Cunard’s Summer at Sea luxury UK voyages drive busiest booking day for a decade

Queen Elizabeth seen sailing down Southampton water image: © Andrew McAlpine

In a recent press release Cunard have announced that the launch of it’s Summer at Sea luxury UK voyages has driven the busiest booking day in the UK for a decade.

Cunard’s Summer at Sea voyages on board Queen Elizabeth, sailing between July and October 2021, comprise of scenic cruises along the UK coastline, voyages that include ports of call around Britain or those that simply sail to wherever the sun shines brightest. All are round-trip from Southampton.

Cunard president Simon Palethorpe said:

“Guests are showing that their desire to travel with Cunard is stronger than ever as they seek a slice of luxury and exemplary service.

“This record-breaking day follows a phenomenal response to our Centenary World Voyages, on board Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria in 2023, which went on sale a few weeks ago. In perhaps an indication that guests are upgrading having not travelled for a while, suites on board these voyages pretty well sold-out at the end of the first day of sales, with only one top suite remaining.

“We are delighted by this response from guests and particular thanks to all of our agent partners for their continued work supporting guest bookings. We’re really looking forward to welcoming guests back on board this summer.”

Cunard’s Summer at Sea voyages comprise of ten British Isles Voyages and three Sun Voyages lasting between three and twelve nights. Guests will be able to experience the most luxurious summer at sea enjoying exquisite fine dining, the on-board spa and spectacular entertainment while having the opportunity to see the UK’s coastline from a unique vantage point.

British Isles Voyages include scenic sailings along Britain’s coastline including The Jurassic Coast, England’s only natural UNESCO world heritage site, Cornwall including Land’s End and Scotland including the Isle of Arran, Mull of Kintyre and Sound of Mull. Four voyages will make various port calls, including Liverpool, Greenock, Invergordon, Belfast, Newcastle as well as a maiden call for Cunard’s fleet to the Welsh port of Holyhead.

Four night scenic British Isles Voyages are priced from £599 per person for a Balcony Stateroom, while a ten night British Isles Voyage will start at £1,299 per person for a Balcony Stateroom. Seven night Sun Voyages are priced from £899 per person for a Balcony Stateroom.

Fleet mates Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria seen anchored of Weymouth last year.
Fleet mates Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria seen anchored of Weymouth last year.
image: © Andrew McAlpine

To book visit www.cunard.com  or telephone 0344 338 8641 or contact a travel agent.

Cunard’s busiest booking day for a decade has been calculated by comparing booking days in the last ten years for UK resident guests.

Have you booked one of these cruises let me know below

CELEBRITY CRUISES MARKS SUMMER RETURN TO UK, WITH NEW LUXURY ‘STAYCATIONS’

Celebrity Silhouette sporting her new hull colour Image: Celebrity Cruises
  • Revolutionised Celebrity Silhouette returns to the UK this summer with new spaces designed by Kelly Hoppen CBE
  • Celebrity Silhouette will sail with all guests aged 18 and above vaccinated against COVID-19, and those under the age of 18 with negative PCR test results
  • Announcement is welcome boost for Southampton and UK tourism

LONDON (March 29th, 2021 09.00BST) – Celebrity Cruises announced its long-anticipated return to UK shores today, as company President and CEO, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, confirmed that its newly revolutionised ship, Celebrity Silhouette, will set sail from Southampton this summer, offering new luxury staycations to discerning British guests.

Celebrity Silhouette’s return to UK shores will be welcome news, not just for holidaymakers looking for a luxury staycation to reconnect with friends and family, but also for the British tourism industry.

Celebrity Silhouette will sail with all guests aged 18 and over vaccinated against COVID-19, and those under the age of 18 with negative PCR test results. The announcement comes just days after Celebrity Cruises announced its Caribbean comeback with Celebrity Millennium departing from St. Maarten and Celebrity Apex departing from Greece, both in June.

Image: Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said, “We’re delighted to be returning to Southampton after over a year away. We are truly committed to the UK market and can’t wait to welcome guests back onboard. What could be better than a new luxury ship, ready to take guests on a journey around one of the world’s most beautiful and impressive coastlines? Not only is this extremely significant to us as a business but also to the local tourism industry.”

Setting sail from Southampton from Saturday, July 3rd, the stunning new luxury Celebrity Silhouette will embark on a series of six- to eight-night itineraries around Britain’s coastline. Guests will have the chance to explore the Jurassic Coastline from Portland, discover the bustling Scottish cities and stunning highlands from Inverness, Kirkwall and Glasgow, uncover the rich history of Belfast, plus immerse themselves in the creative and cultural hub of Liverpool, home of the Beatles!

Jo Rzymowska, Vice President and Managing Director EMEA, said: “We are excited to offer guests the chance to reconnect at sea with family and friends and to make up for all those missed celebrations. I cannot thank our UK travel partners enough for their unwavering support throughout this unprecedented time. We can’t wait to welcome our mutual guests onboard Celebrity Silhouette.”

