September 19, 2014
There was a time, not so long ago, when cruise lines had little or no role to play in the development of ports other than their own private destinations. Things sure are different now, and the change is best exemplified by a huge project Royal Caribbean has spearheaded in the Caribbean as described by Craig …View full post
With crisp air, cool temperatures and brilliant foliage on display, autumn is an ideal time to cruise. The stretch between summer and winter affords relatively crowd-free ports and fewer passengers on board (kids are back in school), translating to plenty of opportunities to commune with nature. Best of all, many repositioning cruises — ships crossing from …View full post
The pace of life in Lower Saxony, Germany is relaxed and slow, and a drive through the area, along the banks of the River Ems, will reveal miles of pastures, wetlands and farmland dotted with small towns and villages. But this week there’s a lot of excitement in this northwestern district as one of the world’s largest cruise ships makes its journey, or conveyance, from the shipbuilding town of Papenburg out to the North Sea.
The fuss is about Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International’s newest and most technologically advanced cruise ship, which was constructed at Meyer Werft, a family owned Papenburg-based shipyard. The conveyance is a unique process for ships built here, as Meyer Werft is unconventionally situated inland, along the banks of the River Ems, to avoid the impact of storms on the North Sea. This makes it necessary for ships to travel down the river to get to the sea.
“For hours we are actually taking the ship along this very, very tight channel where there is only about two to three feet of distance on each side between the ship and the river bank,” said Patrik Dahlgren, Vice President for Marine Operation at Royal Caribbean International. “We can’t set a firm date or time for the conveyance because it’s all timed with the tides and weather conditions to help balance the movements of the ship along the river.”
While the conveyance of ships is not new for Meyer Werft – the shipyard has been doing this since 1795 – there are plenty of challenges to having a successful conveyance, and Quantum of the Seas will be especially demanding due to the size of the ship.At 348 meters long (1,141.73 feet long), 41.4 meters wide (135.8 feet wide) and weighing in at 168,666 gross tons, this ship is the largest ever to go through conveyance.
“With Quantum being the largest ship that has ever been built at Meyer Werft, there are some power lines that need to be rerouted, and some bridges along the river actually have to be lifted out of the way with a crane to allow the ship to pass, including one that is used by one of the main railways into Holland,” continued Dahlgren.
Making the process even more of a spectacle, ships are conveyed backwards because it’s usually easier to maneuver them in reverse, and Quantum’s journey will be managed the same way. Thousands of revelers from the surrounding local villages along the 26 mile route typically gather at the river bank to watch and celebrate each ship’s distinct journey.
What happens once the ship completes the conveyance? Quantum of the Seas will dock in Eemshaven, The Netherlands, where she will begin a series of tests, called sea trials, to measure the vessel’s seaworthiness, as well as test things like speed, maneuverability, equipment and safety features.
Come November, crowds will once again line a river bank to catch a glimpse as Quantum passes by, only this time it will be as she sails through the New York harbor… and she’ll be sailing forward instead of in reverse.
MIAMI, September 18, 2014 – 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 Seas, Anthem 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 offers expansive, real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations for interior staterooms.
The Quantum Class spans 18 decks, encompasses 167,800 gross registered tons, carries 4,180 guests at double occupancy and features 2,090 staterooms. Quantum of the Seas will sail out of New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty for her inaugural season before departing to her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China. Anthem of the Seas will debut in Southampton, U.K. in April 2015 sailing Mediterranean itineraries. More information on Quantum class is available atwww.RoyalCaribbean.com/QuantumoftheSeas. For more information on Royal Caribbean International visit
By Susan Young
Exploring North America’s last frontier, Alaska, remains a “bucket list” item for many travelers. Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) annual State of the Cruise Industry released earlier this year revealed that 4.5 percent of all global itineraries visit the 49th state. While some Alaska ports are farther distance-wise than some destinations that cruisers can reach from U.S. ports and the voyages are usually pricier than cruises to theBahamas and Caribbean, the experience is unforgettable with dramatic natural beauty. Here’s a sampling of 2015 Alaska cruise action.
More balcony and oceanview staterooms await Alaska guests booked on Royal Caribbean International next summer as the line will operate two Radiance-class vessels. Radiance of the Seas will alternate northbound and southbound Alaska and Hubbard Glacier cruises, both seven-night itineraries from Vancouver, B.C., and Seward, AK, respectively. The ship will cruise the Inside Passage, visit Hubbard Glacier and call at Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Skagway in Alaska.
On September 4, 2015, Radiance of the Seas also will sail a seven-night round-trip itinerary from Vancouver that includes cruising at Tracy Arm Fjord and calls at Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Ketchikan. In addition, Jewel of the Seas will sail seven-night round-trip itineraries from Seattle, cruising the Alaska Inside Passage and Tracy Arm Fjord to Sawyer Glacier; these call at Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, B.C.
Clients seeking a more immersive Alaska vacation? Royal Caribbean cruise tours combine aRadiance of the Seas sailing with a three- to six-night fully escorted tour that spends at least one night in Denali National Park and one leg on the Wilderness Express, comprised of glass-domed train cars. Vacationers also might combine a Radiance of the Seas or Jewel of the Seas Alaska cruise with one of four pre- or post-cruise land tours of the Canadian Rockies and Canada’s Okanagan Wine Valley. A 19-night “Ultimate Cruise Tour” includes aRadiance cruise plus Alaska and Canada land touring.
Norwegian Cruise Line will operate three ships in Alaska—Norwegian Pearl andNorwegian Jewel roundtrip from Seattle and Norwegian Sun on one-way voyages between Vancouver and Seward. Departing Saturdays, Norwegian Jewel will sail seven-day Sawyer Glacier cruises from Seattle. Departing Sundays, Norwegian Pearl will sail seven-day Glacier Bay itineraries. Both itineraries feature stops in Ketchikan; Juneau; Skagway, Alaska; and Victoria.
If clients desire a lengthier trip, Norwegian Jewel will sail one nine-day Glacier Bay itinerary on May 7; it will visit Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Icy Strait Point, along with Victoria.Norwegian Pearl also will offer a 10-day Glacier Bay itinerary from Vancouver to Seattle on May 7, with calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point and Sitka, AK, and Victoria. Departing Mondays throughout the season, Norwegian Sun will sail seven-day cruises between Vancouver and Seward. These “open jaw” sailings will give guests a chance to add on a pre- or post-cruise Alaska land tour. From Vancouver, the ship will cruise to Glacier Bay and the Hubbard Glacier as well as call at Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau, AK. From Seward, the ship will cruise the Inside Passage, visit Sawyer Glacier and Hubbard Glacier, and call at Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Icy Strait Point.
In addition, Norwegian Sun will operate three seven-day roundtrip cruises from Vancouver plus one 10-day Glacier Bay itinerary roundtrip from Vancouver on May 8; on the latter, the ship calls at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Sitka and Victoria.
Carnival Legend will also operate a special one-time Glacier Bay voyage from Vancouver on May 18, disembarking in Seattle on May 26. Shore options include helicopter flightseeing, rainforest canopy tours, and hiking, canoeing and kayaking expeditions.Following its Australia inaugural season, Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Legend will head for Alaska and operate 16 week-long voyages, each with an onboard naturalist to educate guests about eco-sites and wildlife. The cruises sail from Seattle on Tuesday, with port calls at Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and Victoria and sail to either Tracy Arm Fjord or Glacier Bay.
Premium or Upper Premium
With seven ships in Alaska next year, Princess Cruises has a robust schedule of land-sea options. Ruby Princess and Crown Princess will sail roundtrip Inside Passage cruises from Seattle. The popular “Voyage of the Glaciers” route between Vancouver and Whittier will be operated by Coral Princess, Grand Princess, Pacific Princess and Star Princess.
Golden Princess will sail roundtrip to Alaska from San Francisco. The line’s robust land-and-sea packages include interior Alaska as well as two new Canadian Rockies tour options for 2015.
Another line with a strong “Great Land” presence is Holland America Line with seven ships sailing 124 departures. From Seattle, the line will operate seven- and 14-day, roundtrip “Alaskan Explorer” cruises that call at Sitka, Ketchikan, Juneau, and Victoria, BC. On those sailings, Westerdam also will visit Glacier Bay National Park, Amsterdam will visit Tracy Arm, and Statendam will sail to Tracy Arm, Icy Strait Point, Homer, Kodiak and Hubbard Glacier.
New for 2015, Noordam will sail from Vancouver as will Volendam and Oosterdam. Seven-day roundtrips will call at Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and cruise the Inside Passage. All three ships have a Tracy Arm service call for shore excursions. Also new, Zaandam will sail the Gulf of Alaska between Vancouver and Seward. Oosterdam will also sail that route, which includes Glacier Bay.
In 2015, Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder will sail seven-nights from Vancouver to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. Departures are weekly, June 1 through Aug. 31. Competitor Celebrity Cruises will position three ships—Millennium, Infinity and Solstice—in Alaska and, for the first time, call at Haines.
Upper premium Oceania Cruises will return the 684-passenger Regatta to “the Great Frontier.” Most voyages are of the 10-night variety, with Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway calls along with less-visited Haines, Wrangell, Sitka and Hoonah stops. On many sailings, guests can add a “Discover Denali” land experience that includes a scenic train trip in a deluxe domed railcar, a welcome reception with Denali lecture and a tundra wilderness tour on which guests might spot moose, caribou, brown bears and 160+ species of birds.
Seattle, Wash., Sep. 15, 2014 — Holland America Line 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 msNieuw Amsterdam and ms Eurodam . The two firms will create a modern and contemporary ambiance while incorporating Holland America Line’s classic hallmarks.
For more information about Holland America Line, contact a travel professional or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visitwww.hollandamerica.com.
These days it’s mature Quebec City parkland yet beyond it are the trenches and battlements of the Citadel, still with its military garrison.
Straight ahead is the old town, dominated by the iconic Fairmont hotel, Le Chateau Frontenac and the harbour.
Through the early morning mist I can just make out the Isle of Orleans sitting in the mighty St Lawrence River on which I shall soon be cruising in some luxury.
I am joining MS Veendam for the Canada & New England Discovery cruise taking in major cities including Quebec, Halifax and Boston as well as the small coastal towns of Charlottetown, Sydney, Lunenburg and Bar Harbor.
In winter the landscape is different with several feet of snow, frozen seas and lots of ice. But it’s summer now and the landscape is beautiful: soft and rugged at the same time.
Never having been on a cruise before I’m not entirely sure what to expect.
First impressions of the grand Holland America Line ship are of an upmarket shopping mall.
The staircase spirals around an enormous glittering crystal chandelier.
The endless twinkly, art-encrusted corridors linking the shops, bars, lounges, restaurants and leisure facilities at first seem quite overwhelming.
By Ana Figueroa
Last week, Travel Agent magazine toured the new Quantum of the Seas in a Papenburg, Germany, shipyard. While the ship is still a work in progress, we’ve created our own list of “Top 10 Things to Love” about the new Royal Caribbean International Ship
. Here are our favorites.
1. North Star
This first-of-a-kind attraction will feature a 15-passenger enclosed glass pod, which resembles those on the London Eye. The pod will gently lift passengers 300 feet over the sea. Depending on the ship’s position, they’ll enjoy ocean or port views.
MIAMI, September 5, 2014 – Royal Caribbean International is once again shaking things up on the high seas. The first cruise line to feature fully licensed, Tony Award-winning Broadway productions today announced that guests onboard the highly-anticipated Anthem of the Seas will party to We Will Rock You – the smash hit musical featuring the greatest hits of legendary British rock group, Queen – when she sails from Southampton, England in April 2015. Written by British comedian Ben Elton, the hilarious award-winning, record-breaking phenomenon boasts a score of killer Queen tunes such as “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “We Are the Champions,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and of course, “We Will Rock You.”
“On our new Quantum-class, guests can expect an entertainment experience that transcends anything they’ve ever seen before, and We Will Rock You is no exception,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Executive Vice President, Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “We’re thrilled to bring the timeless rock ballads of Queen to our most appropriately named ship.”
Built around 24 of Queen’s greatest hits, We Will Rock You tells the story of a group of Bohemians who struggle to restore the free exchange of thought, fashion and live music in a distant future where everyone dresses, thinks and does the same. Musical instruments and composers are forbidden, and rock music is all but unknown. We Will Rock You has proven itself as one of the London West End’s most solid hits since opening in May 2002, going on to become a worldwide sensation. The show has now been seen in local productions in 17 countries, playing to an audience of more than 15 million people.