New Look Sapphire Princess Sails for Europe

Sapphire Princess

The Sapphire Princess has embarked on her maiden Singapore to Southampton 38-night voyage following a two-week dry dock in Singapore.

This “Indian Ocean Grand Europe Adventure” voyage will visit 17 ports including Colombo, Cochin, Dubai, Petra, scenic cruising along the Suez Canal, Santorini, Monte Carlo, Florence, Malta, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Paris before arriving in Southampton.

Homeporting in Southampton for the first time, the Sapphire Princess also makes her maiden calls to the British Isles, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean and will sail three- to 14-night voyages to a total of 42 destinations in this region. The Sapphire Princess will also make Princess Cruises’ first port call to Skagen (Denmark).

Sapphire Princess will return to Singapore in November 2018 to continue her fifth Singapore homeporting season together with Diamond Princess.

The 2,560-guest Sapphire Princess now has a new livery on her bow that features the iconic Princess Cruises logo and has been outfitted with the Princess Luxury beds in all cabins, the company said.

Other upgrades during the drydock include the fitness centre, spa, and retail shops, among other areas.

Fire Extinguished After Outbreak Onboard Costa Cruise Ship

Apparently a fire broke out onboard the Costa neoClassica which is operated by the European based Costa Cruises.

According to reports the fire broke out in the ships funnel while the 56,800 gross ton ship was sailing in the Red Sea yesterday evening (December 23rd). The good news is that the fire was extinguished by crew personnel quickly and it didn’t affect any onboard operations.

Cruise hive got in touch with Costa Cruises and gave us the following statement:

Yesterday at about 9.25pm Italy time a fire has been detected coming out of the funnel on board Costa neoClassica while sailing the Red Sea, destination Aqaba on her planned route to Indian Ocean.

The shipboard personnel promptly intervened and the fire was quickly extinguished. The safety of guests and crew was never put at risk and no injury was reported. As a precaution and as per procedures General Emergency signals have been given and the released shortly thereafter.

All ship services have always been working and have never been stopped. The ship reached her destination port in Aqaba and is now berthed. Proper investigations on root causes are in progress and situation is normal.

According to the assessments now being performed, operations of the ship will be modified if needed. The Costa neoClassica has been refurbished in Dec 2014 she can host a total of 1,680 Guests, she is 53,000 gT. The ship is currently performing a 25 days cruise to Indian Ocean.

The Costa neoclassica departed Savona, Italy on December 18th on a 28-day voyage to multi destinations that will end up at Mauritius on January 11th 2015. An investigation is now underway by Costa on the cause of the fire and there is not expected to be any further delay.

The Costa neoClassica was previously known as Costa Classica and has recently undergone a multi million Euro upgrade. The vessel had been in dry dock since 18th December.

The last cruise frontier?

Maldives: The last cruise frontier?

By Tom Stieghorst
*Insight In a recent interview, I asked Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman Richard Fain what travel destination was on his bucket list, and after a moment’s thought he said, “the Maldives.”

The islands in the Indian Ocean are so remote that Fain felt like he could get away from everything by going there.

Indeed, the Indian Ocean may be the most out-of-the-way cruise destination you’d ever want to experience. With the rise in expedition cruises to the Antarctic, the Indian Ocean may be the last frontier.

Among the lines going to the Maldives are Costa Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises and Seabourn Cruises.*TomStieghorst

Seabourn describes the islands as “tiny specks in a vast expanse of ocean.” Male, the main inhabited city in the chain, is described by Conde Nast Traveler as “a combination of the Robinson Crusoe paradise of childhood dreams and a honeymoon destination fit for the Hollywood A-list.”

What is there to do there? “Absolutely nothing,” Fain said.

Most of these lines visit the Maldives on an itinerary from southern or eastern Africa to India or Southeast Asia. It is a long, thin route that involves lots of sea days, a long flight from North America — unless you’re on a world cruise — and a considerable expense.

Seabourn’s cruise next January sandwiches a visit to Male and Colombo, Sri Lanka, in the middle of eight long sea days on a voyage between South Africa and Singapore.

Princess has a 46-day journey on its schedule that takes visitors to the Maldives on an “odyssey” from Australia to South Africa.

Oceania Cruises plans to be there Dec. 3 and 4 on a 30-day cruise from Dubai to Cape Town, South Africa. In the next few years Silversea Cruises has four voyages with the Maldives on the itinerary, including a 17-day trip between Singapore and Mombasa, Kenya, next March.

In 2016, Silversea’s new expedition ship, the Silver Discoverer, will offer a 17-night cruise that starts in Phuket, Thailand and ends in Male, after stops in Myanmar, India’s Andaman Islands and Yala National Park in Sri Lanka.

So the next time a client says they’ve “been there done that” when you suggest an ocean cruise, you might respond with, “Have you thought about going to the Maldives?”