From bow to stern, the ship has been ‘revolutionised’, following a multi-million-pound refit last year, designed to ensure an unparalleled new luxury experience for guests needing to feed their love of travel.

Celebrity Silhouette’s new look includes:

  • Completely modernised staterooms and suites with stunning enhancements designed with guest comfort in mind
  • The addition of The Retreat for suite guests, an exclusive open-air hideaway featuring a private sundeck and redesigned lounge offering complimentary beverages, gourmet bites, live entertainment, and concierge service, designed by award-winning British designer Kelly Hoppen CBE
  • Stunningly reimagined restaurants, bars, and lounges where guests can enjoy unparalleled culinary experiences in captivating environments
  • A redesigned spa and casino
  • New designer boutiques featuring the hottest designer names
  • Advanced RFID lock technology with digital key access to every stateroom door

Celebrity Silhouette’s restart in UK waters underlines the brand’s commitment to the UK market and its confidence in its trusted travel partners. Incentives and resources made available to support agents in selling a new luxury staycation with Celebrity this summer include £20 Celebrity Rewards points on every booking, a dedicated marketing toolkit on the Revolutionised Celebrity Silhouette available on Celebrity Central and double Captain’s Club loyalty points for guests.

And, because Celebrity Cruises believes holidays should be effortless from start to finish, Wi-Fi, drinks and service charges are now ‘Always Included’SM in every purchase, bringing that wonderful feeling of ‘everything is taken care of’ to life. 

In addition, the company’s ‘Cruise with Confidence’ programme provides flexible cancellations and best price guarantees. 

All guests already booked to sail on Celebrity Silhouette this summer will be contacted to discuss the options for their current booking.

Healthy at Sea

The company’s first priority is the health and safety of guests, crew, and the people in the places that Celebrity Silhouette will visit. The ship will sail with comprehensive, multi-layered health and safety measures leveraging expert guidance from its Healthy Sail Panel; Royal Caribbean Group’s Global Head of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer; and local UK health and government authorities. These measures, including vaccination and testing requirements, will evolve along with public health standards. 

Details on all health and safety measures across the entire Celebrity Cruises holiday experience can be found at https://www.celebritycruises.com/healthy-at-sea. Further details on the additional health and safety measures to be implemented by Celebrity Cruises will be announced at a later date. 

For more information on Celebrity Cruises UK comeback, guests and travel advisors should visit: celebritycruises.com/ukcruises

As always thank you for taking the time to read my latest post.

MSC Virtuosa Will Make Her Debut With Series Of British Isles Short Breaks & Week Long Sailings

MSC Virtuosa Image: MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises announced yesterday that their new flagship MSC Virtuosa will make her debut this summer and offer a series of short breaks and week long sailings around the British Isles. Her debut means she will replace MSC Magnifica’s scheduled itineraries from Southampton this summer.

MSC’s new purpose built cruise terminal is currently nearing completion and is due to open for the summer season, so its very likely that it will be inaugurated by a new ship.

MSC New terminal under construction in Southampton Image: Andrew McAlpine 2020

MSC Press release below:

SUMMER 2021: MSC CRUISES’ FLAGSHIP MSC VIRTUOSA TO PERFORM HER INAUGURAL SEASON AROUND THE BRITISH ISLES GIVING BRITISH GUESTS AND THEIR FAMILIES AN OPPORTUNTY FOR A MUCH DESERVED AND ALL-INCLUSIVE SAFE AND MEMORABLE HOLIDAY

·        Sailings taking place under the protection of MSC Cruises tried and tested health and safety protocol, available to UK residents only of all ages both vaccinated and unvaccinated

·        Ashore visits only as protected excursions

·        Cruise line to initially offer three and four-night sailings departing from Southampton

·        From June 12th, embarkation also available in Liverpool and Greenock, Scotland on 7-night cruises

London, UK – 29 March 2021 – MSC Cruises revealed today further details of the recently announced short breaks and week-long summer sailings around the British Isles departing from the port of Southampton. Starting 20 May, MSC Virtuosa – the line’s recently delivered and newest flagship – will be deployed to the UK for her inaugural season and replace MSC Magnifica to spend summer operating this special range of sailings to some of the UK’s most popular ports such as Portland, Liverpool, Greenock and Belfast. All operations will be conducted in accordance with relevant government requirements and will see the implementation of MSC Cruises’ industry-leading health and safety protocol. The sailings are available to UK residents only, both vaccinated and unvaccinated at the present time. Sales open for these cruises on Thursday, 1 April.

Antonio Paradiso, Managing Director MSC Cruises UK & Ireland said: “Following our recent announcement that we intend to offer cruises in the UK we have been overwhelmed by the response from MSC Cruises customers and avid cruisers eager to get back on board and experience a cruise with us this summer. I am personally very proud to be able to bring our newest ship MSC Virtuosa to the UK so that our valued British guests are the first to officially come on board and the first to experience this incredible next generation ship. She is the latest, most-innovative and environmentally advanced to join the MSC Cruises fleet and we couldn’t be more delighted to offer UK holidaymakers and their families the chance to discover her world class facilities. We have all been waiting for something exciting to look forward to and this ship has lots of new features for our guests to experience including new speciality restaurants and a brand-new immersive entertainment lounge with a humanoid robotic bartender and much more.”

