It's been a busy 24 hours as three popular cruise lines confirm a new build, addition and a ship leaving the fleet.
Over the last few years, we have had so much to be proud of at Cunard – from the magnificent celebrations for our 175th anniversary, that drew crowds of more than a million people in Liverpool, to the stunning £120m refurbishments of our flagship Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. As we mark 50 years since the naming of the much loved liner QE2, we wanted to share our most exciting news yet.
A new ship is to join Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth as the fourth member of the fleet. She will be the first new Cunard ship in 12 years, making it the first time since 1998 that we’ll have four ships in simultaneous service, an investment in ambitious plans for the future of Cunard globally. Sharing the iconic livery and red funnels, the new ship will accommodate up to 3,000 guests. Distinct Cunard signatures and brand new experiences will combine as part of this next generation of the Cunard fleet and we’re looking forward to sharing exciting details in the coming years.
We can now confirm that small ship Adonia will be leaving the fleet next year. The sale will be completed in March 2018 and Adonia's last cruise as a P&O Cruises ship will be D804 leaving Barbados on February 23 and ending in Barbados on March 9, 2018. Guests booked on any Adonia cruises after March 2018 will be contacted directly either by P&O Cruises or their travel agent in the next few days. We know this has been the subject of much speculation but as we are sure you can appreciate we were unable to confirm anything until an agreement was in place.
During her time with us Adonia has captured the hearts of many thousands of P&O Cruises guests. She has ventured into new ports of call around the globe and has negotiated Icelandic Fjords, European rivers and Caribbean coves. We will be making sure that these discovery itineraries are continued on other ships in the fleet. With almost six months until Adonia leaves the fleet, we will ensure that each of the cruises in her final season with us are extra special and celebratory.
Azamara Club Cruises
MIAMI, September 26, 2017 – Azamara Club Cruises®, the upmarket cruise line subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., announced today that it has entered into an agreement to purchase a sister ship to Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, with delivery taking place in March 2018.
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 new addition, the Azamara Pursuit, is comparable in size to the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. As such, it will also allow visits to unique ports that larger ships are unable to reach. Together, the three ships will support the brand’s commitment to enrich destination immersion around the world, by staying longer in port to allow guests to experience more.
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 of a boutique hotel at sea. Information about deployment and itineraries for Azamara Pursuit will be available in October.
Images & text from www.cunard.co.uk, www.pocruises.com, www.azamaraclubcruises.co.uk
MSC reveal digital technology, Celebrity launch Edge, Cunard return to Alaska, Symphony is announced, Norwegian Joy float out, Princess release guest speaker names & Boyzlife to perform on P&O Cruises...
MSC Unveils Digital Technology Debuting On Meraviglia
MSC Cruises has revealed more details on the new digital technology that will allow passengers to start their cruise before they have even boarded the ship. Passengers will be able to book restaurants, shore excursions and other services as well as select their onboard preferences before setting foot onboard their ship.
MSC for Me will consist of 130 different functions, including a smart watch, mobile app for passengers as well as crew, tablet and website as well as in-cabin technology through the TV.
The technology will provide passengers with the ability to find venues onboard the ship, access menus and the ship’s daily programme – and even find the nearest bathroom for when nature calls! In addition to this the next-generation smart watch will also allow passengers access to their cabins, make purchases and request support.
Celebrity Cruises Reveals Edge-Class Detail
As it goes on sale for the first time, Celebrity Cruises have announced the first details for their new class of ship, Celebrity Edge.
Celebrity Edge’s inaugural sailing will take place in December 2018, offering two itineraries from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The first will sail to the Eastern Caribbean taking in destinations such as San Juan, Puerto Rico and Philipsburg. Whilst the second is a Western Caribbean voyage stopping off at at destinations including Costa Maya, Cozumel and Grand Cayman.
One of the standout features of Celebrity Edge is the ‘Magic Carpet’ – which is a ship climbing platform which can travel 13 stories and re-position itself alongside decks, allowing for new or extended venues depending on position. During the day, the Magic Carpet will serve as an al fresco extension to a raw bar restaurant on Deck 5. The movable deck will rise to the pool deck ( deck 14) for happy hours and late-night parties. At dinner time, it will be used as an alternative restaurant on Deck 16 where the theme will change every night.
