7 AUGUST 2017


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Article from BTNews 7 AUGUST 2017


This month’s Cruise Review BTN goes ultra-luxury, but before that can we ask London-based readers to put in their diaries two events for early next year.

The London Cruise Show takes place over the weekend of 17-18 February 2018 once again at Olympia.  If you have not been cruising before, the free seminars are a fine opportunity to hear from experts what it is all about, and those who are regulars the outing is a chance to pick up all the brochures, or even make a booking at a ‘show special’ price.  Discount tickets are available and on the Sunday free parking is available close by.   www.cruiseshow.co.uk

Just down the road, on the other side of Kensington, the Victoria and Albert Museum is hosting what it calls Ocean Liners – Speed & Style and asks you to explore the romantic and remarkable age of ocean travel and discover how the liners of the age helped shape the modern world.  Opening 3 February, and beginning with Brunel’s steamship, the Great Eastern of 1859, the exhibition will trace the design stories behind some of the world’s most luxurious liners, from the Beaux-Arts interiors of Kronprinz Wilhelm, Titanic and its sister ship, Olympic, to the floating Art Deco palaces of Queen Mary and Normandie, and the streamlined Modernism of SS United States and QE2.

Exhibition curator Ghislaine Wood said: “The great age of ocean liners has long passed but no form of transport has been so romantic or so remarkable. Three years in the making, this exhibition will show how liners have shaped the modern world in many ways.”

Ocean Liners – Speed & Style will showcase over 250 objects, including paintings, sculpture, and ship models, alongside objects from shipyards, wall panels, furniture, fashion, textiles, photographs, posters and film.  It will display objects never-before-seen in Europe, and reunite items not gathered together since onboard these spectacular vessels, which revolutionised ocean travel from the mid-19th century to the late 20th century.

Ocean Liners - Speed & Style will highlight the political shifts and the international rivalry that developed over 100 years, as liners became floating showcases of national ingenuity. The exhibition considers the sociology of ships and shifting class structures onboard, as well as the democratisation of travel and development of leisure activities in the 20th century.

It will also investigate the shrewd promotional strategies used by shipping companies to reposition the onboard experience, as emigration gave way to aspirational travel.

The ocean liner has been appropriated into pop-culture, literature and films, including Ronald Neame’s The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and James Cameron’s Titanic (1997), which remains one of the most successful films ever made. This, and the phenomenon of the modern cruise liner will also be explored, demonstrating how nostalgia for the great ‘floating palaces’ of the past can still be felt today.

The exhibition is being sponsored by Viking Cruises.

www.vikingrivercruises.com   www.vam.ac.uk


This month we take a quick look at three ultra-luxury products, one already at sea, one very much getting ready to being launched, and a third still at the design stage, but not that far away.

Silver Explorer

Silversea’s luxury expedition ship Silver Explorer is not a new ship and has sailed under a variety of names.  It has been with its current operator some ten years and has a purpose-built hardened hull necessary for voyages to the Arctic and Antarctic.  It is the largest of Silversea's three strong ‘expedition’ fleet at 6,072 tons and 288 passengers.  When it first joined Silversea it enjoyed an extensive refit, and in 2017 it has emerged from a significant remodelling as part of a $170m fleet-wide refurbishment programme. 

The ship's overall colour scheme is now much in line with the larger ships including Silver Muse, new in May, blue and beige tones predominating. 

The Observation Lounge, Panorama Lounge and Connoisseur's Corner have been updated whist the restaurant was the subject of a major makeover.  The theatre's bar has been completely redesigned.  Where the library was is a new boutique with the books and reference material moved to the Observation Lounge.  The spa and fitness centre is now double in size taking over the area occupied by the original boutique.

For clients returning to Explorer the most obvious changes are to the suites: These have been completely renovated with new carpets, wall treatments, curtains, and furniture, including mattresses, headboards, wardrobes, bedside tables, vanity desks, sofa beds, armchairs, flatscreen TVs and lighting-fixtures.  In all but the largest suites the bathrooms now have new flooring, granite appointments and rainforest showers (replacing tub-and-shower combinations).  And the eight Expedition Suites on Decks 3 and 4 have been converted into 16 Vista and View Suites, with most featuring a connecting door for the convenience of families and friends travelling together.

The remodelled Silver Explorer has a programme that includes some of the world's most remote destinations – from the Arctic, Antarctica and Africa to the Americas, French Polynesia and the Russian Far East.  There is an onboard programme of destination lectures, photo presentations and daily recaps.  Exploratory Zodiac excursions and interactive walks ashore, led by experts in their field – marine biologists, ornithologists, geologists, botanists, historians, and anthropologists, are complimentary.   www.silversea.com

Scenic Eclipse

Now well on its way at the Uljanik Shipyard JSC in Pula, Croatia is Scenic Eclipse, from the Australian-owned company known for its up-market river cruises and quality worldwide land tour operations

To be delivered in August 2018, the 228-passenger 6-star ultra-luxury mega yacht is designed especially for polar cruising conditions. 

Scenic Eclipse features 114 all-verandah suites, from 32sq m Suites to the truly luxurious 247sq m two-bedroom Penthouse Suite.  With intimate guest numbers comes a wealth of public spaces, including a choice of ten onboard dining options, a number of spacious bars and lounges, a state-of-the-art theatre and a 550sq m spa retreat. With an almost 1:1 guest-to-staff ratio, Scenic Eclipse claims to be the epitome of 6-star luxury.

Unique at the present time for a cruise ship, Scenic Eclipse has its own helicopter and submarine and also an indoor/outdoor swimming pool.

With the inaugural Mediterranean cruises already sold out the first opportunity for a booking is 22 September 2018 when Eclipse crosses the Atlantic from Barcelona to Miami via Gibraltar and the Bahamas before embarking on a Caribbean programme including Cuba, through the Panana Canal and down to Ushuai (Chile) and a whole series of Antarctic voyages.  She returns to Europe for a whole series of Mediterranean spring cruises in 2019 and will venture to Norway and the Arctic during the period of the midnight sun.  www.scenic.co.uk

Ritz-Carlton takes to the sea

Setting sail in 2019 is the first ever Ritz Carlton cruise ship, as yet unnamed.  This custom-built luxury yacht is designed to bring the Ritz-Carlton service and style to ionic destinations many of which are too small for traditional cruise liners to visit.

The first of three lavish cruising yachts in this series is scheduled to take to sea in the fourth quarter of 2019, and distinguishes Marriott International as the only provider of luxury accommodations both on land and at sea.
“The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will have a distinctive personality and the vessels are sure to be true stand outs in some of the most glamorous ports around the world,” said Herve Humler, president and chief operating officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co LLC.  “This unique combination of yachting and cruising will usher in a new way of luxury travel for guests seeking to discover the world in a relaxed, casually elegant and comfortable atmosphere with the highest level of personalized service.”
The specially designed small capacity vessel will measure 190m, accommodate up to 298 passengers, and feature 149 balcony suites.  The yacht will also feature two 138sq m duplex penthouse apartments with modern craftsmanship and interior finishes jointly designed by The Ritz-Carlton and leading cruise ship design firm, Tillberg Design of Sweden.  The onboard experience is intended to reflect the comfort and high level of individual service for which the Ritz-Carlton brand is recognized.  It is a first in the cruise industry.
Throughout the journey, guests will indulge in a cruising style that is unparalleled in the ultra-luxury cruise and private yachting sectors. The Ritz-Carlton yachts will feature a restaurant by Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the three Michelin-starred restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg; a signature Ritz-Carlton Spa; and a Panorama Lounge and wine bar, offering a wide variety of onboard entertainment.  Additionally, the yacht will offer one-of-a-kind curated destination journeys through collaborations with local chefs, musicians and artists, allowing guests to experience the locations in unique and imitable way, both onboard and ashore.

Reservations will open in May 2018. The ships of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection are also available for private charter. www.ritzcarlton.com/en/yachts

See also Crystal Skye bows in, in this issue.  It follows much the theme above.

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