Our Editor, Anthony, takes a stroll down memory lane to the beginning of his cruising story………
It’s hard to imagine it’s been 23 years ago this July that I first set foot onboard a cruise ship. Where has the time gone? A lot has changed in the cruising world since then but one thing remains; my passion for cruising is still as strong as ever. Here is a trip down memory lane and look at where it all began.
22nd July 1995 was where it all started for me. I was only 8 years old and we had travelled the long distance by car from Scotland to Southampton the previous day and stayed over at the Posthouse Hotel (Now the Holiday Inn) next to the docks. On the day of the cruise itself, I had no idea we were going on a cruise. My parents and grandad had said we were going on holiday but had not mentioned anything about a cruise. So, in the late morning, we got the mini bus that picked us up from the hotel and we proceeded to Mayflower Terminal at Berth 106. Still, I was none the wiser until we arrived at the terminal. I remember thinking,,,, WOW!
Looking up at the giant gleaming white ship with buff colour funnel, I was in awe. I had never seen anything as big as this before. I was mesmerised completely.
Oriana was brand new, in fact, we were sailing on her 8th cruise in her then short history. 16 nights visiting ports such as Gibraltar, Palma, Itea, Korkula and Venice. For an 8 year old, this was magical.
Oriana was wonderful and it was mine for the 16 nights were onboard. Ok, I had to share it with another 400 kids and their parents but it felt like it was mine, lol.
I was completely immersed in the kids club (Peter Pans) programme. This was located at the aft of the ship and had both an inside area and an shaded outside play area. It was fantastic! I loved it and made some great friends there. We even had a fancy dress parade where the parents and grandparents of the children would help make a costume and these would be judged by the Captain and the kids staff at a grand parade in Harlequins (night club venue on board) There was quite some inventive costumes made including Gondaliers, billboard advertising P&O Cruises and various others. My costume was…drumroll please…….. Robinson Crusoe. Oh the shame, lol. Needless to say I didn’t win, but got to meet the Captain and we all got an Oriana goodie bag.
As a kid, I had never experienced this before. It was completely new to me but I absolutely loved it. Going ashore and visiting new places was fantastic. Going ashore by tender was also a new adventure and something I really enjoyed. I remember we sat next to one of the windows and it was open and my grandad got soaked from one of the other tenders wake as we passed by. It was hilariously funny and thankfully he saw it in the funny way too.
When it came to disembarkation back in Southampton at the end of the cruise, I was very sad and reluctant to leave Oriana. I had fallen in love with her charms and of course being a part of the kids club. It had been such a great cruise. It was our first family cruise together and it was just simply brilliant. I was hoping that another cruise would come quickly and sure enough, we went on Star Princess (now CMV’s Columbus) from Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean for seven nights in October that year, so didn’t have too long to wait.
Since then, I’ve been on 46 cruises on over 30 cruise ships, covering over 300 plus nights whilst travelling the world at the same time. I was hooked by Oriana and still have the bug to this day. I have since visited Oriana in December 2013 and sailed on her again in October 2014. It was brilliant to be back onboard but strange as I was now an adult. She truly is a special ship to me and always will be. She was the ship that introduced me to cruising and for that I will always be truly thankful to her.
Tonight sees a special treat for QE2 fans in the United Kingdom with the programme QE2: The World’s Greatest Cruise Ship to air on Channel 5 at 8pm.
Tonight’s episode is the first of two parts and will charter the ship’s construction with interviews with those who helped build her.
It is somewhat of a rather apt time for the programme to be shown as there has been news of development on QE2 as a floating hotel in Dubai. Work has been going on behind the scenes to get the ship ready for her new career as a floating hotel. Although not confirmed officially by her owners, the provisional date for her opening in her new role is 30th March 2018 and an offical website has been set up, heralding her new career as “coming soon”.
The second episode will be shown on Tuesday 13th February at 8pm.
The ‘Grand Old Dame’ of the P&O Cruises fleet, Oriana has proved a very popular ship with the British market since she was delivered in April 1995.
2018 sees the iconic ship turn 23 years of age. For a modern cruise ship, that is a good age. However, there are now quite vocal questions being asked about her future with P&O Cruises.
Yesterday saw the announcement of another new ship to be built for the cruise line, with expected delivery in 2022. This will be a sister ship to the one previously announced for a 2020 delivery. At 180,000grt each and with capacity for 5200 passengers each, they will be powered by a more environmentally friendly Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
So where does this leave Oriana? Surely it means her days with P&O are numbered, even though the cruise line have publicly stated she is going no where. However, privately there must be a growing need for the cruise line to sell.
This January saw Oriana go into dry dock to correct technical issues that has plagued the ship for the last while. Quite significant was the fact it was a three week dry dock and that P&O Cruises had to cancel a 50 night cruise to the Caribbean, Mexico and US. So, the seriousness of the issue must have been more significant than had previously been thought and so soon after her refit in 2016.
She is no spring chicken admittedly and it is expected that ships of her age will develop the odd problem over time. However, her recent problems have just been the tip of the iceberg for the ship. In October, she experienced a boiler problem whilst in Gibraltar and arrived back into Southampton a day late as a consequence. Over the years, the ship has experienced various vibration and plumbing issues as well.
Still, she has a loyal band of followers whom love to cruise on her and that is understandable. For them, she is perfect mix of traditional and contemporary and they feel like they are sailing on a ship as opposed to the newer, larger leviathians which they describe as ‘floating blocks of flats’. She currently still is the fastest ship in the fleet and is the current holder of the Golden Cockerill with P&O claiming her top speed is 30 knots!
It is true to say she has a wonderfully attractive profile. Sleek with a wonderful tiered aft. However, she just cannot keep up with her younger competitiors today. Although she was originally designed as a family ship, she is now an adults exclusive ship. She turned adults exclusive after her extensive refit in 2011 which saw her kids clubs removed and new solo cabins added. This has somewhat limited her market somewhat as she had proved popular with families.
The negative aspect for Oriana is that with every passing year, she becomes more expensive to maintain. Upkeep and fuelling for an older ship is less economical than a new more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly ships such as the new LNG powered ships to enter the fleet in 2020 and 2022. Her fellow fleetmates, Aurora and Oceana will also fall into that category too. By 2022 they will be 22 years old. Each year too, the value of the ship will depreciate too and therefore the options open to the cruise line to sell to another cruise line diminish and therefore turn to the scrapyard to get the best possible amount for the ship. Hopefully that doesn’t happen to Oriana yet, she does have a few good years left ahead of her and the current problems she has had shouldn’t deter other cruise lines to purchase her. She would certainly be a good fit for say Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) or perhaps Phoenix Reisen.
Time will tell what will happen to the 69,840grt ship but with a capacity of 1880 passengers, surely she will be an attractive proposition for cruise lines such as CMV and Phoenix Reisen? She may have had her problems over the years but she does remain popular and is easily recognised the world over. She was the start of the modern era of British cruising in the mid 1990s and certainly has been the inpsiration for the more modern ships we see on the market today. However, with 2 new ships on the horizon, it would surely be difficult to see how she could remain in the fleet and by 2022, she will have reached the age of 27 years of age, so it is doubtful to think she will still be sailing with P&O Cruises despite her loyal following.
Looking for that perfect holiday? A cruise, family getaway or a romantic trip for two? Well why not give the Ocean World Travel Holiday Show a visit at Eastleigh Football Club on 3rd February 2018 from 9am til 3pm. Oh and the tickets are free too!
Why should we visit we hear you ask? Well, here below is five reasons that could help persuade you to take a visit.
1) Independent Travel Agency: As an independent agency, Ocean World Travel will be able to give you the best impartial advice about any aspect of your travel and holidaying needs. They work with the biggest operators in the world and will go that extra mile in order to make your holiday the best and most enjoyable that it can be.
