P&O Cruises To Lose Adonia

June 7, 2015
(Image Courtesy of MrDerails)

(Image Courtesy of MrDerails)

The smallest ship in the P&O fleet, Adonia will be rebranded as “Fathom” – the world’s first ‘voluntourism’ cruise ship.

Carnival define ‘voluntourism’ as “…. a new travel category it is calling ‘social impact travel,’ that will offer consumers authentic, meaningful impact travel experiences to work alongside locals as they tackle community needs“,

Adonia was built in 2001 for ‘Renaissance Cruises’ is approximately 30,277 gross tonnes and carries 688 passengers.

Adonia will be redeployed to Miami from  April 2016.  The last cruise for Adonia sailing in its current form will be a 14-night Amazon cruise ending on March 18, 2016.

After undergoing a dry dock, the ship will make weekly cruises to Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, where passengers will take part in volunteer projects and activities.

The Carnival web site says: “After this, the ship goes into dry-dock where it will be refurbished and rebranded. It will also no longer be adults only: “The fathom travel experience will be available to all, including families with children over eight years old,”

Carnival also said: “The voyages are designed to appeal to the American market but of course all nationalities are welcome on board if they choose this travel experience”.

(Carnival)


Malcolm says:
“Fathom” what a strange name for a ship. It sounds more like a submarine! There are a lot of unhappy P&O fans out there who enjoyed this intimate ship.

I wonder what has inspired this move? Do Carnival has a strong social conscience? There are already many other volunteering options available to people.

I assume that “Fathom”  is a profit making venture?  However, it’s hard to imagine big profits, although I guess the concept taps into a new market who would not normally cruise?

Being cynical, I bet the idea only lasts one year – maximum!

I wonder how long before P&O loses it’s other smaller/older ships ‘Oriana’ and ‘Aurora’?

Comments welcome!

Magellan Back From Drydock

June 6, 2015
(Tilbury 4/6/15 - click to enlarge)

(Tilbury 4/6/15 – click to enlarge)

The 46,052-ton Magellan has recently completed a five-week scheduled maintenance drydock at ‘Damen Shiprepair’ Amsterdam. For two of the weeks the ships  the hull, rudders and propellers underwent a thorough inspection and cleaning.

Originally built for Carnival Cruise Lines in 1985 and named Holiday, Magellan is has recently joined the fleet of the British operator Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) as their flagship.

The project was completed on schedule for Magellan’s three day cruise to Amsterdam and Antwerp departing London, Tilbury on June 4, 2015.

(CMV)

(Departing Tilbury 4/6/15 - click to enlarge)

(Departing Tilbury 4/6/15 – click to enlarge)

Magellan Review HERE

Cruise & Maritime Voyages 2016 Collection

The British based cruise line have now released their cruise calendar for 2016 and are offering many 2 for 1 deals.

They currently have four ships in their ocean fleet: Magellan, Marco Polo, Astoria (formerly Azores) and Astor.

The Astor will spend much of her time in Australian waters, but in March 2016 crosses Northbound, via South Africa,  to Tilbury. There she will offer one British Isles cruise before crossing Southbound, back to Australia via Brazil and New Zealand.

The ‘Marco Polo’ will mainly operate from Newcastle, Leith. Greenock, Liverpool and Bristol. Highlights include ‘Canada in the Fall’ August/September 2016.

Their new flagship ‘Magellan’ is mainly replacing the Marco Polo by cruising from Tilbury. The highlight is the ‘Grand Maiden World Cruise’, 5th January 2107.  This is a 120 day itinerary, with fares currently starting from £8999.

Astoria (formerly Azores) mainly cruises from Bristol until the end of April 2016, where I believe she undertakes a French charter.

CMV are also selling European River cruises, offering three vessels.

Malcolm

Full details of all ships, itineraries and fares are HERE

Marco Polo Review HERE

Cunard to Get A Fourth Ship?

June 4, 2015
(Courtsey of Cunard/Twitter)

(Courtsey of Cunard/Twitter)

Carnival Corp PLC recently announced that they would be ordering nine new ships over a four-year period from 2019 to 2022.  These new ships to be spread around their various brands: P&O Cruises, Cunard, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, P&O Australia, Holland America Line, Carnival Cruises, AIDA and Costa.

The expansion will see the vessels built by two different shipbuilders: Italy’s Fincantieri and Germany’s Meyer Werft.

Exactly which brands will get new ships has yet to be revealed by carnival.

The Internet rumour-mill suggests that Cunard might get a new fourth ship.

If so, will it just be a ‘clone’ of QE and QV or based on a different design, such as a Princess one, like P&O’s Britannia (Royal Princess)?

The net is also full of speculation about the ships name, if there is a new ship.

