Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines teams up with marine conservation charity ORCA for 2020

 Inaugural nine-cruise whale-watching programme announced as part of the partnership

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Image: Richard Lovelock

Anyone that knows me will be aware that I have a special fascination with Cetaceans e.g. Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises. I am totally against the captivity and exploitation of these intelligent social creatures in marine parks around the world, and firmly believe that the only place they should be seen is swimming free in the wild. I live on the South Coast of the UK and a few miles away in Portsmouth the charity ORCA is based. The charity is entirely dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoises in the UK and European waters, I have attended a number of their functions and hoping to complete the Marine Mammal Surveyor course later this year. The charity already works with a number of ferry and cruise companies around the UK but I am pleased to see the news regarding their latest partnership this time with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has confirmed a nine-cruise whale-watching programme as part of its first official year in partnership with marine conservation charity ORCA in 2020.

The cruises will enable ORCA to collect vital data on the number and species of whales and dolphins sighted and identify marine wildlife hotspots, feeding directly into the charity’s Cruise Conservationist Programme and its conservation work.

ORCA volunteers will be on board for all nine sailings, who will feed into Fred. Olsen’s onboard enrichment programme with wildlife watching opportunities, lectures, workshops and a host of other activities, including trips on Fred. Olsen’s rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs).

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Image: Richard Lovelock

Thomas Rennesland, Hotel Operations Director at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “All of us here at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines are incredibly proud of our partnership with ORCA. Our organisations share similar values and both parties are committed to working together to preserve and protect our oceans, and the wildlife within them, for future generations.

“These cruises will be mutually beneficial for both ORCA, Fred. Olsen and our guests. We know that whale-watching is a real highlight for those taking their holidays with us, and having ORCA on board not only supports the collection of vital data, but also enables our guests to learn more about the marine wildlife that they see on their travels, and further enriches their cruise experience.”

Steve Jones, Head of Partnerships at ORCA, said: “ORCA and Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines share so many common values, and our burgeoning partnership has shown that the two organisations have a strong cultural fit.

“We’re continually amazed at how seamlessly we’ve been welcomed into the Fred. Olsen family, both on land and at sea, and everyone we’ve met, from the guests to the staff, have fully embraced our mission to protect whales and dolphins.

“We’re looking forward to a promising future working together, both through the great itineraries we have announced for the rest of 2020 and the incredible adventures we are planning for 2021 and beyond.”

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Image: Richard Lovelock

Features of the ORCA cruise programme include:

Black Watch’s 16-night W2018 ‘A Voyage to Remote Spitsbergen’ cruise, departing from Liverpool on 25th June 2020. Prices start from £2,599 per person.

Ports of call: Liverpool, UK – Ålesund, Norway – Cruising Rørvik, Norway – Cruising Torghatten, Norway – Cruising Seven Sisters mountain range, Norway – Crossing the Arctic Circle, Norway – Djevelen Tanngard, Norway – Honningsvåg, Norway – Longyearbyen, Norway – Cruising Tempelfjorden, Norway – Cruise by Nordenskiöldbreen, Norway – Pyramiden, Norway – Tromsø, Norway – Bodø, Norway – Lerwick, UK – Liverpool, UK

For more details: Visit W2018 ‘A Voyage to Remote Spitsbergen’

Boudicca’s 16-night D2021 ‘Fjords & Icebergs of Remote Greenland’ cruise, departing from Dover on 11th August 2020. Prices start from £2,199 per person.

Ports of call: Dover, UK – Reykjavik, Iceland (overnight stay) – Cruising Prins Chrustian Sund, Greenland – Cruising Torssukatak, Greeland – Narsarsuaq, Greenland – Qaqortoq, Greeland – Nanortalik, Greenland – Cruising Tasermiut Fjord, Greenland – Scrabster, UK – Dover, UK

For more details: Visit D2021 ‘Fjords & Icebergs of Remote Greenland’

For further information on ORCA sailings with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, visit www.fredolsencruises.com/our-ships/activities-and-entertainment/orca Book online, call Reservations on 0800 0355 242 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; Saturday, 9am to 5pm; Sunday, 10am to 4pm), or visit an ABTA travel agent.

To find out more about ORCA, visit www.orcaweb.org.uk

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MSC GRANDIOSA COMPLETES SUCCESSFUL SEA TRIALS

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MSC Grandiosa leaves Saint Nazaire for sea trials Image: MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises’ first Meraviglia-Plus class ship MSC Grandiosa has successfully completed her first intensive systems tests at sea during a three-day trial in the Atlantic Ocean between 28-31 August.

MSC Cruises’ latest flagship will next receive her finishing touches at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint Nazaire, France before being officially delivered to MSC Cruises on 31 October.

With a gross tonnage of 177,000, the ship has a total guest capacity of 6,334 and will feature some of the latest innovative marine technology and systems to become MSC Cruises’ most efficient and environmentally clean ship in its fleet.

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The Meraviglia-Plus class are 16m longer than Meraviglia class
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© Andrew McAlpine

MSC Grandiosa is equipped with two new and important technological innovations including a selective catalytic reduction system to decrease nitrogen oxide emissions by 90 per cent and transform it into pure water and nitrogen.  The flagship is also fitted with a state-of-the-art advanced wastewater treatment system that will lead to nearly zero impact on discharges and allow her to operate in delicate environments such as the Baltic Sea and Alaska.

MSC Grandiosa will feature extended 111-meter-long indoor promenade featuring an extended screen of 95 meters by 6 meters supplied by Samsung. The extended promenade area which will house two extra restaurants, giving passengers a wider dining choice.

The new environmental features add to other effective technologies deployed on MSC Grandiosa to further reduce her environmental impact including a cutting-edge exhaust gas cleaning system, systems for the prevention of oil discharge from machinery spaces, a ballast water treatment system and various energy-saving improvements such as heat recovery systems and LED lighting.

The christening ceremony for MSC Grandiosa is due to take place on 9th November in Hamburg and will be hosted by German TV star Michelle Hunziker. The ship will then head to Southampton arriving 12th November for two days of celebrations after which she will then head for an inaugural season in the Western Mediterranean with maiden calls from her Genoa homeport to Civitavecchia, Palermo, Valletta, Barcelona and Marseilles.

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Image: MSC Cruises

MSC Grandiosa Factfile

IMO No.: 9803613

Shipyard:  Chantiers de l’Atlantique, Saint Nazaire

Length: 331 m

Width: 51 m

Draft: 8,75 m

Gross tonnage: 177,000

Passengers: 6,334

Staterooms & suits: 2,444

Decks: 18

Crew: 1,700

Cruising speed: 21.8 knots

 

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

To find out more about MSC Grandiosa visit here http://www.msccruises.co.uk

UK-based Crown Princess confirmed as fourth OceanMedallion-activated ship

 

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Crown Princess sailing from Southampton © Andrew McAlpine

Today 24th July 2019 I was onboard Crown Princess in Southampton after being invited by Princess Cruises to learn more about their new Ocean Medallion technology and take a tour of Crown Princess, read on to learn more about this highly anticipated new technology.

Princess Cruises has confirmed that the 3,080-guest Crown Princess has become it’s fourth Medallion Class ship. Crown Princess becomes the first UK-based ship to feature the OceanMedallion: the vessel is based in Southampton this summer sailing the British Isles on a series of 12-night voyages. 

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My own Ocean Medallion © Andrew McAlpine

The multi-award winning OceanMedallion, which is the same size as a 10p piece, has been designed to deliver an entirely new level of service and create a holiday that is more simple, effortless and personalised with:

·        Princess MedallionClass experience, featuring the complimentary OceanMedallion wearable device 
·        Expedited arrival – Guests who arrive at the terminal with travel documents (i.e. passports) uploaded to their profile enjoy a streamlined and expedited check-in process that gets their holiday started even sooner
·        Touchless stateroom entry – No need to touch, swipe or insert cards or devices into the door handle to unlock the stateroom. As a guest approaches their stateroom the door automatically unlocks
·        On-demand services – Using smart devices, guests have the ability to order drinks, food and retail items such as suntan lotion and have them delivered directly anywhere onboard, including to their stateroom
·        Family and friends locator – Accessible on portals throughout the ships and via guests’ smart devices, OceanCompass leverages the OceanMedallion to easily locate and chat with friends and family onboard. OceanCompass guides guests throughout their journey, providing directional information so they can seamlessly navigate to their next point of interest
·        Interactive voyage timeline – Available on ship portals and via guests’ smart devices, JourneyView is an interactive timeline that lets guests scroll through all of the events available on board during their voyage and bookmark activities they’re interested in to their own personalized itinerary. Voyage itineraries are available as many as 60 days in advance, allowing guests to start planning before they leave home.

In addition, Crown Princess now benefits from MedallionNet, which allows guests to stay connected anywhere onboard including staterooms. MedallionNet allows guests to share holiday experiences with friends and family back home; stream TV shows, movies and sports events; and make voice and video calls.

The three other ships which are already MedallionClass vessels are Caribbean Princess, Regal Princess and Royal Princess. Ships are fitted with 72 miles of cable and 4,000 sensors to get them OceanMedallion ready. Its implementation requires more than 650 readers and 4,000 interactive portals.

Seven more ships will become MedallionClass vessels up to the end of 2020:

·        Sky Princess on its launch in October 2019
·        Ruby Princess on January 27, 2020
·        Grand Princess on March 29, 2020
·        Enchanted Princess on June 15, 2020
·        Emerald Princess on August 16, 2020
·        Coral Princess on October 16, 2020
·        Island Princess on December 20, 2020

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In 2021 all five European based ships will be Ocean Medallion enabled. Image: © Princess Cruises

Following her UK season, Crown Princess will make her way to Fort Lauderdale in September for roundtrip Caribbean sailings. The ship will return to the UK from May-November 2020, where she will sail from Southampton on a series of voyages to the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and northern Europe.

The vessel has over 1,500 cabins, including nearly 900 balconies, and four swimming pools. It has 19 decks; 18 restaurants, cafes and bars; and at a length of over 950 feet is around the size of three football pitches.

Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises vice president UK & Europe, said: “We are so excited to see an OceanMedallion-activated ship in the UK as guests can now see first-hand the huge number of benefits it brings with it. OceanMedallion is intended to make every guest feel like a VIP and helps them relax and enjoy their cruise from the moment they are ready to step onboard.

“From quicker access on and off the ship, to the unprecedented on demand service, to being able to stay in touch with friends and family wherever they are on the ship, all mean guests on Crown Princess can now make the most of every aspect of their holiday with us.”

Princess Cruises is offering a 17-day Mediterranean and Greek Isles voyage on Crown Princess, from £1,699 per person. Departing November 6, 2020 and sailing roundtrip from Southampton, ports of call include Seville, Cartagena (both Spain), Valetta (Malta), Mykonos, Kusadasi and Santorini (all Greece). Includes up to $500 per person spending money.

About Princess Cruises:
One of the best-known names in cruising, Princess Cruises is a global premium cruise line and tour company operating a fleet of 17 modern cruise ships, carrying two million guests each year on 170 itineraries to more than 380 destinations around the globe, including the Caribbean, Alaska, Panama Canal, Mexican Riviera, Europe, South America, Australia/New Zealand, the South Pacific, Hawaii, Asia, Canada/New England and World Cruises. Itineraries range in length from three to 111 days. 

