CELEBRITY CRUISES MARKS SUMMER RETURN TO UK, WITH NEW LUXURY ‘STAYCATIONS’

Celebrity Silhouette sporting her new hull colour Image: Celebrity Cruises
  • Revolutionised Celebrity Silhouette returns to the UK this summer with new spaces designed by Kelly Hoppen CBE
  • Celebrity Silhouette will sail with all guests aged 18 and above vaccinated against COVID-19, and those under the age of 18 with negative PCR test results
  • Announcement is welcome boost for Southampton and UK tourism

LONDON (March 29th, 2021 09.00BST) – Celebrity Cruises announced its long-anticipated return to UK shores today, as company President and CEO, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, confirmed that its newly revolutionised ship, Celebrity Silhouette, will set sail from Southampton this summer, offering new luxury staycations to discerning British guests.

Celebrity Silhouette’s return to UK shores will be welcome news, not just for holidaymakers looking for a luxury staycation to reconnect with friends and family, but also for the British tourism industry.

Celebrity Silhouette will sail with all guests aged 18 and over vaccinated against COVID-19, and those under the age of 18 with negative PCR test results. The announcement comes just days after Celebrity Cruises announced its Caribbean comeback with Celebrity Millennium departing from St. Maarten and Celebrity Apex departing from Greece, both in June.

Image: Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said, “We’re delighted to be returning to Southampton after over a year away. We are truly committed to the UK market and can’t wait to welcome guests back onboard. What could be better than a new luxury ship, ready to take guests on a journey around one of the world’s most beautiful and impressive coastlines? Not only is this extremely significant to us as a business but also to the local tourism industry.”

Setting sail from Southampton from Saturday, July 3rd, the stunning new luxury Celebrity Silhouette will embark on a series of six- to eight-night itineraries around Britain’s coastline. Guests will have the chance to explore the Jurassic Coastline from Portland, discover the bustling Scottish cities and stunning highlands from Inverness, Kirkwall and Glasgow, uncover the rich history of Belfast, plus immerse themselves in the creative and cultural hub of Liverpool, home of the Beatles!

Jo Rzymowska, Vice President and Managing Director EMEA, said: “We are excited to offer guests the chance to reconnect at sea with family and friends and to make up for all those missed celebrations. I cannot thank our UK travel partners enough for their unwavering support throughout this unprecedented time. We can’t wait to welcome our mutual guests onboard Celebrity Silhouette.”

From bow to stern, the ship has been ‘revolutionised’, following a multi-million-pound refit last year, designed to ensure an unparalleled new luxury experience for guests needing to feed their love of travel.

Celebrity Silhouette’s new look includes:

  • Completely modernised staterooms and suites with stunning enhancements designed with guest comfort in mind
  • The addition of The Retreat for suite guests, an exclusive open-air hideaway featuring a private sundeck and redesigned lounge offering complimentary beverages, gourmet bites, live entertainment, and concierge service, designed by award-winning British designer Kelly Hoppen CBE
  • Stunningly reimagined restaurants, bars, and lounges where guests can enjoy unparalleled culinary experiences in captivating environments
  • A redesigned spa and casino
  • New designer boutiques featuring the hottest designer names
  • Advanced RFID lock technology with digital key access to every stateroom door

Celebrity Silhouette’s restart in UK waters underlines the brand’s commitment to the UK market and its confidence in its trusted travel partners. Incentives and resources made available to support agents in selling a new luxury staycation with Celebrity this summer include £20 Celebrity Rewards points on every booking, a dedicated marketing toolkit on the Revolutionised Celebrity Silhouette available on Celebrity Central and double Captain’s Club loyalty points for guests.

And, because Celebrity Cruises believes holidays should be effortless from start to finish, Wi-Fi, drinks and service charges are now ‘Always Included’SM in every purchase, bringing that wonderful feeling of ‘everything is taken care of’ to life. 

In addition, the company’s ‘Cruise with Confidence’ programme provides flexible cancellations and best price guarantees. 

All guests already booked to sail on Celebrity Silhouette this summer will be contacted to discuss the options for their current booking.

Healthy at Sea

The company’s first priority is the health and safety of guests, crew, and the people in the places that Celebrity Silhouette will visit. The ship will sail with comprehensive, multi-layered health and safety measures leveraging expert guidance from its Healthy Sail Panel; Royal Caribbean Group’s Global Head of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer; and local UK health and government authorities. These measures, including vaccination and testing requirements, will evolve along with public health standards. 

Details on all health and safety measures across the entire Celebrity Cruises holiday experience can be found at https://www.celebritycruises.com/healthy-at-sea. Further details on the additional health and safety measures to be implemented by Celebrity Cruises will be announced at a later date. 

For more information on Celebrity Cruises UK comeback, guests and travel advisors should visit: celebritycruises.com/ukcruises

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

Disney Fantasy makes her maiden call to Southampton

Since the pause in global cruise operations my home port of Southampton has played host to a variety of different cruise ships that would not visit under normal circumstances, and this week saw another one of the most notable visits.

Disney Cruise Line’s 2012 built Disney Fantasy made a maiden call to the port arriving just before daybreak 18th November, becoming the first Disney line ship to visit Southampton since her fleet mate Disney Wonder in July 1999.

Disney Fantasy passing Mayflower Park

The fourth ship in the current fleet Disney Fantasy was built in Papenburg, Germany by the renowned cruiseship builder Meyer Werft. She is the second two Dream-Class ships and has a length of 340m, gross tonnage of 129,750 tonnes and features 1,250 passenger cabins.

Early morning arrival

The brief visit to Southampton was to take on stores and fuel before she sailed across the Atlantic to Port Canaveral, Florida her usual homeport.

The ship had arrived from the french port of Brest where she and undergone a brief drydocking together with the other ships in the fleet. During this visit history was made as on 14th October all four Disney ships were in port together for the first time.

DCL Fleet Brest France MarineTraffic Map 20201004
Image Courtesy of the DCL Blog/Marine Traffic
Alongside the City Cruise Termial (101 berth)

Check out this wonderful image from onboard by crew member Catherine. Shortly after after Fantasy arrived a rainbow appeared over the port, perhaps to celebrate Micky’s birthday which was on the same day!

© catherine_278_ (Instagram)

Be sure to check out catherine_278_ Instagram page (link below) for wonderful onboard and at sea images. A big thank you to Catherine for allowing me to share the image here.

https://www.instagram.com/catherine_278_/

Following her brief stay Disney Fantasy sailed just after 4pm local time, there were plenty of people in Mayflower Park to see her sail despite the showers! Check out the departure images below.

As always thank you for taking the time to read my latest post and be sure to look out for my departure video coming soon on YouTube!

All images copyright Andrew McAlpine unless otherwise stated

Dover becomes UK home port for Hurtigruten expedition cruises from March 2021

Hurtigruten, world leader in expedition cruises, announces a year-round programme of unique voyages departing from Dover from mid March 2021.

Port of Dover

The Norwegian operator, considered to be the world’s greenest cruise line, has launched 4 adventurous itineraries as expedition cruises from March 2021, which go on sale from 20th June.

The health and safety of guests and staff has always been the number one priority for Hurtigruten. Following guidelines recommended by the Norwegian Government, the company has built on existing protocols to introduce additional practices to ensure safe, sustainable and enjoyable expedition cruising.

MS Midinstol (meaning midnight sun)
will be refurbished and renamed MS Maud
Image: Hurtigruten

MS Maud – a small, sustainable, expedition cruise ship

Taking less than 500 passengers, MS Maud will be freshly refurbished prior to her arrival in Dover. She goes into the refurb project as the currently in-service MS Midnatsol, already well-known to those who have sailed on Hurtigruten’s Coastal route in Norway.

As part of the multi-million-pound refurb project, MS Maud will proudly emerge with all new public areas. Natural Scandinavian materials will be used to seamlessly bring the great outdoors inside – Scandinavian wool, pine, birch, oak, and granite will unknowingly provide the perfect backdrop to your voyage from Dover.

More sustainable expeditions

As the first cruise line in the world, we are introducing biodiesel as fuel on a number of ships – including MS Maud. Biodiesel reduces (CO2) emissions with up to 80 %. Single use plastic is also banned.

Three new restaurants will be introduced – Aune, the main restaurant; Fredheim, for casual international dining; and Lindstrom, our exclusive fine dining restaurant. Each serving cuisine with character, locally sourced in line with our sustainability principles.

Departing directly from Dover

Eliminating a flight adds convenience and ease to your expedition cruise. You can begin your adventure from much closer to home and immediately you swiftly pass through the gorgeous cruise terminal, without suitcase restrictions or the need to pack and unpack multiple times. Dover is very well connected by road and rail, so joining is simple and quick, be it by private or public transport. Your fellow British passengers will be kindred spirits as you venture forth on your expedition.

