Posts Tagged ‘RCI’

Legend Becomes Discovery 2

May 22, 2017

Time-lapse video.

TUI Discovery 2′ is the former Royal Caribbean ship ‘Legend of the Seas’. The ship which entered service for RCI in 1994 is a modest 69,130 gross tonnes and carries 2,074 passengers.

Malcolm says: I do like what Thomson have done to the livery, It make this mature ship look quite contemporary.

My review of sister ship ‘Splendour of The Seas’: HERE

Taking Center Stage

May 19, 2017

On the subject of entertainment:

The big mass-market lines, like RCI, NCL and MSC, have really upped their game in recent years, in terms of entertainment.  In fact RCI have some of the best shows at sea, in my opinion.

RCI Returns To New Orleans

May 8, 2017

Vision of the Seas (Courtesy RCI)

Royal Caribbean International has announced its return to New Orleans with a seasonal home-based cruise ship in late 2018.

The Vision of the Seas will sail seven-night itineraries each Saturday, across the Bahamas and Yucatan Peninsula from the Port of New Orleans’ Julia Street Cruise Terminal.

Before repositioning to New Orleans on Dec. 15, 2018, Vision of the Seas will offer two 16-night sailings through the Panama Canal from Miami to Los Angeles and from Los Angeles to New Orleans. This is the  –first time in three years a Royal Caribbean cruise ship has navigated through the Panama Canal.

(Royal Caribbean)

RCI Makes Inaugural Visit To Havana

April 26, 2017

(Courtesy RCI)

It was a historic day for Royal Caribbean on Sunday 24th April 2017, when the cruise line made its inaugural visit to Cuba with the newly revitalised Empress of the Seas, as part of a five-night sailing from Miami. Adventure-seeking holidaymakers were among the first guests to explore the island country known for its legendary nightlife, iconic music and distinct culture. Guests participated in curated excursions throughout Havana, including rides in 1950s classic American cars to the city’s most famous locales, such as the Old Quarter and the Havana Club Museum.

Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International said, “We’re thrilled to be a part of Cuba’s future, ushering in Royal Caribbean’s next big adventure with Empress of the Seas’ first visit to Havana. Holidaymakers will now be able to experience a destination like no other, with authentic and immersive experiences that bring to life the vibrancy of Havana and its traditions.”

The vibrant Cuban culture extends beyond land to the experience onboard Empress of the Seas. From cortaditos and café con leche in Café Royal, to salsa music and dancing in Boleros Latin lounge, guests will enjoy a range of on-board activities designed to bring the spirit of the island to life throughout the entire journey.

After returning to Miami, Empress of the Seas will reposition to Tampa, Florida, for the summer season – Royal Caribbean’s first ever summer programme from the destination – offering a series of four, five and six-night sailings, including day and overnight visits to Havana, along with stops in Key West and Belize City, as well as Costa Maya and Cozumel. Sailings from Tampa are available until the 4th November 2017, when Empress will return to Miami for the winter season, adding calls to CocoCay and Nassau in The Bahamas.

(RCI)

Big Ships, Big Reviews

April 25, 2017
untitled

(Courtesy P. Massey)

I am fortunate enough to have cruised on some of the world’s  biggest cruise ships. Here are some of my reviews, which are often as big as the ships themselves:

Anthem of the Seas: HERE

Norwegian Escape: HERE

Oasis of the Seas: HERE

‘Rhapsody of the Seas’ For Sale?

April 7, 2017

(Courtesy RCI)

It is being rumoured on the net that Royal Caribbean has put ‘Rhapsody of the Seas’ (1997) has been put up for sale.

I cannot confirm that this is true, but ‘Splendour’ (1995) and ‘Legend’ (1994) have already been sold to Thomson/TUI, so RCI are clearly off-loading their older tonnage.

All these ships are are at least 20 years old. Although they still have plenty of life left, they are small and dated by modern standards.

RCI are clearly not a brand about classic/intimate ships, they are all about floating family-friendly resorts. The above ships were considered to be big and state-of-the-are in their day, but RCI are now building ships more than twice as big.  Economies of scale make bigger ships more profitable to operate.

RCI have an extensive new-build program. At the time of writing, RCI have a fourth ‘Oasis’ class ship currently being constructed and a fourth and fifth ‘Quantum’ class ships on order.  I almost forgot the forthcoming ‘Icon’ class ships too.

Project Icon

.

Royal Caribbean Cruises had announced their next class of cruise ship, ‘Project Icon’, in October 2016.

The reason that I almost forgot about ‘Icon’, is that there is so little information available and so many other newbuilds around, offering more information. Icon had slipped my memory.

Of course it is not usual these days that new ships are shrouded in secrecy. The cruise line enjoy slowly drip-feeding the pubic with snippets of information.

In fairness to RCI, their is still a long time to go until these new vessels enter into service. I’m just very impatient!

However it was very exciting news that there was to be another new ‘class’ of ship from RCI.  I was not expecting this so soon after the introduction of the ‘Quantum’ class

Mind you building LNG ships simply follows suit with Carnival and MSC who also have big LNG ships on order. Let’s also not forget that Quantum’s ‘Dynamic Dining’ system was a flop – maybe they are keen to move on?

I wonder what new innovations RCI will come up with this time? How do you beat a park, bumper-cars, skydiving simulator and an observation pod?  It must get increasingly difficult  to keep being innovative. There new mega-ships should provide plenty of room on-board for wow-features.

The delivery of the Icon ships may well see the departure of  RCI’s older tonnage.

Malcolm

Some Details – Project Icon

Project Icon is just the preliminary name for RCI’s two upcoming cruise ships.

However, Royal Caribbean has already trademarked the name “Icon of the Seas”, which could be an indication as to the name of the first ship.

The vessels will be delivered in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024, by the shipbuilder Meyer Turku.

At 200,000 gross tonnes, carrying 5,000 passengers, the ships will be smaller than the Oasis class (in terms of gross tonnage), but larger than the Quantum class.

The ‘Icon’ ships will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and will introduce the use of fuel cell technology. However they are expected to also be able to operate using conventional maritime fuel as a well, for ports without the necessary LNG infrastructure.

These innovations will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions

RCI said it will begin testing fuel cell technology on an existing Oasis-class ship in 2017, and will also run progressively larger fuel cell projects on new Quantum-class vessels being built in the next several years.

So what is an LNG powered Ship? See Here.

RCI’s Passion & Pulse To be LNG Powered

March 24, 2017

(Courtesy RCI)

Royal Caribbean’s fourth ‘Quantum’ class ship (actually called ‘Quantum-Plus’ class) will be named ‘Passion of the Seas’ and will be delivered by Meyer Werft, Germany, in 2019.

Their fifth ‘Quantum-Plus’ class ship, to be named ‘Pulse of the Seas’, will be deliver in 2020.

It has been strongly rumored that both ships will be LNG powered, in keeping with many newbuilds form other major cruise lines, such as Carnival and MSC.

Royal Caribbean’s next class of ship, currently shrouded in secrecy, know as ‘Project Icon’ will also be LNG powered.

Quantum Class: Anthem of the Seas review HERE

What is LNG?

Using LNG to power ships is not a completely new idea. However to date, LNG use has been restricted to smaller vessels operating rather short runs. This is due to the large size of fuel tanks required and the few bunkering facilities available. However it is a new idea for cruise ships and certainly for a megaship design.

LNG is superior to pipeline gas in quality. This is because LNG is purer, has more methane as well as other energy content, and also because of its chemical structure since it has a stable composition. Its combustion generates no unburned residues, particulates or soot, and releases less greenhouse gas than traditional marine gas oil (MGO). Future maritime emissions regulations, especially in sensitive environments are likely to demand this. Perhaps the most appealing aspect about LNG is that under the right operating conditions it can reduce fuel costs.

In addition, using  LNG can double the maintenance intervals, because the gas is so clean,  ship owners may get  25,000 hours between maintenance intervals, maybe more, opposed to 12,500 hours with standard fuel.

