London’s Secret Station

March 14, 2015

There’ s more to life than ships, there’s trains too!

I recently visited a disused underground station in London, formerly ‘The Strand’ station. It closed its doors in 1994.

During World war II it was used as an air-raid shelter and storage for precious works of art, including the Elgin Marbles.

Today is it mainly used for training (emergency services etc.) and filming. ‘Downtown Abbey’ has used it for example.

It is still connected to the London Underground network, so vintage trains can be sent down the line for filming,

More info:

Anthem of the Seas to leave UK after maiden Season

March 13, 2015

Royal Caribbean International’s forthcoming ship Anthem of the Seas is not returning to the UK next year after its maiden season sailing from Southampton, this spring and summer.


The line will instead deploy Independence of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas from the port in 2016.

Anthem of the Seas will sail in Bermuda, the maiden season for the line’s Quantum class, and continue year-round sailings from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey, for the 2016-2017 season.

New Oasis-class ship Harmony of the Seas will make its debut in Europe with summer 2016 sailings from Barcelona and the port of Rome.

The giant vessel will run seven-night itineraries to ports such as Palma and Naples.

Five other Royal Caribbean ships will operate in Europe next summer.

(RCI/Image P.Massey)

Malcolm says: This decision has caused much disappointment for UK RCI fans and caused much on-line discussion.  What do you think?

Asia Now Third Biggest Cruise Market

March 12, 2015

(Anthem being Advertised at Tianjin Cruise Port, Beijing, Nov. 2014. Click to enlarge.)

Asia has overtaken Northern Europe as the third biggest region in terms of passenger capacity, according to independent data from the 2015-2016 Cruise Industry News Annual Report. This year, Asia will grow by 20 percent, accounting for just over 2.2 million passengers with 69 ships sailing in the region. While Star Cruises remains the biggest operator in the Asian market, Royal Caribbean International will grow by leaps and bounds, adding nearly 200,000 more passengers to its regional capacity year-over-year. Asia capacity now accounts for just over 10 percent of the global cruise industry, trailing only the Caribbean and Mediterranean. (Cruise Industry News)

Titanic Belfast beats Eiffel Tower

March 11, 2015

Titanic Belfast

Titanic Belfast has fended off one of the most iconic buildings in the world’s most romantic city to be named the best visitor attraction in Europe.

While the stunning 300m Eiffel Tower may have breath-taking views of Paris, it was Northern Ireland’s top tourist spot which won over the hearts of judges at a major travel awards event in Berlin. It also beat off competition from artist Claude Monet’s grand gardens in France as well as the London Eye.

Titanic Belfast was the only entry from across Ireland to pick up a gong at the European Group Travel Awards.

(John Mulgrew, Belfast Telegraph)

Malcolm says: Titanic Belfast is a very good museum/ exhibition/ experience, however there are few real artefacts. However nearby is some real history: The original ‘White Star’ drawing office, Titanic’s slipway, her dry-dock and the docks pump house.

Her Majesty the Queen Names Britannia

March 10, 2015

Southampton, UK.

(The video starts at 38.30)  Please don’t share or re-blog.

Malcolm Says: Dear P&O, my invitation appears to have got lost in the post?

This is not be the first time that our Queen has launched a ship named Britannia. The previous Britannia, of course, was the Royal Yacht launched in April, 1953.

The Royal Yacht Britannia, is now a tourist attraction in Leith, Edinburgh, UK.

Below is a slide-show of my visit to the Royal Yacht:

Big Ships UK

March 9, 2015

From May this year (2015) Brits will have a choice of a number of mega-ships sailing from Southampton, including P&O’s new ‘Britannia’ and RCI’s ‘Anthem of the Seas’.

I wonder which ship will win the ‘battle of the berths’, or maybe there are enough passengers to fill them all? After all, the different ships/cruise lines are aimed at different clientele.

Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald recently said: “There’s plenty of room in the United Kingdom for two brand new cruise ships. I don’t see them in competition. Britannia is cruising for U.K. people, Anthem is not that.”

Three Oasis Ships for Florida

March 7, 2015
(Harmony - RCI Image)

(Harmony – RCI Image)

Royal Caribbean will base all three of its Oasis-class cruise ships (Oasis, Allure & Harmony…of the Seas) in Florida in 2016.

During the same period ‘Anthem of the Seas’ (Quantum-class) will sail its first summer season out of Cape Liberty, cruising to Bermuda.