In 2017 Princess Cruises, with parent company Carnival Corporation, introduced MedallionClass cruises enabled by the Ocean Medallion – the cruises industry’s most advanced wearable device, provided free to each guest sailing on a MedallionClass ship. The award-winning innovation offers the fastest way to a hassle-free, personalised cruise, giving guests more opportunity to enjoy their time onboard. Ocean Medallion will be activated on five ships by the end of 2019. An activation plan will continue across the global fleet in 2020 and beyond.   

Three new Royal-class ships are currently on order with the next new ship, Sky Princess, under construction and scheduled for delivery in October 2019 followed by Enchanted Princess in June 2020. Princess recently announced that two new (LNG) ships which will be the largest ships in the Princess fleet, accommodating approximately 4,300 guests with expected delivery in 2023 and 2025.  Princess now has five ships arriving over the next six years between 2019 & 2025. The company is part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE:CUK).

About Princess Cruises:
One of the best-known names in cruising, Princess Cruises is a global premium cruise line and tour company operating a fleet of 17 modern cruise ships, carrying two million guests each year on 170 itineraries to more than 380 destinations around the globe, including the Caribbean, Alaska, Panama Canal, Mexican Riviera, Europe, South America, Australia/New Zealand, the South Pacific, Hawaii, Asia, Canada/New England and World Cruises. Itineraries range in length from three to 111 days. 

In 2017 Princess Cruises, with parent company Carnival Corporation, introduced MedallionClass cruises enabled by the Ocean Medallion – the cruises industry’s most advanced wearable device, provided free to each guest sailing on a MedallionClass ship. The award-winning innovation offers the fastest way to a hassle-free, personalised cruise, giving guests more opportunity to enjoy their time onboard. Ocean Medallion will be activated on five ships by the end of 2019. An activation plan will continue across the global fleet in 2020 and beyond.  

Three new Royal-class ships are currently on order with the next new ship, Sky Princess, under construction and scheduled for delivery in October 2019 followed by Enchanted Princess in June 2020. Princess recently announced that two new (LNG) ships which will be the largest ships in the Princess fleet, accommodating approximately 4,300 guests with expected delivery in 2023 and 2025.  Princess now has five ships arriving over the next six years between 2019 & 2025. The company is part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE:CUK).

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

 

Princess Cruises opens family water playground on Caribbean Princess

Princess Cruises has opened a family water playground on the top deck of the 3,140-guest Caribbean Princess cruise ship. The Reef Family Splash Zone includes a water play area, newly-refurbished pool and lounge area.

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Image: Princess Cruises

The Reef’s family-friendly features comprise:

·         Winnie the Whale’s splashpad: An interactive water playground including a splash pool, water sprays and showers. Winnie the Whale ‘rains’ from her fluke and sprays from her spout. Winnie is also part of Princess’ ‘Animal Planet’ endangered species programme in its Camp Discovery Youth and Teen Centres, where children learn about the anatomy of humpback whales

·         A refurbished spa and bar area including a family pool and jacuzzi. ‘Morgan’s Bar’ has opened with a new child-friendly mocktail menu with drinks on offer such as ‘Crazy Coconut’ and ‘Berry Nice to Meet You’ 

·         A new outdoor lounge area with a range of seating and relaxing options, from single sun loungers to sectional chairs and sofas with tables. The space also has new fixtures, finishes and canopies offering plenty of shade

·         A multi-generational game zone with oversized activities such as giant Connect Four and Jenga

In addition, directly below The Reef in the Camp Discovery outdoor area, children can interact and explore with a destination-themed water table. It features the many locations and iconic landmarks Princess visits including the Sydney Opera House and Golden Gate Bridge and also highlights how a cruise ship moves through water, waves and weather.

Caribbean Princess boasts a wealth of additional family-friendly features, which were recently expanded via a multi-million pound upgrade. They include three youth and teen clubs, each themed around Princess’ partnership with the Discovery Channel; activities and games for children such as hands-on science experiments, mini golf tournaments, talent shows and stargazing; and interconnecting staterooms for use by larger groups of family and friends.

Caribbean Princess was also the first ship in the Princess fleet to be fully OceanMedallion-activated. The multi-award winning OceanMedallion, which is the same size as a 10p piece, has been designed to deliver an entirely new level of service and create a holiday that is more simple, effortless and personalised. It supports a number of features such as a family and friends locator, which allows guests to easily find other people onboard.

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Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises vice president UK & Europe, said: “The Reef Family Splash Zone forms part of our ongoing commitment to offer families a fun and relaxing onboard holiday. Caribbean Princess now has a wealth of features designed to appeal to guests of all ages, perfectly complementing the stunning destinations the ship sails to.”

Princess Cruises is offering a 14-day ‘Circle Caribbean’ voyage on Caribbean Princess, from £1,599 per person including complimentary drinks packages. Departing February 2, 2020 and sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale in Florida, ports of call include St Thomas, St Maarten, St Kitts, Martinique, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Bonaire and Aruba. Includes up to $1,100 spending money for a family of four staying in the same stateroom.

For more information or to book visit www.princess.com, speak to your local travel agent or call 0344 338 8663.

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World’s first hybrid powered cruise ship to be named in Antarctica

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Image: Hurtigruten

NAMED IN ICE – WITH ICE: Hurtigruten’s new hybrid powered MS Roald Amundsen will be the first ship in history to be named in Antarctica. Photo: ESPEN MILLS/Hurtigruten

Hybrid powered expedition cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen continues to make history – as Hurtigruten announces the first ever ship naming ceremony in Antarctica. Instead of the traditional bottle of champagne, MS Roald Amundsen’s explorer heritage will be honored by naming the vessel with a chunk of ice.

The naming ceremony will take place this fall, as the first world’s first hybrid powered cruise ship makes her way to the white continent on her maiden Antarctica voyage.

– We can think of no better place to name the truly unique MS Roald Amundsen than the waters of Antarctica – where no ship has ever been christened before, Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam says.

