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 […]

Viking cruise set to conquer the world

In the week that Viking Ocean Cruises’ second ship was christened on the River Thames at Greenwich, the company has announced that its fourth ocean vessel will debut in December 2017 with a 141-day World Voyage.

Viking Sea was named by Karine Hagen, the line’s senior vice-president, and daughter of company founder Torstein Hagen, using a bottle of Norwegian Aquavit instead of the more traditional Champagne.

Viking Sun – to be preceded earlier next year by Viking Sky – will visit 66 ports in 35 countries during the world cruise scheduled to depart from Miami on December 15, and finish in […]

Princess embraces Lord Grantham and the Downton family

Downton Abbey may have played its last on UK television – apart from the inevitable repeats – but every cruise line wanting to appeal to British passengers and international fans of the Grantham clan is determined to grab a slice of the action.

A number of cruise lines offer excursions to Highclere Castle, the Hampshire pile that was the location for filming the series’ Abbey (which was in Yorkshire).

Now Princess Cruises is to showcase Downton Abbey exhibits on two of its UK-based ships this summer

Both Emerald Princess and Caribbean Princess will have displays of costumes and jewellery worn by several characters […]

Victory for Fathom in Cuba row

Adonia, until earlier this year the baby of P&O Cruises’ fleet, started her new life this week taking passengers on an “impact travel” cruise to the Dominican Republic.

And operator Fathom has now achieved a major concession from the Cuban government over a passenger ban that was threatening to scupper cruises to Havana. It will now become the first ship to carry American passengers to the island in more than 50 years.

The ban brought threats of legal action from Cuban-born passengers prohibited by Cuban law from travelling as guests on the 700-passenger ship.

After initially refusing to accept bookings from Cuban-born […]