P&O Cruises Britannia is Red, White And Blue

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

P&O Cruises has put the finishing touches to the brand new livery on its newest ship in the fleet – Britannia, the largest ship built for Britain which will be officially named in a glittering ceremony in Southampton in March 2015.

The bold new look on the bow features the world’s largest contemporary version of the Union Flag, which required the following volumes of paint for the newest look to its ship: 280 litres of red paint , 40 litres red for the shadow, 80 litres of blue, 20 litres of blue for the shadow and
160 litres for the big logo of P&O Cruises on the front of the bow.

The ship will also have two distinctive blue funnels carrying an illuminated rising sun motif which depicts the Oriental part of the Peninsular and Oriental (P&O) name on the company’s coat of arms.

When working to full capacity, Britannia’s four engines will generate 62.4 Megawatts or 84,000 horsepower which is equivalent to the power generated by 168 supercars, allowing the 141,000 ton ship to cruise at a speed of 22 knots.

As P&O Cruises refreshes and re-energises its brand, the company is to update the livery across all eight ships to celebrate, more clearly, its British credentials.

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

P&O Cruises Britannia Livery

Image credit: James Morgan Photographic Consultancy



James Morgan Photographic Consultancy

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Posted in Cruise News, P&O Cruises

Strictly Come Dancing From P&O Cruises

p&o cruises strictly come dancing

As Strictly Come Dancing hits the screens this weekend and the nation thinks about polishing its cha cha cha, P&O Cruises has released a video of its Strictly themed cruises with details and prices for holidays next year.

In 2015, P&O Cruises has four dedicated Strictly Come Dancing themed cruise, in partnership with BBC Worldwide Ltd – including a cruise on brand new ship Britannia during the school summer holidays.

Each cruise will have two pairs of the programme’s professional dancers as well as an outspoken judge and special celebrity guest to offer a Strictly experience to remember.

Regular dance classes will be on offer throughout the cruise and passengers can participate in a dance competition, with the grand finale performances taking place in the main theatre, moderated by the judge and celebrity guest.

The Strictly stars will give up close and personal interviews on board, photo opportunities and signing sessions, and official Strictly Come Dancing performances produced by BBC Worldwide. A stunning selection of costumes from the television show will also be on display around the ship, with organised fashion events to showcase them at their very best.

Strictly Come Dancing themed cruises for 2015 include:

  •  A 14-night cruise to Portugal, Gibraltar & Spain on Aurora departing April 23, 2015.
  • A 14-night cruise to Portugal, Monaco & Italy on Ventura departing May 28, 2015.       
  • A 14 night cruise to Scandinavia, Russia & Estonia on Azura departing June 20, 2015.
  • A  14-night cruise to the Canary Islands & Iberia on Britannia departing July 25, 2015.

Info courtesy of P&O Cruises

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Posted in Cruise News, P&O Cruises

Quantum Of The Seas – Her Conveyance So Far In Pictures

The river conveyance is a unique process for the ships built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Unconventionally situated inland to avoid impact from the storms in the North Seas, Meyer Werft has been sailing ships down the River Ems 32 kilometers to sea since 1795.

Quantum of the Seas has already begun her 10 hour journey and I have highlighted it so far in today’s photo blog.

With the introduction of Quantum of the Seas in 2014 (the introduction of Anthem of the Seas in 2015 and Ovation of the Seas in 2016), Royal Caribbean takes WOW innovations to new heights — literally — with the unveiling of North Star, an awe—inspiring experience where a jewel-like glass capsule takes guests on a spectacular journey more than 300 feet in the air to deliver unprecedented 360-degree views; RipCord by iFly, the first skydiving simulator at sea; as well as the first bumper car and roller skating offerings at sea.

Quantum of the Seas River Ems

Quantum of the Seas Royal Caribbean

Quantum of the Seas

Quantum Class Cruise Ship

Quantum of the Seas Conveyance

Quantum of the Seas Ovation of the Seas

Images courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

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Posted in Cruise News, Royal Caribbean International

Ovation Of The Seas To Join Quantum Class


On the cusp of delivering the first in a new generation of technologically advanced cruise ships Royal Caribbean International marked an important milestone today as the first piece of steel was cut marking the official construction start on the third Quantum class ship.

The steel cutting for Ovation of the Seas, scheduled to be delivered in the autumn of 2016, took place at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, where Quantum of the SeasAnthem of the Seas and now Ovation of the Seas are being built.

The groundbreaking Quantum class ships will debut new unprecedented features, such as dancing Roboscreens in the unique Two70 entertainment venue; robotic bartenders in Bionic Bar; RipCord by iFLY, the first skydiving experience at sea; the North Star, an engineering marvel that transports guests more than 300 feet above the ocean; transformative venues, such as Sea-Plex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; and the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever, including the industry’s first-ever Virtual Balcony staterooms, which offer expansive, real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations for interior staterooms.

The Quantum class will debut in autumn 2014 with Quantum of the Seas sailing from New York followed by her sister-ship Anthem of the Seas in spring 2015 sailing from Southampton in the UK. Quantum ships span 16 decks, encompass 167,800 gross registered tonnes, carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy and feature 2,090 staterooms.

Info courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

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Posted in Cruise News, Royal Caribbean International

Join Crime Writer Ruth Rendell Aboard Saga Sapphire In May 2015

Saga Sapphire

Internationally renowned crime writer, Ruth Rendell, will be headlining Saga Cruises Meet-the-Author series on Saga Sapphire’s Baltic Treasures cruise in May 2015.

Lady Rendell, who is celebrating the 50th anniversary of her crime writing career, will take part in a Q & A session with passengers, who will each receive a copy of her new novel The Girl Next Door.

The best-selling novelist travels the world but has chosen Saga for her first cruise. She said: “ I have been to most of the destinations, particularly Sweden and Denmark, many, many times but I like going to places I know.”

Sailing through the Stockholm archipelago is widely regarded as one of cruising’s ‘must-do’ experiences and this will be another first for the author. She said: “I have been all over Sweden and I know the islands well but I have never arrived by sea. I am looking forward to that.”

The 700-passenger, Saga Sapphire, has earned a reputation for fine dining, professional service and comfortable accommodation. The public areas are roomy and there is a sense of fun with a British 60s seaside theme at the poolside, where passengers can tuck in to ice cream, fish ‘n’ chips or even visit an old-fashioned sweet shop.

I returned from my first ever Baltic cruise just a few short weeks ago and I knew before I even put my feet back on terra firma that I had to sail this region again, so I will be joining this cruise too! The itinerary looks fantastic and features several new ports for me along with a few I visited in June. I have to say that I am incredibly excited to see the Stockholm archipelago again as it really was one of the biggest highlights of my last cruise. As well as this itinerary featuring a few new ports of call, it will also offer a new ship for me to hopefully fall in love with.

Saga Sapphire will call at Ronne, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; St Petersburg, Russia (overnight in port); Tallinn and Saaremaa, Estonia; Riga, Latvia; Warnermunde, Germany and Ijmuiden, Holland. Highlights will include the Stockholm archipelago (of course) and transits of the Kiel Canal in both directions.

Only 231-days to go until she sails! ;)

The Saga Sapphire Baltic Treasures cruise sails from Southampton for 16 nights on May 6, 2015.

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Posted in Saga Cruises

Destinations Best Seen By Sea – According To The Captain!

From the Northern Lights reflected in the Norwegian Sea, to the breath-taking sight of the Opera House when entering Sydney Harbour, seeing a city or famous landmark from the water can be a magical experience, offering a completely different perspective on a destination.