Expedition cruising

At Hurtigruten, we actively shun the bright lights and the crowds of mass tourism; instead, we visit remote nature destinations; we engage in unassuming beach cleans; we showcase local wildlife; we take part in Citizen Science experiments; and we learn from each other and from the Expedition Team. You’ll certainly not get any stuffy formality, nor the needless luxury of boutique cruising, nor will you feel overwhelmed by the sheer scale of your ship, the number of guests or the razzmatazz of ‘big white ship’ cruising.

In the recent past, MS Midnatsol has been in service in Antarctica, where she was heralded as the blueprint for modern expedition cruising in both size and facilities – most significantly, the tender pits and purpose-built platforms used to launch her fleet of expedition boats for landings and local exploration. These will be in use regularly as we bring expedition cruising to Dover.

Leading the cruise industry in sustainability and environmental standards

The very latest fuel and environmental advances will be incorporated ‘below decks’ as part of MS Maud’s refurbishment. The ship will be powered on BIOFUEL, mixed in with regular diesel, to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides. Furthermore, the BIOFUEL used will be environmentally certified and made from waste produce from other industries including fishing, meaning no palm oil used in its production and no negative effects on rainforests. Once in port, where possible, MS Maud will be fitted with shore power connectivity eliminating emissions whilst alongside.

Citizen Science

MS Midnatsol is a tried-and-tested thoroughbred and pioneer in expedition cruising, and through the refurb, MS Maud will emerge even stronger. A state-of-the-art Science Center is the ‘beating heart’ of all expedition cruises, and MS Maud’s will be complete with the very latest tech and experiment apparatus, touch screens and microscopes. Guests will not be disappointed, and the Science Center will become the hub to informally learn from the Expedition Team on topics ranging from geology to ornithology, from Northern Lights to the conservation and Citizen Science projects we support.

Crafted expedition cruise itineraries

Each of our 4 expedition itineraries visit hard-to-reach destinations, which test seamanship and resolve, and as a result, provide unique experiences to savour and share.

Norway’s winter fjords and the Northern Lights – 15-day voyages visiting Norway’s southern fjords and Arctic North. Highlights include Stavanger, Alesund, off-the-beaten-track Lofoten Islands, 2 days in Tromso, the North Cape and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bergen.  Hurtigruten’s unique Northern Lights Promise applies.

Departures from Dover in March 2021, and Oct 2021 – March 2022

https://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/destinations/norway/dover-north-cape-dover/

Summertime in Norway’s fjords and her islands – 15-day voyages along the Norwegian coast, known to be one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, with countless fjords, mountains and charming coastal villages. Norway has been Hurtigruten’s backyard for 127 years – explore the hidden gems, handpicked by your expedition cruise experts.

Departures from Dover in Apr – September 2021

https://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/destinations/norway/norwegian-fjords-north-cape-and-the-arctic-sunshine/

The British Isles – 13-day expedition cruise visiting remote islands off the British mainland – less-visited, mysterious and varied, where the elements, the coastline and the indigenous wildlife are to be both respected and revered. Highlights include Fishguard, Rathlin Island (excursion to Giants Causeway possible), Iona, Staffa (sail by scenic cruising of Fingal’s Cave), St Kilda, Stornoway, Islay, Isle of Man, Waterford, Isles of Scilly and Dartmouth.

Departures from Dover in May – September 2021

https://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/destinations/british-isles/remote-islands-natural-wonders-and-a-diverse-coastline/

Southern Scandinavia – 15-day voyage offers expedition, culture, wildlife and nature, combined with urban exploration. Across 4 countries we encounter wide, white sandy beaches in Germany and Denmark, peaceful archipelagos and charming marinas in Sweden and the beautiful fjords and islets of Norway. Highlights include the Kiel Canal, Skagen, Koster, the Weather Islands, Oslo, Hardanger and Lysefjord.

Departures from Dover in June & July 2021

https://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/destinations/europe/southern-scandinavia-archipelagos-fjords-fishing-towns/

Prices are yet to be released by Hurtigruten, and the voyages go on sale from 20 June 2020.

You can pre-register your interest here; https://www.hurtigruten.co.uk/pre-registration/

MS Maud

– ENDS –

SELECTION OF QUOTES:

– We are thrilled to present expedition cruises from Dover year-round. It is a needed boost for the UK cruise industry at this time, and is especially important to showcase how expedition cruising differs from mainstream ‘big white ship’ cruising, says Anthony Daniels, General Manager, Hurtigruten UK & Ireland

– These sustainable new itineraries visit off-the-beaten-track waters, coastlines and islands; they are brim-full of unique experiences and destinations rarely visited, says Anthony Daniels, General Manager, Hurtigruten UK & Ireland

Hurtigruten is set to a full service of coastal voyages with MS Finnmarken sailing from Bergen from next Tuesday (16th June), and will be the first ocean cruise line to do so.

