Friday, 19 September 2014

First steps for new cruise ships Ovation of the Seas and Norwegian Escape

It’s been an exceptionally busy week at the German shipyard of Meyer-Werft. No sooner had they completed a ceremony to mark the first steel-cutting on the third Quantum-class cruise ship for Royal Caribbean, than they were laying the first block in dry-dock for Norwegian Cruise Line's newest vessel.

The name of the Royal Caribbean ship was announced as Ovation of the Seas; it is scheduled for delivery in autumn 2016. Sister ship Quantum is in the final stages of construction and, weather permitting, will travel down the River Ems to the sea within the next few days. It will visit Southampton for three days at the end of October before crossing to the United States to spend the winter cruising from New York to the Caribbean. In the spring it will relocate to Shanghai, China.

Next in line will be Anthem of the Seas, still being assembled in Meyer-Werft’s giant construction shed; it will arrive in Southampton in the spring for a season of European cruises. Each vessel measures 167,800 tons and will carry almost 4,200 passengers.

Norwegian Escape (above) will have about the same passenger capacity but is marginally smaller at 164,600 gross tons (a measure of volume, not weight). Based on the design of Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, it has an extra deck to provide more cabins and room for extra public spaces.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO, Kevin Sheehan was on hand as a crane lifted block 35/41 - the first of 86 in total - into the dock. When it enters service in November next year, Escape will operate seven-day cruises from Miami to the eastern Caribbean.