Holland America Names Second New Ship

May 23, 2016

(Courtesy HAL)

Holland America Line is to gain a second new ship in 2018, another Pinnacle-class vessel named Nieuw Statendam.

The 99,500 gross ton, 2,650 passenger ship, will be the sixth vessel in the line’s history to bear the name Statendam.


New Rendering: Star Cruises 201,000 gt Ships

May 22, 2016
Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

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

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


Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Will NCL go 200,000gt? Speculation HERE

Just Back From MS Astor

May 17, 2016

Itinerary (Courtesy CMV)

Cruise and Maritime Voyages will have a fleet of five ocean ships, mainly operating form UK ports, by June 2017.

They have a growing reputation for good value cruising on-board classic ships.

One ship in particular, ‘MS Astor’, spends most of her year in Australian waters, occasionally the Indian Ocean and around South Africa.

At 20,606 gross tonnes and carrying just 600 passengers, she offers a very intimate experience when compared to many of today’s mega-ships.

She was built in 1987 under the name Astor in Kiel, West Germany, as a combined ocean liner/cruise ship for the Southampton-cape town route.

She made a rare appearance at Tilbury on Saturday 23rd of April 2016, offering an 8 night ‘British Isles Discovery’ cruise. This was my chance to try her.

Here is my extensive Astor SHIP REVIEW

(Reviews of the rest of the CMV fleet: Marco Polo, Magellan and Astoria are also available menu right).

The Big Ships Are Coming!

May 15, 2016
(Genting/Star 201,000 gt)

(Genting/Star 201,000 gt)

Have you ever noticed that new cruise ships of any period, tend to be built a similar size to each other?

Let me explain: When I first started cruising in 1998, the definition of a mega-ship was around 77,000 gross tonnes.

Celebrities Mercury and Galaxy were around 77,000 gt and so were a number of other ships at the time, give or take a little bit.  For example: Rhapsody, Enchantment, and Vision of the Seas, Norwegian Sky and Spirit were all of a similar size.

In 2004, for a period of a few years, many ship, like Cunard’s Queen Victoria, were around the 90,000 gt range, although Princess ships were around the 115,000 gt at the time.

However it’s not a mystery as to why:

Some ships are a similar design, or at least share the Hull design/size. P&O’s Arcadia (2005) is essentially the same ship design as Cunard’s Queen Victoria (2004) and Queen Elizabeth (2010), all are Carnival ‘vista’ Class.

Today (2016) I note that the future order books are being filled with newbuilds which are around an astonishing 200,000 gt.

Courtesy of Costa. (Click to enlarge)

183,000 gt – Courtesy of Costa.

Carnival are building Costa Cruises two 183,000 gt ships in 2019 and 2020. In 2018 and 2020, AIDA will also get two ships based on the same design.

The Mediterranean shipping Company (MSC Cruises) have announced four 200,000 gt “World Class” ships in 2022-2026.

Genting have just announced that they will build two “Global Class” ships in 2019/2020 for Star Cruises at 201,000 gt.

Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

I’m sure that the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) will also soon be following suit.

For those who don’t understand the maths, for comparison: the legendary ‘Queen Elizabeth II’ (QE2) was around 70,000 gt, and the ‘Marco Polo’ is a very modest 22,000 gt.

So Royal Caribbean’s ‘Harmony of the Seas’ is the world’s biggest cruise ship at 227,700 gt. but the other lines are fast catching up.

Harmony of the Seas

Harmony of the Seas

This is a golden age of ‘big’ ship building – these are the biggest moving objects ever made by man.



Has RCI’s ‘Dynamic Dining’ Failed?

May 11, 2016
Not so "Dynamic" after all?

Not so “Dynamic” after all? (Image courtesy of RCI)

Regular readers will recall that RCI’s new culinary innovation: ‘Dynamic Dining’, which was launched on-board ‘Quantum of the Seas’, proved to be very controversial.

‘Dynamic’ was a very significant change in direction for RCI (the number two cruise line). 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 many passengers have complained and feel that ‘Dynamic’ does not work very well. Some found themselves queuing for a table.

Essentially ‘Dynamic’ is a copy of the Norwegian Cruise Lines ‘Freestyle’ dining concept. However NCL have had almost twenty years practice to make it work. RCI have not been so successful at operating there’s.

Royal Caribbean has just announced that they have decided to stick with its Dynamic Dining program on-board Anthem of the Seas, as well as other Quantum-class ships at least when the passengers are primarily English-speaking. However that statement hardly sounds like a vote of confidence, does it?

The Quantum class ships are all designed with multiple dining rooms, rather than one large-main one, so reverting back to a traditional form of dining would not be easy to achieve.

Never the less, ‘Quantum of the Seas’, the first Quantum-class ship, is homeported in Shanghai and she will not offer Dynamic Dining.

In addition, RCI had intended that all three Oasis-class ships (Oasis, Allure and Harmony) would receive Dynamic Dining, as well. Those plans have now been scrapped, and the cruise line has no intention of resurrecting it.

Another issue for me is that ‘Dynamic Dining’ and the ‘Quantum class’ ship design made RCI’s product very similar to NCL’s. There is little differentiation apart from the fact that  NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ worked  better.

I admire RCI for taking a risk, but I bet we do not see this form of ‘Dynamic Dining’ again on future RCI newbuilds.


(Am I wrong? Reply and tell me?)

My review below comments extensively on the dining arrangements on-board ‘Anthem of the Seas’:

Anthem of the Seas review HERE

Ship Reviews

May 8, 2016

(Courtesy P. Massey)

I am fortunate enough to have cruised on some of todays newest/biggest cruise ships. Here are some of my reviews:
Anthem of the Seas: HERE

Norwegian Getaway: HERE

Oasis of the Seas: HERE

Introducing The World’s First Underwater Lounge

May 2, 2016
(Courtesy Ponant)

(Courtesy Ponant)

Cruise passengers will be able to sip their sundowners beneath the waves in full view of passing sealife from 2018, with the launch of the world’s first subaquatic ship lounge.

The brainchild of French expedition cruise line, Ponant, the underwater salon will offer passengers a fresh perspective on the world’s waterways thanks to giant windows built into the hull.

Read full Telegraph article HERE

Newbuilds (Courtesy Ponant)

Newbuilds (Courtesy Ponant)

Oldest River Vessel

April 29, 2016


(Courtesy Gota Kanal)

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

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

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

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

More Information HERE

Doulos – The Oldest Ocean-Going Ship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Wikipedia)

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

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

Further Details of MSC Seaside

April 25, 2016

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

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

More Details Revealed


Atrium (Courtesy of MSC)

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


Outdoor Sushi Bar (Courtesy MSC)

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

Fill Cruise Critic Article: HERE

Will NCL Go To 200,000gt?

April 19, 2016


In July 2015 the Carnival cruise line ordered four 180,000 gross ton mega-ships, with the German ship builder Meyer Werft. These will be for their Costa and AIDA brands.

Each ship will accommodate 6,600 passengers (all berths) which is a world record. Carnival have now confirmed that two of the new ships will go to their AIDA brand and two to their Costa brand.

On the 6th April 2016, MSC Cruises announced that the STX France shipyard would be building up to four new  cruise ships for them, called the “World Class”. These would be delivered between 2022 and 2026.

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, with ‘harmony of the Seas’ being  227,700gt.

Costa 180,000gt Ship

Costa 180,000gt Ship (Courtesy carnival)

Where does the above news  leave the world’s third biggest cruise line, the Norwegian cruise Line (NCL)?

Currently NCL’s  Breakaway-Plus class of ship is the world’s third biggest at 164,600gt. At present, their ships are only eclipsed in size by RCI’s ‘Quantum’ class at 168,666gt and of course the mighty ‘Oasis’ class. However if they do not build bigger they will slip down the league table as MSC and Genting etc. rise up.

Now I am reliably informed that the big players in the cruise industry always have something on the drawing-board. In fact there have been internet rumors circulating since 2014 that NCL were designing a new class of ship, around the 200,000gt range.

Now Costa, Aida, Genting and MSC have now entered the “My ships bigger than yours” game, which has been dominated by RCI in recent years. Therefore I can almost guarantee that NCL will be announcing a new class of bigger ship in the near future.  After all their Breakaway-plus class is only 35,000gt short of the magic number.


Norwegian Joy, Breakaway-Plus Class  (Courtesy of NCL)

So what might we expect from a 200,000gt NCL ships? Well, NCL have just announced that there next ship, ‘Norwegian Joy’ (aimed a the Chinese market) will have a Go-Kart track and Hover-Bumper Cars.

An even bigger ships will of course have EVEN more ‘Freestyle’ dining and entertainment venues – that’s a given. However such a big ships potentially has more room for ‘Wow’ type public spaces and more/new activities and sports facilities.

I look forward to seeing my prediction realised.


Below: NCL’s biggest class of ship so far.

Foot Note: The Carnival cruise line once has a concept design called ‘Pinnacle’, which is  said to be a ship of at least 200,000 gt carrying 6,000 passengers,  but they decided not to proceed and never build it. (Yet).


Carnival Pinnacle? (Fincantieri)

More Info: Carnival’s biggest ship never built HERE


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