Crystal Cruises

March 18, 2016

In 2015/16 Crystal announced some impressive plans to expand their range of luxury products (see here)

Here is an update of their plans:

  • Five new luxury river cruise boats in Europe: one revamp of an existing ship (Mozart); four newly-built ships (Debussy, Bach, Ravel, Mahler) to be delivered summer 2017 (here).
  • Three new 100,000-gross-ton luxury cruise liners  with condos for sale on-board, the first entering service 2019
  • Three new jets, which they just purchased for airborne cruising. Two are wide-bodies (a Boeing 787 Dreamliner and a Boeing 777) that will go into service in 2017; a GlobalExpress charter plane is up-and-running now.
  • The Esprit, the first in their new yacht line, sleeping a maximum of 62 passengers in suites. The yacht will even feature its own mini-sub.
  • Newbuild Crystal Endeavor polar megayacht with 100 suites, entering service in August 2017.(See story below)

Edie Rodriguez, President & CEO said “This is just the beginning”. 

What we could have never guessed is that  in February 2015, Crystal Cruises are set to purchase the classic America Ocean Liner, the SS United States, currently in lay-up. Their plan is to return her back to service as a fully renovated luxury vessel.


SS United States renovation: HERE

Crystal Orders Polar Megayacht

March 17, 2016
Crystal Endeavour (Courtesy of Crystal)

Crystal Endeavor (Courtesy of Crystal)

Just Months after the successful launch of Crystal Yacht Cruises’ 62-guest Crystal Esprit, and in response to traveller’s feedback and enthusiasm, the “World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line” is again upping the ante with the world’s first purpose-built polar class megayacht. Measuring 600 feet (183 meters) long, the 25,000 gross ton new build with 100 guest suites will be the largest and most spacious megayacht afloat.

Crystal’s President and CEO Edie Rodriguez announced the introduction of the line’s first-ever expedition megayacht, Crystal Endeavor, which will debut in August of 2018.  Drawing inspiration from Captain James Cooks’ research ship “HMS Endeavour,” which discovered Australia and New Zealand nearly 250 years ago – the newly built vessel will be designed for global expedition in Arctic, Antarctic and tropical conditions

“With Crystal Esprit, we discovered there are many guests, young and young at heart, who enjoy sports at sea and discovering remote islands, and as the interests and age of luxury travellers increasingly vary, we will continue to expand our collection of luxury travel options,” says Crystal president and CEO, Edie Rodriguez.

 (Courtesy of Crystal)

(Courtesy of Crystal)

The megayacht will be the first purpose-built Polar Code compliant yacht in the world with a PC6 Polar Class designation. As such, Crystal Endeavor will be able to cruise in Polar Regions during the summer and autumn.

She will also be fitted with the state-of-the-art offshore dynamic positioning technology, with computer-controlled systems to automatically maintain the ship’s position with its own propellers and thrusters. This will enable the megayacht to float atop coral reefs and other underwater wonders without utilizing anchors, which can damage the terrain or other underwater wonders in waters too deep for anchors.

The 200-guest capacity Crystal Endeavor will offer extreme adventures by air, sea and land with a complete range of “toys” which are not commonly found on today’s megayachts, including two helicopters and two landing pads for flightseeing expeditions, as well as two, 7-person submarines, eight electric amphibious zodiacs, jet skis, wave runners, kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling and scuba equipment, recompression chamber, dive support tender and a multi-person ATV.  To further deliver guest experiences distinct from any other expedition vessels, Crystal Endeavor will be equipped with SEABOBs – the world’s most technically advanced and powerful underwater scooter – that allows you to move gracefully underwater

(Courtesy of Crystal)

(Courtesy of Crystal)

The standard guest suites will measure a minimum 400 square feet (including balcony), larger than all current expedition and luxury cruise ships, while the yacht’s two Owner Suites’ will each boast a whopping 3,122 square feet (1,615ft2  interior and 1,507ft2 balcony), making them the largest luxury guest suites of any megayacht afloat.

