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OCEANIA CRUISES: Major refit completed
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 00:00

Oceania Cruises’ Insignia was refitted as part Of a £50 million upgrade.Oceania Cruises’ Insignia was refitted as part Of a £50 million upgrade.Oceania Cruises welcomed Insignia back to the fleet after a two-year charter and an extensive dry-dock.  Insignia is the first of three sisterships from Oceania Cruises to undergo a US$50 million refurbishment. Nautica and Regatta are to be dry-docked and receive similar enhancements during June and July. Renovating the three ships in a six-week time period marks the largest refurbishment programme in Oceania Cruises’ history.

The makeover brings many of the interior design elements from Marina and Riviera to Insignia, Nautica and Regatta. In addition to new furnishings and décor for all public rooms, suites and staterooms, Insignia added several new guest offerings, including a cook-to-order grill at Terrace Café.

Iberocruceros: End of line for Ibero?
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 00:00

Grand Celebration is the latest ship to leave Iberocruceros.  William Mayes Grand Celebration is the latest ship to leave Iberocruceros. William Mayes As the fleet of this Spanish subsidiary of Carnival Corp is reduced to a single ship, the future of Iberocruceros seems uncertain. Carnival’s involvement dates back to 2007, when it acquired 75 per cent of the cruise business of Iberojet, part of the Spanish travel group Orizonia Corporation.

At that time the company was operating Grand Mistral and Grand Voyager, but during the following year the fleet was expanded with the transfer from the Carnival Cruise Lines fleet of Celebration, which was renamed Grand Celebration. Iberocruceros, as the company was by then named, was placed under the management of Costa Crociere and, in 2009, the remaining 25 per cent of the operation was acquired.

Classic Int’l: Another oldie for the scrapyard
Friday, 27 June 2014 07:56

Princess Daphne, seen in Dover in 2011, has gone for scrap. William Mayes Princess Daphne, seen in Dover in 2011, has gone for scrap. William Mayes Despite their best efforts, and with a charter apparently lined up, the Potamianos Brothers were unable to raise the finance needed to bring the classic cruise ship Princess Daphne up to the required standards, so she has been sold for scrap. She sailed, under the name Daphne, from Souda Bay in Crete on 17 May, bound initially for Port Said and thence to Alang.

She has a long and interesting history, having been built in 1955 by Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson at Wallsend on Tyne as the Port Line passenger and cargo liner Port Sydney. In 1972, as the traditional liner trades were coming to an end, she was sold to Greek interests to be converted into a car ferry, for which use she was to have been renamed Akrotiri Express. In the event, that conversion was never completed, and she was converted into a cruise ship and renamed Daphne.

MSC: Change of plan in USA
Tuesday, 17 June 2014 00:00

MSC Divina returns to Europe in 2015. William MayesMSC Divina returns to Europe in 2015. William MayesHaving previously announced that MSC Divina (2012/139,926gt) would operate year-round from Miami on alternate Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, MSC have changed the plan and now have the ship returning to Europe in April 2015 in a move said by the company to ‘strengthen its commitment to serving the North American market’.

It seems that the enhancements made to the ship to suit American tastes have paid off, and the ship will continue to offer these when she sails in the Mediterranean next year.

She will be largely marketed to American passengers on her seven-night itineraries, and will be home-ported in Civitavecchia, cruising to La Spezia, Cannes, Palma, Barcelona and Naples. Barcelona will be an additional embarkation and disembarkation port. MSC Divina will be dry-docked in October, before returning to Florida for a third winter season.

Quantum to China
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 00:00

Quantum of the Seas will move to China in 2015. Royal CaribbeanQuantum of the Seas will move to China in 2015. Royal CaribbeanFurther redeployments of ships for 2015 include the surprise move of the 4,180-lower berth Quantum of the Seas from her New York base in May 2015 to Shanghai, where she will be employed on cruises of up to eight nights to Japan and Korea. She was originally to have been based permanently in New York, but will be replaced by the slightly smaller Liberty of the Seas (3,600 lower berths) from 6 May 2015. She, in turn, will be replaced by Anthem of the Seas, Quantum’s sistership, in November, following that ship’s summer season sailing from Southampton.

Royal Caribbean has the strongest presence of any cruise line in the rapidly growing Chinese market, with Voyager of the Seas being based there since 2012 and Mariner of the Seas seasonally in 2013. The Chinese market is seen as one which generates high onboard spending, particularly in the casino, and on luxury goods in the shops. It has been speculated that, once the third of the Oasis of the Seas class is delivered, one of that trio may also find her way to China.

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