2) Free £50 off holiday voucher: Well, we all like something for free and with the £50 off holiday voucher, Ocean World Travel will give you that little bit of a helping hand towards the cost of your holiday.
3) Exclusive show only deals: By booking at the show, you can take advantage of the show only deals. These can be for land holidays or for cruises, it’s your choice!
4) Enter the prize draw: This is your chance win some amazing prizes, including £250 worth of holiday vouchers, courtesy of Classic Collection.
5)Holiday Inspiration: With over 20 of the leading travel operators going to be in attendance at the show, this is your chance to glean as much information as possible and to get inspiration for your next holiday. They will provide reccomendations and will be able to offer special deals in order to help with you booking your perfect holiday.
As well as providing the best information possible with the best deals on the day, the Ocean World Travel Show will be helping to raise money for the Countess Mountbatten Hospice Charity.
Ocean World Travel has been established since 1995 and have become well known in the travel industry, especially the cruise industry. A family run business that was created from a box room in Birmingham which has grown to the successful office in Chandlers Ford, where they are now based today. Right on the doorstep of Southampton, the cruise capital of the UK, Ocean World Travel are always up to date with the latest development in the cruise and holiday world and with their expert advisors on hand to provide you with the best service and deals possible, you will definitely be in safe hands.
To get your ticket for the show, please click here. Alternatively call 02380 714 794 or email Ocean World Travel at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s not long until we are back onboard Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ venerable Black Watch. However, it will be only too brief.
We booked the overnight respositioning cruise from Tilbury on the 13th December, which will arrive into Southampton on the 14th. Although it will be a brief stay onboard, it will give us a chance to see the outcome of her refit last year. We sailed on her in January 2016 so we didn’t benefit from her refit and refreshening, so will be very interesting to see.
We booked the cruise as part of the Black Friday deals, so we got a great price and we added in the coach from Southampton’s City Cruise Terminal to Tilbury too.
We also have Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) Magellan docked alongside us in Tilbury on the 13th, so that will make for quite a sight – two cruise ships together in Tilbury at the same time.
We will of course be on our social media platforms during the short cruise and make sure you don’t miss our sailaway on Facebook Live. More details of that will be forthcoming….
February 2018 will see new cruise line, Alteza Cruises, begin operations from Bueno Aires with the chartering of the 16,214grt MV Delphin.
MV Delphin will operate a series of cruises in Argentina and Uruguay and will visit destinations such as Brazil, Patagonia Argentina, Ushuaia, Southern Chile and Antarctica.
Built as the lead ship of 5 Belorussiya Class cruise-ferries in 1975 for the Soviet owned Black Sea Shipping Company, the ship was built with a ice strengthened hull and operated on the Black Sea and Baltic itineraries.
All ships were relatively quickly converted to full time cruising , with car decks converted to cabins and slightly modified superstructures and quickly found ideal charters across the globe.
The Collapse of the Soviet Union saw shipping interests sold , and Belorussiya was Heavily refurbished in 1986 before being chartered in 1987 to CTC cruises , A company firmly rooted in the UK market with sailings from Tilbury, Bristol and other regional ports with ships such as Alexandr Pushkin. Belorussiya was deployed to CTC’s Australian operation and completed 5 succesful years operating Australian cruises from Sydney and Fremantle, and each Autumn and Spring, there would be sailings between Tilbury and Australia, a role it nearly returned to 25 years later..
1992 saw the ship dry dock in Singapore , but was severely damaged after sinking while undergoing repairs. After re-floating the ship was sold , Renamed Kasakhstan 2 and chartered to Delphin Sereissen in Germany , a German career which later saw the ship re-named Delphin.
Passat Kreuzfahrten were Delphin’s operators in 2012 , when Classic International Cruises went into liquidation , and an old connection was re-kindled. Cruise and Maritime Voyages were now responsible for marketing Delphin for Passat under a marketing arrangement and they now hoped to replace Classic International’s Australian programme with Delphin operating the same route it had under CTC. This was not the only connection as Cruise and Maritime Voyages had been formed by former CTC employee’s , and mirrors in many ways CTC’s former itineraries and line voyages. Negotiations reached a advanced stage but unfortunately it wasn’t to be , UltimatelyAstor joined the Cruise and Maritime Voyages fleet instead a year later and Passat collapsed in 2013.
Delphin , after a period of Layup with only short charters now looks to start a new chapter in this remarkable ship’s history , as it sets a course for the South Atlantic operating itiniaries as far south as Antarctica and launching a new vibrant cruise brand to Argentina.
As we approach the end of another successful year for cruising, we now turn our attentions to 2018 and with that comes the expectations of brand new ships. We’re taking a look at the more principle ships that will be entering service next year and whetting the appetite for what is to come……
MSC Cruises: 2018 will prove to be another big year for this fast expanding cruise line. They will take delivery of their second Seaside class vessel, MSC Seaview in June. This will join her elder sister, MSC Seaside which joins the fleet in December 2017. When MSC Seaview debuts in June 2018, the MSC fleet will total 15 ships. That will expand to 16 in early 2019 with the delivery of the second Meraviglia class ship, MSC Bellissima.
Royal Caribbean International: The cruise line that just keeps innovating, will not disappoint in 2018 with the introduction of their largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas in March 2018. The fourth in the Oasis class, the 230,000grt ship will measure 1188 feet in length and a massive 215.5 feet in width. She will be able to accomodate a maximum of 6870 guests and will incorporate the seven neighbourhood concept that is already on her sister ships along with the Ultimate Abyss, a 10 storey slide at the aft area of the ship.
Celebrity Cruises: December 2018 will see the culmination of an exciting year for Celebrity Cruises with the delivery of their first Edge class ship, Celebrity Edge. This new class of ship will be the most innovative and technologically advanced in the Celebrity fleet and will incorporate new design elements such as The Magic Carpet, The Retreat, Resort Deck and Rooftop Garden. At 129,500grt, she will be 1004 feet long with a width of 128 feet and will be able to accomodate a maximum of 3373 guests in 1467 staterooms and suites onboard.
Carnival Cruise Line: With the launch of the successful Carnival Vista in 2016, 2018 will see the introduction of the second ship in the class, Carnival Horizon. At 133,500grt, Carnival Horizon will measure 1062 feet in length and will be able to accomodate a maximum of 3960 guests. Guests will be able to enjoy facilities on board such as The Sky Ride, Imax Cinema, Dr Suess Waterworks park and by wowed by the ever changing centre piece in the Atrium with designs from patients from St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Holland America Line: A sister ship for the line’s first Pinnacle Class ship, Koningsdam will enter service in November 2018 and will be named Niuew Statendam. At 99,500grt, she will be able to accomodate 2650 guests. Very much similar to her sister, Nieuw Statendam will have public spaces designed by hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and ship architect Bjørn Storbraaten. Her centre piece will be the spectacular three deck high atrium with the ceiling offering dramatic projections. By day you’ll see whispy clouds and by night you’ll afford fantastic constellations of the universe.
Norwegian Cruise Line: Home of ‘Freestyle’ cruising, Norwegian Cruise Line continue their expansion in 2018 with the delivery of their latest Breakaway Plus ship, Norwegian Bliss. Due to enter service in Spring 2018, Norwegian Bliss will have a tonnage of 167,800grt and a length of 1082 feet and will be able to accomodate 4000 guests onboard. Guests onboard will be able to enjoy facilities and public spaces such as the top deck Race Track, Laser Tag, Aqua Racer and Water Loop flumes, The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place. Adorned on the hull will be Norwegian Cruise Line’s trademark hull designs and the design on Norwegian Bliss will be by marine artist, Wyland and will feature marine life, including whales.
AIDA Cruises: AIDA Cruises will be welcoming their largest ever ship when AIDAnova enters service in December 2018. At 180,000grt, AIDAnova will be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) she will have 21 different stateroom categories, ranging from Penthouse Suite, Balcony staterooms, Family staterooms and cabins designed to the Single cabins. There will also be a choice of 17 restaurants (5 speciality, 6 a la carte and 5 buffet, including snack bar) and selection of 23 bars that will offer food and drink from across the world.
Scenic: A first for Scenic with the introduction of an ocean going cruise ‘yacht’ debuting in August 2018. Scenic Eclipse will measure 17,000grt with a length of 551m, and will be able to accomodate 228 guests (200 when in Polar regions) in 114 all balcony suites. Onboard, guests will be able to enjoy onboard facilities and experiences such spa, pool, theatre and observatory. Whilst for exploring and outdoor activities, Scenic Eclipse will be equipped with kayaks and Zodiacs to whisk the adventurious ashore. With ice strengthened hull, Scenic Eclipse will be able to cruise to the Polar regions, including the Arctic, Antarctica, and Chilean Fjords whilst ensuring guests onboard are cruising in luxurious and comfortable surroundings.
We look forward to welcoming the new ships on the block in 2018! It should be a rather exciting year indeed!
For those new to cruising, it’s best to start preparing for life onboard with a little look at the ‘cruise lingo’. Now, it’s nothing to be scared of and you won’t have to undertake an exam to pass but it’s sometimes wise to do a little research into the words and phrases that are used onboard, in order to feel more at ease and to integrate with the more experienced cruisers.
We’ve decided to compile a few words and phrases that will be helpful to learn before embarking your first cruise.
Lets’ start with the easy ones first:
BOW: This is the front of the ship and to put it in layman terms, is the pointy sharp angled bit that drives through the water.
STERN: Rear section of the ship.
AFT: Can mean two things: the rear area of the ship or if you are walking along around the ship, going aft means going towards the back of the ship.
Now let’s make it a bit harder…….
STARBOARD: When facing forward on the ship, the starboard side is on the right hand side of the ship.
PORT: This term can mean two things: 1) When facing forward on the ship, the port side is on the left hand side of the ship. Remember the word left is four letters long and port has the same amount of letters, that is one way to remember that port side on the left side of the ship. 2) Destinations on the itinerary in which the ship is visiting, the area in which the ship docks.
PURSER: This person is in charge with all monetary transactions onboard. They are found usually at the Reception on the ship.
WAKE: The bubbly foam trail made by the ships propellers off the stern of the ship.
BEAM: Is the term for the width of the ship at its widest point.
GROSS REGISTERED TON (GRT): Not to be confused with weight, this is a term used to measure the enclosed passenger spaces such as dining rooms, public lounges and cabins in terms of volume.
KNOT: The measurement of the ships speed. 1 knot = 1.15mph on land.
MUSTER DRILL: Carried out at the start of each cruise, this is where passengers meet at their muster stations to be shown how to use their lifejackets and given information about emergencies incase the ship should experience one. Their allocated muster station is where they would go in the case of an emergency.
GENERAL EMERGENCY SIGNAL: This is sounded to indicate that there is an emergency on board and that passengers should proceed to their muster stations. This alarm will consist of 7 or more short blasts and 1 long blast on the ships alarm bells. This does not indicate to abandon ship. A seperate alarm and Captain’s announcement will be given if the need to abandon ship is neccessary.
TENDER: A type of ship’s lifeboat that has been specially built for carrying passengers to and from the shore when the ship needs to anchor.
BERTH: The place in port in which the ship has docked (or in layman terms, parked)
STABILISERS: Two wing like re-tractable extensions from both sides of the ship’s hull (under water line) that are extended when the ship is experiencing rough water to reduce rolling movement (side to side) and keep the ship as stable as possible for the comfort of its passengers.
Ok that’s enough just now, we don’t won’t to frazzle your brain out…
We hope these words and phrases are helpful for when you do take your first cruise and perhaps you might be brave enough to use them in conversations whilst onboard. People will never know you are a first time cruiser then.
COMMEMERATIING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF QUEEN MARY’S “LAST GREAT CRUISE”
This year much attention has been focused on the 50th Anniversary of the launching of Cunard’s famous former flagship Queen Elizabeth 2 (1969 – 2008), but perhaps one event which has arguably been overshadowed, is the final voyage of one of the most formidable ships of the last century, one which at the time of its launch in September 1934 marked the end of a the ‘Great Depression’ which had cast an unwelcome and prolonged dark cloud over Britain.
Built as part of an order for two express Atlantic liners, RMS Queen Mary, or Hull 534 as she known during her construction phase at the renowned John Brown & Co. shipbuilders at Clydebank, Scotland; came to a dramatic halt in 1931 – barely a year after it has begun. It was not until April 1934, and following the merger of Cunard with its once fierce rival the White Star Line and the award of a government loan, did the work recommence. The liner was named and launched by Her Majesty Queen Mary, accompanied by His Majesty King George V, in front of a crowd of 250,000.
The much heralded Maiden Voyage to New York departed Southampton on 27th May 1936 – the first of what would eventually total 1001 Atlantic crossings. Though a valiant effort was made to capture the ‘Blue Riband’, the prize awarded for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic, a heavy fog less than 24 hours out of New York dampened all hope and consequently lost time, nonetheless it wasn’t long before Queen Mary captured the prize and held it for over 14 years until 1952.
During the course of a career spanning over 31 years, five of those years spent serving as a troop transport vessel alongside sister ship Queen Elizabeth and fleet mates Mauretania (II) and World War 1 veteran Aquitania. Towards the end of the 1940’s following the end of hostilities, both Queens Mary and Elizabeth settled into the routine of a twice-weekly express Atlantic crossings – though a success, change was never far behind and before the end of the 1950’s more passengers were opting to fly across the Atlantic on a journey measured in hours rather than days – something which, along with rising costs, eventually call time on their seagoing careers.
Then in July 1967 came the announcement that Queen Mary had been sold by to the City of Long Beach, California for a sum close to £1¼ million pounds in a sealed bid auction, safeguarding the ship from the inevitable fate of the breakers torch.
Following the completion of her 1001st and final transatlantic crossing in September 1967; preparations began for what was billed as “The Last Great Cruise” – a 39-day voyage following the classic route of seafarers and explorers before via Cape Horn to her final and permanent berth in Long Beach – though this final swansong was not the doing of Cunard, but of a travel agency and sponsored by The City of Long Beach.
So on October 31st 1967 and with great fanfare the 80,000grt liner moved out from berth 107 at Southampton docks for the final time with 1,200 passengers aboard for the voyage taking in Cherbourg (France); Lisbon (Portugal); Las Palmas (Spain); Rio de Janerio (Brazil); Valpariso (Chile); Balboa; Acapulco (Mexico) and finally Long Beach (USA) – arriving in the Californian city on December 9th bringing to a close the final chapter in her seagoing career.
British Pathe news footage of the last departure of RMS Queen Mary from Southampton, 31st October 1967.
Although it has been well documented that the ship has had a chequered 50 years in well-earned retirement, it should never be forgotten that Queen Mary is the only example of the “Golden Age” of transatlantic travel that lives on for future generations to marvel at what is a proud testament to the engineering technique and prowess of shipbuilding in Britain and more so the fortitude, determination and skill of the workforce of the John Brown & Co. shipbuilders that with a skilful eye brought this art deco engineering masterpiece into being – little wonder that HM King George V declared that it was “The Stateliest Ship, Now in Being” – words which are still as true as the day they were said over 83 years ago.