MSC Virtuosa will initially operate six mini-cruises that with embarkation in Southampton will include a stop in Portland. These will be followed by a series of seven-night sailings providing embarkation also in the ports of Liverpool and Greenock, giving holidaymakers across the UK the option to easily escape on holiday with minimal travel.

The range of four-night mini-cruises will offer a late sail from Southampton and will provide the ultimate short getaway for couples or friends in search of a quick escape. The ship will call at the Isle of Portland in Dorset, part of the Jurassic Coast, where guests will be able to go ashore to enjoy the perfect day out at the beach. The itinerary will also include two days at sea so that guests can enjoy the incredible array of facilities that MSC Virtuosa has to offer. 

From June 12th, holidaymakers can join seven-night sailings that will include stops in Portland and the cultural city of Belfast and offer multiple ports of embarkation including Liverpool and Greenock, close to Glasgow.

UK PORTS ARE READY TO WELCOME MSC CRUISES GUESTS

In addition to offering multiple embarkation ports on the 7-night cruises, guests will also be able to go ashore and visit the different destinations. This is a key aspect of a cruise holiday for a rich and complete experience, and MSC Cruises tried and tested ‘social bubble’ ashore visits deliver the same high standards of health and safety as on board. This is reassuring not only for guests but also the destinations that are visited as healthy guests are visiting their communities and that best practices of health and hygiene will be applied when local attractions are visited.

Antonio Paradiso continued, “We wish to thank for their support the ports and the different authorities in the UK. These special sailings not only represent a step towards the restart of the cruise industry in a safe and secure manner but also that of the local economies. Bringing a new ship to the different regional ports will enable our guests to discover the best of the UK this summer, showcasing different British ports around the country.”

Rebekah Keeler, Head of Cruise for ABP Southampton said, “We are really excited to be welcoming MSC Virtuosa to the Port of Southampton for her range of summer sailings.We are proud to be the departure port for MSC Virtuosa’s inaugural sail and are sure that she will be a popular choice for cruise passengers as we welcome MSC Cruises back to the port this summer.”

Angie Redhead, Head of Cruise Liverpool said, “With the return of domestic cruising, our 2021 season in Liverpool promises to be bigger and better than ever and we are absolutely delighted to not only be hosting so many calls from a cruise line as prestigious as MSC but also being able to offer guests the opportunity to join an MSC cruise in Liverpool for the very first time.

We are rightfully proud of our maritime heritage in this city and we can’t wait to extend our unique Liverpool welcome to all of the guests on board; with a whole host of world class attractions and experiences just a stone’s throw away, we just know that MSC guests are going to love their time here with us and we look forward to working closely with MSC to ensure the best possible experience for all on board.”

Ian McQuade, General Manager Commercial at Portland Port said, “Portland Port is delighted to be included in MSC’s plans for the resumption of passenger cruises for the UK market and can’t wait to welcome the beautiful MSC Virtuosa to the port. The port has maintained an excellent relationship with our local Port Health Authority throughout the pandemic and it is clear that MSC Cruises has developed a thorough set of protocols to ensure the safe restart of operations.

MSC’s guests can look forward to a taste of quintessential England when they visit Portland. From golden beaches to the rolling green hills, winding country lanes, picture postcard villages and numerous attractions of Dorset. After the last 12 months I am sure that these cruises will offer a much-welcomed relief to many eager holiday makers”.

ABOUT MSC VIRTUOSA – MSC CRUISES NEW FLAGSHIP

MSC Virtuosa is designed to offer a dynamic and dazzling guest experience with innovative features and facilities and she is also one of the most environmentally-advanced ships in MSC Cruises’ fleet. Some of the highlights include:

·        An enhanced MSC Yacht Club, with stylish private facilities and accommodation including a panoramic lounge, gourmet restaurant and private pool and sun deck

·        MSC for Me – the multi-channel digital experience to help guests make the most of their holiday experience

·        A choice of 10 restaurants and 21 bars including two brand-new specialty restaurant concepts – HOLA! Tacos & Cantina and Indochine

·        The brand-new MSC Starship Club featuring the world’s first humanoid robotic bartender offering a futuristic immersive bar and entertainment experience

·        A 945-seater theatre and the stunning Carousel Lounge at the aft of the ship with live productions and shows every night

·        Extensive kids’ facilities including with LEGO® play areas and a Chicco baby club

·        112-metre-long Mediterranean promenade lined with boutiques bars and restaurants topped with a breathtaking LED sky screen with animations throughout the day and night

·        Five swimming pools including an extensive magrodome pool and a 1,000sqm aquapark

·        A dedicated entertainment area with an FI simulator, bowling, XD cinema 

·        The luxurious MSC Aurea Spa with full range of treatments and the state-of-the-art MSC Gym by Technogym®

·        The largest shopping area at sea with 1,168 sqm of retail space with 11 boutiques and 250 different brands

MSC Virtuosa at the shipyard in Saint Nazaire Shipyard

MSC Virtuosa was previously scheduled to serve itineraries in Northern Europe out of Germany, she will be replaced by MSC Seaview. Booked guests and travel agents will be contacted directly.

