Southampton set to open its 5th cruise terminal next year

The port of Southampton is set to cement its title as the UK’s busiest cruise port with the opening of a fifth terminal next year. Due for completion in late spring the new terminal will help Southampton handle the 2million passengers, which already pass through the South Coast port each year.

The opening follows the announcement by the port owners Associated British ports (ABP) of a strategic partnership with two of the world largest cruise lines MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

The terminal which is being constructed in the city’s Western Docks will be “next-generation-ready”, and able to accomodate world’s biggest ships, which currently carry 6,000 passengers or more.

The new terminal under construction November 2020  (Image Andrew McAlpine)
The new terminal under construction November 2020 (Image Andrew McAlpine)

Alastair Welch, director of ABP Southampton, said: “We’re very pleased to announce this major advance in our cruise infrastructure at the port, delivering further access to Southampton for the industry, whilst supporting our commitment to accelerate improvements in local air quality. This investment is a huge vote of confidence in the future of cruise in Southampton and we’re excited to be at the forefront of a growing industry.”

The upper storey of the new yet to be named terminal (Image ABP)
The upper storey of the new yet to be named terminal (Image ABP)

The new £55 million terminal will feature ultra-modern technology including roof-mounted solar power and ship to shore power connectivity. Also known as ‘cold ironing’, The technology allows for ships to shut down their own generators and obtain power by plugging into local shore based electricity grid.

It scheme has received support from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with an £8 million grant through the government’s Getting Building Fund.

Christopher Hammond, leader of Southampton City Council and Solent LEP director, said: “We are committed to ensuring we can emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic with the strongest foundations for future growth. I’m pleased that this investment joins a growing list of public and private commitments to making our city greener, fairer and healthier, whilst providing much needed jobs in our economic renewal.”

MSC Magnifica in Southampton from 2021 (Image Andrew McAlpine)
MSC Magnifica will homeport in Southampton from 2021 (Image Andrew McAlpine)

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO, said: “We are in a unique position that not only will we be committing to having an MSC Cruises’ ship home port from Southampton every year, but several of our ships will be visiting Southampton as a destination as part of our wider cruise.

Antonio Paradiso, managing director of MSC Cruises UK & Ireland, said: “Whilst we’ve always had loyal passengers from the UK & Ireland, over the last five years we’ve been on a real journey in the UK market.

“We were delighted to see such strong organic growth which lead to our first ever full season sailing from the UK in 2018, followed by the naming ceremony of MSC Bellissima in the port of Southampton bringing guests from around the world to the city to celebrate the milestone event in 2019. We ended 2019 with the most successful year of sales ever in the UK & Ireland, something we are incredibly proud of.”

He added: “MSC Cruises is serious about the UK market and now more than ever we believe in the potential here and making this long-term commitment to bringing even more passengers to Southampton is evidence of that.

Norwegian Encore seen in Southampton (Image Andrew McAlpine)
Norwegian Encore seen in Southampton (Image Andrew McAlpine)

Steve Moeller, senior vice president of commercial development at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, added: “This agreement marks the continuation of the strong partnership between Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and the Port of Southampton and demonstrates our commitment to the region.”

Six cruise ships seen in Southampton (Image Andrew McAlpine)
Six cruise ships in port is set to be a regualr sight in Southampton (Image Andrew McAlpine)

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

All images copyright Andrew McAlpine unless otherwise stated

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.

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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

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

 

MSC Grandiosa arrives in Southampton for an extended stay

On Tuesday morning (11th November) the port of Southampton welcomed MSC Cruises newest flagship the brand new MSC Grandiosa on her inaugural visit to the UK’s no.1 cruise port.

MSC Cruises MSC Grandiosa alongside in Southampton

Just two days after she was christened in Hamburg her visit to Southampton is part of a series of inaugural celebrations as she heads to the Mediterranean to start her maiden season.

MSC’s new flagship

With a length of 331 metres, 181,541GRT and with a maximum capacity of 6334 guests, MSC Grandiosa is the first of the new Meraviglia-plus class and is now the largest ship in MSC Cruises ever growing fleet.

According to the line she is also one of the most environmentally friendly ships at sea and features a host of technology including closed loop Hybrid Exhaust cleaning system (EGCS) which reduces SOx exhaust emissions, Ballast water treatment system, energy-saving LED lighting throughout, and shore-to-ship power technology all of which are designed to reduce the ships impact on the environment.

MSC Grandiosa technical sheet infographic

Along with 500 travel agents, travel media and a host of other UK cruise bloggers I was invited by MSC Cruises for an overnight stay on board to take a look around and to sample what MSC Grandiosa has to offer.

view of the atrium onboard MSC Grandiosa

As usual MSC now how to put on a party an following on from the success of local musician Craig David at the MSC Bellissima event earlier in the year MSC invited another famous Southampton local to play none other than Radio One DJ Scott Mills who went to Crestwood School in Eastleigh rocked the galleria grandiosa with an hour long set of music.

LED Ceiling onboard MSC Grandiosa

MSC Grandiosa was originally due to sail for Barcelona the following day however due the forecast of severe storms in the Bay of Biscay her stay has been extended, and she sailed for Barcelona  0700hrs this morning.

MSC trade media all stars plaque

I will be posting a full ship review, and video coming soon.

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

Sky Princess completes sea trials

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

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Image: Princess Cruises

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

 

MSC Cruises reveals the most Magnificent EX-UK season ever

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

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

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

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

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Image: MSC Cruises

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

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

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Image: MSC Cruises

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

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

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Image: MSC Cruises

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

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Additional section being fitted midships on MSC Lirica 

 

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

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Example of how the SCR system works 

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

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

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© Andrew McAlpine 

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

 

Itinerary highlights include:

May Bank Holiday Mini Cruise

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

 Baltic Capitals

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

 Norway Your Way

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

14 nights perfect for families

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

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Image: MSC Cruises 

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

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog

 

MSC GRANDIOSA COMPLETES SUCCESSFUL SEA TRIALS

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

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

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

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

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The Meraviglia-Plus class are 16m longer than Meraviglia class

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© Andrew McAlpine

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

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

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

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

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Image: MSC Cruises

MSC Grandiosa Factfile

IMO No.: 9803613

Shipyard:  Chantiers de l’Atlantique, Saint Nazaire

Length: 331 m

Width: 51 m

Draft: 8,75 m

Gross tonnage: 177,000

Passengers: 6,334

Staterooms & suits: 2,444

Decks: 18

Crew: 1,700

Cruising speed: 21.8 knots

 

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

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

Piano Land sets sail from Southampton

Yesterday 16th August saw one of the UK’s favorite cruise ships depart from Southampton to start a new life in China. The former P&O Cruises favorite Oriana sailed under her new name Piano Land, which is the English translation of Gulangyu Island, situated in Xiamen, China and her new home port.

Sold in June 2018 to the new Chinese (state-owned) cruise company Well Star Travel Cruise, a joint venture between China Travel Services International (CTS) and COSCO Shipping Group. The new cruise line plans short-break roundtrips from Xiamen in China to ports in Japan and Southeast Asia including Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Indonesia with operations starting in mid-October 2019.

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Piano Land sails from Southampton © Andrew McAlpine

On 9th August she arrived in Southampton at the end of her final cruise for P&O Cruises,  and once the last passengers disembarked work started to change her identity and prepare for her voyage to China. Together with work to de-store her exterior work included removing Oriana’s name plate’s from below the funnel, painting over the union flag on the bow and the P&O Cruises logo on the stern. Her former name was painted over and replaced with Piano Land just a day before sailing.

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Note the new name welded on the stern © Andrew McAlpine

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The former Oriana minus the P&O hull livery © Andrew McAlpine

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Aurora seen berthed behind Piano Land © Andrew McAlpine

On the day of her departure the former fleet mate Ventura and near sister Aurora were both in port and as she sailed gave farewell blasts from their horns.

