ABP announced on 22nd October a £12 million investment package to support further growth in the cruise sector beginning on 8th November at the Port of Southampton. The Ocean Terminal is being upgraded to accommodate the growing demand from cruise lines for ever larger ships and the facility will be closed until March 2019. The project, being carried out in partnership with Southampton-based Carnival UK, will enable P&O Cruises’ newest flagship to home port in Southampton from Spring 2020. The Iona will be the next generation of P&O Cruises ships, and is the first British cruise ship to be powered by LNG. She is currently under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg and will be launched in May 2020. The work at Ocean Terminal will increase the passenger capacity by 50% to cope with ships carrying up to 5,200 passengers. Along with infrastructure improvements to the quayside and within the terminal itself, the existing 2,000 roof-mounted solar panel facility will also be expanded. The Port of Southampton currently welcomes over 2 million passengers each year on more than 500 cruise calls. Each visit to the port generates around £2 million for the local economy.
AIDA Cruises’ 183,200gt AIDAnova, the world’s first cruise ship to be powered solely by LNG, will be delayed according to her German shipbuilder, Meyer Werft. The complexity of the ship’s systems requires additional time for tests. The vessel’s conveyance from Papenburg to Eemshaven commenced on 8th October and a successful bunkering of the AIDAnova with LNG followed. The 337m long, 42m beam and 6,600 passenger capacity ship was scheduled for delivery to Aida Cruises in November, and was due to visit Hamburg in December, after which she was scheduled to start her maiden cruises in Gran Canaria. At the time of writing no revised delivery date had been announced. The situation with the AIDA newbuild was compounded by a fire aboard the ship on 24th October whilst moored at Eemshaven. The police started an investigation into the cause of the fire, at the request of the Captain, as arson was suspected. The ship remained in port during the investigation so a planned 6-day period of sea trials was postponed. Due to the fire, Meyer Werft decided to relocate staff to local hotels.
American Cruise Line’s American Song marked a new era for ACL when she entered service in October from New Orleans as the first in a series of at least five new modern riverboats. The newbuild will stay on the Mississippi through to the New Year and then head for the Columbia and Snake Rivers. The following two ships in the series are scheduled to be deployed on the Mississippi services. This new series of vessels feature a glass atrium, more modern amenities, balcony staterooms for all guests and new propulsion technology enables faster and more comfortable sailing. A telescopic bow ramp also simplifies disembarkation.
Celebrity Cruises is to double capacity in Australia following the announcement that the company will be deploying the 121,878gt/2010 built Celebrity Eclipse to Melbourne for the 2020/21 season as from 23rd December 2020. The 2,850 passenger capacity ship will arrive at her new base fresh from a multi-million-pound refurbishment. The 2020/2021 deployments will see the Celebrity Eclipse joined by sister Celebrity Solstice in Australia, the Celebrity Constellation and Millennium will serve the Asia market and the Celebrity Silhouette will go to South America after a refit.
The 90,940gt/2002 built Celebrity Constellation got into a spot of bother on 29th October at La Spezia, Italy, during a sudden squall. She broke free from her moorings during a call prompted by the same bad weather. The 102,784gt/2004 built Costa Magica was moored close to the ‘Constellation and, as the drifting ship was brought back under control, her stern made contact with the bow of the Costa ship. There was no major damage, no injuries and the Celebrity Constellation sailed later that day as scheduled.
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