A quick post to say that the reports of Royal Princess’ just-finished refit at Fincantieri say that the main work done was the addition of a mid-ships stairwell. The absence of this has caused a number of complaints among Princess customers, and of course also among P&O customers – Britannia is a sister ship to Royal Princess.

Royal was the first of the Royal Princess class, and was followed by Regal Princess and Britannia. Majestic Princess is due to arrive in 2017 and reports say she will have a mid-ships stairwellwhen delivered.

That leaves Regal and Britannia. I assume that these ships will get the same treatment as Royal.

Here’s a link to a site carrying this news.

Apparently it’s had British owners (Star Capital Partners) since 2011. (Who knew that B+V was British-owned?)

But no more. It’s been sold to a German firm already active in the same markets – ship repair and super-yacht construction. It’s thought that the acquisition is to increase the new owners capacity.

B+V recently did the refurbishment of QM2.

More on the biggest ships

As promised, here’s some some more information on big ships. I’ve arbitrarily decided to define these as “ships bigger than Queen Mary and/or Queen Elizabeth” – Cunard’s original Queens.

First, here’s a table of 65 cruise ships of over 100,000 gross tonnage:

Name Year Gross Tonnage Cabins Passengers
Standard Max
Harmony of the Seas 2016 226,963 2,747 5,479 6,360
Allure of the Seas 2010 225,282 2,706 5,412 6,296
Oasis of The Seas 2009 225,282 2,706 5,412 6,296
Quantum of the Seas 2014 168,666 2090 4,180 4,905
Anthem of the Seas 2015 168,666 2090 4,180 4,905
Ovation of the Seas 2016 168,666 2090 4,180 4,905
Norwegian Escape 2015 165,157 2,124 4,248
Liberty of the Seas 2007 155,889 1,817 3,634 4,375
Norwegian Epic 2010 155,873 2,114 4,100 5183
Freedom of the Seas 2006 154,407 1,817 3,634 4,375
Independence of the Seas 2008 154,407 1,817 3,634 4,375
Queen Mary 2 2004 148,528 1,296 2,592 3,090
Norwegian Breakaway 2013 145,655 1994 3988
Norwegian Getaway 2014 145,655 2014 3910
Britannia 2015 143,730 1780 3611 4100
Royal Princess 2013 142,714 1780 3560 4100
Regal Princess 2014 142,229 1780 3560 4100
Navigator of the Seas 2002 139,570 1,638 3,276 3,807
MSC Divina 2012 139,072 1,739 3,478 3,959
MSC Preziosa 2013 139,072 1,739 3,478 3,959
Mariner of the Seas 2003 138,279 1,557 3,114 3,807
Explorer of the Seas 2000 138,194 1,557 3,114 3,840
Voyager of the Seas 1999 138,194 1,557 3,114 3,840
MSC Fantasia 2008 137,936 1,637 3,274 4,363
MSC Splendida 2009 137,936 1,637 3,274 3,952
Adventure of the Seas 2001 137,276 1,557 3,114 3,807
Carnival Vista 2016 133,596 1,968 3,936 4,980
Costa Diadema 2014 133,019 1,850 3700 4,947
Disney Fantasy 2012 129,750 1,250 2,500 4,000
Disney Dream 2011 129,690 1,250 2,500 4,000
Carnival Dream 2009 128,251 1,823 3,646 4,631
Carnival Breeze 2012 128,052 1,845 3,690 4,720
Carnival Magic 2011 128,048 1,845 3,690 4,720
AIDAprima 2016 125,572 1625 3250
Celebrity Reflection 2012 125,366 1,523 3,046 3,480
Celebrity Silhouette 2011 122,210 1,443 2,886 3,320
Celebrity Solstice 2008 121,878 1,426 2,852 3,148
Celebrity Equinox 2009 121,878 1,426 2,852 3,148
Celebrity Eclipse 2010 121,878 1,426 2,852 3,148
Ventura 2008 116,017 1,508 3092 3597
Diamond Princess 2004 115,875 1,337 2,670 3,286
Sapphire Princess 2004 115,875 1,337 2,670 3,286
Azura 2010 115,055 1,557 3,096 3,574
Costa Pacifica 2009 114,425 1,504 3,000 3,700
Costa Serena 2007 114,147 1,500 3,000 3700
Carnival Splendor 2008 113,562 1,503 3,006
Ruby Princess 2008 113,561 1,540 3,080 3,861
Crown Princess 2006 113,561 1,532 3,080 3,858
Emerald Princess 2007 113,561 1,532 3,080 3,841
Costa Fascinosa 2012 113,321 1,508 3016 3800
Costa Favolosa 2011 113,216 1,508 3016 3800
Caribbean Princess 2004 112,894 1,557 3,080 3,762
Carnival Liberty 2005 110,320 1,487 2,974 3,700
Carnival Freedom 2007 110,320 1,487 2,974 3,700
Carnival Conquest 2002 110,239 1,487 2,974 3,700
Carnival Glory 2003 110,239 1,487 2,974 3,700
Carnival Valor 2004 110,239 1,487 2,974 3,730
Star Princess 2002 108,977 1,301 2,590 3,199
Golden Princess 2001 108,865 1,300 2,590 3,199
Grand Princess 1998 107,517 1,300 2,590 3,199
Carnival Sunshine 1996 102,853 1,501 3,002 3,758
Costa Fortuna 2003 102,587 1,358 2,720 3,470
Costa Magica 2004 102,587 1,358 2,720 3,470
Carnival Triumph 1999 101,509 1,379 2,758 3,470
Carnival Victory 2000 101,509 1,379 2,758 3,470

