R for Re-Inspired
Oceania Cruises announced details of the OceaniaNEXT initiative on 13th August, described as an array of enhancements designed to improve facilities. The upgrade programme includes a $100 million refurbishment of the company’s four R-Class ships, the 30,277gt/1998 built Regatta and Insignia, the 30,277gt/1999 built Sirena and the 30,277gt/2000 built Nautica, which will result in 342 brand new designer suites and staterooms plus new décor in the restaurants, lounges and bars. The plans will be managed by Miami-based Studio DADO. The ships will receive stylish new interiors that showcase the best of residential design. Public spaces to be refitted include the Reception Hall and Upper Hall plus a new Grand Staircase framed by intricate railings and balustrades inset with crystal accents will welcome guests onboard. The Grand Dining Room upgrades include a new crystal chandelier whilst the staterooms and suites will also receive a stylish makeover.
On 20th August Princess Cruises revealed that the fifth Royal-Class ship will be christened Enchanted Princess. The 144,216gt ship is scheduled to make her debut on 15th June 2020, sailing on a series of European voyages. The ship will follow her sisterships Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Majestic Princess and Sky Princess, the latter joining the fleet in October 2019. The Enchanted Princess will herself be followed by a 6th example of the class in 2021. The cruise line also has two new LNG powered ships on order to be delivered in late 2023 and spring 2025, bringing its new ship order to five ships in six years. The 3,660-passenger capacity Enchanted Princess will be built at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard.
Crystal Keel Laying
On 21st August the keel laying ceremony for Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises’ new Crystal Endeavor took place at MV Werften’s Stralsund shipyard. The 20,000gt Crystal Endeavor will be the largest, most spacious purpose-built polar class expedition yacht, accommodating just 200 guests and offering all the luxurious amenities for which the Operator is known. The vessel will feature generous public spaces, a full-service spa & salon, six restaurants including Nobu Matsuhisa’s Umi Uma, expedition rooms and elegant suites. Crystal Endeavor’s accommodations will also offer a private butler service for every suite.
Sky’s the Limit
An innovative SkyDome on P&O Cruises’ newest ship, the 180,000gt Iona, will connect guests with the sea, sky and shoreline and be the place to go for relaxation, effortless dining and contemporary entertainment. Details of this first of its kind in the cruise industry, a two-deck SkyDome on decks 16 and 17, were released on 24th August. The area will include a glass dome roof which creates a temperate climate while providing guests with views as they cruise through the scenic Norwegian Fjords. By day, the SkyDome will offer a relaxed, poolside environment, with dining and drinking options including a grill, pizzeria and street food as well as premium ice cream. With the feel of an English park in summer, the area will feature a central pool and two whirlpools. Sun loungers, reclining chairs, greenery and artworks will all create a peaceful environment for enjoyment during the day. In the evenings the SkyDome will become an entertainment venue, showcasing spectacular aerialist performances and playing host to party nights under the stars. The swimming pool will transform into a stage for the night’s entertainment, while dramatic aerial acrobatics shows will make full use of the SkyDome’s height. After the show, the space will transform into a party night venue. The glass dome roof was designed by award-winning British engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan, renowned for their work on such innovative structures as Bulgari Glass House in Italy and Apple Park in California. The inviting living space underneath the dome was created by cruise ship specialists Partner Ship Design. The Iona is currently being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg and will be launched in May 2020.
On 22nd August P&O Australia announced that it had sold the 70,285gt Pacific Jewel, with the buyer later being identified as new Chinese operation Zen Cruising. The ship will leave the fleet in early 2019 with operations from India planned for 2019. Zen Cruising is owned by the Essel Group, which describes itself as a conglomerate that can trace its history back over 90 years. This is the second vessel the company has sold in recent months, as the 55,877gt/1993 built Pacific Eden was also sold earlier in 2018 and will head to Cruise & Maritime Voyages in 2019 as the Vasco da Gama. The Star Princess will join P&O Cruises Australia from Princess Cruises in late 2021 in addition to the Golden Princess that arrives in 2020. The Pacific Jewel entered service in 1990 as the Crown Princess after being built by Fincantieri. She also served as the A’Rosa Blu, AIDAblu and Ocean Village Two before moving to P&O Australia as the Pacific Jewel in 2009. The ship’s final P&O voyage will depart from Melbourne on 24th February 2019.
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