Malcolm

Queen Mary 2 Review HERE

Queen Victoria Review HERE

Ovation offers 2 Cruises From Southampton

June 3, 2015
(Image courtesy of RCI)

(Image courtesy of RCI)

Royal Caribbean’s third Quantum-class cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas, will offer two cruises out of Southampton, UK before she makes her way east to be homeported in China.

A five-night and seven-night cruise are available to book, with the first going from Southampton to France and Belgium on April 17 and the second going to northern Spain and Gibraltar on April 22.

Following those sailings, Ovation of the Seas will embark upon a 56-night global odyssey cruise to Asia on May 3. Ovation of the Seas will sail from Southampton to Barcelona, then Barcelona to Dubai and Dubai to Singapore. Finally, there will be a quick 3-night cruise from Singapore before she heads to Tianjin, China.

(Unofficial RCI Blog)

Anthem of the Seas review HERE

Nervous Flyer?

June 2, 2015
(Source Unknown)

(Source Unknown – click to enlarge)

A passenger on board an easyJet flight was shocked to see an airport worker applying what looked like duct tape to the engine shell, moments before take-off.

The passenger snapped a picture after spotting the worker applying the tape over a join in the turbine casing.

The image has been widely shared on the internet.

Commenting on the photo, a safety expert at the Civil Aviation Authority said: ‘The image appears to show aluminium ‘speed’ tape being applied to the aircraft”.

‘This tape is used as part of work to make minor repairs and is very common across the aviation sector and has been for many years now.”

Speed tape has an appearance very similar to duct tape, for which it is sometimes mistaken, but its adhesive is capable of sticking on an airplane fuselage or wing at high speeds, hence the name.

(Mail online)

Malcolm says: I don’t care what sort of tape it is or how well it can stick, the guy is still TAPING TOGETHER parts of a jet engine! This is proof-positive that It’s best to travel by ship.

Anthem’s “Wonderland” Nightmare

May 30, 2015
Appetising or not?

Appetising or not?

I  finally competed my comprehensive review of Royal Caribbean’s new mega-ship, “Anthem of the Seas”. It’s about 6,500 words long!

Much of the review is very positive,  but some aspects are NOT.

Below is a short extract featuring one of my negative experiences:

Wonderland (Speciality Dining)

Wonderland is an intimate dining room which carries a surcharge of £26.50 ($40 approx.) per person. The room has a charming whimsical design.

The food was created by chef is Cornelius Gallagher and the best way I can describe it, is it is Heston Blumenthal in style.

RCI say: “At Wonderland, our chefs twist their culinary kaleidoscopes to invent an elaborate dreamscape of never-before-seen fare”.

It was not some much a ‘dreamscape’ as a ‘nightmare’.

I should have realised that I was about to experience something scary, when I noticed that the muzak being played in the restaurant, was the theme tune to “Friday 13th”!

Wonderland should be renamed ‘Marmite’ as some passengers love it and others hate it.

Food is incredibly subjective and the internet is already full of some very positive reviews of wonderland, but this is NOT one of them. I consider myself to be quite adventurous with food, but Wonderland took me to uncharted territory, which I did not enjoy.

The culinary experience starts with a blank menu which you are required to paint with water to reveal the food. The menu contains little that one would recognise, which should all be part of the fun. In fact did not get to choose the dishes at all, the waitress just brought me a selection of dishes.

The presentation of the food was quite amazing, an art form in itself, however the flavours ranged from ‘bland’ to ‘unpleasant’, with a touch of ‘weird’ in between.

The multiple starters were served cold. There is a limit to how much cold food I like to eat for dinner and this experience exceeded it.

One of the early dishes was “baby vegetables in the garden”. It actually looked amazing, like vegetables growing in soil. However the vegetables were tasteless and the ‘soil’ component tasted like what I imagine soil might taste like – yuk!

Very few of the other diners appeared to finish this dish either… (continued)

Full Ship Review HERE

Ambitious New Star Clippers Vessel

May 29, 2015
(Royal Clipper)

(Royal Clipper)

Tall ship sailing specialist Star Clippers has started building a new ship due to be launched in the summer of 2017.

The yet-to-be-named vessel – the line’s first new build since Royal Clipper in 2000 and the fourth in the fleet – will be the company’s biggest and most ambitious  to date, weighing in at 8,770 tons and capable of carrying 300 passengers.

The five-mast, square-rigged barque is a near replica of France II – commissioned in 1911 – and will replace Royal Clipper as the largest ship of its kind in the world. The estimated building cost is €100 million.

The cabin grades will include 34 suites with balconies and four owner’s suites. There will also be three swimming pools and a watersports platform. The ship will initially sail the company’s popular itineraries in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, and sales are expected to open in 2016.

