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Articles from 2011 In October

Princess completes Sanctuary fleetwide roll-out

Princess completes Sanctuary fleetwide roll-out

The adults-only Sanctuary is now available on 14 ships. The small vessels Pacific Princess and Ocean Princess do not offer the feature.

Princess said The Sanctuary, which debuted in 2006 aboard Crown Princess, was an instant success. The space provides a private deck area with plush seating, massage cabanas, signature beverages, light meals, service by ‘serenity stewards’ and personal entertainment.

To make room for the newest Sanctuary, the sports court on Sapphire Princess was relocated to a new space on top of Skywalkers nightclub. This new area high atop the ship also offers extra lounge chairs and dramatic ocean views.

The installation of The Sanctuary on Sapphire Princess marked the beginning of a transformation for the 2004-built ship, which will receive more Princess hallmarks when it goes into drydock from Jan. 7 to Feb. 4.

Sapphire Princess will also receive the signature Piazza atrium with its International Café and Vines wine bar, the line’s second Alfredo’s pizzeria which was introduced earlier this year aboard Grand Princess and a Movies Under the Stars poolside screen.

Queen Mary 2 refit plans announced

The Golden Lion Pub will be completely redesigned

To be undertaken at the Blohm+Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, from November 24 to December 7, the refit willl include all staterooms, the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, the Queens Grill and Princess Grill Restaurants, the Commodore Club, the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar, Sir Samuel’s and the Play Zone/ Kids’ Zone. The Golden Lion Pub will be completely redesigned.

Tillberg Design company, which was involved in Queen Mary 2’s original design, has been engaged by Cunard to handle the new designs.

The 14-day refit will require a team of thousands of workers replacing the equivalent of almost ten football fields of carpet and manufacturing about 18 miles of fabric into over 6,000 individual items.

Specific plans include:

Staterooms – all 1,310 staterooms aboard Queen Mary 2 will receive a fresh look with new carpeting, curtains, bedspreads and some will receive new furniture.

Golden Lion Pub will benefit from a complete refurbishment and redesign retaining the British pub atmosphere with warm colours and plush seating mirroring the same venues aboard Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. Upgraded television screens will also be installed.

An extensive refurbishment of the first Canyon Ranch SpaClub at sea will include the teak surrounds of the hydrotherapy pool and adjacent wet areas and a general upgrade of all the facilities. In addition, new exercise machines in the fitness centre and new and improved features in the Beauty Salon will be installed.

Queens Grill and Princess Grill Restaurants will be fitted with a new, lighter carpet design whilst the Commodore Club will be refreshed with a new carpet design and additions to the white leather furnishings of chairs, sofas and bar stools.

In addition to the refit, when Queen Mary 2 returns to service on December 8, she will introduce several new on board features, details of which will be disclosed soon, says Cunard.

Trimline wins major upgrade work for Windstar fleet

Artist’s impression of a Wind Surf cabin post-refit

The initial programme will entail an extensive revamp of 150 cabins during Wind Surf’s two-week refit in Lisbon in November. Up to 100 Trimline personnel will be working on board before the vessel sets sail for a winter itinerary in the Caribbean. A second refit in a year’s time will include a major refurbishment of the public rooms.

In addition, Trimline is carrying out initial design process work for the two smaller yachts in the Windstar fleet, Wind Star and Wind Spirit, prior to refits next year. The projects require a total refurbishment of the public rooms and cabins, with the work to be undertaken as the vessels sail to Europe from the Caribbean next spring.

Trimline has engaged McVitty Interior Consultants as its design partner for the multimillion-pound task.

A significant part of the preparation work for the Wind Surf project is already under way at Trimline’s joinery and soft furnishing factories in Southampton, where some of the cabin furniture and furnishing requirements are being manufactured. Once complete, the fittings will be dispatched to Lisbon ready for the refit.

The 660ft long Wind Surf is the biggest of the three yachts in the Seattle-based Windstar fleet.

Trimline will refit 156 staterooms and suites, fitting new curtains, valances, cushions, sofa beds, chairs and tables. Each cabin will also get new carpets and wall coverings, with electrical upgrades a further part of the refurbishment.

In addition, Trimline will be working on the ship’s alleyways, laying new carpets and Amtico flooring, as well as replacing deckheads and installing new lighting. On the main deck, a new boardwalk, comprising carpet and Amtico flooring, will be created. In total, Trimline will be laying some 5,000sq mtr of carpet in cabins and public spaces.

Sales and marketing director Mike Oliver explained: 'This work was won against intense international competition from the US and Europe. Phase one of the Wind Surf project will be the first part of a five-star revamp of the vessel and represents major investment by Windstar and their new owners Xanterra Parks and Resorts.'

Splendour of the Seas begins $35m drydock

Splendour heads to five-week docking

The changes include dining venues: Chops Grille, Izumi, the Boardwalk Dog House, Chef’s Table and the Park Café; the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery, a Diamond lounge for Crown and Anchor loyalty members, a Concierge Lounge for suite passengers and upgraded technology throughout.

In addition to the new balconies, staterooms will get flat-panel televisions and other updates. Further features being added include ship-wide Wi-Fi, a digital way-finding system, electronic mustering and an outdoor movie screen.

Royal Caribbean said it will detail further enhancements in the coming weeks.

Upon completion of the refurbishments on Nov. 25, Splendour of the Seas will sail a trans-Atlantic voyage from Lisbon to its seasonal homeport of Santos, Brazil.

Viking River to refurbish, rename Russia fleet, enhance programs

Viking River to refurbish, rename Russia fleet, enhance programs

Following bow-to-stern renovations, 2012 will mark the complete refurbishment of Viking’s four owned and Western-operated Russian ships. The vessels will be renamed Viking Rurik, Viking Helgi, Viking Ingvar and Viking Truvor.

In addition to multiple itinerary updates, new for 2012 is an eight-day program, ‘The Glories of the Hermitage,’ that features exclusive access and private tours at one of the world’s greatest museums.

The new microsite,, went live with a video tour of the country through a series of behind-the-scenes webisodes. These are hosted by Karine Hagen, who has spent more than two decades studying and living in Russia. She is the daughter of company founder and chairman Torstein Hagen.

‘The idea for our company was born because my daughter had traveled along the Volga with her mother and grandmother,’ he said. Hagen also expressed immense pride in the line’s Russian roots and said Viking River will continue to build on its longstanding relationships and knowledge of the country.

Launching in 2012, the renovated Viking Rurik (ex Viking Peterhof) is named after Rurik, the Viking warrior who founded and ruled the area known as Rus—now Russia. Its renovated sister ships—Viking Helgi, Viking Ingvar and Viking Truvor—are named for Rurik’s descendants, the original Russian explorers.

In addition to redefining the interior space to create significantly larger staterooms, Viking Rurik’s bow-to-stern refurbishment is highlighted by full, private verandas added to all staterooms on the Upper and Middle decks, which house four suites, two junior suites and 60 veranda staterooms. The two-room suites, each 405sq ft, will have separate sleeping and sitting areas, two Sony 26-inch flat-panel televisions, a walk-in closet and a full bathroom with two sinks and a separate tub and shower.

Other in-room amenities for all staterooms include hotel-style beds, a safe and refrigerator plus premium bath products.

Like its sister ships, Viking Rurik’s public areas such as the restaurant, lounge, library and bar will also be renovated with Viking’s signature Scandinavian décor. Other upgraded areas include a shaded sun deck and a walk-around open air promenade deck.

All four of Viking’s Russian ships sail the ‘Waterways of the Czars’ itinerary between Moscow and St. Petersburg. The 13-day program features multiple days in each city to tour highlights such as Moscow’s Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral plus St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum and Catherine’s Palace. Ports include Kizhi Island, home to an open air museum of architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Golden Ring cities of Uglich and Yaroslavl.

For 2012, Viking will introduce new excursions and services to the itinerary. Select departures will feature special performances by musicians from St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, as well as a Smithsonian Institution lecture series that explores topics on Russian history, myths and legends. A similarly exclusive program will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the vast art vaults of the Hermitage.

Other new cultural highlights include meeting Red Army veterans at Moscow’s Military Museum, visiting a school where young Russians learn restoration techniques to preserve the country’s architectural heritage, and home-hosted visits in riverside towns such as Uglich or St. Petersburg’s Kommunalkas (communal apartments).

New on-board programs and services include Viking’s Concierge Services and ‘A Taste Of…’ event highlighting Russian dishes such as Siberian pelmeni (ravioli), traditional borscht and blini.

The new ‘Glories of the Hermitage’ program, which showcases the famous museum, gives special access and private tours by Hermitage scholars.

It's official: Fincantieri bags Saga Sapphire refurb

Saga Sapphire will sail in new livery March 2012

As reported here earlier this week, transformation of the 37,301gt Bleu de France will be conducted by Fincantieri's Palermo yard with work starting next month.

The project entails refurbishing all public areas and spaces, the addition of a significant number of new passenger cabins, a complete makeover of the existing cabins and a new balcony deck.

Other jobs will include overhauling and repair work on main machinery and equipment along with some steel and pipe replacement.

The ship will be drydocked for a period of the refit when underwater work on the hull such as painting and tail shaft, rudder and propeller maintenance will be undertaken.

On completion of the project, expected in February, the ship will be renamed Saga Sapphire and will sail on her inaugural cruise from Southampton to the Mediterranean on March 26.

Commenting on the contract, Saga Cruises ceo Robin Shaw said the refit will ensure that Saga Sapphire is 'magnificent throughout, adding a theme of elegant and eclectic nostalgia to our classic cruising experience. Saga Sapphire will be the largest Saga ship to date, but will retain the intimate atmosphere and the quality of service that our passengers have come to expect. We are extremely pleased to have secured Fincantieri's expertise and resources and are looking forward to working together.'

Giorgio Rizzo, Fincantieri svp ship repair & conversion, added: 'We are looking forward to working closely with the Saga team to ensure a successful outcome.'

In addition to the project announced today, Fincantieri confirmed the Palermo shipyard has secured five major cruise repair and conversion projects over the next few months. On October 4, Seatrade Insider reported that brokers suggested the work is on three Costa Crociere ships and two vessels for MSC Cruises.