As always thankyou for taking to read my latest post.

Disney Cruise Line to Offer Magical Staycation Sailings for United Kingdom Residents this Summer

Disney Magic at Sea available for limited time from U.K. ports

Disney Magic Copyright DCL

CELEBRATION, Fla. (March 26, 2021) – United Kingdom residents will be able to experience the magic of Disney Cruise Line close to home with brand-new Disney Magic at Sea “staycation” sailings from U.K. ports this summer for a limited time. Featuring enchanted entertainment and with multiple layers of health and safety measures, the Disney Magic cruise ship plans to sail mostly 2- and 3-night voyages, as well as limited 4-night sailings round-trip from London Tilbury, Newcastle, Liverpool and Southampton.

“Our teams are bringing tremendous ingenuity and fun to these new cruises, tailoring them with care to the times we are living in, yet filling them with everything you’d expect from Disney, from great service and entertainment to immersive dining experiences and magic for the whole family,” said Thomas Mazloum, president of Disney Cruise Line.

Guests will remain aboard the Disney Magic throughout the sailing and will enjoy an unforgettable cruise experience with world-class accommodations, dazzling entertainment and a variety of included dining options. Children and adults alike will delight in spaces created just for them, including family pools and waterslides, whimsical kids clubs, and adult-only retreats such as a secluded pool and spa, a lively entertainment district and a fine-dining restaurant.

Favourite Disney stories, characters and entertainment will come to life during these special Disney Magic at Sea cruises, including a celebration with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and their pals, a Frozen flurry of fun with Anna, Elsa and Olaf, and an epic encounter with Marvel’s greatest Super Heroes. Guests will cherish special moments with beloved Disney friends, from capturing physically distanced photos with Captain Mickey, to enjoying a royal promenade with Disney Princesses or seeing favourite Toy Story pals. West End-quality stage shows will captivate guests of all ages in the elegant Walt Disney Theatre.

Disney Cruise Line is implementing multiple layers of health and safety measures considering guidance from the U.K. government, health authorities and medical experts. This includes COVID-19 testing, health screenings, face coverings, reduced guest capacity, physical distancing and enhanced cleaning.

Disney Magic at Sea staycation sailings are expected to go on sale in April 2021 for sailings this summer, pending the issuance of U.K. government guidelines and authorisations. For more information, visit Disneycruise.co.uk or contact a travel agent and follow our new Instagram account @DisneyMagicAtSea.

United Kingdom residents will be able to experience the magic of Disney Cruise Line close to home with brand-new Disney Magic at Sea “staycation” sailings from U.K. ports this summer for a limited time. Featuring enchanted entertainment and with multiple layers of health and safety measures, the Disney Magic cruise ship plans to sail mostly 2- and 3-night voyages, as well as limited 4-night sailings round-trip from London Tilbury, Newcastle, Liverpool and Southampton.

Favourite Disney stories, characters and entertainment will come to life during Disney Cruise Line’s special Disney Magic at Sea cruises, including a celebration with Captain Minnie Mouse, Captain Mickey Mouse and their pals, a Frozen flurry of fun with Anna, Elsa and Olaf, and an epic encounter with Marvel’s greatest Super Heroes. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Copyright Matt Stroshane

Launched in 1997 Disney Magic was the cruise lines first cruise ship.

I am super excited about this what about you? Let me know and drop me some comments on social media.

Southampton set to open its 5th cruise terminal next year

The port of Southampton is set to cement its title as the UK’s busiest cruise port with the opening of a fifth terminal next year. Due for completion in late spring the new terminal will help Southampton handle the 2million passengers, which already pass through the South Coast port each year.

The opening follows the announcement by the port owners Associated British ports (ABP) of a strategic partnership with two of the world largest cruise lines MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

The terminal which is being constructed in the city’s Western Docks will be “next-generation-ready”, and able to accomodate world’s biggest ships, which currently carry 6,000 passengers or more.

The new terminal under construction November 2020  (Image Andrew McAlpine)
The new terminal under construction November 2020 (Image Andrew McAlpine)

Alastair Welch, director of ABP Southampton, said: “We’re very pleased to announce this major advance in our cruise infrastructure at the port, delivering further access to Southampton for the industry, whilst supporting our commitment to accelerate improvements in local air quality. This investment is a huge vote of confidence in the future of cruise in Southampton and we’re excited to be at the forefront of a growing industry.”

