New cruise line orders two ships and a Christmas mystery is still unsolved

//New cruise line orders two ships and a Christmas mystery is still unsolved

Viking-River-Cruises.jpgThe world of cruising had an interesting Christmas, and will now be looking forward to a healthy and prosperous New Year. There was a surprise Christmas present in the shape of two new ships to be built for a new cruise line.
The award-winning Viking River Cruises is taking to the seas and has placed an order for two 41,000-ton vessels, each capable of carrying 888 passengers, to be delivered in 2014 and 2015. Construction on the first is expected to start in September and the ships are expected to operate mainly in the Mediterranean.
Small by today’s standards at 755ft-long, the ships will be built at the STX yard in St Nazaire, France for Viking Ocean Cruises, whose chairman and CEO is Norwegian Torstein Hagen – boss of Royal Viking Line in the 1980s.
That company originally owned the vessels now sailing as Black Watch and Boudicca for Fred Olsen, and later, when part of Cunard, also ran Sagafjord and Vistafjord – later to become Saga Rose and Saga Ruby – and Sea Goddess I and II which now form SeaDream’s two-ship fleet.
Viking River Cruises, operating 25 boats in Europe, Russia and China, was named River Cruise Line of the Year in both the inaugural Cruise International awards and the British Travel Awards, and also in the Cruise Critic Editor’s Picks. Viking Ocean has an option for the construction of a third cruise ship, for delivery in 2016.
Meanwhile, Christmas also brought its own mystery, in the form of reports of damage to Disney Fantasy, which is nearing completion at the Meyer-Werft yard in Papenburg, Germany.
Building of the ship is taking place inside a giant construction shed from which the 130,000-ton vessel will be floated out within the next couple of weeks.
Water is reported to have entered the vessel, causing damage estimated at one million euros – mostly involving carpets which will have to be replaced.
A spokesperson at Disney Cruise Line’s Florida HQ said the cause of the water “intrusion” was still unknown and claimed it would be wrong to suggest – as some reports in Germany had – that sabotage or vandalism was a factor. However, given the standards of workmanship at the yard, it is almost unthinkable that defective workmanship could be to blame, and if it were, that would have to be an even greater cause for concern.
According to some reports, a number of water valves were allegedly left open, allowing water to enter a total of 40 cabins on the ship. The DCL spokesperson said the damage was not significant, and float-out is still scheduled for January 7. I’ll be in Germany to take a look at Fantasy on January 10, so more on that story later. The ship is due to be christened in Florida in March.
Finally for now, a tale of two calendars. With their forthcoming 175th anniversary in mind, P&O raided their archives to find some treasured memories for their official 2012 publication which lists all the departures of its seven vessels throughout the year. There are black and white pictures of passengers playing deck games, relaxing, boarding vessels at Tilbury and (above) the emotional welcome given to Canberra when she returned safely from the Falklands War to Southampton in 1982.
But I think the crew of Adonia deserve a special mention for the calendar they created and have been selling in aid of Help for Heroes. It features 10 all-male members of cxrew in various stages of undress, personified by 1st Electro-Technical Officer Martyn Davies, who is making the sparks fly in the picture below.
Congratulations to him and the other nine stripping – sorry, strapping – lads: Fleet Safety Trainer Alan Maudling, 1st Engineering Officer Gary Smith, Senior Doctor Peter Hawthorne, Security Officer Donald Turner, Staff Electro-Technical Officer Phil Gowland, Cruise Director Nigel Travis, Technical Stores Manager Andrew Harries, Executive Purser Zak Coombs and Environmental Compliance Officer Pete Farrar.
We’re sure to see even more of them in 2012.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:57+00:00 28 December 2011|Cruise News|3 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.


  1. Cruise Holidays Guide 30 December 2011 at 11:26 am - Reply

    Great to see more small ships being built especially from a quality line such as Viking.

  2. Philip Hurst 3 January 2012 at 11:19 am - Reply

    Can you tell me where one can buy the P&O Heritage calendar?

  3. John Honeywell 4 January 2012 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    P&O tell me the calendar is not for sale, but I have one to give away. Take a look:

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