Friday 30 January 2015

Seabourn reveals names of new ships

A rendering of the pool deck on-board Seabourn Encore
Small ship cruise line Seabourn have revealed the names of its two new ships that were ordered last year. Seabourn Encore will arrive in late 2016 and Seabourn Ovation will be launched in spring 2018.

Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation will maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest offering a highly personalised service. Both ships will be configured with one additional deck, newly expanded public areas, and modern design elements and innovations.

Hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany will design both Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation in their entirety. He will design all indoor and outdoor guest areas as well as the dining venues. The new 40,350 gross ton vessels are expected to carry 604 guests each, based on double occupancy. Every cabin will be a suite and each one will feature a private balcony.

The addition of the two new ships will mean that Seabourn will have the youngest ultra-luxury fleet in the industry.

Richard Meadows, Seabourn President, said "Both words, Encore and Ovation, pay tribute to the tremendous success and outstanding accomplishments our current ships have achieved. They are perfect names to celebrate Seabourn's expanding fleet."

During her maiden season Seabourn Encore will embark on voyages that span Arabia and India, South-east Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Further details about the two vessels can be found on the new dedicated micro-site released by the cruise line.

Thursday 29 January 2015

RRM acquires Cruise Trade News and Cruise Ports & Destinations.

(London: January 27th 2014): Keith Ellis, owner and publisher of a group of magazines dedicated to the cruise industry, and focussed on readers in the travel trade, has sold his portfolio to the owners of consumer magazine World of Cruising.

He said today: “I am delighted to announce that Cruise Trade News, together with its partner publication Cruise Ports & Destinations, and the annual Cruise Trade News ocean and river preview publications, have been acquired by Real Response Media (RRM).

“There are ambitious plans to develop all the titles, with expanded trade and industry distribution, increased pagination in order to carry more editorial content, and an integrated online presence.”

Additional editorial staff and a strong marketing and sales team are ready to lead the magazines into 2015 and a promising future.

Chris Pitchford, managing director of RRM, added: “I am very excited with this unique opportunity to develop and expand these respected brands. The team is already in place to deliver products that the cruise industry merits at a time of continued growth and exciting developments.

“For the first time, the UK cruise business will be served by a dedicated, integrated media group, in print and online, covering all aspects of cruise topics for the trade, industry, and consumer. And there’s more to come. We plan to announce further developments within the next few weeks.

“I am pleased that Keith has agreed to remain with the business as a consultant and Publisher of both titles and that he will continue to play an integral part in the future of the publications he has created and developed.”

RRM acquired World of Cruising magazine in August 2013 and have since embarked on a comprehensive development programme. The publication’s circulation was certified at 19,147 by the ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations) in September 2014. It is the only cruise magazine with an audited circulation.

Cunard to carry rare facsimile of the Salisbury Magna Carta

Queen Mary 2
A rare facsimile of the Magna Carta, one of the most important documents in English history, will be going on display on board Cunard's Queen Mary 2 and sister ship Queen Victoria between May and September 2015 to celebrate its 800th anniversary year.

Salisbury Cathedral will be lending a rare facsimile of its Magna Carta (dated 1215) to Cunard and is one of only four of the original documents in existence. The facsimile will be displayed in the Grand Lobby of Queen Mary 2 from early May until September. It will also be briefly carried on-board Queen Victoria in late May.

The cruise line already has experience carrying an original Magna Carta. During World War II, the Lincoln Magna Carta, one of the four originals, was moved to Washington DC for safe-keeping. In January 1946 it began its journey home, first to New York and then on board Queen Elizabeth for the voyage to Southampton.

Chairman of the Salisbury Cathedral 2015 Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Board Robert Key will be escorting the copy of Salisbury's Magna Carta during crossings on-board Queen Mary 2 on voyages departing 10 May and 4 September. He will also be on-board Queen Victoria's voyage departing 22 May.  Key will host two talks on each voyage about the legacy of the Magna Carta and the effect it had in shaping the world as we know it today.

"I, and Salisbury Cathedral, are delighted to be working with Cunard as we celebrate the Magna Carta's 800th anniversary by loaning a very rare facsimile of the document. The impact of the Magna Carta was not only felt ashore, but in these lectures we have a golden opportunity to explain and explore those fundamental freedoms that give Cunard ships the right to sail the seven seas – rights that we won 800 years ago and for which people the world over are still prepared to fight and to die" said Robert Key.

(Photo credit to Cunard Line)

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Disney Cruise Line introduces Frozen themed events

Frozen experiences are to be added to Disney Cruise Line ships this year
Disney Cruise Line is to add new experiences to its ships based on the hit movie Frozen.

A new Frozen themed deck party will debut this summer on select Disney Magic and Disney Wonder sailings to Europe and Alaska. The ship will be transformed into a winter wonderland for a day of Frozen themed entertainment.

Character meet-and-greets will be offered with Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf. A themed scavenger hunt will be offered, along with a snow and ice activity named "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" after one of the key songs from the film.

Families can learn a traditional Scandinavian dance spinning and braiding giant ribbons on a Maypole and there will also be a Frozen themed dining experience inspired by traditional Nordic cuisine.

A deck party will conclude the day’s events, complete with snowflakes, icicles and snow-covered rocks.

A new production show is also planned for the Disney Magic inspired by the movie. It will feature three songs from the movie - "Let it Go," "For the First Time in Forever" and "In Summer" – along with characters from the film in a new adventure.

For itineraries on-board aboard the Disney Magic to Norway there will be a selection of exclusive shore excursions that link the region to the film.

Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream will also benefit from character meet-and-greets with Anna, Elsa, and Olaf. Disney Cruise Line’s private island Castaway Cay will also experience a Frozen theme with the addition of Olaf's Summertime Freeze bar that will serve non-alcoholic specialty frozen drinks in souvenir cups.

During July this year two 12-night voyages on-board Disney Magic will sail from Dover to the Baltic region. On 3 August she will reposition to Barcelona for several seven-night Mediterranean cruises.

(Photo credit to Disney Cruise Line)

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Celebrity Cruises unveils Luminae restaurant for suite guests

The new Luminae restaurant exclusively for Suite Class guests
Celebrity Cruises will soon be adding a new restaurant on-board its cruise ships exclusively for Suite Class guests. The new dining venue will be rolled out across the fleet starting in April 2015.

The new restaurant will be called Luminae and will have modern and contemporary décor. The restaurant will offer a unique menu and will be open for suite guests for complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Highlights from the sample menu include “Black And White“ caviar with crème fraîche, creamy truffle risotto with a fricassé of wild mushrooms and Parmesan Reggiano, Maine lobster tagliatelle with roasted artichokes, tomato and lemon confit, and Chocolate Palet served with caramel ice cream and fleur de sel.

The menus will feature locally sourced regional and seasonal ingredients inspired by the destinations Celebrity Cruises sails to around the world.

"Everything about Luminae embodies an inspirational culinary journey for our guests. We want them to savour soulful, technique-driven cuisine, while enjoying warm and personalised service in a relaxed, stylish setting," said John Suley, James Beard-featured Executive Chef for Celebrity Cruises.

Special touches such as table-side preparation of signature dishes and the daily presentation of a new gourmet chocolates and desserts cart will add to the ambience. The menus will offer wine pairing suggestions made by the restaurant’s dedicated head sommelier. The wine list, specially designed for Luminae guests, will feature more than 400 selections.

Passengers fly home as Boudicca remains in Tenerife for repairs


UPDATE: Thursday January 29
Passengers from Fred Olsen’s Boudicca are being flown home from Tenerife today. The company had hoped it could carry out repairs to engines and electrical cables during an extended two-night stay in Santa Cruz, but instead decided to terminate the voyage. The 784 passengers will receive a full refund of their fare, and a 50 per cent discount on their next booking. The ship is expected to be repaired in time to be back in Southampton on February 7, ready for a 14-night trip to the Canaries again.

Cruise ship Boudicca is expected to spend two days in Tenerife while repairs are carried out to the electrical cabling two main engines damaged in a fire in the early hours of Sunday morning.

A visit to Arrecife, on the island of Lanzarote, was cancelled following the blaze, which occurred as the 880-passenger ship was sailing along the Moroccan Coast during an 18-night Cape Verde and the Canaries cruise.

Passenger services were restored shortly after the fire - which was contained within the engine room - although some cabins and public areas were without power for a while. 

A Fred Olsen Cruise Lines spokeswoman said that once Boudicca has reached Tenerife this evening, she will stay for two days for the work to be carried out. Guests will then be notified of the revised itinerary for the remainder of the voyage. Managing director Mike Rodwell and a customer service team from the company’s head office in Ipswich were flying to Tenerife to greet the passengers and address any concerns.

There were no injuries to any of Boudicca’s 784 guests and 356 crew members, and - denying reports on the BBC and in national newspapers -  the ship’s Master confirmed that at no point were guests asked to don their lifejackets and gather at the muster stations.
The company added: “Fred. Olsen would like to thank all its customers for their wishes of support and they are delighted to report future bookings were unaffected yesterday, demonstrating the loyalty of its guests, with one, currently on board Boudicca, actually booking their next holiday for March 2016.”

Monday 26 January 2015

Queen Victoria Debuts Re-Fit on 2015 World Voyage

Cunard Line's Queen Victoria embarked on the start of her 2015 World Voyage last week following an intensive 20-day refurbishment project.

The refurbishment works were carried out at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg. During the works nine new single staterooms were installed, existing furnishings were refreshed and enhancements were made to the outdoor spaces.

2,000 contractors representing thirty different nationalities worked a total of 600,000 man hours around the clock to replace all 215,278 square feet (approximately 20,000 square metres) of carpet in the passenger areas. They also renewed all 3,167 mattresses on board and replaced more than 3.75 miles of pipe work insulation. A total of 2,695 gallons (approximately 12,250 litres) of paint were used inside and out.

“We are really pleased with the results of Queen Victoria’s refit – the ship is looking immaculate. We pride ourselves on listening to what our passengers want, and are delighted to have added the nine single staterooms in response – a similar addition is already proving popular with single travellers on Queen Elizabeth since her refit last year," said marketing director Angus Struthers.

"We have also installed awnings at the back of Queen Victoria’s Lido to provide more comfortable al fresco dining, and on the Upper Grill Terrace, to offer the option of shade for sunbathers – perfect for Queen Victoria’s forthcoming season in the Mediterranean. I’m sure our passengers will notice other the grace-notes around the ship, such as enhancements to the coffee service at breakfast and the new internet stations in the library."

In honour of the company's 175th anniversary, Queen Victoria welcomed her World Voyage passengers aboard with a commemorative flag-raising ceremony which took place at the ship's mast. This was to hoist the signature flag for the first time on board and as is traditional, was performed by the youngest crew member, 20 year-old deck cadet Fraser Browne. The flag will be flown at iconic landmarks across the world during all three of the fleet's World Voyages and will be auctioned at their conclusion with all proceeds going to The Prince's Trust, Cunard's official charity.

The ship's first call was at Ponta Delgada in the Azores on 23 January and she is now under way to the Caribbean before transiting the Panama Canal and heading for Hawaii and Australia.

(Photo credit to Cunard Line)