Is there any stopping MSC Cruises?
No. Not really. They are on a relentless journey of rapid expansion at the moment, signalled by the second new ship launch THIS year. MSC Meraviglia joined the fleet in June and now in November, MSC Seaside has become part of the family.
5,179-passenger MSC Seaside boasts a very distinctive exterior, with the rear designed to be reminiscent of the art deco buildings in Miami, where the ship will homeport. Inside the 153,516 gross-tonne ship, it looks to be very similar to MSC Meraviglia, albeit with subtle differences here and there.
Not content with stopping there, the cruise line announced plans for a pair of Seaside EVO class ships. Where Meraviglia Plus class ships build on the successes of the Meraviglia class vessels, Seaside EVO will be an evolutionary enhancement to the successes of the Seaside class ships.
The next generation ship will boast greater dimensions, more cabins, and a larger Yacht Club ship-within-a-ship area. The ship will also make use of the latest generation of technology to further improve environmental efficiency.
If you’re confused about what MSC Cruises has on order, you’re not alone. Tracking all the changes is hard work. So here’s a handy guide:
MSC Cruises Order Book 2018 – 2026
|Seaside class||MSC Seaview||154,000||4,140||May 2018|
|Meraviglia class||MSC Bellissima||167,600||4,500||March 2019|
|Meraviglia Plus class||MSC Grandiosa||177,000||4,888||November 2019|
|Meraviglia Plus class||Yet unnamed||177,100||4,888||September 2020|
|Seaside EVO class||Yet unnamed||169,380||5,646 (max)||2020|
|World class||Yet unnamed||200,000||5,400||2022|
|Seaside EVO class||Yet unnamed||169,380||5,646 (max)||2023|
|World class||Yet unnamed||200,000||5,400||2024|
|World class||Yet unnamed||200,000||5,400||2025|
|World class||Yet unnamed||200,000||5,400||2026|
Unless otherwise stated, passenger numbers are based on double occupancy.
Marella Cruises partners with Champneys
Marella Cruises has partnered with iconic British spa brand Champneys to launch their first spa at sea.
The Champneys Spa will launch on Marella Explorer next May. It will offer a a full treatment menu, including facials, body wraps, massages, manicures, acupuncture, and more, as well as a salon. The area will feature a wellness centre and relaxation room with comfortable beds and the obligatory panoramic views expected in any worthy cruise ship spa.
Champneys has four health spa resorts, one hotel, six city spas, and two beauty colleges, so is a great health and wellbeing brand to work with. And the renderings look gorgeous too. Must. Resist. Booking…
Costa Venezia coin ceremony
Not so far back in time, China and the Asian cruise market was all anyone was talking about. And then it went a bit quiet.
Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas was built specifically for the Chinese cruise market. So it’s a curious decision the company has taken to redeploy the ship to Alaska for Summer 2019 (although it’s great news for Alaska, and will provide some high-tech competition for NCL’s new baby, Norwegian Bliss). Perhaps all is not rosey in the rapidly growing cruise market in Asia.
Despite this move by Royal Caribbean, Costa Cruises is ploughing on with its newbuild ship for China which will be ready ahead of a one-way world cruise from Trieste, Italy, to Shanghai, China, in March 2019.
As a milestone in the construction of this 135,500 gross-tonne, 2,116-passenger ship, the coin ceremony took place this month at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard.
Costa Venezia is the first Vista-class ship specifically designed and built for China. The company seeks to take a slice of the culture, history and romance of Venice and offer it to Chinese guests. Costa Cruises has a reputation for loud interior design, so it will be interesting to see how they deck the ship out to reflect the city it is named. We’ve been promised “a multi-sensory trip featuring food, art, music and entertainment” and “an onboard version of the Carnival of Venice”. Exciting stuff.
Costa Cruises has homeported ships in the China cruise market since 2006, so it’s safe to say they are very familiar with this market and its needs. A second newbuild will follow in 2020 which will also be designed for the Chinese cruise market.
Not content with one new-build on the books (Celebrity Edge), Celebrity Cruises has ordered a second. By complete contrast, the new, new ship, Celebrity Flora, will be a tiny 100-passenger vessel designed for cruising the Galapagos Islands.
Energy efficiency and environmental considerations sit at the core of the project, so expect to see an advanced propulsion system and anchorless technology that maintains the ship’s position while protecting the sensitive sea bed.
Onboard this all-suite ship, you’ll find personal suite attendants, exciting dining venues, and even an open-air stargazing platform. Ecological seminars will headline its enrichment programme.
And in other news…
- Got a spare €540 (≈ £478) lying around? If so, a Montblanc Meisterstück fountain pen emblazoned with EUROPA 2 and the ship’s silhouette can be yours – although you’ll need to sail on this Hapag-Lloyd vessel to buy one. Rollerball pen fans fear not, as there’s a variant available for you at a mere €430 (≈ £381). Bargain!
- Marella Cruises will wave goodbye to Thomson Majesty next year as it rejoins the Celestyal Cruises fleet, leading to the addition of a month of 3- and 4-day Iconic Aegean cruises in April 2018.
- P&O Cruises’ Britannia featured in an episode of the BBC’s The Apprentice series this month. Candidates had to plan exciting shore excursions in Bruges (spoiler alert – they weren’t).
- Silversea’s Silver Cloud completed a two-month refurbishment to become an ice-class expedition vessel – and then suffered engine failure on its first polar sailing to Antarctica.
- Cruise enthusiasts (including myself) shared thoughts on the best dining experiences available on cruise ships. On my cruise adventures to date, Wonderland on Harmony of the Seas stands out the most.
- Lindblad Expeditions has signed an agreement with Norwegian shipbuilder Ulstein to build a new expedition ship. The vessel will be built in Ulsteinvik, Norway, with delivery expected in early 2020. The ship will feature a distinctive bow (called the X-Bow) to assist with fuel efficiency and passenger comfort.
- Two Fred. Olsen ships – Braemar and Balmoral – will be refurbished by next month. Boudicca will follow in March 2018. Black Watch underwent work last year in case you wondered. Expect to see upgrades to public areas, cabin enhancements, new restaurants, and, my favourite, a gelato bar on Balmoral – yum! Make mine two scoops…
- Work has begun on Pandaw River Expeditions’ ship, RV Sabei Pandaw. The ship, due to launch in November 2018, will be built at Loon Prasert’s shipyard in Laos.
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises has named its second Explorer-class ship which is scheduled for delivery early in 2020. Seven Seas Splendor will follow in the footsteps of Seven Seas Explorer. The name was chosen from nearly 2,600 unique suggestions by travel agents, guests, and employees.
- Carnival Cruise Line has revamped menus in its steakhouses, Cucina del Capitano Italian restaurants, and delis, as well as the main dining room breakfast offerings. The kitsch Baked Alaska parade also makes a comeback.
- Princess Cruises will name its fourth Royal-class ship Sky Princess. The ship – sister to Royal Princess, Regal Princess, and Majestic Princess – will launch in October 2019 with a brief inaugural season in the Mediterranean before heading to Fort Lauderdale.
(Header photo credit to MSC Crociere)