Viking Grace, LNG Ferry

Viking Grace, LNG Ferry

Here is an interesting example: VIKING GRACE is a European passenger ferry (2013, 57,000gt, STX, Finland) powered by LNG. Gas take up more space than fuel-oil. In fact six times more space. Therefore large tanks for the gas are located on deck, of the ferry, to save space in the hull (See image above).

However the renderings of  Carnival’s newbuilds do not appear to have LNG storage tanks on the deck.

(Source unknown)

(Source unknown)

LNG cruise ship ‘concepts’ have been around a long time. The renderings below are a design by Wärtsilä, the marine engine company.

(Image courtesy of Wärtsilä)

(Image courtesy of Wärtsilä)

Interestingly the concept ship uses drive shaft technology, rather than pods. The LNG tans are located internally, below the funnel area.

2-ship-innards

( Wärtsilä)

The engines on-board the new Carnival ships will not exclusively be powered by LNG, but will be ‘dual fuel’ being capable of burring both LNG and liquid fuel, and combinations of both at the same time. burning exclusively LNG could be saved for environmentally sensitive areas. This would reduce the fuel storage space required.

Malcolm

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

RCI Announce Project ‘Icon’ LNG Newbuilds

October 10, 2016

smaller

Royal Caribbean International has today announced that its newest class of ships will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and will introduce the use of fuel cell technology.

These innovations will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The cruise line said that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with shipbuilder Meyer Turku for the new class of vessel under the project name “Icon.” The vessels will be delivered in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024.

The ships will carry 5,000 passengers. They are expected to also be able to operate using conventional maritime fuel as a well, for ports without the necessary LNG infrastructure.

Icon is the first new ship class announced by RCI since Celebrity Cruises’ new Edge class, which debuts in 2018. (Also shrouded in secrecy)

RCI said it will begin testing fuel cell technology on an existing Oasis-class ship in 2017, and will also run progressively larger fuel cell projects on new Quantum-class vessels being built in the next several years.

Malcolm says: Wow, exciting news – another new ‘class’ of ship from RCI. I was not expecting this so soon after the introduction of the ‘Quantum’ class (see video below). 

Mind you building LNG ships simply follows suit with Carnival and MSC who also have big LNG ships on order. Let’s also not forget that Quantum’s ‘Dynamic Dining’ system was a flop – maybe they are keen to move on?

RCI are masters of secrecy, so I don’t suppose we will get any more details for months/years.

We know very little facts about Icon, apart from she will carry 5,000 passengers, but is that lower berths or full capacity? Even the all-important gross tonnage has been omitted form some press releases.

However several sources suggests that ‘Icon’ will be 200,000 gt which makes  the 5,000 passenger figure  look like a lower-berth statistic. (A 200,000 gt ship with 5K passengers gives us a similar space-ratio to ‘Harmony’)  This size of ship is in keeping with Carnival, MSC and Genting’s newbuilds, so this size sounds very likely to me.

In contrast, the ‘Quantum’ class is  approximately 168,00 gt., carrying 4,905 passengers – all berths. The Oasis class is around 227,000 gt carrying 6, 780 – all berths. Icon would sit in-between the two, in terms of gross tonnage.

I wonder what new innovations RCI will come up with this time? How do you beat a park, bumper-cars, skydiving simulator and an observation pod?  It must get increasingly difficult  to keep being innovative. However, if Icon is a 200,000 gt ship, there will be plenty of room for wow-features onboard, if they want.

The arrival of these new ships may well see the departure of  RCI’s older tonnage.

Majesty has now been in the fleet for 24 years, Grandeur 20 years, Enchantment and Rhapsody 19 years and Vision 18 years. Although the life expectancy of a cruise ship can be 30+ years, in six-eight years time, when the ‘Icons’ arrive, RCI’s older tonnage will look even smaller and more dated.

The pressure is now on NCL to go bigger and go LNG.

Malcolm

STOP PRESS: On October 2016, Royal Caribbean filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for “Icon of the Seas”.