(Star Clippers)

Malcolm says: Fortunately cruising is not all about mega-ships! I’d love to try a star clipper but my bank manager is not so keen!

QE2 ‘left to rot’ after being sold to Dubai

May 28, 2015
QE2 @ Southampton, 2001

QE2 @ Southampton, 2001

A campaigner will be in Liverpool for the visit of the Three Queens to draw attention to the plight of the Queen Elizabeth 2, which he said had been “left to rot” in Dubai.

The former Cunard Line flagship has had close links with Liverpool ever since her momentous first call at Liverpool in 1990. She also opened the city’s new cruise terminal in 2007.

In 2008, thousands of well-wishers lined the banks of the Mersey to say an emotional farewell to the QE2 as she departed the Mersey for the last time, ahead of her final voyage to her new home in Dubai.

But now campaigner Stephen Robinson fears she will end up being scrapped unless something is done soon. He will be highlighting the ship’s plight as hundreds of thousands of people descend on Liverpool to see Cunard’s Three Queens ships in the River Mersey this weekend.

The original plan was to turn the QE2 into a luxury floating hotel, with the conversion meant to start within days of her arrival in Dubai.

(One of the concepts)

(One of the concepts)

But these plans came to nothing after Dubai’s economy crashed, and she is now floating in Port Rashid, amid persistent rumours that she could be sold for scrap.

There have been various attempts to save the historic vessel – such as efforts by a UK consortium to buy and to moor the liner permanently on the Thames.

Earlier attempts to bring her to Liverpool for preservation were abandoned.

There were also rumours she could be moved to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup.

An online group, called the QE2 Story Forum, has been set up to draw attention to the ship’s plight.

The Queen launched the QE2 in 1967. After the ocean liner went into service in 1969, she made at least 26 round-the-world voyages.

(Liverpool Echo)

QE2 Transatlantic Review HERE

Allure Emerges From Dry Docking

May 27, 2015

drydock1

Royal Caribbean’s ‘Allure of the Seas’, the biggest cruise ship in the world, has emerged from an 18-day dry dock with new dining options, cabin types and shops.

The 225,282 gross tonne, 5,400-passenger ship, will have two brand-new restaurants: Sabor Taqueria, offering Mexican food, and Coastal Kitchen for suite passengers, as well as ‘reimagined’ Izumi offering Japanese cuisine.

Allure has also had its main dining room divided into four separate dining venues: Chic, Silk, American Icon and The Grande. These four restaurants, which debuted on ‘Quantum of the Seas’ support their ‘Dynamic Dining’ concept.

Allure also has 10 new suites, including two Royal Suites, six Grand Suites and two Royal Family Suites. timepiece shop, Regalia in the Park.  Also new is a Suite Lounge, which is exclusively for suite guests.

New shops include Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors and Coach. In Central Park, there’s a new luxury timepiece shop, Regalia in the Park.

Allure of the Seas will be based in Barcelona, for the summer before returning home to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to resume Caribbean cruises.

(RCI)

Oasis of the Seas Review: HERE

Paddlewheel Ship on Loire

May 26, 2015

LP-033-24-03-2015-26Last month, French-based river cruise line CroisiEurope unveiled an innovative new paddlewheel vessel which is the first hotel ship to sail on the Loire River.

The 96-passenger Loire Princesse, named in Nantes, incorporates dual engine technology enabling it to continue sailing when normal methods of propulsion would not be effective in the river’s notoriously shallow waters.

Founded by the Schmitter family in 1976, the line was one of the early pioneers of the river cruise booking business, and the dual commemoration brings the number of ships in the fleet to 43.

Speaking to an audience of 300, Lucas Schmitter, grand-nephew of founder Gerard Schmitter, said: “The Loire Princesse is a landmark in shipbuilding and we are very proud that is 100 percent French as it was made in France, is French-owned and opened on a French river.”

le-loire-princesse-quitte-saint-nazaire

Until now, no ships with overnight cabins have operated on France’s longest river due to periods of low water. The 295-foot Loire Princesse features 48 outside cabins, a restaurant that can accommodate all passengers for single-service dining, a lounge with a central dance floor and sun deck.

The vessel will operate six- and eight-day round-trip cruises from Nantes visiting destinations such as Saint-Nazaire — where the ship was built — the chateaux of the Loire Valley and wine-growing regions.

A second paddlewheel ship is currently being built for CroisiEurope at the Saint-Nazaire shipyard. The 80-passenger Elbe Princess will be launched in 2016 and offer itineraries between Berlin and Prague on the Elbe and Moldau rivers.

(J.Williamson)

Malcolm says: There’s something romatic about Paddle Wheels!


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