(The information above was obtained from Wikipedia.) Continue Reading »

The biggest ships

I’ve just read a Cruise Critic list of the 30 biggest cruise ships currently at sea – here’s a link. What’s interesting is that the smallest of the thirty is 130,000 gross tons. Just as a comparison, the original Cunard Queens were just over 80,000 GRT and Titanic was about 50,000 tons.

If I could stir myself I’d do a list of all the ships bigger than the Queens, how many of them there are and when they were built. My guess is that the total is well over 50, possibly nearly 100, and they’ve all been built in the last 20 years. We are living through a golden age of passenger ship construction.

Both P&O and Cunard published their Summer 2018 schedules early this month, and have been taking bookings for the last week or so. (I did a post about the schedules just after they were announced.) At first I was pleased that we had this advance notice – we could finally book a cruise more than two years in advance! – but I’ve now begun to feel that it isn’t such a good idea. Val put it this way when we were talking about it earlier today: “I feel like I’m being pressured into booking a cruise earlier than I really want to”, and I share her feeling. So what’s brought this on?

We looked through the brochure when it arrived and selected a cruise that interested us. Val’s diary and itineraries are very uncertain that far ahead – we’re not even certain that she’ll still be working then – and in any case we perhaps want to have several shorter holidays that year rather than one longer one. So we were principally looking at 7-night cruises and A813 caught our attention. It starts in late May 2018, and includes calls at Hamburg (a new port for us), Amsterdam (with an overnight stay in port) and Le Havre. Then we looked at the offers. As previous customers we’d get an early booking discount of 10% and the deposit would only be 5% (of the undiscounted price) instead of the normal 15%. Those offers will be available until the end of November.

But – do we want to commit ourselves to that cruise so far in advance? And crucially, do we want to do so before we can have a look at other lines’ competing offers? At the moment the only lines that we know about for summer 2018 are P&O and Cunard, but before we make a definite choice we’d really like to see what itineraries Celebrity and Fred. Olsen will be offering, and perhaps other lines as well. Yet we feel pressurised into making that early booking – if we leave it until after November we’ll lose the early booking discount. It is perfectly possible that there will be other offers in place of that discount – increased OBC, perhaps – but we don’t know that for certain. We definitely expect that the reduced deposit requirement will certainly vanish, to be replaced by the normal 15%. Having paid a deposit three times greater than it would have been would make a cruise that we booked that much harder to walk away from if plans or circumstances change.

I can certainly see why P&O are doing this – not only will they be getting the early deposit payments and the commitment, but they’ll also be freezing the other lines out – but as I said we feel pressured into making a booking far earlier than we really want to.

How do other people feel about this?

Fathom shifting?

I’ve done a few posts about Fathom, Carnival Corp’s new ‘culturally immersive’ cruise line. They’ve been operating since the spring or early summer, doing alternating week-long cruises to the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

I had become aware that there were some extremely good offers for Dominican Republic cruises. Now Carnival Corp has announced two additional sailings to Cuba in October and November, presumably with equivalent cancellation of planned sailings to the Dominican Republic.

The press release refers to “strong pent-up demand” by passengers for cruises to Cuba. Perhaps Fathom has found its market after all, except that it’s based on Cuban-Americans checking out the old homestead rather than passengers wanting to give something back in the Dominican Republic? How long before Adonia is replaced with something bigger, I wonder? And if that happens, could Adonia return to P&O? The response to the announcement of the new ship that P&O will be getting in 2020 was generally along the lines of “Too big! Bring back Adonia!”

Here’s a link to the press release.

More on P&O’s new ship

Well, a bit more, gleaned from previous press releases.

First, the new P&O ship was one of three announced on 6 September. Two will be for Carnival Cruise Line and the third will be for P&O. They’ll all be built by Meyer, the German shipbuilding company; two at their traditional shipyard at Papenburg (in Germany) and the other one at the Turku shipyard in Finland that Meyer bought not too long ago.

What we know about these three ships specifically is that they’ll be 180,000 tons; they’ll hold 5,200 passengers normally and up to 6,600 with all berths occupied; and they’ll be propelled by LNG fuel.

In turns out that these aren’t the first such ships that Carnival Corp has ordered. A bit more than a year ago I did a post about an order for four new ships from Meyer for Carnival Corp, two for Costa and two for AIDA. These ships were specified as being 180,000 tons, being LNG propelled, and having a normal capacity of 5,200 passengers and a maximum capacity of 6,600. Sound familiar? To me it seems that the three ship orders just announced amount to another three of the same general class – they’ll all be the same size, have the same propulsion system, and the same passenger capacity. They’ll be spread around Carnival’s lines in the following way: two for Carnival Cruise line itself, two for Costa, two for AIDA and the seventh for P&O. It’s interesting that Carnival Corp is standardising in this way: while Carnival Cruise line and Costa have frequently had very similar ships, up until now AIDA has had its own unique ships while P&O has generally shared ship designs with Princess – Oceana, Ventura, Azura and Britannia all have sisters (or near sisters) in the Princess fleet.

There’s been a lot of comment about the size of these ships. In a post I did over a year ago I extracted this quote about the capacity of these big new ships: “a major part of the innovative design involves making much more efficient use of the ship’s spaces, creating an enhanced onboard experience for guests“. We still wait to see what those design innovations will be.

Finally, there’s something hidden in the detail of the scheduling of these new builds. A year ago it was announced that the four ships in the first order would be delivered in 2019 and 2020. It’s now said (in the Carnival Corp press release) that the delivery date for the P&O ship will be 2020, and that the dates for the Carnival Cruise line pair will be 2020 and 2022. It’s also stated that “…the delivery dates for the new builds for Germany-based AIDA Cruises and Italy-based Costa Cruises for 2020 will shift to 2021….“. I think that this means that Costa and AIDA will each get their first ship in 2019, as originally planned; that the next pair, originally intended to be those lines’ second ships, will instead go to P&O and Carnival Cruise line in 2020; that Costa and AIDA will then get their second ships in 2021, and that these are the first ships of the new order; and that Carnival Cruise line will get its second ship in 2022.

Here are some links. First, to a post I did a year or so ago about the order for the first four of these ships; next a link to the Carnival Corp press release about the current order; and finally a link to a post by a publication, also about the new order.