GERI HORNER TEST DRIVES ROCKSTAR SUITES ABOARD VIRGIN VOYAGES’ SCARLET LADY

·         Exclusive partnership with Virgin Voyages sees Geri Horner give RockStar seal of approval on the ship’s Mega RockStar Suites

·         The brand expands offerings for Mega RockStar Suite Sailors

·         Lavish Mega RockStar Suites package will now include a dedicated hair and makeup crew, unlimited complimentary alcoholic and specialty beverages*, personalised in-room bar* and more

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Geri Horner Test Drives RockStar Suites Image: Virgin voyages

Virgin Voyages is upping the game for its top suites aboard the highly anticipated Scarlet Lady, with new offerings to ensure that Mega RockStars won’t have to worry about a thing during their voyage.

In celebration of the expanded offerings, the brand has today released exclusive video content of the suites, which features Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson, and legendary British pop star, Geri Horner, of the hugely successful girl group, the Spice Girls.

 

The video documents Horner test driving the Virgin Voyages ‘Gorgeous Suite,’ one of the ship’s most glamorous cabins, as a favour to her longtime friend, Branson. Following Horner’s journey through the suite, the footage chronicles her full RockStar experience, as she’s seen spinning records, reading Branson’s book, rocking out with a guitar, indulging in champagne and partying the night away in true Rebellious Luxe fashion.

image003.jpgExpanded Mega RockStar Offering

With only 78 RockStar Suites designed by Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio  aboard the Scarlet Lady, among them are 15 Mega RockStar Suites, aptly named the Massive Suites, Fab Suites, Posh Suites and Gorgeous Suites. Mega RockStar Suites offer the ultimate VIP experience for anyone looking to live their best life at sea.

As announced today, to ensure that Mega RockStars always look red-carpet-ready, Virgin Voyages will now have a dedicated hair and makeup crew available for them upon request.

Mega RockStar Suite Sailors will now be able to indulge in beverages to their heart’s content thanks to access to unlimited complimentary alcoholic and specialty beverages* in all bars and eateries onboard, plus a free personalised bottomless in-room bar*. 

Should they seek time to unwind, Mega RockStar Suite Sailors can head to Redemption Spa’s thermal suite, the ship’s mermaid and merman hideaway complete with a hydrotherapy pool, mud room, salt room, cold plunge pools, quart` beds– where they will now receive complimentary access throughout their voyages.

What’s more, Mega RockStar Suite Sailors will receive complimentary laundry service, plus the option to curate bespoke activities in any port-of-call, tailored to fit individual needs and requirements. Be it foodie experiences or private tours of local landmarks, no ask is too big for the RockStar Agents. RockStar Agents will tend to their rockstar rider list, digging up whatever their heart may desire to make their voyage perfect– all red gummy bears, an electric guitar and beyond.

The Mega RockStars Suites are primely located on deck 15 of the ship and feature a Peek-A-View outdoor shower. Designed by Tom Dixon’s leading design research studio and inspired by mega yachts and rock and roll style icons like Grace Jones, the Mega RockStar and RockStar Suites offer an unrivalled on board experience.

How All RockStars Will Sail

While all Sailors enjoy unlimited WiFi on board, as part of Virgin Voyages’ new expanded offerings all RockStar Suite Sailors will now enjoy upgraded premium WiFi with streaming.

The new offerings will complement the robust existing benefits of all RockStar Suite Sailors, which include:

  • RockStar Agent support from time from time of booking, to sail away and throughout the voyage
  • Backstage access at every corner, with early access to onboard entertainment, restaurants, Shore Things and more
  • Luxe private transfers to and from the ship in Miami
  • An exclusive express pathway to the ship during embarkation
  • Access to Richard’s Rooftop – RockStar Suite Sailor’s very own VIP private club, a secluded place for them to bask under the sun or have a drink under the stars
  • Access to an exclusive VIP area at The Beach Club at Bimini
  • A fully stocked in-room bar with the first round on the house
  • Wardrobe team to help unpack and repack
  • Complimentary pressing service
  • Nightly express swimsuit drying service
  • Premium linens and a plush European king bed
  • Upgraded bath amenities for pampering

For more information on the Mega RockStar and RockStar Suite offerings, future Sailors and travel partners are invited to check out Virgin Voyages by visitingwww.virginvoyages.com.

 

Aye Aye Captain Virgin Voyages announces female captain for Scarlet Lady

CANADIAN CAPTAIN WENDY WILLIAMS TO LEAD FIRST VIRGIN VOYAGES SHIP

●        Sir Richard Branson’s new cruise line appoints first Canadian woman to captain a ship for a major cruise brand

●        Company replaces Cuba sailings with new Riviera Maya voyages and new four-night Fire and Sunset Soirées voyages to Key West with enhanced Beach Club programming in Bimini

●        New seven-night holiday sailings featuring Puerto Rico now available for booking

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Richard Branson with Captain Wendy Williams Image: Virgin Voyages 

TORONTO- June 11, 2019 – Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin announced the appointment of Captain Wendy Williams as Master of Scarlet Lady. When Captain Williams takes the helm of Scarlet Lady in spring 2020, she will become the first Canadian woman to be captain of a ship for a major cruise brand. The company also announced a brand-new lineup of itineraries for their premier 2020 season.

“Captain Wendy’s extensive maritime background makes her an excellent choice to lead the Scarlet Lady, but it is her spirit and drive to approach life at sea differently that make her the perfect fit to join the Virgin Voyages family,” said Tom McAlpin, president and chief executive officer for Virgin Voyages.

Originally from the coastal city of Sept-Îles, Quebec on the Northeastern coast of Canada, Captain Williams now resides on her hobby farm on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Captain Williams has more than 28 years of experience working on ships at sea. Her extensive background includes more than a decade as a deckhand in commercial fishing off the western coast of Canada as well as working as a ferryboat captain. Although she has spent more than 15 years working on the bridge of mega cruise ships, her role with Virgin Voyages will be her first promotion to Master of a cruise ship.

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“I have salt water in my veins and nothing brings me more joy than being at sea,” said Captain Wendy Williams. “It’s a dream come true to be working with Virgin Voyages, a company that is focused on creating an incredible experience not only for our Sailors but for our Crew as well; while also taking action to minimize our footprint on our oceans.”

CaptainWendy_Office_Edit8.jpgJust last year, Virgin Voyages announced its Scarlet Squad program, an initiative dedicated to bridging the gender gap in leadership roles across the maritime industry, where women represent less than three percent of the workforce. The program aims to recruit, support and mentor female shipboard talent, and to grow opportunities for leadership roles in marine, technical and hotel management positions on board.

While Virgin Voyages is still in the early stages of the crew for Scarlet Lady, the company has already recruited Captain Williams as well as nearly a dozen other female officers, including Jill Anderson as hotel director, Christin Wenge as safety officer, Lindsay Kerber as environmental officer, among other incredibly talented female engineers as well as second and third officers.

Virgin Voyages’ intention is to create an onboard environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to reach their full potential.

New Voyage Offerings

In response to the U.S. government’s new restrictions on travel to Cuba from the United States, Virgin Voyages has also developed an exciting lineup of new itineraries featuring destinations that its Sailors expressed interest in exploring while on a voyage aboard Scarlet Lady.

960ab1d1-2dc2-49f1-92be-684025a48317.jpgContinuing the company’s mission to provide its Sailors with epic day and nighttime experiences, the all new itineraries will feature multiple late-night sail aways, including a midnight departure on all new sailings.

Virgin Voyages will now offer five-night Riviera Maya sailings to Cozumel/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Cozumel and Playa del Carmen offer opportunities for Sailors to experience some of the world’s best diving, as the area is home to 26 coral species. Sailors will also have the opportunity to explore ecological and archeological treasures, including Mayan ruins, or even opt to explore neighboring Tulum, the elevated Bohemian sanctuary with picturesque beaches and diverse nightlife.

For those who just want a quick getaway, Virgin Voyages’ four-night sailings will now become Fire and Sunset Soirées including a sunset departure from Key West and a midnight departure from Bimini. Sailors will experience the cultural and boating paradise of Key West, paired with a day of rejuvenation in Bimini, Bahamas that’s topped off by an exclusive late-night beach bonfire soiree. This celebration under the stars is exclusive to these sailings, and the artistic fire installations draw inspiration from the fireball sculptures on Branson’s Necker Island and the alluring communal nature of a traditional beachside bonfire.

dd2772f2-09f1-4f30-af23-871512eda256.jpgIn response to Sailor demand for longer voyages aboard Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages has developed special seven-night sailings for the 2020 festive holiday season. Those looking to get a jump start on their holiday planning can opt for the all-new Holidaze and Nights and New Year’s Ahoy voyages, which fall over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays respectively, and feature stops in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and late-night sail aways in both Bimini, Bahamas and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

All voyages will feature a stop in Bimini, Bahamas, home to The Beach Club, a private club for Virgin Voyages Sailors while Scarlet Lady is on the island.

For more information on Scarlet Lady, future Sailors and First Mates (travel partners) are invited to check out Virgin Voyages by visiting www.virginvoyages.com

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog

Crystal Cruises Eliminates Plastic Straws Across Its Entire Fleet

 

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Crystal Symphony & Crystal Serenity Image: Crystal Cruises

Miami, FL, June 07, 2019 Luxury cruise brand Crystal Cruises have announced as of today, June 8, 2019, all plastic straws will be eliminated across the entire Crystal fleet. The company announced the initiative as the latest part of its Crystal Cares program, which comprises a broad spectrum of environmental efforts and sustainable practices. Paper straws will be available throughout the dining venues aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity as well as aboard the company’s yacht, Crystal Esprit, and the Crystal River Cruises fleet. New ships will never carry plastic straws. The move coincides with the annual observance of World Oceans Day, also on June 8, designed to increase awareness of the need to preserve and protect the oceans.

“Crystal has always recognized that the world we travel is precious and deserving of our utmost care, and that all measures contributing to the preservation of our marine environments can make a significant impact,” said Crystal’s president and CEO, Tom Wolber. “This initiative, as well as the others under our Crystal Cares program, ensure that we are continuing our focus of caring for our world in meaningful ways.”

The company also recently announced a partnership with ORCA – a leading conservation organisation dedicated to the protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises – which will bring Cruise Conservationists aboard select Alaska voyages for training, research and data collection as part of its OceanWatch program.

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Under its comprehensive Crystal Cares program, Crystal applies stringent “green” standards across its ships including energy efficiency and water conservation protocols and dedicated recycling programs. Additionally, the company has used a state-of-the-art water filtration system for six years in all its dining venues, producing still and sparkling drinking water reducing the use of plastic bottles. Crystal also prioritises partnerships with organisations and vendors around the world who adhere to responsible environmental and sustainability practices.

The company is also committed to extending its extraordinary service to the communities it explores and the planet. The line invites guests and crew to participate in complimentary excursions ashore that assist organisations in the communities its voyages call on in its “You Care, We Care” Crystal Volunteerism Adventures.

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Additional Information:

What is not entirely clear from the press release is whether the ban includes all single use plastic items or just plastic straws. I hope to clarify this and will update in due course.

About Crystal

Only the world-renowned Crystal Experience offers an unwavering, unparalleled standard of excellence and luxury across fourdistinct cruising options: Crystal Cruises, the World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line; Crystal River Cruises, the World’s Most Luxurious River Cruise Line; Crystal Yacht Cruises, offering boutique luxury and bold adventure in the world’s most elite harbours; and Crystal Expedition Cruises, taking Crystal’s acclaimed elegance to the farthest reaches of the world. Crystal has been recognized with top honours in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards for a record 25 years; voted “World’s Best” by the readers of Travel + Leisure for 20 years; and won the “Best Luxury Cruise Line” by Virtuoso for four years (2014, 2015, 2016 & 2018). Crystal is proud to be a platinum partner of the advisors of ASTA.

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel advisor, call 888.799.2437, or visit www.crystalcruises.com. Join the hundreds of thousands who subscribe to the Crystal Insider blog, follow Crystal Cruises’ Facebook page and @crystalcruises on Twitter and Instagram, and engage in the conversation with #crystalcruises and #WhereLuxuryisPersonal.

About ORCA

With our unique take on marine conservation, ORCA is a charity that’s entirely dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoises in the UK and European waters.

We work to identify and protect critical whale and dolphin habitats in our waters and beyond. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters we help to create safer places for whales and dolphins ultimately promoting the health of our seas.

By getting members of the public to join our team, we’re not just helping to save whales and dolphins – we’re also giving people from all walks of life an opportunity to be close to these amazing animals in the wild, while collecting vital information that helps us work towards solving the problems they face.

Our aim is to enable local communities to become stewards of local whales and dolphins and the marine environment in which they live.

You can find out more about the work of Orca here:

https://www.orcaweb.org.uk/

Costa Smeralda gets her hull livery

Costa

In the latest update from Costa Cruises, the line has revealed that its newest ship Costa Smeralda has received its tricolour hull livery.

Currently under construction at Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland and named after a stretch of land along the northeast coast of Sardinia, Costa Smeralda is the second ship in Carnival Corporation’s “Excellence Class” all of which are LNG powered. Measuring 337 meters in length, 42 meters wide and a gross tonnage of 183,900 she will have a service speed of 17 knots. She will be the largest ship built for Costa Cruises and will accommodate up to 6,554 passengers and 1,646 crew. Due to be delivered at the end of October the ship will visit Hamburg and Rotterdam before heading to Western Mediterranean for its inaugural season.

Costa’s new livery was first seen in April 2018 on Costa Mediterranea and is a stylized Italian flag is painted under the ship’s name, which appears larger and in a new font. The new livery is designed to pay tribute to Italy, the cruise line’s homeland.

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Costa Mediterranea seen Southampton May 2018 

COSTA SMERALDA

Owner: Costa Cruises

IMO: 9781889

Shipyard: Meyer Turku OY, Finland

Hull No.: NB1394

Registered: Italy

Steel Cutting: 13th September 2017

Keel Laid: 4th July 2018

Launch: October 2019

Length: 337m

Beam: 42m

Design Draught:

Service Speed: 17 knots

Max Capacity: 6554

Crew: 1646

Decks: 15

Cabin Decks: 10

Find out more about Costa Cruises here: https://www.costacruise.com/B2C/EU/Ships/Pages/costa-smeralda.aspx

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog

VIRGIN VOYAGES EXPANDS EPIC ENTERTAINMENT LINEUP

London – 21 May 2019,17:25 GMT– Today, Virgin Voyages announces a series of exciting updates for its irresistible 2020 sailings. 

Expanded Partnership with Mark Ronson

With a heritage deeply rooted in music, Virgin Voyages announced an expanded partnership with Academy, Grammy and Golden Globe-winning artist and producer Mark Ronson. Ronson will join the company’s Creative Collective, a group of world-class tastemakers, artists and designers who are collaborating with Virgin Voyages to bring epic Sailor experiences to sea. In his role as the company’s “Minister of Music,” Ronson will be creating a series of pre-voyage and onboard playlists for Sailors, as well as curating the vinyl record selection in the RockStar Suites and the ship’s vinyl and music shop – Voyage Vinyl. What’s more, Ronson will be working with Virgin Voyages’ music teams, defining the brand’s sound at sea as well as at The Beach Club in Bimini, Bahamas– a private and luxurious beach club that is exclusively for Virgin Voyages Sailors while Scarlet Lady is on island.

As a part of Virgin Voyages’ On Deck residency program, Ronson has committed to four performances at The Beach Club at Bimini in 2020. Ronson’s July 9 poolside performance can only be experienced by those who book the July 5, 2020Mayan Sol sailing featuring stops in Costa Maya, Mexico and Bimini, Bahamas. 

 

“I’m thrilled to be part of the Virgin Voyages’ Creative Collective, helping lead the charge in music. Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin brand were legendary game-changers in the music industry and it’s a thrill to join them as they bring that same spirit to sea travel,” Ronson said.

 

“We see music as an essential element to a holiday, not just for parties but also as the soundtrack to laughter, relaxation and much more,” said Tom McAlpin, president and CEO for Virgin Voyages. “It’s an honour to have an outstanding artist like Mark Ronson helping us develop our Sailor experience, alongside an exciting lineup of DJ’s joining our On Deck residency program.” 

Diplo Joins On Deck Residency Program

Continuing the expansion of its On Deck residency program, Virgin Voyages also announced that legendary DJ and record producer, Diplo, will perform at the Beach Club in 2020. 

 

Virgin Voyages will carefully curate the mood at The Beach Club so that Sailors have opportunities to experience moments of relaxation and serenity as well as high-energy excitement. Mornings at the private club will begin with yoga and meditation, with the energy gradually amplified as the day progresses, reaching a crescendo of action in the afternoon where DJ-led pool and floatilla parties will be the centre of the club. The day will cascade into night with a calming fire ritual where Sailors will enjoy acoustic tunes over an open bonfire.

Scarlet Night- A Party to Remember 

Scarlet Night is another occasion set to prove a highlight for Sailors, as Virgin Voyages reveals details of one its signature onboard parties, which will take Sailors on a journey around Scarlet Lady. Conceived, designed and produced by the  award-winning producer behind Sleep No More, Queen of the Night, and The Donkey Show, Randy Weiner, Scarlet Night is a glamorous occasion of awe and mystique that pushes the boundaries of entertainment. Groundbreaking music will set the mood, as Sailors dance the night away at this out of this world experience, complete with art installations and performances throughout the ship as the night progresses. There will also be an after party created by Brooklyn, New York’s House of Yes, recently named the number two Best Thing To Do in the World by Time Out, and known for their theatre-infused nightclub where a fabulous outfit  is a must and guests expect the unexpected, including circus spectacles, immersive cinema, cabaret performances  and beyond. 

Scarlet Night comes to London

Londoners will experience a taste of Scarlet Night on Tuesday 21 May, as the event comes from sea to land for one night only. The event will bring to life the energy of Scarlet Night with extraordinary music and performances along with a featured guest performance from Mark Ronson. The special event is set to be attended by VIPs, celebrities and more the likes of whom include Geri Horner and Holly Branson, among others. 

 

Ladyship Touring UK Waters

There’s good news for budding travel advisors, whom the company affectionately refers to as First Mates – the Scarlet Lady, glamorously designed cabins and boasting over 20+ eateries, will be stopping in Dover and Liverpool in late February opening its doors to First Mates, media and VIPs, hosting a number of exclusive events before making her way across the pond to her new home of Miami. The news was announced by Geri Horner at the Scarlet Night London press conference today. 

 

Future sailors and travel partners are invited to check out Virgin Voyages by visiting www.virginvoyages.com.

All images courtesy of Virgin Voyages

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.

 

 

 

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

Why I want to visit Alaska

In a follow up from my previous post about princess Cruises 50th Alaska season I thought I would would do something different ans share with you why visiting Alaska is definitely at the top of my bucket list of places to visit.

As a keen photographer, I know the scenery would just astound me and I would have to apologize to my wife for constantly being distracted by it! From the high peaked snow-capped mountains to glaciers, slowly edging their way towards the sea and the tree covered landscape and numerous picturesque islands what is there not to like; it is surely a photographers dream.

I would be utterly mesmerized by its scenery but Alaska is also renowned for its amazing nature, and it is one element of this that is the main draw for me personally.

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It is obvious to anyone that knows me or follows me on social media that in addition to my passion for photographing and writing about ships I have another one also linked to the ocean. It is no coincidence that my favorite livery on of any cruise ship currently afloat is that of Norwegian Bliss!

Norwegian Bliss whale artwork

If it is not immediately obviois my other passion is whales, in particular killer whales or orca’s. To call them whales is in fact incorrect, as they are actually the largest members of the dolphin family, which together with whales are all collectively called Cetaceans.

Top of my excursion list on a cruise around Alaska would be a whale watching tour, and there are numerous ones available. Due to its location, Alaska is considered one of the world’s whale watching meccas and many tours offer the near guaranteed chance to see whales. Humpback, grey and beluga whales and dolphins in addition to killer whales.

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Humpback Whale watching © Scott Methwin Juneau Tours

The best time to cruise to Alaska is between May and September as daytime temperatures are in the mid 60’s and rainfall is at its lowest, on average 3.52 per month.

During the summer months a number of whale and dolphin species can be found Alaska’s coastal waters these include grey, humpback, fin and beluga whales together with numerous species of dolphin.

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Adult orca and baby 

Unlike the migrating species of whales orca’s live all year round in the waters surrounding coastal Alaska outside Seward near Kodiak, in Prince William Sound, in Glacier Bay, Icy Straight and Alaska’s inside passage.

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Although all orca’s have the same beautiful black and white coloration, Alaska is home to no less than three different types with the most commonly seen type known as “residents”.These noisy and sometime gregarious pods are so called because they remain in the inland or nearby coastal waters all year round feeding on the abundant fish. There are two resident subgroups. Northern residents range from Vancouver Island north to SE Alaska while Southern residents occupy greater Puget Sound.

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The second type are the more elusive mammal hunters known as “transients” These secretive orca’s move north and south along the coast from Southeast Alaska and British Columbia as far south as Southern California, but they frequently make forays into the Salish Sea.

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The third group known as “offshore orca’s inhabit the ocean well beyond the coast. Far less is known about these and you are unlikely to see this type on any whale watching tours.

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© NOAA

I am truly in awe of these majestic animals, and seeing them swim in the wild would be my ultimate dream and a cruise adventure I would really enjoy sharing with you…

One day perhaps…

Have you cruised in Alaska? did you go whale watching I would love to hear about it?

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