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New ship No. 8 — Seabourn Encore

Eighth in a series of new ships for 2016

Seabourn is an ultra-luxury cruise line that has been around for 30 years but effectively became a player in 2009 when the revolutionary Seabourn Odyssey arrived. With selling older ships Pride, Spirit and Legend to Windstar, the Encore is now Seabourn’s fourth ship and will be followed by a fifth in 2018 — the Ovation. So how does “ultra luxury” move to something better, such as “infinite luxury?” It hires a master designer named Adam D. Tihany, who is known for his elegant design of high-class resorts, hotels and restaurants.

Launch date: December 4

Capacity: 604

Sister ships: None (yet)

Maiden voyage: Athens to Dubai

Home port: Several in Asia and Australia

Ships then in Seabourn fleet: 4

Interesting: The plan is what will be this small-ship line’s biggest ship at 40,000 gross tonnes is for it and the Ovation to be regarded as kings of the luxury business. Yet as Seabourn points out that architecturally it will not be significantly different than the other three ships, the Encore designed by Tihany will be “softer” and “curvaceous” with unexpected surprises and subtle transformations that “are not meant to be described but rather discovered.” In other words, seasoned Seabourn customers will expect the traditional exclusivity and privacy traits that has made the line ultra luxurious, but find a few new touches to what will be a larger private yacht than they’ve previously experienced.

In the news…

• High-diving comedy among shows planned for Harmony of the Seas
• Norwegian’s Harvest Caye opening delayed nine months until November
• Azamara’s first world cruise — 61 ports, 29 countries — set for 2018

Today at portsandbows.com: Another new ship coming for AmaWaterways


Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas
7 nights
March 19, 2016
Tampa (return): Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel
Inside: $679
Cost per day: $97
www.royalcaribbean.com

Cruising Robots And Fruit Flies

Signs of the cruise apocalypse…or just interesting anecdotes about cruising:

The r2d2 effect

In case you thought you would only see this on the big screens playing the record-breaking latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens, guess again. If next year you’re on a Costa ship, as we were fortunate to be this year, there’s a good chance you’ll be talking to a robot. And the robot will be talking to you.

Costa Cruises will begin placing “emotional robots” on its ships after New Year’s, starting with the Diadema and the AIDAprima, a Costa brand. The robot’s name is Pepper and he, Diademashe or it will greet passengers as they board and help them find their way to restaurants and entertainment.

Pepper is apparently the world’s first robot capable of recognizing major human emotions and responding accurately in real time. So we are officially in the “talk with a robot” age.

The people who will be most nervous about hearing this news?

Walmart greeters.

21st century X-rays

A few years ago, we met a scientist who was commissioned to dissect the brain of a fruit fly, so we know that with fruit flies anything is possible.

Even X-rays.

That’s what is happening at four New Zealand cruise ports. A mobile X-ray machine is X-raymachinebeing installed to keep destructive pests from infesting the country…not rats or bats or snakes, but the dreaded Queensland fruit fly.

Areas near Auckland have been under strict restrictions to prevent the Australian pest from disembarking. To that end, the “biosecurity” machines will X-ray the bags of 260,000 or so cruise passengers next year to make certain there is no fruit inside that could be carrying the fruit fly to shore. Presumably, passengers will be warned about putting apples and oranges in their pockets and purses before leaving the ship.

The object is to make New Zealand “fruit fly free.”

In the news…

• Empress of the Seas returning to Royal Caribbean after 8-year absence
• Costa back in Port Everglades for winter season with the Deliziosa
• New 62-passenger Crystal Esprit christened in the Seychelles

Today at portsandbows.comOceania kicks off Wave Season


Vision of the Seas
7 nights
April 9, 2016
Tampa (return): Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel
Inside: $560
Cost per day: $80
www.royalcaribbean.com

Royal Baby Royal Treat For Cunard

 

Ah yes, the Royal Baby. She arrived on the weekend, in case you haven’t heard. Her birth was on the very day that Britain’s three queens of sailing — Victoria, Mary 2, Elizabeth — were launching another celebration: 175 years of Cunard.

The connection was not lost on Cunard.

When the news broke, thee three ships of royal lineage were all in British waters and in unison sounded their whistles three times. The significance of three comes from the “time-honored Magpie rhyme”…

“One for sorrow,
“Two for joy,
“Three for a girl…”

When Royal Baby Girl’s brother George was born two years ago, the three queens must have had scheduling problems because they didn’t blast “four for a boy” in unison. Or at least they weren’t close enough to be in tune.

