VIKING ANNOUNCES NEW OCEAN OFFERINGS & MEDITERRANEAN ITINERARIES FOR 2021, PLUS THE LAUNCH OF VIKING VENUS

London, 18 September 2019: Viking announces its seventh ocean ship, Viking Venus, will join its award-winning fleet in early 2021, further solidifying the company’s standing as the largest small-ship ocean cruise line. The newest 930-guest sister ship will spend her maiden season sailing popular itineraries in Scandinavia and Northern Europe, including British Isles Explorer, In Search of the Northern Lights, Viking Homelands and Into the Midnight Sun. 

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Viking Cruises 2019 built Viking Jupiter see entering Portsmouth on her maiden call in May                         © Andrew McAlpine

“The spirit of exploration is at the heart of everything we do. We have always drawn inspiration from the original Viking explorers, who were the first to use the stars and constellations for long-distance navigation. Many elements onboard our ships honour those Viking explorers, and we are proud to host our guests on itineraries that sail some of those historic trading routes,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “I am pleased to announce that Viking Venus will join our fleet in 2021, allowing us the ability to introduce even more travellers to the Viking way of exploration.”

“Viking offers cruises that allow our guests to explore the world, experience destinations and learn about new cultures, all from the comfort of our small, beautifully designed, Scandinavian-inspired ships. Viking Venus will be identical to our six existing ocean ships, allowing our guests to enjoy a familiar ‘home away from home’ experience wherever they choose to cruise with us.  Demand from the UK market for our ocean cruises is very high so we would advise travellers to book as far in advance as possible to avoid disappointment – especially if they would like to sail on Viking Venus in her maiden season,” said Wendy Atkin-Smith, Managing Director of Viking UK.

Viking will also expand its offerings in the Mediterranean with five new itineraries that include stops in Istanbul, marking the company’s return to the iconic city. The new 8-day Ancient Mediterranean Treasures will sail between Athens and Istanbul, with overnight stays in both cities. Guests looking for an extended experience in the region can choose a longer versions of the itinerary, including the 15-day Ancient Adriatic Treasures, which sails between Venice and Istanbul; the 15-day Ancient Mediterranean Antiquities, which sails between Rome and Istanbul; the 22-day Iconic Mediterranean Treasures, which sails between Barcelona and Istanbul; or the 29-day Mediterranean’s Iconic Shores, which also sails between Barcelona and Istanbul and includes stops in Montenegro and Croatia.

Beginning in April 2021 and sailing on Viking’s award-winning 930-guest all-veranda Viking Sky, guests embarking on the new Ancient Mediterranean Treasures itinerary or its longer combination cruise options will witness the origin of civilisation while cruising the fabled Aegean Sea. Highlights of the new itinerary include:

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·         Istanbul, Turkey: Guests begin their journey with an overnight stay in Istanbul, allowing more time to explore the iconic city. Guests can visit a wealth of religious sites including the “Blue Mosque” one of the city’s most recognisable sites, watch the mesmerising whirling dervishes perform at a local venue, or participate in a centuries-old tradition at a hammam, a Turkish bath. Plus, Viking’s Privileged Access offers guests the chance to tour the legendary Hagia Sofia free of crowds.

·         Troy (Çanakkale), Turkey: Guests can explore the nearby well-preserved ruins of Troy, most remembered as the setting of the Trojan War, described by Homer in the Iliad, or visit the nearby Battlefields of Gallipoli, the tranquil memorial site of one of World War I’s longest and deadliest battles.

·         Ephesus (Kuşadasi), Turkey: One of the best-preserved cities of antiquity in the world, Ephesus is rich in history and ancient relics. While in port, guests can visit the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, walk through the Byzantine Basilica of St. John, or visit the modest home where, according to legend, the Virgin Mary lived out her final days.

·         Rhodes, Greece: While on the island of Rhodes, guests can explore within the city walls of Old Town, Europe’s largest active medieval town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, learn about island culture through a visit to a traditional village home, or head to one of the island’s scenic mountaintops for sweeping views of the island and the Turkish coast.

·         Heraklion, Greece: Located on the island of Crete, Heraklion boasts millennia-old history and was once the strongest fortified city in the Eastern Mediterranean. Guests can take in archaeological splendours whose history is interwoven with the legends of Greek mythology, including the Palace of Knossos and the village of Arolithos, or explore the ruins of the Minoans, Europe’s oldest recorded civilisation.

ATHENS_4_823.jpg·         Athens, Greece: The journey concludes with an overnight stay in Athens, known as “the birthplace of democracy,” where guests can witness iconic sites such as the Hellenic Parliament, the Panathenaic Stadium, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the mighty Parthenon atop the Acropolis. Viking also offers guests Privileged Access to the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation’s exhibit on British naval icon Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson and the chance to tour a reconstructed ancient Athenian warship, the Olympias, once the dominant warship on the Mediterranean Sea from the 7th to 4th centuries BC.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of several recent accolades for Viking. Just this month Viking was named Best River Cruise Line at the Food and Travel Reader Awards and Best Overall Cruise Line and Best River Cruise Line at the British Cruise Awards, as well as being highly commended for its culinary offering.  Earlier in 2019, Viking went straight to the top of the table in a Which? ocean cruise consumer satisfaction survey – the only brand to score five stars for its on-board facilities. Viking is a Which? Recommended Provider for both its river and ocean cruises.  In 2018 Viking was awarded Best Boutique Cruise Line and Best River Cruise Operator at The Times and Sunday Times Travel Awards and, for the 10th consecutive year, rated Best River Cruise Line at the 2018 British Travel Awards, one of the largest and most influential polls of consumer opinion in the UK.

Have you cruised with Viking or are you booked?, I have only visited a couple of their ships which are just amazing onboard.

I love the Scandinavian design and feel of the onboard, below are a few of my favorite spaces.

For more information or to make a booking go to http://www.vikingcruises.co.uk or call 0800 298 97 00.

VIKING VENUS Factfile 

Launch: 2021

Shipyard:  Fincantieri (Ancona, Italy)

Building Cost: EUR 340 million USD 400 million 

Hull No.: 6283

Class: Viking Ocean

Sister Ships: Viking Star, Sea, Sky, Sun, Orion, Jupiter

Length:  227 m

Width: 28 m

Gross tonnage:  47,842 GT

Passengers: 930

Staterooms & suits: 464

Decks: 9

Cabin Decks: 6

Crew: 465

Cruising speed: 20 knots

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest post

Princess Cruises celebrates construction milestone for Enchanted Princess

Princess Cruises has celebrated a significant construction milestone with the float out of the 3,660-guest Enchanted Princess from its building dock at Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

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Enchanted Princess in Fincantieri shipyard Image: Princess Cruises 

A ceremony marked the occasion when the ship officially met the sea for the first time.

The float out of a ship is Italian shipyard custom and celebrated by a ‘Madrina’ blessing the vessel and wishing it a safe onward journey, as well as signalling the flow of water into the ship’s building dock.

Serving as the Madrina was Doris Ho, president and CEO of the Magsaysay group based in the Philippines – one of the largest human resource companies in the Asia Pacific region. Ms. Ho has been head of a long-standing partnership with Princess Cruises to recruit, train and develop crew members who work onboard the line’s fleet of ships.

The ship will officially launch in Southampton in June 2020.

Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises’ vice president UK and Europe, said: “We’re delighted to see another significant stage of Enchanted Princess’ construction successfully completed. The countdown to her launch in Southampton next year continues and we’re eagerly anticipating the final development of this stunning ship over the next few months.”

The 143,700-tonne Enchanted Princess will include the signature features of sister ships Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Majestic Princess and Sky Princess, as well as offering new innovations that represent an evolution of the current ships’ designs, 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

·         First-of-its-kind digitally enhanced ‘Phantom Bridge’ experience, combining digital and physical elements for the ultimate escape room at sea

·         New entertainment such as the jazz lounge ‘Take Five’, a redesigned Vista Lounge, an enhanced Princess Theatre and the recently announced production show ‘Rock Opera’

·         More than 25 dining venues and bars including the World Fresh Marketplace and speciality restaurants Bistro Sur 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

·                The Enclave at the Lotus Spa, which will include the largest thermal suite at sea, including hydrotherapy pool, heated stone beds, Turkish bath and dry, steam and aromatherapy chambers.

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Ocean Medallion © Andrew McAlpine

·        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
–         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
–         Interactive game play – Available on portals throughout the ship, PlayOcean allows guests to take part in digital scavenger hunts, interactive games and create their own avatars, as well as turning their smart device into a game controller for interactive gaming on the Movies Under The Stars top-deck screen
–         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 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 personalised itinerary. Voyage itineraries are available as many as 60 days in advance, allowing guests to start planning before they leave home

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 £1,009 per person.

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Rai Caluori EVP guest experience and product development, Doris Ho and Tony Roberts Image Princess Cruises

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 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).

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest post

Princess Cruises to feature in TV series ‘Monster Ships’

I don’t know if you are anything like me but as a complete ship geek I just love any television show featuring a ship, if you do to then you will like this announcement from Princess Cruises.

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Crown Princess seen sailing from Southampton © Andrew McAlpine

Princess Cruises’ 3,080-guest ship, Crown Princess, will appear in an episode of a new TV documentary, ‘Monster Ships’. The episode will air on UKTV’s Yesterday Channel on Thursday 3 October at 8pm.

Providing a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of a cruise ship, the hour long episode follows Crown Princess as she sails a 10-day Caribbean voyage roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. The ship visits local islands including Princess Cruises’ own private Bahamas resort, Princess Cays.

The programme provides an insight into the day-to-day roles of the 1,200 crew members and what it takes to ensure a seamless transition onboard when a new voyage begins. With 17 restaurants and bars, round-the-clock room service, four swimming pools, guest entertainment and over 1,500 staterooms, the vessel is a 24-hour operation 365 days of the year.

Monster Ships was commissioned by Discovery Networks International, and made by WAG TV, a leading international producer of TV shows.

Tony Roberts, vice president Princess Cruises UK and Europe, said: “We’re delighted to see Princess Cruises once again feature on the small screen, this time providing viewers with a rare onboard glimpse behind-the-scenes. The Crown Princess episode of Monster Ships is recommended viewing for anyone with an interest in the incredible mechanics and logistics of a cruise ship, or who wants to see the premium guest experience we offer on one of our stunning Caribbean sailings.”

Viewers can also experience the ship for themselves when she sails out of the UK next year on a series of voyages to the Mediterranean and northern Europe.

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.

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The Ocean Medallion © Andrew McAlpine

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.

Sky Princess 2
Sky Princess on Sea trials Image Princess Cruises

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).

Princess Cruises has a multi-year partnership with Discovery, Inc. known as Discovery at SEA. The Discovery at SEA experience is available onboard all Princess Cruises and features immersive activities for the whole family from Discovery and Animal Planet that include exclusive shore excursions to onboard activities. The experiences are based on Discovery’s breadth of brands and programming. The interactive experiences are designed to bring to life the nature, wildlife and history of the regions guests are sailing. Onboard the Crown Princess, passengers can participate in the Discovery at SEA “How It’s Made Tour”, which brings guests backstage to see how production shows come to life onboard a ship.
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About Yesterday:
UK: Freeview 25, Sky 155, Virgin 129, BT, Plusnet, TalkTalk and YouView 25, Freesat 159
Yesterday +1: Sky 255, Virgin 200. Catch-up: UKTV Play
ROI: Sky 161, EIR 537, VF Ireland 229

Yesterday showcases original series such as Abandoned Engineering, Secrets of the Railways and Underground Worlds as well as new and exclusive observational documentaries including Bangers & Cash, Steam Train Britain and Train Truckers.
The channel also features stunning nature and science programming including David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities and Planet Earth 2, plus seminal war documentaries such as The World at War.

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

First steel to be cut for MSC World Class ships

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Image: MSC Cruises 

On 31st October MSC Cruises is set for a joint celebration at the Chantiers de l’Atlantic shipyard in Saint Nazaire.

Firstly, the worlds fastest growing cruise line is set to take delivery of MSC Grandiosa the first of three Meraviglia-Plus class ships.

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MSC Grandiosa seen departing for sea trials Image: MSC Cruises

On the same day the first piece of steel will be cut for the first of MSC’s four World Class ships.

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The two giant cranes 80m high cranes seen from Saint Nazaire town  © Andrew McAlpine

The World Class ships belong to a new class of ship which are the 5th class developed by Chantiers de l’Atlantique for MSC Cruises and will bring to 20 the number of ships delivered by the French yard over the last 15 years.

When the first one is delivered in May 2022, it is set to be the worlds largest passenger ship by capacity. Currently the world’s largest cruise ship is Symphony of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean. Launched in 2017 and built at the same shipyard, she has a passenger capacity of 6,680 but is longer and wider than MSC new class. According to figures released so far the first world class ship who’s name is yet to be announced, will have a passenger capacity of 6,850.

The world class ships will feature what the shipyard calls a innovative ‘G’ bow which together with the streamlined hull form is designed to cut through the water.

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Streamlined hull form and ‘G’ Bow designed to cut through the water Image: MSC Cruises

 

Like many of the cruise ships now on order will feature LNG propulsion. According the the shipyard among the main features developed for these innovative ships, the new LNG propulsion and system of waste management are noticeable. The design implemented by Chantiers de l’Atlantique will allow the passengers first to enjoy an outstanding view over the ocean thanks to the aft Y-shaped structure and also to take advantage of an enhanced comfort thanks to the stem designed specially to increase both stability and aero dynamism. The ship’s other guest-centric innovations include family-friendly ‘villages’, a panoramic aft deck, and a glass pool lounge.

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Image: MSC Cruises 

Take a look at the video to learn more:

MSC World Class Factfile

Number of Ships; 4

Delivery: 1st ship May 2022 (Hull no. W34), 2023, 2024, 2025

Shipyard: Chantiers de l’Atlantique, Saint Nazaire, France

Length: 333.3 m

Gross weight: 205,700

Breadth Moulded: 47 m

Height from keel to mast: 68 m

Design Draught: 9.15 m

Max Speed: 22.7 knots

Decks: 23

Flag: Malta

Passenger Capacity: 6,850

Crew: 2,126

No. of cabins: 2,760

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Image: MSC Cruises 

I will bring you more news on this innovative new class as details are announced.

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

 

 

Princess Cruises unveils 2021 Canada & New England cruises

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Image: Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises has announced its Canada & New England voyages departing throughout summer and autumn 2021.

The 2021 programme, which goes on sale from September 18, 2019, offers holidaymakers a choice of 17 cruises, visiting 18 destinations on seven itineraries. Princess will have three ships in the region, with voyages ranging in length from seven to 24 days.

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Image: Princess Cruises

The 3,660-guest Sky Princess and 3,140-guest Caribbean Princess will sail from August to October on a series of departures from New York, Quebec and Fort Lauderdale. And as previously announced by the line, September will see the 2,600-guest Grand Princess sail roundtrip from Southampton on a 24-night voyage, calling at Boston, Bar Harbour, Halifax, Sydney (Nova Scotia), Quebec (overnight call), Saguenay, Charlottetown and St. Johns (Newfoundland).

The programme will see the line’s maiden call into Sept-Îles, Quebec, and afford guests more time to explore ashore with a series of late night departures in Boston and Charleston, as well as overnight calls in Quebec on select sailings. There is also the opportunity to visit Greenland, the world’s largest island.

Guests can take advantage of the variety of cruisetours available which encompass the region’s must-see attractions such as Niagara Falls, the Rideau Canal UNESCO World Heritage site in Ottawa, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and Washington DC.

All three ships will feature the multi award-winning OceanMedallion, which has been designed to deliver an entirely new level of service and create a holiday that is more simple, effortless and personalised with:

IMG_8146
© Andrew McAlpine

·         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
·         Interactive game play – Available on portals throughout the ship, PlayOcean allows guests to take part in digital scavenger hunts, interactive games and create their own avatars, as well as turning their smart device into a game controller for interactive gaming on the Movies Under The Stars top-deck screen
·         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 onboard during their voyage and bookmark activities they’re interested in to their own personalised itinerary. Voyage itineraries are available as many as 60 days in advance, allowing guests to start planning before they leave home

Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises’ vice president UK and Europe, said: “With its vibrantly-coloured Autumn foliage, and the chance to visit stunning maritime provinces and quaint seaside towns such as Newport and Bar Harbour, the region continues to be a hit with new and past guests alike.

“As well as a variety of fly-cruise options, for guests wishing to experience everything the east coast of North America has to offer and spend plenty of time relaxing and enjoying the wealth of activities onboard, we are delighted to once again offer them the opportunity to sail across the Atlantic with us, from Southampton.”

Princess cruises is offering 24-day Canada & New England voyage, departing September 18, 2021 on Grand Princess. Sailing roundtrip from Southampton, calling at Boston, Bar Harbour, Halifax, Sydney (Nova Scotia), Quebec (overnight call), Saguenay, Charlottetown and St. Johns (Newfoundland). Prices from £2,399 per person. Special offer currently available with prices from £3,499 per person for a free upgrade from an oceanview stateroom to a balcony.

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest post

Sky Princess completes sea trials

Princess Cruises has accomplished another major milestone in preparation for the launch of its newest ship, Sky Princess, by completing the vessel’s sea trials.

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Image: Princess Cruises

The 3,660-guest cruise ship set out to sea from a construction dock at Fincantieri Shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy and was put through its paces with a series of manoeuvres to test the propulsion, steering and navigational equipment.

After a successful six days of trials, Sky Princess is now back in the shipyard where she will undergo further exterior and interior finishing in preparation for her 7-day Mediterranean and Adriatic maiden voyage on October 20, 2019.

The ship will sail a short season in the Mediterranean before heading to the Caribbean.

Sky Princess will be an evolution of sister ships Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess. Her enhancements will also feature on Enchanted Princess, which launches in Southampton in June 2020. They include:

·         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

·         New entertainment such as the jazz lounge ‘Take Five’, a redesigned Vista Lounge, an enhanced Princess Theatre and the recently announced production show ‘Rock Opera’

·         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

IMG_7700
 © Andrew McAlpine

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

IMG_8146
 © Andrew McAlpine

·       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
–         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
–         Interactive game play – Available on portals throughout the ship, PlayOcean allows guests to take part in digital scavenger hunts, interactive games and create their own avatars, as well as turning their smart device into a game controller for interactive gaming on the Movies Under The Stars top-deck screen
–         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 personalised itinerary. Voyage itineraries are available as many as 60 days in advance, allowing guests to start planning before they leave home

Sky Princess 1
Image: Princess Cruises

 

The Princess Cruises fleet will continue to expand with the launch of Enchanted Princess and three additional ships arriving in 2021, 2023 and 2025.

Princess Cruises is offering a 7-day Eastern Caribbean voyage on Sky Princess, departing February 22, 2020. Sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, ports of call are Princess Cays (Bahamas), St Thomas and St Maarten. Special offer currently available with prices from £999 per person for a mini-suite.

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

 

MSC Cruises reveals the most Magnificent EX-UK season ever

  • 24 sailings from Southampton for Summer 2021
  • The newly restyled and extended MSC Magnifica will offer more public space, new features and more cabins

London, United Kingdom – 10 September 2019 – MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line revealed today brand-new itineraries for Summer 2021 sailing from Southampton. The newly refurbished MSC Magnifica will undergo a transformation adding 23 meters to the ship that will deliver an additional 7,000 m2 of added space to the ship.

