Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth returns home

A proud moment for the UK.

Portsmouth is now home to two aircraft carriers for the first time in a long time.

HMS Northumberland and RFA Tideforce also returned to warm welcomes in Devonport, say the Royal Navy. The ships’ flights made their way to their respective homes at RNAS Culdrose and Yeovilton.

It’s been a busy three months away for the Portsmouth-based HMS Queen Elizabeth which hosted British F-35 Lightning jets for the first time at sea as part of the WESTLANT19 deployment. Her sister, HMS Prince of Wales, is expected to be formally commissioned into the Royal Navy in the coming days.

Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth Commodore Steve Moorhouse said:

“Homecomings are always a special occasion, but to be returning to Portsmouth, with HMS Prince of Wales welcoming us home makes this a particularly special occasion. Two of her escorts, frigate HMS Northumberland and tanker RFA Tideforce, returned to Devonport today.”

Image Crown Copyright 2019.

The ships flights also made their way to their respective homes at RNAS Culdrose and Yeovilton.

Image Crown Copyright 2019.

Commander of the Air Group, Captain James Blackmore, added:

“The five-week period of operational tests with UK F-35s from the UK Lightning Force was significant and historic. As the last pilot to fly Harrier from the deck of HMS Ark Royal in 2010, it filled me with tremendous pride to see UK fixed-wing aircraft operate once more from a British carrier.”

Carnival Australia Poised for Big Season

Carnival Spirit in Sydney

Carnival Australia announced that it is is on course for one of its biggest summer cruise seasons ever, featuring more than 600 calls to ports around the nation as well as the local debut of two new ships, the Ruby Princess and Carnival Splendor.

The season kicked off this week as the Majestic Princess sailed into Sydney following stops in Darwin and Brisbane. 

Her arrival marked the start of 625 calls to 34 different ports around Australia by 19 ships from the seven cruise lines represented by Carnival Australia: Carnival Cruise Line, P&O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises UK and Seabourn.

Carnival Australia President Sture Myrmell said the 2019-20 cruise season would feature an exciting range of ships as well as 50 inaugural port visits around the country for ships across the company’s cruise lines, according to a statement.

“This is going to be a summer cruise season to remember, with our cruise lines offering Australian holidaymakers a fantastic range of new itineraries and new ports across 19 great ships,” Myrmell said. “In fact the number of local port visits by our ships has grown by more than 50 per cent compared to the summer season 10 years ago, underlining not only the growing popularity of cruising but also how much cruising has become part of the tourism fabric of our nation.”

On her second season Down Under, the Majestic Princess’s arrival not only marks the start of the summer cruise season but the largest in history for Princess in this region, featuring a record 141-day deployment in Western Australia as well as cruising from the east coast.

Myrmell said highlights of the season also include the first Australian visit by the Ruby Princess which will arrive in Sydney on October 23, 2019, and the Australian debut of the Carnival Splendor, which will sail into her new homeport of Sydney on December 10, 2019. Her arrival means that Carnival Cruise Line will now have two full-time ships based Down Under.

Other inaugural ship and cruise line visits over the summer include Carnival Cruise Line’s first call to Adelaide (Carnival Spirit February 29, 2020); Cunard’s first call to Esperance in Western Australia, (Queen Elizabeth on December 9, 2020); Seabourn’s first call to Portland (Seabourn Encore on March 14, 2020) and Holland America’s first calls to Moreton Island (Maasdam on December 1, 2019); Portland (Maasdam on January 2, 2020) and Phillip Island (Maasdam on January 3, 2020).

Cunard unveils new ship design team

Cunard unveils new ship design team

A ‘world-class’ team of designers has been recruited by Cunard to create the interiors for its new ship.

Design details of the as yet unnamed vessel, due to join the fleet in 2022, are still under wraps.

However, award-winning designers Simon Rawlings, of David Collins Studio; Terry McGillicuddy, Richmond International and Sybille de Margerie of Sybille de Margerie Paris are already working with the creative director, Adam D Tihany, on Cunard’s fourth ship.

The ship is Simon Rawlings’ first project at sea, with responsibility for the atrium, grand lobby, the Queens Grill suites and the main dining room. Past projects have included Kerridge’s Bar and Grill, Corinthia London and The Apartment at The Connaught.

French interior studio, Sybille de Margerie Paris, whose projects have included The Mandarin Oriental Paris and Cheval Blanc in Courchevel, will handle retail spaces, the spa and the flagship Queens Room in its first work on a ship interior.

Richmond International, which counts The Langham London and the award-winning Four Seasons Budapest among its clients, will be responsible for the theatre, new entertainment spaces and the outside deck area.

Cunard president Simon Palethorpe said: “The calibre of talent we have brought together for this project will bring to life our vision of creating a truly world-class ship.

“Working alongside the legendary Adam D Tihany, the team is working hard to ensure that every aspect of our new ship is exciting and forward-looking, yet unmistakably Cunard.”

Tihany added: “We have assembled a dynamic, passionate team of talented creatives whose unique design sensibilities and innate understanding of the Cunard brand will move the dial forward while recapturing the beloved spirit of Cunard travel in this next generation cruise liner.”

The new ship will be the 249th vessel to sail under the Cunard flag and will bring the luxury line’s fleet up to four vessels for the first time since the 1980s, joining flagship Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.