To identify some of the most impressive views from the ocean, CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) has surveyed a selection of cruise line Captains to find out their favourite port approaches or cities best seen by sea:

Tromso, Norway – Captain Arnfinn Kaasbøll, Hurtigruten

“I never tire of sailing into the beautiful city of Tromso, with its wonderful blend of traditional wooden buildings and more modern structures such as the beautiful Arctic Cathedral, all surrounded by mountains to finish off the picturesque scene.

“However, when you approach ‘The Gateway to the Arctic’ with the Northern Lights twinkling overhead, it is truly spectacular. Tromso is directly beneath the Aurora Oval (the epicentre of Northern Lights activity) so we regularly have an opportunity to watch this fantastic show as it changes from light green to dark purple flickering across the sky above the city.”

Hurtigruten - Tromso 1

New York, USA – Captain Hakan Svedung, Norwegian Cruise Line

“My favourite city to approach by water has to be New York. The Manhattan skyline is one of the best in the world. When approaching New York early in the morning the light casts a special glow over the city-scape and with the buildings still lit you can even see an almost perfect reflection in the Hudson River – it’s just stunning.”

Istanbul, Turkey – Captain John Westgarth-Pratt, Thomson Cruises

“My current favourite has to be a sunrise arrival in Istanbul, Turkey.  As this huge city split between two continents awakes, the morning layers of mist lift from the surface of the Bosphorous.  The sunrise over the Asiatic side also illuminates the minarets and grand domes of the Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

“The ship’s course then alters slightly to place the towering Bosphorous suspension bridge straight ahead, leaving the Maiden’s Tower close to starboard – then the ship swings 180° to port through the strong strait currents and morning ferry traffic. A slow approach is then made to enter the Golden Horn estuary and berth starboard side alongside the Salipazari terminal in the very heart of the city. There really is no better way to enjoy and appreciate the dramatic skyline and architecture of Istanbul than arriving by sea at dawn.”

Thomson Cruises - Istanbul 1

Skagway, Alaska – Captain Daniel Green, Regent Seven Seas Cruises

“What I really enjoy is nature and one time, so my favourite port has got to be Skagway, Alaska.  The last time I visited, we were accompanied by some killer whales on the approach. I slowed the ship and we cruised alongside each other for a long time.  The sight was breath-taking and forms some of my best memories at sea”.

Symi, Greece – Captain Nikos Charlaris, Louis Cruises

“As you glide into the long, natural harbour at Symi, you feel like you have slipped back in time. Perhaps the prettiest harbour in Greece, tiers of neo-classical mansions, owned by sponge fishing millionaire and shipping magnate are set in an amphitheatre bay overlooking crystal clear waters. The harbor has been a protected architectural site since the 1970s, which means it keeps its authentic and peaceful feel.”

Sydney, Australia – Captain David Pembridge, P&O Cruises

“The most spectacular sail in, in the world, must be Sydney. In the early morning, before dawn, the ship sails from the turbulent waters of the Tasman Sea through “the heads” into the calmer waters of Port Jackson. The unspoilt shores of the harbour are only faintly visible in the twilight as she turns to port to commence the passage through the navigation channels that will bring her into the heart of the city.

“Early morning ferries and adventurous yachtsmen crisscross ahead of her as she continues towards the outline of Bradley’s Head, sitting dark against the lightening sky. As dawn approaches, the turn to starboard around Bradley’s Head brings the moment for which all of the watching passengers and crew have been waiting; the fantastic city skyline, the iconic Opera House and the vast span of the harbour bridge come into breath-taking view and welcome all on board to another wonderful visit to this magnificent city.”

P&O - Sydney 1

Miami, USA – Captain Alessandro Galotto, Carnival Cruise Lines

“Miami is one of my favourite homeports as it not only offers warm, sunny weather all year-round but also a breathtaking view on arrival and departure.  The giant skyscrapers that line downtown Miami, the million dollar mansions along the coastline and the world-famous South Beach all come into view when sailing in and out of Miami.”

