Which Ship Was I On?

February 5, 2017

I have recently returned from a cruise. Can you guess what type of ship I was on?

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  1. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze.
  2. The meals were all served in a single sitting.
  3. The food was five star.
  4. The wine with dinner was free.
  5. There was no ‘scrum’ for breakfast. There were no queues for anything.
  6. The sun deck had a chair for every passenger.
  7. The waters were very calm so nobody got sea-sick.
  8. There were no inside cabins.
  9. The ship was easy to get around and nobody got lost.
  10. The views were plentiful.
  11. Coach excursions at ports of call were generally not required.
  12. I did not need to ever dress-up.
  13. There was no hard sell.
  14. There were no kids, water slides or rock climbing walls.

Malcolm

See the answer HERE

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)

 

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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. 

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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)

Symphony of the Seas

January 20, 2017
Oasis (M.Oliver)

Oldest Sister: Oasis of the seas

The name for Royal Caribbean’s fourth Oasis class ship has been leaked.

The release allegedly came from FlowRider, Inc, which manufactures Royal’s signature surf simulators.

In the line’s exclusive announcement that the fourth Oasis-class ship will feature two simulators, the name Symphony of the Seas was revealed. The post has since been taken down from the website.

There is even an image from the shipyard which shows a partial name on the ships hull: “Symph…” so I take that as proof positive.

The ship is currently under construction and like its sister ship, Harmony of the Seas, will sit amongst the largest cruise ships in the world.

There has not been any details on itineraries or the ship itself revealed as of yet, although the line’s International CEO, Michael Bayley, confirmed in an interview that Royal’s next  ship will be coming to the United States, following a brief European summer season.

Bayley has also recently referenced the fourth in the line’s Quantum class by a name unheard of until now: “In 2019 we will have Quantum Plus.”

(cruise.co.uk)

Oasis review: HERE

Genting World Dream Keel Laid

January 18, 2017

Genting Hong Kong and Meyer Werft recently laid the keel of ‘World Dream’ during a ceremony held in Papenburg, Germany on Tuesday, January 10.

This will be ‘Dream Cruises’ second luxury ship.

“After the successful debut of Genting Dream last November and the wonderful reception the ship has experienced from our guests, we are excited to start the construction process on World Dream,” said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Genting Hong Kong. “World Dream will push the bar even higher for the cruise industry through her quality construction and customized design, best in class service and diverse range of entertainment, dining, leisure and recreation options – all complemented by Dream Cruises’ Asian at Heart, International in Spirit hospitality.”

World Dream will join her sister ship ‘Genting Dream’ November 2017. Dream Cruises will have the newest fleet which is 100 percent dedicated to the Asia cruise market.

Genting Dream Itineraries

Dream Cruises has now announced summer 2017 cruise itineraries for the Genting Dream.

Beginning on April 2, the Genting Dream will set sail from her dual homeports of Hong Kong and Nansha, Guangzhou on five-night voyages to Naha and Miyakojima in Okinawa, Japan.

There will also be two-night weekend cruises sailing from Hong Kong

(Genting)

Oriana’s Refit

January 16, 2017

We’re excited to announce that Oriana has undergone a refit to improve the overall cruise experience for our guests. After listening to your feedback, we collaborated with leading cruise-industry architects Richmond on a refit programme that encompasses updates to the cabins, suites, entertainment areas, restaurants, bars and public areas and brought Oriana up to the high standards that we hold across our entire fleet. We have of course retained Oriana’s most distinctive features, but guests can now enjoy new luxurious materials, soft furnishings and carpets, upgraded furniture, improved lighting, rich colour schemes and the ultimate in comfort and relaxation.

Refit Summary

Traditional cruising at its best has become even better. Oriana has undergone a fabulous makeover by Richmond International (famed for creating luxury hotels on six continents, as well as our own beautiful Britannia).

She returns with defining features such as her Tiffany glass ceiling and Art Deco accents still in pride of place. Yet, elsewhere you’ll find subtle changes including renewed cabins, suites, entertainment areas, restaurants, bars and public areas. Looking forward to seeing her revitalised interiors? We can’t wait to welcome you back on board.

The Peninsular & Oriental Restaurants

The Peninsular and Oriental Restaurants are Oriana’s elegant main dining rooms, welcoming hundreds of guests each night and offering world-class dining surrounded by graceful décor and magnificent ocean views.

To refresh the areas, we have replaced the carpets and curtains, upgraded the lighting and changed the colour schemes in both restaurants. This rejuvenation ensures that you can continue to dine in elegance and style for years to come.

Cabins

We know that the place you rest your head while on holiday is one of the most important aspects of a relaxing break. Your cabin should be where you look forward to heading to at the end of the day, and a space for some much-needed time out during busy holiday activities.

To that end, we’ve replaced all soft furnishings with more modern and elegant designs, and repaired furniture to a high standard or replaced it. Bathrooms and toilets have undergone repairs and upgrades to bring them up to the standard that our guests deserve, and maintenance work on balconies ensure that you see the sunset in style and comfort.

Salon, Spa & Gym

To offer guests the best salon treatments, we have introduced a new pedicure station and upgraded salon equipment such as the washbasins and treatment beds, so guests can be pampered to their heart’s content.

Our Spa has a new look, too, we have refurbished the spa and relaxation areas to rival your favourite spa on dry land. We’ve uplifted the sauna, steam-room, whirlpool and changing areas with new tiling, modern furniture and contemporary equipment. And also an improved layout meaning that you can focus on pounding the pounds in the gym area, while the relaxation areas are all about escaping to a calming retreat with soothing décor and natural effects such as wood, flowers and plants.

The Conservatory and The Beach House

Wherever you dine on board Oriana, we want to you to experience the best of our service. The Conservatory and The Beach House include new service counters as well as increased seating and two-seater tables so more guests can enjoy what both areas have to offer.

We also want you to enjoy the elegance and classic luxury of cruising in every part of the ship, so we’ve introduced new lighting designs, upgraded the furniture and replaced the carpet throughout the areas to ensure a refreshed and reinvigorated dining space.

Anderson’s

Named after P&O founder Arthur Anderson, rest assured Anderson’s bar has retained its sense of understated luxury. Only now, it’s an even more ideal venue for a pre-dinner tipple or a relaxing nightcap, with stylishly elegant new bar stools, sofas, chairs, tables, lamps, carpets and rugs.

(Text/Images Courtesy P&O)

Amadeus Provence – The New Flagship

January 15, 2017

Many of you may not have heard of Amadeus river cruises (formerly Luftner cruises) before, at least until you read my blog.

Amadeus are a family owned business (the Austrian Luftner family) who will introduce their fourteenth river ship in April year.

I have now cruised with them twice simply because of their good quality product and some very competitive fares.

Their new ship called ‘Amadeus Provence’ (not Silver 4) is currently being built in the Dutch shipyard ‘De Hoop’.

She will be 110 meters long and carry 140 passengers. She is  shorter than some newbuilds, probably because of the constraints the rivers she will be cruising on. She will sailing on the French rivers Rhône and Saône.

Amadeus Provence (Click to Enlarge)

Amadeus Provence (Click to Enlarge)

In their own words: The AMADEUS Provence offers custom-designed luxury and features a unique combination of modern elegance and superb amenities:
8 spacious Suites with comfortable corner sofa, luxurious bathroom and walk-out exterior balcony
62 Staterooms with mainly drop-down panoramic windows, luxurious bathrooms and walk-in wardrobes
Spacious public areas such as the pool deck with swimming pool and Lido-Bar or the outdoor glass-shielded “River Terrace”.

The AMADEUS Provence will transport you on the river cruise of a lifetime. Don’t miss the breath-taking 8-day cruise “French Savoir Vivre” from/to Lyon and experience world-famous sights such as Pont du Gard, Gorges de l´Ardèche, the nature reserve Camargue und the wine area Beaujolais. 

The design of Provence is a little different to all the other Amadeus ships.

The ship has to pass under a number of low bridges on these itineraries, which means the sun deck has to regularly be closed to passengers.

However I believe the new ‘pool deck’ at the stern (not featured on any of their other ships) is located lower so it can still be used when the sun deck is closed.

Malcolm

Amadeus Silver II ship review: HERE

Amadeus Elegant ship review HERE

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

Titanic Vs Oasis of The Seas

December 26, 2016

wHyxSE0

A few years back I wrote an article for this blog called “Titanic Vs Oasis of the Seas”.

Now I must admit that I did not spend weeks researching it. I put it together quite quickly. It was really just meant to be a bit of fun. Interestingly the article continues to attract more comments than anything else that I have ever written, including some quite negative ones, such as:

“This is stupid, how can you compare these two ships, they are Apples and Oranges”

“These two ships were built 100 year’s apart, of course they are not the same”

“The Titanic was a work of art, Oasis is just a floating shopping mall”

“This article is stupid”

Well, the commentators are fully entitled to their own opinions.  The two ships ARE completely different to each other and they WERE built almost 100 years apart. However silly it is to compare these two ships, I still did it!

It’s quite ironic that the article looks like it will be my  most viewed again, in 2016 as it was in 2015.  If I want a larger readership, I obviously need to write more silly stuff!

You can read it: HERE