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 […]

P&O’s Adonia will stay in the Caribbean with Fathom throughout 2017

Social impact cruise line Fathom has announced additional sailing dates, extending Adonia’s stay in the Caribbean through to December 2017. The move comes as demand continues to grow for Fathom and its first-of-a-kind voyages from the US to Cuba and the Dominican republic

“We have been humbled by the tremendous response Fathom has received from travellers eager to experience Fathom while helping the Dominican Republic to flourish and making history through human connections and immersive experiences in Cuba,” says Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation.

“Fathom resonates with travellers as the best way to travel with […]

Harmony of the Seas is heading for the UK

Royal Caribbean took delivery of the biggest cruise ship in the world today when Harmony of the Seas was handed over by builders STX France.

And 2,100 members of crew from 77 different countries lined up in the ship’s AquaTheatre to watch the ceremony.

Harmony is a few inches longer than her older sisters, Oasis and Allure of the Seas, and measures 227,000 gross tons, against the 225,000 tons of her predecessors.

The 5,479-passenger ship has a number of innovations including the tallest slide at sea, Ultimate Abyss, which plunges 10 decks from the Pool deck to the Boardwalk.

Its 23 swimming pools, […]

Crystal adds SIX river ships as deal is signed for Endeavour and first in Exclusive-class

Crystal’s expansion continues at an ever-accelerating pace. In Germany this week to initiate the steel-cutting for the luxury line’s first river ships, president and CEO Edie Rodriguez announced that the company has ordered six river cruise yachts – two more than the expected figure.

The vessels, to be delivered between 2017 and 2019, will take Crystal’s river fleet to a total of seven – Crystal Mozart, the largest passenger ship on Europe’s inland waterways, is currently being refurbished and re-fitted, and will make her maiden voyage in July.

Captain Greybeard was the only British journalist invited to join Rodriguez for the ceremony that […]