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Royal Princess is on her way to UK

After a last-minute hiccup during sea trials, requiring an unexpected return to dry dock for emergency repairs, Royal Princess is sailing to Britain. With its air-conditioning compressors working properly again, the 4,000-passenger ship was handed over by its builders in Italy yesterday, and Capt Tony Draper is now at the controls. The flags of Italy and Fincantieri were ceremoniously lowered before the flags of Princess and Bermuda - where the vessel is registered - were raised. At 141,000 tons, Royal Princess is the largest ship ever built for Princess Cruises, and the biggest assembled at Fincantieri's Monfalcone yard, near Trieste. [...]

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:32+00:00 31 May 2013|Cruise Ships|0 Comments

QM2 marks a maiden anniversary

Cunard's Queen Mary 2 arrives in New York tomorrow, 77 years to the day that the original Queen Mary made her maiden visit to the Big Apple in 1936. Many things have changed in the intervening years, not least the fare for a crossing from Southampton. Passengers travelling in third-class accommodation on Queen Mary paid £8 10 shillings (£18.50) for the privilege. An inside cabin on QM2 this week was £1,199. A Main Deck suite in 1936 would have cost £102 per passenger; the Balmoral duplex suite on QM2 was a mere £9,016 - but did come with its own [...]

Do these videos prove Cunard has discovered the secret of time travel?

If you are thinking of booking a cruise on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth, everything you ever need to know - and probably more - is set out in this instructive video. How to tell the front of the ship from the back and port from starboard, where to enjoy afternoon tea, and how to book a shore excursion - it's all here. The film - some of which was shot while I was on board in April - gives the impression of being educational rather than an entertainment. It's certainly nowhere near as much fun as the free-running tour of Thomson [...]

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:32+00:00 30 May 2013|Cruise Ships|0 Comments

The $1 million shopping delivery

Ever wondered what happens after you have disembarked your ship at the end of a cruise, or what's going on while you are waiting to board? This short video gives a glimpse into just some of the activities taking place on the biggest cruise ship in the world during turnaround day in Fort Lauderdale. While an army of stateroom attendants cleans the cabins, a fleet of trucks delivers a million dollars' worth of food and drink to the quayside and a small armada of forklifts puts everything on board - amazingly in these high-tech, health and safety-obsessed days, employing a [...]

By | 2013-05-26T06:43:25+00:00 26 May 2013|Cruise Ships|0 Comments

Donald Duck tail for Disney Magic

What's the big idea? More details have emerged of the changes planned for Disney Magic during a multi-million pound refit at the end of this summer - and it turns out the ship will gain about 20 feet in length. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, as Donald Duck might say, the 15-year-old ship is actually going to get its own ducktail when it goes into dry dock in Cadiz, Spain. The technical term for the addition is a sponson, and it is becoming a common addition to vessels in middle age, as I discovered when Royal Caribbean's Splendour of [...]

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:33+00:00 25 May 2013|Cruise Ships|0 Comments

Ground control to Royal Princess: commencing countdown, engines on

The curvature of the skyline might give the impression that this cruise ship is so huge it was photographed from the International Space Station by "Major Tom" Commander Chris Hadfield. But I suspect that the image of Royal Princess was shot from a helicopter using one of those expensive fish-eye lenses I could only dream of attaching to my Canon. The ship was undertaking its final sea trials in the Adriatic. It's now back at the Fincantieri yard in Monfalcone, Italy where crew are arriving and the final countdown is being made for the hand-over to Princess Cruises on May [...]

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:33+00:00 20 May 2013|Cruise Ships|0 Comments

Brighter Brilliance off to the Baltic

The spectacular Russian port of St Petersburg welcomes Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas tomorrow (Tuesday) for the first of eight scheduled visits this summer. The 2,112-passenger ship arrived in the Essex port of Harwich last week fresh from a £20 million revitalization. The 11-year-old vessel has been brought it up to date with the addition of many of the features which are now taken for granted on newer ships. There's a 220-square foot LED cinema screen above the main pool as well as new flat-screen TVs in every cabin, wi-fi access throughout the ship and an interactive touch-screen information [...]

I christen you the Europa 2

"I christen you the EUROPA 2": Godmother Dana Schweiger (second left) with Hapag-Lloyd MD Dr Wolfgang Flagel, presenter Eva Habermann, and Capt Jan Akkermann Relaxed luxury is the newly-coined theme for Europa 2, and it was carried through to last night's naming ceremony in Hamburg. With the port en fete for its 824th anniversary, the ship slipped quietly down-river for the ceremony. Seven hundred guests watched as model Dana Schweiger took on the godmother duties and smashed a bottle of Champagne against the hull, before presenting the broken neck to Captain Friedrich Jan Akkermann. A firework display and a performance [...]

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:33+00:00 11 May 2013|Cruise Ships|0 Comments

Luxury for lottery winners

From the print edition of the Daily Mirror, 11 May, 2013 Brand new six-star cruise ship Europa 2 doesn't have staterooms or cabins. Every room is a suite and each has a sea view and a spacious balcony. The simplest have a bathroom with a window opening into the sleeping area; at the top of the range the bathrooms have floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides and come with a day bed for lazy lounging. It must feel like toweling down in a very posh spa. Pretty much the atmosphere achieved throughout the ship, which came to Britain briefly this week [...]

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:33+00:00 11 May 2013|Cruise Ships|0 Comments

Bobbing along in the Bay

From the print edition of the Daily Mirror, May 11, 2013 Capt Greybeard meets Capt Haddock and Snowy on the Île de Ré Bay of Biscay. Three little words that strike terror into the heart of sailors and landlubbers alike. The storm-tossed seas are a barrier that must be crossed on a cruise from Southampton or Dover to the warm waters of the Mediterranean or the Canaries. Quickly, before it turns round and bites. Its location between France and Spain attracts winds which follow the Gulf Stream across the Atlantic, and the shallow seabed exaggerates wave motion - all of [...]

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:33+00:00 11 May 2013|Cruise Destinations, Cruise Ships|0 Comments