So what is an LNG powered Ship? See Here

A 5th Oasis Class For RCI

May 25, 2016
89715678_da2dfa95-8ef8-41e8-8683-6f0cf63bf311

(Image courtesy of BBC)

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding with STX France to build a fifth Oasis-class ship for delivery in spring 2021, and two additional Edge-class ships for Celebrity Cruises that would arrive in autumn 2021 and autumn 2022.

(RCI)

Oasis review: HERE

Malcolm says: The first of the ‘Edge’ class ships is just over two years away and we know nothing about it. I can remember a time when new ships were not so very secretive.

Beauty & The Beast

December 12, 2015

Many of my readers enjoy smaller ships. They enjoy their  intimacy and often prefer the aesthetics of smaller (often older) ships to todays floating apartment blocks.

I found this picture below, of two lovely ship models, to illustrate the point:

unitedstates7a

The apartment block in question is ‘Oasis of the seas’.  The smaller ship is the legendary ‘SS United States’ Ocean Liner.

Now I don’t doubt the achievement and facilities that Oasis represents. However in terms of aesthetics the SS United States wins hands down. She is a machine of beauty and the fastest Ocean Liner ever built.

‘Oasis of the seas’ is of course extremely successful, while the ‘SS United States’ is in lay-up, slowly rusting away. Over the years, she has regularly faced the prospects of being scrapped.

I love both ships.

You can find my review of  ‘Oasis’ and material about the ‘SS united States,’ on this site, if you want to know more about either ship.

Malcolm

Megaship Review: Anthem of The Seas

June 30, 2015

 

Ripcord

Ripcord -Anthem of The Seas (Click to enlarge)

One of the biggest ships in the world inspired me to write one of the longest reviews in the world (well probably) – it’s around 6,000 words!

Here is a short extract:

Anthem is different to all other RCI ship. If fact she did not feel like a RCI ship to me. This is because the ships basic design is not unlike NCL’s new ships, with multiple dining options and multiple entertainment venues.

‘Dynamic Dining’ is very similar to NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ dining. It does offer more choice and flexibility than on-board any other class of RCI ship. However RCI still appear to be struggling to manage it effectively.

Malcolm

Anthem of the Seas review HERE

6,500 Words About ‘Anthem of the Seas’

June 11, 2015

DSC_0161

Just a reminder: My review of RCI’s latest ship, ‘Anthem of the Seas’ is now available to read.

One of the biggest ships in the world inspired me to write one of the longest reviews in the world – well 6,500 words anyway!

Let’s not forget that ‘Anthem’ does not have the ocean to itself.  She is in competition with a number of other cruise lines who now have  their own mega-ships, including NCL, Princess, P&O and Carnival. MSC also have some very big newbuilds too, on order.

Anthem: Some strange art!

Anthem: Some strange art!

I have tried to address some fundamental question, which many other reviews have ignored:

Does Dynamic Dining actually Work?

Kids look well served, but what does Anthem offer adults?

Have RC retained their ‘wow’ factor?

How does Anthem compare to Oasis and the other megaships?

Does the ship feel like RCI or have they morphed into NCL?

I hope that you find the time to read at least some of it and find it useful.

Malcolm

Anthem of the Seas review HERE

Anthem of the Seas Review

May 16, 2015

DSC_0078

At last, I have finished my review of RCI’s latest ship, ‘Anthem of the Seas’.

One of the biggest ships in the world inspired me to write one of the longest reviews in the world (well probably) – it’s around 6,000 words! Even then I only got to comment on a fraction of the public rooms and facilities.

I have tried to address some fundamental question, which many other reviews have ignored:

Does Dynamic Dining actually Work?

Kids look well served, but what does Anthem offer adults?

Have they retained their ‘wow’ factor?

How does Anthem compare to Oasis and the other megaships?

Does the ship feel like RCI or have they morphed into NCL?

It’s not a review for those who want a quick overview of the ship. It’s not all good either – there were bits that I really did not like. It will probably upset some RCI fans.

I hope that you find the time to read at least some of it and find it useful.

Malcolm

Anthem of the Seas review HERE