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Archive for October, 2010

Norwegian Cruise Line to build two new ships

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On October - 25 - 2010

Following the successful launch of Norwegian Epic, the Company’s largest and most innovative ship to date, Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has reached an agreement with MEYER WERFT GMBH of Germany to build two new next generation Freestyle Cruising ships for delivery in spring 2013 and spring 2014, respectively. Each of the 143,500 gross ton vessels, the largest passenger/cruise ships to be built in Germany, will have approximately 4,000 passenger berths and a rich cabin mix.

Additional details about each ship’s new and exciting features will be released as construction progresses. The contract price for the two vessels is approximately €1.2 billion. The Company has committed financing in place from a syndicate of banks for export credit financing in connection with this project. “We have always been focused on a disciplined approach to capacity growth. Our decision to add two new ships reflects the significant progress we have made in improving our operating performance and repositioning the Company over the last several years, as well as the strong market demand we are seeing for Norwegian Epic and our other ships,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Building on the incredible success and popularity of Norwegian Epic, we are taking the best of what our newest ship has to offer, as well as drawing on our legacy of innovation in the cruise industry, in creating a new class of Freestyle Cruising vessel that is sure to provide our guests with the unparalleled freedom and flexibility they have come to expect on a Norwegian cruise.”

“We are excited to be returning to MEYER WERFT and are confident that their rich ship building history and expertise will bring our vision to fruition,” added Sheehan. MEYER WERFT, based in Papenburg, Germany, most recently built Norwegian’s four Jewel-class ships – Norwegian Gem delivered in 2007, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Jade delivered in 2006, and Norwegian Jewel delivered in 2005. These new vessels are the eighth and ninth that the Company will build with MEYER WERFT.

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Carnival Magic reaches construction milestone

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On October - 14 - 2010

With less than seven months until its maiden voyage, the new Carnival Magic reached another construction milestone when it was “floated out” earlier this week from her outfitting quay at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

The initial stages of a cruise ship’s construction take place in a dry dock facility. Once exterior outfitting is completed, the dry dock is flooded with water and the ship is “floated out” and moved to a wet dock facility where construction continues. Exclusive images and video of the Carnival Magic’s float out can be viewed at www.carnivalmagic.com, under the “How It’s Made” section.

The next major milestone of the Carnival Magic – sea trials in the Adriatic Sea – are slated for early next year in anticipation of the ship’s May 1, 2011, European debut. The most innovative “Fun Ship” to date, Carnival Magic will offer a host of new facilities and features, including the RedFrog Pub, a Caribbean-inspired watering hole with its own private label beer, Cucina del Capitano, an Italian family-style restaurant that brings the heritage of Carnival’s captains to the table, and SportsSquare, expansive sports complex featuring the first-ever ropes course and outdoor fitness area at sea. Other innovations include Carnival WaterWorks aqua park, a Serenity adults-only retreat, The Lanai, a wrap-around promenade with whirlpools that extend out over the ship’s sides and a stunning indoor/outdoor café and live entertainment venue called Ocean Plaza.

Carnival Magic is slated to debut with a nine-day cruise from Venice to Barcelona May 1-10, 2011, followed by a series of seven- to 12-day Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona – the line’s first departures from that port. Following a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing, Carnival Magic will launch seven-day Caribbean service from Galveston Nov. 14, 2011, becoming the largest cruise ship ever based in Texas year-round.

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Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth II offers grand style

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On October - 13 - 2010

“I name this ship Queen Elizabeth. May God bless her and all who sail in her,” declared HRH Queen Elizabeth as she christened Cunard’s newest liner, the magnificent Queen Elizabeth II. British monarchs have launched seven merchant ships bearing royal names since the Queen Mary in 1934. The newest vessel is the third named Queen Elizabeth and interestingly, Queen Elizabeth has witnessed all three christenings with the first being 72 years ago when her mother launched the first Queen Elizabeth. Her first christening was the iconic ‘QE2’ which was retired from the Cunard fleet several years ago.

It’s no surprise that a ship with such a royal pedigree is designed to take its guests around the world in a grand style that is neither glitzy by today’s standards. In fact, Cunard bills itself as the anti-cruise line and prefers to call their sailings voyages not cruises and their vessels ocean liners not cruise ships. Obviously the new ship has fans as its maiden voyage sold out in a record 29 minutes – making it the fastest selling voyage in Cunard Line’s 170-year history.

A queen with new jewels

Like her sister ship Queen Victoria launched in 2007, Queen Elizabeth II is a classic Cunard ocean liner, sporting the line’s distinctive black-and-red livery, red smokestack and elongated hull. For the new 92,400-ton, 2068-passenger liner, Cunard dug deep into its history to create an updated image of the original Queen Elizabeth. In its heyday, the original vessel was considered a state-of- the-art liner that transported passengers in style across the Atlantic between 1946 and 1968.

If you’ve cruised on Queen Victoria, finding your way around the new Queen Elizabeth II is easy, but there are some slight changes. There ship is slightly larger to accommodate an additional 38 staterooms; however, the most notable change is the lighter feel of the interior that is inspired by the Art Deco style from the original Queen Elizabeth. Additionally, you won’t find the Todd English restaurant that both the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria have.  On Queen Elizabeth II, Cunard re-introduced a specialty restaurant from the original, The Verandah.  Run by longtime Cunard chef, Jean-Marie Zimmermann, the venue pays tribute to its predecessor with identical art and original menus on display from their Verandah restaurants. Another unique aspect to Queen Elizabeth II is located in the Midships Bar where display cases of memorabilia related to the original liner, including tea sets, ship telephone, and the ship’s invoice from the shipbuilder, John Brown & Co., dated Feb. 5, 1938.  Also items from the QE2 are on display including the QE2’s bell and a bust of Queen Elizabeth that was in the QE2’s Queens Room.

