Introducing NCL’s Project Leonardo

March 15, 2017

The wait was not too long!

Norwegian Cruise Line has named the new generation of cruise ships as ‘Project Leonardo’. The new class will be delivered in 2022. The other vessels will arrive in 2023, 2024 and 2025 which will all be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri.

The ships will be 140,000 gross tons and carry around 3,300 guests.

“Continuing the trend not only at Norwegian Cruise Line, but throughout the cruise industry of bringing the sea closer to our guests, this vessel has at the lower decks a huge expansive area where you’ll have infinity pools, restaurants, broad decks to be beach-like so people can really connect with the sea,” said Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Chairman and CEO Frank Del Rio.

(NCL)

Malcolm says: Interestingly this new class of ship is based on a prototype developed by Fincantieri, and NOT by NCL, as in the past.  I guess the advantage of this approach truly guarantees a new design of ship. However the disadvantage is that the ship yard could share this design with other lines and it appears that they already have!

On closer inspection ‘Project Leonardo’ does not look dissimilar the MSC’s ‘Seasisde’ also designed by Fincantieri.

Top: MSC Seaside. Below: NCL Leonardo (Click to enlarge)

However I believe Leonardo is shorter than Seaside, which will be bigger: 154,000 gross tonnes and carry up to 5,179 passengers. Seaside also has a glass covered pool in front of her funnel, Leonardo appears to have a non-covered one in this location (for the Haven?) This appears to leaves just one sun-deck pool aft.

The big attraction of this ship design is the very large promenade deck, which is probably more expansive than NCL’s ‘Waterfront’ feature (Breakaway and Breakaway+ classes).

I do find it a little sad when different cruise brands share a ship design. It just lacks originality.

I was going to say that Leanardo will be quite different internally to Seaside, as she will be designed to accommodate NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ dining system with multiple dining rooms.

However looking at Seaside’s deck plans (HERE) there are three full decks and two half decks of restaurants and other public rooms. I guess little will need changing apart from the décor and branding. I guess that was the appeal of using Fincantieri’s existing design.

os-pictures-norwegian-cruise-line-project-leon-010

(Courtesy NCL)

Norwegian Escape Review HERE

Norwegian Bliss – Observation Makes A Comeback HERE

Advertisements

World’s Largest Cruise Ship – Sympnony Of The seas

March 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

FotoFlexer_Photo

(Courtesy RCI)

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

(Royal Caribbean)

The Worlds biggest class of cruise ship review: HERE

St Helena Bucket List Cruise Reprieve

February 18, 2017

One of the world’s great bucket list travel experiences is getting a year-long reprieve – all thanks to an ill wind.

The 6,767 gross tonne cargo liner RMS St Helena, one of only two remaining Royal Mail Ships, is to continue serving the remote South Atlantic island of St Helena, where Napoleon was exiled from 1815 after the Battle of Waterloo to his death in 1821.

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.

She was due to be decommissioned once the island’s £285 million airport opened for commercial flights last spring, a scheme aimed at making the 47 sq mi British Overseas Territory self-sufficient and boosting tourism.However that has been delayed indefinitely because of concerns about dangerous weather conditions known as wind ‘shear’, which make it unsafe for large jets to land.

St Helena's troubled new airport cost £285million of taxpayers' money (Photo: PA)

St Helena’s troubled new airport (Photo: PA)

Scheduled British Airways services from Johannesburg were due to start on May 21 last year but have been suspended, meaning the RMS has had a reprieve from the breakers’ yard so she can remain as the 4,000 islanders’ (they are known as Saints) essential link to the outside world.

It may be an ill wind for the airport, but now travellers with three weeks to spare can still make the voyage by ship up to next February; they will need to travel to South Africa, spend 10 days at sea and eight days on the island, which is 1,200 miles off the west coast of Africa and known for its isolation, scenery and rare wildlife.

They hope once the wind ‘shear’ problem is resolved commercial air services will begin.

(Daily Mirror)

CroisiEurope’s Elbe Princesse

February 13, 2017

CroisiEurope’s remarkable paddle-wheeled river ship, designed for the shallow waters of the Elbe.

