Royal Caribbean redeploys Independence of the Seas in 2020 away from UK

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Sailing from Southampton May 2018 © Andrew McAlpine

Royal Caribbean have announced that the UK’s favorite ship Independence of the Seas will not be sailing from Southampton in 2020 and a deployment change will instead see her stay in Port Everglades, Florida.

With new itineraries to the Caribbean, Independence of the Seas will be making calls to the newly relaunched private island, Perfect Day at Coco Bay.

On Royal Caribbean’s UK website, the cruise line explained the change:

“Your sailing is being cancelled because we’re making changes to our 2020 season that require the Independence of the Seas to remain in the Caribbean, instead of sailing to Southampton. 

Our goal is to provide our guests with the best itineraries that take you to exclusive parts of the world and have decided to make these changes for the 2020 season to maximise our capacity in the Caribbean. We are terribly sorry. We know this news is disappointing. We do hope you find an alternate vacation option with us.”

The company also issued a statement on its twitter channel:

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Royal Caribbean UK also apologized for canceling sailings some guests have booked, “Our goal is provide our guests with the best itineraries that take you to exclusive parts of the world and have decided to make these changes for the 2020 season to maximize our capacity in the Caribbean. We are terribly sorry. We know this news is disappointing.”

Booked guests will receive a full refund and a future cruise credit, which is valued at 25% of their Independence of the Seas cruise fare, as a result of their cruises being cancelled and will be notified as soon as possible by the cruise line or their travel agents.

In 2020 both Explorer of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas will still be operating from Southampton.

Anthem of the Seas Maiden Call
Anthem of the Seas seen on her maiden call to Southampton April 2015 © Andrew McAlpine

For further information or help on the changes click on the following link

https://help.royalcaribbean.co.uk/hc/en-gb/sections/360004499552-Independence-of-the-Seas-2020-changes-to-sailings

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

 

 

 

 

Norwegian Star to sail from Southampton in 2020

 

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© Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that from May 2020 Norwegian Star will sail a range of 12 to 14-day cruise itineraries from Southampton. The itineraries will include cruises around the British Isles, to Iceland and Norway. With the ship sailing from the port during the summer season through until October.

A 14-day Scotland, England and Ireland heritage cruise will depart Southampton on 3rd May 2020 and includes ports of call such as Le Havre, Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Invergordon,  Newhaven, Kirkwall, Greenock, Belfast, Dun Laoghaire, Holyhead, Cobh and Portland.

A Majestic Fjords 14-day cruise will visit Iimuiden, Bergen, Alesund, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Akureyri, Reykjavik (overnight), Belfast and Dublin. The cruise departs Southampton on 28 June 2020.

Launched in 2001 the 91,740 gross tonne ship ship can accommodate 2,348-passengers and offers a wide array of dining and entertainment venues. In 2018 the ship underwent a three week dry docking period in Barcelona as part of The Norwegian Edge programme. and underwent extensive enhancements to her staterooms, public spaces, restaurants, bars and lounges, and also unveiled three new venues: Sky High Bar, Bliss Ultra Lounge and Spice H2O.

Replacing Bier Garten, the outdoor bar and lounge Sky High Bar showcases a new design complete with an updated bar and seating for close to 120 guests. Bliss Ultra Lounge replaces Spinnaker Lounge for late-night entertainment and now has a light, neutral colour palette and a fresh carpet, custom loungers, seating, an renovated bar and artwork.

For the first time, Norwegian Star offers an adults-only area, Spice H2O, which features a private pool, hot tubs, full bar and ocean views. During the day, which can be used for sunbathing, while at night, it becomes an open-air lounge with live entertainment, DJs and themed nights.

All 1,174 staterooms and suites were outfitted with USB ports, enhanced with over 1,500 works of art and revitalised with new carpet, headboards and select furniture. The three-bedroom garden villas, which feature private deck areas and can accommodate up to seven people, were also remodelled.

