Yesterday 16th August saw one of the UK’s favorite cruise ships depart from Southampton to start a new life in China. The former P&O Cruises favorite Oriana sailed under her new name Piano Land, which is the English translation of Gulangyu Island, situated in Xiamen, China and her new home port.
Sold in June 2018 to the new Chinese (state-owned) cruise company Well Star Travel Cruise, a joint venture between China Travel Services International (CTS) and COSCO Shipping Group. The new cruise line plans short-break roundtrips from Xiamen in China to ports in Japan and Southeast Asia including Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Indonesia with operations starting in mid-October 2019.
On 9th August she arrived in Southampton at the end of her final cruise for P&O Cruises, and once the last passengers disembarked work started to change her identity and prepare for her voyage to China. Together with work to de-store her exterior work included removing Oriana’s name plate’s from below the funnel, painting over the union flag on the bow and the P&O Cruises logo on the stern. Her former name was painted over and replaced with Piano Land just a day before sailing.
On the day of her departure the former fleet mate Ventura and near sister Aurora were both in port and as she sailed gave farewell blasts from their horns.
On the same day as her departure two former fleet mates, Ventura and near sister Aurora were both in port. As she sailed both exchanged farewell blasts from their horns.
Enjoy these images of Piano Land sailing from what was her home port for 25 years.
Some images of the icon that was Oriana
It wasn’t often Oriana was in port overnight but ahead of my three day cruise to Guernsey on hear she was in port overnight so I took the opportunity to get some night photos.
Following her departure it was confirmed that Astro Ocean had officially taken over operations. She is now heading to Piraeus where she will make a technical stop and will receive a new livery on the bow and new logo. She is due to arrive in Hong Kong at the end of September and begin a series of short cruises from nearby Shenzhen from October and November before moving to her winter home port of Xiamen.
With the first half of 2019, being busy with 12 new cruise ships delivered to various owners the second half of 2019 looks to be just as busy. According to the latest cruise ship order book there are a another 12 new ships set for delivery in the second half of the year, with an average of two ships being delivered each month..
The remaining order book is valued at around $5.5 billion with an estimated 24,190 new berths entering service. Of the ships yet to be delivered, five are expedition vessels and one is LNG-fuelled ship.
2019 New cruise ships
Take a look at what new ships are due for delivery:
Spirit of Discovery
Capacity: 1,000 Guests
Constructed by Meyer Werft in Papenburg Saga’s first-ever new build, the Spirit of Discovery was delivered in mid-June ahead of her inaugural cruise from Dover in July. Departing from Dover on July 10th, the new ship’s first voyage is aptly named British First, circumnavigating the UK and adding calls to Ireland.
All Saga Discovery ship’s 540 staterooms have private balconies, which also means that the ship has no Inside cabins. Cabin categories include Standard Balcony, Deluxe Balcony, Mid-ship Suites and larger Panorama Suites. 100 single cabins are specifically designed for solo travellers (can be booked with single-occupancy rates and without single supplement), which is approx. 20% of ship’s total capacity.
Le Dumont d’Urville will be the fourth in Ponant’s six-ship Explorer-class of expedition vessels. Named after the French explorer and naval officer who explored the south and western Pacific, Australia. The Dumont d’Urville scientific station in Antarctica is named after him.
Featuring innovative and environmentally-friendly equipment, elegantly designed staterooms, spacious suites with large windows, and lounge areas that open onto the outside, this new limited-capacity yacht boasting just 92 staterooms and suites will offer you a truly unique cruising experience. the ship will have reinforced hulls for when sailing in polar regions and an aft marina for when it’s in tropical destinations.
Standout features on Le Dumont d’Urville will be an aft marina and the underwater Blue Eye Lounge. The marina, located at the back of Deck 3, gives cruisers easy access to the ship’s fleet of Zodiacs, as well as for entering the water (conditions permitting) for swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding.
Named after the Australian mountaineer, the “Greg Mortimer” is a modern, purpose-built vessel designed specifically for expedition cruising, and is the first polar expedition vessel in SunStone Ships’ INFINITY series. Being constructed the CMHI yard in Shenzhen China. Four firm contracts have so far been signed, and six options. The INFINITY Class vessels are 104.4 m long and 18.4 m wide. They have a passenger capacity of 130-200, and a crew capacity of 85-115, and are built to the ice standard PC5, Cat B. The most striking feature is the X-BOW®, an inverted bow which results in smoother sailing and increased efficiency. Rather than rising over and then dropping onto waves like a traditional ship, the X-BOW® pierces through them, splitting the wave’s energy.
Constructed by the Uljanik Group in Croatia “Scenic Eclipse” is a six-star, ultra-luxury mega yacht developed by Australian river cruise operator Scenic. It is the first ocean cruise ship for the company, which specialises in luxury river cruises. The yacht will carry 228 guests (restricted to 200 in Polar Regions) in 114 all-veranda suites. It will carry a crew of 172 for normal regions and 182 for Polar Regions.
