UK’s first dedicated LNG cruise terminal opens in Southampton

 

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.

Cruise Terminal upgrade at Ocean 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.

Carnival Cruise Line (Mardi Gras); delivery 2020.

P&O Cruises UK (IONA); delivery 2020.

AIDA Cruises; delivery 2021.

Costa Cruises; delivery 2021.

Carnival Cruise Line; delivery 2022.

Norwegian Maritime Authority issues Press Release on Viking Sky incident

Press Release: Viking Sky

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PHOTO: Erik Johan Landa, Sjøfartsdirektoratet

Throughout the night, the NMA has worked together with the ship’s classification society, Lloyd’s, and the company in order to identify the reason why the Viking Sky suffered power “blackout” at Hustadvika in challenging weather conditions on Saturday 23 March. For the present, our conclusion is that the engine failure was directly caused by low oil pressure.

Last night, the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) granted the company a permit to sail on a single voyage to Kristiansund to have necessary repairs made. Throughout the night, the NMA has worked together with the ship’s classification society, Lloyd’s, and the company in order to identify the reason why the Viking Sky suffered power “blackout” at Hustadvika in challenging weather conditions on Saturday 23 March.

For the present, our conclusion is that the engine failure was directly caused by low oil pressure. The level of lubricating oil in the tanks was within set limits, however relatively low, when the vessel started to cross Hustadvika. The tanks were provided with level alarms, however these had not been triggered at this time. The heavy seas in Hustadvika probably caused movements in the tanks so large that the supply to the lubricating oil pumps stopped. This triggered an alarm indicating a low level of lubrication oil, which in turn shortly thereafter caused an automatic shutdown of the engines.

The NMA has drawn up a general safety notice about ensuring a continuous supply of lubricating oil to engines and other critical systems in poor weather conditions. This should be done in cooperation with the engine supplier and, moreover, be included in the ship’s risk assessments in the safety management system.

Viking Ocean Cruises has made the following statement: “We welcome the prompt and efficient investigation carried out by the NMA and we fully understand and acknowledge their findings. We have inspected the levels on all our sister ships and are now revising our procedures to ensure that this issue could not be repeated. We will continue to work with our partners and the regulatory bodies in supporting them with the ongoing investigations,”

Norwegian Maritime Authority is in a continuous dialogue with the company and classification society, and this cooperation has been successful. We will follow up the ongoing work to rectify damages on vessels. Furthermore, we will continue the constructive dialogue with the classification society, company and the Accident Investigation Board Norway in order to reveal underlying causes and identify appropriate measures.

https://www.sdir.no/en/news/news-from-the-nma/press-release-viking-sky/

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Current postion of Viking Sky in Kristiansund (Norway)

 

 

VIRGIN VOYAGES TURNS UP THE VOLUME WITH CURATED SONIC IDENTITY, ONBOARD RECORD SHOP AND KARAOKE LOUNGE

Virgin Voyages’ first ship, Scarlet Lady will feature an onboard record shop, karaoke studio, and artfully selected musicVirgin Voyages’ residency program to feature Mark Ronson, MK (Marc Kinchen) and Sofi Tukker.

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MIAMI, Fla. – March 27, 2019 – Virgin Voyages, the new lifestyle brand set to disrupt the travel industry, is returning to its Virgin brand roots and creating an incomparable music experience on their first ship, Scarlet Lady. Due to set sail for its inaugural season in 2020, Scarlet Lady will be equipped with an on ship record shop called Voyage Vinyl, The Groupie, a private karaoke and gaming lounge, and perfectly curated music and performances by up-and-coming artists as well as music trendsetters for Virgin Voyages’ Sailors to enjoy.

Virgin Voyages’ residency program will feature performances by world-class talent on ship, in-port destinations and at The Beach Club at Bimini. Just last month, Virgin Voyages announced that the Grammy and Oscar-winning DJ, songwriter and record producer, Mark Ronson, has committed to four performances at The Beach Club at Bimini in 2020. Based on Sailor demand, the company has expanded

the star-studded residency music lineup to include the multi-platinum chart-topping artist,  DJ, producer/ remixer,  MK (Marc Kinchen), who has committed to one performance in 2020. The Grammy-nominated electronic music duo Sofi Tukker, known for their smash-hit Best Friend, will also join the Virgin Voyages residency program.