Named in ice – with ice

Named after polar hero Roald Amundsen – who led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage, the first expedition to the south pole and the first expedition proven to have reached the North Pole – the MS Roald Amundsen naming ceremony is set to honor his legacy with a ritual invented by Amundsen himself.

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When christening his famed expedition ship “Maud” in 1917, Roald Amundsen switched the traditional bottle of champagne for a chunk of ice. Before crushing the ice against her bow, he stated:

“It is not my intention to dishonor the glorious grape, but already now you shall get the taste of your real environment. For the ice you have been built, and in the ice, you shall stay most of your life, and in the ice, you shall solve your tasks”.

Hurtigruten – and the yet to be disclosed godmother – will use the same ritual when naming MS Roald Amundsen.

– To honor Roald Amundsen and his explorer heritage, we will revive his ritual. With over 125 year of Polar experience, Hurtigruten will use the first ever ship naming ceremony in Antarctica to pay our respects to our oceans, the environment and past and present explorers, Skjeldam says.

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Image: ESPEN MILLS/Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten’s hybrid powered MS Roald Amundsen made maritime history by being first cruise ship in the world to sail purely on battery power – as she left Kleven yard for her maiden voyage off the coast of Norway in late June.

IMAGES AND VIDEO: Watch MS Roald Amundsen sailing on battery power
MEET THE CAPTAIN: Hurtigruten veteran Kai (54) to captain MS Roald Amundsen

Specially designed for exploring some of the most spectacular waters of the planet, MS Roald Amundsen features groundbreaking green technology.

The hybrid powered expedition cruise ship is using battery packs to support her low-emission engines and will reduce CO2 emissions with more than 20 % compared to other cruise ships of the same size.

– This opens a new chapter in maritime history. MS Roald Amundsen is the first cruise ship equipped with batteries, something deemed impossible just a few years back. With the introduction of MS Roald Amundsen, Hurtigruten sets a new standard not only for cruising, but for the entire shipping industry to follow, said Skjeldam (pictured).

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Image: Hurtigruten

The stunning scenery will be reflected in a modern Scandinavian design – with features spanning from the high-tech Amundsen Science Center, vast observation decks, an infinity pool, panoramic sauna, wellness center, three restaurants, bars, Explorer Lounge, aft-facing suites with private outdoor hot tubs, and the laidback atmosphere that creates the special Hurtigruten on board feel.

EXPLORE THE GREEN PIONEERVirtual tour of MS Roald Amundsen

From pole to pole

MS Roald Amundsen’s maiden season includes expedition cruises along the Norwegian coast, to Svalbard and Greenland, before becoming the first hybrid powered ship to attempt a traverse of the legendary Northwest Passage – following in the wake of the namesake explorer Roald Amundsen’s famed expedition.

In addition to eco-friendly expedition cruises along the west coast of North- and South America – with destinations bigger cruise ships cannot reach – the MS Roald Amundsen will head to the extreme south for a full 2019/2020 Antarctica season.

On board facilities includes: A fully equipped Science Center, observation decks, infinity pool, panoramic sauna, wellness center, three restaurants, bars, Explorer Lounge, more than 50 % of cabins with private balconies.

Hurtigruten – World leader in exploration travel

Building on 125 years of Norwegian pioneering heritage, Hurtigruten is today the world’s largest expedition cruise company.

Hurtigruten’s rapidly growing fleet of custom-build expedition ships takes modern-day adventure travellers to the world’s most spectacular destinations on our Planet – from the High North to Antarctica in the south.

Being the world leader in exploration travel comes with a great responsibility. Hurtigruten is enhancing destinations and runs an responsible, sustainable global operation. Read more about Hurtigruten’s sustainability efforts here.

Hurtigruten is introducing the world’s first hybrid battery powered cruise ships, the MS Roald Amundsen (2019) and the MS Fridtjof Nansen (2020).

MS Roald Amundsen Factfile

IMO No.: 9813072

Shipyard:  Kleven Yards, Norway

Length: 140 m

Width: 23,6 m

Draft: 5,3 m

Gross tonnage: 20.889

Passengers: 530

Staterooms & suits: 265

Crew: 151

Cruising speed: 15 knots

Ice class: PC-6

The World’s first hybrid powered cruise ship equipped with large battery packs and groundbreaking green technology.

Want to learn more about the worlds first battery powered cruise ship? then be sure to check out my next post when I will be profiling this remarkable ship.

Hurtigruten website

http://www.hurtigruten.co.uk

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HRH THE DUCHESS OF CORNWALL BECOMES GODMOTHER TO SAGA’S SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY IN DOVER

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Image: Saga Cruises

On Friday 5th July HRH The Duchess of Cornwall today became Godmother to Saga’s new boutique cruise ship, Spirit of Discovery, in Dover, Kent. It’s the first cruise ship to be named at the Port of Dover for over a decade.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall joined over 500 guests in true British style, at what is thought to be the first ever garden party on a quayside.  Grass grown in Yorkshire adorned the harbour, surrounded by traditional bunting and table settings, stunning foliage, florals, trees and parasols.

HRH was given a tour of the ‘contemporary classic’ Spirit of Discovery which has been designed and built to be a British ‘boutique’ hotel on the sea. Whilst on board she met Jools Holland OBE in ‘The Club by Jools’, as well as Captain Julian Burgess and crew on the Bridge and entertainers in the Playhouse, the ship’s theatre. She also viewed some of the 400 plus pieces of original art commissioned by British based artists and artisans. These include a striking glass work created by sculptor Peter Layton, and inspired by the Royal Gardens at Highgrove.

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HRH The Duchess of Cornwall cuts the cake image: Saga Cruises

Following the tour of Spirit of Discovery, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall cut a specially made cake, a two-metre long replica of Spirit of Discovery, designed and made by Mark Tilling, award winning chocolatier and winner of Bake Off Crème de la Crème. During the official naming ceremony, HRH and guests were entertained by The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood and the Morriston Orpheus Choir. The ship was blessed by The Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall formally named Spirit of Discovery with a jeroboam of the specially-blended Hush Heath English sparkling wine, before an eco-confetti cannon fired across the proceedings.