The Magellan Explorer was constructed in Chile and will be primarily used for fly-in voyages, with a maximum of 100 passengers it will be sail with 73 passengers for the season, which is the exact number of seats the company has on its plane that flies to King George Island. The ship features comfortable and spacious cabins, with twin, queen or king-size beds. The ship also features dedicated single cabins. All cabins except the Porthole category feature a private balcony and separate sitting area.
The 230-passenger cruise ship Hanseatic Inspiration is the second of three identical ships under construction by Norwegian company VARD Holdings Ltd (a subsidiary of Fincantieri) at Tulcea shipyard (Romania). The vessel has ice-class PC6 (highest for passenger ships) and offers 5-star premium hotel service and amenities, gourmet cuisine, large staterooms, and public spaces. The HANSEATIC inspiration will be an international ship, with all cruises conducted in both English and German.
The second of carnivals groups Excellence-Helios class ships is currently under construction at Meyer Werft, Turku shipyard in Finland. Costa Cruises will take delivery its new LNG powered flagship in October. Costa Smeralda’s itinerary program is based on 7-day Western Mediterranean cruises sailing round trip from the Italian homeports Rome-Civitavecchia, Savona, Barcelona, and Marseille. To be able to handle the large cruise liner, Port Savona’s terminal had to be modified. In 2020, two other Carnival brands will take delivery of the same class of ships as Carnival Mardi Gras & Iona enter service.
Sky Princess is the fourth Royal-class vessel all of which have been constructed by the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri at its Monfalcone Shipyard. The class offers a unique glass-enclosed walkway over the ocean known as the SeaWalk. There are 1539 staterooms in 38 categories. 36 are the wheelchair-accessible rooms. The ship will also debut the new and innovative Princess Sky Suites. After a three-day preview cruise from Port Everglades, the new ship launches alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale Dec. 7, 2019 – April 4, 2020.
Norwegian Encore is the fourth and final ship in Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway plus Class. Currently under construction at the Meyer-Werft shipyard in Papenburg, and is the 13th ship built for NCL at Meyer Werft. Norwegian Encore will feature a two-level race track that is larger than the go-“karts at sea” tracks featured on Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy. After her debut in Miami, the Encore will head to Seattle in 2021, sailing seven-day cruises to Alaska.
The first of MSC’s MSC Meraviglia-plus class MSC Grandiosa is under currently construction at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint Nazaire. She is able to accommodate 6334 passengers with 75% of all staterooms featuring private balconies. MSC Grandiosa deck plans feature “cluster cabins” (up to 3 connecting staterooms for families) allowing up to three rooms to be interlinked for max capacity 10 guests. The vessel will spend her inaugural season in the Western Mediterranean. The ship will offer a seven-night sailing calling in Genoa, Civitavecchia, Palermo, Valletta, Barcelona and Marseille, with its first cruise sailing from Genoa on November 16, 2019.
Capacity: 4,000 Guests
The third Vista class ship for Carnival Cruises was originally ordered for P&O Cruises Australia, but in December 2016 was changed to Carnival. She is being constructed by Fincantieri at its Marghera shipyard in Italy. As with the previous sister ships Carnival Panorama features 1965 cabins, of which 48 percent of the staterooms on board have balconies. For the first time in its history, the cruise line announced that the ship would feature a female cruise director with British-born Emma Nixon taking the role. The ship will sail from Long Beach, California, offering seven-day Mexican Riviera itineraries. She will be Carnival’s first new ship homeport on the West Coast in more than 20 years.
Currently under construction at the Brodosplit Shipyard in Croatia, the ‘Flying Clipper’, is 162 meters long and 18.5 meters wide with a deadweight of 2000 tons. The ship will have five masts and sails with an overall surface of 6.347 square meters, making it the largest sailing ship in the world. Flying Clipper has five decks, with accommodation for 450 persons, of which 300 are passengers in 150 luxury cabins, and 74 crew cabins for 150 crewmembers.
A key stage in the construction of the P&O Cruise Iona was held at Meyer Werft shipyard earlier today.
P&O new build and yard team celebrated the milestone with the traditional coin-laying ceremony for the 180,000-ton LNG-fueled vessel.
A bronze coin from the historic Iona Abbey and a slice of precious green Iona marble from the island were placed under the block housing the bow thrusters before the block was then lowered onto these items.
Watch the keel laying ceremony here:
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “This was an auspicious occasion in Iona’s build. The coin-laying is a long-held ship-building tradition which is to bring good luck to the ship and its crew through from construction to the future at sea.
“It is very special to think that a small part of the island of Iona will live within our own Iona. We hope that the qualities of beauty, heritage, pride, camaraderie, mutual support and loyalty from the island which attracted us to the name will be inherent in our ship, its crew and guests.
