Cruise News

Fifth Cruise Terminal For Southampton To Debut For 2021 Season

A new next-generation-ready fifth cruise terminal is to open in Southampton for the 2021 cruise season.

Associated British Ports have announced that the port will benefit from the new more environmentally friendly terminal which will house roof-mounted solar panels and will also have shore power connectivity installed to allow cruise ships to switch to shore side power and reduce emissions from their engines whilst berthed alongside.

The new terminal is part of a £55m long-term investment into the port in order to strengthen Southampton’s position as Europe’s top cruise turnaround port and the UK’s number one departure port.

The new terminal will be part of a strategic partnership between Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd and MSC Cruises and will help support a growing industry in welcoming the new and next generation of cruise ships in terms of size, capacity and technology visiting the port.

The project is being supported by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the UK Government:s Getting Building Fund with an grant of £8m.

Director of ABP Southampton, Alastair Welch commented:

“We’re very pleased to announce this major advance in our cruise infrastructure at the port, delivering further access to Southampton for the industry, whilst supporting our commitment to accelerate improvements in local air quality.

“This investment is a huge vote of confidence in the future of cruise in Southampton and we’re excited to be at the forefront of a growing industry.”

Solent LEP Director and Leader of Southampton City Council Councillor Christopher Hammond stated:

“I am delighted to be able to announce the LEPs investment of £8m to bring forward a Fifth Cruise Terminal in Southampton. Not only will this cement our status as the home of the cruise industry, but respects our maritime heritage and underlines our commitment to a sustainable future.

“Whilst both the Council and the LEP continue to work with businesses facing a very challenging winter, we are committed to ensuring we can emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic with the strongest foundations for future growth. I’m pleased that this investment joins a growing list of public and private commitments to making our city greener, fairer and healthier, whilst providing much needed jobs in our economic renewal.”

Speaking on behalf of the UK Government, Minister for Maritime Department of Transport Robert Courts MP enthused:

“Southampton is the heart of UK’s cruising industry and a new terminal will create even more jobs and boost the area’s economy.

“As we continue to support the cruise sector in its restart and recovery, it’s great to see Government funding being used to help deliver better services for passengers. This nextgeneration facility also showcases to ports around the world how we’re pioneering the use of green technology right here in the UK.”

Commenting on the new project and partnership, Steve Moeller, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd Senior Vice President of Commercial Development said:

“This agreement marks the continuation of the strong partnership between Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and the Port of Southampton and demonstrates our commitment to the region.

“Consistent with our commitment to driving a positive impact on society and the environment, we are pleased to further promote environmental conservancy by partnering with Associated British Ports for the new terminal that will feature Shore Power and RoofMounted Solar Power.”

MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato commented:

“We are really proud to be further supporting the UK cruise industry at this incredibly important time for both the industry and the UK economy. At MSC Cruises we really believe in the potential of the UK cruise market and making this long-term commitment is evidence of that.

“Over the last five years MSC Cruises has increased our presence in the UK & Irish markets and following a positive response from travel agents and our guests we feel now is the right time to make a more substantial commitment. We are in a unique position that not only will we be committing to having an MSC Cruises’ ship home port from Southampton every year, but several of our ships will be visiting Southampton as a destination as part of our wider cruise programme.”

Source: Associated British Ports (ABP Southampton)

Feature image © Associated British Ports

Cruise News

P&O Cruises Extends Cruise Operation Suspension Into April 2021

P&O Cruises have announced they have extended their cruise operation suspension into April 2021 as a result of the uncertainty surrounding European ports of call.

This has resulted in the cancellation of European cruises by P&O Cruises. A full list can be found here.

New dates for resumption of cruises on each individual ship are as follows:

AURORA: R105 – 7 nights Western Europe cruise departing Southampton on 24th April 2021.

IONA: Her new maiden voyage will now be G111 – 7 nights Norwegian Fjords cruise departing Southampton on 24th April 2021.

BRITANNIA: B111 – 13 nights Spain and Portugal cruise departing Southampton on 25th April 2021.