MS Sudan

February 11, 2017

Here is a feature on a classic river vessel:

sudan3

(Click to enlarge)

M/S Sudan Nile Cruise Is like being on no other cruise ship on the Nile, build at the dawn of the 20th century, the steam ship Sudan brings turn-of-the-century travel on the Nile to life again.

The 5 suites and 18 cabins are laid out between the two decks, off broad passageways where the passengers can sit, relax and read in the evening, or enjoy a drink. Each cabin proudly bears a name linked to Egyptian history.

On the upper deck, the Agatha Christie and Lady Duff Gordon suites, at the prow of the vessel, benefit from spectacular views over the river. The Aida and Queen Victoria suites nestle spaciously in the gentle curves of the stern. The warm-toned wooden panelling, gilded and copper bed-frames, classical furniture and distinguished parquet floors bestow a definite period charm, revealed in every detail, such as the bathroom fittings.

A Legendary boat

A boat inhabited by the memory of the King Fouad who received it as a gift in 1885, the memory of the Belle Époque travellers who used it, or that of Hercule Poirot who Agatha Christie had walking its decks in her writings. (The BBC’s ‘Death on the Nile’ with David Suchet, was filmed on-board).

Almost one hundred years old, the Steam Ship Sudan is the last witness to the Belle Epoque days of Nile cruising. In its wake floats the visionary spirit of Sir Thomas Cook and the history of cruises on the legendary river.

Poirot (Courtesy BBC)

Poirot on board Sudan (Courtesy BBC)

Sudan Web Site: HERE

History

1869 The Suez canal is created, opening the maritime trade route between Europe and Asia. Egypt’s economy and tourism immediately benefit. Thomas Cook, the visionary British entrepreneur, seizes the opportunity to explore a country boasting thousands of years of history and a uniquely comfortable climate and way of life.

Convinced that this potential would appeal to the British aristocracy, Cook and his son (Cook & Son) organise the first cruise on a boat rented from the Khedive, or vice-roy.

1876 Egypt becomes a British protectorate. Cook further develops his Nile cruises. In 1880, he obtains the concession for all tourism-related river sailing. In 1884, his vessels are requisitioned for the military campaign in Sudan, and return seriously damaged. The British pioneer therefore launches his own fleet of steam ships. Prince Abbas, Tewfik, Rameses are built in Scotland, and the parts later assembled in Cairo.

1899 Cook extends his empire along the Nile banks with the construction of the Old Cataract Hotel at Aswan, designed to cater to cruise passengers obliged to stop off on their way to the great temples of Upper Nubia, reached on another ship. The Aswan dam, inaugurated in 1902, changes the situation, and the numbers of tourists rises constantly.

1911-1921 Cook builds a new fleet of faster steam ships, composed of the Egypt, the Arabia, and the Sudan. They reduce the length of a Cairo-Aswan voyage to 20 days, and eager tourists flock on board.

1922-1935 The Sudan and Nile cruising in general enjoy a golden age. Diplomats, businessmen and archaeologists pay handsomely to discover the fabulous sites of Ancient Egypt. In 1933, Agatha Christie embarks, accompanied by her husband, on an archaeological mission. During the cruise, the grand dame of mystery is inspired to write Death on the Nile.

1939-1991 The Second World War rings the death knell of tourism in Egypt. The Sudan lies abandoned and docked for more than 50 years. In the early 90s, with the advent of more democratic tourism and a new boom in Nile cruises, an Egyptian shipowner relaunches the Sudan for a German tour operator, but the vessel is once more abandoned.

2000 Two directors of Voyageurs du Monde discover the Sudan in a pitiful state. They join forces with the Egyptian owner and after six months of refitting work the vessel is ready to sail.

2017 – onwards: This classic boat continues to charm its many passengers.

(egypt-nile-cruise.com)

Malcolm says: Here is a slide show from my Nile cruise, on-board  a more modest boat than Sudan:

Bliss – Observation Makes A Comeback

February 3, 2017
Bliss (Courtesy of NCL)

Two Observation Lounges (Courtesy of NCL) Click to enlarge.