The upper storey of the new yet to be named terminal (Image ABP)
The upper storey of the new yet to be named terminal (Image ABP)

The new £55 million terminal will feature ultra-modern technology including roof-mounted solar power and ship to shore power connectivity. Also known as ‘cold ironing’, The technology allows for ships to shut down their own generators and obtain power by plugging into local shore based electricity grid.

It scheme has received support from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with an £8 million grant through the government’s Getting Building Fund.

Christopher Hammond, leader of Southampton City Council and Solent LEP director, said: “We are committed to ensuring we can emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic with the strongest foundations for future growth. I’m pleased that this investment joins a growing list of public and private commitments to making our city greener, fairer and healthier, whilst providing much needed jobs in our economic renewal.”

MSC Magnifica in Southampton from 2021 (Image Andrew McAlpine)
MSC Magnifica will homeport in Southampton from 2021 (Image Andrew McAlpine)

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO, said: “We are in a unique position that not only will we be committing to having an MSC Cruises’ ship home port from Southampton every year, but several of our ships will be visiting Southampton as a destination as part of our wider cruise.

Antonio Paradiso, managing director of MSC Cruises UK & Ireland, said: “Whilst we’ve always had loyal passengers from the UK & Ireland, over the last five years we’ve been on a real journey in the UK market.

“We were delighted to see such strong organic growth which lead to our first ever full season sailing from the UK in 2018, followed by the naming ceremony of MSC Bellissima in the port of Southampton bringing guests from around the world to the city to celebrate the milestone event in 2019. We ended 2019 with the most successful year of sales ever in the UK & Ireland, something we are incredibly proud of.”

He added: “MSC Cruises is serious about the UK market and now more than ever we believe in the potential here and making this long-term commitment to bringing even more passengers to Southampton is evidence of that.

Norwegian Encore seen in Southampton (Image Andrew McAlpine)
Norwegian Encore seen in Southampton (Image Andrew McAlpine)

Steve Moeller, senior vice president of commercial development at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, added: “This agreement marks the continuation of the strong partnership between Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and the Port of Southampton and demonstrates our commitment to the region.”

Six cruise ships seen in Southampton (Image Andrew McAlpine)
Six cruise ships in port is set to be a regualr sight in Southampton (Image Andrew McAlpine)

As always thank you for taking the time to read my latest post.

All images copyright Andrew McAlpine unless otherwise stated

Disney Fantasy makes her maiden call to Southampton

Since the pause in global cruise operations my home port of Southampton has played host to a variety of different cruise ships that would not visit under normal circumstances, and this week saw another one of the most notable visits.

Disney Cruise Line’s 2012 built Disney Fantasy made a maiden call to the port arriving just before daybreak 18th November, becoming the first Disney line ship to visit Southampton since her fleet mate Disney Wonder in July 1999.

Disney Fantasy passing Mayflower Park

The fourth ship in the current fleet Disney Fantasy was built in Papenburg, Germany by the renowned cruiseship builder Meyer Werft. She is the second two Dream-Class ships and has a length of 340m, gross tonnage of 129,750 tonnes and features 1,250 passenger cabins.

Early morning arrival

The brief visit to Southampton was to take on stores and fuel before she sailed across the Atlantic to Port Canaveral, Florida her usual homeport.

The ship had arrived from the french port of Brest where she and undergone a brief drydocking together with the other ships in the fleet. During this visit history was made as on 14th October all four Disney ships were in port together for the first time.

DCL Fleet Brest France MarineTraffic Map 20201004
Image Courtesy of the DCL Blog/Marine Traffic
Alongside the City Cruise Termial (101 berth)

Check out this wonderful image from onboard by crew member Catherine. Shortly after after Fantasy arrived a rainbow appeared over the port, perhaps to celebrate Micky’s birthday which was on the same day!

© catherine_278_ (Instagram)

Be sure to check out catherine_278_ Instagram page (link below) for wonderful onboard and at sea images. A big thank you to Catherine for allowing me to share the image here.

https://www.instagram.com/catherine_278_/

Following her brief stay Disney Fantasy sailed just after 4pm local time, there were plenty of people in Mayflower Park to see her sail despite the showers! Check out the departure images below.

As always thank you for taking the time to read my latest post and be sure to look out for my departure video coming soon on YouTube!

All images copyright Andrew McAlpine unless otherwise stated

CELEBRITY CRUISES ANNOUNCES NEW, WONDER-FILLED SAILINGS FORWINTER 2021-2022

Award-Winning Line Adds New Itineraries, New Ports of Call in the
Caribbean, Europe and South America

Celebrity Cruises 2021-2022 Sailings

MIAMI – Nov. 17, 2020 – Today, Celebrity Cruises announced its updated 2021-2022 winter sailings programme for the Caribbean, Europe and South America. The new offerings, informed by market research and valuable feedback from guests and travel partners, are highlighted by an expanded Caribbean presence with new seven-night and overnight itineraries; new Spain and Portugal itineraries in Europe; and an exciting new homeport and new shorter itineraries in South America.  