AZURA: A109/109A – 7/14 nights Mediterranean fly cruise departing Valletta on 29th April 2021.

VENTURA: N108 – 2 nights Western Europe cruise departing Southampton on 30th April 2021.

ARCADIA: J105 – 18 nights Mediterranean cruise departing Southampton on 20th May 2021.

Speaking of the decision to further extend the cruise operation suspension, P&O Cruises President Paul Ludlow commented:

“With hopeful news headlines, clearly we do not want to extend our pause in operations any further than absolutely necessary but given the ever-changing guidance around international travel and the varying regulations in many European ports of call, we felt it prudent to cancel these extra dates.

“In addition, as the final payments for these cruises are due very soon, we felt it was the right thing to do for our guests.

“We are so sorry to disappoint those who were due to travel but really hope they will re-book for later in the year or for our new programme of summer 2022 holidays which went on sale earlier this month with strong demand, showing great confidence in cruising in the future.”

P&O Cruises are continuing to work closely in partnership with the relevant public health agencies at the highest level as well as the Department for Transport, EU Healthy Gateways and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) the industry governing body.

As well as working with these bodies, P&O Cruises along with Carnival Corporation are making sure they have the most stringent and safe protocols in place on board their ships for the protection of both passengers and crew.

Passengers who have bookings on a cancelled cruise will be notified and will automatically receive an enhanced 125% Future Cruise Credit (FCC, alternatively a 100% refund can be claimed by filling out a web form.

For those who accept the 125% FCC, this will automatically be added to your account and may be used any time before December 2021.

Source – P&O Cruises

Featured image © Cruisemarsh

Cruise News

End Of The Road As Astor Is Beached In Aliaga

Today marked the end of the road for the former Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) Astor as she was beached in Aliaga, Turkey ahead of being scrapped.

Screenshot from Marine Traffic of Astor Beached in Aliaga.
Another screenshot from Marine Traffic of Astor beached in Aliaga.

The marks the sad final chapter for the 1987-built 20,704 GRT 650-guest ship following the sad collapse of CMV earlier this summer and was subsequently sold for scrap at auction for just over $1.7m. She then departed London Tilbury on Saturday 7th November on her final voyage to Aliaga.

Astor had been marketed for both the German market under the TransOcean brand for the summer months and under the CMV banner for the Australian and UK market in Australia in the winter months.

2021 had promised to be an exciting year for CMV and Astor with the ship being renamed Jules Verne and marketed for the French cruise market – sadly that will no longer come to fruition.

Astor is the latest in a line of cruise ships to arrive at the scrapyard in Aliaga, Turkey this year as the COVID-19 global pandemic took its toll on the cruise industry.

She certainly will not be the last ship to hit the beach this year.

Screenshots – Marine Traffic

Feature Image © Cruisemarsh

Cruise News

Holland America Line Extends Cruise Operation Suspension Through 31st March 2021

Holland America Line have today announced they are extending their cruise operation suspension through to 31st March 2021. They will now prepare and work towards adhererence to the requirements of the framework set out by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a return to cruising.

As part of the framework, Holland America are also cancelling cruises which are 8 days and longer that visit ports within the United States until 1st November 2021.

A statement issued by Holland Americal Line on PR Newswire read:

As Holland America Line continues to prepare and develop its plans to meet the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the company is extending its pause of cruise operations for all departures through March 31, 2021. The line also will cancel select longer voyages, and cruises of eight days or longer that call in the United States until Nov. 1, 2021.

Cruises impacted by this pause in operation are:

All cruise departures from Jan. 1 through March 31, 2021.

Cruises of eight days or more that call at a U.S. port through Nov. 1, 2021.

Select longer voyages in Asia, Australia/New Zealand and South America through mid-April 2021. Some departures will be rescheduled to comparable dates in 2022.
Guests and their travel agents are being notified of the cancellations and options for Future Cruise Credits and rebooking.

Holland America Line has begun to prepare ships and implement procedures to meet all requirements for approval to sail following the pause. More details on the company’s return to cruise will be announced as soon as possible.