New suite categories have also been added, which have been designed in partnership with interior designer Kelly Hoppen. These include Iconic Suites located above the bridge of the ship. These will offer panoramic views of the ocean and a private veranda; and Edge Villas, which will feature plunge pools, ocean views and direct walk-out access to ‘The Retreat’.
Another innovation that Celebrity Edge will introduce is the Infinite Veranda, a cabin designed to seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor. The Infinite Veranda makes your balcony part of your room, thanks to bi-fold doors that can be opened completely, adding roughly 23% more space to the room.
Cunard Returns To Alaska For First Time In 20 Years
For the first time in more than 20 years, Cunard will sail to Alaska as part of its ‘Oceans of Discovery’ program in 2019.
Queen Victoria will operate the only full world cruise in 2019, which will leave Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 as well as Queen Elizabeth with greater flexibility to travel to a mixture of destinations the line has said.
Queen Elizabeth will undertake its first Alaskan cruise, crossing the North Pacific and Gulf of Alaska en route to Vancouver, this will be the first time that any of the line’s current fleet will have travelled to Alaska. She will run a total of 41 cruise combinations ranging from 2 to 38 nights overall.
Queen Victoria which is scheduled to undergo a refit in June will run a 107-night world voyage in 2019 on a western circumnavigation via the Panama Canal. Passengers will be able to travel on sections, which sees the ship end up sailing the Indian Ocean to South Africa before returning to Southampton.
Queen Mary 2’s 2019 deployment features UK departures visiting the Mediterranean, Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean to Far East and back, these journeys range from one to three weeks, but they can be combined to a full 94 day voyage.
Symphony Of The Seas Announced As Royal’s New Ship
It has been confirmed that Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, which is set to launch in April 2018 will be named Symphony of the Seas, and will be the largest cruise ship in the world.
At a massive 230,000 gross registered tons and measuring 362m long, the vessel will offer 28 more staterooms than her newest sister ship, Harmony of the Seas.
Symphony will also include many of the same features as Harmony, such as the seven-neighbourhood concept, the Bionic Bar, AquaTheatre and the Perfect Storm trio of waterslides. Symphony will spend her inaugural season exploring the Mediterranean calling into destinations such as Barcelona, Naples and Provence before heading to Miami. She will begin seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries on 17th November 2018 from the ‘Crown of Miami’ Terminal A.
Norwegian Joy Floats Out As First Chinese Ship For NCL
Norwegian Joy floated out from Meyer Werft’s shipyard located in Papenburg, Germany on the 4th March, becoming Norwegian Cruise Line’s first purpose-built ship for the Chinese market. The ship is the second ship in the cruise line’s Breakaway Plus Class, but will offer a significantly different experience from one you would expect to find onboard sister ships Norwegian Escape which sails out of Miami.
The 168.000-ton Norwegian Joy, which can carry 3,850 passengers, features the Haven, the line’s ship within a ship concept, a 180-degree view observation desk, open-air laser tag, a shopping district and colourful artwork by Chinese artist Tan Ping. The ship is scheduled to be delivered to Norwegian Cruise Line next month, and it will being sailing voyages from Shanghai and Tianjin (Beijing) beginning in summer 2017.
Princess Cruises unveils star-studded guest speaker line-up
Princess Cruises has revealed that names from across the world of royalty, entertainment, politics and sport will speak on Crown Princess, one of its Southampton-based ships for this spring and summer. Crown Princess will sail to the Mediterranean and northern Europe from April to September 2017 on seven and 14-night cruises.
