Seabourn’s newest ultra-luxury vessel, Seabourn Ovation, achieved another important maritime milestone with the completion of its final round of sea trials in the Mediterranean off the coast of Italy.
Seabourn Ovation departed the Fincantieri shipyard on March 14 for four days at sea, where a team of officers and engineers tested the ship’s technical and mechanical systems. Seabourn Ovation returned to the shipyard in Genoa on March 18, and staff and workers are putting the final touches on the ship. The delivery ceremony of the ship is on schedule to take place on April 27, 2018.
“We’re now weeks away from delivery, and I’m very pleased with the progress and preparedness of the ship now that sea trials are complete,” said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. “Our first revenue guests will board on May 5, and I know they will be excited to see this newest addition to the Seabourn fleet.”
Seabourn Ovation will begin her maiden season with an 11-night inaugural voyage departing May 5, 2018, from Venice, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain. The ship’s naming ceremony will take place on Friday, May 11, in the beautiful baroque harbour of Valletta, Malta. One of the world’s highly-acclaimed actresses and singers, Elaine Paige, will serve as godmother and will name the ship during a spectacular ceremony that will light up the dramatic UNESCO World Heritage site and the 2018 European Capital of Culture.
The ship will spend the majority of its maiden season cruising the waters of Northern Europe, offering a series of 7-night Baltic and Scandinavian sailings between Copenhagen and Stockholm, which will include the line’s signature three-day stay in St. Petersburg, Russia. Seabourn Ovation will also sail on longer 14-night voyages, visiting the majestic Norwegian fjords and British Isles.
Seabourn Ovation is the fifth ultra-luxury ship in the Seabourn fleet. With stunning contemporary interiors by design icon Adam D. Tihany, culinary expertise by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller, specially commissioned entertainment by Sir Tim Rice and an exciting program of onboard speakers, Ovation will sail on a variety of voyages in and around Europe between May and November 2018, hailing at ports throughout Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.
Seabourn Ovation will expand and build on the line’s award-winning and highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they were introduced between 2009 and 2011. A sister ship to Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Ovation will feature 300 suites and maintain the line’s high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly personalized service.
Seabourn will continue to release updates about Seabourn Ovation via the dedicated microsite: http://ovation.seabourn.com. Alive with imagery, details and news of the ship’s continuing progress, including “sunsets until launch,” the microsite offers an inside look at the excitement of the upcoming launch, with additional details, news and images revealed on an ongoing basis.
Global Ports Holdings PLC (GPH), the world’s largest cruise port operator, said it has been awarded a concession by the Port Authority of Zadar for the operating rights of the Zadar cruise port in Croatia for 20 years.
The concession of Zadar will include cruise ship passenger port and terminal services, an international ferry terminal, roll-on/roll-off services, vehicles and passenger services. It will contain a commercial area of 2,400 square miles, with leasable retail and office space.
The signing of the agreement is expected to take place within twelve months, however the company said there is no certainty when the deal will be completed.
GPH is headquartered in Istanbul and listed in London.
Marella Explorer 2, which will be introduced by TUI AG’s UK focused Marella Cruises unit in 2019, will be the first ship in the company’s fleet to be exclusively for adults, offering customers more choice and flexibility. “The popularity of adult-only sailings from Dubrovnik and the Asia itineraries for winter 2018 prompted the decision to offer an adults-only ship,” the company said in a statement.
The 72,458 gross ton ship is currntlt operating in China as Golden Era and it was built in 1995 as Century of Celebrity Cruises.
Marella Explorer 2 will be tailored to meet the needs of couples, friends and groups by doubling the size of The Veranda featured on Marella Explorer. The Veranda is the premium sunbathing spot onboard and will feature brand new facilities. The 1,814 capacity ship will offer 907 cabins, of which nearly 40 per cent have balconies.
From May 2019 Marella Explorer 2 will sail from a new homeport Naples, Italy. The exclusive adults-only ship will sail to some of the finest European cities including Venice, Rome and Dubrovnik.
Boasting an array of dining and bar options similar to its sister ship Marella Explorer launching in May this year, Marella Explorer 2 will offer highlights including Kora La, Snack Shack and Surf and Turf. The new ship will also feature recognised bars including Aperitif and Squid and Anchor. As with Marella Explorer, the new ship will offer a stand out entertainment programme onboard courtesy of entertainment provider ‘ted’.
And that’s not all, Marella Explorer 2 will also feature a luxurious Champneys Spa which will launch first on Marella Explorer this year, offering a variety of indulging treatments.
New cabin types on Marella Explorer 2 include the Royal Suite which measures 102m2 featuring a separate bedroom, dressing room, dining area and whirlpool bath. The new ship also features deluxe balcony cabins boasting some of the best sea views.
Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc., a global provider of expedition cruises and adventure travel experiences, and Ulstein Group, Norwegian shipbuilder and ship designer, on March 17 celebrated the keel laying of Lindblad’s first polar new build at the CRIST shipyard in Gdynia, Poland. "The occasion marked a major milestone in the construction of the world’s most sophisticated expedition ship, and served as the official naming ceremony of the line’s latest addition to the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet," the company said in a statement.
“We are thrilled to announce the name of our new polar ship: National Geographic Endurance, due for delivery in the first quarter of 2020,” announced Sven Lindblad, President and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions. “She is named in honor of Ernest Shackleton, Lindblad Expeditions’ most revered explorer and will incorporate technical advances and create opportunities for guests beyond the reach of any contemporary ship.”
“A Polar Class 5 rating gives us the ability to operate the ship freely at any time of year in polar environments vastly expanding our polar range,“ Lindblad continued. “This means we can explore deeper into the pack ice, or further north to the unexplored reaches of the arctic. For instance, northern Ellesmere Island, where only a relative handful of people have ever been. Or some of the completely off-the-beaten-path arctic islands that are remote, pristine and teeming with wildlife.”
The ceremony continued with the traditional laying of the coins. First welded was a newly minted commemorative silver coin etched with the name of the ship, flanked by a polar bear and penguin signifying the two poles she will be exploring, and etched with To Explore and Understand the World. And to signify Lindblad’s commitment to their expedition team and crew, Sven laid the lucky coin of iconic Lindblad naturalist, Tom Ritchie, a 1780 Austro-Hungarian thaler [silver dollar] with Marie Theresa on one side and a double-headed eagle on the other.
Joining the Lindblad team in Poland for the occasion was Trey Byus, Chief Expedition Officer; Tyler Skarda, Senior VP, Marine Operations; Captain Leif Skog, VP, Nautical and Ice Captain, and Nikolaos Doulis, Senior VP, New Buildings. Present for Ulstein was Gunvor Ulstein CEO Ulstein Group and Managing Director Ulstein Shipping; Tore Ulstein , Chair of the Board and Deputy CEO Ulstein Group; Kristian Sætre, Managing Director, Ulstein Verft; and Per Svein Brekke, Project Responsible. Among the CRIST representatives were Ireneusz Ćwirko, Chair of the Managing Board and Krzysztof Kulczycki, Chair of the Supervising Board.
“We are excited to be witnessing this important milestone for the new exploration cruise vessel for Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic. We look forward to the arrival of the hull to our shipyard, Ulstein Verft, for the completion of this innovative vessel,” stated Gunvor Ulstein, CEO, Ulstein Group.
The state-of-the-art 126-guest polar vessel has been designed as the ultimate expedition platform with a focus on safety and comfort, as well as incorporating innovative sustainability solutions to reduce its environmental impact. A core feature is Ulstein’s signature X-BOW, a distinctive bow that provides fuel efficiency while significantly improving guest comfort in rough seas; and a very high ice class for access deep into polar regions. The ship’s expanded fuel and water tanks provide for extended operations in remote areas; while the zero-speed stabilizers will ensure stability, whether at zero speed or full steam ahead.
Immediately following the ceremony, Sven Lindblad, Trey Byus, and Captain Leif Skog departed to Longyearbyen to embark on a reconnaissance expedition that will yield discoveries for more exhilarating 2020 early season Arctic adventures for National Geographic Endurance.