Cape Town, South Africa – Captain Christopher M Turner, Holland America Line

“The unique outline of Table Mountain with the ‘tablecloth’ laid and curling at the edges, as the view of Cape Town (Kaapstad) rises around Table Bay.”

Hong Kong – Captain Geir-Arne Thue-Nilsen, Seabourn

“One of my favourite city skylines is in Hong Kong.  To see the colour and light reflections from the sea is truly a beautiful sight.

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Posted in General Cruise Articles

Holland America Line’s New Ship To Be Named MS Koningsdam

HOLLAND-AMERICA-LINE-NEW-SHIP-2016Holland America Line has revealed the name of its new 99,500-ton cruise ship slated for delivery in February 2016 will be ms Koningsdam. While the name pays homage to the company’s rich heritage and deep roots in the Netherlands, it also reflects a new era with a bold name that is an original in Holland America Line’s 141-year history.  The 2,650-passenger ship is an evolution in design for the line — a new Pinnacle Class — and is being built at Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard.

Since 1883 every Holland America passenger vessel has borne the “dam” suffix, and ms Koningsdam carries on that tradition. The word koning means “king” in Dutch, and the name celebrates the majestic new ship. The name also pays honor to His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, the first king of the Netherlands in over a century.

Holland America Line has a long, proud history with the Netherlands. All 15 premium cruise ships fly the Dutch flag as they sail throughout the world, to more than 400 ports of call. The historic greatness of the line’s Dutch heritage is shared with nearly one million guests each year. And the line has many Dutch employees, including most of the fleet’s captains and officers.

Many of Holland America Line’s ships have been christened by members of the Dutch Royal Family over the past 75 years. Most recently, ms Nieuw Amsterdam was christened by Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima in 2010. And in 2008 ms Eurodam was christened by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. 

“In choosing the name Koningsdam, we are honoring our rich Dutch heritage while reflecting that we’re entering a new era as a company,” said Stein Kruse, chief executive officer of the Holland America Group. “This new Pinnacle Class ship will be our largest, most contemporary vessel, and it was only fitting to give it a name that embodies great achievement for the future, while embracing timeless tradition.”

Holland America Line was founded in the Netherlands in 1873 as the Netherlands-American Steamship Company headquartered in Rotterdam. The original headquarters building still stands today as the Hotel New York on the Wilhelmina Pier, with the company’s European headquarters located nearby.

New design for a new class of ship

When it debuts in February 2016, ms Koningsdam will be a new type of ship for Holland America Line. At 99,500 gross tons and carrying 2,650 guests and 1,025 crew members, the vessel is the largest ever built for the company. The increased size provides more opportunities to add new public spaces and venues, and several innovative features will debut on ms Koningsdam. Familiar spaces and amenities currently featured across the Holland America Line fleet will also be found on the new ship.

To bring a fresh vision to ms Koningsdam, Holland America Line tapped Adam D. Tihany, one of the world’s pre-eminent hospitality designers. Tihany joins distinguished maritime designer and architect Bjorn Storbraaten who worked with Holland America Line on ms Nieuw Amsterdam and ms Eurodam. The two firms will create a modern and contemporary ambiance while incorporating Holland America Line’s classic hallmarks. 

Info courtesy of Holland America Line

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Let’s Talk About The Bay Of Biscay


For some people, just hearing the words ‘Bay of Biscay’ is enough to make them tremble and beg God for forgiveness and protection, but the bay is not all bad!

My blog today is for EVERY SINGLE PERSON out there that is slowly beginning to panic about their Bay of Biscay encounter and especially for those that are even considering changing their cruise booking because of it. Don’t panic, don’t over react, just read the following and calm down.

Let’s talk about the Bay of Biscay and get a few things straight!

Yes, the Bay of Biscay has a terrible reputation and it is not without reason. Parts of the continental shelf extend far into the bay, resulting in fairly shallow waters in many areas and thus the rough seas for which the region is known. The Bay of Biscay is home to some of the Atlantic Ocean’s fiercest weather and large storms often occur in the bay – but NOT ALL OF THE TIME.

I have crossed the Bay of Biscay almost 30-times since I started cruising (I have another 4 crossings to come in 2014) and I have experienced it all! Force 12 gales, flat calm seas, blistering hot sunshine, thunder and lightning, snow, hail stones and torrential rain – you name it, I have sailed through it in the Bay and I still continue to do so.

I can appreciate that people worry about it, after all there are some horror stories out there, but you must always remember that if the Captain thought for one second that conditions were unsafe, he would not sail his ship, passengers and crew through it. Simple as that!

The most common thing that people ask is what they can expect from the Bay and at specific times of the year. I will always tell you the same thing – Mother Nature is Mother Nature and you can NEVER tell what the Bay of Biscay will be like at any time of the year. Granted, the bay does experience more storms during the winter months, but I have sailed in all 4 seasons and experienced it all within those 4 seasons – you just don’t know what it is going to be like.

One voyage took me through the Bay in April of 2012 and I have to admit it was the worst crossing I have ever experienced (note that it was not winter!). The ship was rocking and rolling non-stop for almost 24-hours. The lifts were in very limited supply (in short we were told not to use them), food was only available from certain restaurants as the crew physically couldn’t serve and there was no entertainment.  I absolutely love the rough weather, I really do, so I was in my element, but other passengers were not quite as excited as I was and if I am honest I rarely seen another soul for several hours. Our Captain, however, was fantastic and he kept us all updated every few hours and re-assured us all that although the conditions were rough, the ship was under control and it was perfectly safe. It was a bad crossing, but we got through it and coming back we had perfect conditions, barely even a cloud in the sky.

During one Eastern Mediterranean cruise I sailed the Biscay in November and conditions were quite literally flat calm. There was barely even a ripple on the surface of the water, the air temperature was warm enough to enjoy the open decks and everyone onboard was perfectly content. It was almost like a spring day in the middle of a winter’s ocean, it was beautiful and there was no movement at all.

Bay of Biscay November

Sunset in the Bay of Biscay in NOVEMBER 2011

The above just goes to show that you never know what the sea conditions will be like. I have had rough weather in July and calm weather in November. Moderate weather in September and severe storms in April – Mother Nature controls it all, we just have to go with it.

Let me give you some honest advice. Buy some seasickness pills and forget about it, just look forward to your cruise. Don’t start stressing yourself out to the point where you are considering changing your voyage or cancelling your cruise altogether.

For every 1 bad crossing that I have experienced, I have had 4 good ones. Even in what they would call ‘moderate’ sea conditions you barely feel any movement because the ship is well stabilised. It really does have to be fierce outside for it to have a big effect on the ships movement and to the point where it would cause you severe discomfort.

I hope this blog has helped put the minds of some of you at rest and allows you stop thinking about it so much for a little while. Chances are your crossing will be nothing out of the ordinary and you probably won’t feel a thing, but if you do, it will likely be very slight and do nothing other than gently rock you to sleep. :)

Author: Danielle

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Posted in General Cruise Articles, New To Cruising

MSC Armonia Cut In Two! – MSC Cruises Renaissance Project

MSC Armonia stretch extension

MSC Cruises has taken a major step in the €50 million upgrade of its smallest ship, MSC Armonia – by cutting it in two!

Work to insert a new pre-built section into the 60,000gt vessel has now begun at the Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo, Sicily. When completed, the cruise ship will be 24 metres longer than before and boast an additional 193 cabins.

The incredible engineering feat marks the start of the cruise line’s €200 million ‘Renaissance’ project, which is transforming all four of MSC Cruises’ similarly-sized
Lirica-class ships (MSC Armonia, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera and MSC Lirica).

Each ship will take approximately nine weeks to lengthen and refit, with the new-look MSC Armonia sailing out of the shipyard on November 17. After a repositioning cruise from Genoa to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria it will begin a winter season of week-long Canary Island sailings.

MSC Armonia stretch extension

Sister ship MSC Sinfonia goes in for the same treatment in on January 12 2015, with work starting on MSC Opera and MSC Lirica in May 2015 and August 2015 respectively. The whole ‘Renaissance’ programme should be completed by November 2015.

The lengthening work involves each ship being cut in two just in front of the funnel (slightly behind the mid-way point) and then separated so the new section can be inserted. The hull is then resealed.

MSC Armonia is currently 251 metres long, carries a maximum of 2,199 passengers and has a gross tonnage of 60,000gt. Once the new section is inserted it will be 275 metres long, have a gross tonnage of 65,000gt and be able to cater for 2,679 guests.

In addition to the new cabins for passengers and crew, each ship will undergo a host of on-board and technological improvements. These include the addition of a spray water park for children, extended designer shopping outlets, refitted restaurants and public areas and new storage areas. MSC Armonia and MSC Sinfonia will also benefit from improved bow thruster technology.

MSC Armonia stretch extension

Renaissance Programme explained

MSC Cruises Renaissance Project

MSC Cruises’ Lirica class ships:

The four Lirica Class ships were built between 2003 and 2005 at the STX yards in Saint-Nazaire, France. They are currently 251 metres long, 60,000gt and carry 2,199 guests. After the “renaissance programme”, the ships will be 275 meters long, be 65,000gt and carry 2,679 guests, boasting 193 additional cabins (plus 59 new cabins for crew members).

The additional capacity will consist of 79 new inside cabins, 82 new outside cabins and 92 extra balcony cabins in total (32 are new and 60 converted from outside cabins).

Ship modifications planned

  • Removal of a lounge at deck 7 and installation of new passenger cabins.
  • Conversion of the deck 9 window cabins to balcony cabins.
  • Removal of the crew area at deck 7 and creation of new passenger cabins.
  • Addition of a new ship section of approximately 24m in length. The new ship section will provide additional open spaces, passenger cabins, public areas and crew cabins.
  • Deck 6: new public areas include lounge and library area larger teen area and video games
  • Deck 11: four kids’ club areas catering for different age group (0-14 years); larger massage area; refreshed buffet and pizza/grill; new gelateria (ice cream station)
  • Deck 12: pool refit with addition of spray water park for children; new canopy over bar area
  • Additional cold and refrigerated food storage rooms and extra common areas for crew.
  • Additional lifeboats/tenders shall be provided to comply with the new LSA of the vessels, increased by 500 persons, taking the new total to 3,300 persons on board.
  • On MSC Armonia and MSC Sinfonia, a further operation shall be required to increase the size of the bow thrusters.

MSC Armonia stretch extension

Info courtesy of MSC Cruises

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Posted in Cruise News, MSC Cruises

Britannia! Start Your Engines!

Britannia Captain Paul Brown

There was great excitement at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard near Trieste in Italy today as the engines of Britain’s biggest cruise ship, Britannia, were started up for the first time by Formula One racing presenter Suzi Perry. Also on hand were Captain of the Britannia, Paul Brown and chief engineer, Sinclair Ross.

When working to full capacity, Britannia’s four engines will generate 62.4 Megawatts or 84,000 horsepower which is equivalent to the power generated by 168 supercars, allowing the 141,000 ton ship to cruise at a speed of 22 knots.

When the biggest ship built for the British cruise market sets sail on her maiden voyage from Southampton to the Mediterranean on March 14, 2015 it will mark a change in holidays at sea.

Take a look inside P&O Cruises, Britannia!

Britannia P&O Cruises

Britannia P&O Cruises

Britannia Engines 1

Britannia Engines 2

 Image credit: James Morgan


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Posted in Cruise News, P&O Cruises
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