Norwegian Cruise Line has released some details about its next ship ‘Norwegian Bliss’ (a Breakaway-Plus class ships), which will enter service in June 2018.

Bliss will accommodate 4,000 passengers and will be based in Seattle during the summer and cruise the coastline of Alaska.

Her itineraries will include stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria. In the winter she will be deployed in Caribbean waters.

The most notable feature will be two forward-facing observation lounges, designed to offer the best views.

The Haven Observation Lounge

Built for the spectacular vistas of Alaska and The Caribbean, Norwegian Bliss will offer guests staying in The Haven exclusive access to a 2-story observation lounge, spanning decks 17 and 18 with expansive, panoramic ocean views, overlooking the front of the ship.

Haven Observation Lounge (Courtesy NCL)

(Courtesy NCL)

(Courtesy NCL)

Deck 18 (Courtesy NCL)

The Observation Lounge

Imagine sheer amazement from our revolutionary observation lounge offering the most expansive views at sea.

(Courtesy NCL)

(Courtesy NCL)

 

2017_bliss_deck_15_tmp011017

Deck 15, above the Bridge (Courtesy NCL)

The Observation Lounge is also located at the front of the ship, deck 15 and provides the same stunning views directly above the bridge and features a full service bar for guests to sit back, relax and take in the views.

(NCL)

Malcolm says:  An observation lounge is such a simple concept: sit, relax and watch the sea and land pass by. However many megaships, including some NCL ships, had dropped the facility from their designs some years ago. It’s almost as if looking at the sea had gone out of fashion.

It’s very nice to see ‘observation’ making a comeback. When coupled with NCL’s ‘Waterfront’ feature, the opportunities for views and fresh-air are excellent for such a large ship design.

NCL’s Waterfront, see: HERE

Swan Hellenic Flys Again

February 3, 2017
Minerva (Courtesy Swan Hellenic)

Minerva (Courtesy Swan Hellenic)

The British cruise line ‘Swan Hellenic’ has been acquired by adventure travel specialist ‘G Adventures’, following the collapse of the line’s former parent company ‘All Leisure Group’.

In January 2017, All Leisure Group, which also operated ‘Voyages of Discovery’, among other travel brands, went into administration.

G Adventures has revealed it will restart Swan Hellenic cruises in 2018, with new itineraries set to be announced this summer.

(Source: G Adventures)

Stop Press: G Adventures have not chartered Minerva, the ship that Swan Hellenic was using to deliver its cruises and it’s not yet known what ship they will use. 

arctic-expedition-ship-aerial-exterior-dji0009-lg-rgb

G Adventures’ ship Expedition

G runs operates expeditions and safaris for tour groups in 100 countries and also runs the 134-passenger ship Expedition, which specialises in cruising to the Polar regions.

There’s no sign of a rescuer for Voyages of Discovery or its ship, Voyager.

(Daily Mirror)

Fincantieri Lays Keel for Seaview

February 2, 2017

Feb. 02, 2017:

Today MSC Cruises and Fincantieri marked a key milestone in the building of MSC Seaview with the celebration of the coin ceremony for the MSC Seaview.

MSC Seaview will come into service in June 2018, sailing the Western Mediterranean in her inaugural summer season. She will then continue her deployment in Brazil.

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises Chief Executive Officer added: “MSC Seaview will bring guests and the sea closer to each other, with a pioneering beach condo concept and other unique design and product elements that allow to make the most of the warmer weather. With one of the highest ratios of outdoor spaces at sea, guests will also enjoy an increased number of balcony cabins, sea views and outdoor public areas, with every element carefully planned to allow to make the most of the sea and the sunshine.”

(MSC)

Sister ship:

CroisiEurope Builds Second Ship For The Elbe

January 28, 2017
Elbe Princesse (Courtesy CroisiEurope)

Elbe Princesse (Courtesy CroisiEurope)

CroisiEurope has started construction on a third paddle wheel riverboat to be called MS Elbe Princesse II, to cruise the shallow Elbe River.

This follows the success of the MS Loire Princesse in 2015 and the Elbe Princesse in 2016.

Taking into consideration the navigational limitations on these rivers, MS Elbe Princesse II also has only two decks, a very shallow hull draft and stern paddlewheels. These  do not require a lot of water under them, compared to conventional propellers. .

MS Elbe Princesse II will be the second ship operating between Berlin and Prague on the Elbe and the Vltava Rivers.

(CroisiEurope)

Malcolm says: Old propulsion technology being used on a new ship, clever. However I have heard that these ships can rattle a bit at higher speeds.

Interestingly the MS Loire Princesse (not surprisingly cruising on the River Loire) has two paddle wheels, one mounted on each side of her hull. However the Elbe Princesse has two mounted at her stern.

I wonder why the difference? Maybe the best technical location for paddle wheels is on the ships sides. Maybe this allows for more manoeuvrability? Maybe the Elbe is too just narrow for that configuration?

Loire Princesse (Courtesy Croisieurope)

Loire Princesse (Courtesy Croisieurope)

The British ocean going paddle steamer, the PS Waverly (1946) has two paddle wheels, one on the on the port side of the hull and the other on the starboard side of her hull. This is similar to the Loire Princesse.

However traditionally the Mississippi type paddle-steamers of course have one very large stern paddle wheel. This of course has more in common with the Elbe Princesse, although she has two smaller stern mounted paddle wheels rather than one large one.

American Queen: the biggest, carrying 436 passengers

American Queen: the biggest, carrying 436 passengers

Can anybody tell me why there are two different paddle-wheel locations on these ship?

Malcolm

The Carnival Horizon to Launch in Europe

January 25, 2017
(Courtney Carnival)

(Courtesy Carnival)

Carnival Horizon will debut in April of 2018 and will offer a short Mediterranean season  before moving to New York in May.

The ship will be 133,500 gross tons and be able to carry 3,936 guests at double occupancy.

(Courtney Carnival)

(Courtesy Carnival)

“Carnival Vista delivered the next generation of ship for our brand with new, never-before-seen features at sea. From our amazing SkyRide and the WaterWorks aqua park to first IMAX Theatre on a cruise ship, Carnival Vista has offered our guests a brand new view of fun.  With Carnival Horizon, we continue to expand those themes to provide guests of all ages with the ultimate fun vacation with Carnival!” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

(Carnival)

CL_VS_IMAX_interior_ren-copy-592x394

(Courtesy Carnival)

Images of Carnival Horizon Staterooms: HERE

New Ships for Princess and HAL

January 22, 2017
(Courtesy HAL)

(Courtesy HAL)

The Carnival Corporation has announced that it had signed a memorandum of agreement with Fincantieri to build two new cruise ships for Holland America and Princess.

With the new agreement, Carnival Corporation now has 19 new ships scheduled to be delivered between 2017 and 2022.

Holland America Line’s new ship will be built at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Marghera, Italy, with an expected delivery in 2021, and the ship for Princess Cruises will be built at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone, Italy, shipyard with an expected delivery in 2022.

Holland America Line’s new 99,500-ton, 2,660-guest ship will be its third “Pinnacle” class vessel, following the design of the line’s newest and largest ship, ms Koningsdam, and its sister ship, Nieuw Statendam, scheduled for delivery in November 2018.

Princess Cruises’ new 145,000-ton ship will carry 3,660 passengers and will be its sixth “Royal” class vessel.

The two yet-to-be-named vessels also under construction by Fincantieri scheduled for delivery in 2019 and 2020.

(Carnival)

Crowded Waters

January 10, 2017

There has been a lot of talk about the increasing number of ocean cruise ships in the past decade. In particular about the negative impact of mega-ships on the environment and their ports of call.

There are now ships on order that will carry in excess of 6,000 passengers, plus crew.

However, what about European river cruising which is a now booming business?

‘Viking River Cruises’ are a good example of success and expansion…

Read more…HERE

A busy Danube - Three Amadeus vessels (Click to enlarge)

A busy Danube – Three Amadeus vessels (Click to enlarge)

 

The Danube

January 7, 2017

Below is a short slide show of the Danube River form on-board Amadeus Elegant:

 
Amadeus Elegant ship review HERE.

Don’t Book An Ocean Cruise…

January 5, 2017

…until you have read my latest review.

dsc_0115

For twenty years I have been ocean cruising. I am lucky enough to have experienced many big ships, small ships, old ships and new ships.

To keep the whole thing fresh I tried many different ships and some different cruise lines. These have included Cunard, P&O, Fred. Olsen, RCI, P&O, Princess, Celebrity, Thomson and CMV.

Each ship and line is different, yet they are all similar.

While searching for something different, I tried my first European River Cruise in 2015.

I did enjoyed it, it made a refreshing change, but the experience still felt a little ‘alien’ to me compared to an ocean cruise.

However something drew me back to river cruising this year (after fitting in another ocean cruise) and I took my second European river cruise over Christmas 2016.

This time something ‘clicked’ inside of me. (And I don’t mean my spine or knee cartilage.)

I really got into the format and style of the experience this time around. Many aspects of the experience were actually better than on-board most ocean ship.

Amadeus Elegant ship review HERE

I’m NOT seriously suggesting that you give up ocean cruising, but maybe your New Year’s Resolution should be to seriously consider the idea of a River cruise in 2017.

I would bet that some of your most dreaded annoyances about ocean cruises probably do not exist on river cruises.

Happy New Year

Malcolm

BlacK Watch @ Tilbury

December 14, 2016
14-12-16

14-12-16 (Click to enlarge)

Today was a mild and  sunny winters day at the Tilbury Cruise Terminal (London).

A rare visitor was Fred Olsen’s ‘Black Watch’.

I do like her new livery with a dark coloured hull.

Tomorrow she departs on a 7 night itinerary: Christmas Markets of Germany & Denmark

BW is 28,613 gross tonnes and carries 820 passengers. She was built in 1972.

 

dsc_0013

Click to enlarge

Black Watch Review/slide-show: HERE

 

 

MV ‘Ulysses’ Super-ferry

November 8, 2016

I know that there are some Ferry enthusiasts out there:

During this summer, I took a short trip to Dublin.

I chose  MV ‘Ulysses’ super-ferry, operated by Irish Ferries, to get there. This was the Holyhead to Dublin route, which is a 3 hour voyage. I’m told that this ferry route has existed since 1850!

When Ulysses entered service in 2001, she was the world’s largest RO PAX ferry, in terms of vehicle capacity.

Standing 12 decks tall, Ulysses can carry up to 2,000 passengers, 1,342 cars, and 240 trucks.

As you board the vessel, she resembles a large modern cruise ship. You very quickly forget that she has five decks of vehicles below you.

Her on board facilities include restaurants, two cinemas, TV lounges, video and electronic games, casino, children’s play area, two large lounge bars, a shop and a club class lounge.

Ulysses also has 228 passenger berths (cabins).

Due to Dublin harbour being relatively shallow, she was designed with a smaller draft and smaller propellers, to prevent her from  getting stuck in the silt.

Malcolm

Another super-ferry, Stena Holandica review: HERE

Seafrance Berlioz Cross Channel Ferry (slide-show): HERE

DFDS Ferries, Dover (slide-show): HERE

The World’s Biggest Sailing Ship

November 2, 2016

Sailing Ship ‘A’ is a  £330 million superyacht owned by a Russian billionaire, Andrey Melnichenko, is thought to be the largest sailing vessel to ever take to the seas.

It’s cruising speed is 18mph and it has a top speed of 24mph. The hull is made of steel, with a teak-finish deck.

He also owned ‘Motor Yacht ‘A’ below which looks more like a submarine to me!

.

XXL – Is The New Standard

October 30, 2016
(Genting's Global Class)

(Genting’s Global Class)

Have you ever noticed how cruise lines tend to build similar sized ships?

O.K, there are exceptions where a luxury line will build a smaller ship. There are also exceptions when a cruise line will be building a ship bigger than anybody else’s (normally Royal Caribbean). However in general the big players are influenced by each other.