HRH is the patron of the charity The Silver Line, which provides a 24-hour telephone service for older people who are feeling lonely or isolated, and is Saga’s first national charity partner. During her speech she said of The Silver Line, “Since its launch in 2013, it has received over 2 million calls – and the support of Saga will ensure that its vital work can continue.”

Robin Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of Saga Travel, said, “This is an immensely proud moment for Saga. We started this journey to build something special some three and a half years ago, and today, we are honoured to be joined by our Godmother, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. We firmly believe that Spirit of Discovery creates a new British quality standard in the cruising market and we can’t wait to welcome guests on board.”

The occasion celebrated the start of a significant new era for Saga Cruises, the only remaining British registered, independent, cruise company, whose headquarters are in Folkestone and Best Small Cruise Company winner at the British Travel Awards 2019. Saga’s Spirit of Discovery is their first commissioned ship, and is the only ship built and delivered exclusively for the British market this year.  She has been registered in the UK and will proudly display London as her port of registry on her stern. Her sister ship, Spirit of Adventure, will also fly the Red Ensign when she launches in 2020. Moreover, Spirit of Discovery is the first ship to be docked, and named, at Dover Western Docks following the £250m redevelopment of the area.

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Image: Saga Cruises

The inaugural cruise of Spirit of Discovery, named ‘A British First’, will depart from Dover on 10th July and sail around the British Isles and will make her first visit to Southampton 22nd July.

You can find out more by visiting Saga Cruises website https://travel.saga.co.uk/cruises/ocean/our-ships/spirit-of-discovery.aspx?pid=ppsl&scid=ppc-b&infinity=ict2~net~gaw~ar~338966019539~kw~saga%20cruises~mt~e~cmp~Brand_Long+Tail_Cruises_X_X_X_Core_X_Exact~ag~Cruise&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_bnnnaui4wIViEHTCh1b4AY5EAAYASABEgKLZvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

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Carnival Vista’s Propulsion System to be Repaired Using First-Of-Its-Kind ‘Floating Dry Dock’

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Rendering: ©Boskalis

Carnival Cruise Line announced today that Netherlands-based Boskalis, a worldwide leader in marine solutions, will deploy a transport vessel as a first of its kind “floating dry dock” facility to complete the repairs to Carnival Vista’s two azipods, the ship’s main propulsion system. The procedure will entail loading the ship onto the semi-submersible heavy transport vessel, BOKA Vanguard, and then docking the vessel at the Grand Bahama shipyard for the repair work.

A video animation detailing the “floating dry dock” process can be viewed here:

 www.vimeo.com/boskalis/vista.

“This groundbreaking procedure made possible by Boskalis is a revolutionary way to ensure Carnival Vista’s repairs are completed in a safe, timely and efficient manner, so the ship can resume her popular seven-day schedule from Galveston later this month,” said Lars Ljoen, executive vice president of marine operations for Carnival Cruise Line.

 

BOKA Vanguard is expected to arrive in Bahamian waters on Friday, July 5 to prepare for Carnival Vista’s arrival on July 12. The loading, transport and repairs are expected to take approximately 17 days.

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Rendering: ©Boskalis

About Boka Vanguard

Built in 2012 as Dockwise Vanguard, the Boka Vanguard is designed to lift and transport extremely heavy cargoes of up to 117,000 tonnes and is the largest vessel of its kind ever constructed. It can transport large offshore oil and gas structures, but can also carry other vessels and act as a floating offshore dry dock facility. The Boka Vanguard is unique in that is has an open and flat stern and bow-less deck measuring 275 by 70 metres allowing the vessel to lift and transport cargo’s longer and wider than these deck dimensions.

By filling its ballast tanks, the ship deck is submerged in a controlled manner, allowing it to lift deep draught cargoes. This creates an alternative for dry docking allowing inspections and repairs to be safely and efficiently conducted at a location where traditional dry dock alternatives are not available.

Following the repairs Carnival Vista is expected  to return to Galveston in time for her July 27 voyage and continue with year-round seven-day Caribbean itineraries.

To learn more about Carnival Cruise Line, visit Carnival.com. For reservations, contact any travel agent or call 1-800-CARNIVAL in (USA). Carnival can also be found on: FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube.

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Princess Cruises announces all-inclusive deal on 250 Caribbean sailings 

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© Andrew McAlpine

Princess Cruises announces all-inclusive deal on 250 Caribbean sailings

Princess Cruises is offering holidaymakers an all-inclusive holiday package including drinks and up to $1500 on board spending money per stateroom when booking a Caribbean cruise. The deal is available from July 2 – 31, 2019 and applies to nearly 250 voyages on six of the line’s ships, departing December 1, 2019 – May 22, 2021.

Included in the offer are 58 sailings across 17 different itineraries on Sky Princess, the newest addition to the line’s fleet, which launches in October this year. The 3,660-guest ship will sail a variety of eastern, western and southern Caribbean itineraries from December 2019 – March 2021.

Guests one and two in a stateroom can take advantage of an all-inclusive drinks package including speciality coffee and tea, soft drinks, cocktails, wine, beer and premium spirits. Any additional stateroom guests will receive a package comprising coffee and tea, soft drinks, fruit juices, hot chocolate, smoothies and mocktails.

The 3,660-guest Enchanted Princess, which launches in Southampton next year, 3,560-guest Regal Princess and 3,140-guest Caribbean Princess are all offering eastern and western Caribbean sailings, while the 2,200-guest ship Island Princess will depart on a circle Caribbean itinerary.

