MSC Cruises to homeport ‘enlarged’ ship in Southampton

MSC Cruises is to lengthen and refurbish one of its ships and homeport it in Southampton for the summer season in 2021.

The ship, which has not been named, will go into drydock and re-emerge as “a super-enhanced version” of itself.

It will be the first time MSC has based one of its ships in the UK for a full season.

Speaking exclusively to Travel Weekly, Antonio Paradiso, managing director for UK & Ireland, said: “This is not just a refitting. It will be a perfect blend of an old prototype ship and a new one.

“The larger ship will sail northern Europe itineraries to the Baltic capitals, Norwegian Fjords, North Cape and some southbound destinations.”

He also said: “It was the first time we have made a 100% commitment to the UK market.”

Paradiso revealed the ship would partner with “exciting British brands” and be “adapted” to meet the needs of the UK market.

“We learnt a lot from MSC Magnifica, bringing on British food, kettles and tea bags,” he added. “It has satisfaction scores of 7.5 out of 10 which is great for a first operation out of the UK.

“2021 gives us an opportunity to further improve those scores.”

Paradiso said plans were still being finalised and he would confirm the ship, deployment and details in “two to three months’ time”.

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Norway Expected to Step Up Fjord Emissions and Discharge Restrictions Sooner

 

Geiranger

While Norwegian authorities have previously announced that they will introduce zero emissions restrictions in their heritage fjords by 2025, the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) is expected to introduce restrictions starting already next year (2019) and gradually step up the requirements.

In its publication, Navigare, the NMA states that its restrictions will cover air emissions as well as grey-and blackwater and scrubber water in the Geirangerfjord, Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord.

It is currently legal to sail in the Geirangefjord with HFO without exhaust gas cleaning systems as the fjord is north of the North Sea Emission Control Area. The other two fjords are within the ECA.

The NMA will require exhaust gas cleaning systems or low-sulfur fuels such as MGO.

Another proposal, which is said to be circulating for review in Norway, is a speed restriction for all ships above 20,000 tons, which will result in reduced fuel consumption and reduced emissions.

The NMA is also proposing that ships of more than 2,500 tons and carrying more than 100 persons will not be allowed to discharge grey- or Blackwater or scrubber water in the fjords. Visible smoke emissions must meet transparency requirements.

The Navigare article states that the number of ships visiting these fjords in the future is expected to go down and that the oldest ships are expected to leave first.

Saga Sapphire to Leave Fleet in 2020

Saga Sapphire

Saga Cruises today announced the Saga Sapphire will leave its fleet, with the last cruise heading to Norway on a “Musical Norway” sailing in spring of 2020.

“For Saga Sapphire’s last foray to the Norwegian fjords, we’re cruising off the beaten track for an in-depth exploration of this country’s beautiful fjords, mountains and villages,” the company said.

The 10-night cruise leaves from Dover on April 11, 2020, and offers live jazz performances onboard while sailing 2,376 nautical miles through the Norwegian fjords.

Sailing roundtrip from Dover, calls include Alesund, Trondheim, Geiranger, Ulvik and Haugesund, along with four days at sea.

The Sapphire leaving Saga’s fleet complete’s the British company’s fleet renewal program. The Pearl II will depart the Saga fleet in early 2019, making way for the Spirit of Discovery, a 1,000-guest newbuiild that joins the fleet in summer 2019.

As the Sapphire leaves in early 2020, the Spirit of Adventure, a second newbuild, joins the fleet in summer 2020.