Seabourn debuts An Evening With Tim Rice

Sir Tim Rice presents the narration of a musical journey through some of his best-known work for a new production that will debut on Seabourn Encore in January and follow on every ship in the fleet.

An Evening With Time Rice brings together his work as a lyricist with composers Andrew Lloyd Webber on Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita; Elton John’s The Lion King; Alan Menken, on Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast; and ABBA’s Bjorn and Benny on Chess.

The new show has been created exclusively for Seabourn by Belinda King Creative Productions. It will […]

Fred Olsen’s four ships to meet in Spain for party to celebrate 170th anniversary

Cruise lines love an anniversary, and will seize any excuse for a party.

Cunard and P&O are past masters at bringing their ships together to celebrate any event that has a zero or a five at the end of it.

It’s only 15 months since Balmoral, Black Watch, Boudicca and Braemar sailed in convoy into Bergen to mark the 200 birthday of the original Fred Olsen.

Now Fred Olsen Cruise Lines are planning another celebration, this time the 170th anniversary of the company’s beginnings, carrying cargo on sailing vessels.

The four cruise ships will gather in the Spanish port of Cadiz on September […]

Merchant Navy Medal for Saga Cruise captain Philip Rentell

Saga’s senior captain, Philip Rentell, is one of 13 recipients of the new Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service, awarded for “exemplary service and devotion to duty.”

Philip, who addresses his intrepid passengers as “Saganauts” and is due to retire next year, has been at sea since 1969.

He will be at the helm of Saga Sapphire in November for a 24-night mystery cruise – only he and his senior officers know the itinerary, and passengers will have to guess whether to pack for warm or cold weather.

On a previous mystery cruise, he brought along a friend who flew a hot-air […]

Spruce-up for Saga Sapphire

Saga Sapphire returns today (Saturday) from her first cruise of the summer, following two months of extended maintenance work in the engine room.

The 34-year-old ship – originally built as Europa for German company Hapag-Lloyd – has been in dock at the Blohm and Voss yard in Hamburg. She welcomed groups of new-to-Saga customers for a gala night in Dover on Monday, before leaving for the short cruise to Portland, Dorset, and St Malo and Le Havre in France.

Saga’s Stuart McQuaker said the work on Sapphire’s main engines will “ensure continued reliability for the years of service ahead.”

He added: “While […]

British captain takes command of Encore

Seabourn has named Captain Mark Dexter as the master of its newest vessel, Seabourn Encore, which will be christened in Singapore in January.

Capt Dexter, who joined Seabourn in 2007, recently served as fleet captain, overseeing the implementation of the company’s bridge resource management systems.

He began his career at sea as a deck cadet with Cunard, and he worked on tankers, container ships, and refrigerated cargo ships before moving to ferries. He will be familiar to British passengers from his spells of duty with Hebridean Island Cruises and Swan Hellenic.

Originally from Portsmouth, he now lives in Christchurch, New Zealand with […]

Legend of the Seas to join sister ship Splendour as Thomson Cruises’ fleet grows again

With just one week to go until Thomson Cruises welcomes the 1,800-passenger TUI Discovery (above)  the company has announced there will be a TUI Discovery 2 from May next year.

Discovery is the former Royal Caribbean ship Splendour of the Seas; Discovery 2 is sister ship Legend of the Seas. Old favourites Thomson Spirit and Thomson Majesty will be leaving the fleet at the end of 2017.

Discovery 2 has 915 cabins, almost 40 per cent of which have balconies. There are eight bars, plus activities and entertainment offering something for all the family, including a poolside cinema screen, a rock-climbing […]

Royal Caribbean orders fifth Oasis-class ship

The paint is barely dry on Harmony of the Seas (above), still in the middle of its inaugural cruises out of Southampton, and this week Royal Caribbean International has ordered yet another billion-dollar Oasis-class cruise ship.

The fifth-in-class vessel, which will no doubt be tweaked in order to be slightly bigger in order to claim the “biggest in the world” title, will be built in France and is scheduled for completion in 2021.

A fourth version of the design is already being built, and should be delivered in mid-2018. Each vessel carries more than 6,000 passengers and 2,100 crew.

This week’s announcement […]

Seven-year-deal for Royal Caribbean to cruise from Southampton’s City terminal

There’s nothing more frustrating at the start of a cruise than having to queue to check in and go through the necessary security procedures. Especially if you’ve had to queue even to get into the terminal before the process can begin.

Royal Caribbean International is promising to leave its competitors standing when it comes to UK cruise departures from Southampton and announced its seven-year-deal on board the biggest cruise ship in the world.

As part of a £5.5 million investment in City Cruise Terminal, RCI promises that passengers will be at the ships’ gangway within 10 minutes of stepping from the […]

Vatican Bishop of the Sea visits P&O’s Oceana

The Vatican Bishop charged with the pastoral care of seafarers visited the crew of the P&O Cruises ship Oceana this week, while it was docked in Civitavecchia, near Rome.

Bishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, from Catholic charity Apostleship of the Sea, presented Captain Christopher Bourne with the Apostleship of the Sea Crest.

A large number of the ship’s 890 officers and crew – many of them from Catholic countries such as the Philippines – joined the Bishop for a Mass conducted in the ship’s Footlights theatre.

Bishop Joseph, who is Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants, which […]

Back in time for (almost) a proper ship launch

I’ve been travelling in the Med this week on board Carnival Vista – the newest and biggest ship in Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet.

Today, thanks to Carnival and the Fincantieri shipyard in Castellammare di Stabia, I travelled back in time, to an era when ships were not built in dry dock, as they are now, but on a slipway – from which they were launched into the sea rather than simply being “floated out.”

The yard, in the Bay of Naples and just a few miles from Sorrento, does not have a dry dock and does not have the facilities to […]