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

Allure of the Seas Arrives in Southampton

The worldwide corona virus pandemic has led to an unprecedented time for the cruise industry, together with fleets being laid up it is also resulting ad hoc cruise ship calls to various ports.

Yesterday Southampton saw one of these calls when Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas arrived from Barcelona for a short 5-day lay by.

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Allure of the Seas passing Mayflower Park Southampton

Delivered in 2010 and at 225,282GRT Allure of the Seas is one of the world’s largest cruise ships with a passenger capacity of 5,484 passengers at (double occupancy) 6,780 maximum.

The Oasis Class vessel was due to dry dock in Cadiz for her amplification, but this has been postponed due to the closure of all Spanish ports.

On arrival in Southampton, she berthed at the City Cruise terminal 101/2 berths and is currently set to sail for Cadiz on 25th March.

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Allure of the Seas arriving at the City Cruise Terminal

Below are some more arrival images as Allure of the Seas passed Calshot.

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IMG_4756EIMG_4771EIMG_4801ETo date Southampton has now seen visits from three of the four current Oasis class ships, Oasis, Allure and Harmony.

As always thank you for reading my latest blog post

All images © Andrew McAlpine

 

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

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

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Image: Richard Lovelock

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

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

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

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

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Image: Richard Lovelock

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

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

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

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

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

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Image: Richard Lovelock

Features of the ORCA cruise programme include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ORCA-LOGO-with-web

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Iona floated out at Meyer Werft

Iona reaches next construction milestone

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Iona seen during floatout Image: Meyer Werft

P&O cruises new flagship Iona has left the building hall at Meyer Werft. She was floated out early on Friday morning marking another construction milestone for the LNG-powered vessel.

The 5,200-passenger ship — the largest-ever purpose built for the UK — will launch in May.

Iona’s interior will now be fully fitted out, before the ship makes its way along the River Ems at the end of March. Iona will then undergo a series of sea trials before she is finaly handed over.

The ship joins the P&O fleet this summer as the British brand’s flagship, and will be the largest ship in the company’s fleet at 5,200 guests and 183,900 tons.

Iona will be named in Southampton on July 4, followed by a week-long celebration called Ionafest which will include a special performance from the ship’s Musical Director, Gary Barlow.

A sister ship is set to follow in 2022.

Here is a great video show the float out from the building hall.

 

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Ship is happening – Virgin Voyages takes delivery of Scarlet Lady

VIRGIN VOYAGES CELEBRATES DELIVERY OF SCARLET LADY, WITH LOVE 

Virgin Voyages Welcomes Scarlet Lady, the Inaugural Ship in Her Fleet as Carbon-Neutral from the First Day of Commercial Operation

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Scarlet Lady at Sea Image: Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages, the new lifestyle and travel brand delivering irresistible vacations in cruising, announced today that the Scarlet Lady has officially reached completion. Nearly three years in the making, Virgin Voyages formally welcomes its first ‘Lady Ship,’ Scarlet Lady, in its fleet of four to the open waters, departing the shipyard in Genoa, Italy. In just 46 days, Sailors will embark on the Maiden Voyage, departing from her home port in Miami.

On the heels of this celebratory occasion, Virgin Voyages welcomes Scarlet Lady with an industry-leading approach that takes immediate action to address climate change. Not only has the brand designed its fleet of ships to the latest energy-efficiency standards with state-of-the art equipment, Virgin Voyages is offsetting its direct climate change emissions through the purchase of carbon offsets. This commitment makes the brand the first cruise line to become carbon-neutral for its direct emissions footprint from its first day of commercial operation. The projects that will be supported by Scarlet Lady will meet high-quality, internationally-recognized verification standards, including The Gold Standard and the Verified Carbon Standard.

“It’s wonderful to welcome Scarlet Lady today,” says Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson. “I’m so proud that as we start this exciting journey, we also bring to life Virgin Voyages’ commitment to preserving the ocean and the first of many steps towards a net zero carbon future.”

