2 OCTOBER 2017

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Article from BTNews 2 OCTOBER 2017

OCTOBER CRUISE NEWS

THE NEW CUNARDER

The big news in cruising announced last week is the decision by Cunard (in effect Carnival Plc its owner) to build a new liner, a sister ship to Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth and the fourth member of the Cunard fleet.  In 2022 it will be the first time since 1998 that the luxury brand will have four ships in simultaneous service.

Also we detail Azamara adding a third R series ship and Silversea getting a stretch.

Carnival Corp is the parent company for nine cruise lines that operate around the world including Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises.  The company now has 18 ships on order across its brands.

Two intriguing questions arise.

What is it going to be named and how is Cunard able to accommodate 3,000 passengers on a 113, 000 tonne luxury vessel? 

Let us deal with the first question.   The new name is not obvious as the partners of past Monarch’s has been for the most part not been very inspiring although Queen Alexandra, the popular Danish spouse of Edward IV, would mean that all of the 20th century British Queens would have Cunard ships named after them.  BTN prefers Boadicea.

When it comes to more details we will have to wait until 2018 when Cunard says “all will be revealed”.  Is Cunard downgrading or has more space been found by adding an extra deck?  Carnival’s Ruby Princess also carries around the same number of guests but is considered one grade down from Cunard.  Information is sparse except that the new ship will again be assembled by Italy’s Fincantieri SPL, easily the world’s largest shipbuilder including 63 for Carnival since 1990.  It is rumoured that the ship will be a ‘new generation’ version of Holland America’s Koningsdam. www.cunard.com

Azamara

In another move Carnival is to dispose of P&O Cruises Adonia, once R8 of Renaissance Cruises, then the popular Minerva II, for a period Royal Princess, and finally with its current name.  The disposal of this smallest ship (30,277 tonnes 630 passengers) in the Carnival fleet in itself is not surprising, but the new owner is fierce rival RCCL where she will sail under the Azamara banner, an upmarket operation.

The sale will be completed in March 2018 and the last cruise of Adonia as a P&O Cruises ship will be D804 leaving Barbados on 23 February and ending in Barbados on 9 March 2018.  

With a new name, Azamara Pursuit will become a true sister ship to Azamara Journey (R6) and Azamara Quest (R7). 

According to Douglas Ward ‘Cruising & Cruise Ships’, the Azamara versions of what was once part of the Renaissance fleet are rated a huge 200 points above Adonia.  Expect solo a press release from Azamara once the ship actually changes ownership

“We are pleased to expand our portfolio by 50%, allowing us to visit even more regions of the world through the acquisition of this sister ship,” said Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “Our loyal guests and travel partners have asked for this expansion for a long time; we are very pleased to deliver this to them.”

The ship’s décor will be updated to match the brand’s upmarket position.  These updates will be similar to the renovations recently introduced on the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, bringing guests the experience which Azamara calls “a boutique hotel at sea”. www.azamaraclubcruises.co.uk

Silversea

Ultra-luxury travel innovator Silversea has unveiled plans for a new ship, the lengthening of Silver Spirit, and upgrade plans for Silver Wind and Silver Whisper.

Silver Moon will join the fleet in 2020. She will be the sister ship of Silver Muse, which BTN reported on extensively earlier this year.  (See BTN 1 May https://www.btnews.co.uk/article/11670

Starting in early March, Silver Spirit will be lengthened by inserting a prebuilt 49-foot-long midsection housing six Silver Suites, 26 Veranda Suites and two Panorama Suites. Technical upgrades will also be implemented.  The ship's extensive redesign takes its inspiration from the innovations offered with Silver Muse by  enhancements made to existing suites and throughout the public spaces and outdoor areas.  The turnkey transformation of Silver Spirit will take place early next year at the Palermo, Italy shipyard of Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups.

Silver Whisper and Silver Wind will be refurbished this December to keep them more consistent with the brand’s latest Silver Muse.

“Silver Muse has been a sophisticated inspirational milestone for our brand,” said Roberto Martinoli, Silversea’s CEO, in a press release. “We are confident that the comprehensive makeover we have planned for Silver Wind and Silver Whisper will enhance the onboard experience and be equally appreciated by our guests.”

Silver Whisper will first undergo technical improvements while its public spaces will also be redesigned as inspired by the Muse. Included will be new carpets and other updates in the La Terrazza restaurant as well as enhancements to the Observation and Panorama lounges.

Silver Wind will be comparably upgraded in line with the Muse. www.silversea.com

Please also see ON TOUR – Cruising down the Thames on the Waverley.


LATE YEAR CRUISE DEALS

Celebrity Cruises’ Constellation is in the Gulf region for a 10-night Arabian Coast Immersion luxury fly/cruise starting 27 November 2017 from Abu Dhabi (UAE) and calling at Muscat (Oman), Sir Bani Yas Island (UAE), Dubai (UAE) and returning to Abu Dhabi (UAE).  Both guests will receive a free classic drinks package worth $55 a day each – over $1,000 in extras per stateroom. Price includes flights from London Heathrow airport, transfers, meals and entertainment on-board the ship and all relevant cruise taxes/fees. Prices from £2,270 for the first guest in an Oceanview stateroom with a second guest paying just £1,310.  www.celebritycruises.co.uk

Crystal Serenity, 5-star luxury, is taking a 14-day ‘Caribbean Impressions’ cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Charleston departing 6 December.  Departing Fort Lauderdale, the 68,000 tonne, 1,000-passenger ship visits Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, Guadeloupe and San Juan, before finishing with an overnight in Charleston.  All-inclusive fly/cruise prices from £4,103 per person for return scheduled flights, overseas transfers and 14 days in a deluxe stateroom with picture window with all meals and soft drinks, most alcoholic beverages, port taxes and gratuities. www.crystalcruises.co.uk

Emerald Sun is taking an 8-day Danube Delights river cruise on 20 October from Nuremberg via Kelheim, Regensburg, Passau, Linz, Melk, Durnstein, Vienna. Bratislava and finally Budapest with return flights. Priced from £1,295 per person holidaymakers can choose either free unlimited on-board drinks or €250 per cabin to spend on-board on additional treats.  www.emerald.co.uk

Norwegian Jade (see review BTN 4 September) is available from Planet Cruise from Miami starting at £1,599pp out of Heathrow on 17 December, a Caribbean trip over Christmas.  The package includes return flights, private overseas transfers and a one night Miami stay in a 4-star hotel.  The cruise visits San Juan (Puerto Rico), St Thomas (US Virgin Islands), Roseau (Dominica), Bridgetown (Barbados), Castries (St Lucia) and Philipsburg (St Maarten). www.planetcruise.co.uk

Oceania Marina has a sailing 7 November 14-day Mediterranean and Holy Land cruise sailing from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Barcelona visiting Sorrento/Capri, Messina (Sicily), Jerusalem (Haifa overnight ), Limassol, Rhodes, Gythion, Valletta and Palma de Mallorca.  A veranda stateroom is priced from £3,198pp includes London flights, free internet and a choice of either $800 free shipboard credit (per stateroom), a free beverage package (per person) or eight free shore excursions (per stateroom).  www.oceaniacruises.com

MS Mayfair of Discover Egypt has a 7-night classic Nile cruise departing 27 November starting and finishing in Luxor with scheduled flights out of Heathrow priced at £899 fully inclusive in a shared cabin.  Ten guided excursions with an Egyptologist are included.  Each of the 74 deluxe cabins measure 23m sq with full length opening panoramic window and balcony rail with upper deck cabins offering ‘sit-on’ balconies also. For £99 per person, a drinks package also includes wine, locally produced beer and spirits, plus mineral water, soft drinks, juices and tea and coffee – making their Nile cruises even better value. Single occupancy supplement is £199. www.discoveregypt.co.uk

P&O Ventura has space on a 12-night cruise departing Southampton 27 November from £979 per person for an outside cabin.  The price includes kids' clubs, full board meals and entertainment on board.  Ports of call are Madeira, La Palma, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Lisbon.  P&O has a variety of other offers on dates up to mid-December including Atlantic crossings at very attractive prices. www.pocruises.com

Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas departs for a 10-night round trip from Southampton departing on 27 October.  Prices for an interior stateroom starts from £1,629 per person based on two people sharing.  Guests can upgrade to a Balcony for an additional £312.  The itinerary ports of call include Madeira, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Arrecife.  Navigator of the Seas can hold a total of 3,990 guests and has 1,213 international staff and crew onboard.  www.rccl.com

Voyages to Antiquity on 9 November has an 11-night voyage out of Malaga finishing at Tenerife with the BBC’s Michael Burke as a guest speaker.  Also joining the trip is volcanologist Dr Peter Cattermole and celebrated broadcaster Ernest Rea. The cruise includes eight tours in two countries with time to explore Seville’s city centre, Taroudant, an old trading centre in Morocco’s Sousse valley and a 17th century church in the Caldera de Taburiente national park. The 12-day cruise visits Seville, Morocco and Canary Islands costs from £2,095 per person and departs 9 November 2017. The cruise departs from Malaga and calls at Seville, Cadiz (both Spain), Casablanca, Marrakesh, Agadir (all Morocco), Lanzarote, La Plama and Tenerife (all Canary Islands, Spain). Price includes flights, transfers, all meals onboard and drinks with dinner, shore excursions, onboard guest speakers and onboard gratuities.  www.voyagestoantiquity.com

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