The new sailings further complement Celebrity’s award-winning itineraries, curated to feature the world’s most beautiful places and create memories that last long after each destination has sailed out of view. 

And, because holidays should be effortless from the start, Wi-Fi, drinks and tips are now ‘Always IncludedSM’ on every Celebrity cruise, simplifying the luxury holiday experience. 

The Caribbean 

Eight of Celebrity’s award-winning ships will sail the sun-drenched tropics, including its newest Edge Series ships, Celebrity Edge and brand-new sister ship Celebrity Apex – known for being destinations in their own right. Altogether, these Celebrity ships offer a variety of exciting itineraries, from shorter escapes that are perfect for romantic getaways to more immersive sailings that allow extra time to unwind in paradise and enjoy Celebrity’s luxurious ships. 

  • Celebrity Edge will offer a full winter season of seven-night Caribbean itineraries to both the Eastern and Western Caribbean.
  • Celebrity Silhouette, which recently enjoyed a multi-million dollar upgrade as part of the fleet’s transformative Celebrity Revolution® will sail new Southern Caribbean itineraries featuring overnights in Aruba and Curaçao. 
  • Another “revolutionised” ship, Celebrity Summit, will replace Celebrity Infinity to sail four- and five-night itineraries from Miami plus two new Mexico holiday sailings in December, 2021.
                                                                             

Europe

Celebrity Infinity will offer new ways to experience the beauty of Europe next Autumn, by extending its season into October and November:

  • The award-winning Celebrity Infinity sails the Mediterranean from the home port of Lisbon, Portugal and adds a new 10-night “Best of Spain and Portugal” and two new seven-night Iberian Peninsula sailings visiting such beautiful coastal destinations as Palma de Mallorca, Seville, Alicante and Malaga in Spain; and Porto, Portugal. She then embarks on her new 12-night transatlantic from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, visiting ports of call in Spain and the Canary Islands.

South America

Beginning in December 2021 until March 2022, Celebrity Infinity will explore the exciting continent of South America from the towering Fjords of Chile to the tropical beaches and rain forests of Brazil to the tip of Antarctica. With a new homeport, Valparaiso, Chile, known as “Little San Francisco” for its rich theatre, music and street art scene, the all-new schedule features:

  • Four new nine- to 12-night itineraries calling on ports throughout the stunning landscapes of Argentina and Patagonia, or the exciting cityscapes found in Argentina and Brazil.
  • One new 14-night sailing to the ever-popular, bucket-list destination of Antarctica, for a total of three sailings to a part of the world revered by history’s greatest explorers. 

Celebrity Cruises is applying the recommendations of its Healthy Sail Panel of public health and scientific experts to ensure a safer and healthier cruise holiday on all of its sailings.  For more information on the latest health and travel advice, please visit www.celebritycruises/travel-alert.

To learn more about Celebrity’s Winter 2021-2022 sailings, visit http://www.celebritycruises.co.uk/new-cruises. For more information on all Celebrity Cruises offerings, call 0344 493 2093, visit www.celebritycruises.co.uk, or speak with a travel advisor.

Celebrity Apex seen in Southampton earlier this year

MSC World Europa reaches key construction milestone

MSC CRUISES AND CHANTIERS DE L’ATLANTIQUE CELEBRATE KEY CONSTRUCTION MILESTONE FOR LNG-PROPELLED MSC WORLD EUROPA

New rendering of MSC World Europa the first World Class Cruise ship for MSC Cruises.
New rendering of MSC World Europa Image: MSC Cruises

MSC World Europa to become one of the most technologically- and environmentally-advanced LNG ships in its class

Geneva, Switzerland and Saint-Nazaire, France, 29 June 2020 – A maritime coin ceremony tradition took place earlier today at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France when the keel was laid for MSC Cruises’ first liquified natural gas (LNG)-powered ship, MSC World Europa.

Keel laying Iof MSC World Europa at Chantiers de l’Atlantique, Saint Nazaire France.
Keel laying Image: Chantiers de l’Atlantique

The 200,000-plus GT ship is scheduled to enter service in 2022 and be one of most technologically- and environmentally-advanced LNG-powered cruise vessels in its class, and the first ever to be built in France. 

Zoe Africa Vago, daughter of Alexa Aponte-Vago and her husband Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, and Aurore Bezard from the HR Department of Chantiers de I’Atlantique performed the traditional maritime ritual as godmothers representing the ship owner and the shipbuilder when they placed two coins under the keel as the historical sign of blessing and good fortune for the project, and the ship’s operational life at sea.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises, said: “MSC World Europa is further proof of our commitment to environmental stewardship as she is set to reduce carbon emissions even further than many other existing cruise ships powered by LNG, which is currently the most environmentally-friendly fuel for commercial maritime operations. With this vessel, we also reconfirm our belief in investing in advanced environmental technology to meet our long-term goal of zero emissions from operations.”

Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, added: “We are proud to start the building of a ship which will set the standards for the cruise of the future. This is a major milestone in the history of our 20-year cooperation with MSC Cruises, which has already resulted in some of the most innovative cruise ships ever built.”

MSC World Europa will feature a new 50-kilowatt demonstrator system that incorporates solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology and use LNG to produce electricity and heat on board, the first time an LNG-powered fuel cell has been used on a cruise ship. 

The (SOFC) system has been developed by French research centre CEA as part of MSC Cruises’ and Chantiers de l’Atlantique’s PACBOAT project. France-based contractor Entrepose Group will design and build the demonstrator, which will be approved by classification society Bureau Veritas.

This SOFC solution fuelled by LNG will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) by about 30 per cent compared with a conventional LNG engine, with no emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides or fine particles.  It also  offers the advantage of being compatible with LNG, as well as several low carbon fuels  such as types of methanol, ammonia and hydrogen.

MSC World Europa will also feature a new generation wastewater treatment system that exceeds some of the world’s most stringent regulatory standards, as well other cutting-edge environmental technology.

Rendering of MSC World Europa the first World Class Cruise ship for MSC Cruises.
Rendering of MSC World Europa Image: MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises’ next flagship MSC Virtuosa is currently under construction in Saint-Nazaire and readying for delivery next year. The Company also has firm orders with Chantiers de l’Atlantique for two additional LNG-powered ships, once each for the MSC World and Meraviglia classes of ships.

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest post.

Dover becomes UK home port for Hurtigruten expedition cruises from March 2021

Hurtigruten, world leader in expedition cruises, announces a year-round programme of unique voyages departing from Dover from mid March 2021.

Port of Dover

The Norwegian operator, considered to be the world’s greenest cruise line, has launched 4 adventurous itineraries as expedition cruises from March 2021, which go on sale from 20th June.

The health and safety of guests and staff has always been the number one priority for Hurtigruten. Following guidelines recommended by the Norwegian Government, the company has built on existing protocols to introduce additional practices to ensure safe, sustainable and enjoyable expedition cruising.

MS Midinstol (meaning midnight sun)
will be refurbished and renamed MS Maud
Image: Hurtigruten

MS Maud – a small, sustainable, expedition cruise ship

Taking less than 500 passengers, MS Maud will be freshly refurbished prior to her arrival in Dover. She goes into the refurb project as the currently in-service MS Midnatsol, already well-known to those who have sailed on Hurtigruten’s Coastal route in Norway.

As part of the multi-million-pound refurb project, MS Maud will proudly emerge with all new public areas. Natural Scandinavian materials will be used to seamlessly bring the great outdoors inside – Scandinavian wool, pine, birch, oak, and granite will unknowingly provide the perfect backdrop to your voyage from Dover.

More sustainable expeditions

As the first cruise line in the world, we are introducing biodiesel as fuel on a number of ships – including MS Maud. Biodiesel reduces (CO2) emissions with up to 80 %. Single use plastic is also banned.

Three new restaurants will be introduced – Aune, the main restaurant; Fredheim, for casual international dining; and Lindstrom, our exclusive fine dining restaurant. Each serving cuisine with character, locally sourced in line with our sustainability principles.

Departing directly from Dover

Eliminating a flight adds convenience and ease to your expedition cruise. You can begin your adventure from much closer to home and immediately you swiftly pass through the gorgeous cruise terminal, without suitcase restrictions or the need to pack and unpack multiple times. Dover is very well connected by road and rail, so joining is simple and quick, be it by private or public transport. Your fellow British passengers will be kindred spirits as you venture forth on your expedition.

Expedition cruising

At Hurtigruten, we actively shun the bright lights and the crowds of mass tourism; instead, we visit remote nature destinations; we engage in unassuming beach cleans; we showcase local wildlife; we take part in Citizen Science experiments; and we learn from each other and from the Expedition Team. You’ll certainly not get any stuffy formality, nor the needless luxury of boutique cruising, nor will you feel overwhelmed by the sheer scale of your ship, the number of guests or the razzmatazz of ‘big white ship’ cruising.

In the recent past, MS Midnatsol has been in service in Antarctica, where she was heralded as the blueprint for modern expedition cruising in both size and facilities – most significantly, the tender pits and purpose-built platforms used to launch her fleet of expedition boats for landings and local exploration. These will be in use regularly as we bring expedition cruising to Dover.

Leading the cruise industry in sustainability and environmental standards

The very latest fuel and environmental advances will be incorporated ‘below decks’ as part of MS Maud’s refurbishment. The ship will be powered on BIOFUEL, mixed in with regular diesel, to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides. Furthermore, the BIOFUEL used will be environmentally certified and made from waste produce from other industries including fishing, meaning no palm oil used in its production and no negative effects on rainforests. Once in port, where possible, MS Maud will be fitted with shore power connectivity eliminating emissions whilst alongside.