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© Andrew McAlpine

A variety of itineraries are also available on the 3,080-guest Crown Princess including southern Caribbean, circle Caribbean, Caribbean explorer and Panama Canal with Costa Rica and Caribbean. 

The cruises range in length from four to 21 days, with late night calls in St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Cozumel, Aruba and Curacao. Voyages sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale.

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Image: Princess Cruises 

 

All ships will feature the multi award-winning Ocean Medallion technology.

Tony Roberts, vice president Princess Cruises UK & Europe, said: “With its white sands, year-round sunshine and crystal clear waters the Caribbean remains a hot spot for returning and new-to-cruise guests. By taking advantage of this offer and allowing Princess to cover the drinks bill, our guests can raise a glass to this stunning part of the world as our ships cross its islands.”

Princess Cruises is offering a 7-day Eastern Caribbean voyage, sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on Sky Princess. Departing January 25, 2020, ports of call include Princess Cays (Bahamas), St. Thomas and St. Maarten. Prices from £899 per person, with up to $250 onboard spending money per person.

For more information or to book visit www.princess.com , speak to your local travel agent or call 0344 338 8663.

Notes 

Fare price based on two guests sharing an inside stateroom.

The all-Inclusive offer includes drinks package*, accommodation, all main meals and entertainment.

* Guests one and two sharing a stateroom will receive the Premier Beverage Package, guests three and four in the same stateroom, as well as all guests under the age of 21, will receive the Premier Coffee & Soda Package. 

Speciality dining, WiFi, gratuities, shore excursions and spa purchases are not included as part of the offer.

The amount of onboard spending money will vary based on voyage length and stateroom type.

About Princess Cruises
One of the best-known names in cruising, Princess Cruises is a global premium cruise line and tour company operating a fleet of 17 modern cruise ships, carrying two million guests each year on 170 itineraries to more than 380 destinations around the globe, including the Caribbean, Alaska, Panama Canal, Mexican Riviera, Europe, South America, Australia/New Zealand, the South Pacific, Hawaii, Asia, Canada/New England and World Cruises. Itineraries range in length from three to 111 days.

In 2017 Princess Cruises, with parent company Carnival Corporation, introduced MedallionClass cruises enabled by the Ocean Medallion – the cruises industry’s most advanced wearable device, provided free to each guest sailing on a MedallionClass ship. The award-winning innovation offers the fastest way to a hassle-free, personalised cruise, giving guests more opportunity to enjoy their time onboard. Ocean Medallion will be activated on five ships by the end of 2019. An activation plan will continue across the global fleet in 2020 and beyond.  

Princess Cruises continues its multi-year, “Come Back New Promise” – a £330 million-pound product innovation and cruise ship renovation campaign that will continue to enhance the line’s onboard guest experience. These product innovations include partnerships with award-winning Chef Curtis Stone; shows created in partnership with Broadway-legend Stephen Schwartz; immersive activities for the whole family from Discovery and Animal Planet from exclusive shore excursions to onboard activities; the ultimate sleep at sea with the award-winning Princess Luxury Bed and more.

Three new Royal-class ships are currently on order with the next new ship, Sky Princess, under construction scheduled for delivery in October 2019. Princess recently announced that two new (LNG) ships which will be the largest ships in the Princess fleet, accommodating approximately 4,300 guests with expected delivery in 2023 and 2025.  Princess now has five ships arriving over the next six years between 2019 & 2025. The company is part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE:CUK).

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Countdown to Enchanted Princess

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Princess Cruises begins one-year countdown to Enchanted Princess

Princess Cruises has commenced the one-year countdown to the launch of the 3,660-guest Enchanted Princess in Southampton on June 30, 2020.

Construction of the 143,700-ton ship is currently under way in the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, where it will take a total of three million construction hours to build. On completion, the vessel will sail from Southampton for an inaugural season in the Mediterranean before heading to the Caribbean in autumn 2020.

Its maiden voyage will be a 10-night sailing to Rome, calling at Bilbao, Lisbon, Gibraltar, Barcelona, Toulon/Provence (La Seyne) and Florence/Pisa (Livorno), departing on July 1, 2020.

Enchanted Princess is the sister ship to Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Majestic Princess and Sky Princess, which joins the fleet in October 2019. Royal Princess was the most recent vessel from the line’s fleet to be named in Southampton, in 2013, by Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge.

Enchanted Princess will be an evolution of her sister ships with enhancements, which are also set to feature on Sky Princess, including:

·         Two ‘Sky Suites’, which have the largest balconies at sea and will be centrally located on the top decks. Measuring 1,012 square feet (starboard side Sky Suite) and 947 square feet (port side Sky Suite) the balconies will provide a private vantage of the top deck Movies Under the Stars cinema screen, offer 270-degree panorama views and sleep up to five guests. They will feature two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a dining area with skylight as well as a host of exclusive amenities

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Image: Princess Cruises 
·        Princess MedallionClass experience, featuring the complimentary OceanMedallion wearable device, which is the same size as a 10p piece, delivers an entirely new level of service and creates a holiday that is more simple, effortless and personalised with:·        Expedited arrival – Guests who arrive at the terminal with travel documents (i.e. passports) uploaded to their profile enjoy a streamlined and expedited check-in process that gets their holiday started even sooner.

·        On-demand services – Food, beverage, retail order and hospitality services delivered to your location: Using smart devices, guests have the ability to order drinks, food and retail items like suntan lotion and have them delivered directly anywhere onboard, including to their stateroom.

·        Family and friends locator – Finding travel companions and directional ship information: Accessible on portals throughout the ships and via guests’ smart devices, OceanCompass leverages the OceanMedallion to easily locate and chat with friends and family onboard. OceanCompass guides guests throughout their journey, providing directional information so they can seamlessly navigate to their next point of interest.