Crystal Endeavor will be built by the Lloyd Werft Group, a collection of four shipyards in Bremerhaven, Germany.


Malcolm says: Crystal have gone form being a two ship operation a few years ago, to a dynamic cruise line with a visionary management team, offering some very exciting and unique products.  Their decision to return the ‘SS United States’ back to service is a clear demonstration of this.  It’s just a pity that I cannot afford their fares!

My only other issue is that if Crystal want to embrace history,  the original “HMS Endeavour” used English spelling and NOT “Endeavor”.

102-year-old ship to become a Hotel

March 13, 2016
(Courtesy Straits Times)

(Courtesy Straits Times)

She was built in the US in 1914, just two years younger than the Titanic. The MV Doulos has held the record for being the world’s oldest active ocean-faring passenger ship. She has  transported onions and first-class passengers around the world and even served as a floating bookshop.

Now, the vessel is being transformed into a hotel, thanks to a Singaporean businessman who spent $2 million to save it from the scrapyard in 2010.

It has finally found a permanent home on dry land at a 1.4ha site beside the Bandar Bentan Telani ferry terminal in Bintan, Indonesia, an hour away from Singapore.
Mr Eric Saw, 64, director of local food and beverage company Source Ed-Ventures, which operates floating restaurant Stewords Riverboat, hopes to open the hotel by Christmas or early next year.

It will have a maritime museum, swimming pool, library, spa, piano lounge and an amphitheatre.

Full Article from ‘Straits Times’ HERE

Malcolm says: I visited classic this historic ship in 2004 at Southampton (see below) when she was being used as a floating Christian bookshop. I must say that her interiors were a bit of a mess, to say the least. She will need a lot of work to even become a half-decent hotel. I wish them luck!

Anthem of The Seas Review

March 12, 2016


My review of RCI’s latest ship, ‘Anthem of the Seas’ is available to read.

One of the biggest ships in the world inspired me to write one of the longest reviews in the world – well 6,500 words anyway!

I have tried to address some fundamental question, which many other reviews have ignored:

Does Dynamic Dining actually Work?

Kids look well served, but what does Anthem offer adults?

Have RCI retained their ‘wow’ factor?

How does Anthem compare to Oasis and the other RCI megaships?

Does the ship feel like RCI or have they morphed into NCL?

I hope that you find the time to read at least some of it and find it useful.


Anthem of the Seas review HERE

Silversea: Luxury Expedition Ship

March 10, 2016
(Courtesy Silversea)

Silver Cloud (Courtesy Silversea)

The industry’s first luxury passenger vessel that is purpose-built for waters previously served by ageing expedition ships is coming to market.

Silversea Cruises has announced it will move Silver Cloud to its luxury expedition fleet in November 2017. Destined mostly for polar waters, the elite 296-guest ship that launched the ultra-luxury cruise line will be converted into an ice-class ship during an extensive refurbishment scheduled to start in August 2017.

As an expedition ship, the all-suite Silver Cloud will accommodate 260 guests and also sail on itineraries to non-polar regions. When sailing Arctic and Antarctic itineraries, the guest complement will be restricted to 200 to adheres to international guidelines, to ensure sustainable tourism.

Enzo Visone, Silversea’s CEO, said: “Silver Explorer’s polar expedition cruises have proven hugely popular with our guests. By converting Silver Cloud into an ice-class ship for our expedition fleet, we will be better positioned to meet the increasing demand for comfortable adventure travel, particularly to the Arctic and Antarctica, places that are best explored by small ships specially equipped with ice-strengthened hulls.”

Silver Cloud will be the only luxury ice-class expedition ship offering five dining options: The Dining Room, the Relais & Châteaux restaurant, La Terrazza, The Grill, and in-suite dining. The ship will have the highest space ratio and highest staff-to-guest ratio (nearly one to one) among luxury ice-class expedition ships. For the expedition team alone, there will be on average one team member guiding no more than twelve guests each. Plus the ship will be augmented by a fleet of 18 Zodiac crafts for up-close explorations.

