P&O’s Oceana To Homeport in Malta

August 21, 2016
Oceana (Courtesy P&O)

Oceana (Courtesy P&O)

P&O Cruises will sail a new Malta-to-Malta (Valletta) itinerary on the P&O Oceana in 2017 and 2018.

The Minister for Tourism in Malta, Edward Zammit Lewis, explained that this development “is exciting for the tourism sector” and that he looked forward to enhancing further the relationship with P&O.

The Minister remarked that during 2017 over 100,000 passenger movements will be handled through this fly and cruise program on 27 calls, with an extra 10,000 passengers on five more calls. Moreover, additional port calls are planned for 2018.

(Malta Tourism)

Malcolm says: An interesting move.  At the time of writing, I have yet to see the full itineraries.


NCL Cruise From Southampton (UK) in 2017

August 20, 2016
Norwegian Jade

Norwegian Jade

The Norwegian Cruise line have announce  new European itineraries for summer 2017 on-board the newly-refurbished, Norwegian Jade. Once completed she’s promised to look even better than when she first left the shipyard!

The good news for European cruisers is that there will be more cruises roundtrip from Southampton and Hamburg.

Itineraries include the Norwegian Fjords, Norway, Iceland & UK, Northern Europe Cities, all from Southampton and Norway & North Cape from Hamburg.


Norwegian Jade review HERE

Malcolm says: I always welcome more choices form UK ports. I cruised on-board Jade some years back and she’s a very nice ship.  Although she is hardly small at around 93,000 gt., she is starting to look medium sized by todays mega-ship standards. However there have been three generations of NCL ships since Jade entered service in 2006 – Epic, Breakaway and BreakawayPlus classes.  It would be nice to see a ‘Breakaway’ class offering cruises from UK ports, but maybe they fear that they could not fill one.

Genting Dream Floated Out

August 20, 2016
(Courtesy of Genting)

(Courtesy of Genting)

The new ‘Genting Dream’, constructed for the new ‘Dream Cruises’ was floated out of the building hall at the Meyer Werft ship yard, in Germany, on Friday afternoon 19/08/16.

The 150,000-ton ship will serve the Asian market. Genting will take delivery in October.

The ships design is based on the Norwegian Cruise lines ‘Breakaway’ class.


World’s Largest Aircraft: First Flight

August 19, 2016

Hybrid Air Vehicles Airlander 10, the world’s largest aircraft, successfully completed its first flight from Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire (England), on 17 August 2016.

(Trivia: Airships were once called the Ocean Liners of the sky)

The World’s Biggest Cruise Ships

August 12, 2016
Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)


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.


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

Superyacht M/Y ILONA

August 8, 2016


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.




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.


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.


More Ilona info/images HERE

More Kent info/images HERE

The Swanky Superyacht

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!

Ulysses Ferry

August 3, 2016

Irish Ferries MV ‘Ulysses’ super-ferry operates between Holyhead to Dublin, which is a journey of just over a 3 hour voyage.

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

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

Will MSC’s ‘World Class’ Look Like This?

July 30, 2016

On the 6th April 2016, MSC Cruises announced that the STX France shipyard would be building up to four new class cruise ships for them, called the “World Class”. (What a great play on words!)

These would be delivered between 2022 and 2026.

Interestingly MSC’s ship will be powered by Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) fuel, like Carnival’s proposed megaships for Aida and Costa.

MSC’s ‘World Class’ ships will at over 200,000 gross tons, so they will be the second biggest in the world, next to RCI’s ‘Oasis’ class ships.

No renderings have yet been released.

In 2013 STX came up with a ship ‘concept’ called the ‘XP Tray’ which they revealed at the annual Miami ‘Seatrade’ show. It was an alternative design to Oasis, a mega-ship of around 200,000 gt powered by LNG fuel. (See video below).

As you can see there are definitely similarities between the ‘concept’ and the basic facts that we know about the MSC’s ‘World Class’. (In fact there are also some similarities between the ‘concept’ and MSC’s new ‘Seaside’ class too).

Don’t Get Too Excited: Ship ‘concepts’ are a bit like fashion shows. The girls parade in some amazing (outrageous) designs, but you will never see them on the street. Some ideas from the fashion collections may get adopted, but they are then watered-down for the commercial market.

Likewise, I have never seen a ‘real’ cruise ship which looked much like a ‘concept’. Likewise MSC’s ‘World Class’ is unlikely to look exactly like the ‘XP Tray’, even if it is based on the concept, but only time will tell.


More details of the ‘World Class’: HERE