A YEAR IN CRUISE
From the unveiling of the refurbished Oasis of the Seas in November, to the highly anticipated launch of the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection in February, the upcoming year promises a wealth of successful new beginnings for the cruise industry.
Below we explore just a few of 2019-2020’s most exciting cruise projects!
Saga’s new Spirit of Discovery was christened in Dover this month.
It seems Dover was a natural choice, given its the place that waved Saga’s first cruise ship off on its maiden voyage over 20 years ago. Furthermore, Saga’s headquarters are based in Kent, making the White Cliffs of Dover the perfect setting.
The ceremony was also a historic event for the Port of Dover. For more than a decade, no ships have been named there. According to Chief Operating Officer Nigel Banks, many surprises were planned for the celebration.
The voyage carried 999 guests around the British Isles, docking in ports such as Newcastle, Edinburgh, Belfast, and Liverpool.
The ship offers an all-inclusive service to all guests, something Saga hopes will distance them “further from the competition and mass cruise market”.
SunStone’s Greg Mortimer will be delivered in August this year and is one of up to ten expedition ships SunStone plans to build in China.
The X-BOW design of the ship will support faster travel and is said to allow for a smoother sailing experience on rough seas.
Aurora Expeditions has charted the 200-passenger capacity ship.
President and CEO, Niels-Erik Lund is pleased that the ship brings together world class design, X-BOW technology, and luxurious interior construction for a unique cruise experience.
Le Bougainville will operate as part of Ponant’s Quintessential Collection this September, presenting a “Musical Odyssey in the Mediterranean”.
The seven-night cruise will set sail on the 20th, embarking on a musical adventure from Athens to Rome.
Guests will visit various sites in Greece and Italy, all of which are renowned for their ancient history.
Joining them will be a group of world-class classical musicians. Violinist Kristin Lee, cellist Nicholas Canellakis, pianist Michael Brown, and flutist Jasmine Choi were all personally invited by artistic director of the voyage, Michael Parloff.
The artists will offer private recitals throughout the journey and will “participate fully in excursions and life aboard the ship”.
The once in a lifetime experience will set guests back a minimum of £4,000.
The new 183,900-ton, LNG-powered Costa Smeralda will embark on her first voyage in October. She will leave on a 15-day inaugural cruise from Hamburg to Savona on the 20th, receiving a naming ceremony on November 3rd.
The ship recently received Costa’s iconic blue ‘C’ funnel, a company staple of 70 years. The Smeralda will make Costa the first in the global cruise market to use the world’s cleanest fossil fuel, LNG.
“Costa Smeralda is the ship that is the symbol of beauty, style, and Italian hospitality”, boasts Costa, “Experience a cruise at the forefront of environmental protection, thanks to an LNG combustion system, the cleanest in the world.”
November will be an exciting month for Royal Caribbean, as the Oasis of the Seas embarks on her first journey following the unveiling of her 63-day refurbishment.
Royal Caribbean dedicated $165m to the project following the ship’s 10thanniversary.
The ship will leave from Miami on November 24thand will offer guests brand new, luxury experience.
Changes include “reimagined” pool and sports areas, surf simulators, rock climbing walls, and a nine-deck high zip line. Furthermore, Oasis of the Seas now has its own portside barbeque and karaoke venue.
The on-board ‘Sugar Beach’ will offer over 220 types of candy and ice cream. Diets really will be a distant memory for holiday-goers!
The Carnival Panorama will be delivered on December 11th following its construction at the Fincantieri Marghera shipyard in Italy. It will then head off on its three-day maiden voyage to Ensenada.
The 2,004 cabins include Havana staterooms and suites, alongside ocean view cabins and balcony staterooms.
One notable feature of the ship is the sea’s first trampoline park! The 12-lane court will also be utilised for basketball and dodgeball games. Furthermore, the ship boasts an extravagant waterpark and BBQ restaurant accessible to all 4,008 guests.
1,450 crew members will work on board across all 15 passenger desks, creating a wealth of job opportunities throughout the cruise sector.
Disney Cruise Line recently announced the return of its Star Wars Day at Sea for the 2020 cruise season.
The event will feature on select seven-night cruises taking place from January to March. It promises guests a magical trip full of live shows and character encounters.
Guests of all ages will enjoy Star-Wars themed activities, along with themed food and beverages, and special merchandise.
To conclude the day, Disney will “Summon the Force” by holding a deck party in celebration of the much-loved universe. In true Disney style, the conglomerate will treat guests to a spectacular firework show.
The first of the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection’s 3 confirmed vessels will be launched in Feb 2020, with talks of many more beyond that.
The three vessels are each 623 feet long and weigh 21,000 gross tons.
The project has created a wealth of opportunities for cruise industry professionals. The Ritz Carlton promises an intimate experience to all 298 passengers in 149 suites. This will be provided by 246 carefully selected crew members.
The demand for the collection stemmed from a 2016 study that saw over 400,000 of the Ritz Carlton’s luxury hotel guests take a cruise. Therefore, the company decided to form their own place in the market… but with a twist.
The smaller size of the Ritz Carlton yachts will allow them to visit the ports that larger ships cannot, therefore offering guests unique luxury travel experiences that can’t be found elsewhere.
“Ritz-Carlton’s luxury vessels aspire to blur the line between luxury accommodation, yachting, and cruise vacation” states Ship Technology.
Istanbul’s Galataport will open in March 2020 and is forecasted to serve 1.5m passengers per year.
The terminal expands over 20,000 square meters and will utilise high tech equipment in an attempt to revolutionise Istanbul’s ship tourism potential.
The port will cater to the needs of all standard cruise ships, launching a new era of tourism for Istanbul. Three large ships will be able to dock at the same time, supporting a turnover of an estimated 15,000 cruise passengers per day.
According to Figen Ayan, Vice President of Cruise Operations at the port, “the number of confirmed ship reservations for 2020 for the moment has exceeded 50”.
Cruise companies planning to dock at the port include Carnival Corportation, Royal Caribbean, and Regent Seven Seas.
Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady will set sail from Miami for her inaugural season in April 2020.
The experience promises sailors the opportunity to “escape the chaos” and enjoy a life of luxury.
Disregarding buffet style dining, Scarlet Lady will offer over 20 all-inclusive dining options from casual to haute cuisine.
‘Boredom’ is clearly a word Branson has never heard of, tantalising guests with nine different entertainment venues. From drag bars, to off-Broadway shows, to acrobatic performances, Virgin Voyages has you covered.
The cruise will also dock at The Beach Club on the exclusive island of Bimini in the Bahamas. Here guests will kick start their days with shore-side yoga and meditation, before alcohol fuelled pool parties take centre stage in the afternoon. Boating, snorkelling, and wreck diving are also available excursions for thrill seeking sailors.
What’s more, Virgin Voyages have expressed the priority they place in their fleet being environmentally friendly. The ship has banned plastics such as water bottles and straws, and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by converting engine heat into electricity.
In May, P&O’s Iona will set sail from Southampton.
Recently unveiled was Iona’s centrepiece- a breath-taking Grand Atrium. It features stunning natural lit views of the sea on three consecutive decks.
“We’ve set out to make sure the sea is the star on Iona”, says P&O Cruises senior vice president, Paul Ludlow. “Guests will be wowed by three storey-high glass walls and the ever-changing view they reveal.”
The ship’s designers worked hard to create a seamless transition from day to night with the use of warm lighting. These will set the mood of the exquisite wine bars and exclusive entertainment spaces on each floor.
Enchanted Princess, the fifth ship in Princess Cruises’ Royal Class, will launch in June.
Excitingly, the ship will be named in Southampton. It will then whisk its 3,560 passengers away to the Mediterranean for a season of cruises.
As with the fleet’s previous ships, Enchanted Princess boasts a wealth of entertainment features. Amongst the Piazza and adults-only Sanctuary will be the renowned SeaWalk experience that encourages passengers to walk over a glass floor extended from the top deck.
The most luxury suites will feature 700 square feet balconies, 270-degree views, and the opportunity to enjoy the ships ‘Movies Under The Stars’ events from the comfort of their rooms. Furthermore, 80% of the ship’s cabins offer balconies, meaning everyone gets a taste of the high life!
Fares start at £739 per person and Princess are already taking bookings.
As always, behind any great cruise ship is a fantastic crew!