New Ship Launch: Chic Silhouette sparkles

The 2,886-passenger Celebrity Silhouette debuted today in Hamburg, Germany. The outdoor Lawn Club Grill on Deck 15, just steps from the real grass growing beneath your toes, is sure to be a hit with passengers. Photos by Michael Coleman

By Michael Coleman

HAMBURG, GERMANY: Thursday, July 21, 2011 — It may very well be Celebrity Cruises’ finest hour.

Today, here in this industrial port city, the chic 2,886-passenger Celebrity Silhouette debuted, slightly overshadowing her impressive sisters — Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse – each launched in successive years since 2008.

The new ship sparkles with the best features from her sisters plus trendy changes to Celebrity’s iconic Lawn Club, a Deck 15 refuge complete with real grass under your toes where one can celebrate the flavorful joys of outdoor grilling or unwind in a cabana-style haven.

The Alcoves, one of eight cabana-styled havens aboard Celebrity Silhouette, is situated front and center on Deck 15’s Lawn Club.
Passengers at the interactive Lawn Club Grill can select and grill their own meats side-by-side with Celebrity’s chefs — a cruise line first at sea – or have them cooked to order. New, too, are eight, private, Wi-Fi-equipped cabanas dubbed “The Alcoves” for the ultimate in at-sea relaxation plus, steps away, look for the “The Porch,” a breezy, casual dining spot offering sandwiches, coffees and captivating views during breakfast and lunch hours.

Inside Silhouette you might want to take a culinary adventure in Qsine, one of the ship’s specialty restaurants, where you order food and wine from an iPad menu; enjoy an intimate, quiet space – “The Hideaway” – reminiscent of a childhood tree house; or taste some 50 beers from around the world in “Michael’s Club.”

Celebrity Silhouette’s Lawn Club features, among a host of outdoor delights, these oversized chairs.
There’s even a new “Art Studio” onboard where passengers can bring out their inner artist by participating in hands on courses in beading, sculpting, painting and more led by professional artists.

Tonight, Michelle Morgan, president and CEO of Signature Travel Network, will officially christen Silhouette as the ship’s Godmother.

Following today’s unveiling, Silhouette will set sail from Hamburg, Saturday, on a seven-night cruise to Civitavecchia (Rome), where the ship will then feature roundtrip 12-night Mediterranean/Holy Land sailings until November when she will offer Caribbean cruises from the New York/New Jersey market.

On the web: celebritycruises.com

– Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman will take a closer look at Celebrity’s new masterpiece here in this space tomorrow.

The spacious Celebrity Silhouette pool deck features plenty of room to enjoy a dip or relaxing time in one of four hot tubs.

Carnival Magic makes her debut in Europe

Little kids and big kids alike will love the Waterworks area. Get dumped on by hundreds of gallons of water, then go down one of three large slides. Carnival Magic has their longest twister waterslide of any ship.



By Jackie Roseboom

Living up to her name, the christening of the brand new Carnival Magic was indeed magical.

The ceremony took place onboard while in port in Venice, Italy. Carnival’s CEO appeared out of nowhere on stage in a helicopter to start the festivities. The sailing away party, with breathtaking views of Venice was a perfect way to start off a first cruise on a brand new ship.

The ship’s Godmother, Lindsey Wilkerson, was diagnosed with cancer as a child. She credits her survival to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She is dedicated to raising funds for St. Jude to ensure more children are helped the way she was. Carnival has taken a pledge to raise three million dollars in three years for St. Jude. On each cruise there is a “Groove for St. Jude” dance party/fundraiser.

In addition to the parties, there are so many fun activities onboard. On Carnival’s new fun ship you can climb high and mighty on the new Sky Course. The views from this rope course on the top deck are amazing as you test your tightrope walking skills (while being tethered to a safety line). The Sports Square features a miniature golf course, a billiards table, foosball, ping-pong and outdoor workout equipment. There is also an area up top to play basketball and many other sports. The oversize board games are also a big hit.

The full service Cloud 9 Spa supplies everything you will possibly need to relax and rejuvenate. The gym classes and equipment are top notch and the spas’ thermal suites are not to be missed. They consist of heated lounge chairs, different kinds of steam rooms and a large, wonderful hot tub with a view! Here’s a little hint: to add to experience, get the custom scrub while you are in the steam room. It will leave your skin baby soft and it’s only about $9 extra. It’s the perfect thing to add to your spa treatment.

There is no shortage of dining options and nightlife on the Carnival Magic. Of course, there’s the “always aimed to please” the main dining rooms, but the Lido deck has many different options to choose from, including tandoori, sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs, pizza, a burrito bar, Mongolian wok and so much more. The new Cucina Del Capitano is an extra fee Italian restaurant by night and a free made to order pasta bar by day. The Prime Steakhouse also has an extra fee, but it is so worth it due to the mouth-watering steaks.

The fun new hangout onboard is the RedFrog Pub. It’s Carnival’s first ever pub. It has a comfortable neighborhood bar feel with a Caribbean flair. There’s an extra cost of $3.33 for each of the yummy things on the menu. You’ll probably want to try the Thirsty Frog Red. This house brew is made just for the pub and isn’t available anywhere else. It sold out on the first cruise and they had to ship some more in. There’s live music nightly and a fun outside area. In addition to the Red Frog for nightlife, there are also lounges, a piano bar, karaoke with a live band and dancing. Of course the shows in the Showtime Theater are something to see and don’t forget the big-screen movie on the pool deck. Kids, and kids-at-heart will love the three water slides and large water dump bucket and splash play area. With all this, you’ll have a hard time being bored, but if that’s what you’re looking for, the Serenity deck is perfect place to unwind with its soft lounge chairs and inviting hammocks.

The cabins onboard the Carnival Magic are very comfortable and available for most sizes and budgets. The Carnival Magic will be sailing the Mediterranean for the summer and in the Caribbean, sailing out of Galveston for the winter. The Magic’s sister ships are the Dream, which debut in 2010, and the Breeze, which launches in 2012.

For more information go to carnival.com

Here’s video of the naming ceremony:

Oceania Cruises unveils stately Marina

The stately 1,250-passenger Oceania Marina, the fourth ship in Oceania Cruises’ fleet, debuted this week in Miami. Image courtesy Oceania Cruises

By Michael Coleman

Oceania Cruises christened Marina this week during a lavish ceremony in Miami.

The unveiling brings the vision of Frank Del Rio, the founder of Oceania Cruises and chairman & CEO of parent company Prestige Cruise Holdings, to reality with the line’s first newly-built ship measuring 66,000 tons and accommodating 1,250 guests.

“The saying goes, ‘good things come to those who wait’ although Marina’s arrival has been long awaited she’s more than just good,” said Del Rio at the christening ceremony. “She’s the most beautiful, sophisticated and stylish ship launched in the modern era of cruising — a span of some 50 years.”

Marina is a ship of firsts featuring the first Bon Appétit Culinary Center; Master Chef Jacques Pépin’s first namesake restaurant at sea; Ralph Lauren Home-furnished Owner’s Suites; luxurious accommodations by Dakota Jackson; a Wine Spectator wine program and a Lalique grand stairway.

“Marina is not just another ship, she is special in so many ways,” said Bob Binder, Oceania Cruises’ president. “When we set out to design and build our first new ship, we wanted it to set new standards for comfort, service and culinary excellence.”

The ship’s godmother, Entertainment Tonight anchor Mary Hart, helped host the christening ceremonies.

Marina arrived in Miami last week following her maiden voyage from Barcelona. The ship has been purposefully designed to carry guests to the world’s most alluring ports in elegance and style. Marina is full of rich woods, marble and granite, fine wool carpets and lustrous leathers which adorn public rooms.

Facilities include 10 dining venues — six of which are open-seating gourmet restaurants, an array of bars and lounges, a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness center, swimming pool and hot tubs.

She will soon depart on the first of two 18-day Panama Canal transits that visit San Francisco and San Diego, both new ports for Oceania Cruises. Marina then operates a 12-day Caribbean cruise, round-trip from Miami, departing March 16, before sailing along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and on to Europe to begin her inaugural Mediterranean season.

Marina is the fourth vessel in the Oceania Cruises’ fleet consisting of Regatta, Insignia and Nautica, each carrying 684 passengers, to locales around the world since 2002. Her sister ship, Riviera, will be christened in April 2012.

The line bills itself as an “upper-premium’’ brand offering “gourmet cuisine, gracious service and award-winning itineraries at an exceptional value’’.

On the web: oceaniacruises.com

Project Sunshine – Royal Caribbean’s next generation ship to launch in 2014

Royal Caribbean Cruises has signed a letter of intent with shipyard Meyer Werft to build the first of a new generation of cruise ships. Developed under the code-name “Project Sunshine,” the new vessel design incorporates new and exciting features that take advantage of the best of Royal Caribbean’s experience and imagination. The project is a result of over a year of dedicated research and development.

The order calls for one ship to be delivered in the Fall of 2014 with an option for a second ship for Spring 2015. The 158,000 Gross Registered Tons (GRT) new build will carry just over 4,100 guests based on double occupancy. The estimated all-in cost per berth is about $229,822. This all-in cost includes the yard’s base contract price plus everything needed to design, operate and build the vessel, from architect fees to supervision costs and all loose inventories from computers to art and bed linens.

“Royal Caribbean has worked hard to earn a reputation of offering the most innovative ships in the cruise industry and this next generation will not disappoint,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. “While we continue our policy of keeping our newest ideas and features under wraps during the early stages of construction, I can say that I am very excited about the passion and imagination that our teams have devoted to the project. Project Sunshine builds on the best ideas of our existing ships and adds exciting new activities and entertainment concepts.

“It will offer features for everyone: from grand, spectacular spaces to small intimate settings; from active, invigorating activities to the serenity of more personal space; and from a plethora of dining alternatives to a cornucopia of opportunities for families. I am also excited about the energy efficiency and environmental technologies which have been incorporated. Our existing ships are some of the most energy efficient in the world and Project Sunshine takes this one further step. Based on our over 20 years of experience with Meyer Werft, along with their compelling proposal, we know they will deliver on all of the innovations Royal Caribbean’s guests have come to expect.”

“Meyer Werft is pleased to be working with Royal Caribbean especially in light of their reputation for building such innovative ships. I am very happy we are continuing our long time partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruises, and its brand Royal Caribbean International. Their projects always present incredible opportunities for Meyer Werft to create the latest cutting edge hardware in the cruise industry,” said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft shipyard.

Ship Review: World’s largest cruise ship, Allure of the Seas makes her debut

You can really tell the size of Allure of the Seas when you're on the pool deck. Central Park area runs down the middle of the ship. Photos by Matt Roseboom

Royal Caribbean’s newest ship has launched. The Allure of the Seas is being dubbed an “Entertainment Ship”. There are so many things to do onboard, it’s hard to know where to start.

Click Here to read the full review.

Ship Review: NCL’s newest ship offers fun in Epic proportions

Many people pick a vacation city based on how much it has to offer. Big names like Nickelodeon and Blue Man Group that could have only been seen in places like Las Vegas and Orlando are now cruising the high seas. With all the innovations on the brand new Norwegian (NCL) Epic, it’s like you’re in a city with ever changing views.

Click Here to continue reading the NCL Epic ship review.

Oceania unveils new Marina

The 1,250-guest Oceania Marina made her debut this week during a float-out ceremony at Fincantieri’s Sestri Ponente shipyard in Genoa, Italy. Marina’s inaugural voyage will take place in late January, 2011. Artists rendering courtesy Oceania Cruises

By Michael Coleman

Oceania Cruises’ stylish new 1,258-guest flagship, Marina, was unveiled this week in Italy.

Although her inaugural voyage is still 10 months away, the debut has cruise aficionados abuzz as Marina, Oceania’s first-ever new ship, will feature an array of elegant accommodations, bars, lounges and dining venues.

Oceania presently operates three, 684-passenger ships — Regatta, Insignia and Nautica – each a former vessel in the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises fleet. Over the course of the past half-decade, Oceania has carved a successful niche in the upper-premium cruise travel category and has enjoyed a loyal following.

Marina guest accommodations are comprised of 629 staterooms and suites, 96 percent of which feature private verandas. The 65,000-ton, 16-deck vessel (11 passenger decks) will also include a Bon Appétit Culinary Center, Owner’s Suites exclusively furnished with Ralph Lauren Home, a Grand Stairway and lobby area custom-crafted by Lalique and a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness center.

Marina, however, was purposefully designed for epicureans in mind. Look for 10 dining venues, including six open-seating, gourmet restaurants including Jacques, the first restaurant at sea for Chef Jacques Pépin.

Pépin’s namesake restaurant will draw inspiration from bistros in his home town of Lyon and the fabled bistros of Paris.

The ship will also feature a state-of-the-art culinary studio with fully-equipped individual work stations, each with induction cook tops, a first at sea, affording guests the opportunity to gain a hands-on learning experience.

Oceania Cruises’ curriculum, designed in part by Bon Appétit, will appeal to a wide range of tastes and incorporate regional cultures and cuisines. Depending on the itinerary, classes may range from 45 minutes to three hours, and cater to all levels of aptitude, from beginner to master-chef level. The culinary experience will also be brought ashore with market tours where guests will shop for local ingredients with the chef.

Marina will also introduce Red Ginger, a Pan-Asian specialty restaurant featuring Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine. Red Ginger will offer both traditional and fusion dishes amid comfortable, visually stunning surroundings, with seating for just 126.

The Canyon Ranch SpaClub, meanwhile, will feature a visually stunning state-of-the-art spa, wellness and fitness facility, plus a luxurious full-service beauty salon. SpaClub will offer a host of spa amenities from 16 massage, body and skin-care treatment rooms, a gym and weight room with more than 50 pieces of cardio and weight training equipment to a juice bar, men’s and women’s locker rooms, thalassotherapy pool, two whirlpools and Thermal Suite.

Marina’s inaugural voyage is a 13-day transatlantic crossing, beginning January 22, 2011 from Barcelona to Miami.

Company officials are so pleased with the debut of Marina – even before a single passenger has enjoyed her amenities – they have approved the construction of a sister-ship, Riviera, scheduled to debut in April, 2012.

Oceania visits more than 300 ports in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the Americas each year.

On the Web: oceaniacruises.com

Princess to get two new ships – their largest ever

The Carnival Corporation & plc has signed a memorandum of agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for the construction of two 3,600-passenger cruise ships for its Princess Cruises brand.

The new ships — which will have an all-in cost of approximately €155,000 per lower berth — are scheduled to enter service in spring 2013 and spring 2014. At 139,000 tons each, the as-yet-unnamed ships will be the largest in the Princess Cruises fleet.

The agreement is subject to execution of a definitive contract, financing and other customary closing conditions. Additional details will be announced at a later date.

Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, The Yachts of Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ibero Cruises, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia.

Together, these brands operate 95 ships totaling more than 184,000 lower berths with 11 new ships scheduled to be delivered between March 2010 and May 2012. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour company in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon.

Ship Review: Polished Pearl pleases passengers

Above the dive-friendly, turquoise waters of the Caribbean, a playground of another kind beckons.
The 2,394-passenger Norwegian Pearl is a world unto itself, epitomizing Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) “Freestyle Cruising’’ concept where passengers enjoy a myriad of onboard entertainment and dining choices yet with no set schedules, dining times or even dress codes to adhere to.

Click Here for the full review.

Ship Review: Eurodam offers various amenities, dining choices

The 2,104-passenger Eurodam, the newest vessel in Holland America’s 14-ship fleet, offers an array of onboard events and activities and some of cruise travel’s more appealing dining options. Photo by Michael Coleman
The 2,104-passenger Eurodam, the newest vessel in Holland America’s 14-ship fleet, offers an array of onboard events and activities and some of cruise travel’s more appealing dining options. Photo by Michael Coleman

The question facing passengers during seven-night Caribbean cruises aboard Holland America’s Eurodam this winter isn’t what to do onboard but whether there’s enough time to enjoy all that’s being offered.

The 2,104-passenger, 86,000-ton ship features a host of events and activities in some 31 public rooms.

Click Here to read the full review.