The line-up is the first time Princess has introduced a speaker programme on one of its UK ships. It forms part of Princess’ Encounters with Discovery speaker series and comprises the following:
– Katie Nicholl (Royal correspondent and commentator), on a 14-night Med cruise, departs April 22
– Beverley Callard (actress, Liz McDonald in Coronation Street), on a 7-night cruise, departs May 6
– Harry Redknapp (former footballer and manager), on two 14-night Med cruises, April 22 and May 13
– Graham Gooch OBE (former England cricket captain), on a 7-night Scandinavia cruise, departs May 27
– Peter Shilton OBE (former England goalkeeper & football manager), on a 14-night North Cape and Norwegian Fjords cruise, departs June 17
– John Virgo (former snooker player, current snooker commentator), on a 7-night Fjords cruise, July 1
– Terry Butcher (former England captain and football manager), on a 14-night Baltic cruise, departs July 8
– Paul Burrell RVM (butler to Diana, Princess of Wales), on a 7-night Fjords cruise, departs July 22
– Mike Gatting OBE (former England cricket captain), on a 14-night Mediterranean cruise, departs July 29
– Sherrie Hewson (actor, presenter, broadcaster and novelist), on a 14-night cruise, departs August 12
– Edwina Currie (former MP. Novelist and broadcaster), on a 7-night Scandinavia cruise, August 26
Each speaker will host a 45-minute talk with questions and answers, as well as a meet and greet session including photographs and book signings. Additionally some speakers will be judges on ‘The Voice of the Ocean’, an onboard singing competition for guests, which is based on ITV’s ‘The Voice’.
Irish supergroup Boyzlife to perform on Britannia this August
Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy from Westlife and Boyzone are joining forces to create Boyzlife and will be performing in Britannia’s Limelight club in August this year. Guests on board can pay £49 per person for the unique show which will feature dinner, plus a performance from the boys. Boyzlife will be performing on the first five nights of Britannia’s 14-night Spain, France & Italy cruise round trip from Southampton. The cruise departs August 12, 2017 with prices starting from £1,299 per person.
I recently went on board Cunard’s Queen Victoria to experience some traditional, elegant, British cruising. The interiors of the ship are luxurious marbles, woods and rich fabrics which exude elegance and luxury. As soon as you step on board, you arrive in the atrium which is the heart of the ship; from here you can visit reception, shore excursions, lounges and many bars, all accessible from the sweeping staircase.
If you are missing your home favourites, head to the Golden Lion pub for traditional pub food and drinks. Here you can find favourites like fish and chips or cottage pie whilst enjoying a great pint! After dinner head to the Commodore club for a nightcap before retiring to bed, or if you’re at sea, this venue offers great views across the ships bow. Hemisphere’s is the venue if you want to dance into the early hours, with its resident DJ. Other dining venues include the Verandah restaurant which French inspired dining, Bamboo offers Asian fusion, Coriander serves Indian cuisine and Prime is the spot for succulent steaks and seafood.
If you want to burn off some of the calories after over indulging, the well-equipped gym is open throughout the day. For pampering head to the Royal Spa, which offers massages, therapies and treatments. The hydro-therapy pool offers a place to de-stress and detoxify.
If you want to soak up the sun, head to the Lido deck with its swimming pool, Jacuzzis and pavilion bar to enjoy a cocktail on your sun lounger. The Winter Garden is a conservatory style venue, combines elements of indoors and outdoors, filled with plants, bathed in natural light and featuring a roof that opens in warmer climates.
If you want to experience the ultimate luxury, why not consider the Cunard Grills experience, rated amongst the finest afloat, you enjoy lavish suites and dining. There are private areas such as the Grills lounge with its open air deck space, exclusively for Grills passengers.
The Royal Court Theatre offers lavish broadway, West-end style shows every night of your cruise holiday. The venue is quite stunning and over three-tiers, if you fancy something extra, or are celebrating a special occasion on board, why not choose a private box?
There is a choice of staterooms, starting from interior, to ocean view, to balcony and to suites. All come with your own cabin steward to look afternoon, and all decorated with fine prints, soft colours of the sofas and the famous Cunard turndown service when it’s time to retire.
The newest vessel to join the Cunard fleet is Queen Elizabeth, named in 2010 by Her Majesty the Queen. As soon as you step on board, you notice the elegance & luxury of Cunard.
One of the first port of calls when you step on board is the top deck. With plenty of space and sun lounges, you can quickly sit back and relax with a drink and enjoy your cruise holiday, or take a dip in the pool or hot tub. The Games deck offers croquet, bowls or paddle tennis all under a canopy, should the weather be too hot!
The staterooms on board are light and modern and well equipped for every traveller, they range from Insides, Oceanview, Balconies & Suites. I was lucky enough to be on board for the launch of the ship and had a very spacious suite, with a butler! On my return to the vessel for a mini-cruise, I had a balcony stateroom, which was wonderful to have the sea views.
