August 2017 – Spectrum of the Seas, New Ship, & Weddings
Second only to the headline features of a new cruise ship, the name is often one of the most closely guarded secrets in shipbuilding.
So long as it can be kept a secret - and that relies on suppliers keeping it hush too (*cough* Symphony of the Seas *cough*) - it can help build hype and anticipation. But from a sales perspective, building interest in a ship with no name can be tough.
The sooner a name is released, the sooner itineraries are released, and the sooner the advanced bookings start rolling in.
Spectrum of the Seas Steel Cutting Ceremony
This month saw a new name revealed at the steel cutting ceremony at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, for Royal Caribbean's first Quantum Ultra class ship, Spectrum of the Seas. While I love the name of the next 'world's largest cruise ship' (Symphony of the Seas), I am not sure I love 'Spectrum' as much.
Regardless of my own opinions, it is not the name that will make or break the ship, it is the onboard facilities and the itineraries. Interestingly, Spectrum of the Seas will follow in the footsteps of Ovation of the Seas, a Quantum class ship built for the Chinese market. Spectrum of the Seas will be designed for China and the Asia-Pacific region, and will build upon the features found on the existing fleet of Quantum class ships.
This is Royal Caribbean, so expect the unexpected when she launches in 2019. I wonder if the cruise line has eyed-up MSC Meraviglia's LED ceiling?
One Ocean Expeditions adds a ship
One Ocean Expeditions will soon add an expedition cruise ship to its fleet. RCGS Resolute will arrive in Canada in November 2018 for its inaugural polar voyage.
The ship carries the name of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS). Passengers have the opportunity to learn from educators, researchers, naturalists, marine biologists, artists, historians, and photographers.
The ship will carry a maximum of 146 passengers. Fusing luxury travel and expedition adventures, the vessel will have a pool, hot tub, sauna, wellness centre, observation lounge, dining rooms, and bars. The ship will also feature 12 luxurious suites as well as 62 standard standard twin, triple, and superior cabins.
One Ocean Expeditions also announced plans to use the new pier in Sydney, Nova Scotia, to refuel and provision its ships before embarking on voyages North.
P&O Cruises offers same sex marriages at sea
P&O Cruises has started taking bookings for same sex marriages on its ships registered in Bermuda, following a recent Supreme Court ruling enabling same sex marriages in the country.
Weddings can be booked for any ship in the fleet except for Southampton-registered Britannia, where marriages at sea are not permitted. The first booking is due to be held on Azura in the Caribbean in January 2018.
Packages, costing upwards of £1,200, include the venue, music, flowers, photographer, licence fees, Champagne in the cabin on arrival and for a toast after the ceremony, invitations and thank you notes, wedding outfit pressing service, and an additional 5kg luggage allowance for the couple if they are travelling on a fly-cruise holiday. The ceremony will be conducted by the Captain, or by the Deputy Captain if operationally necessary.
Crystal Cruises second river cruise boat launched
Crystal Cruises continues its rapid expansion with the launch of the first of four Rhine class ships.
Crystal Bach was handed over during a ceremony in Wismar, Germany. Famed soprano vocalist, Anna-Maria Kaufmann, christened the ship in a ceremony in Rüdesheim, Germany.
The ship will sail itineraries between Amsterdam and Frankfurt and Amsterdam and Basel along the Rhine and Moselle rivers.
The Rhine class ships are all-balcony, all-suite vessels with every cabin positioned above the waterline. Each butler-serviced suite comes with king-sized beds, Panoramic Balcony-Windows, robes and slippers, wall-mounted flat-screen HD TVs, and Nespresso coffee machines.
Crystal Bach joins Crystal Mozart in the Crystal River Cruises brand.
And in Other News...
- Bonnie Tyler belted out "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in a concert onboard Oasis of the Seas during the American solar eclipse. The track subsequently soared to number one in the download charts and was a good bit of PR for Royal Caribbean.
- Thomson Cruises announced that The Entertainment Department will provide all entertainment on its latest ships to its fleet, TUI Explorer and the yet-to-be-named addition, currently sailing as Mein Schiff 2. A specially-created package of entertainment shows and attractions will launch on TUI Explorer ship from May 2018.
- Cruise and Maritime Voyages hosted its first multi-generational cruise this month. Passengers heading aboard Columbus for a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords were greeted by a Johnny Depp look-a-like dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow from Disney's film, Pirates of the Caribbean. More than 150 children were onboard this rare sailing from the cruise line which has traditionally catered for the adults-only market. A second cruise to the Canary Islands carried more than 180 children. In 2018, the cruise line will run eight multi-generational family-friendly cruises from Tilbury, Liverpool, and Bristol.
- Ecuadorian Nathaly Albán became the first female captain in the Galapagos archipelago as she took the helm of the recently refurbished Celebrity Xploration catamaran. She joined Celebrity Cruises in 2006 as third officer onboard the 100-guest Celebrity Xpedition, and has 12 years' experience sailing throughout the Galapagos.
- Norwegian Cruise Line teased some of the features on its forthcoming ship, Norwegian Bliss, which will sail in Alaska and the Caribbean from June 2018. Expect the 4,000-passenger ship to follow in Norwegian Joy's footsteps with a two level electric-car race track, open-air laser tag course, and aqua park with slides. A Starbucks concession is expected, as is a new Texas smokehouse, plus Mexican restaurant, Los Lobos. NCL are also having a crack at installing an oversized chocolate fountain, something MSC Cruises failed to achieve on MSC Meraviglia.
- Azamara Club Cruises has expanded its Cuban itineraries into 2018 and 2019. Four-to fourteen-night voyages will visit some of the most diverse Cuban ports. Itineraries will offer longer stays in port, brand new onboard programming, and overnights in the Cuban capital, Havana.
- Carnival Cruise Line has also added five more voyages featuring extended calls in Havana in 2018.
- Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' MS Bremen is one of the first passenger ships in the world to receive a Polar Ship Certificate. From January 2018, it will be mandatory for ships operating in the polar regions to have the certificate. All ships in the fleet will receive the certification in due course.
- MSC Seaview floated out from the Fincanteri shipyard in Trieste, Italy. The 5,179-passenger vessel is the second ship in the Seaside class and will launch in June 2018. MSC Seaside, the first ship in the class, will launch in December 2017 and sail itineraries from Miami. Her sister will sail Mediterranean itineraries calling at Genoa, Naples, Messina, Valetta, Barcelona, and Marseille.
- Uniworld will extensively refit River Beatrice and rename the vessel as S.S. Beatrice in Spring 2018. It will become the fifth "Super Ship" in the fleet. The maiden voyage will take place on 4 April 2018, coinciding with the launch of U by Uniworld, the company's new brand targetting travellers aged 21 to 45.
- Series 2 of Cruising with Jane McDonald returns to Channel 5 on 1st September. The last series was really good so remember to bookmark this one. The series kicks off with a cruise aboard Viking Sky.
- Silversea will soon roll out a new production show with a score created by London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Grande Amore will debut on Silver Whisper in November, before rolling out fleetwide thereafter.
(Header photo credit to Royal Caribbean International)