·         New entertainment such as jazz lounge Take Five, a redesigned Vista Lounge and an enhanced Princess Theatre

·         More than 25 dining venues and bars including the World Fresh Marketplace and speciality restaurants La Mer (French bistro), Crown Grill Steakhouse and Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria

·         A redesigned Sanctuary area, the spa-inspired top deck retreat reserved for adults. The Sanctuary will feature an enhanced, contemporary design including twice as many private cabanas as its sister ships, as well as new lounge furniture and the option for guests to indulge in a spa treatment

Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises vice president UK & Europe, said: “With just one year to go until the launch of Enchanted Princess in Southampton this is an exciting time for Princess Cruises as we prepare to add another ship to our fleet. Enchanted Princess will showcase our continued commitment to offering premium services and features  for our guests, as well as maintaining the signature Princess experience that our guests have come to know and love.”

Princess Cruises is offering a 7-day Mediterranean and Aegean voyage on Enchanted Princess, departing September 12, 2020. Sailing from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Athens and calling at Naples, Kotor, Corfu, Chania and Mykonos. Prices from £1,099 per person, with up to $250 onboard spending money per person*.

Enchanted Princess interesting facts:

·         With a length of 1083 feet, Enchanted Princess is longer than the height of The Shard, the tallest UK building 
·         At 217 feet tall, Enchanted Princess is around the height of 15 double-decker buses stacked on top of one another 
·         There will be 2,500 miles of electrical cabling in Enchanted Princess, equivalent to the distance between London and Cairo
·         100,000 gallons of paint will be used in the construction of Enchanted Princess, more than 10 times the amount required annually to paint the Golden Gate Bridge
·         Enchanted Princess will feature 200 tons of marble, 30 times the amount used in Michelangelo’s statue of David
·         Enchanted Princess’ anchor is 14 tons, twice the weight of an elephant
·         Enchanted Princess will have a top speed of 22 knots (25 mph) and 15,000KW of transverse (sideways) thruster power. Princess Cruises’ original Love Boat, Pacific Princess, had a forward propulsion power of about 13,500KW, meaning Enchanted Princess can go faster sideways than the original Pacific Princess could travel forward

About Princess Cruises
One of the best-known names in cruising, Princess Cruises is a global premium cruise line and tour company operating a fleet of 17 modern cruise ships, carrying two million guests each year on 170 itineraries to more than 380 destinations around the globe, including the Caribbean, Alaska, Panama Canal, Mexican Riviera, Europe, South America, Australia/New Zealand, the South Pacific, Hawaii, Asia, Canada/New England and World Cruises. Itineraries range in length from three to 111 days. 

In 2017 Princess Cruises, with parent company Carnival Corporation, introduced MedallionClass cruises enabled by the Ocean Medallion – the cruises industry’s most advanced wearable device, provided free to each guest sailing on a MedallionClass ship. The award-winning innovation offers the fastest way to a hassle-free, personalised cruise, giving guests more opportunity to enjoy their time onboard. Ocean Medallion will be activated on five ships by the end of 2019. An activation plan will continue across the global fleet in 2020 and beyond.   

Princess Cruises continues its multi-year, “Come Back New Promise” – a £330 million-pound product innovation and cruise ship renovation campaign that will continue to enhance the line’s onboard guest experience. These product innovations include partnerships with award-winning Chef Curtis Stone; shows created in partnership with Broadway-legend Stephen Schwartz; immersive activities for the whole family from Discovery and Animal Planet from exclusive shore excursions to onboard activities; the ultimate sleep at sea with the award-winning Princess Luxury Bed and more.

The company is part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE:CUK).

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog

MSC CRUISES – OCEAN CAY MARINE RESERVE

GET READY TO DISCOVER THE NATURAL BEAUTY OF

OCEAN CAY MSC MARINE RESERVE

  • In-depth ecological assessment completed to build the conservation plans for the island
  • New details of guest experience revealed including new spa concept

 

Bahamas, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve
Image credit: Conrad Schutt

With just under four months to go until Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve welcomes its first guests, MSC Cruises the Swiss-based, world’s largest privately-owned cruise line revealed today more details of the unique experience that lies in wait for guests. The vision for the island is to immerse guests in the natural beauty of their surroundings in the Bahamas. Ocean Cay is founded on a deep commitment to ecological principles – beliefs that shape everything from how venues are built, to how the island is run, to the kinds of activities featured on the island. Work is underway to design opportunities for guests to learn about the protection of the oceans and the importance of preserving coral reefs through dedicated edutainment programs.

The Bahamas is renowned for its beautiful blue waters and white sandy beaches whilst the oceans in this part of the world are home to a special and diverse ecosystem that needs to be safeguarded for the future. As part of the development of Ocean Cay, MSC Cruises is working to establish the roadmap for the restoration of marine resources, including habitats and species present in the area. This will include the restoration of endangered corals, and the implementation of other conservation and educational programmes.

The island is situated within protected waters spanning 64 square miles but the ambition is to further extend this to ensure an even greater impact. MSC Cruises guests will have an incredible opportunity to discover the wonders of the ocean in this special part of the world.

Credit Conrad Schutt - Guests will have an incredible opportunity to discover the wonders of the ocean
Image credit: Conrad Schutt

ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION FOR THE FUTURE

To better understand the conservation needs and map out the key environmental initiatives, MSC Cruises commissioned a Rapid Ecological Assessment (REA) that provided a short-term overview of the waters around Ocean Cay.

One of the priorities for MSC Cruises on Ocean Cay is the restoration of the coral. An integral part of the marine ecosystem, coral needs to be protected as they ensure biodiversity, provide a habitat for marine life and protect coastlines. Now that the waters around the island are protected and it is no longer an industrial site once used for sand excavation, the seabed is returning to normal and the hope is that the coral will again begin to thrive. Plans are under way to establish a coral nursery on the East side of the island with the hope of propagating even more coral, particularly the more endangered varieties.

The recent survey established that there are three types of coral that can be found in abundance – primarily Agaricia agaricites known as lettuce coral,Porites astreoides commonly known as mustard hill coral or yellow porites, Siderastrea also known as massive starlet coral.

These species are some of the heartier species, more capable of withstanding harsh temperature conditions and siltation than other species. Also found around the island during the assessment is the critically endangered Acropora palmata known as Elkhorn Coral was found. Four distinct colonies of this species were observed along the rocky shoreline of these cays. Over time these corals will become candidates for restoration in the coral nursery.

The Ocean Cay team are already seeing an increase in marine life in the area and the REA identified 88 different species of fish around the island as well as lobster, sea turtles and rays. An important feature of the ecosystem in this region that was assessed is the queen conch, Lobatus gigas. The conch is a large sea snail and lives in the seagrass beds around Ocean Cay and helps to keep the water clean from algal produced by seagrass. The conch is one of the most important fishery species in these waters and a symbol of The Bahamas. However, conch populations have seen dramatic declines in recent years some of the few remaining breeding populations are those within marine protected areas in The Bahamas. Ocean Cay is a productive conch habitat and as such steps will be taken to ensure the protection of the conch to thrive.

In addition to paving the way for the future of the island’s ecosystem, work is well underway to finalise the guest experience and welcome the new guests in November. Every aspect of the island is being developed with the vision of creating a truly memorable experience founded in the core philosophy of the island – the discovery of nature.

You can find out more about the restoration of Ocean Cay here: https://youtu.be/7lDorGCyydk

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve features a Great Lagoon for swimming and water sports.jpgDISCOVER THE OCEAN

The environmental philosophy of the Ocean Cay guest experience has influenced the choice of water sports and guests will not find the typical motorised water sports found elsewhere but instead the Company is developing a range of natural ways to enjoy the water. This includes the popular stand up paddle (SUP) and kayaking. What better way to take in the uninterrupted horizon than by getting out on the water.

For those who wish to discover the marine life close-up there will be the opportunity to book a snorkeling & secluded island getaway. This 1.5 hour trip to the nearby cay will allow guests to either snorkel on their own or for an enhanced experience, follow a snorkel guide while they point out all of the colourful and exotic marine life in the area. After snorkelling, guests are then taken to a private beach on the remote cay for swimming and relaxing in the water. Places are limited so ensure to book in advance.

For those who are a little more adventurous, scuba diving will also be available with PADI qualified instructors and for those who wish to get a taster for diving, there will a Discover Scuba Diving class that can be booked where guests can get an idea but in shallow waters, again with a PADI instructor.

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve features 7 beaches for guestsLUXURIOUS RELAXATION

Located at the Northern tip of the island in a stunning location with incredible ocean views, is The Spa at Ocean Cay. This unique new luxurious spa concept has been created exclusively for Ocean Cay and is designed to immerse guests in the elements, that become an integral part of the experience providing a contrasting experience to the authentic Balinese MSC Aurea Spa on board the ships.

The spa offering will stay true to the environmental principles of the island and the products used will be from AVEDA, a beauty brand known for its natural products and environmental commitments. Guests looking for head to toe pampering can choose from different massage options and then simply relax in the stylish treatment room listening to the sound of the waves and feeling the ocean breeze.  A range of very special on-trend fitness sessions will also be available for those looking to connect with their inner zen! Choose from morning beach yoga, SUP yoga on paddle boards and to round of the day, sunset yoga.

FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

As a family company, MSC Cruises offers an award-winning family offering on board the fleet and this will also be available on Ocean Cay. The island has been designed to offer a family friendly experience with the Seakers Family Cove. A paradise for kids with a shallow lagoon to play in and a beautiful sandy beach for games. All of the beaches on the island will be monitored by lifeguards to ensure safety for all and this will give parents peace of mind.

The MSC Cruises Kids Club staff will organize games and activities throughout the day at the Seakers Family Cove. The activities featuring the new DOREMI Explorer mascot are designed to facilitate natural discovery and will see a return to the simple childhood games such as sand castle contests, kite building, treasure hunts and a family sporting challenge. There are dedicated teens activities to enable the older kids discover all that the island has to offer including an activity with the teen web creator who will help them to create content to inspire others with the beauty of the island.

The Seakers Food Court is located conveniently close by for the families. Serving American classic dishes and kids’ favourites, the buffet will be complimentary as it is on board. There are other options available on the island from the food trucks and guests can also easily return to the ship throughout the day to take advantage of the full range of dining options on board.

EVENING ENTERTAINMENT

After a day spent unwinding and relaxing, one of the highlights of the visit to the island will be the evening entertainment and activities. After a stunning sunset when the night falls, the area around the iconic 30 metre red and white lighthouse will come to life. Guests will be able to enjoy a breath-taking light show that can be enjoyed from the bar of for those wishing for a more chilled atmosphere they can watch the show from the beach around one of the firepits. A traditional junkanoo parade will get people in the party mood. This is inspired by the historic Bahamian festival and is a feast of colourful costumes music and dancing.

For those guests still wishing to immerse themselves in the natural world,  the remote nature of the island means that the heavens will offer their own entertainment and guests can book an astronomy-themed adventure. Guests will enjoy a welcome drink as the astronomer guide, using state of the art computerized tracking telescopes, finds the most striking star clusters, planets, nebulas and galaxies on display that evening. An evening of unbelievable stargazing under the Bahamian sky awaits.

From November 2019, all MSC Cruises ships from Miami will call at Ocean Cay as part of the Caribbean itineraries.

SHIPS TO OCEAN CAY

 

MSC Seaside

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Seaside

MSC Meraviglia

Meraviglia

meraviglia nos

MSC Divina

Divina

Divina

To ensure that guests can fully understand what lies in wait for them on Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve a dedicated website is available to visit here: www.mscoceancay.com/en-gb/

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog