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

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 © 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

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 © 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

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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

 

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.

 

Princess Cruises opens family water playground on Caribbean Princess

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

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Image: Princess Cruises

The Reef’s family-friendly features comprise:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest post

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

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Image: Hurtigruten

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

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

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

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

Named in ice – with ice

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

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

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

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

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

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Image: ESPEN MILLS/Hurtigruten

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

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

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

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

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

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Image: Hurtigruten

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

EXPLORE THE GREEN PIONEERVirtual tour of MS Roald Amundsen

From pole to pole

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

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

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

Hurtigruten – World leader in exploration travel

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

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

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

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

MS Roald Amundsen Factfile

IMO No.: 9813072

Shipyard:  Kleven Yards, Norway

Length: 140 m

Width: 23,6 m

Draft: 5,3 m

Gross tonnage: 20.889

Passengers: 530

Staterooms & suits: 265

Crew: 151

Cruising speed: 15 knots

Ice class: PC-6

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

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

Hurtigruten website

http://www.hurtigruten.co.uk

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

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

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Image: Saga Cruises

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Image: Saga Cruises

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

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

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

 

MSC CRUISES FURTHER ENHANCES AWARD-WINNING* FAMILY OFFERING WITH NEW TEEN WEB SERIES AND NEW ACTIVITIES LAUNCHING ON MSC GRANDIOSA

·        MSC Grandiosa will feature three brand new activities: MSC Dance Crew, The Drone Academy and Spy Mission

·        Cruise line introduces new web series developed specifically for teens: Cabin 12006

·        MasterChef at Sea Juniors rolling out fleetwide in 2019

Debuting onboard MSC Grandiosa, the Company’s new flagship launching in November this year.

Each year, MSC Cruises welcomes over 350,000 children onboard its ships, with a comprehensive entertainment schedule offering hundreds of hours of activities each week, up to 700 m2 of dedicated kids space with rooms for different age groups as well as exhilarating aqua parks, high-tech virtual games arcade and much much more. The Company is now introducing three brand new activities to MSC GrandiosaMSC Dance CrewThe Drone Academy and Spy Mission, as well as introducing a new web series targeted at teenagers.

Matteo Mancini, MSC Cruises’ Children’s Entertainment Manager commented: “The growing number of teens sailing with us, 13-17 year olds now make up 40% of our young guests – this has driven our development of exciting new teen-focused entertainment activities and a new web series dedicated to teens. We are delighted to launch MSC Dance Crew, Spy Mission and The Drone Academy onboard MSC Grandiosa later this year, and announce that filming is underway for ‘Cabin 12006’ – our new teens web series coming online early next year.”

NEW KIDS ENTERTAINMENT ACTIVITIES LAUNCHING ON MSC GRANDIOSA

  • MSC DANCE CREW – developed in partnership with Fremantle, the production company behind the globally successful TV talent shows including Idols, The X Factor and Got Talent series, this brand-new competition experience sees teams of 12-17 years battling it out to win the title of dance crew of the year.
  • MSC Cruises is working in collaboration with London-based immersive agency, The Department, who specialise in creating theatrical and technology-driven productions for a host of global brands and companies to introduce:

o   THE DRONE ACADEMY – taking place in MSC Grandiosa’s Sportsplex venue, this high-tech and high-energy drone relay race comes to life at night thanks to fluo effects and glowing drones. Teens are trained on drone piloting skills before competing in teams to race through the 390m2 arena navigating 15 obstacles in the quickest time possible.

o   SPY MISSION – young audiences play a central role in a new, immersive, roaming spy experience, a first for MSC Cruises. Blending the lines between reality and fiction; guests are led through a number of different scenes, taking place throughout the ship to unravel unique storylines, follow clues and solve the mystery to win a host of MSC Cruises prizes.

NEW TEENS WEB SERIES ‘CABIN 12006’ LAUCNHING EARLY 2020

Following the success of ‘Kelly & Kloe Onboard’, MSC Cruises’ kids web seasons, running for three series and attracting over five million views, the Company is now introducing a brand-new web series targeted at teens.

The seven-episode series follows teenager Markus as he embarks on his first ever cruise – however, his holiday doesn’t quite go to plan and turns into an unexpected adventure…

MSC Bellissima’s Cabin 12006 is full of unanswered questions and many surprises, and it’s down to Markus and his friend Lucas to solve the mystery with the help of virtual personal cruise assistant ZOE. Meanwhile, two young guys dreaming of a career onboard a cruise ship come aboard for a unique internship and unintentionally get tangled in the story thanks to an unexpected whirlwind love story.

The series has been written and shot in collaboration with Viacom, the media group behind kids’ channel Nickelodeon, to develop an original, authentic and high-quality web series for kids.

The series features some of the worlds most loved talents including Luciano SpinelliMax & HarveyMatteo Markus BokSespoValerio MazzeiRosalba and for the first time as comedians, kids from UNICEF Ambassador group Kids United. Between them, they have millions of followers across their social channels and are known by kids and teens of all ages worldwide.

Those who have followed the Kelly & Kloe series will be glad to hear that the two main characters also make appearances throughout ‘Cabin 12006’.

Filming is currently underway onboard MSC Bellissima, with the episodes expected to launch early in 2020. For those who haven’t seen ‘Kelly & Kloe Onboard’, head over to kellyandkloe.com now to watch all three seasons.

MASTERCHEF AT SEA JUNIORS

Throughout 2019, MasterChef at Sea Juniors that launched last October on MSC Seaview is rolling out across the entire MSC Cruises fleet, meaning that kids on board any ship will be able to take part in the interactive two-stage cooking competition.

This activity is developed to help inspire a new generation of children to take an interest in cooking and encourage healthy eating. The activity helps children to practice useful techniques and cultivate creativity in the kitchen through recipes devised by Rukmini Iyer, a MasterChef contestant from 2013 and author of two best-selling cookbooks.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MSC CRUISES KIDS’ OFFERING

These elements are just the latest enhancement to MSC Cruises’ award winning* family offering that already includes:

  • The LEGO Experience on-board – a whole day on every cruise itinerary that is dedicated to fun LEGO® activities, which culminates in the children receiving a Jr. LEGO® Master Builder diploma
  • DOREBRO – a dedicated sports programme for kids of all ages
  • A range of services for babies and toddlers: including the Baby-Club for children under 3 as well as a dedicated childcare service. Many of these services are offered in collaboration with Chicco® – the leading global baby brand and yet another exclusive MSC Cruises partnership.
  • Family Explorer Club – tailor-made shore excursion programme to meet the needs of the whole family
MSC.jpeg
MSC Grandiosa Image: MSC Cruises

For more information about MSC Cruises’ family offering please visit: www.msccruises.co.uk

For more media information about MSC Cruises please visit www.mscpressarea.com

Countdown to Enchanted Princess

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Princess Cruises begins one-year countdown to Enchanted Princess

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enchanted Princess interesting facts:

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog

MSC CRUISES – OCEAN CAY MARINE RESERVE

GET READY TO DISCOVER THE NATURAL BEAUTY OF

OCEAN CAY MSC MARINE RESERVE

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION FOR THE FUTURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve features 7 beaches for guestsLUXURIOUS RELAXATION

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

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

FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

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

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

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

EVENING ENTERTAINMENT

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

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

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

SHIPS TO OCEAN CAY

 

MSC Seaside

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Seaside

MSC Meraviglia

Meraviglia

meraviglia nos

MSC Divina

Divina

Divina

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

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog