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.
Welcome to the third ship in the Quantum Class, the Ovation of the Seas and what a fantastic ship she is packed with the latest technologically enhancements on 16 decks!
People often say to me, cruising is not for them or I will be bored on a ship…well with the Ovation of the Seas those myths are quashed! The ship is literally jam packed with things to do for all ages and the interactive menu around the ship will help you plan your day and find out what’s on around the ship.
There is fantastic entertainment in the evening in the Music Hall with live bands you can sing and dance along to. The Royal Theatre offers state of the art shows in 3D. For a venue that totally transforms at night, head for Two70 with its Roboscreens and aerial acrobatics! Whilst you are enjoying all these facilities, the kids will be having the time of their lives in the kids clubs!
Now a subject we all like to talk about is….Food! Ovation of the Seas offers Dynamic Dining. This means that you have the ability and flexibility to enjoy your meals on board when you want in different venues. There is no set table at 7.30pm every evening in the main restaurant with the same table of 6 – you can work your way around a range of restaurants (charges apply for some restaurants). The range of tempting new venues include three celebrity chefs; Jamie Oliver, Michael Schwartz and Devin Alexander. There is Chops Grille the hallmark with fantastic steaks! Chef’s table is a private experience for up to 14 people to enjoy a 5 course menu. Izumi Japanese includes made to order sushi with intense flavours and the best ingredients. Jamie’s Italian by chef Jamie Oliver offers a menu of Italian favourites. Sorrento’s is an authentic New York pizzeria experience fresh from the oven! Café Promenade has speciality coffees, snacks and cookies throughout the day. Silk, weave your way through a vibrant tapestry of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Indian cooking . American Icon Grill has a choice of America’s favourite comfort foods. We ate in the Grand Restaurant and were served a delicious three course meal, the steak for the main course – wow, you will have never tasted anything like it!
For a tipple after dinner there are a plethora of bars to choose from including Schooners Bar with timeless cocktails and piano music. The legendary Bionic Bar, the first robotic bar in the world – truly WOW! Vintages offers a world of wine to satisfy palates of all levels. Michael’s Genuine Pub is like your local at sea, my favourite haunt on board with live music in the evening and craft beer. Our first drink on board was in Michael’s, I think that’s why I liked it so much.
If shopping is your thing, you will find the shops located on the Royal Esplanade (located across from Michael’s), a collection of celebrated brands comes together in the Royal Esplanade, featuring Cartier, TAG Heuer, Michael Kors, Kiehl’s and more iconic brands. There are also beauty shops, jewellery shops and souvenir shops.
When you first get on board you will have had your picture taken by the ships photographer and often around the ship in the evening and in the ports of call, head to the Photo Gallery to view these. Gone are the days of searching walls and walls of pre-printed pictures, you simply scan your card on the screen and it brings up your photos, which you can download to your phone or tablet device!
Heading for the top deck and the facilities continue, with the majority of firsts for Royal Caribbean that you won’t find anywhere else. The fantastic North Star is a capsule that goes 300 feet above sea level, you get breath-taking views of the ship and the ports of call. If you’re looking for thrills, why not try RipCord by IFLY – yes this is your opportunity to go skydiving at sea as you fly in a wind tunnel! For those who like to get wet, there are pools, waterparks and the FlowRider, which is a surf simulator at sea. SeaPlex is the cutting edge indoor sports zone, with basketball, roller skating, floating DJ Booth and bumper cars – that’s another first at sea. There’s also a teen disco for the kids to hang out, a rock climbing wall and keep your hunger at bay with fresh hot dogs baked throughout the day! After all that adventure, the Vitality at Sea Fitness Centre will keep you in shape with equipment to use yourself or organised fitness classes.
If you don’t want to head outside, soak up the sun or enjoy the shade in the Solarium, truly a tranquil adults only retreat with its retractable roof. There’s an outdoor movie screen which shows movies under the stars or the latest sports games. You’ll also find the Windjammer marketplace on deck 14, open around the clock 24 hours a day you can eat around the world from all continents, I was surprised how many seating places there were here, always plenty of room and plenty of food choice – there was a carvery and egg-fried rice for breakfast (as well as the usual hot selection, cold and bakery items!) There is also the Coastal Kitchen which is exclusively for guests who are in suites, this is a fusion of California cool and the Med-inspired taste.
The staterooms are well appointed and there is so much choice! Starting from virtual balcony staterooms (this is an inside stateroom with a giant screen showing outside live to look like a balcony) to ocean-view, to balcony and to suites. I had a balcony stateroom on board, there was a large double bed, a large bathroom, plenty of storage and wardrobe space and a sitting area to relax and escape during the day. Each balcony had a desk and vanity mirror, hairdryer, safe and fridge – great for keeping bottles of water cool for your excursions! And of course I had a fantastic spacious balcony which was great to enjoy in the day and also at night time.
A truly fantastic ship for everyone – there are facilities for all the family and so many technological advancements. I never thought I would see a robotic bartender make me a drink, or see people flying at sea or even upload pictures on the fastest wifi at sea…. WOW…I definitely can’t wait to get back on board!
Wow – with so much choice there really has never been a better time to take a cruise holiday. And if your spoilt for choice and not sure if there’s enough for you out there – then there are a plethora of new ships launching over the next few years…
Royal Caribbean International are launching the Quantum of the Seas in Autumn 2014, this will be the first of three next generation ships for the fleet. Quantum of the Seas really is packed with the latest innovations at sea including; the North Star (360 degree view viewing capsule that extends over the ship), bumper cars, the Two70 lounge that is a fantastic venue both day and night and the first for cruising ‘Virtual balconies’ essentially an inside stateroom with a TV screen floor to ceiling that shows a live link of the outside.
P&O Cruises will be launching their new Britannia ship in February 2015, it will be the biggest in the fleet, carrying over 3,600 passengers and built especially for the UK market. With lots of new features, and designed on 5* boutique hotels, she will still carry the traditional British cruising elements, with one of the largest spa at sea and a new giant union jack along the side of the ship, something that will be introduced across the whole fleet over the next few years.
Anthem of the Seas, the second of Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum class of ships will be launching in Spring 2015. During the summer she will be based out of Southampton offering itineraries in Europe before moving over to the Caribbean for Winter. All the facilities from Quantum of the Seas can be found on board Anthem of the Seas too.
Viking River Cruises are stepping into Ocean travel with the launch of Viking Star, the first ship to enter the fleet specifically for Ocean Cruising. Some of the old riverboat favourites from the lines other vessels will be included on board – the alfresco dining for example. A promenade will full circle the ship
Norwegian Cruise Line’s latest offering Norwegian Escape will launch in October 2015, she will be the first in the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway-Plus class, carrying 4,200 passengers. If you’ve sampled the lines latest editions – the Norwegian Breakaway or Getaway and thought they were impressive! Prepare to be amazed as Escape will have an additional deck of cabins and facilities! Two more ships are on order for Spring 2018 and Winter 2019 as part of the Breakaway-Plus class of ship, both unnamed and again, are expected to carry 4,200 passengers.
Holland America Line will launch their next vessel in February 2016, named as the ms Koningsdam, this will reflects the company’s roots in the Netherlands. ‘Koning’ meaning King in Dutch and ‘dam’ has been used in every Holland America passenger vessel name since 1883. This will be the companies first new ship since 2010.
In mid-2016 Royal Caribbean International will add the third ship to the Quantum Class fleet, the Ovation of the Seas. Joining her sisters Quantum & Anthem of the Seas she will include all the new features, North Star, Virtual balconies and lots more! Meanwhile a new ship will join the Oasis class fleet, with the possibility of a fourth launching mid-2018.
Ultra luxury line, Regent Seven Seas cruises will launch the Explorer in Summer 2016, it will be the largest in the fleet, growing its capacity by 40 percent. With 369 suites, six open seating restaurants, a stunning 9 deck atrium and two tier theatre.
Looking further ahead, Seabourn Cruise Line will add a further as-yet-unnamed ship to the fleet in the second half of 2016 and sister brand Carnival Cruise Lines will launch the Carnival Vista in Winter 2016. This will be the line’s first new ship since the Carnival Breeze in 2012, she will feature the line’s 2.0 enhancements and will be the 25th fun ship for Carnival.
Following on from the success of the Royal Princess and Regal Princess, Princess Cruises will build a third ship in its Royal Class of Ships. Currently little information has been released, but it is expected to cost in the region of 600 million euros! She will, however, feature the Princess favourites including the adult-only Sanctuary, Movie’s Under the Stars and lots of balcony staterooms.
MSC Cruises are adding a further ships to the fleet in 2017, 2018 & 2019, all are currently unnamed but are expected to hold a large number of passengers, become one of the biggest ships in the World, behind the Oasis and Allure of the Seas from Royal Caribbean
Cruising really is popular not only with Brits but around the World, over the next 5 years there are thousands of new cabins that will appear on innovate and ground-breaking ships. And as the popularity of cruising continues to grow, so will the number of ships…
Entering service in 2008, Independence of the Seas is part of Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom Class ship, guaranteed to offer you WOW moments!
Packed with so many facilities for all age groups, from the H20 water park, to the sports pool for volleyball & basketball and whirlpools that hang over the ship’s side! For the ultimate thrill seeking, why not try the FlowRider, this is a surf simulator at sea and great fun. You can always try Rock Climbing, yes that’s right, you can climb up the wall and race your friends to ring the bell at the top first!
Inside the ship, the main attraction is the Royal Promenade, this runs throughout the ship and is essentially like a street, with shopping, pubs, wine bars and cafes and open throughout the day. At night time, the ships entertainment crew put on a street party in the promenade. They perform on the sky bridge which can be lowered from the upper decks and offers great views for all passengers below.
Talking about entertainment, the 1200-seater Alhambra theatre is home to the production shows, performed nightly with amazing light displays and entertainers literally flying from all directions!
The Indy, as she is known to seasoned cruisers, is one of Royal’s eight ships to house an Ice Skating Rink named Studio B. Here a series of professional ice shows takes place, and if you fancy a go, well you can do, there are opportunities throughout the day to sample this too.
Sadly I was on board for the day and only got a brief visit to the staterooms as the ship was mid-cruise. The staterooms are clean and modern and if you can book a balcony I would recommend it. I went for lunch on board and the cuisine was amazing, sadly I had to disembark before it left for the next port of call, in the Caribbean…if only I could have stayed on board!
Now a little interesting fact for cruise buffs out there… the pools on deck are only heated when sailing from the UK, well I suppose when you’re in the Caribbean it’s hot enough!
Who would think you can do rock climbing, surfing or ice skating on a cruise ship?! Set on board the Independence of the Seas to enjoy this and a lot more!
I enjoyed a mini cruise on board Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas – and wow what can I say!
As part of the voyager class of Royal Caribbean ships, she had many features included mini golf, ice skating rink & a rock climbing wall, she was like a floating resort!
The main attraction is the Royal Promenade, which runs the length of the ship, spanned over 4 decks. The Royal Promenade contains shops, cafes, bars and shops and is like the central hub of the ship. I had an interior promenade stateroom, which felt like an outside as I had a full window overlooking the promenade and all its activities. At night the entertainers do a street parade, but don’t be put off thinking there will be too much noise in these staterooms, they are well sound proofed.
Throughout the day there is so much entertainment, you can take in an ice-skating show, or if your feeling brave perhaps try the Rock Climbing wall on top deck and beat your fellow racer! Or if you want to sit on top deck in the sun with a book enjoying the weather you can do, the on board library is one of the biggest I have seen at sea with plenty of books.
When it comes to dining and drinking, the choices again are endless. The main dining room holds around 2,000 passengers, or there is Portofino, the Italian restaurant on board. The Windjammer restaurant is the help yourself buffet and provides food throughout the day and the Promenade Café is open for breakfast and light snacks. You have to try Johnny Rockets on board – this is a 1950s style burger restaurant, there is a small cover charge for this, but well worth it to experience the true American dining experience!
After all of that food, you can enjoy the spa and gym facilities. Filled with treadmills, bikes and weights, you aren’t short of space to enjoy a relaxing workout.
The entertainment on board is top class! A new show every night in the Lyric theatre, the shows always contain a very large cast and enjoy some great music and light shows too.
As I previously mentioned, I was in a promenade interior stateroom, which did have views to people watch throughout the day. There are also the usual interior, oceanview, balconies, suites, royal suite, & owners suite if you’re going to push the boat out. !
At the end of the Promenade are the reception and shore excursion counters who are always on hand to assist you throughout the cruise. If you fancy a flutter, the Schooner Bar located below the Promenade, is packed with gaming tables, poker, roulette and slot machines.
I had a great time on board the Adventure of the Seas during her seasons in Europe, she is to be based in the Caribbean for 2015, so why not try a Caribbean cruise on board the amazing vessel! i would hightly recommend