This time, the timing was ideal.

The cruise line Samuel Cunard founded in 1840 planned this weekend retreat for its three ships long before England’s most famous mother of two even knew her Royal Daughter was on the way. So call it coincidence, luck or celestial intervention…but the perfect little one arrived on the perfect big weekend, when ships named after her ancestors — including her great-grandmother — were within driving distance.

Cunard’s anniversary year was kicked off at the home port, Southampton. Sunday’s royal procession was delayed until Royal Caribbean’s new ship, Anthem of the Seas, had left on its inaugural voyage. The three ships later broke formation on cruises to Hamburg (Queen Elizabeth), Guernsey (Queen Victoria) and New York (Queen Mary 2).

They’ll get together again later this month to take the River Mersey to Liverpool, Cunard’s ancestral home, for an event that’s expected to be watched by a million people on the shoreline.

In the meantime, like everyone else, Cunard’s people are waiting to hear the new queen-to-be’s name…

Elizabeth? Victoria? Mary?

Now that would be TOO much!

In the news…

• Balconies for the price of oceanviews on Anthem of the Seas
• $20 million loan to make Alaska's Icy Straight Point better port by fall
• Silver Whisper fails CDC health inspection with unsatisfactrory score of 82

Today at portsandbows.com: Star Wars to be a hit for Disney

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas
12 nights
May 28, 2015
Barcelona (return): Nice, Florence, Rome, Salerno, Venice, Ravenna, Kotor
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $58
www.royalcaribbean.com

Cruise Internships For ‘Students’

Call it an industry within an industry. Or call it an opportunity to see distant shores and get paid. Or just call it an unbelievable opportunity.

‘It’ is a cruise internship.

The industry has grown to the point that there are websites dedicated to helping students who are looking for an internship in the cruise business, which probably shouldn’t be a surprise since there are websites dedicated to…well, you name it. For those of us with some vintage, it’s like turning the clock back a few decades and wishing these things were available then.

Of the internships we’ve been reading about — most of them cater to young people attending maritime schools or wanting to work in the hospitality business — one jumped out.

The one from CroisiEurope.

Yes, right, who really has heard of CroisiEurope. More about that later. First, the opportunity…

CroisiEurope has a three-month internship (just one) for a student who is “passionate 7743_12_90_0_phpLZa2otabout travel and has a knack for photography and writing…”

Aha, a future cruise blogger!

“…to explore 14 countries across Europe and Asia aboard 10 ships as they develop their writing and photography skills.”

One student only, from the U.S. or Canada. Applications close in three weeks, on March 22. Here’s the link: Photo Tour Internship.

CroisiEurope?

It’s billed as the largest river cruise line in Europe, with 41 ships (hmm, Viking had 52 last year). CroisiEurope is going to be 40 years old next year. It has ferried more than 200,000 passengers along the rivers of Europe and Asia. It’s a family-owned business, launched in 1976 by Frenchman Gérard Schmitter. It claims to have the “best value in river cruises at great prices.”

While comparing rivers and ships is not an exact science, we found a CroisiEurope “Romantic Rhine” cruise in July starting at $250 per day and a Viking “Romantic Danube” cruise in the same month starting at just over $335 per day.

All of which makes “cruise internship” even better.

For students, that is. However, there’s no age restriction.

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas
15 nights
April 11, 2015
Tampa, Key West, Funchal, Gibraltar, Malaga, Barcelona
Inside: $599
Cost per day: $39
www.royalcaribbean.com

Apocalypse Time Again In Cruising 

There have long been ad agencies, and PR agencies, and communication agencies. Here’s one that falls — at least for people old enough to remember typewriters and telegrams — under the heading of…

A Sign of the Apocalypse.

The always-progressive cruise line Royal Caribbean has hired an AGENCY to handle “all things social media!”

It’s actually just for the cruise line’s United Kingdom wing but these days new ideas spread at warp-speed, so it’s only a matter of time, isn’t it? Mercedes, McDonald’s and Red Bull have the same agency for the same reason.

Its name is appropriate.

Holler.

Today at portsandbows.com: Dancing With The Stars: At Sea

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas
7 nights
December 6, 2014
Tampa (return): Roatan, Belize, Cozumel, Costa Maya
Inside: $299
Cost per day: $42
www.royalcaribbean.com

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