Citizen Science

MS Midnatsol is a tried-and-tested thoroughbred and pioneer in expedition cruising, and through the refurb, MS Maud will emerge even stronger. A state-of-the-art Science Center is the ‘beating heart’ of all expedition cruises, and MS Maud’s will be complete with the very latest tech and experiment apparatus, touch screens and microscopes. Guests will not be disappointed, and the Science Center will become the hub to informally learn from the Expedition Team on topics ranging from geology to ornithology, from Northern Lights to the conservation and Citizen Science projects we support.

Crafted expedition cruise itineraries

Each of our 4 expedition itineraries visit hard-to-reach destinations, which test seamanship and resolve, and as a result, provide unique experiences to savour and share.

Norway’s winter fjords and the Northern Lights – 15-day voyages visiting Norway’s southern fjords and Arctic North. Highlights include Stavanger, Alesund, off-the-beaten-track Lofoten Islands, 2 days in Tromso, the North Cape and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bergen.  Hurtigruten’s unique Northern Lights Promise applies.

Departures from Dover in March 2021, and Oct 2021 – March 2022

https://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/destinations/norway/dover-north-cape-dover/

Summertime in Norway’s fjords and her islands – 15-day voyages along the Norwegian coast, known to be one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, with countless fjords, mountains and charming coastal villages. Norway has been Hurtigruten’s backyard for 127 years – explore the hidden gems, handpicked by your expedition cruise experts.

Departures from Dover in Apr – September 2021

https://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/destinations/norway/norwegian-fjords-north-cape-and-the-arctic-sunshine/

The British Isles – 13-day expedition cruise visiting remote islands off the British mainland – less-visited, mysterious and varied, where the elements, the coastline and the indigenous wildlife are to be both respected and revered. Highlights include Fishguard, Rathlin Island (excursion to Giants Causeway possible), Iona, Staffa (sail by scenic cruising of Fingal’s Cave), St Kilda, Stornoway, Islay, Isle of Man, Waterford, Isles of Scilly and Dartmouth.

Departures from Dover in May – September 2021

https://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/destinations/british-isles/remote-islands-natural-wonders-and-a-diverse-coastline/

Southern Scandinavia – 15-day voyage offers expedition, culture, wildlife and nature, combined with urban exploration. Across 4 countries we encounter wide, white sandy beaches in Germany and Denmark, peaceful archipelagos and charming marinas in Sweden and the beautiful fjords and islets of Norway. Highlights include the Kiel Canal, Skagen, Koster, the Weather Islands, Oslo, Hardanger and Lysefjord.

Departures from Dover in June & July 2021

https://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/destinations/europe/southern-scandinavia-archipelagos-fjords-fishing-towns/

Prices are yet to be released by Hurtigruten, and the voyages go on sale from 20 June 2020.

You can pre-register your interest here; https://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/pre-registration/

MS Maud

– ENDS –

SELECTION OF QUOTES:

– We are thrilled to present expedition cruises from Dover year-round. It is a needed boost for the UK cruise industry at this time, and is especially important to showcase how expedition cruising differs from mainstream ‘big white ship’ cruising, says Anthony Daniels, General Manager, Hurtigruten UK & Ireland

– These sustainable new itineraries visit off-the-beaten-track waters, coastlines and islands; they are brim-full of unique experiences and destinations rarely visited, says Anthony Daniels, General Manager, Hurtigruten UK & Ireland

Hurtigruten is set to a full service of coastal voyages with MS Finnmarken sailing from Bergen from next Tuesday (16th June), and will be the first ocean cruise line to do so.

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Iona arrives for dry dock in Rotterdam & P&O considering lay up in Norway.

Image © Marc Petrikowski/Meyer Werft

P&O Cruise’s new flagship Iona has set sail from Bremerhaven to embark on a series of technical tests.

In a recent press release Meyer Werft confirmed that following the sea trails Iona will then head to Rotterdam arriving on 2nd June where she will undergo a dry-dock inspection at the Damen Shipyard.

On board Iona, a hard-working team have been following the relevant German Coronavirus guidelines in order to help finish the outfitting of the ship since her River Ems conveyance.

The German shipbuilder confirmed that everyone is working hand in hand to complete the 50th cruise ship built by Meyer Werft. The work has been going on since the ship was transferred over the river Ems. Nevertheless, the corona crisis is causing considerable restrictions in the final fitting of Iona. However a plan drafted by the Port Medical Service (Hafenärztlicher Dienst, HÄD), the Bremerhaven Port Authority and Meyer Werft allowed for the continuation of outfitting working whilst following Coronavirus protection conditions.

The delay in the outfitting has meant the hand over to P&O Cruises was postponed and her maiden voyage cancelled. With outfitting now restarted both Meyer Werft and P&O Cruises are currently in close dialogue for a suitable delivery date.

Cruise Ship Profiles has been made aware that P&O Cruises are considering moving Iona to Norway for warm layup once she has officially been handed over.

Yesterday (2nd June) P&O announced that the suspension in cruise operations would be extended until October.

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest post