CruiseInd Your Industry Insider Source for Information, News and Analysis of the Cruise Industry Wed, 16 Oct 2019 19:01:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 First Look: HANSEATIC inspiration Thu, 17 Oct 2019 19:00:24 +0000 German Hapag-Lloyd Cruises newest ship has just entered service. The HANSEATIC inspiration is the second ship in their luxury expedition class.


Hapag-Lloyd is mainly known for their 222 ‘box ships’. This is their huge fleet of huge container ships (some similar in size to the largest cruise ships). The German company can trace it’s origins back to the mid 1800’s to two companies familiar to passenger ship historians; Norddeutscher Lloyd and the Hamburg America Line.

Over time, Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten alwasy remained part of the company as it was baught and sold by many companies. One of those companies was European tour conglomerate TUI Group. Their cruise division contains three firms: the all German TUI Cruises (a JV with RCCL), the UK focused Marella Cruises and the mostly-German Hapag-Lloyd. While it’s mostly intended for German speaking guests, they do offer English on select cruises for a more diverse clientèle. To cater to both segments, TUI ordered two ships to be built. These adult-only ships are built to Polar Class PC6 which is the highest of all the classes allowing arctic expeditions to be offered.

Hapag-Lloyd partnered with VARD in Norway, a subsidiary of Fincantieri, to design and construct the new clean-sheet design. Because labor is so expensive in Norway, the hull and superstructure are constructed in Romania. The ship is then towed to Vard Langsten in Norway for the final outfitting and installation of the technical equipment.

The passenger area span across 7 decks. The bottom-most deck accessible to passengers, deck 03, contains the infirmary midships, along with the gym, and the marina off the stern.

The next deck up, deck 4, contains passenger areas. Amidships is the the main lounge, HanseAtrium. This area features drinks in the evening and presentations during the day.

There’s a dedicated smoking room, as it’s catering to the German market, off to the side.

Past that is the main reception area.

Just beyond that is the specialty restaurant on the HANSEATIC inspiration, Mikkei. This features both Japanese and Peruvian food depending on where she’s sailing.

The main dining room is at the aft end and called the HANSEATIC Restaurant. This seats 180 pax and is open for all three meals.

There’s also 3 pax cabins on the portside, forward.

Deck 05 contains outside and balcony cabins for the first half. The aft part contains the casual Lido Restaurant. The area seats 84 indoors and 110 outdoors. This is the ships buffet.

Deck 06 is all cabins with a bow observation platform at the very front. Deck 07 contains all cabins. The bridge is at the front.

Up on top of the vessel is and observation lounge forward, and a pool amidships.

Past that area is then the Spa in the aft.

There’s also the Ocean Academy at the back of the deck. This is an interactive place where guests learn about their destinations.


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Introducing Viking Expeditions Wed, 16 Oct 2019 17:36:42 +0000 More details have emerged from Viking Cruises new sub brand.

Not to be left out of the burgeoning expedition market, Viking ordered two expedition vessels to be built at VARD last April. The two sisterships will be named Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, and carry 378 pax each. They also released the above rendering.

Contract signing in 2018

The ships will be classed as Polar Code 6 and built to Polar Class standards. Sales will open sometime next year with itineraries in the Arctic and Antarctica.

Grandeur of the Seas to Sail for Pullmantur in 2021 Wed, 16 Oct 2019 15:25:30 +0000 And so it begins…
Grandeur of the Seas in the Port of Baltimore July 12, 2013 

Well technically they started shuffling around the vision-class when they sent the Legend and Splendour of the Seas off to TUI cruises.

The next in the vision-class to leave the Royal Caribbean International fleet is the Grandeur of the Seas. She’ll depart in 2021 for their Spanish partner, Pullmantur. It looks like up until then, she’s still bookable under Royal Caribbean until April 23, 2021 with sailings out of Baltimore.

Royal Caribbean owns a 49% share in the Madrid based company, who will then refub her and sail her for an inagural season in Europe.

Expect her name to change to simply Grandeur.

Royal Caribbean’s Newest Private Destination is in… Tue, 15 Oct 2019 14:38:48 +0000 …Vanuatu.

Lelepa is off the coast of Vanuatu which is a chain of islands, 1076 miles ENE of Australia. Royal Caribbean, along with the Vanuatu government, will develop the island into a private cruise destination. The project is still in it’s infancy as no date, ships, or any other information has been released.

Royal emphasized that it will be different than their other ‘Perfect Day’ branded destination Cococay. “Our designers and nature have created the ideal South Pacific experience and we expect the results will be stunning.”

So whereas Cococay is more amusement/waterpark, I imagine this to be more typical south pacific: thatch huts, hammocks and lots and lots of beach area.

Royal Caribbean Announces Name, Design, and Homeport for Fifth Oasis-class Thu, 10 Oct 2019 16:28:50 +0000 She’ll be named Wonder of the Seas and be based in China.

The Wonder of the Seas was all but confirmed to be originally named Melody of the Seas. However today they just announced that she will in fact be called Wonder of the Seas. A name more befitting of her intended market which will be Asia. More specifically she’ll be homeported in Shanghai.

Debuting in 2021, she’ll be the world’s largest passenger ship at just over 230,000gt. They also just marked a milestone in her construction by laying the first block in the drydock in France at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard.

Todays news also featured a render of the Wonder. There are two distinct areas of change that I can see. I’ve cropped the photos accordingly.

There’s a redesign of the funnel, by putting the surrounding structure around the complete exhaust stacks. (previously they had a port and starboard one). They may seem stubbier due to air draft restrictions. There is an elongation towards the forward end of the loft suites. No doubt for this market there will be a larger selection of high end accommodations onboard. There also is a new archway structure in front if the funnel that contains the logo.

The aft section is a bit more puzzling. Around the Aquatheater there’s a new structure enclosing it a bit more. While the Ultimate Abyss slide is still there, there appears to be a change on the aft of deck 16. The starboard Flowrider is replaced with a new area. Also there may or may not be a change to deck 15 aft, where the sports area currently is.

A New Twist on the Flying Clipper Saga Thu, 10 Oct 2019 01:13:13 +0000 It appears the ship has changed names.

According to her AIS (as well as speculative reports in local news), the ship, formerly known as as the s/v Flying Clipper, as been sailing around the Adriatic as the Brodosplit 483. (Brodosplit being the yard that built her, and 483 being her hull number).

She had been launched back in 2017 from the Croatian yard but ran into financial, then technical, then legal issues with the ship. There’s no question that the Croatian yards are all struggling and having issues finishing ships on time. By the time she was finished, the contract had been nullified.

First Look at the Flying Clipper

This change from her intended name to a yard number signifies that Star Clippers definitely does not want her. However, there’s also some speculation that Star never intended to get the ship in the first place.

Andy Stuart Out at NCL Sun, 06 Oct 2019 18:20:33 +0000 Norwegian Cruise Lines shook things up at the executive level.
NCL – Norwegian Cruise Line – Norwegian Sky
Andy Stuart

Andy Stuart had been with the line since 1988 and survived the line going through three different ownership groups, all of which cleaned house when they took over. Stuart was given the top role at Norwegian Cruise Line in 2015 when Drew Masden was let go after a 6 month stint.
Taking his place is Harry Sommer who is currently President of International at NCL.

This comes as a surprise as I’ve always been a fan of Andy as he’s lasted over 20 years at the line and was always a ‘constant’ in their sales department. Never thought he’d leave the line, so this begs the question: did he find another gig or is this coming as a surprise to him as well?

Tour of the Empress of the Seas Mon, 30 Sep 2019 19:41:45 +0000 Royal Caribbean’s smallest ship should be nicknamed ‘The Little Ship That Could’!
Empress of the Seas sails into Miami

The ship was built in 1990 at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in France but she was actually ordered by Admiral Cruises. At that point in time, the ship was going to be called Future Seas. During her construction, Admiral Cruises had merged with Royal Caribbean. The ship was transferred to Royal Caribbean and renamed Nordic Empress.

Render of Future Seas when she was ordered by Admiral Cruises

She stayed in the Royal fleet for a while and was renamed in 2004 to Empress of the Seas. This was to keep her in line with the “of the Seas” names that all Royal ships have.

By 2008, Royal Caribbean Cruises ltd. transferred the ship over to a Spanish operator they had invested in called Pullamantur. They shortened her name to just Empress. She sailed with them for 8 years. You can still find signage that’s in English, Spanish, and Portuguese from those days.

Empress of the Seas sailing out of Miami. Captured by Greg Dragonetti ©CruiseInd
Empress of the Seas sailing out of Miami in November 2016

By the mid-2010’s it was becoming clear that Cuba was going to be a viable option for American operators. Combined with a weakening Spanish market for holidays, the Empress was transferred back into the Royal Caribbean fleet and started sailing to Cuba. However in 2019, Cuba voyages were banned by the US Government. Royal will be sailing her to Bermuda, offering Hamilton and St. Georges, as well as longer Canada and New England routes in 2020. Her long term future remains unknown.


Lets start with the obligatory photos:


Empress of the Seas

Elevator Lobby and Carpet:

Empress of the Seas

Deck 03


Deck 03 contains only cabins.

Deck 04


The front two-thirds of the deck contains cabins. The aft is the bottom floor of the two level dining room. Since it sits right at the stern, it features 270-degree views.

Empress of the Seas Dining Room
Dining Room on Empress of the Seas
Deck 05


The very front of deck 5 contains the Royal Theatre.

Empress of the Seas Royal Theatre
Empress of the Seas main theater staircase

Just past that is the bottom floor of the main atrium called the Centrum. This extends all the way to the top of the ship. Off of the centrum is the Shore Excursion desk and Guest Services.

Shore Excursion desk on Empress of the Seas

Guest Services
Royal Caribbean Loyalty Desk
Bottom of the Atrium on Empress of the Seas

Walking past the Centrum, you enter the Schooner Bar; a staple on any Royal Caribbean ship.

Past the bar, on the port side, is the only alternate restaurant onboard, Chops.

Chops onboard Empress of the Seas

Opposite that, on starboard, is the ships photo gallery and future cruise desk.

Next Cruise on Empress of the Seas

Focus on Empress of the Seas
Focus on Empress of the Seas

Past that, at the very back of the ship, is the ships main dining room.

Deck 06


Deck 6 contains a fully wrap-around promenade. The views here are fantastic as these are becoming a novelty on ships now-a-days.

Looking up from the Promenade on Empress
Teak wood lined promenade on Empress of the Seas

Inside, at the front is the second level of the main theater.

Royal Theatre

Exiting that, you’re at the second level of the atrium.

Centrum on Empress of the Seas

At the far side of the atrium are the Royal Shops.

Royal Shops

Royal Shops on Empress of the Seas

Exiting the shops, you emerge at the casino.

Casino Royale on Empress of the Seas
Casino Royale on Empress of the Seas

Walking through the casino, and around a corner, is the arcade.

Empress of the Seas

At the back is the Boleros lounge. This venue was a huge hit during her Cuban days. Now-a-days it still has latin music at night, but isn’t as popular.

Coffee stand on Empress of the Seas
Boleros entrance on Empress of the Seas

Boleros Bar on Empress of the Seas
Boleros on Empress of the Seas
Deck 07


The next deck up contains all cabins. At the forward stairwell, there’s the internet cafe. This surrounds the third deck that overlooks the Centrum.

RC Online on Empress of the Seas
Third deck of Centrum
Deck 08


Deck 8 is also cabins. Similar to the deck below, there are small venues surrounding the atrium.

Card/game room on Empress of the Seas

Card/game room on Empress of the Seas
Deck 09


Similar to the decks below, Deck 8 has the library that encircles the Centrum. At the very front is the bridge and aft of that are the office cabins.

Empress of the Seas Library

Centrum on Empress of the Seas
Aft stairwell on Empress of the Seas
Deck 10


Deck 10 is the topmost complete deck. At the front is the Windjammer buffet restaurant.

Windjammer on Empress of the Seas
Windjammer on Empress of the Seas

Past the Windjammer, the deck opens up to the pool area. Note that with this design, as sort of was common back in the early 90’s, there are no sun decks encircling the pool area.

Main pool area on Empress of the Seas
Pool area on Empress of the Seas

Pool area on Empress of the Seas
Pool bar on Empress of the Seas

At the back of the deck, the starboard side contains more sundeck as well as some ping pong tables.

On the port side, indoors, there’s the children’s area and the small spa just past that.

Children’s area on Empress of the Seas
Spa on Empress of the Seas

Then at the back of the deck is the Viking Crown Lounge. This staple of Royal Caribbean ships is fading fast but on Empress it’s still there.

Empress of the Seas Viking Crown Lounge

Attached to the back of the lounge is the rock climbing wall.

Rock climbing wall
Small sundeck on the aft, port of deck 10
Deck 11


Deck 11 is split into two parts at the fore and aft. Forward is a large sundeck.

Empress of the Seas

Then aft, it’s the top floor of the Viking Crown Lounge. Over time, this had been transformed into the fitness area.

Empress of the Seas
Empress of the Seas


Carnival Corp. Shuffles Ships Again Fri, 27 Sep 2019 17:17:23 +0000 During an internal corporate review of Italian brand Costa Crociere, it was announced that they will see a fleet makeover soon.

In November last year it was announced that the Costa Atlantica and Costa Mediterranea will leave their fleet for a joint venture that is being set up in China.

In addition to that, the 1999-built Costa neoRiviera (ex-Mistral, Grand Mistral) will sail into the San Giorgio del Porto shipyard in Genoa, Italy next month and leave as the AIDAmira, sailing now for the German brand. Christening for the AIDAmira will be in Palma on November 29. She’ll sail more exotic routes for AIDA including South Africa and exotic Mediterranean voyages.

Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald stated that in additional to the previous announced redeployment (Atlantica & Mediterranea) :

We’re deep into our evaluation and have already implemented an action plan to accelerate demand and right size capacity, source from southern Europe by removing 2 ships from the Costa Europe fleet.

CCL Earnings Call 9/27/2019

CIN is then reporting that Costa will be shedding five ships total, as there will be an additional two ships leaving their China routes. This coincides with the deliver of the Costa Firenza which will head directly to Asia.

Miami Cruise Terminal Updates Fri, 20 Sep 2019 17:15:53 +0000 Today brings us two updates on the massive renovations going on in PortMiami.
Carnival Glory, Carnival Breeze and MSC Divina departing Miami.

The first is that MSC finally got approval on what will actually be two different terminals right next to each other. Called Terminal AA and AAA, they’re being designed to turn 28,000 passengers each day combined. Also contained in the release is that MSC is doing this expansion so they can accommodated an MSC World class vessel that will be home ported in Miami.

What’s still also unknown is the exact location. It almost appears as if this will be past Royal Caribbean’s new terminal (Terminal A), into what is PortMiami terminal 1. This area contains the entrance/exit gate to the secure area of the container terminal.

Also making news today is that Carnival Corp. received approval as well to renovate and reconstruct Terminal F. You can see in the renders below they’re using the existing part (the white pointy roofs) and adding a new part onto it (the blue roofs). Carnival’s will be open in 2022 to coincide with their 50th anniversary as well as the delivery of the second XL-class vessel. So now we know where the sister to the Mardi Gras will be based out of.