When it comes to food, Cunard know exactly how to do it! The Lido buffet is open all day with a variety of snacks, carvery, light meals and buffet offerings. The Britannia, is the main restaurant on board, spanning over two decks there is a great menu served every evening, and if you don’t want something off the menu, that’s fine, the staff will cater for you. The Verandah is Queen Elizabeth’s formal alternative dining option, with French cuisine served every day. The Golden Lion pub is like a local at sea! Serving drinks throughout the day, you can also order light meals here like fish & chips, which are all included in your cruise fare. When not serving meals, the Golden Lion pub is home to the daily bingo & quiz – it’s a must you are on holiday after all! The Garden Lounge is inspired by London’s Kew Gardens, it’s a great place to meet friends and enjoy sea views with floor to ceiling windows. Here you will also find traditional White Gloved Afternoon Tea, Cunard’s signature famous service.
After all that food, don’t forget to visit the well-equipped gym and also the Royal Spa. The Royal Spar has the latest therapies & beauty treatments to de-stress & detoxify your body. The library is extensive and on several decks, there is something for everyone here! For those days at sea, there are also plenty of board games and card games for you to enjoy. Something that you may not instantly think of with Cunard is children. Children are well catered for on board, there is a kids club with activities and play equipment to keep them entertained all day long!
There’s so much entertainment on board from the ship’s show company, and whether you want to enjoy a musician or a cabaret in a show lounge or a big west end style show, it’s all there for you. The Royal Court Theatre is impressive, with Royal Box’s on the upper level, these can be booked for special occasions on board, so you can enjoy the performance from the comfort of your own balcony box.
Before you depart for home, don’t forget to visit the Royal Arcade, here you will find all the shops & perfect souvenirs. Inspired by London’s Burlington Arcade, the shops stock brands never before been available at sea, including Hackett, Fortnum and Mason and much more. Of course, there is also the
Cunard branded collection too, including clothing, stationery & models.
I experienced 2 nights on board Queen Mary 2 with four colleagues and seven friends sampling the delights that this magnificent ocean liner had to offer.
We left Southampton from the Queen Elizabeth 2 Terminal and set sail for Cherbourg in France. We enjoyed a cocktail party on board before going to the main Britannia Restaurant for our evening meal, which was truly fantastic and can be cooked to your individual tastes and needs, we also enjoyed a bottle of house red wine which complimented the meal. After our evening meal we retired to the Royal Court Theatre to enjoy the comedian and impressionist who kept us laughing throughout the night. We moved on to sample the delights of the ballroom dancing in the Queens Room before partying into the small hours in G32 nightclub. After all the dancing we returned to the Kings Court to enjoy midnight snacks before bed.
On day 2, we decided to enjoy a traditional cruise breakfast in bed which was delivered by a friendly and
helpful waitress direct to our room, the breakfast has plenty of choice and was freshly cooked to order. Breakfast was also available in all of the main restaurants on board.
We enjoyed a leisurely morning on board and took a tour of the ship from top to bottom. Whilst on the top deck we took part in some of the leisure activities including a 2 hour game of tennis and also shuffle
There was an array of food selection at lunchtime including hot, cold, carvery, burgers and home made ice cream! We filled up before taking a further walk around the ship to take in the panoramic scenery around Cherbourg.
In the afternoon we visited the on board facilities including the Spar, Gym, Table Tennis, Shops, Casino, Library, Internet Room, Art Gallery and even played some Monopoly on board in the games room! In the evening we again sampled the entertainment on board and partied into the small hours in G32!!
The staterooms were clean, spacious and to a high standard. We had opted for a balcony on this occasion which gave excellent views across the ocean. The facilities in the stateroom were top class, Cunard had provided a complimentary bottle of Champagne for consumption in the stateroom and the bathroom was again clean and full of shower gels/creams which were complimentary for all to use.
The staff on board were helpful, pleasant and couldn’t do enough to go out of their way and assist with any queries or questions. The cabin stewardess was also friendly and took time to talk to us each day asking what we had been up to and if we had a good time.
Disembarkation was quick and easy in Southampton at the new Ocean Terminal.
We are certainly all looking forward to our next trip on board this ocean liner.!