Carnival invests €30 million in new cruise terminal for Barcelona

Barcelona, the busiest cruise port in Europe, is to get a new passenger terminal, with an investment of €30 million from Carnival Corporation. Construction work is expected to start in 2016 and the new facility is scheduled to open in time for the 2018 summer cruise season.

Barcelona currently has four cruise terminals – one operated exclusively for Carnival brand ships – on its main breakwater jetty. There are two more closer to the city centre, next to the World Trade Centre building.

The new building, which is likely to handle passengers travelling with Cunard, P&O Cruises and Princess, as well as […]

Crystal takes cruise world by surprise with ambitious expansion plans

Even the keenest Crystal ball-gazer would have had problems anticipating last night’s sensational announcements from Crystal Cruises.

Rumours of expansion have been circulating for months, starting soon after Edie Rodriguez took over as company president and reaching fever pitch when the company was bought from its Japanese owners by Hong Kong financiers Genting.

Some cruise industry pundits were sceptical, saying they had heard it all before and they would not believe it until they saw it. They will now be eating their words – Crystal is to build not one, but three new ocean ships. Not only that, it is expanding […]

Cruise liner QM2 adds room for single passengers, more pets, and extra balconies

Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 is to be fitted with extra accommodation for passengers and their pets.

During a dry-dock refit next year, the vessel will be given 30 new balcony cabins for passengers travelling in Britannia Club class, and 15 single staterooms for passengers travelling individually, either as part of a larger family group or sailing solo.

QM 2 is the only cruise liner with kennels and these are frequently fully booked for passengers’ dogs and cats on Transatlantic crossings. Ten new kennel places will be created – taking the total to 22 – and a lamp-post and a US-style […]

How will Caribbean cruising be changed when ships can take passengers to Cuba?

I wrote this piece in February for publication in World of Cruising magazine. After this week’s announcements from MSC Cruises and Carnival’s fathom brand, it seems more appropriate than ever.
 

Just imagine waking up one morning to the news that a new island had suddenly appeared in the middle of the Mediterranean.

Not one of those barren volcanic outcrops that occasionally surface off the coast of Iceland, but a fully-functioning community, with a history and culture all its own. Ancient ruins from another era, a thriving industry producing potent alcoholic drinks, and even an exotic nightclub with a the most over-the-top song and dance show […]

Obama trade thaw opens Cuba door for MSC Cruises and Carnival’s fathom

As President Obama strives to earn a place in history by lifting the restrictions on trade between the US and Cuba, news comes this week of two cruise lines that will soon be visiting the island.

MSC Cruises were first off the starting blocks, announcing that 2,120-passenger MSC Opera will be operating 16 seven-night cruises from Havana this winter.

The newly-refurbished ship, which has just gained an extra 197 cabins, will be in Cuba from December to April and its itineraries include visits to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cozumel in Mexico, as well as overnight stays in Havana.

MSC avoids the […]

Traditional lion dance celebrates keel-laying for Princess Cruises’ China-bound ship

A Chinese lion dance marked the keel-laying of Princess Cruises’ third Royal class ship in the Italian shipyard where sister ships Royal Princess, Regal Princess, and P&O Cruises Britannia were built.

The 3,600-passenger vessel will follow rival Quantum of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean, to be based in Shanghai when it is launched in summer 2017 and will have a number of features tailored for the Chinese market.

The ceremonial placing of the first 500-ton section of the ship in dry dock at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone yard near Trieste was also celebrated with a blessing by a Catholic priest. Julie Benson, […]

Northern Delights – but don’t sleep through your chance to see the Aurora Borealis

The Northern Lights are on every traveller’s bucket list. It doesn’t matter that – apart from on the rare occasions when they can be seen from the UK – a winter journey into the frozen Arctic is a pre-requisite for a sighting. The journey might be arduous, but the reward makes even a fleeting glimpse worthwhile.

We’ll put ourselves through many privations for the privilege, but let’s face it, there can be fewer more comfortable ways of travelling in search of the Aurora Borealis than by cruise ship. Which is what I did earlier this year on Saga Pearl II. […]

Now Carnival gets the all-clear to take fathom’s Adonia on ground-breaking cruises to Cuba

Anyone who greeted last month’s announcement of Carnival’s new fathom brand of voluntourism cruises with a sceptical “Is that it?” can look again today.

The company has announced it has been given the all-clear to take their ship – which remains as P&O Cruises’ Adonia until next spring. – to Cuba. The news comes hard on the heels of MSC revealing that their ship MSC Opera will be based in Havana this winter.

The concept of fathom is to provide “social impact” holidays, with passengers taking part in local volunteer projects. The first of those are in the Dominican Republic, but […]

Royal decides to hang on to its Majesty

In a surprise U-turn, Royal Caribbean International has reversed the decision to transfer cruise ship Majesty of the Seas to the company’s Spanish brand, Pullmantur.

The 2,380-passenger ship – at 23 years old the veteran of Royal’s fleet – is to be given a multi-million dollar refit that will add waterslides and an outdoor cinema screen, as well as the superfast wifi that was introduced on the lines Quantum of the Seas. On Majesty, passengers will have free internet access.

New restaurant options to be added include Izumi Japanese cuisine with fresh sushi rolls and sashimi; the Sabor Taqueria, featuring modern Mexican dishes; […]

From the old world to the new – by sea

It’s exactly 175 years ago today that a Cunard ship made its first passenger crossing of the Atlantic. The steamship Britannia carried 115 passengers and 89 crew on the voyage, which took 12 days to reach Halifax, Nova Scotia from Liverpool, and went on to Boston and New York.

That first Cunard ship would fit comfortably inside the main dining room of Queen Mary 2 (above), which leaves the Mersey today on a one-off voyage to recreate the crossing, and which remains the only vessel providing a scheduled Transatlantic service between Southampton and New York

David Bowie and Rod Stewart are […]