With the Virgin brand’s deep-rooted history in music, Virgin Voyages’ sonic identity will come to life aboard Scarlet Lady. Each space on Scarlet Lady will have a unique energy, thoughtfully developed by industry legends and brought to life by up-and-coming talent and special guest performances. The Virgin Voyages sonic identity will have a home in electronic music, but will also incorporate other music genres, ensuring that all Sailors will find a sound they love. The brand defines electronic, as not solely a traditional “EDM” sound, but will incorporate all electronically programmed sounds, even those of more classic eras, and the early innovators of the sound from rare disco tracks, through to 80’s sounds and other important periods of electronic sound. That means timeless classics from varying genres will be artfully blended with the new and rising artists.

As part of Virgin Voyages’ fierce approach to music, the brand also announced the expansion of their Creative Collective from design, food and entertainment to now include music, working with some of the most creative and transformative artists in the industry.

Virgin Voyages’ new music Creative Collective to include WhiteLabel Creative, a group of music industry insiders that specialize in sensory branding and cultural programming for hospitality and lifestyle experiences. WhiteLabel Creative is responsible for developing the background sonic palettes across the ship and securing DJs for The Beach Club at Bimini’s residency program.

Leaning into Virgin’s history in music, something old is new again with Voyage Vinyl, the record shop aboard Scarlet Lady. Voyage Vinyl will be the go-to spot on board for Sailors to experience music from all eras and genres. Voyage Vinyl features personal listening stations for Sailors to enjoy their favorite albums both current and classic. Sailors looking for something unique can also shop for limited-edition curated albums and special editions of classics. Sailors can also purchase music magazines, headphones and record players.

Voyage Vinyl will also double as a performance spot for live sets mixed by Scarlet Lady’s resident DJs.

Sailors can let loose at The Groupie, Virgin Voyages’ bookable karaoke, gaming and movie lounge. Designed by Roman Coppola, The Groupie was designed as a modernist take on a Japanese-style karaoke room for Sailors to enjoy singing along to their favorite tunes with friends.

Celebrating Music Launch

Virgin Voyages announced its music strategy in a panel discussion at Winter Music Conference and will partake in the local music scene by taking over a part of Gramps, 176 NW 24th St, Miami, in Wynwood for five days from 4-11 pm Tuesday, March 26 – Saturday, March 30.  Bargoers will have the opportunity to create their own art as a takeaway item at a vinyl spin art station. Virgin Voyages will also have an epic Instagram moment where visitors can hop on a giant turntable and insta their hearts away in a photo booth. Bargoers will receive a keychain to a special lockbox at Gramps, where they can try their luck to win special Virgin Voyages swag, vinyl record players, vintage records and more.

Future sailors and travel partners are invited to check out Virgin Voyages by visiting www.virginvoyages.com.

Be sure to keep following the blog as there will be a future post dedicated to virgin voyages and everything we know about Scarlet Lady so far.

Viking Cruises – Viking Sky Rescue Update

We can confirm that as of 10am (Norwegian time) today March 24, the Viking Sky, is safely travelling to Molde under its own power. The ship is being accompanied by two offshore supply ships and one tug assist vessel. The evacuation of passengers has ended and there are currently 436 guests and 458 crew onboard.

The 479 passengers who were airlifted from the vessel are currently on shore and arrangements have been made to fly them home, with the first passengers leaving today. Currently we understand 20 people suffered injuries as a result of this incident, and they are all receiving care at the relevant medical centres in Norway, with some already having been discharged.

Throughout all of this, our first priority was for the safety and wellbeing of our passengers and our crew. We would like to thank the Norwegian Redningssentral and the Norwegian emergency services for their support and skill displayed in managing the situation in very challenging weather conditions. We would also like to thank the local residents who throughout the whole process have been extremely supportive and hospitable. If you have questions or concerns about any guests please call this number for US/AU booked guests 1-888-889-8837, and for UK booked guests 07585 779 853 or 0208 780 7900.

The next sailing, Scandinavia & the Kiel Canal, which was scheduled to embark on March 27th has been cancelled, and guests and their travel agents have been contacted directly. We do not anticipate any additional cancellations at this.

Viking Sky (courtesy of @evafrisnes instagram)

Spectrum of the Seas completes her conveyance – from shipyard to sea

Yesterday Royal Caribbean’s first Quantum Ultra class ship Spectrum of the Seas left Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg (Germany) to begin her conveyance up the River Ems to Eemshaven (Netherlands). The manoeuvre originally scheduled to start on Tuesday, was delayed due to bad weather.

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Spectrum of the Seas leaving basin (Meyer Werft)

The conveyance saw Spectrum of the Seas proceed in reverse up the river Ems to the North Sea. According to Meyer Werft, this has proven successful in the past as it makes it easier to manoeuvre the ship with the assistance of two tugs, while ensuring her propellers are kept in the middle of the river as she navigates the rivers tight twists and turns.

As I write Spectrum of the Seas is safely arriving in the port of Eemshaven where she will stay while preperations for her sea trials will continue. Following successful trials these she will head to Bremerhaven where final work will take place to prepare for her handover.

Designed and built specifically for the Chinese market once delivered she will head to Asia where she will offer a series of 3-4 night itineraries and home port in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

What is a conveyance?

The term conveyance is mostly associated with the property market and the process of transferring property from one owner to another, but for anyone that follows or is associated with the cruise industry it has another completely different meaning.

One of the world’s most successful cruise ship builders is Germany’s Meyer Werft, which with the delivery of Spectrum of the Seas will have built 48 cruise ships for a number of the world’s major cruise lines including AIDA, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises and Royal Caribbean. Currently the German shipbuilder has another twelve cruise ships on order seeing it through to 2023.

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Spectrum of the Seas begins her conveyance (Meyer Werft)

Location, Location, Location

Unlike most of the world’s shipyards Meyer Werft is situated 32 miles inland, in the German city of Papenburg, in the district of Emsland in Lower Saxony. The inland location offers it some protection from the worst conditions of the North Sea has to offer but creates the unique problem of just how do you get a cruise ship from shipyard to ocean?

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Meyer Weft Shipyard (Papenburg)

Construction of ships at Meyer Werft takes place is huge covered sheds known as “Dockhalles” the largest of which measures 504 meters long, 125 meters wide, has a height of 75 meters, and is the largest covered ship building dock in the world. This allows the yard to build up to three cruise ships a year and compete with larger Asian shipyards. Once the outer hull is completed, the ship is floated out of the hall into a basin, where work continues fitting out. The ships are floated out due to space constraints, which is less dramatic than old-fashioned way of launching a ship down the slipway into the water!

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Spectrum of the Seas under construction (Meyer Werft)

Prior to the conveyance, the river is prepared which involves dredging up to 24 feet where necessary. Although Meyer Werft can manipulate water levels, using tidal barriers along the river to ensure there is enough water underneath the ship but it does this sparingly for ecological reasons. It does however, close the barriers to keep the water level at high tide, the Ems is roughly 30 feet deep, which is  just enough for Spectrum’s draft of 28 feet. With her dimensions of 348m x 49m, Spectrum is near the maximum size of ship that can be conveyed up the river and at its narrowest points, there is just a few centimetres clearance either side.

It is not just below the water that causes issues for the conveyance but above as well. Four bridges, three of which can be swung open to allow ships to pass, and the forth being a railroad bridge has to have a portion removed. Along the length of the Ems electricity cables are shut down in three locations that cross the river, this causes them to contract and rise thus allowing the ship to pass with clearance being a little as 1.8 metres.

Once ready for sea trials the conveyance up the river Ems can begin. With a distance of 32kms, the whole journey takes between ten to twelve hours and is dependent on weather conditions. A team of six river pilots from Emden are responsible for manoeuvring the ship to Eemshaven each with extensive knowledge of the river and having spent two weeks training in the conveyance using a computerized simulator in Wageningen (Netherlands). Working in teams of two for up to ninety minutes one pilot will guide the stern with the other guiding the guiding the bow. Rather than looking over the side of the ship, the pilots use a GPS navigation system accurate to within five centimetres and which provides forecasts the ships position in 30, 60 or 90 seconds if the steering course wasn’t changed. Assisting the pilots are navigation officers, the yard captain and the local German waterway authorities.

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The incredible feat of engineering will happen again later this year when Norwegian Encore is delivered. So next time you are enjoying a cocktail onboard a cruise ship built in Papenburg take a moment to consider her journey from shipyard to sea.

Spectrum of the Seas Ship Fact file:

IMO: 9778856

Hull No: S700

Class: Quantum Ultra

Building Cost: EUR 750 million (USD 940 million)

Ordered: May 2015

Keel laid 8th November 2017

Float out 25th February 2019

Flag: Bahamas

Gross Tonnage: 168,800

Length: 348m

Width: 49m (max)

No of decks: 18 (16 passenger accessible)

Capacity: 4,905 (max occupancy)

 

MSC Cruises confirms luxury ship order with Fincantieri

The four new vessels will be delivered by Fincantieri between 2023 and 2026
Geneva, Switzerland, and Trieste, Italy, 14 March 2019 – MSC and Fincantieri announced today the signing of the final contracts for the construction of four luxury cruise ships.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC’s Cruises Division, said: “With this now firm order, MSC is entering a new segment that bears significant potential globally. While we already serve the premium market with the MSC Yacht Club featured on MSC Cruises’ fleet, our new true luxury brand will deliver to this separate and fast-growing segment with super-yacht vessels and an experience to match that. Additionally, we are proud to partner again with Fincantieri for the development and construction of yet again another highly-innovative and exclusive class of ships.”

Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Today’s announcement confirms our Group’s ability and strength to convert the soft backlog into backlog. We are proud to have achieved this important goal in less than five months from the preliminary agreement. Fincantieri’s reputation in a complex market such as the cruise one is at an all-time high. Our leadership in the luxury segment, among the most active ones, grows even stronger with these four ships, alongside our relationship with MSC and its growth plans”.

All four vessels will have gross tonnage of approximately 64,000 GT and will feature the latest maritime and environmental technologies available. Each equipped with 481 guest suites, they will also showcase a highly-innovative design and introduce ground-breaking options for guest comfort and relaxation.

This announcement follows the initial signing of a memorandum of agreement between the two parties in October 2018. The contracts, subject to shipowner financing, have a total value exceeding EUR 2 billion.

As per the terms of the agreement, the first of the four ships will be delivered by Spring 2023. The remaining three will come into service one per year over the following three years through 2026.

MSC is the cruises division of MSC Group, the world’s second largest transportation and logistics business. Under this umbrella will operate the new brand will operate under this umbrella as well as MSC’s contemporary brand MSC Cruises, the leading cruise brand across Europe, South America, the Gulf as well as southern Africa. Fincantieri is heir to the great tradition of Italian shipbuilding and one of the largest shipbuilding groups in the world.

Since starting to work with Fincantieri, in 2014, MSC has also ordered four ships for its contemporary MSC Cruises brand, for a value of EUR 3.2 billion. The first two of these vessels, MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview, are already in service. The next two vessels will be delivered in 2021 and 2022, with MSC Seashore already under construction at Fincantieri’s yard in Monfalcone.

MSC current order book

Year          Ship Name                                Yard                                                          Delivery

2019    MSC Grandiosa       Chantiers de Chantiers l’Atlantique                         November

2020:   MSC Virtuosa           Chantiers de Chantiers l’Atlantique                        September

2021:   MSC Seashore          Fincantieri (monfalcone)                                             spring

2022:   World Class 1           Chantiers de Chantiers l’Atlantique                             TBA

2023:   Luxury 1                    Fincantieri                                                                      spring

2023:   Meraviglia 5             Chantiers de Chantiers l’Atlantique                             TBA

2023:   Seaside EVO 2           Fincantieri (monfalcone)                                              TBA

2024:   Luxury 2                    Fincantieri                                                                     spring

2025:   Luxury 3                    Fincantieri                                                                     spring

2026:   Luxury 4                    Fincantieri                                                                     spring

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MSC Luxury Class ships

Number of ships: 4

Tonnage: 64,000

Length: TBA

Passengers: 1,000 (TBA)

Guest Suites: 481

Shipbuilder : Fincantieri (yard TBA)

                                                                  Delivery: 2023-2026

 

 

 

First look at Carnival Mardi Gras Staterooms

Cruise lovers who sail on Carnival Cruise Line’s newest and most innovative ship, Mardi Gras, set to debut in late summer 2020, will enjoy an array of architectural features and designs that will enhance many aspects of its balcony, ocean view and interior staterooms.

The staterooms were developed in partnership with DCA Design International, a leading product design firm based in Warwick, England, that works across consumer goods, travel and transportation, commercial, and science and technology sectors.  The staterooms will reflect new and innovative design practices that are ergonomically-friendly and maximize visual space, clean lines, surfaces and storage.

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Cloud 9 Spa

“We took a unique approach to our stateroom design with Mardi Gras, utilising DCA’s design experts who are well known for innovative product design and partnered them with Miami-based interior architect Studio Dado,” said Ben Clement, Carnival’s senior vice president of new builds. “DCA employed a thoughtful guest-centric approach gleaned from observations of how our guests use their space in conjunction with their vast experience in product design to make the staterooms as comfortable and functional as possible.”

Distinguished by muted turquoise hues, the staterooms’ are enhanced by design touches that include:

  • Floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors on nearly all verandahs for easier balcony access;
  • New sofas that “flip” into a bed and foot stools that open up for storage;
  • Clear glass doors on the in-room mini-refrigerators to see what’s inside;
  • More 110V power outlets and USB connections both on the vanity and by the bed as well as more shelf space to accommodate electronic devices;
  • Flexible bedside reading lamps that allow guests to read without disturbing others;
  • A larger, customizable wardrobe with two pull-out bins, a sliding shoe rack, folding shelves and storage under the bed for luggage.
  • Spacious bathrooms with glass shower doors, a first for the line, along with an in-shower shaving bar.

take a look at the a above video showing the stateroom features.

“We’ve taken the best practices in new interior design and hotel concepts and applied them to Mardi Gras to create guest-friendly staterooms designed to make guests feel at home,” said Dom Hargreaves, sector manager for DCA Design International. “It’s been an incredible opportunity to work with Carnival to enrich the stateroom experience by focusing on both design principles and small details, creating moments of delight for Mardi Gras guests.”

Mardi Gras will offer the widest variety of accommodations of any Carnival ship with more than 70 percent of staterooms featuring an ocean view or balcony, along with 300 pairs of connecting staterooms, for large families or groups.

In addition to the newly redesigned staterooms with more balcony, ocean view and interior choices than ever before, Mardi Gras will offer favorites introduced on Carnival’s Vista-class including:

  • The tropics-inspired Havana staterooms feature vibrant interiors and an outdoor patio space.  These staterooms have access to an exclusive open deck with sun loungers, Cuban-themed bar and relaxation pool.
  • Extra-roomy Family Harbor accommodations with their nautical décor are located near Camp Ocean, the children’s facility, and have access to the Family Harbor Lounge, an exclusive spot with breakfast and snacks throughout the day, plus board games, family movies, video games and more.
  • Cloud 9 Spa staterooms feature exclusive, soothing décor, spa bathrobes and slippers as well as Elemis toiletries. These accommodations offer privileges to the ship’s spa.
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Havana Cabana

Mardi Gras will also offer the most suites of any Carnival ship, a total of more than 180 of varying size and locations. Exciting details on the ship’s suites and amenities will be announced in mid-April, including the premium level Carnival Excel Suites, which will include a set of exclusive features and offerings.

The new accommodations are the perfect complement to Mardi Gras’ exciting activities and attractions, including BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea, and six distinct themed zones with popular dining, libation, entertainment and activity offerings.

When will Carnival Mardi Gras launch?

Currently under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland, Mardi Gras is slated to enter service in Europe Aug. 31, 2020. her inaugural voyage will be nine-day maiden voyage from Copenhagen to Southampton, sailing from 31st August to 9th September 2020, calling at ports in Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium, among others. She will then sail to New York for a series of voyages then shift to Port Canaveral for year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning in Oct. 2020.

MSC BELLISSIMA named in Southampton

After arriving in Southampton the previous day MSC Bellissima became the largest cruise ship to be christened in the UK. The lavish event was held on the quayside in Southampton under a giant marquee which was the largest in the country at the time. Hosted by This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby the star studded event featured a performance by the tenors Andrea and Matteo Bocelli and a preview show by Cirque du Soleil at sea and later that evening soul singer Leee John.

However due to heavy winds caused by storm Freya guests had to be hastily evacuated back on board Bellissima in order for the event to continue.

Once everyone was back on board and gathered in the galleria Bellissima the ships godmother Sophia Loren started the count down with guests watching the bottle smash against the bow on the huge 80-metre LED screen, after which the party continued in true MSC style. Bellissima is the 14th ship to be named by Italian singer and actress Loren, 84, for MSC Cruises, for who she fulfils the role of “godmother”.

Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren with Captain Raffaele Pontecorvo
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The bottle smashes against the bow of MSC Bellissima

Antonio Paradiso, managing director for MSC Cruises UK and Ireland, said: “We are excited to be launching MSC Bellissima, the largest ship coming to the UK and the sixth largest cruise ship in the world.

“We celebrate her launch in Southampton, an important destination for us as we are the fastest growing cruise line in the UK and a top cruise line in Ireland.

I will have a full report on my time on MSC Bellissima soon.

In the meantime enjoy this short video of the actual beauty of the sea was named.

MSC CRUISES AND CHANTIERS DE L’ATLANTIQUE LAUNCH MSC BELLISSIMA

 MSC Bellissima brings to the sea the latest advances in maritime design, state-of-the-art environmental features and cutting-edge customer-centric technology

Second key construction milestone marked with MSC Virtuosa’s Coin Ceremony

Saint-Nazaire, France, 27 February 2019 – MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise company, has today taken delivery of MSC Bellissima from Chantiers de l’Atlantique, a world leader in cruise ship construction. With three Meraviglia generation ships under simultaneous construction at the shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, the two parties marked a double celebration today, with MSC Virtuosa’s Coin Ceremony.

MSC Bellissima’s Delivery Ceremony took place in the presence of Gianluigi Aponte, MSC Group’s Founder and Executive Chairman. Also present were Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises, Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, as well as other regional and local authorities and dignitaries.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, said: “Today’s delivery marks another chapter in the story of our partnership with Chantiers de l’Atlantique. Together we have already brought to life 14 highly-innovative cruise ships, paving the way for our Company’s initial growth. Many more will be built together over the coming years to further deepen the reach of our fleet. Furthermore, MSC Bellissima’s elegance and beauty, as well as focus on the best and latest maritime and environmental technology at sea, bear testament to our restless pursuit for innovation.”

Laurent Castaing, Chantiers de l’Atlantique’s General Manager, said: “This new outstanding ship is another evidence of the quality of the long-term partnership we have established between MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique during these last twenty years. We bring each time all our expertise and innovation capability to deserve the confidence of our customers: this is a real success story for our two companies.”

As other ships in MSC Cruises’ fleet, MSC Bellissima pushes the boundaries of ship building and design. Bearing testament to the Company’s commitment to protect the environment, she has been equipped with some of the latest environmental technologies available. These include, amongst others, a cutting-edge exhaust gas cleaning system, an advanced wastewater treatment plant, systems for the prevention of oil discharge from machinery spaces, a ballast water treatment system, and various energy-saving improvements – from heat recovery systems to LED lighting.

MSC Bellissima is also equipped with cutting-edge guest technology. She is the first MSC Cruises ship to feature ZOE, the world’s first virtual personal cruise assistant, which has been added to MSC for Me. The voice-enabled virtual personal assistant will be found in every cabin and can answer hundreds of questions about the cruise.

With today’s delivery, MSC Bellissima has become the fourth ship to join MSC Cruises’ fleet in less than two years. As part of MSC Cruises’ unprecedented new builds programme, another 13 next-generation cruise ships are due to join its fleet by 2027. These include four World Class mega cruise ships capable of welcoming nearly 7,000 guests as well as four smaller ships that will serve the ultra-luxury segment.

MSC Bellissima is the second Meraviglia Class ship to join MSC Cruises’ fleet. As MSC Meraviglia, she is the ship for all seasons, with plenty of outdoor and indoor public spaces. With a length of just 315 metres, she has been designed to be able to access most of the world’s cruise ports.

This evening MSC Bellissima will set sail towards Southampton, UK, where her Naming Ceremony is due to be held on 2 March. On 4 March she will depart on her maiden voyage, which will take her to Genoa, Italy, where she will spend her inaugural season, offering Western Mediterranean cruises. In November 2019, she will reposition to the Gulf, providing weekly sailings out of Dubai. In spring 2020 she will be deployed to Asia.

Earlier in the day, MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique held MSC Virtuosa’s Coin Ceremony, which takes place at the early stages of construction of a newbuild, when the keel is laid. Due to be delivered in November 2020, she will become the fourth Meraviglia Class ship in MSC Cruises’ fleet and the second of three Meraviglia-Plus ships, a larger and enriched version of the Meraviglia prototype with an increased number of cabins, more public space and additional features. Tradition dictates that two long-standing employees from the shipyard and the ship owner act as godmothers, placing two coins under the new ship’s keel block as a sign of blessing and good fortune. Today Elise Guérin, Project Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Helen Huang, President, Greater China, MSC Cruises had the honour of performing this traditional task.

MSC Bellissima’s specs: 

Ship name           MSC Bellissima
Ship class            Meraviglia Class
Delivery date            27 February 2019
Gross tonnage            171,598 GT
Lower berth capacity        4,434
Max. passenger capacity     5,686
Crew members            1,536
Number of cabins        2,217
Length / Beam / Height        315.3 m / 43 m / 65 m
Maximum speed        22.7 knots

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Keel laid for second Virgin Voyages ship

On 26th February at Fincantieri’s Sestri Ponente shipyard in Genoa, the keel was laid for Virgin Voyages second ship. Sister to Scarlet Lady this second ship is part of the original order of three ships made in 2015. The second ladyship is set to debut in 2021 and will feature 1,430 guest cabins and accommodate more than 2,800 guests and 1,150 crew members.

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