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This will result in 215 extra cabins, bringing the total number of balcony cabins to 63% of the overall ship, a new water park, a redesigned kids area, plus additional features such as two new restaurants and a new shopping area.

The 24 sailings from Southampton beginning in May and ending in October will see the introduction of cruises ranging from 2 to 14 nights with brand new varied itineraries encompassing Canary Islands & Madeira, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Baltic Capitals. Most of the 24 sailings will  begin on a Saturday ensuring guests can make the most of their holiday experience.

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Image: MSC Cruises

Antonio Paradiso MD MSC Cruises UK & Ireland commented, “We are delighted to be further enhancing our guest experience and offering brand new itineraries sailing from the UK. We are committed to providing UK guests with the holidays they want, and travel agents with cruises they want to sell. This announcement is the result of the on-going feedback we have received from agents and guests who want to sail with MSC Cruises from Southampton to new destinations. Our goal is always to provide more opportunities for the trade and more choice for the guest. ”

He added “The UK market is a priority for MSC Cruises and we have shown our commitment consistently over the last few years. Firstly, with our first ever full EX-UK season in 2018, then with the naming of MSC Bellissima in Southampton in March this year and now with another full EX-UK season on a newly refurbished and enhanced ship with brand new itineraries created specifically with the British holidaymakers in mind.”

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Image: MSC Cruises

Highlights include a 12-night cruise that calls at three of the Canary Islands – Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote with their fantastic climate, distinctive landscapes and bustling ports the cruise departing early May is perfectly timed to catch the sun. A 14-night Western Mediterranean cruise in August, including popular destinations for UK guests such as Palma de Mallorca and Monte Carlo will be the perfect choice for the family summer holiday. MSC Magnifica will offer four different stunning Norwegian Fjord itineraries and will call at two brand new destinations; Skagen in Denmark renowned for hours of sun and unique light plus Rosendal, Norway, which is the world’s fourth largest fjord.

In addition to new itineraries MSC Magnifica will be back with all the ‘Best of British’ enhancements that were initially showcased on MSC Magnifica in 2018, including favourite’s such as pie & mash, back bacon and sausages available in the buffet and Kettles in cabins with of course Yorkshire Tea, which is back by popular demand.

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Image: MSC Cruises

This is not the first time MSC Cruises have refurbished and stretched existing ships in the fleet, in 2015 the four much loved Lirica class of ships underwent a significant renovation as part of the €130 million  ‘Renaissance programme’, to improve facilities and enhance the onboard experience.

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Additional section being fitted midships on MSC Lirica 

 

When works are completed, MSC Magnifica will feature two new major and important onboard environmental advances to complement a wide range of existing leading-edge environmental technologies across the company’s entire fleet: a state-of-the-art Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system and next-generation Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) system.

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Example of how the SCR system works 

SCR technology helps reduce nitrogen oxide into pure nitrogen and water through advanced active emissions control technology. MSC Cruises also took the opportunity to install a state-of-the-art advanced wastewater treatment system on board that meets the highest standards and that purifies used wastewater to near tap-water quality. The system meets the so-called ‘Baltic Standard’ and treats the wastewater to a higher standard than most waste standards available in cities around the world.

To help reduce and continuously minimize emissions also while in port, the ship will be able to ‘plug in’ to the local power grid wherever such systems are available at berth, this is also known as “cold ironing”.

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© Andrew McAlpine 

Cruises will go on sale on the 12th September with prices starting from £149pp on a mini cruise and £549 for a Norwegian fjords cruise. To celebrate the launch of sales MSC Cruises will be offering up to £100 on board credit per cabin depending on the category of cabin booked on all MSC Magnifica EX-UK 2021 sailings. All prices include service charge and taxes. T’s & C’s apply and can be found at www.msccruises.co.uk.

 

Itinerary highlights include:

May Bank Holiday Mini Cruise

This 3-night sailing runs across the late May Bank Holiday and is perfect for a first-time cruiser who wants a taster of a holiday at sea or an experienced cruiser looking to make the most of the bank holiday weekend. Set sail from Southampton late on Friday evening and spend the day in Zeebrugge before returning to Southampton. Prices starting from £219pp based on two passengers sharing an inside cabin with £25pp OBC.

 Baltic Capitals

There are two opportunities to discover the much-loved Baltic Capitals, on a 12-night cruise departing 31st May or on a 14-night cruise departing 11th September. Offering slightly different itineraries with added highlights on the 14-night itinerary including an overnight stay in the Swedish Capital Stockholm, and a visit to Denmark’s Skagen. Both sailings include an overnight onboard stay in St Petersburg and a visit to Norway’s capital, Oslo. Prices starting from £1,569pp based on two people sharing a Balcony cabin with £50pp OBC.

 Norway Your Way

With so many beautiful ports to explore in Norway choose from one of four different Norwegian Fjord itineraries setting sail across the summer season. Explore much loved ports including Flamm and Stavanger and new destinations for MSC Cruises Rosendal and Nordfjordeid. Cruises depart throughout the summer, prices starting from £819pp based on two people sharing an Ocean View cabin with £25pp OBC.

14 nights perfect for families

Following guest and agent feedback this 14-night cruise to some of the Mediterranean’s most loved destinations has been developed with families in mind. Departing on the 7th August this no-fly cruise begins with two sea days to give guests a chance to settle in. Then it’s action packed itinerary allows you to explore seven different ports in nine days including a late sail from the fabulous Palma de Mallorca and a visit to the exclusive Monte Carlo. Prices starting from £3,296 for a family of 4, all food and service charges included in the price, plus £50 OBC per cabin.

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Image: MSC Cruises 

For more information visit www.msccruises.co.uk, see your local travel agent or call 0203 426 3010

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog

 

Meyer Werft due to float out Norwegian Encore – plus 5 things to love about the final Breakaway-plus ship

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Norwegian Encore Image: Meyer Werft

German shipbuilder Meyer Werft has announced that Norwegian Encore is due to leave  the covered building dock no.II on Saturday 17th August 2019 subject to weather conditions on the day.

Norwegian Encore is the latest breakaway-plus class ship being constructed for Norwegian Cruise Line.

Providing weather conditions on the day are good the operation will start around 8 a.m. Once Norwegian Encore has left the dock, it will berth at the shipyard’s out-fitting pier to be fitted with its funnel cladding. The ship will then remain in the shipyard port for further out-fitting work and on-board trials until its passage through the river Ems up to the North Sea, which is expected to take place end of September.

Norwegian Encore is the thirteenth ship built for NCL at Papenburg, and is the fourth and final ship in the Breakaway-Plus class which comprises of Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Bliss.

Once delivered Encore will sail on a two night inaugural cruise from Bremerhaven to Southampton arriving on 2nd November. Later the same day same day she will head across the Atlantic for Miami with a stop at Ponta Degada in the Azores before arriving at her home port 13th November where she will offer week-long Caribbean cruises departing every Sunday.

 An Encore to Norwegian Bliss !

In 2018 I was invited on board the inaugural cruise of the previous ship Norwegian Bliss as she sailed from Bremerhaven to Southampton.And I am so excited to reveal that once again I will be one of the first to step on board and sample what Norwegian Encore has to offer as I have been invited on the inaugural cruise at the end of October. I hope to bring you everything new and exciting she has to offer.

So to wet your appetite………

5 Things to Love About Norwegian Encore

 

The biggest race track at sea

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Originally introduced on Norwegian Joy and improved on each of the following ships the racetrack on board Norwegian Encore will have a length of 1,150ft. The extended track will feature  10 turns including 4 that extend up to 13 feet over the side of the ship. There will also be a covered viewing area where fellow passengers can watch the race. In addition, the people watching can provide drivers with some extra speed using a laser system to tag go-karts with a temporary speed boost!

I was lucky enough to try out the go-karts on board Norwegian Bliss and they were such fun…. whats more I even won my race! so the enlarged track will be awesome!!

Immersive Galaxy Pavilion

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The Galaxy Pavilion on board Norwegian Encore is set to be one of the most interactive and technologically advanced spaces at sea. First debuted on Norwegian Joy, the pavilion is being re-envisioned by the cruise line. This 10,000 square foot family-friendly area will feature a variety of virtual reality experiences suitable for all and among the known attractions are a driving simulator, two dark ride simulators, and a virtual reality maze. With all of these new features, this indoor venue is sure to be very popular with cruisers of all ages.

Enhanced Laser Tag

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One of the popular on board activities on Norwegian Bliss is the laser tag. On board Norwegian Encore, the cruise line has taken this concept and enhanced it with digital technology, based around the resurrected lost city of Atlantis. The enlarged outdoor arena will see augmented reality as part of each game. Players will wear virtual reality headsets, and while avoiding being targeted by opponents, cruisers will also have to be wary of “digital” obstacles which adds a new element and makes this game unlike anything else at sea and an epic battle for the whole family to enjoy.

Your favorite venue’s

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The stunning observation lounge onboard Norwegian Bliss © Andrew McAlpine

Along with all these and more new features, Norwegian Encore will feature many of the popular venues and amenities found on earlier Breakaway-Plus ships. These include the  quarter-mile oceanfront promenade promenade where a number of bars and eateries can be found, the Observation Lounge on Deck 15 which was my favorite venue on board Norwegian Bliss. The “ship within a ship” Haven area, together with a variety of complimentary and specialty dining. plus a full-service Starbucks for those coffee lovers, although personally I prefer Costa Coffee!!

New Shows

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Winner of six Tony Awards, Kinky Boots is now exclusively on Norwegian Encore. Based on true events, This Broadway production will feature original music from Grammy winner Cyndi Lauper and will be a 90-minute show in the main theatre. Also featured will be the West End show choir of Man which debuted on Norwegian Escape.

Are you planning to cruise on board Norwegian Encore? What is your favorite new feature feel free to drop me a line and let me know.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog

 

 

 

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.

 

Carnival Vista arrives at shipyard onboard BOKA Vanguard

At the weekend Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) successfully loaded cruise ship Carnival Vista on its semi-submersible heavy lift vessel BOKA Vanguard and transported it to a shipyard facility in Freeport, Bahamas for a unique dry docking operation.

I thought I would share some of the amazing photos and videos showing the process.

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BOKA Vanguard passes Carnival Vista in port Image: © Boskalis

The BOKA Vanguard can be seen passing in this great drone footage below

 

Both ships headed a few miles offshore for the loading to commence at sunrise on 13th July. The loading operation and re float took approximately twelve hours in total.

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Tugs assisting Carnival Vista Image: © Boskalis
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Image: © Boskalis

Drone footage showing Carnival Vista loaded and BOKA Vanguard re-floating

 

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Image: Captain Vittorio Marchi

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Once re floated the BOKA Vanguard headed slowly back to the shipyard in Freeport

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One of the two azipod units that will be repaired once in the shipyard

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Image: © Boskalis
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Image: © Boskalis

 Both ships arrived in Freeport early Saturday evening

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Image © Boskalis

Drone footage of BOKA Vanguard sails into port with her unique cargo

 

 

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A ship carrying a ship!

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Image: Captain Vittorio Marchi

Once safely in port work on the repairs started immediately.

IMG_2113-fill-800x600IMG_2104-fill-800x600The dry dock operation will last for two weeks with Grand Bahama Shipyard also involved. In April 2019 the usual dry dock was damaged after a crane collapsed on the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, with both the ship and dry dock damaged. As a result, other ships including Carnival Vista have been unable to use the dry dock until it is repaired.

Once the repairs have been completed Carnival Vista will be offloaded in time for its next scheduled cruise from Galveston in Texas on 27th July.

My thanks goes to both Boskalis and Captain Vittorio Marchi of the Carnival Vista for use of the wonderful photos.

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