World’s largest cruise ship arrives in Southampton

World's largest cruise ship arrives in Southampton

Royal Caribbean International’s $1 billion new mega ship, Harmony of the Seas, arrives in Southampton today ahead of being showcased to agents attending the 10th annual Clia Conference.

Heralded as the world’s largest cruise ship, the third Oasis-class vessel will be shown off to agents at the event on Friday.

New features include the Ultimate Abyss, claimed to be the tallest slide on a ship with a 10-storey drop, and The Perfect Storm – three waterslides

The ship combines the seven neighbourhood concept that the line’s Oasis class ships are known for, with the top technological features from its Quantum class ships, such as the robot-powered Bionic Bar.

Entertainment ranges from hit musical Grease through to aquatic performances at the AquaTheatre and ice shows.

The 5,497-passenger ship’s 20 dining include Jamie’s Italian by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and a Wonderland restaurant.

The ship is running two short preview sailings from Southampton before relocating to the Mediterranean for summer sailings from Barcelona and Civitavecchia, the port of Rome, and seven-night winter itineraries in the Caribbean from Port Everglades in Florida.

Construction on the fourth ship in the series started at the St Nazaire ship yard in France last autumn with the as-yet unnamed vessel due to enter service in spring 2018.

Ovation of the Seas joins Royal Caribbean’s fleet following delivery ceremony

Richard Fain and Bernard Meyer
There is a new Royal Caribbean ship officially in the fleet, as of today.

Royal Caribbean took delivery of its 24th cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas, in a ceremony held today in Bremerhaven, Germany.  Ovation of the Seas is the third Quantum-class ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet.

Royal Caribbean Chairman Richard Fain took delivery of Ovation of the Seas from Meyer Werft Yard’s Managing Partner Bernard Meyer at the official handover ceremony.

“Ovation of the Seas is magnificent,” said Richard. “Our thanks to the Meyer Werft team for their ongoing partnership in designing and building awe-inspiring ships with us.”

“It’s wonderful to welcome Ovation of the Seas to the Royal Caribbean family of ships,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “We have once again introduced yet another one of the most technologically advanced cruise ships and the very first that has been built for the China market – a market we continue to demonstrate our commitment to expanding. Quantum Class has redefined the status quo, and we are excited for our guests in China and Australia to enjoy their extraordinary vacations onboard this stunner.”

Ovation of the Seas will now sail to Southampton, U.K., where the ship will offer a series of short getaways before she sets sail on her 52-night “Global Odyssey” culminating in the arrival to her homeport in Tianjin, China.

She will begin her first homeport sailing season in China from Tianjin in June 2016. Ovation, together with Quantum of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Legend of the Seas, will make up the largest fleet of any cruise line sailing in China.

Norwegian Cruise Line to offer ex-UK cruises for first time in seven years

Photo by Dave Jones

by Hollie-Rae Merrick 

Norwegian Cruise Line will have a UK-dedicated ship sailing from Southampton for the first time in seven years from 2017.

The cruise line will offer a series of 11 Western Europe and three Norwegian Fjords sailings between May 12 and June 20 and August 7 and October 16, 2017. Also available will be two shorter taster cruises.

Norwegian Jade (pictured) will arrive in Europe after a two-and-a-half-week dry-dock. Ports of call featured on its itineraries include Hamburg, Amsterdam, Zeebrugge, Le Havre, Alesund, Geiranger, and Bergen.

The line’s 2017 programme includes a total of five ships sailing in Europe, the line’s biggest ever European deployment.

Norwegian Getaway, which launched in 2014, will return to Europe to sail on eight or nine-night Baltic Capitals cruises to and from Copenhagen.

Norwegian Epic will sail in the Western Mediterranean; Norwegian Spirit will offer 10 and 11-night voyages between Barcelona and Venice and Norwegian Star will sail between Venice and the Greek Isles.

Norwegian’s managing director for EMEA, Christian Boell, said: “We’re clearly demonstrating our commitment to our European customers, especially cruisers in the UK, with these exciting summer itineraries.

“Not only are we offering the possibility to embark in Southampton but we are also bringing one of our newest and most innovative ships back to Europe.

“We’re convinced that this will encourage continued growth in the UK market, where we have just seen record breaking guest numbers in 2015.”

Northern Europe general manager, Nick Wilkinson, added: “I’m sure these exciting Southampton sailings will be music to our travel partners’ ears.”

New ship Norwegian Escape, which launched in October 2015, will spend summer 2017 sailing alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Miami on May 6.