June 25, 2016
Dubai will be the new home port for Thomson Celebration this winter as the ship operates a selection of itineraries in the Arabian Gulf.
From Dubai, Thomson Celebration will sail a choice of two different seven night cruises. Arabian Nights visits Doha, Qatar; Muscat, Oman; Khor Fakkan, UAE, and Abu Dhabi. The Cities of Gold itinerary includes Manama, Bahrain; Muscat, Oman; Khasab, Oman; and Abu Dhabi.
Malcolm says: Industry rumour suggest that Thomson Cruises could base a ship in the UK year-round from 2018.
Thomson Celebration review: HERE
June 23, 2016
Cruise capacity in the Chinese market is set to grow by more than 220 per-cent over the next five years, from 1.3 million passengers in 2015 to 4.1 million passengers by 2020, according to the 2016-2017 Cruise Industry News Annual Report.
The growth pace is based on known newbuildings going to China and known ship transfers from the North American and European markets.
(Cruise Industry News)
Malcolm says: This is why all of the major cruise lines are re-deploying existing ships to Asia and/or are allocating their newbuilds to this part of the world. The potential of this emerging market is breath-taking.
June 21, 2016
The excellent Italian ‘MSC Fans’ web site has lots of images of the construction of this impressive ship, which began in April 2015.
Meraviglia (which means ‘wonder’ in Italian) will be 167,600GRT and will carry up to 4,500 passengers, double occupancy. She is due to be delivered in May 2017.
Her unique feature include an internal promenade with a ‘digital sky’ and a large indoor sports court.
Meraviglia will spend her first summer sailing the western Mediterranean. In a first for the cruise industry, she will have three home ports – Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona – giving guests the flexibility to choose where they start and finish their cruise holiday.
See MSC Fan site HERE
Meraviglia Promenade (Courtesy MSC)
June 16, 2016
Royal Caribbean International has announced that it will homeport Ovation of the Seas in Singapore in 2017 for one season.
The announcement was made during Ovation of the Seas’ maiden call in Singapore.
Making history as the first international cruise line to deploy a brand new ship to Asia for homeporting, Ovation of the Seas was delivered in April
Over her 10 sailings from March to April 2017, Ovation of the Seas is expected to add some 42,000 additional guests to the Singapore cruising scene, and delivering millions through in-port spend. She will offer return trips ranging from 3 to 5 nights to Penang, Phuket, Bangkok (Laem Chabang), and a one-way cruise to Tianjin with calls at Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) for an overnight, Hue/Danang (Chan May), Hong Kong and Seoul (Incheon).
Anthem of the Seas review HERE
Malcolm says: Asia has certainly become the new focus of attention for most of the major cruise lines. They are all essentially sending American built products that will be adapted for the Asian market. I guess those that adapt the best will be the winners in this increasingly competitive part of the world.
June 14, 2016
Boudicca (Courtesy Fred. Olsen)
Fred Olsen sent a public-mail last week saying:
“We just wanted to share with you the exciting news that Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is making a significant investment across its fleet and moving in a different direction”.
Olsen also said they would unveil significant investment and new direction on Monday June 13th, 2016. However they didn’t! There has been a delay.
So what could this mean:
Maybe they are contemplating buying another ship and/or replacing some of their older ships?
Olsen’s ‘Boudicca’ was built in 1973 and her twin sister ‘Black Watch’ was built in 1972. Both ships are full of charm, intimacy and very popular. However I don’t suppose they can be operated indefinitely at a profit, as maintenance costs rise.
Maybe they are even contemplating a newbuild?
However Olsen need to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Acquiring or building a big-ship would not be in keeping with their brand.
As for a “change in direction”, maybe Olsen want to get into river cruising?
In short, I have absolutely no idea!
(Am loving the new livery with dark hulls)
All of the Olsen fleet are reviewed by myself, menu right.
June 13, 2016
Following the acquisition of Royal Caribbean’s ‘Legend of the Seas’, Thomson Cruises have said that they could base a ship in the UK year-round from 2018.
Thomson Cruises’ managing director Helen Caron said the extra capacity afforded by a sixth ship joining the fleet in 2017 (Legend), which will be renamed ‘TUI Discovery 2’, will allow her “more flexibility” of deployment.
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.
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.
June 10, 2016
Watch TUI Discovery get a brand new look. In this video, Thomson Cruises give you a sneak peek behind the scenes of TUI Discovery’s dry dock makeover.
Discovery was formerly Royal Caribbean’s ‘Splendour of The Seas’.
Splendour of the Seas review HERE
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).
My extensive Astor SHIP REVIEW
June 3, 2016
Genting Hong Kong announced a few weeks ago that they would be building two new ships for Star Cruises in 2019 and 2020. These ships will be 201,000 gross tons with 5,000 lower berths.
The Star Cruises ships will be known as the Global Class for “worldwide” cruising.
At this early stage we do not know much more, but we do have a few renderings (above).