The brand has recognized that climate change is an urgent, global issue for every industry and business. Like others, Virgin Voyages’ long-term ambition is a net-zero carbon future. This will require significant advancements in technology and infrastructure, and access to solutions that remain in development. And, Virgin Voyages is committed to working with the industry to support the necessary research and development to advance carbon-free fuels and to scale commercially viable solutions.

“The ocean is our home, and we are on a mission to protect it. The single-biggest threat facing our ocean is climate change, and we want to be part of the solution,” said Tom McAlpin, CEO and President of Virgin Voyages. “We are committed to pioneering new technologies onboard and working with our industry peers to advance research and development for zero-carbon fuels.”

Virgin Voyages is one of first cruise lines to use Climeon, a technology that utilizes heat generated from the ship’s engines to generate electricity, thereby decreasing the demand for fuel. While the industry continues to improve on the journey for readily available and commercially viable solutions, purchasing high-quality carbon offsets allows us to take immediate action, while also supporting a long-term strategy that secures a net-zero future for the cruise industry.

Scarlet Lady Bow
Image: Virgin Voyages

Her ladyship sailed from the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa late in the afternoon today and is now enroute to Dover where she is due to arrive next Friday. She will spend 3 days in Dover, before heading to Liverpool for the final part of her UK showcase. During the events Virgin Voyages aims to showcase whats onboard their first ship to over 1000 agents or first mates! According to Shane Riley, Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson could make an appearance at the pre-inaugural events.

Scarlet Lady invitation

Virgin Voyages have invited me to visit her ladyship in Dover next weekend, I cant wait to step onboard and get a dose of vitamin sea and find out just what the epic sea change is all about. I intend to share everything on my social media channels during the visit so be sure to follow me on twitter and instagram.

ABOUT VIRGIN VOYAGES
Virgin Voyages is a global lifestyle brand committed to creating the world’s most irresistible holiday. With operations in the US, UK, and Europe, Virgin Voyages currently has four ships on order with master shipbuilder Fincantieri.

With its inaugural season scheduled for 2020, Virgin Voyages’ first ship the Scarlet Lady was designed to reflect a yacht’s sleek luxury. Featuring spaces designed by some of the top names in contemporary design, the Scarlet Lady will be Adult-by-Design, a sanctuary at sea for the 18+ traveller.

A dose of ‘Vitamin Sea’ will be naturally intertwined across the entire ship, with well-being activated through a mix of high-energy moments coupled with relaxation and rejuvenation. The Scarlet Lady will also feature alluring entertainment and 20+ world-class intimate eateries on board. Putting a twist on luxury, which the company refers to as Rebellious Luxe, Virgin Voyages will offer incredible value for its Sailors with all restaurants, group fitness classes, soft drinks, and many more Virgin surprises included within the voyage fare.

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Portsmouth selected as host for Saga’s Spirit of Adventure naming ceremony 

First naming ceremony for Portsmouth 

Rendering of Saga Cruises Spirit of Adventure
Spirit of Adventure Image: Saga Cruises

Saga has announced that Portsmouth has been chosen as the location for the official naming ceremony of their second new-build boutique cruise ship, Spirit of Adventure.  The prestigious event will be held on Wednesday, August 19, 2020.

The city’s dramatic harbour, maritime heritage, and wider regeneration plans for the port were crucial deciding factors for their choice of Portsmouth for what will be a first for the Port.

In recent years, Saga has pioneered the boutique cruising experience for its customers. In 2019, the company launched its first-ever, purpose-built boutique cruise ship, Spirit of Discovery, to great acclaim, and the launch plans for Spirit of Adventure promise to be just as exciting.

Nigel Blanks, Managing Director of Saga cruises, said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce that our second new ship, Spirit of Adventure, will be named in Portsmouth. The city is steeped in British maritime history and it will be another first for Saga Cruises with Spirit of Adventure being the first ever cruise ship to be named in this historic port.

“The naming of Spirit of Discovery has been shortlisted for best cruise ship launch for 2019 and we intend to create an event that is just as special for Spirit of Adventure.  Whilst the ships are recognizable sisters, they are most certainly not twins. Spirit of Adventure will have a distinctly different identity to her sister ship, which is why we have chosen a different port for her Naming Ceremony.  Alongside the port and the cities partners we are planning another utterly memorable event.”

Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: “We’re so proud Saga has chosen Portsmouth to host the naming ceremony for its newest ship, Spirit of Adventure, which is a first for the city.

“Portsmouth’s dramatic harbour entrance is a stunning backdrop to showcase the ship and we will work closely with Saga to put on an event to match.

“It will also be a fantastic spectacle with the opportunity to welcome the ship as she arrives in Portsmouth and put on a firework display that will take place in the evening from Southsea Common.

“We’re looking forward to Saga’s new vessels becoming a familiar sight in our city. Our cruise transformation is already well under way with a significant berth extension plan, followed by a terminal transformation, which will be completed next year.

“This is a new cruise era for Portsmouth, and we can’t wait for leading brands like Saga to join us on our journey.”

Spectators will be encouraged to welcome Britain’s newest boutique cruise ship, as she sails into Portsmouth for her UK arrival.

Nigel Blanks continued: “Carrying just 999 guests, Saga’s unique boutique cruise ships have been designed specifically for the needs and tastes of the over 50s luxury market. This means there’s no Casino, ice rink or climbing wall. Instead they boast the largest percentage of single cabins of any modern ship, a high crew to guest ratio, West End standard entertainment, five different dining options, balcony cabins for all guests and countless other features offering the latest in luxury, boutique cruising.

The interior design for Spirit of Adventure is bold and striking.  Yet again we have risen to the challenge set us by our guests. They have told us that life for them is not ‘beige’ and they want to see something that showcases the best of British contemporary design.”

Spirit of Adventure will feature three speciality restaurants including the world’s first Nepalese restaurant at sea – Khukuri House, alongside Amalfi, a high-end Italian cuisine restaurant and the Supper Club a dining and live entertainment venue.

The ship will also feature a 500 sq metre spa, The Lido outdoor pool, The Playhouse, a 444-seat theatre and a large library.

Spirit of Adventure’s 17-night The Inaugural Cruise will depart from Dover to the Baltic on August 21, 2020, with further cruises scheduled for 2020 including the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands and Norway.

Ship Factfile

IMO No.: 9818084

Launch: 2020

Shipyard: Meyer Werft,  Papenburg, Germany  

Building Cost: USD 346 million (GBP 280 million / EUR 310 million)

Hull No.: 715

Keel laid: 3rd June 2019

Sister Ships: Spirit of Discovery (2019)

Length:  236 m

Width: 31 m

Draft:  3 m

Gross tonnage: 58,250  GT

Passengers: 1,000

Staterooms & Cabins: 540

Decks: 10

Cabin Decks: 6

Crew: 505

Cruising speed: 23 knots

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

MSC Grandiosa officially named in Hamburg

In a dazzling event in the port of Hamburg last night MSC Cruises christened MSC Grandiosa, its newest, most environmentally-advanced flagship, on the fourth and final night of celebrations in the Blue Port. Part of the cruise line’s largest and longest christening event ever, this part of MSC Grandiosa’s series of celebrations which span 27 days, 8 countries and 11 ports and will engage over 14,000 travel agents from around the world. Following on from the Christening, MSC Grandiosa will embark on a grand tour, visiting Southampton, UK, Lisbon, Portugal, Barcelona, Spain, Marseille France and Genoa, Italy, before commencing her usual 7-night cruises on 23 November.

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Port of Hamburg turns blue in celebration Image: MSC Cruises

It’s an extraordinary welcome for an extraordinary ship. Designed to ensure even cleaner air emissions and improved overall environmental performance both at sea and ashore, MSC Grandiosa is equipped with advanced cutting-edge technologies and sets a new standard for sustainability at sea.

On board, guests of all ages and interests will find something exciting waiting, including:

  • Two original new shows from Cirque du Soleil at Sea exclusive to MSC Cruises guests
  • A 93-metre-long Mediterranean Promenade lined with international shops and restaurants
  • An immersive art experience featuring etchings from Edgar Degas’ Danse Dessin series
  • Dedicated children’s areas designed in partnership with Chicco and LEGO
  • The world’s first virtual digital cruise assistant – ZOE – in every cabin

MSC Grandiosa arrives in Hamburg (3)
MSC Grandiosa arrives in Hamburg Image: MSC Cruises

Since arriving in Hamburg on 6th November, MSC Grandiosa has been the subject and star of an immersive lightshow at the German city’s Blue Port. Spectacular light installations by renowned artist Michael Batz have bathed the port in shades of blue reminiscent of the sea to symbolise MSC Cruises’ long-standing commitment to the ocean, and MSC Grandiosa’s striking silhouette can be seen shimmering alongside the famous Elbphilharmonie on Hamburg’s Elbe river.

The traditional Christening ceremony took place in different locations across the ship, and the proceedings will be hosted by talented actress, TV presenter, model and singer, Michelle Hunziker alongside co-host TV host & actor Jochen Schropp, one of Germany’s favorite entertainers.

 

The festivities didn’t stop there – a purpose-built “MSC Village” on the banks of the River Elbe will brought the festivities to shore, welcoming 5,000 locals to experience the christening from land with live music and food trucks. Guests were joined by the popular German TV couple and even hosts Annemarie & Wayne Carpendale. 

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Sophia Loren names her 15th MSC Cruises ship Image: MSC Cruises

The evening’s main spectacle occurred as MSC Grandiosa passed the Elbphilharmonie just as a special light show illuminates the building and ship. She’ll then take centre stage on the River Elbe as Godmother Sophia Loren officially names her 15th MSC Cruises ship, followed by a celebratory firework display. MSC Grandiosa will then pass through a spectacular gateway of blue night returning to her dock, symbolising the new ship’s entry to the world.

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MSC Grandiosa passes the Elbphilharmonie Image: MSC Cruises

Guests onboard will then enjoy a gourmet four course menu created by renowned 3 Michelin starred German chef Harald Wohlfahrt at the Gala Dinner. The menu for guests will start with Chilled king crab salad with crustacean coulis and imperial caviar or Guinea fowl napoleon with apple-ginger quenelle, Riesling gelée and brioche. Next up will be the traditional German dish, “Maultasche” – pasta filled with winter truffles and pistou sauce. The main dish will Oven-roasted turbot in a saffron-mussel fumet and vegetable mélange or Duo of veal tenderloin and braised cheek, tender savoy cabbage, glazed carrot and roasted herb jus. Finishing off the gourmet feast, guests can choose a Pistachio parfait with orange granité and exotic fruit cocktail or Chocolate tart with caramelised pears and vanilla-mascarpone ice cream.

Guests then danced into the night in the Galleria Grandiosa, the ship’s iconic 93-metre-long Mediterranean promenade where popular German DJ Mousse T. and from British singer Emma Lanford will perform.

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DJ Mousse T Image: MSC Cruises

MSC Grandiosa will commence her regular 7-night cruises in the Western Mediterranean from 23rd November with six embarkation ports calling Genoa, Civitavecchia, Italy; Palermo, Sicily; Valetta, Malta; Barcelona, Spain and Marseille, France.

I am lucky enough to be joining MSC Grandiosa during her visit to Southampton on Tuesday, so be sure to follow my social media channels for updates and images.

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

Global Dream Hull art revealed

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Singapore, 16 October 2019 – “Genting Cruise Lines officially announced the world premiere and unveiling of Global Dream’s brand new hull artwork, entitled “A Dream Through Time and Space” at ITB Asia in Singapore today. Building on the successful debuts of Genting Dream, World Dream and Explorer Dream, Dream Cruises’ new 208,000 gross tonne ship, Global Dream, is currently under construction at Genting Hong Kong’s very own MV Werften shipyard in Germany. Global Dream is set to enter into service in early 2021 and will invite more Asian guests to cruise worldwide on inspiring voyages on board the largest cruise ship to homeport in the Asia Pacific region.

With Global Dream’s sister ship to debut in 2022, Dream Cruises’ five ship fleet will be the youngest and most modern in the world. As the only global cruise line with all “Made in Germany” cruise ships, Dream Cruises’ fleet will feature the highest safety standards, build quality, speed, power and luxury finishes. A testament to Dream Cruises’ quality vessels and exemplary service, the latest edition of the well-respected Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships 2020 has again ranked Genting Dream and World Dream in the Top 10 ‘Large Resort Ship’ – the only two highly ranked cruise ships to homeport year-round in Asia. Dream Cruises’ latest addition, Explorer Dream, also made her debut in the Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships 2020 guide under the “Mid-Sized Ship” category, earning a Top 20 ranking.

In addition to the unveiling of the hull artwork, guests attending ITB Asia will have the chance to preview and experience Global Dream through a specially constructed, full-scale smart show cabin on display during the event for the very first-time in Southeast Asia, allowing guests to find out more about the outstanding features of the new ship.

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Image: Dream Cruises

Guest of Honour, Mr. Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry & Ministry of Education, Singapore helped preside over the unveiling ceremony along with Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Genting Hong Kong, Mr Hui Lim, Deputy CEO & Executive Director of Genting Hong Kong, Mr. Kent Zhu, President of Genting Cruise Lines and Mr Michael Goh, President of Dream Cruises and Head of International Sales, Genting Cruise Lines.

“Singapore has been an important homeport for Genting Cruise Lines over the last 26 years and we are pleased to announce that Global Dream will celebrate her inaugural arrival in Singapore in Q2 2021 during her relocation cruise from Germany to Asia,” said Mr. Kent Zhu, President of Genting Cruise Lines. “We greatly appreciate and look forward to the continued support from the Singapore Tourism Board and our partners from Singapore and across the region.”

“Having just celebrated our 25th Anniversary in Singapore last year, we are excited to return with the unveiling of Global Dream’s hull artwork at this year’s ITB Asia in Singapore. As arguably the most identifiable feature of a cruise ship, the hull artwork is another important milestone in the development of any cruise ship and will set the personality of the ship when she launches,” added Mr. Zhu. “The new hull artwork provides a fresh take on our beloved mermaid and astronaut characters and captures the adventurous spirit and sense of modernity that will be the hallmarks of Global Dream’s essence.”

Shanghai native and London based Illustrator, Shan Jiang, was commissioned to create the latest chapter of the Dream Cruises hull art romance. Having worked with a variety of notable companies and publications, Mr Shan’s work is strongly influenced by his home city of Shanghai; its skyscrapers and bungalows, contemporary concepts and traditional superstitions and flourishing subcultures.

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London based Illustrator, Shan Jiang was commisioned to design the hull art “A Dream Through Time and Space”

“A Dream Through Time and Space” continues the epic journey of the mermaid and the astronaut as they seek to satisfy their boundless curiosity and explore an infinite universe – driven by the desire for the extraordinary. Embodying the independent and fearless spirit of a new generation of traveller, the two worlds of the mermaid and astronaut blend together, resulting in a new way to explore the seven seas– one that combines age-old maritime tradition with space-age technology.

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Image: Dream Cruises / ITB

Guests attending ITB Asia were also among the first in the Southeast Asian region to experience Global Dream’s specially constructed balcony show cabin, which was built in Germany. Featuring 20 square metres of space, the luxurious Global Class cabins will be the industry’s most spacious staterooms at approximately 15% larger than standard cabins found on most other cruise lines.

Global Dream’s cabins will also feature cutting edge, state-of-the-art technology, redefining the concept of cruising with Bluetooth locks and a new smart system, enabling passengers to control different functions such as the LED mood lighting and climate control with a smartphone app, voice recognition or through a touch-screen control panel. Smart sensors will also be able to detect occupants in the cabin to automatically adjust the lights and temperature for better energy efficiency and triple vent air-conditioning outlets ensure even air distribution for maximum comfort.

Accommodating over 9,000 passengers and with lower berth capacity of 4,700 passengers, Global Dream will be the largest cruise ships in the world by passenger capacity and brings affordable, high-end cruising to a wide range of passengers with 2,350 cabins consisting of a variety of categories including villas, penthouses, suites, themed suites, balcony cabins and inside cabins. Global Dream will also feature Dream Cruises’ signature 151-suite luxury “ship-within-a-ship’ concept, “The Palace”.

Featuring a variety of innovative new features and facilities, Global Dream will include the industry’s most spacious staterooms and most luxurious suites, the first-ever theme park concept at sea – “Dream Park at the Pier” highlighted by the “Space Cruiser”, the world’s longest roller coaster at sea – the largest cinema at sea with eight theatres to meet the leisure and entertainment needs of travellers and MICE guests, and more. Singapore’s homegrown and internationally renowned nightlife brand, Zouk, the 3rd best club in the world, will also have a presence on Global Dream while Dream Avenue will provide guests with a multi-purpose outdoor leisure and recreational space.

Below are artist impressions of some of the interior spaces onboard:

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Image: MV Werften

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Image: MV Werften

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Image: MV Werften

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Image: MV Werften

GLOBAL DREAM FACTFILE

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IMO No.: 9808998

Launch: 2020

Shipyard:  MV Werften (Wismar and Rostock, Germany)

Building Cost: EUR 940 million, (USD 1,1 billion)

Hull No.: 125

Steel  Cutting: 8th March 2018

Keel laid: 11th September 2018

Class: Global Class

Sister Ships: second vessel in 2022

Length:  342 m

Width: 46 m

Draft: 9.5 m

Gross tonnage:  204,000 GT

Passengers: 4,700

Staterooms & Cabins: 2,500

Decks: 20

Cabin Decks: 11

Crew: TBC

Cruising speed: 23 knots

Thankyou for taking the time to read my lastest post.