I can remember some 20 years ago (mid to late nineties), when many mega-ships were being built at around the 75,000 gross tons, in size. For example, RCI’s five ‘Vision’ class ships and NCL’s ‘Sun’ and ‘Spirt’ classes. Although Carnival (Destiny, 1995) and Princess (Grand Princess, 1998) pushed the boundaries with vessels over 100,000 gt.

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

Royal Caribbean’s 225,000 gt ‘Oasis of the Seas’, which entered service in 2008, was the world’s largest cruise ship. She was considerably larger than anything else. The ‘Oasis’ class (Oasis, Allure and Harmony) continues to dominate in size and probably will for some years to come.

The 180,000gt Costa LNG ship

The 180,000gt Costa LNG ship

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

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

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

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

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

Megaship are packed with facilities, including multiple dining rooms and multiple entertainment venues, even a few gimmicks throw in like a Park or Bumper cars. However bigger is not always best. These floating theme parks lack intimacy and a ‘connection’ with the sea. Arguably the world’s best cruise experiences, in terms of fine-dining and attentive service, are not to be found on-board mega-ships.

Megaships are also limited to what ports they can visit as they need long berths, deep water and extensive shore-side terminal facilities to deal with the thousands of passengers that they carry.

There is also much debate about the impact thousands of passenger arriving at a Caribbean island (for example) has on the local environment.

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

As a result the existing smaller/older ships will be facing extinction. However there will always be some intimate ships on offer, but these are likely to get rarer and will become an increasingly expensive option to cruise on.

Malcolm

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

P&O Cruises Reveals Details Of ‘Most Ambitious’ Ship

October 27, 2016

 

P&O Newbuild 180,000 gt

P&O Model (Courtesy P&O)

Construction of the latest addition to the fleet will get underway next year at Meyer Werft’s Papenburg shipyard in Germany. The ship will enter service in the UK in 2020. At 180,000 tons, it will have a capacity for up to 6,600 guests, making it the largest cruise ship ever built for the British market.

The signature heart of the ship, the Atrium, will be our boldest and brightest yet. Glass walls spanning three decks will let natural light flood in while a grand staircase, gallery and overhead walkways will provide dramatic focal points.

The ship will also be the most environmentally efficient ship in the history of P&O Cruises. Powered at sea and in port by liquefied natural gas (LNG), exhaust emissions will be significantly reduced to help protect the environment.

You’ll be treated to the best British hospitality and standards of service that you know and love.

Our new star of the show, The Dome

P&O newbuild 180,000 gt

A major new entertainment hub called The Dome will be one of the star attractions of our new ship. Featuring an impressive glass roof, a pool with a retractable stage, a water feature and whirlpools, it offers a unique space whatever the weather.

By day, The Dome is the perfect place for entertainment, relaxation and informal dining. By night, the four key entertainment spaces come alive with aerial performances, roof projections and immersive shows.

There will also be much wider than normal, half-mile promenade deck, called the “Lanai” deck, allowing for al-fresco dining.

A world of even more choice on board

Our new ship has been designed by the world’s leading design and guest experience teams to make sure you have a wealth of dining, entertainment, socialising and relaxation options to suit every mood and occasion: Choose from:

• 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

Partnering with the best in the business

Design innovation is being taken to new levels by collaborations with award-winning architectural and interior design teams. We’re proud to be working with residential and commercial architects Jestico & Whiles (London), whose work includes Aquashard (London), the Yas Hotel (Abu Dhabi) and the W Hotel (London). We’re once again joining forces with Richmond International (London), who worked with us on Britannia and whose luxury hotel portfolio includes The Langham Hotel (London and Chicago), The Four Seasons Moscow, and Sandy Lane Hotel (Barbados).

The design of cabins and the flow of on-board experiences will also be developed under the expert eye of maritime architecture specialists Partner Ship Design and design experts Acumen, who developed the first lie-flat bed for British Airways and Etihad Airways’ opulent three-room sky suites.

STOP PRESS: P&O cruises has decided that it will throw open the naming process for its new cruise ship to the public. Another ‘Boaty McBoatface’ maybe?

(Source: P&O)

Below slide show:

Malcolm says: Carnival are providing AIDA, Costa and their own brand with these ships. From the P&O information above and the renderings of the Costa version of the ship, there will be some design differences between the Costa and P&O versions. For example the Costa renderings does not show a ‘Sky Dome’.

I’m still not convinced that such a large ship is a good ‘fit’ for P&O. But then I’m forgetting that P&O are no longer just catering for the ‘socks & sandals’ brigade, they are now a mass-market line hoping to attract the same passengers as Carnival, RCI and NCL.

Perhaps the most disturbing fact is that this cruise ship will carry more passengers than any other ship in history, up to 6,600. This is more that RCI’s ‘Oasis’ class, yet will be 20% smaller. You will have a little less room on-board, than on RCI’s ‘Quantum’ and ‘Oasis’ classes.

The port of Southampton will surely need more investment, in order to handle a ship carrying up to 6,600 passengers.

P&O/Costa Megaships Analysed: HERE

What is an LNG ship? See HERE

RCI Announce Project ‘Icon’ LNG Newbuilds

October 10, 2016

smaller

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

These innovations will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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

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

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

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

(Play within Youtube for larger images/text)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malcolm

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

So what is an LNG powered Ship? See Here

A Question Of Decor

October 9, 2016

Cruise ships often have more impressive décor than most shore-side buildings.  In fact it is often braver décor than most buildings have.

Many ships also have impressive art collections on board. Some ship even have art work on deck and sport impressive hull-art.

(Quantum's Bear - RCI Image)

(Quantum’s Bear – RCI Image)

How important is a ships décor really is to the passenger experience?

Cruise lines obviously think that the décor is VERY important, given the fact they spend millions of pounds/dollars on it and regularly undertake refurbishments, re-styling the decor.

I’ve certainly been on board ships where I  have loved the décor . I’ve also been on board ships where the décor has not generally been to my liking. However sometimes different public rooms are created by different designers, so it is very possible to love some rooms, think some are mediocre and dislike others – all on the same ship.

There certainly used to be a different between UK and US style  décor on-board ships.

P&O Orian Interior (1995, Courtsey Ian Boyle)

P&O Orian Interior (1995, Courtesy Ian Boyle)

For example P&O ships décor was regarded as rather tasteful to the reserved and often very traditional Brits, when compared to the Las Vegas ‘glitz’ of many American ships. However by American tastes it was understated’ or even bland.

Since Carnival acquired P&O and provided new mega-ships, we have seen more vibrant décor for British passengers. There have also been frequent visits of big US ships to UK ports offering cruises for Brits. I believe the British cruising masses are getting acclimatised to a more bold colour schemes and more glitz.

Carnival Sensation Atrium by J. Farcus (Courtesy Carnival)

Carnival Sensation Atrium by J. Farcus (Courtesy Carnival)

Joe Farcus, the American Navel Architect, has designed some mind-blowing interiors for Carnival and Costa ships. He calls it ‘Entertainment Architecture’. It’s very original, very colourful and often very loud.  It’s Las Vegas ‘Glitz’ in style with maybe a hint of psychedelia. His work is definitely not to every-bodies taste.

Décor and ‘taste’ changes over time, of course. I think the pure-glitz has gone out of fashion and in some cases is being replaced with a more sophisticated cappuccino-café style, as I call it.

For example the ‘Norwegian Cruise Lines’ (NCL) ships built between 2001-2007 (Star, Jade, Gem etc.) all have very colourful décor in places, not unlike Farcus’s work.

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL)

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL)

However NCL’s ‘Norwegian Edge’ which is a $400 million revitalization program of their fleet, will see the décor updated.  For example, the image above is Norwegian Gem’s original Atrium décor. Below is the refurbishment which less over-the-top, being more sophisticated.

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL) Refurbished

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL) Refurbished

So how important is the décor to you? Have you been on board a  ship where the décor was not to you liking? Do you love some ships décor?  Please tell me.

Malcolm

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.

200

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)

1167226793

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.

100

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.

150new

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

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

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

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

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