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© Andrew McAlpine

On the same day as her departure two former fleet mates, Ventura and near sister Aurora were both in port. As she sailed both exchanged farewell blasts from their horns.

Enjoy these images of Piano Land sailing from what was her home port for 25 years.

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© Andrew McAlpine

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© Andrew McAlpine

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© Andrew McAlpine

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© Andrew McAlpine

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© Andrew McAlpine

Some images of the icon that was Oriana 

 

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Photographed from the tender in Guernsey 20th July 2019 © Andrew McAlpine

It wasn’t often Oriana was in port overnight but ahead of my three day cruise to Guernsey on hear she was in port overnight so I took the opportunity to get some night photos.

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© Andrew McAlpine

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© Andrew McAlpine

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© Andrew McAlpine

Farewell Oriana 

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© Andrew McAlpine

Following her departure it was confirmed that Astro Ocean had officially taken over operations. She is now heading to Piraeus where she will make a technical stop and will receive a new livery on the bow and new logo. She is due to arrive in Hong Kong at the end of September and begin a series of short cruises from nearby Shenzhen from October and November before moving to her winter home port of Xiamen.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

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).

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Celebrity Edge makes her Southampton debut

Anyone that knows me well is fully aware that I am an avid shipspotter and photographer always with camera in hand and living in Southampton gives me some great opportunities to see the ships up close. However this love does come with a down side as it often means a early start in order to watch them arrive and the 05:30 arrival of Celebrity Edge meant another one of those! 

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Celebrity Edge arriving with fire tug escort

I was especially keen to get quayside early as I was photographing her arrival for Southampton port operator ABP and they wanted arrival photos to share in their press release and on social media channels early that morning.

Welcome Celebrity Edge

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In what is one of the most anticipated cruise calls of the year Celebrity Cruises newest and most technologically advanced ship made her Southampton debut early on 13th May. The visit follows a transatlantic crossing as the ship heads for the summer season in the mediterranean.

Delivered in October 2018 Celebrity Edge was constructed by STX France in Saint Nazaire which is the same shipyard as MSC Bellissima which was named in the port in March this year.

During her first visit nearly 2,000 VIP’s and specially invited guests boarded the ship ahead of a two day taster cruise which will allow the guests to get an exclusive first glimpse of the new ship, including the rooftop garden, plunge pools and Eden a stunning three-deck dining and entertaining space.

Other unique features are the Magic Carpet, a striking orange platform cantilevered from the side of the ship acts as a tender platform when in smaller ports and an outside dining venue 13 stories above the water. Celebrity Edge also has 1,500 suites designed by renowned British interior designer Kelly Hoppen MBE.

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The innovative Magic Carpet

Commenting on the maiden call to Southampton, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises,  Lisa Lutoff Perlo, said “Edge is redefining the cruise experience and today she makes her exciting debut in the UK, a really significant market for us‘ We can’t wait to see everyone’s reaction when she arrives in Southampton. Edge is changing how people view a cruise vacation, especially for those who are new to cruise/first-timers,’ she added.

Jo Rzymowska, vice president and managing director, Celebrity Cruises UK, Ireland and Asia, commented: ‘This is a ship that defies expectations, elevating cruise luxury to a whole new level. There are four more of these Edge-class ships on order and the next, Celebrity Apex, will be based in the UK when it launches in Southampton next year. This visit is the perfect preview of what’s in store.’

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Following the two night cruise Celebrity Edge arrived back in Southampton early this morning and will depart later today on a 10 night Iberian cruise.

While in Southampton today Celebrity Edge together with MSC Preziosa are the backdrop to the first day of the Cruise Lines Association (CLIA) 2019 conference with this year’s theme being the Next Generation.

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I am excited to be attending the three day conference and visiting Celebrity Edge today, so be sure to follow me on twitter & instagram for live updates when possible.

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Celebrity Edge’s unique profile overlooking City Cruise Terminal

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.