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Articles from 2011 In February

Bookings rise as Ocean Star Pacific refurb progresses

Bookings rise as Ocean Star Pacific refurb progresses

‘We’ve invested a lot of money. It’s more than just a cosmetic thing,’ Ocean Star director general Henry Yaniz told Seatrade Insider. Though he would not give the amount, he said the work entails a multimillion-dollar investment.

He added that the market response has been ‘unbelievable.’ In launching last month, the company has blanketed Mexico City and Guadalajara with promotions on television, radio, billboards and in magazines.

The spring sailings are nearly sold out, but people are also booking for Christmas and New Year departures. Yaniz said eight people were added to the call center last week and eight more are in training. Reservations are being taken seven days a week.

The big surprise is group business. The company projected 20% to 25% of bookings eventually would come from groups but that is being well exceeded, mainly by corporate business.

Yaniz cited pent-up demand by Mexican companies scheduling sea-going meetings and conventions for the same reasons that individuals are booking: no hassles with visas, foreign currency, flights and other issues.

‘It’s way over the top, way over what we anticipated,’ he said.

Ocean Star Cruises is targeting mainstream Mexicans who otherwise would book a hotel or resort vacation. Customers seek an international-standard ship, according to Yaniz.

The work on Ocean Star Pacific includes gutting and completely rebuilding the reception area, building a new destination casino, putting a food court into the previous casino space and installing a new retail area to be operated by a major retail group. There will be a new photo gallery for the Transocean photography concession. The new spa will be operated by South Africa’s Spas at Sea.

The Irish pub is being upgraded and a new nightclub with terrace is being built aft on Lido Deck, the principal entertainment deck. The Lido buffet is being rebuilt, and the pool area completely redone. A South Beach-style lounge area with a bar, grill and lounge-type seating is being built on the Sun Deck. A new, larger children’s space is being added. The dining room is gaining fresh upholstery.

River Co. of Finland and JPG Hellas of Piraeus are acting as contractors. As earlier reported, Athens-based AMK Architects & Designers are handling the design work. The project is being supervised by Ocean Star’s Ada Duff.

Work began in Curaçaco on Jan. 10 and will wrap up in late March, Yaniz said. The ship was built in 1971 as Nordic Prince and most recently sailed for Louis Cruises.

[Yaniz is among the speakers at a Cruise Shipping Miami conference session on Mexico.]

Norwegian Dawn drydock to add 58 staterooms

Norwegian Dawn drydock to add 58 staterooms

The 2002-built ship will add four deluxe owner’s suites, 14 family suites, 10 family suites with balconies and 30 inside staterooms.

The work will stretch from May 1-27 and will entail more extensive changes, to be announced later, said Crane Gladding, svp revenue management and passenger services, during a Norwegian Cruise Line webcast today.

The deluxe owner’s suites (Cat. SA), will be located under the bridge for big forward sea views. They will have dimensions of 667sq ft to 732sq ft each.

Each family accommodation will sleep up to six people and will offer a spacious bathroom.

The family suites (Cat. SJ), will have floor-to-ceiling windows and a high-deck location near the pool. Dimensions will be 408sq ft to 452sq ft. The family balcony suites will be essentially the same size and add large balconies built out from the ship’s superstructure.

The new inside accommodations (Cat. IC) will measure 142sq ft to 174sq ft.

The suites are going into the areas currently occupied by the Spinnaker Lounge and the movie theater. Those facilities will be moved and upgraded, Gladding said, providing for a better flow and more efficient layout.

The new staterooms will go on sale for departures after Sept. 16. These include a couple Boston-Bermuda sailings and 10- and 11-night Southern Caribbean voyages from Miami.

Splendor work entailed extras like hull coating, cold ironing facilitation

Splendor work entailed extras like hull coating, cold ironing facilitation

Those included changing the flooring in the gym, replacing water-damaged carpets, adding silicon-based hull coating for greater fuel efficiency and installing equipment to enable the ship to connect to shore power, according to Carnival president and ceo Gerry Cahill.

Carnival anticipates the Port of Long Beach will facilitate cold ironing sometime within the next two years so the technical work was done to prepare Carnival Splendor, which operates from the Long Beach Cruise Terminal year-round.

Cahill said Carnival took advantage of the time out of service to complete projects that normally would be addressed in a routine scheduled drydocking.

Carnival Splendor underwent work at San Diego’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal and BAE Systems San Francisco.

Priano Marchelli, Blue Water key to Carnival Splendor repairs

Priano Marchelli, Blue Water key to Carnival Splendor repairs

Priano Marchelli transported all the spare parts out of Italy and other parts from various European origins. Blue Water US acted as the receiving agent, making sure everything was delivered to California on time.

In total, six charters—four Boeing 747s and two Antonov 124-100s—were booked. In addition, a number of other regular shipments, almost 700 tons in total, were air-freighted.

Blue Water said it was fortunate to experience no delays despite congestion at airports, ice, fog and snow, and noted Fincantieri and Carnival Cruise Lines engineers and suppliers’ technicians managed to keep to the repair schedule.

Carnival Splendor resumed service from Long Beach on Sunday.

Priano Marchelli and Blue Water Shiping are founding members of Cruise & Marine Logistic Network.

Celebrity Summit next in line for ‘Solsticizing’

Celebrity Summit next in line for ‘Solsticizing’

In January 2012, Celebrity Summit will add AquaClass veranda staterooms and a new Mediterranean-themed specialty restaurant, Blu, exclusively for AquaClass passengers.

Qsine, the quirky specialty restaurant that debuted on Celebrity Eclipse last year and features novelties like sushi lollipops that diners order from iPads, is coming to Celebrity Summit, too.

Yet another addition will be the Celebrity iLounge where passengers can try and buy the latest Apple products, take classes and use Internet-connected MacBook Pros.

Still other updates planned are a Martini Bar with a frosted countertop, a CellarMasters wine bar, Cafe al Bacio and Gelateria and a creperie, Bistro on Five.

Suites will get verandas, new furniture and more sumptuous appointments. Extra ocean-view and inside staterooms are planned, and all accommodations will be restyled with fresh carpet, upholstery and bedding plus flat-screen televisions.

New color schemes and soft goods reflecting the Solstice style will be incorporated throughout the public rooms, and the art collection will be expanded.

Carnival Valor adds facilities during 14-day drydock (**updated**)

Carnival Valor adds facilities during 14-day drydock (**updated**)

Spanning decks 12 and 14, the new adults’ Serenity area is designed as an oasis of relaxation with whirlpools, oversized umbrellas, chaise lounges and chairs.

The work on the 2004-built ship also created two new stateroom types—Captain Suites and Scenic Ocean Views. The pair of Captain Suites each stretch 582sq ft plus a 258sq ft balcony, while four of the new Scenic Ocean Views are each 230sq ft and two are 320sq ft.

The children’s pool area now features colorful new tiles and an awning so parents can relax in the shade while their kids splash and play.

The One Small Step dance club was reconfigured and received cosmetic enhancements, while the Bronx sports bar gained LCD televisions.

Other enhancements include new upholstery and chairs in Rosie’s, the casual poolside restaurant, new carpeting in the Circle C facility for 12- to 14-year-olds and new tile work in the 14,500sq ft Spa Carnival health and wellness center.

Carnival Valor sails to the Caribbean on year-round seven-day sailings.

ALMACO contracted to refurbish Orion II

ALMACO contracted to refurbish Orion II

The 100-passenger ship, currently named Clelia II and operated by Travel Dynamics International, is a sister ship to Noble Caledonia’s Island Sky which ALMACO completed a refurbishment project on in 2010.

Built as a yacht-style expedition cruise ship by Cantieri Navale Ferrari of Italy in 1991, after a number of years as a private yacht the vessel underwent an extensive technical refit.  The planned refurbishment will be done during a scheduled dry dock during April 2011.

The works will include a combination of refurbishment and upgrading of soft-furnishings across the vessel, including all 50 passenger suites and bathrooms, the lobby, main lounge, dining room, library, and public bathrooms.

Following the refit Orion II joins OEC in May and will be based in Singapore for expedition cruising around Southeast Asia, with particular emphasis on Borneo and Vietnam.

It’s official: Grand Princess refurb to remove iconic nightclub

It’s official: Grand Princess refurb to remove iconic nightclub

The change had been rumored for some time and is part of what Princess evp Jan Swartz said is the largest makeover ever executed by the line.

Other dramatic changes are planned for the April 11-May 4 drydock at Grand Bahama Shipyard. The work will add many recent brand features that were adopted since the debut of Grand Princess, as well as some one-of-a-kind venues. The 1998-built ship served as the prototype for the line’s Grand-class vessels.

In 24 days of work, the vessel will gain a Piazza atrium, the new-concept tea lounge and library called Leaves, and Alfredo’s, a full-service pizzeria.

The new nightclub, One5, inspired by its Deck 15 location, will replace Skywalker Nightclub. Princess said the change will ‘significantly improve the operational performance of the ship, including greater fuel efficiency.’

The atrium space will be completely rebuilt to include a Piazza for quick bites and light meals, beverages, entertainment, shopping and guest services. It will hold the International Café for pastries, grilled panini, cookies and coffee drinks; a Vines bar selling more than 30 wines by the glass, with a selection of tapas and sushi; and a wine shop.

