings of their new build ‘Meraviglia’, which means ‘wonder’ in Italian.

Meraviglia will be 167,600GRT and will carry up to 4,500 passengers, double occupancy. She is due to be delivered in May 2017.

Her unique feature include an internal promenade with a ‘digital sky’ and a large indoor sports court.

Meraviglia will spend her first summer sailing the western Mediterranean. In a first for the cruise industry, she will have three home ports – Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona – giving guests the flexibility to choose where they start and finish their cruise holiday.

Today @ Tilbury

June 11, 2016

There was more ‘action’ than usual at Tilbury this weekend.

Firstly: the legendary RMS St. Helena was berthed at the cruise terminal as part of her farewell tour.

The Royal Mail Ship St. Helena was built in Aberdeen in 1989 specifically to supply the island of St Helena, a remote British Territory located 1,200 miles off the West Coast of Africa in the South Atlantic. She is British registered (London), 6,767 gross tonnes and has berths for a maximum of 156 passengers plus 56 officers and crew.

For the last 26 years RMS St Helena has been the only means of access to the island of St Helena. But the passenger and cargo ship, built specifically to supply the island, was due to be decommissioned (sold) later this year (2016) because  St Helena’s first airport was to officially open in May.

However she may get a stay of execution because the airport has been suffering from wind-shear making it dangerous to land planes (See video below). In fact some say it may never open.

DSC_0060

Secondly: Silver Wind (Silversea luxury cruises) passed by Tilbury in the afternoon on her way to moor along side the historic Battleship HMS Belfast, near tower bridge. She had come from Lisbon.

She’s just 16,800 gross tons, entered service in 1995 and carries just 294 passengers.

Although Silver Wind is a very small cruise ship by modern standards, she dwarfs St. Helena. In fact the two ships could not have been more differen.

On Sunday, CMV’s flagship ‘Magellan’ was berthed at Tilbury for her turn-around.

Malcolm

Tendering

June 6, 2016

Tendering (the process of a cruise ship berthing at anchor and using small ships to transport passengers to ashore) can be quite fun. That is assuming that the sea conditions are not too rough which can not only make tendering uncomfortable, it can make it impossible.

Tendering is also a great way to get some good images of a ship.

Above is a short slide-show of images, taken by myself, of CMV’s Astor during an around Britain cruise.

The eagle-eyed will see that the ships lifeboats are NOT being used for the tendering, in the earlier images, but several larger (open) boats from the shore are. This of course increases the speed of the process. The latter images are from a different tender port and ARE using the ships lifeboats (orange).

Malcolm

My extensive Astor SHIP REVIEW

Genting/Star Megaships

June 3, 2016

Genting Hong Kong announced a few weeks ago that they would be building two new ships for Star Cruises in 2019 and 2020.  These ships will be 201,000 gross tons with 5,000 lower berths.

The Star Cruises ships will be known as the Global Class for “worldwide” cruising.

At this early stage we do not know much more, but we do have a few renderings (above).

Malcolm

The Historic Dockyard Chatham

May 30, 2016

I recently spent the day at the Chatham historic dockyard, Kent, UK. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in maritime history.

80 acres in size, it has over 100 buildings and structures – the majority of which were constructed between 1704 and 1855. Today it is the most complete Dockyard of the Age of Sail in the world. 

By the mid-18th Century the Royal Yards had developed into the largest industrial organisations in the world with complex facilities supporting thousands of skilled workers in a wide number of trades. Indeed it was the level of the facilities and skills provided in the Royal Dockyard’s, particularly at Chatham that underpinned the Royal Navy’s success at sea – from victory in battle; through the epic voyages of discovery made by Cook, Darwin  and others.

Did you know that the HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship at Trafalgar, was built at Chatham dockyard?

Above is a short slide show to give you a taste of what is on show.

Official website HERE

Have you been? Did you enjoy it?

Malcolm

New Paddlewheeler Debuts on the Mississippi

May 29, 2016
(Courtesy American Cruise Lines )

(Courtesy American Cruise Lines )

The American Cruise Lines newest ship, the America, started its inaugural season on the Mississippi River, on 7th May.

The America is the cruise line’s largest ship with a capacity of 185 guests. The launch of America brings its fleet up to eight small ships, four of which are authentic paddlewheelers while the additional four are coastal cruisers.

(American Cruise Lines)

Tilbury Today

May 28, 2016

28th May 2016

DSC_0001

Tilbury 16/05/16

Tilbury cruise terminal, on the Thames, London, used to be a sort of nautical Heathrow-airport .

In its heyday you could catch an ocean liner to destinations all over the world, including America, Asia and Australia. It used to have its own railway station and five star hotel next door.

These days Tilbury is a rather sleepy terminal. In the summer months it has a ship, once per week, at most, usually a ‘Cruise and Maritime Voyages’ vessels.

Astoria, Tilbury, May 16

Astoria, Tilbury, 16/05/16

Today was a busy day at Tilbury. Unusually there were two CMV ships docked: the tiny Astoria (1948, formerly called Azores) at 15,614 gt, carrying around 600 passengers and Magellan, CMV’s flagship (1985, formerly Carnival’s  Holiday) at 46,000gt, carrying 1,450 passengers.

Magellan dwarfed Astoria, being three times as big. She still retains her Carnival funnel, complete with wings.

Magellan, Tilbury, May 16

Magellan, Tilbury, 16/05/16

Astoria left for Dunkirk this evening and Magellan headed for Ghent.

I have been lucky enough to cruise on both ships and links to my reviews are below.

Malcolm

Astoria review HERE

Magellan 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.

Titanic II Plans All At Sea – Clive Palmer Gets Cold Feet

May 24, 2016
Dreamer: Clive Palmer, Times Square, 2013. (Photo: Twitter)

Dreamer: Clive Palmer, Times Square, 2013. (Photo: Twitter)

An audacious plan to build a full-size, seaworthy replica of the Titanic has run aground.

Ironically, today was the original date proposed for the launch of Australian tycoon Clive Palmer’s Titanic II which, like its ill-fated, Belfast-built predecessor, was to be one of the most luxurious vessels ever built…

Full Belfast Telegraph article HERE

Malcolm says: It never did seem very likely, did it?  Mr Palmer is strong on ideas, but seems to lose interest very quickly and often fails to follow his ideas through. Sources say that he is not quite as rich as he once was. Maybe he has though of better ways to spend his retirement fund than building an historic Ocean Liner?

New Rendering: Star Cruises 201,000 gt Ships

May 22, 2016
Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

Genting Hong Kong announced a few weeks ago that they would be building two new ships for Star Cruises in 2019 and 2020.

Genting has not surprisingly chosen the Lloyd Werft Group, there newly acquired shipyards in Germany, for the construction of their new vessels

new-ship

Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

The Star Cruises ships will be known as the Global Class for “worldwide” cruising at 201,000 gross tons with 5,000 lower berths. (Not to be confused with MSC’s future “World Class” 200,000 gross ton ships)

Malcolm Says: Genting/Star’s  two ‘Global Class’ ships will enter service in 2020 and 2021, becoming the world’s second biggest class of ship, eclipsing RCI’s Quantum class.  (The world’s biggest class, is still Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis’ class, with ‘Harmony’ at around 227,000 gt.)

MSC’s three ‘World Class’ newbuilds will not enter service 2024, 25 and 26 and are said to be around 200,000 gt. I guess we have to wait and see if they ate slightly bigger or slightly smaller than Star’s ships.

The forward  rendering of Star’s ships show a rather conventional design, externally – not unlike an RCI ship, although I do like the twin side-by-side funnels. (P&O’s Britannia has two funnels one behind the other).

 

The aft rendering reveals deck space not unlike NCL’s ‘Spice H2O’ area (Epic/Breakaway/Plus classes) with a giant screen.  This might have a pool, double as a night-club and be a performance space. (On-board RCI’s  Oasis class this space is used for their unique Aqua-Theatre).

There appears to be a lounge (or restaurant) under the aft deck area . There appears to be four decks of balcony cabins (probably big suites) overlooking the aft area. I also see at least two water tubes/slides on the sun deck and a rear public (or private) area behind the two mini-funnels.

So externally, nothing particularly original, but very exciting none the less.

Will NCL go 200,000gt? Speculation HERE

Oldest River Vessel

April 29, 2016

 

(Courtesy Gota Kanal)

Cruis Blog reader ‘Max M’ suggested that after discussing the biggest river boats (here) we should discuss the oldest.

I have done a little research and it would appear that the oldest registered marine vessel with overnight accommodation, is in fact a vintage steam canal boat called M/S Juno.  Juno was built in 1874 (yes, 1874) and has 29 passenger cabins.

M/S Juno operates on the 120 mile Göta Canal between Stockholm and Gothenburg, built with the help of Scottish engineer Thomas Telford.

In fact there are three vintage vessels on this route: The M/S Wilhelm Tham was built in 1912 and their youngest ship, is the M/S Diana, in 1931.

More Information HERE

Doulos – The Oldest Ocean-Going Ship

The Medina was built in 1914 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company for the Mallory Steamship Company of the United States. She was a freighter serving the Atlantic; during World War II she served with the United States Coast Guard.

The Panamanian company Naviera San Miguel SA acquired the Medina in 1948; they renamed the ship the Roma, and converted her into a passenger ship with cabins for 287 people, and dormitories for an additional 694 people.

In 1952 Naviera San Miguel resold the Roma to Linea Costa, an Italian company. At this time the SS Roma, a steamship, was converted into a motor vessel and renamed the MV Franca C. She carried passengers between Italy and Argentina. In 1959, the Franca C was adapted into a cruise liner, principally cruising the Mediterranean.

In 1977, Gute Bücher für Alle (Good Books For All) acquired the Franca C, and renamed her the Doulos (Greek for servant). She was manned by a volunteer crew and made sea port visits worldwide as a missionary ship. The MV Doulos held the biggest floating library in the world. Normally there were somewhere between 3000 to 5000 books on the shelves and half a million in the hold.

She made her last world tour in 2009 and was de-commissioning at the end of 2009 due to expense of making her compliant with SOLAS (maritime safety) regulations .

The ship is currently known as the MV Doulos Phos. She is now owned by Mr. Eric Saw, Director and Chief Executive of BizNaz Resources International Pte Ltd in Singapore.

There are plans to use the ship as a floating hotel with restaurants, a bookshop and a banqueting hall. However such plans do not always come to fruition. The QE2 is a prime example.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Malcolm Says: As Doulos is no longer operational as cruise ship, this raises the question what ocean going ship is now the oldest? anybody know?

I got to go on-board MV Doulos in 2004, when she visited Southampton. Her interiors were quite a mess, looking more like a Hippy peace-camp than an historic ship. However you could certainly still see some of the Costa décor in places.

Further Details of MSC Seaside

April 25, 2016

21/04/2016:  MSC Cruises marked an important construction milestone in the building of MSC Seaside with the celebration of the traditional maritime coin ceremony held at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

MSC Seaside, set to come into service in December 2017, will sail year-round from Miami and is being designed with the North American market in mind.

More Details Revealed

Atrium

Atrium (Courtesy of MSC)

MSC Cruises has revealed further details of MSC Seaside including suspended glass floors, a wrap around outdoor promenade with bars and restaurants, ocean-view elevators  and the highest ratio of outdoor space of any ship at sea.

msc-seaside-sushi-bar

Outdoor Sushi Bar (Courtesy MSC)

The concept behind MSC Seaside is to “bring the sea closer to passengers”, and is being designed with an exclusive warn weather aesthetic. The beach-condo-inspired concept will focus on the outdoor space of cabins and suites, many al fresco eating options including 20 bars; outdoor spa and fitness facilities, such as luxury cabanas for spa treatments, two wellness cabins, which feature advanced Kinesis Technoygm fitness equipment; and the private MSC Yacht Club, which features a lounge and restaurant and a solarium.

Full Cruise Critic Article: HERE

Meet Columbus

April 1, 2016

An alternative to todays many mega-ships:

A slide-show of the new addition to Cruise & Maritime Voyages fleet, formerly ‘Pacific Pearl’ for P&O Cruises Australia and before that P&O (UK) ‘Arcadia’.

Her 2017 itineraries have now been published: HERE

I hope to cruise on this ship and write a review  ASAP. If CMV are reading a free cruise would speed the whole process up!

Malcolm

(Reviews of CMV’s Marco Polo, Magellan and Astoria can be found, menu right)

Norwegian Joy Gets Go-karts & Bumper Cars

March 30, 2016
(All images courtesy of NCL)

(All images courtesy of NCL)

The Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has now revealed features and amenities for Norwegian Joy 喜悦号 (Xǐ Yuè Hào), its most innovative and luxurious ship ever, built and styled exclusively for Chinese guests, arriving Summer 2017. Home porting in Shanghai & Tianjin (Beijing).

Norwegian Joy was designed by the team at Norwegian Cruise Line to provide First Class at Sea experiences specifically for the Chinese traveller, with on-board amenities that cater to the unique holiday desires of Chinese guests. Built at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, the ship features German precision engineering to the highest possible standard, while offering superior customisation for the culture and preferences of Chinese guests along with the exciting and innovative features found on Norwegian Cruise Line’s most recent vessels.

 

(Courtsey NCL)

Accommodation

With a capacity of 3,900 guests, Norwegian Joy will deliver on the promise that guests will enjoy ‘First Class at Sea’ experiences, starting with her VIP accommodation. As the World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line, an honour bestowed upon the company by the World Travel Awards, Norwegian Cruise Line is known in the industry for offering innovative, stylish and first class accommodations. Norwegian Joy will feature The Haven by Norwegian®, the line’s exclusive, ship-within-a-ship suite luxury complex. Accessible only by personalised key card, The Haven offers a private respite for the most discerning travellers. It features a personal butler service, a dedicated concierge, priority access to entertainment and specialty dining, a private restaurant, enclosed courtyard and 74 spacious and meticulously decorated suites. The ultra-exclusive experience in The Haven on Norwegian Joy will also include an all-new Observation Deck featuring 180 degree views, the same as the ship’s officers experience from the Bridge, with gourmet canapés and premium beverages.

Norwegian Joy will also debut an all new accommodation category: the first at sea Concierge level. Guests who stay in the Concierge staterooms aboard Norwegian Joy will enjoy a VIP experience, featuring larger balcony staterooms with luxurious en suite amenities and the services of a dedicated concierge to make arrangements on board, from entertainment to dining. A perfect category for families and guests looking for extra personal service, the Concierge staterooms will also offer guests an exclusive Concierge lounge, with a private bar and refreshments available throughout the day.

The ship also features a wide array of mini-suite, balcony, ocean view and interior staterooms, many with virtual balconies, to fit every traveller’s need. Accommodation offerings also include staterooms designed specifically for families and a multitude of connecting staterooms, for extended families travelling together.

image003

(All images courtesy of NCL)

Entertainment & Activities

Norwegian Joy will continue Norwegian Cruise Line’s long history of innovation in providing engaging, exciting features and amenities for guests to enjoy. Sure to delight guests of all ages, the ship’s top decks will offer a wide-range of never-before-seen at sea experiences.

At the very top of the ship, guests will take the ride of a lifetime on a thrilling two-level ‘Ferrari’ themed racetrack– the first ever at sea. Ten cruisers can race family and friends in electric cars (a 5-6 minute course) and even share a photo of their first place finish. Afterwards, they can challenge one another to a game of laser tag in the open-air course, sure to be a hit with both kids and kids-at-heart.

 

unspecifiedbbnbnWhen guests step inside Norwegian Joy’s Galaxy Pavilion, they will find themselves in a world unlike anything they’ve ever seen at sea, complete with immersive virtual reality experiences, thrilling simulator rides and interactive video walls. Guests can go for a spin with friends or family on exciting hover craft bumper cars or start their engines in a professional single-seat race car that’s been converted into a state-of-the-art racing simulator. Three interactive dark ride simulators provide guests with a captivating experience featuring real-time 3D graphics, 360- degree surround sound and multi-sensory special effects, while flight and car simulators will let guests take flight or take to the road for an adrenaline-filled experience. Movie buffs will be transported to a galaxy far, far away and into an intense battle as they pilot a fighter to take on the forces of the dark side in a Star Wars® battle pods video game, and gamers can partake in a contest of skill at six Xbox® console stations. Those guests who enjoy advanced technology will be exhilarated by state-of-the-art virtual optic experiences by Oculus that include designing and then riding a personal roller coaster; soaring to new heights over mountains and oceans; or living on the edge and walking along a cliff or on top of a ten-story building.

Galaxy Pavilion - Hover Craft Bumper Cars

Galaxy Pavilion – Hover Craft Bumper Cars

Continuing the adrenaline pumping recreation activities on the ship, Norwegian Joy will also feature two multi-story waterslides. Not for the faint of heart, the high-speed Double Aqua Loop free fall slide includes two exhilarating loops, one that extends out over the side of the ship and second see-through loop that stretches down to the deck below, sure to offer a wet and wild ride. The tandem Aqua Racer slide allows guests to race side-by-side on inner tubes for more than 360 feet as they twist and turn to the finish line.

The top deck of Norwegian Joy will also feature a tranquil open space park, where guests can enjoy a partially covered serene setting designed for relaxation. Offering greenery, a soothing pool and chaise lounges, it’s the perfect spot to meditate in the fresh air, gaze out to the open sea or practice tai chi and yoga.

image007

Tranquil open space park

No holiday experience is complete without shopping, and Norwegian Joy will not disappoint. The ship will feature an upscale shopping venue, the largest in Norwegian’s fleet, complete with everything from exceptional duty-free shops to high-end international brands. The shops will offer renowned global luxury brands, in fashion, jewellery and electronics.

Of course, Norwegian Joy will also offer bow to stern Wi-Fi connectivity, the fastest in the Norwegian fleet, so that guests can share their exciting First Class at Sea cruise experiences and stay in touch with family and friends during their cruise.

Norwegian Joy fuses a western cruise holiday with the comforts and preferences that Chinese guests expect, plus the freedom and flexibility that only Norwegian Cruise Line can offer, for a fabulous combination of culture and cuisine and a true east meets west experience.

(NCL)

Malcolm says: NCL’s  ‘Breakaway Plus’ and RCI’s ‘Quantum’ class ships have just become even more similar.  RCI have obviously borrowed NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ dining concept and called it ‘Dynamic Dining’ on-board the Quantum class ships. Likewise NCL have obviously borrowed RCI’s bumper cars and the ‘Central Park’ ideas. However I doubt if the NCL version will have real plants.

Go-karts are at least an original idea. I believe the track will located in the space (or part of the space) that the rope-climbing course used to be located in. Both take away sun-bathing deck space, which these mega-ships often lack.

I can’t imagine how hover craft bumper cars would work on-board a ship. I guess they will also be electric, but a large force is normally needed to get anything to hover, so they are also likely to be very noisy. I wonder if they are similar to these in this video:  Hover Bumper Cars