A+ A A-

MSC Cruises opens bookings for MSC Grandiosa, the first unit of the 'Meraviglia Plus' class

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

MSC Cruises has announced that MSC Grandiosa is now open for bookings. For her inaugural season, the first MSC Cruises Meraviglia Plus generation ship will set sail in the Western Mediterranean. Bookings open today for an initial two-week period exclusively for members of the MSC Voyagers Club — MSC Cruises’ guest loyalty rewards program — and bookings for all other guests will open on March 19, 2018.

“At launch, MSC Grandiosa will be the fifth brand-new MSC Cruises ship to have joined our fleet in only two and a half years,” said Gianni Onorato, Chief Executive Officer of MSC Cruises. “She represents the further evolution of the already highly-successful Meraviglia prototype, first introduced only nine months ago. As such, she will also bring even more choices to MSC Cruises’ guests and other vacationers wanting to experience the ever-so-popular Mediterranean region on board one of the most highly-innovative MSC Cruises classes of ships that will welcome guests to the region in the Winter 2019/2020 season.”

The new ship will offer guests, among other features, two brand new shows from Cirque du Soleil at Sea, created exclusively for MSC Grandiosa guests. This is part of a long-term partnership between MSC Cruises and the world leader in artistic entertainment, Cirque du Soleil that will result in a total of eight original shows available on MSC Cruises’ four Meraviglia generation ships. MSC Grandiosa is the third ship to feature the exclusive entertainment concept. The four other Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows, two for each ship, have already been created for MSC Meraviglia and MSC Bellissima.

MSC Grandiosa will showcase an even larger Mediterranean-style promenade, the ground-breaking feature unique to the Meraviglia and Meraviglia Plus prototypes. Serving as the social hub of the ship, the promenade features an array of shops and specialty restaurants as well as a new bar and lounge, L’Atelier Bistrot, which will offer lounge seating with a stage and a dance floor. Impressionist art will also be on display in this space and have "terrace” seating with Parisian Bistrot tables and chairs along the promenade. Throughout the day and the evening, the promenade will host surprise performances, including flash mobs and themed parties as well as awe-inspiring projections on an even longer 323 ft. LED Sky screen.

The industry-leading shipboard digital innovation program, MSC for Me, will allow guests to customize their vacation and enhance their cruise experience. As the Company continues to evolve and innovate the digital offering, guests can expect new features, offering a connected cruise experience to meet their individual needs.

Additional MSC Grandiosa highlights include:

– Seven nights in the stunning Western Mediterranean, calling at six beautiful Mediterranean ports including Genoa, Civitavecchia, Palermo, Valletta, Barcelona and Marseille. While in port, guests can enjoy a wide variety of shore activities, designed to meet the needs of a variety of cruise guests from families to adventurous couples, providing an immersive discovery of each destination’s distinctive culture and history.
– New family activities and entertainment, building on the already extensive and award-winning offering[i]. The DOREMI Lab will offer new themes each day, while the DOREMI Studio Lounge focuses on allowing children to have fun through the magic of music, with the possibility to record songs and star in their own music videos. This multitude of concepts ensure that children of every age will have an unforgettable vacation at sea.
– A choice of at least 12 different dining venues on board — ranging from specialty restaurants to the buffet — serving fresh, authentic food each and every day. In addition, a new restaurant concept, exclusively for MSC Aurea experience guests, will be introduced in the Promenade of the ship.
– The MSC Yacht Club, which will continue to offer the more discerning cruise guest a luxurious stay in the ship-within-a-ship concept with private areas and key features such as the stylish Top Sail lounge, stunning One Pool Deck, private restaurant and butler service.

Onorato added, “She will not only become the ‘richest in features’ in the MSC Cruises’ fleet to-date but also be fitted with ground-breaking environmental technology. She will, in fact, feature the latest and most advanced hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems, SCR-Catalysts, state-of-the-art waste management and recycling capabilities, emission-reducing energy and heat recovery systems, and highly advanced wastewater treatment. All of this in a ship that has been designed for all seasons and is able to call in most of the world’s international cruise ports.”

When booking MSC Grandiosa over the initial, exclusive two-week booking period — in addition to benefitting from being able to have the first selection of staterooms — MSC Voyagers Club members will receive a special 5% early booking discount in addition to their current MSC Voyagers Club 5% loyalty discount. All other guests will enjoy a 5% early booking discount until September 4, 2018. MSC Grandiosa will commence sailing from Genoa, Italy on November 16, 2019.

Stena Line introduces battery power

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Stena Line now take the next step in the quest to test new environmentally friendly energy types for propulsion of vessels. Recently a contract was signed with Callenberg Technology Group for batteries with a capacity of 1 MWh which will be installed on Stena Jutlandica which operates between Gothenburg and Frederikshavn. Before the summer, battery power in port operation will become a reality.

The battery project is an important part of Stena Line's sustainability strategy. In the future our target with the ‘battery’ is to be able to navigate the vessel 50 nautical miles.

"Sustainability is very high on our agenda and we are constantly evaluating new ways to reduce our impact on the environment. From 2015, for example, methanol is part of the fuel mix on Stena Germanica, which operates between Gothenburg and Kiel, and we also run around 300 different energy saving projects. As both the size and cost of batteries decrease, battery operation becomes a very exciting alternative to traditional fuels for shipping, as emissions to air can be completely eliminated”, says Stena Line's CEO Niclas Mårtensson.

The battery project will commence now and will be completed step by step. In step one, it is about switching on battery power for bow thrusters and maneuvering when berthing in port. In step two, an extended battery operation is connected to the propellers, meaning that Stena Jutlandica can be operated on electricity within around 10 nautical miles, equal to the distance between Göteborg and Vinga Lighthouse.

In step three, battery capacity is further expanded and a vessel can operate about 50 nautical miles of electricity corresponding to the distance between Gothenburg and Frederikshavn.

The objective of accomplishing this in several steps is to test and gather knowledge about electrical operation along the way. If the project is successful, battery operation may also be applicable to other vessels in the Stena Line fleet of 38 vessels.

The technical solutions are being developed together with Stena Teknik, which cooperates with the academic world, authorities and various suppliers. The project has been received very positively, and the first phase is supported and financed by half by the Swedish Maritime Administration and the EU.

Celestyal Cruises extends 2019 and 2020 seasons, offers new ports-of-call

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Celestyal Cruises has announced its extended 2019 and new 2020 itineraries. In 2019 Celestyal Cruises will extend its season into December and return to Istanbul for the first time since 2016 with its new 7-night Eclectic Aegean itinerary, which sails 6 departures from October 21st 2019 through November 25th 2019. This “eclectic’ cruise includes an overnight stay in Istanbul and calls at Volos, Greece, for excursions to the stunning mountains of Meteora, and to Canakkale, Turkey, for excursions to Troy and Gallipoli. The 7-night Eclectic Aegean will also visit Heraklion and Santorini and, during its call at Mykonos, will depart at 2:00 a.m. so passengers can fully enjoy the nightlife of this cosmopolitan island.

Celestyal Cruises has also announced the launch of its 7-night “3 Continents” cruises in 2019, with 5 cruises in December 2019; the first departs from Piraeus on December 2nd, while the fifth and final cruise sails from Piraeus on December 30th. The 3 Continents cruise calls at Alexandria and Port Said, Egypt, at Ashdod, Israel, at Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey, at Limassol, Cyprus, and at Rhodes. Shore excursions at each of these ports will give passengers an authentic deep dive into the incredible history and culture of these storied destinations.

In 2020 Celestyal Cruises will continue its well-established 3- and 4-night Iconic cruises and further strengthen its 7-night itineraries by offering a variety of choices to new and returning passengers. The 7-night Eclectic Cruise will sail from April 6th 2020 until the 11th of May, with a second series of cruises beginning on September 7th and sailing through the end of October 2020. Celestyal Cruises’ 7-night Idyllic Aegean cruises will sail from May 18th through August 31st, while the 3 Continents cruise will sail from March 2nd through March 30th and Nov 2nd through December 28th.

Celestyal Cruises’ extended 2019 and 2020 seasons are a first step toward its goal of sailing year-round Aegean cruises. All 2019 and 2020 cruises feature the award winning Celestyal Inclusive experience with all-inclusive drink packages, all meals on-board, entertainment, selected shore excursions, port and service charges and gratuities included in the fare.

“Our 2019 and 2020 itineraries add 7 new ports of call to our Eastern Mediterranean product and bring us closer to our objective of sailing year-round in our home waters,” said Celestyal Cruises CEO Kerry Anastassiadis. “We are thrilled to be returning to Istanbul, and to give our passengers the opportunity to visit Ephesus, Troy and Gallipoli, as well as Volos, Greece, the gateway to the fabled mountain landscapes of Meteora, and with our new 3 Continents cruise, our passengers can now visit the Holy Land and the Pyramids, in addition to calling at our spectacular Aegean destinations. Given our recent Cruise Critic awards for value, Shorex and service and the addition of these incredible ports of call to our itineraries, we continue to give new and returning passengers more reasons to sail with us.”

Carnival Cruise Line to offer new cruises to Cuba from PortMiami in 2019

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Carnival Cruise Line will offer 17 new sailings to Cuba aboard Carnival Sensation in 2019. The 5-night Cuba voyages will be the line’s first to operate round-trip from Miami and feature a day-long call in Havana as well as stops at popular Caribbean and Bahamian ports, including Grand Turk, Grand Cayman, Nassau, and the private destinations of Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays.
The voyages complement a series of voyages to Cuba departing from Tampa aboard Carnival Paradise taking place in 2018-19.

“Our inaugural cruises to Cuba aboard Carnival Paradise from Tampa were met with exceptional guest response and we’re thrilled to expand upon the program with our first Cuba cruises from Miami featuring Havana and some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean and The Bahamas,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Cuba is a sought-after destination and we’re delighted to provide our guests with even more opportunities to experience and explore this fascinating island,” she added.

Carnival Sensation’s Cuba schedule includes:
– four 5-night sailings to Havana and Grand Turk departing May 20, Sept. 9, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16, 2019
– five 5-night voyages featuring Havana, Nassau and Half Moon Cay departing June 17, July 15, Aug. 12, Sept. 23, and Nov. 4, 2019
– a 5-nighty cruise to Havana, Nassau and Princess Cays departing April 22, 2019
– seven 5-night cruises to Havana and Grand Cayman departing May 6, June 3, July 1 and 29, Aug. 26, Oct. 7 and Dec. 2, 2019

The 2,052-passenger Carnival Sensation underwent an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock last year that added a variety of popular food and beverage concepts, including Guy’s Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic tacos and burritos, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, and the Cherry on Top sweets shop.

These complement the ship’s diverse array of onboard features, including a WaterWorks aqua park, a Serenity adults-only retreat, 24-hour pizzeria, fun supervised programs for kids in three age groups, and the Seuss at Sea program operated exclusively with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Guests sailing on Carnival’s Cuba cruises can select from nearly 20 different shore excursion experiences that showcase the island’s vibrant culture, majestic beauty and centuries-old architectural landmarks. A variety of Cuban-themed activities and entertainment, including the sizzling Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance Playlist Productions show, Havana-inspired deck parties, trivia contests and salsa lessons, are also offered. There’s also a lecturer on board who discusses the country’s rich history and culture.

The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Royal Caribbean announces Singapore leadership changes

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has announced that Sean Treacy, Managing Director, Asia Pacific who is based in Singapore, will relocate back to Miami in August 2018 to take up the new role of Associate Vice President Strategic Planning for International. Treacy has played a key role in both Australia and Singapore during his four years in the Asia Pacific region.

Angie Stephen, currently Associate Vice President, Market Development, China, will relocate to Singapore to take on Treacy’s role. Stephen who comes with almost 20 years of experience in the company, has fulfilled a key market development role in China for the past year. She will take on the management of the Singapore source market for the brands Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises.