New Ships Soon For MSC – Cruising To The Northern Lights – Royal Princess Trio Will All Be In Europe In 2015

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 10th March 2014..MSC Divina

As MSC negotiates with STX France and Fincantieri for its next class of larger, but shorter, and wider cruise ships, we have a look at what shape they might take compared to others. As this month sees eight “Northern Lights” cruises going north from the UK into the ice and snow, we also have a look at those crazy cruisers who like to sail into the cold weather in February and March. Will it catch on elsewhere? Meanwhile, all three of the “Royal Princess” class ships will be based in Europe in 2015, the new P&O flagship Britannia, the Royal Princess herself, returning to the UK for the first time since her christening last year and the Regal Princess based in Copenhagen.

Photo: MSC Divina, courtesy of MSC Cruises

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The Battle For Southampton 2015 – More Large Ships For Star Cruises and MSC – Costa Voyager Goes To Bohai Ferry

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 17th February 2014..Britannia Atrium

Last week, P&O Cruises’ new 141,000-ton Britannia was floated out at Monfalcone, marking the first step towards a battle for cruise supremacy at the UK’s major cruise port of Southampton, to take place in 2015. Just five weeks after Britannia enters service, Royal Caribbean’s 167,800-ton Anthem of the Seas will join her at Southampton and the contest will begin. Above is Britannia‘s stylish three-deck Atrium, while below is Anthem of the Seas‘ more casual Two70 lounge, which overlooks the stern.

Anthem Two70 Lounge

This week, we look at the scene and compare the ships. Elsewhere, Star Cruises has confirmed an order for a second 3,364-passenger cruise ship from Meyer Werft while MSC Cruises is negotiating a larger order for four mega ships at STX France. Meanwhile, Costa Cruises’ Costa Voyager has been sold to China’s Bohai Ferry Co Ltd, who intend to enter the Far East cruise market through a new Hong Kong-based subsidiary.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                        (See previous columns)

P&O Cruises New 141,000-ton Britannia Will Have Two Funnels But Will Abandon Traditional P&O Colours For A New Red, White & Blue Livery

New ship announced for 2015

P&O Cruises’ new Britannia will have two traditional fore-and-aft funnels

Britannia new livery

But will give up the traditional P&O colours worn since 1931 for this. You decide whether you like it or not!

P&O Cruises has announced an order for a new 141,000-ton cruise ship to be based on the recently-designed platform for Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess and Regal Princess, which are being introduced in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The new P&O ship, to be named Britannia, will accommodate 3,611 passengers in lower berths. What is most interesting about the design is P&O’s reversion in the new ship to a more traditional appearance in that she will feature two conventional funnels. This is unusal in that P&O went straight from three funnels with the Strathnaver and Strathaird, the first P&O ships to carry the now traditional white hull in 1931-32, to one funnel in the Strathmore, Strathallan and Stratheden of 1935-38. The last important P&O ship to have had two funnels arranged fore and aft was the original Oriana, built for the Orient Line in 1960. Previous to that, the most famous two-funnelled P&O ship was the Viceroy of India, delivered in 1929.

The last major P&O ship to have been built with two funnels was the Viceroy of India in 1929

Now being built at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone yard, Britannia will cost about €560 million, or €155,000 per lower berth. Ushering in a new era for P&O Cruises, the ship will offer a stylish and innovative design and an unprecedented number of passenger facilities, along with many of the line’s classic and iconic features.

The original Oriana was built for the Orient Line in 1960 and became a P&O ship in 1965

Commented Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc’s chairman and CEO, “P&O Cruises is Britain’s number one cruise operator, and is synonymous with high quality holidays that celebrate its rich British heritage. The UK continues to be a key growth market and innovative vessels such as this new P&O Cruises ship – targeted specifically to British clientele – underscore our commitment to leading the expansion of this important cruise region. With a progression of highly successful new ships introduced over the last 15 years, P&O Cruises is uniquely experienced in designing vessels to meet the specific needs and aspirations of British passengers.”

At tge time of the announcement of the order, then P&O Cruises Managing Director Carol Marlow said, “This next-generation ship will deliver the ultimate P&O Cruises experience, with ‘sophisticated wows’ and new features to attract thousands of newcomers to our brand, and equally to resonate with existing P&O Cruises passengers by giving them the ‘P&O-ness’ they recognise and love. She will offer ‘the best of the best,’ combining the favourite classic features of Oriana and Aurora, the choice and variety of Azura and Ventura, and a host of new ideas and concepts which together will deliver to our passengers the holiday of a lifetime, every time they travel with us.”

Two funnels have made quite a comeback in the past fifteen years. Starting with the original Disney Magic and Disney Wonder in 1998-99, these were followed by six Holland America “Vista” types (Zuiderdam through Nieuw Amsterdam)  in 2002-10 and joined by five Celebrity Solstice class  ships in 2008-12, then Disney Dream this year and Disney Fantasy to follow next. Cruise ships have now entered a size bracket where two funnels have become relatively common once again. Indeed, after the new P&O ship is delivered there will be sixteen ships carrying two funnels in the fore-and-aft mode. Meanwhile, the last of the traditional two-funnelled ships, NCL’s Norway, was retired in 2003.

For more details on cruising with P&O, sister company Cunard Line or any other cruise line please contact The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail

CLIA Goes Global Today – Holland America, Seabourn & P&O Cancel Argentina Calls – Australian Consumer Protection


          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 17th December 2012

CLIA logoThe Cruise Lines International Association has announced today that it is going global and will in future have arms such as CLIA UK (the Passenger Shipping Association/Association of Cruise Experts), CLIA Europe (the European Cruise Council), CLIA Brazil (ABREMAR) and CLIA Australasia (the International Cruise Council Australasia), among others. Meanwhile, with Argentina having refused to take any action to ensure the freedom of the seas for cruise ships calling on both Argentina and the Falkland Islands, some cruise lines are beginning to announce the cancellation of calls in Argentina, while others are dropping the Falkland Islands. Finally, we see what progress (if any) is being made towards Australian consumer protection.

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                       (See previous columns)

Cunard and P&O Each To Offer Three World Cruises in 2014 – Royal Princess Floated Out – The Cruise Examiner Goes To Sea Again


          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 20th August 2012

Princess Cruises’  third Royal Princess was floated out at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone yard last week

Last week both Cunard Line and P&O Cruises announced that they would be offering three world or extended cruises in 2014. Cunard’s cruises involve all three of its Queens, Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, while P&O Cruises’ voyages will be offered by three of the line’s “A” team – Arcadia, Aurora and Adonia. Meanwhile, at Monfalcone last week, Princess Cruises floated out its newest ship, the third Royal Princess. And finally, The Cruise Examiner is today on board the 10-passenger French container ship CMA CGM Chopin. en route from Southampton to Rotterdam and Hamburg, and will report next week on the renewed popularity of cargo ship cruising.

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                       (See previous columns)

How Cruise Sales Differ Across the Atlantic – Other Cruise News: P&O Celebrates 175 Years – Queen Elizabeth 2 to Become 300-Room Hotel in Dubai


          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 9th July 2012

P&O Cruises’ seven-ship UK-based fleet sails out of Southampton last Tuesday

This week we look at cruise selling practices on the two sides of the Atlantic and how they differ, with attempts by cruise lines to stop cross-border sales and differing approaches to commission rebating on each side of the Atlantic. Meanwhile, last Tuesday, the whole of P&O Cruises’ UK-based fleet of seven ships called in the port of Southampton. Reviewed by Princess Anne on board THV Patricia, all seven sailed out again in single file with some 15,000 passengers on board. P&O Cruises Australia and DP World in Dubai, now owners of P&O Ferries, also share in this 175th Anniversary. And finally comes word, also from Dubai, that the Queen Elizabeth 2 is to be opened in eighteen months as a 300-room luxury hotel at Port Rashid.
                                                      (See previous columns)