The new Leaves is a fusion of tea lounge and library, where passengers can custom-blend a variety of base teas with herbs, fruits and spices. Created in partnership with Mighty Leaf Tea Co., the venue will offer up to 500 tea blends. A tea sommelier will assist.

The ship will introduce Alfredo’s, a new sit-down pizzeria with a menu of individual-size pizzas. Named for the line’s master executive chef, Alfredo Marzi, the venue will feature an open kitchen.

The new One5 lounge captures an urban nightclub style, with contemporary seating and lighting, and a dramatic back-lit bar.

Grand Princess will also gain a Crown Grill, the classic-style steak house offered on other Princess ships with an open, theater-style kitchen where chefs prepare premium aged beef and fresh seafood, including live lobsters.

Also part of the renovation will be 10 new suites, a remodeled casino, boutiques and art gallery, enhancements to the Horizon Court, Lotus Spa and wedding chapel, and the addition of Crooner’s Martini Lounge.

The newly renovated Grand Princess will debut on May 5 in Fort Lauderdale for the trans-Atlantic crossing to Southampton, the ship’s summer and fall homeport.



Renderings of the Grand Princess changes are available at

Crystal Serenity in line for a major redesign at Blohm+Voss

Crystal Serenity in line for a major redesign at Blohm+Voss

More than 400 expert technicians flown in from around the world to Hamburg’s Blohm+Voss are scheduled for the massive redesign of the ship’s 531 deluxe staterooms, penthouses and penthouses suites, the retail centers, pool deck and other projects.

The work is set for May 8-22.

In the past two years, Crystal has invested well over $50m in its ships, according to president Gregg Michel.

Interior designer Keith Rushbrook, principal at the Toronto-based II BY IV Design Associates, summarized the Crystal Serenity vision as ‘modern classical elegance. We wanted Fifth Avenue, crème de la crème New York-inspired living and retail spaces that people love and look forward to spending time in.’

All the deluxe outside staterooms, penthouses and penthouse suites will sport new, floor-to-ceiling tufted headboards, bedside cabinets, wallpaper, sofas, curtains, pillows and custom carpets in contemporary lines and classic stone, silk, velvet, leather and linen textures. New modern lighting features and electronic ‘do not disturb’ and doorbell systems are planned, too.

The shops will receive a similar, sophisticated metamorphosis, Crystal said. The Facets fine jewelry store will mirror a jewelry box, with mother-of-pearl feature wall, beveled chrome vitrines and new, private sales area. The Apropos boutique will become three shops in one, with a flagship Christian Dior cosmetic/skincare area showcased amid Zebrano wood and herringbone rosewood, black-plum-magenta carpeting and tufted leather seating.

Inspired by Crystal Symphony’s recent transformation, the Seahorse Pool teak deck will be refashioned with circular pod beds, plush sofa groups and lounge chairs in lime green, azure and mango.

The corridors throughout the ship will gain new, custom carpeting, artwork and mood lighting. New lighting will also be installed in the Crystal Dining Room, as will new furniture on all stateroom verandahs.

Following the dry dock, Crystal Serenity will embark on a series of Baltic, North Cape and British Isles cruises before heading to the Mediterranean for late summer and fall cruises.

Trimline rebuilds crew cabins on Island Escape

Trimline rebuilds crew cabins on Island Escape

A team of more than 60 Trimline personnel is carrying out the two-month project in the Lisnave yard in Lisbon and is set to apply the finishing touches to the project as the ship sails for Tenerife to resume cruising.

They have re-built 74 crew cabins from the floor upwards, initially installing a floating floor on a steel deck followed by fitting bulkheads and deckheads. Once the framework of the cabins is in place, electricians and plumbers are setting to work wiring the areas and fitting new wet units, including basins and showers, plus installing HVAC modifications. The cabins are then to be fitted out with new furniture, fittings and soft furnishings.

Trimline has previously upgraded the passenger areas of Island Escape when the vessel was part of the Island Cruises fleet and further passenger work has been included in the latest project, including new carpets in public areas.

Trimline sales and marketing director Mike Oliver explained: 'This is a multi-million pound project to ensure that Island Escape maintains Thomson fleet standards and we expect our wide experience of the ship to be extremely valuable as the owner continues the upgrade programme.'

The niche cruise ship Hebridean Princess is also benefitting from Trimline’s expertise in cabin work with new passenger accommodation being created and fitted out from an existing cabin area while the  ship is docked in Glasgow.

Trimline's versatility in refitting work is illustrated by a refurbishment job it is doing on the former Royal Navy destroyer HMS Bristol, now used as a cadet accommodation ship. One of the more unusual tasks while the ship docks at A&P’s Tyne yard is to create a lecture theatre spread over two decks from a former missile silo.

The promising start to 2011 continues a good end to the previous year when Trimline completed major projects on the Cunard ships Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria.