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New ship No. 3 — Ovation of the Seas

Third in a series of new ships for 2016

Ship-Ovation

Royal Caribbean’s newest class of ship is the Quantum Class and when Ovation of the Seas joins it, two-thirds of the ships will be based in Asia. Unless you go off to search for it to take a cruise cruise, the only place you’ll find out about it is in places like this. A month after its Southampton launch, Ovation of the Seas is off to Dubai, en route to its Asian home: Tianjin, China. It will briefly visit Australia and New Zealand at the end of the year and no cruises are posted online after its return to Asia (Singapore) in February.

Launch date: April 17

Capacity: 4,180

Sister ships: Quantum of the Seas (2014), Anthem of the Seas (2015)

Maiden voyage: Southampton return (5 days)

Home port: Tianjin, China

Ships then in Royal Caribbean fleet: 25

Interesting: Other than the fact that it has robots serving drinks, a flying pod to give people a 360-degree view of the sea (or whatever else happens to be in sight) and simulators for surfing and skydiving, it’s just like any other cruise ship. Not really. This is a clone of Quantum and Anthem of the Seas, and the differences will likely be hard to find. Like them it also has the Two70-degree lounge/entertainment center and the SeaPlex, where bumper cars, roller skates and basketball are the featured activities. Unlike them, it has virtual balconies so everybody gets to see what’s happening outside whether they’re in the North Star or not. With 16 decks, 25 places to eat and a price tag close to a billion dollars, it’s still not even close to being the biggest ship in the world. That comes — here — on Friday.

In the news…

• Windstar’s damaged Star Pride now out of cruising until after April 9
• Royal Caribbean drops eat-healthy restaurant from Anthem of the Seas

Today at portsandbows.com: Emerald kicks off Wave Season with free are


Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas
6 nights
April 10, 2016
Fort Lauderdale (return): Grand Cayman, Falmouth, Labadee
Inside: $389
Cost per day: $64
www.royalcaribbean.com

North Star? RipCord? Go now!

If you’re booked on Anthem of the Seas, the newest Royal Caribbean ship on the sea, make sure you take a ride on the North Star. That’s the pod at the end of an arm that North Startakes you on a ride over the water while the ship is cruising. And after you’ve done it, do it again. And again. And again.

If you are a cruise aficionado who can’t wait to see Harmony of the Seas, the next new Royal Caribbean ship that’s due in 2016, go on its North Star, too. Then go again. And again. And again.

If you think you might like simulated sky diving, RipCord by iFly is available (or will be) on RipCordboth those Quantum Class ships, so don’t miss a chance to give it a shot. Then do it again. And again.

Both those thrill features are free.

For now.

The flagship for this class is Quantum of the Seas. It is cruising in Asia, home-ported in Singapore. If you go on that North Star, it costs $20. If you go on that RipCord, it costs $26 for the one-minute ride.

Isn’t it just a matter of time?

In the news…

• Eight-year-old boy drowns in pool on Liberty of the Seas
• Crystal Cruises announces plans to add two jets and double air fleet
• Pier 66 cruise terminal improvements project approved in Seattle

Today at portsandbows.com: Hurtigruten expanding operations


Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam
7 nights
January 24, 2016
Fort Lauderdale (return): Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Key West
Inside: $539
Cost per day: $77
www.hollandamerica.com

New York: 'Hello, Quantum of the Seas'

It was just over a year ago that the world was “introduced” to Quantum of the Seas in New York. The quotation marks are because what those of us who were in Manhattan that day saw was conceptual. Drawings, artistic conceptions, videos and promises by Royal Kristin ChenowethCaribbean CEO Richard Fain that it would be the most technologically astute ship the cruise world had ever seen. Only its Godmother, the personable actress Kristin Chenoweth, was real.

Yesterday, the real Quantum of the Seas arrived in New York.

On board was the Godmother, of course. On board was the North Star, extending 300 feet vertically once the ship cleared the Verrazano Bridge to show off its most visual technology advance to the folks in The Big Apple as Quantum of the Seas detoured around New York Harbor and past the Statue of Liberty before heading back to the “other” Liberty (Cape Liberty), its New Jersey home. On board were dignitaries and media types and, yes, real passengers for Quantum’s authentic maiden cruise, from Southampton.

This is the third-largest cruise ship in the world — behind its sisters Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. It can carry close to 5,000 passengers, or about 1,000 fewer than the North Starsiblings. It has innovations that include a chance for its passengers to go sky diving (simulated), to ride bumper cars, to board it in 10 minutes using digital technology and to buy drinks from a robot at one of its bars.

The irony in all of this is that New Yorkers needn’t get too attached to Quantum of the Seas. After the christening ceremony on Friday, she’ll only be with them for six months before heading to her “permanent” home in Singapore, to be replaced on the shores of New Jersey by a reasonable facsimile, Anthem of the Seas.

That, it’s said, will not be a “quantum” leap.

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Norwegian Sun
7 nights
November 30, 2014
Tampa (return): Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel
Inside: $269
Cost per day: $38
www.ncl.com

New Ship: Quantum of the Seas

After quietly disposing of the Monarch of the Seas, its oldest (22 years) ship, Royal Caribbean filled the space in the stable with the much-heralded Quantum of the Seas. When it hits the water, Quantum will kick-start the seventh class of ships for the cruise line and be followed a year later by a sister called Anthem. Quantum's permanent home port will be Bayonne, NJ, to serve the growing New York market.

Launch date: November 2

Capacity: 4,905

Sister ships: None (yet)

Maiden Voyage: Southampton to Bayonne

Home Port: Bayonne, New Jersey

Ships in Royal Caribbean fleet: 22

Interesting: This new ship is being called revolutionary for its North Star, a pod at the end of a mechanical arm that extends — with up to 14 thrill-seekers in it — over the ocean at a height of 300 feet. Also unique is the chance to "sky dive" inside the RipCord by iFly, a simulator with vertical wind to keep you airborne. Quantum's not as big as the Oasis Class ships, and will carry between (according to reports) 4,180 and 4,905 passengers, who will also be introduced to a first-of-its-kind sports and entertainment complex that Royal Caribbean has branded SeaPlex. Also new, rooms with balconies for singles.

Holland America Eurodam
14 nights
March 30, 2014
Fort LauderdalePonta DelgadaCadizAlmeriaCartagenaRome
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $49
www.hollandamerica.com

MacGregor's Crane a Delayed Reaction

In April, Royal Caribbean unveiled the first of its next generation of ships, the impressive Quantum of the Seas, in a splashy news conference in New York City. The attraction that captivated the audience was the North Star, a pod that will take passengers up and out over the side of the ship.

If Quantum has a signature feature, this is it.

Now, three months later, a company that builds cranes announces it has secured the contract to get North Star up and out over the side of the ship.

Is it just us, or does it strike anybody else as being unusual that drawings of the North Star would be on display before Royal Caribbean knew who was building it? Or did Royal Caribbean know in April but the company — called MacGregor — wanted to have its own little splashy announcement?

For the record, in charge of the North Star's safety will be "an electro/hydraulically-driven slewing crane with an outreach of 41 meters [135 feet]." It will have its own stabilizer, to keep it level with the deck and to prevent "damp gondola movements"…in other words, make it less like a roller-coaster ride and more like a viewing stand.

"We are the first crane supplier involved in anything like this type [of crane] for a cruise ship," says Sales Manager Jonas Hägglund.

There is a reason for that. No other cruise line has done this. And if there is a reason for delaying MacGregor's announcement…well, it worked, didn't it?

Carnival Splendor
8 nights
September 14, 2013
New York (return): Grand TurkHalf Moon CayNassau
Inside: $369
Cost per day: $46
www.carnival.com

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