“The build of any ship is an incredible achievement but to see one of this size and scope is an extraordinary feat of skilled design and engineering. To view Iona’s SkyDome take shape was literally breath-taking – no other ship in the world has a glass dome of this quality of construction and scale. The extent of the space on Iona has allowed us to create not only spectacular spaces for shows, entertainment, dining and wellness but also many more intimate spaces for tranquility and relaxation as well as exclusive performances. Iona will be game-changer for holidays.”
As part of the ceremony the ship’s central steel block, the mega block, which has already been constructed was floated out on to the water, according to a press release.
The 21.5 metre long block weighs 461 tons, is 19.4 metres wide and 9.8 metres high and had to be lifted by a 600 ton crane.
Take a look at the build so far:
Iona which will be P&O Cruises first LNG powered ship is due to be launched in May 2020 and will spend its inaugural season sailing with 7 night itineraries from Southampton to the Norwegian Fjords, followed by a winter in the Canaries, Spain and Portugal.
Shipyard: Meyer Werft, Papenburg
Hull No.: S710
Ship Class: Excellence Class
Sister Ships: AIDAnova, Costa Smeralda, Costa 2021, Carnival Mardi Gras
Cost: USD950 million
Steel cutting: April 2018
Launch: May 2020
Service Speed: 23 Knots
Max Capacity: 6,600
Cabin Decks: 11
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TheCarnival Corporationis in hot water after a federal judge threatened to ban the company’s cruise ships from docking at ports in the United States after reportedly violating its probation period from another case.
According to theMiami Herald, U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz said Wednesday that she would decide at a hearing scheduled for June whether the cruise company’s probation will be lifted and a heftier punishment levied for the violations.
During the hearing, Judge Seitz scolded Carnival chairman Micky Arison and president Donald Arnold for the actions of the company, but neither man was in attendance. Seitz requested that top executives attended the June hearing to answer questions on the matter.
“The people at the top are treating this as a gnat,” Seitz said in court. “If I could, I would give all the members of the executive committee a visit to the detention center for a couple of days. It’s amazing how that helps people come to focus on reality.”
The Carnival Corporation has been on probation for two years after it wasfined a record $40 millionfor illegally dumping oil into the ocean from its Princess Cruises ships and lying to authorities about the incidents.
While on probation, authorities claim the cruise company continued to pollute the environment and worked to not only avoid the long arm of the law, but also actively used its clout to change the terms of the settlement.
“It appears there were some mischaracterizations made by others to the court,”Carnival CorporationChief Communications Officer Roger Frizzell said in a statement. “We intend to fully address the issues raised at today’s court conference.”
“Our environmental responsibility has been and continues to be a top priority for the company. Our aspiration is to leave the places we touch even better than when we first arrived,” Frizzell continued. “This is only in the best interest of our guests, our company and the oceans upon which we travel.”
The first phase of a multi-million-pound upgrade to the Ocean Cruise Terminal in the Port of Southampton has now been completed. The XL-ready programme will see the terminal transformed to become the UK’s first dedicated LNG cruise terminal.
The terminal re-opened on 22nd March with the arrival of P&O Cruises Azura. Her arrival marked the start of Southampton’s busy cruise season.
The newly refurbished terminal now boasts a specious lobby area, a new escalator and stairs to allow for the increased guest flow to the upper level. The mezzanine floor has been extended to provide additional seating ready to accommodate an increase in passenger capacity.
This first phase has also included quayside infrastructure upgrades with 18 new 150 tonne bollards replacing the old 50 tonne bollards together with a new stores receiving area.
Phase 2 will see the installation of two new air bridges together with a further 2,000 roof-mounted solar panels. The project is due for completion early in 2020, in readiness for the arrival of P&O Cruise’s new 5,200-Guest flagship Iona due in May.
This £12 million project is in partnership with P&O Cruises and began in October last year.
Alastair Welch, Director at the Port of Southampton, said: “Cruise is a growing industry and we continue to make these significant investments which are crucial to ensuring we are in a good position to welcome the larger ships and the increase in passenger numbers.”
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: Azura is be the first ship to berth at the newly renovated Ocean Cruise Terminal, which, when all the work is complete, will give our guests a much smoother, faster and more efficient boarding experience and will also prepare us for the arrival of our two LNG-powered ships.”
The Port of Southampton is Europe’s leading cruise turnaround port and currently welcomes over 2 million passengers each year. Each ship visit to the port generates around £2 million for the local economy.
Iona, which will homeport in Southampton, is the first of two new ships of the XL-class for P&O Cruises, with the next ship on order to be delivered in 2022. She is the first British cruise ship to be powered by LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas).
LNG is steadily becoming the fuel of choice for the cruise industry with a number of cruise lines including AIDA, Carnival, Costa, P&O, MSC, all choosing LNG power for future ships.
Carnival Corps current LNG order book:
Costa Cruises (Costa Smeralda); delivery October 2019.