The luxury expedition line currently has three all-suite expedition ships, Silver Explorer, Silver Discoverer, and Silver Galapagos. Collectively, they explore over 500 far-flung destinations, from Africa, Australia’s Kimberley Coast, and the Russian Far East, to the Galápagos Islands, the British Isles, and the polar realms.

(Source: Sliversea)

Malcolm says: Did you know that the Marco Polo used to cruise Antarctica, when she was owned by the Orient Lines between 1991 to 2008? She was originally built as a Russian ocean liner to endure the Baltic seas so had an ice strengthened hull.


Crystal Cruises To Return To The Northwest Passage

March 9, 2016
(Courtesy Crystal Cruises)

(Courtesy Crystal Cruises)

The world’s most awarded luxury cruise line will return to the legendary Northwest Passage in August 2017.

Beginning August 15, 2017, Crystal Cruises’ award-winning ocean ship, Crystal Serenity, will sail a 32-day expedition-style voyage traversing the Arctic Ocean from Anchorage/Seward, Alaska to New York City via the legendary route (500 miles north of the Arctic Circle), first completed successfully by Roald Amundsen more than 100 years ago.

The announcement comes shortly after the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line’s plans to reposition Crystal Serenity’s 2017 voyages during the spring and summer to Alaska and coastal itineraries.

 “We are thrilled to offer intrepid luxury travelers a second opportunity to explore this historical sea passage,” said Crystal’s CEO and President Edie Rodriguez. “Given the tremendous response to our inaugural Northwest Passage sailing in 2016, it’s clear that discerning travelers continue to value rare and memorable experiences as much as they prize unmatched luxury.”

Beginning August 16, 2016 Crystal will be the largest luxury cruise line to ever navigate the route, maneuvering through 900 miles of majestic waterways lined with spectacular glaciers, towering fjords, and vast unspoiled landscapes away from mainstream civilization and tourism, north of mainland Canada.

Ports-of-Call Anchorage/Seward, Kodiak, Dutch Harbor, and Nome, Alaska; Ulukhaktok, NW Territories; Cambridge Bay and Pond Inlet, Nunavut; Ilulissat, Sisimiut, and Nuuk, Greenland; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; Newport, Rhode Island, and New York, New York.

Waterways North Pacific Ocean; Bering Sea & Bering Strait; Chukchi & Beaufort Seas; Amundsen Gulf; Dolphin & Union Strait; Coronation Gulf; Dease Strait; Queen Maud Gulf; Victoria Strait; Larsen Sound; Franklin & Bellot Straits; Peel Sound; Parry Channel; Barrow Strait; Prince Regent Inlet; Lancaster Sound; Croker Bay; Navy Board Inlet; Eclipse Sound; Baffin Bay; Davis Strait; Labrador Sea; North Atlantic Ocean.

(Crystal Cruises)

Crystal Buys The SS Untied States: HERE

Oasis For China & Japan?

March 8, 2016

Oasis (M.Oliver)

According to Japanese sources, the Oasis of the Seas will be deployed in Asia in 2018.They said the ship will sail from homeports in China and Japan.

However a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean said there are no plans to bring Oasis-class ships to Asia. There are not enough ports in Asia that have the infrastructure to support that size of ship.

Meanwhile, the company is working with “at least three Japanese ports that would develop the infrastructure to be able to handle RCI’s largest ships.”

In May 2015 Royal Caribbean moved the new Quantum to China and will also deploy the new Ovation in China this year in addition to the Mariner and the Voyager.

(Source: net rumour)

Oasis review: HERE

Seaside Construction Begins

March 8, 2016

(Courtesy Fincantieri )

Construction officially began on MSC Seaside on Friday 4th march 2016, when a 550 ton keel block was laid at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.

MSC Seaside is a new class of ship for MSC and at 154,000gt is the largest ship ever built in Italy. She will enter service in November 2017, and will be named in December at the Port of Miami.

MSC Cruises has ordered two Seaside-class ships, and has the option for a third.


Seaside slide-show: HERE

CMV Gets EX-P&O Ship

March 7, 2016
(Courtesy CMV)

(Courtesy CMV)

Good news for British small ship lovers:

Under CMV’s explorer theme, Columbus will be dedicated to the British cruise market homeporting year round from London Tilbury and providing a more traditional scenic British cruise experience.

At 63,786grt and with an impressive space ratio, she will carry about 1400 mainly British passengers accommodated in 775 cabins (including 150 singles) and will become the proud new flagship of the CMV ocean fleet operating alongside Magellan (1300pax), Marco Polo (800pax), Astor (600pax) and Astoria (550pax).


The ex-Pacific Pearl will be 28 years old when it joins the CMV fleet . However she is young in comparison to Marco Polo which is  51 years old, this year (2106) and Astoria 68. Columbus and will go into dry dock in May 2017 for up-grading.

Columbus will also be targeted to the adult only (16yrs plus) market although in summer 2017 will be operating two selected August summer holiday sailings for all age groups. The ship was originally launched in 1989 and christened by Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn on 23rd March.

Christian Verhounig, CEO and Chairman of CMV explained, “The successful introduction of Magellan in 2015 has encouraged our Group to accelerate their mid-term growth plans and the addition of Columbus to the fleet in 2017 is another important milestone in achieving our longer term growth objectives”.

He added, “The strategic development of the Group’s presence in the UK and wider international markets will increase our overall capacity to 125,000 passengers in 2017. We are proud of the CMV brand’s growing international recognition and remain confident in continuing to successfully build our business as a strong value based ‘independent’ alternative.”

Chris Coates, Commercial Director commented, “We are really pleased to welcome this fine ship to our fleet which we believe will be very well suited to our core British market who appreciate and value the many benefits of cruising on smaller to mid-sized more traditional vessels of this type. The introduction of Columbus and her past association and popularity with the British cruise market spanning 13 years, will increase 2017 UK bed night capacity by 25% to 95,000 passengers. Having already sold over 85% of capacity for 2016 and with 17,000 people turning 50 every week in the UK, we remain confident that Columbus will satisfy the growing demand for our product”.

(Cruise & Maritime Voyages)

Ship Tour HERE

Malcolm says: ‘Columbus’ is the former P&O Cruises Australia ship ‘Pacific Pearl’.  She has been part of the P&O Cruises Australia fleet since 2010. However she has had a number of reincarnations: Ocean Village (2003-2010), P&O: Arcadia (1997-2003), Princess Cruises: Star Princess (1989-1997) and built as Sitmar: Fair Majesty (1988). Arcadia and Ocean Village were particularly popular wit Brits.

I was not expecting more CMV expansion. The addition of Columbus will make a fleet of five ships – bigger than Fred Olsen’s fleet. CMV must be doing something right. They are NOT five star, but I’d suggest the key to their success it due to the combination of smaller-friendly ships, regional ports and some good fares.

At nearly 64,000 gross tonnes Columbus  will be CMV’s biggest ship, eclipsing Magellan at around 46,000 gt. In fact when she was built in 1988 she would have been regarded as a mega-ship. However Columbus will not carry so many more passenger than Magellan, so is a little more spacious.

Magellan Review: HERE

Marco Polo Review: HERE

Astoria Review: HERE


Seabourn Encore Launched

March 6, 2016

The Seabourn Encore, the first of two new ships that the Italian Fincantieri shipyard is building for the Seabourn Cruise Line, was launched at the Marghera shipyard in Venice on 5th March 2016.

The Encore is due to join the fleet towards the end of 2016.

The all-suite ship is approximately 41,000 gross tons and will carry up to 600 passengers.



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