To start the summer 2016 season, ‘Oasis’ and ‘Allure’ will sail seven-night Western and Eastern Caribbean itineraries from Port Everglades. In the fall, ‘Harmony of the Seas’ (which enters service in April 2016) will replace ‘Oasis of the Sea’ in Port Everglades, offering seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises for winter 2016/17.


Oasis review:

The Ovation Begins

(Meyer Werft Image)

(Meyer Werft Image)

On 5th March 2015, the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, Royal Caribbean held its keel-laying ceremony, for the third Quantum-class ship, Ovation of the Seas.

Adam Goldstein, Royal Caribbean President and COO, put down the lucky penny in the dock before the block of the new ship was lowered by the 800 ton crane.  This is the first of a total of 74 blocks of the new cruise ship.

The keel-laying marks the official start of construction of the ship.

Ovation of the Seas’ delivery is scheduled for spring 2016.



Balmoral For Newcastle

March 5, 2015

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines will increase its capacity out of Newcastle by 45% by basing flagship Balmoral there during the 2016/17 programme.

Announcing its future itineraries, sales and marketing director Nathan Philpot said the line recognised the importance of the regions and explained the prominence of departure points when customers pick their cruise holidays.

The 1,350-guest ship will sail from Newcastle for the first time, with 11 departures. The season out of the Port of Tyne starts on May 21, 2016, with a five-night fjords cruise.

Philpot said: “We are very excited to be basing Balmoral in Newcastle from May to August in 2016, meaning that we will be able to offer our loyal guests in the northeast an even greater number of cruise departures than ever before, with a choice of 11 in total.”

Fred Olsen is also considering the idea of adding a new ship to the fleet. although there are no definite plans.

(Fred Olsen)

Balmoral Review:


Magellan’s Godmother Named

March 5, 2015

TV personality Gloria Hunniford has been confirmed as godmother to Cruise & Maritime Voyages new ship Magellan.

The vessel is to be named on March 12 at the London Cruise Terminal in Tilbury.

Hunniford will name the ship in front of 1,000 invited guests from the trade, followed by two special passenger evenings on board.

The ceremony will come two days after the Queen names P&O Cruises’ new ship Britannia in Southampton.


Malcolm says: Her majesty the Queen was probably their first choice, but she was obviously unavailable due to her ‘Britannia’ commitments. I’m not sure what has happened to my invitation? (Look at all of the free publicity that I have give you, CMV!)

New: Magellan Ship review:


SS United States or QE2 for Pier 57, Manhattan?

March 4, 2015
(SS United States Today - source unknown)

(SS United States Today – source unknown)

RXR Realty and Youngwoo & Associates are considering the idea of redeveloping Manhattan’s pier 57 with a retired ocean liner as a hotel, according to a report.

The two companies formed a joint venture last year and are looking into bringing in a ship with the intention to create a hotel facility at pier 57.

The redevelopment plan around pier 57 includes some 200,000 to 300,000 square feet of office space and other real estate.

The pier sits at the end of 15th street on 11th avenue, and is south of the popular Chelsea Piers sports complex.

Youngwoo & Associates was selected in 2009 to redevelop the site.

The SS United States currently sits in Philadelphia with some movement on a redevelopment plan, and the SS United States Conservancy group, which oversees the vessel, has had its eye on New York.

The Queen Elizabeth 2, meanwhile, continues to be laid up in Dubai with no news on a previously announced plan to convert it into a hotel after moving the ship to Asia.

(Cruise Industry News)

Malcolm says: A great idea, but I will believe it when I see it. Hotel ships are rarely very successful. However I prefer the idea of the SS United States myself. After all she is one of America’s most historic Ocean Liners and deserves to be saved.

When the project is complete maybe I will visit pier 57 by taking the Titanic II from Southampton…LOL.

SS United States Promo Film

A wonderful Promo film of the legendary SS United States, Ocean Liner. (Below, there are links to two more parts).

Part 2:”

part 3:”

Some facts from the SS United States Promo stuck in my mind: She can carry 43 cars, there are 142 items to choose for breakfast, 3 Libraries, a writing room steward, Bouillion served on deck, horse racing game every other night, tax free drinks and Le Havre boat train.

Below QM2 Slide-Show:

Read Even more:

SS United Sates, Broken Promises:


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