Ship Data

Name: Launched as Superstar Libra (2000), renamed Norwegian Star (2001)

Shipyard: Meyer Werft, Papenburg, Germany

Yard No.: 648

Flag: Bahamas

Class: Dawn Class

Cost: $400 million

Length; 294.13m

Decks: 15 (Passenger)

Passenger Capacity: 2,348

Crew: 1,031

Speed: 24 knots

Gross Tonnage: 91,740

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

 

THE COUNTDOWN IS ON: 182 DAYS LEFT UNTIL THE CHRISTENING OF MSC GRANDIOSA IN HAMBURG

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First of the enriched Meraviglia-Plus ships to come into service

Inaugural season to be spent in the stunning Western Mediterranean

New flagship to feature two brand new Cirque du Soleil at Sea Shows

With exactly six months before the christening of MSC Grandiosa on 9th November in the Port of Hamburg, MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe, South America, South Africa and the Gulf, today revealed they would be welcoming back international TV star Michelle Hunziker to host the glamorous official naming ceremony of the Company’s newest and largest ship to date. Hunziker, internationally known as a TV presenter, actress and singer, also hosted the christening of MSC Seaview in Genoa in 2018. Growing up in Italy and of Swiss descent, Hunziker speaks five languages and embodies the international spirit and Mediterranean soul of MSC Cruises.

MSC Grandiosa will become the largest ship in the MSC Cruises fleet and the first of the Meraviglia-Plus class of ships. Enriched with more cabins, more public space and innovative new features, the highlights include:

·         The iconic Mediterranean Promenade will be the heart of the ship. Under the 98.5-metre-long LED sky, guests can enjoy a varied entertainment programme as well as being able to indulge in shopping and world class food and drink. 

·         MSC Grandiosa takes the onboard shopping experience to a new level with the indoor promenade offering mall-style boutiques, where guests will find their favourite brands of clothing, jewellery, technology and more, all at unbeatable prices. 

·         The speciality restaurants located in the promenade include the new restaurant concept L’Atelier Bistrot, a French-inspired bar with lounge area, which also offers a stage and dance floor as well as a seated terrace.

·         The entertainment highlight will be two brand new shows from Cirque du Soleil at Sea. The shows are created by world-leader in live entertainment, Cirque du Soleil as part of a unique long-term partnership with MSC Cruises. 

·         MSC Grandiosa will feature the world’s first virtual personal cruise assistant, ZOE. This artificial intelligence guest service will answer guest questions in the comfort of their cabin alongside a ground-breaking feature of connected cruise experience, MSC for Me.

·         Designed as a ship for all seasonsMSC Grandiosa will spend winter in the MediteranneanWith less visitors and the perfect winter sun weather, this is the ideal time of year to discover some of the top destinations throughout Italy, France and Spain without the crowds.

Michelle Hunziker commented, “I am delighted to be part of the christening ceremony of MSC Grandiosa in Hamburg. Since the christening of MSC Seaview last year, I feel a part of the MSC family. I am particularly pleased that the christening is taking place in Germany. I have met great people here and celebrated many professional successes. For me, Germany means a piece of home and Hamburg has such a wonderful maritime heritage, it will be an honour to become a part of it. I am also looking forward to discovering everything that this new and stunning ship has to offer.”

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A section of MSC Grandiosa’s hull seen at the shipyard © Andrew McAlpine

MSC Grandiosa is the third ship of the innovative Meraviglia generation and the first of the Meraviglia-Plus class. She will become the fifth new next-generation ship MSC Cruises has launched in just two and a half years as part of MSC Cruises’ investment plan of €13.6 billion spanning more than 10 years.  MSC Grandiosa will be followed by a further 12 ships through to 2027 with her sister ship, MSC Virtuosa launching next October 2020.

Meraviglia generation ships have been designed to meet every need of today’s cruise guest. The extraordinary design, wide array of facilities and entertainment make these ships ideal for the whole family. Designed for all seasons, they are able to call at most of the world’s international cruise ports.

Last year I was fortunate to get a glimpse of MSC Grandiosa under construction at in Saint Nazaire when I visited the shipyard to see MSC Bellissima float out.

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MSC Grandiosa seen under construction at Chantiers de l’atlantique in St.Nazaire

 

MSC Cruises have also announced that following her christening in Hamburg MSC Grandiosa will visit Southampton on 13th November, afterwhich she will sail on her maiden cruise to the Mediterranean with calls at Lisbon, Barcelona, Marseille and finally Genoa.

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

To find out more booking information www.msccruises.co.uk

Princess Cruises announces the arrival of UK-based ship

Crown Princess at Sea

Crown Princess has arrived in Southampton to begin its spring and summer season in the UK and will be sailing around the British Isles on a series of 12-night voyages.

The 3,080-guest 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.

Crown Princess will feature the multi award-winning Ocean Medallion technology from July 24, the first UK-based ship to do so.

The Medallion 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. The device is the same size as a 10p piece and replaces more traditional cruise cards.

The Medallion’s instant technology makes it quicker and easier to get on and off the ship. Once onboard it opens guests’ doors when they approach, which is ideal for anyone who already has their hands full or is with small children.

The Medallion’s ‘compass’ feature means guests can find and stay connected with friends and family onboard, as well as navigate their way around the ship. It also allows guests to order drinks and snacks, plus holiday essentials such as suntan lotion and swimming goggles, to most parts of the ship.

Three ships to date have been Medallion-activated: Caribbean Princess, Regal Princess and Royal Princess.

In September, Crown Princess will make her way to Fort Lauderdale 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.

Princess Cruises is offering a 12-night British Isles cruise, departing August 17, 2019 on Crown Princess. Sailing roundtrip from Southampton, ports of call include Guernsey (St. Peter Port), Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Invergordon, Edinburgh (South Queensferry) and Paris/Normandy (Le Havre). Prices from £1,099 per person.

Princess Cruises is offering a 17-night Mediterranean and Greek Isles Cruise, departing November 6, 2020 on Crown Princess. Sailing roundtrip from Southampton, ports of call include Seville (Cadiz), Valletta, Mykonos, Kusadasi (for Ephesus), Santorini and Cartagena. Prices from £1,799 per person.

UK’s first dedicated LNG cruise terminal opens in Southampton

 

The first phase of a multi-million-pound upgrade to the Ocean Cruise Terminal in the Port of Southampton has now been completed. The XL-ready programme will see the terminal transformed to become the UK’s first dedicated LNG cruise terminal.

Cruise Terminal upgrade at Ocean Terminal

The terminal re-opened on 22nd March with the arrival of P&O Cruises Azura. Her arrival marked the start of Southampton’s busy cruise season.

The newly refurbished terminal now boasts a specious lobby area, a new escalator and stairs to allow for the increased guest flow to the upper level. The mezzanine floor has been extended to provide additional seating ready to accommodate an increase in passenger capacity.

This first phase has also included quayside infrastructure upgrades with 18 new 150 tonne bollards replacing the old 50 tonne bollards together with a new stores receiving area.

Phase 2 will see the installation of two new air bridges together with a further 2,000 roof-mounted solar panels. The project is due for completion early in 2020, in readiness for the arrival of P&O Cruise’s new 5,200-Guest flagship Iona due in May.

This £12 million project is in partnership with P&O Cruises and began in October last year.

Alastair Welch, Director at the Port of Southampton, said: “Cruise is a growing industry and we continue to make these significant investments which are crucial to ensuring we are in a good position to welcome the larger ships and the increase in passenger numbers.”

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: Azura is be the first ship to berth at the newly renovated Ocean Cruise Terminal, which, when all the work is complete, will give our guests a much smoother, faster and more efficient boarding experience and will also prepare us for the arrival of our two LNG-powered ships.”

The Port of Southampton is Europe’s leading cruise turnaround port and currently welcomes over 2 million passengers each year. Each ship visit to the port generates around £2 million for the local economy.

Iona, which will homeport in Southampton, is the first of two new ships of the XL-class for P&O Cruises, with the next ship on order to be delivered in 2022. She is the first British cruise ship to be powered by LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas).

LNG is steadily becoming the fuel of choice for the cruise industry with a number of cruise lines including AIDA, Carnival, Costa, P&O, MSC, all choosing LNG power for future ships.

Carnival Corps current LNG order book:

Costa Cruises (Costa Smeralda); delivery October 2019.

Carnival Cruise Line (Mardi Gras); delivery 2020.

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

AIDA Cruises; delivery 2021.

Costa Cruises; delivery 2021.

Carnival Cruise Line; delivery 2022.