Guests Automatically Receive Bonus Future Cruise Credit

Guests with impacted cruises canceled through March 31 automatically will be canceled, and no action is needed when opting for the Future Cruise Credit (FCC). All guests will receive an FCC per person as follows:

Paid in Full: Those who have paid in full will receive 125% FCC of the base cruise fare paid to Holland America Line.
Not Paid in Full: Those with bookings not paid in full will receive an FCC of double the amount of their deposit. The minimum FCC is $100 and the maximum will be an amount up to the base cruise fare paid.

The FCC is valid for 12 months from the date of issue and may be used to book sailings departing through Dec. 31, 2022. Non-cruise fare purchases — such as shore excursions, gifts, dining and spa — will not be transferred to a new booking and will be refunded to the original form of payment. Other funds such as air fares paid to Holland America Line may be transferred to a new booking or will automatically be refunded via the method of payment used to purchase the services.

Longer Voyages Through April 2021 to Sail in 2022

Guests booked on several longer voyages to South America aboard Westerdam, Asia aboard Noordam and Australia/New Zealand aboard Oosterdam will be rebooked to similar dates and itineraries in 2022. Those booked on the Voyage of the Vikings cruise, scheduled to depart July 9, 2021, aboard Zaandam, will move to a similar date in 2022.

All guests moving to a new voyage in 2022 will receive a $150 per person shipboard credit, protected pricing and equivalent stateroom category.

Full Refund Option Also Available

Guests who prefer a 100% refund of monies paid to Holland America Line can visit the Cancellation Preferences form to indicate this preference no later than Dec. 31, 2020.

The above options are not applicable to guests booked on a charter sailing. Other booking and cancellation conditions and policies may apply if the cruise was not booked through Holland America Line. See the terms and conditions in the Cancellation Preferences form for all details.

Holland America Line previously paused global cruise operations and canceled all departures on all ships through Dec. 31, 2020, and select Hawaii and Grand Voyage itineraries for early 2021.

Source – PR Newswire/Holland America Line

Feature image © Cruisemarsh

Cruise News

Princess Cruises Extends Global Cruise Operations Suspensions Through To 31st March 2021

Princess Cruises have this morning announced they are extending their global cruise operations through 31st March 2021 in response to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)”Framework for Conditional Sailing Order” pertaining to the resumption of cruise operations in the U.S.

This will enable Princess Cruises to complete the necessary activities prior to sailing and takes into account the temporary seven-day caps on itineraries that visit a U.S. port.

A statement from Princess Cruises read:

In response to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order” pertaining to resumption of U.S. cruise operations, Princess Cruises is extending its pause in global operations to allow time for the estimated preparation needed for completing required activities prior to sailing and taking into consideration the temporary seven-day cap on itineraries that call at a U.S. port. The cruise operations impacted include the following:

All cruises sailing through March 31, 2021.

All cruises longer than seven days sailing in and out of United States ports through November 1, 2021.

Additionally, due to the uncertainty about when international travel restrictions might be lifted, Princess Cruises is extending its pause in operations for cruises departing in and out of Japan through June 25, 2021.

“We are focused on preparing our ships to meet the CDC health and safety requirements for our eventual return to service,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “We also appreciate the continued support we have received from our guests, partners and travel advisors, reinforcing for all of us why we do what we do.”

Guests currently booked on these cancelled voyages will have the option to receive a refundable Future Cruise Credit (FCC) equivalent to 100% of the cruise fare paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 25% of the cruise fare.

To receive the above FCCs, no action is required by the guest or their travel advisor.

Alternatively, guests can request a full refund for all monies paid on their booking through this online form. Requests must be received by December 31, 2020 or guests will be registered for the Future Cruise Credit option.

Princess will protect travel advisor commissions on bookings for cancelled cruises that were paid in full in recognition of the critical role they play in the cruise line’s business and success.

The most current information and instructions for booked guests affected by these cancellations, and more information on FCCs and refunds, can be found online at Information on Impacted & Cancelled Cruises.

Source – PR Newswire/Princess Cruises

Image © Cruisemarsh

Cruise News

To Celebrity And Beyond! Coin Ceremony For New Edge-Series Ship Takes Place

Yesterday, Thursday 19th November 2020 saw the traditional keel laying and coin ceremony take place at the Chantiers De L’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France for Celebrity Cruises third Edge- series vessel – Celebrity Beyond.

This marks the early phase of construction and the welding of the coins into the ship’s keel is a time honoured tradition which is thought will bring good luck and fortune to the ship.

The first section of Celebrity Beyond’s keel lowered into place. Image © Celebrity Cruises

The coins chosen for the ceremony bear the image of Annie Jump Cannon – the pioneer astronomer credited with the development of the contemporary stellar classification.

The coins used at the coin ceremony. Image © Celebrity Cruises

In a press release issued by the shipyard Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean Group Chairman stated:

“In a year that has continuously rested the strength of our industry, it is encouraging that we move forward with building Celebrity Beyond. Celebrity Beyond signals that as we prepare to return to service, we do so confidently and with great optimism about the future.”

President and CEO Celebrity Cruises Lisa Lutoff-Perlo added:

“This is a proud and exciting moment because Celebrity Beyond will continue to elevate an already incredibly innovative and transformative Series of ships for our brand – and the industry. I thank all of my amazing colleagues and our incredible partners at the shipyard for moving us one step closer to bringing Celebrity Beyond to life. We have some special surprises planned with Celebrity Beyond and I really can’t wait to share her with the world.”

General Manager of Chantiers de l’Atlantique Laurent Castaing commented:

“This event is a new milestone in the success story we have been sharing for decades with Royal Caribbean Group and Celebrity Cruises. Together, once again, we will be arriving for excellence, to add a third gem to the prestigious Celebrity Edge Series.”

It was Tobias King – Project Manager for Celebrity Cruises and Sébastien Le Boulluec -Project Manager Edge Series at Chantiers de l’Atlantique who enjoyed the honour of placing the ceremonial coins in the keel during the coin ceremony at the shipyard.

Tobias King along with Sébastien Boulluec laid the coins on the keel. Image © Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Beyond will join her sisters Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Apex when delivered in Spring 2022.

Source: Chantiers de l’Atlantique & Celebrity Cruises

Images © Celebrity Cruises

Cruise News

Carnival Ecstasy Assists Injured Mariner At Sea

Yeterday, Tuesday 17th November saw Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Ecstasy come to the aid of an injured mariner after responding to a Mayday call from a yacht.

The Fantasy class ship had been at anchor in The Bahamas when they received the Mayday call from “Ballista” asking for assistance for a crew member who had suffered severe injuries.

Carnival Ecstasy’s lifeboat approaching Ballista. Image © Carnival Cruise Line

Another cruise ship was in closer proximity but according to Carnival the other ship had not been responding to the Mayday call therefore Carnival Ecstasy’s Captain Domenico Calise ordered the immediate raising of the anchor and started to proceed to the Ballista to assist in the rescue of the 29 year old male crew member.

Carnival Ecstasy worked in tandem with Carnival’s Fleet Operations Center and alerted and contacted the appropriate authorities including the U.S. Coast Guard as per protocol. Working in tough sea conditions and 30 knot winds, an initial transfer of the crew member had to be aborted. A rescue boat was then lowered from Carnival Ecstasy and was able to collect and transfer the injured mariner to the cruise ship.

The helicopter taking the injured mariner to a shore side medical facility. Image © Carnival Cruise Line

On board, the injured mariner then was evaluated and treated by the ship:s medical team who adjudged that further treatment was required at a shore side medical facility. The ship then headed north where a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rendezvoused and proceeded to complete a successful medical evacuation from the ship.

Carnival Ecstasy and fellow Carnival ships are currently being manned by a limited crew during the pause in cruise operations and no guests are on board.

Source – Carnival Cruise Line

Images © Carnival Cruise Line

Cruise News

Disney Fantasy Makes Maiden Call To Southampton

This morning saw Disney Cruise Lines’ Disney Fantasy make her maiden call into Southampton.

She is the first Disney ship to visit Southampton since the visit of Disney Wonder in July 1999.

Disney Fantasy arriving into Southampton this morning. Image © Andrew McAlpine

The 130,000 GRT, 1115 feet long ship arrived in the Hampshire port to take on board supplies and stores before she heads across the Atlantic to Port Canaveral in Florida.

Disney Fantasy berthing alongside at Berth 101. Image © Andrew McAlpine
Bow and forward angle of Disney Fantasy docking at berth 101. Image © Andrew McAlpine

She is the newest of the four current ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet – entering service in March 2012. Her fleetmates Disney Magic and Disney Wonder entered service in 1998 and 1999 respectively whilst sister ship Disney Dream entered service in 2011.

Disney Fantasy alongside in Southampton with Westerdam in distance. Image © Andrew McAlpine

Disney Cruise Line will be launching another three ships between 2022 and 2025. Originally the first of the three new ships – Disney Wish was due to enter service at the end of 2021 but that now has been pushed back to summer 2022 as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Rendering of the new ships. Image © Disney Cruise Line

The sixth and seventh ships have also been pushed back to 2024 and 2025 respectively – after originally being pencilled in for delivery in 2022 and 2023.

At around 144,000 GRT and 1250 guest staterooms, the new ships will be the largest constructed for Disney Cruise Line.

Images © Andrew McAlpine

Rendering image © Disney Cruise Line

Cruise News

SeaDream Cancels Remaining 2020 Sailings

SeaDream Yacht Club have cancelled their remaining 2020 sailings following a number of positive COVID-19 test results on board SeaDream I.

The ship is currently moored alongside in Bridgetown, Barbados following their recent Caribbean cruise which saw 9 positive tests for COVID-19 confirmed – 7 guests and 2 crew members.

A statement on SeaDream Yacht Club’s website read:

SeaDream has decided to cancel sailing for the remainder of 2020 after positive Covid-19 test results. Multiple negative PCR tests were required before the guests boarded, but this was not sufficient to prevent Covid-19 onboard. SeaDream successfully operated more than 20 sailings during the pandemic without any cases and it further improvements were made to protocols before the Barbados season. The company will now spend time to evaluate and see if it is possible to operate and have a high degree of certainty of not getting Covid. 7 guests and 2 crew members have tested positive for Covid-19 by Barbados health authorities.

SeaDream Yacht Club operate two vessels – SeaDream I and SeaDream II. Originally they were constructed for Sea Goddess Cruises in 1984 and 1985 before spells with Cunard and Seabourn before joining SeaDream in 2001.

Feature image © SeaDream Yacht Club

Cruise News

Farewell Astor!

The former Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) Astor is now en-route to Aliaga in Turkey where she will be scrapped.

She departed London Tilbury on Saturday 7th November and is expected to arrive at her final resting place in the next week or so.

The sad final chapter for the 1987-built 20,704 GRT 650-guest ship is being realised following the sad collapse of CMV earlier this summer. She was therefore subsequently sold for scrap at auction for just over $1.7m.

She is the younger sister to the 1981 -built former Saga Cruises’ Saga Pearl II (now laid up in Greece) which ironically started her career with the name Astor. Astor had been marketed for both the German market under the TransOcean brand for the summer months and under the CMV banner for the Australian and UK market in Australia in the winter months.

2021 had promised to be an exciting year for CMV and Astor with the ship being renamed Jules Verne and marketed for the French cruise market – sadly that will no longer come to fruition.

Whilst Astor is heading to the scrapyard, there is still some hope for the other CMV ships – all of which have been sold. Seajets have purchased both Magellan and Columbus and will both depart for Greece in the near future – although it remains unclear what Seajets plans are for the two vessels. Mystic Cruises have purchased Vasco da Gama whilst Marco Polo’s new owners are actively looking to charter the ship out. Astoria – which had already been announced to be leaving the CMV fleet prior to COVID-19 pandemic – is being prepared to be towed to Portugal.