Another class sister act

Many of the new features that were offered on Queen Victoria are also available on the Queen Elizabeth II. These include West End-style private viewing boxes at sea in the Royal Court Theatre; a two-story, spiral-staircased, 6,000-book library with a full-time librarian; Games Deck offering croquet, paddle tennis and traditional British bowls.

There are the usual cruise trappings on board too, of course, including a casino, a shopping arcade (with a Harrods shop), an Internet center, a dedicated children’s area, pools, a jogging track and a beautifully appointed 13,000-square-foot spa-and-fitness center that features a glass-enclosed exercise area with ocean views. The spa offers a comprehensive health and wellness program with a large hydrotherapy pool and thermal suite.

Queen Elizabeth II offers 1,046 staterooms in nine classifications ranging from Grand Suites to inside staterooms. Eight-five percent of the staterooms are outside and 71 percent offer balconies. Like all Cunard liners guests in the largest suites (the Queens Grill category) will have their own private sun deck, as well as butler and concierge service. The largest of these suites, the Queens Grill Grand Suites, which average about 2,000 square feet, have marble baths and stocked refrigerators.

As on all Cunard ships, you are where you eat, meaning your cabin category determines your dining room. Cunard has operated a three-tier system for years with the privilege of eating in the swank Queens Grill, where, in consultation with the staff, they can order just about anything they want. Guests in the junior suites dine in the Princess Grill. The rest of the passengers dine in the main restaurant, Britannia, which isn’t too shabby, either (it boasts two grand, curved staircases for those who wish to make an entrance). For breakfast, lunch and dinner, all guests can enjoy the Lido Café, a casual, bright and airy buffet eatery reminiscent of the café on the iconic QE2. Guests who want to hark back to the original Queen Elizabeth can dine in The Verandah. For traditional British pub food, the Golden Lion Pub has fish ’n’ chips, steak and mushroom pie, a ploughman’s lunch, and, of course, bangers and mash. Guests can enjoy cocktails in one of the ship’s dozen bars and lounges; the favorite seems to be the Commodore Club, on Deck 10, which features sweeping views over the ship’s bow. Tea in the indoor/outdoor Garden Lounge is a traditional treat, right down to the white-gloved butlers, gleaming silver and lovely scones.

Guests who love to dress up will enjoy participating in a dazzling dance event like a Black and White Ball, Royal Ascot Ball or Buccaneer Ball in the stunning Queens Room ballroom. The three-tiered Royal Court Theatre will house theatrical productions with a British flair that are typically historical and thought-provoking. For a $50 fee, guests can reserve a seat in one of the 16 private boxes, drink champagne during the performance, and meet the cast backstage afterward. Queen Elizabeth II is a traditional liner best suited to upscale, well-traveled guests who want a sophisticated travel experience and all the white-gloved service and luxury that goes with it.

Reported by © www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

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Silversea Cruises offers amazing ‘Down Under’ adventure

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On October - 13 - 2010

Outback, Great Barrier Reef, koalas, emus, wombats and wallabies — the places and words that conjure up images of adventure, romance and the exotic are all on the menu for guests sailing aboard Silversea’s first-ever voyage to completely circumnavigate Australia.

Next year, Silver Shadow will sail on a 30-day, Sydney-to-Sydney Voyage 3102. From January 19 to February 18, the 382-guest, ultra-luxury ship will follow a counterclockwise course around the vast island continent with calls in Brisbane, Whitsunday Islands, Port Douglas, Cooktown, Darwin, Broome, Exmouth, Perth, Albany, Port Lincoln, Adelaide, Geelong, Melbourne and Hobart (Tasmania).

“It’s not often you have the chance to explore an entire continent on one voyage,” said Steve Tucker, Silversea’s vice president of field sales for North America. “This itinerary will hold great appeal for those who seek unique travel experiences off the beaten path.”

Throughout this special voyage, guests will enjoy an exciting enrichment program, headlined by distinguished speakers from the worlds of film, art, nature, academia, winemaking and cuisine.

Visit Silversea Cruises for more details.

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Queen Elizabeth II tours her namesake ship

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On October - 12 - 2010

The Queen gets up close and personal with her new ship, Queen Elizabeth. in Southampton, UK. View photos of the historic occasion.

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Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II christens Cunard liner bearing her name

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On October - 11 - 2010

Greetings from Southampton where Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has christened Cunard’s newest liner, the magnificent Queen Elizabeth. British monarchs have launched seven merchant ships bearing royal names since the Queen Mary in 1934.

The newest vessel is the third named Queen Elizabeth and interestingly, Queen Elizabeth has witnessed all three christenings with the first being 72 years ago when her mother launched the first Queen Elizabeth. Her first christening was the iconic ‘QE2’ which was retired from the Cunard fleet several years ago.

The ceremony was quintessential British pomp and circumstance complete with color guard, color guard band, symphony orchestra, opera singer, and bag pipers. While music played invited guests watched large screen televisions of the Queen touring the ship. She even rang the ship’s horn to the delight of the audience. The ceremony even included vintage footage of the Queen touring and christening the QE2.

After disembarking the vessel the Queen rode in her official Rolls Royce to the outdoor naming staging area.Wearing a colorful teal blue coat and matching hat and sparkly brooch the Queen blessed the vessel stating “May God bless this vessel and all who sail in her”. Upon those words a jeroboam of 2009 Rothschild white wine smashed against the bow of the ship.

The 92,400-ton, 2068-passenger Queen Elizabeth is the third new vessel for Cunard Line in six years and replaces the aforementioned QE2.

Stay tuned for more from the new Queen Elizabeth .

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