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Everything posted by dougnewmanatsea

  1. One of the most common questions we get on these boards, particularly from new members, is about the different "classes" of HAL ships - the Vista-class, S-class, and so on. Naturally, everyone wants to know which ships are in each class, and what the differences are. With that in mind, I decided to post this "sticky" post explaining the different "classes". I hope this clarifies the situation. Now, let's meet the different HAL ships, starting with the smallest and oldest: PRINSENDAM PRINSENDAM - Built 1988 - 37,983 Gross Tons - 793 passengers The smallest and oldest HAL ship, she is in a class by herself. She generally does the longest and most expensive cruises. She is the only HAL ship not built for the line, she was built in 1988 as the ROYAL VIKING SUN, became SEABOURN SUN in 2000 and then PRINSENDAM in 2002. Among things that separate her from the rest of the HAL ships - she does not have a two-deck dining room or main lounge, an indoor/outdoor pool, or dedicated children's facilities. Her smaller, more intimate size and off-the-beaten path itineraries are appreciated by her increasingly loyal following. S-class STATENDAM - 1993 - 55,810 GT - 1,251 pax MAASDAM - 1993 - 55,451 GT - 1,251 pax RYNDAM - 1994 - 55,819 GT - 1,251 pax VEENDAM - 1996 - 55,451 GT - 1,251 pax These four ships are the "backbone" of the HAL fleet. They are virtually identical except for color schemes and artwork. They were the first new HAL cruise ships to have features like the atrium, the two-deck high dining room and main lounge, and the indoor/outdoor Lido pool. These very versatile ships have done everything from 7-day Caribbean and Alaska cruises to full World Cruises. Recently they have been upgraded with features like the Pinnacle Grill alternative restaurant and the Neptune Lounge concierge lounge (for suite passengers). R-class ROTTERDAM - 1997 - 59,652 GT - 1,316 pax VOLENDAM - 1998 - 60,906 GT - 1,440 pax ZAANDAM - 1999 - 61,396 GT - 1,440 pax AMSTERDAM - 2000 - 61,484 GT - 1,380 pax The R-class ships are very similar to the S-class, but a bit longer and wider. Unlike the S-class, they are not all identical. The first of the four was ROTTERDAM. Specially designed for longer cruises, she is the fastest ship in the fleet. She also introduced new features like an alternative restaurant, concierge lounge, and Internet Cafe (all since retrofitted to the older ships as well). VOLENDAM and ZAANDAM followed; they are similar to ROTTERDAM but slower (the same speed as the S-class ships) and are a bit larger because the aft pool was moved up one deck, creating more indoor space on the deck below. Unlike ROTTERDAM, they were designed for yeoman duty in the Caribbean and Alaska though they also are suitable for longer cruises. Like the S-class ships, only decor separates these twins. The final R-class ship, like AMSTERDAM, like a hybrid of ROTTERDAM and VOLENDAM/ZAANDAM. She is faster than VOLENDAM or ZAANDAM but not as fast as ROTTERDAM. Like ROTTERDAM, she was built specially for longer voyages. ROTTERDAM and AMSTERDAM, together, are considered HAL's "flagships" and along with PRINSENDAM they usually do the longest and most prestigious cruises - the World Cruise along with the various Grand Voyages. Vista-class ZUIDERDAM - 2002 - 81,769 GT - 1,848 pax OOSTERDAM - 2003 - 81,769 GT - 1,848 pax WESTERDAM - 2004 - 81,811 GT - 1,848 pax NOORDAM - 2006 - 82,318 GT - 1,918 pax These are the biggest and newest HAL ships currently in service. They were designed mainly for shorter (less than two weeks) cruises in the Caribbean, Alaska, and Europe. Like the S-class, they represented a departure from previous HAL ships in size and design. While bigger than HAL's other ships, they are still much smaller than some competitors' ships which are now sometimes bigger than 150,000 GT and can carry over 3,500 passengers (Royal Caribbean have now ordered a ship that will be 220,000 GT and carry over 5,000 passengers). These ships are notable because of the exceptionally high number of private balconies - over two-thirds of cabins have them. They are called the Vista-class because they are named after the points of the compass in Dutch - Zuid (South), Oost (East), West, and Noord (North). The first three are identical; NOORDAM incorporates a few design changes which make her larger and have a slightly higher passenger capacity. Signature-class This will be two (or more) ships which will be larger, improved versions of the Vista-class, much as the R-class can be considered improved versions of the S-class. Right now there are few details but they will probably be about 90,000 GT with a passenger capacity of about 2,000.
  2. Maritime Matters reports that HARMONY I, formerly HAL's STATENDAM (IV), Paquet's RHAPSODY, and finally Regency's REGENT STAR, has been beached at Alang, India for scrapping. For a brief history of this ship, see my Regency Fleet History (written under my previous username). Doug Newman Cruise Critic Message Boards Host e-mail: shiploverny AT yahoo DOT com
  3. In response to a thread asking about the whereabouts of the former Royal Cruise Line ships, here is a history of the fleet that I prepared for the old boards, updated to the best of my knowledge: CROWN ODYSSEY: Built 1988 for Royal Cruise Line, Piraeus, at Jos. L Meyer Werft, Papenburg, Germany. RCL sold 1989 to Kloster Cruise, Nassau. RCL dissolved into Norwegian Cruise Line, Nassau 1996. Renamed NORWEGIAN CROWN. Transferred 2000 to Orient Line, renamed CROWN ODYSSEY. Transferred to NCL 2003, renamed NOREWGIAN CROWN. Presently in service. GOLDEN ODYSSEY: Built 1974 for Royal Cruise Line, Piraeus, at Helsingør Værft, Helsingør, Denmark. RCL sold 1989 to Kloster Cruise, Nassau. Sold 1994 to Deutsche Seetouristik, Nassau, renamed ASTRA II, chartered to Carvaelle Shipping, cruising for Neckermann Seereisen. Laid-up Genoa 1997 after the end of Caravelle charter. Chartered to Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten, 1998. Sold in 2001 following end of Hapag-Lloyd charter to Asia Cruiser Club, Nassau; renamed OMAR II for overnight gambling cruises from Hong Kong. Transferred to Success Cruises in 2004 and renamed MACAU SUCCESS; presently in service on overnight cruises from Macau. QUEEN ODYSSEY: Built 1992 as ROYAL VIKING QUEEN for Royal Viking Line (Kloster Cruise Ltd), Nassau, at Schichau-Seebeckwerft, Bremerhaven, Germany. Renamed QUEEN ODYSSEY 1995 and transferred to Royal Cruise Line. Sold 1996 to Seabourn Cruise Line, Olso; renamed SEABOURN LEGEND. Reflagged in Bahamas 2002. Presently in service. ROYAL ODYSSEY (I): Built 1964 as SHALOM for Zim Israel Navigation Co. Ltd., Haifa, at Chantiers de l'Atlantique, St. Nazaire, France. Haifa-New York service. Sold to Hanseatic Schiffahrts GmbH (Deutsch Atlantik Schiffahrts GmbH), Hamburg, 1967. Renamed HANSEATIC. Hamburg-New York service and cruising. Cruising only from 1969. Sold to Home Lines Inc., Panama, 1973. Renamed DORIC. Sold to Royal Cruise Line Ltd., Piraeus, 1981. Reconstructed at Perama and Neorion, Greece. Entered RCL service 1982. Sold 1988 to Regency Cruises, Nassau; renamed REGENT SUN. Laid-up as SUN following Regency bankruptcy 1995. Sold for scrapping in South Asia, sank off South Africa under tow to scrappers 25 July 2001. ROYAL ODYSSEY (II): Built 1973 as ROYAL VIKING SEA for A.F. Klaveness & Co. A/S (Royal Viking Line), Oslo, at Oy Wärtsilä Ab, Helsinki, Finland. Lengthened 1981 at A. G. Weser Seebeckwerft, Bremerhaven, Germany. RVL sold 1984 to Norwegian Caribbean Lines (Klosters R/A), Olso. Continued operating independently. Reflagged in Bahamas 1987. Transferred to Royal Cruise Line 1991, renamed ROYAL ODYSSEY. Royal Cruise Line dissolved 1996, ship continued operating under same name for NCL. Sold 1997 to Actinor Cruise, Nassau, renamed NORWEGIAN STAR, chartered back to NCL. Transferred to Norweigan Capricorn Line 1999. Transferred to Star Cruises (new parent company of NCL) 2001. Renamed NORWEGIAN STAR I 2001. Returned to owners 2002. Chartered to Crown Investments 2002, renamed CROWN. Arrested at Shanghai 2002, returned to owners. Chartered 2003 to Iberojet (marketing name CROWN MARE NOSTRUM). Chartered 2004 to Phoenix Riesen, renamed ALBATROS. Presently in service. STAR ODYSSEY: Built 1972 as ROYAL VIKING STAR for Det Bergenske D/S (Royal Viking Line), Bergen, at Oy Wärtsilä Ab, Helsinki, Finland. Lengthened 1981 at A. G. Weser Seebeckwerft, Bremerhaven, Germany. RVL sold 1984 to Norwegian Caribbean Lines (Klosters R/A), Olso. Continued operating independently. Reflagged in Bahamas 1988. Transferred to NCL 1991, renamed WESTWARD. Transferred to Royal Cruise Line 1994, renamed STAR ODYSSEY. Royal Cruise Line dissolved by NCL 1996. After a short period of operation under NCL brand (keeping same name), sold to Fred Olsen Cruise Line, Nassau, renamed BLACK WATCH. Presently in service.
  4. In response to a thread asking about the fate of the various Commodore vessels, here is a history I compiled a few years ago for the old boards (now obliterated) of the entire Commodore fleet. I have updated this to be current to the best of my knowledge. BOHEME: Built 1968 at Oy Wärtsilä Ab, Turku, Finland, for Wallenius Bremen GmbH & Co KG Schiffahrtsgesellschaft, Bremen. Cruising for Commodore. To Hanseatic Caribbean Shipping Co. Inc. (Sally Shipping GmbH), Panama, 1981, continued cruising for Sally-owned Commodore. Sold 1986 to San Donato Properties Corp. (International Association of Scientologists), Panama. Renamed FREEWINDS. Presently in service as a cruise ship exclusively for the use of Scientologists. BOLERO: Built 1972 at Dubigeon-Normandie S.A., Nantes, France, for Fred Olsen & Co., Oslo. Ordered for Södertälje-Travemünde service but chartered to Prinz Linien for Bremerhaven (later Hamburg)-Harwich service. After two months, transferred to Prince of Fundy Cruises for Portland-Yarmouth service; cruising in Caribbean during the winter for Commodore. Seasonal arrangement with Prince of Fundy Cruises and Commodore continued through summer 1976, after which she was returend to Fred. Oslen and put in Newcastle-Oslo service. Chartered 1978 to Stena Line Ab, Gothenburg; renamed SCANDINAVIA. Gothenburg-Kiel service. Refitted 1981 for expected service with Brittany Ferries as TREGOR which did not materialize. Following refit used on various domestic routes for Fred. Olsen, renamed BOLERO. Switched 1990 to Bergen-Newcastle service. Sold 1991 to Color Line A/S, Oslo; renamed JUPITER, returned to Norwegian domestic service. Chartered 1994 to SF-Line, Mariehamn. Used on Viking Line Kapellskär-Mariehamn-Nådendal service. Chartered to Linea Crucero Express 1994, renamed CRUCERO EXPRESS; engaged in Cartagena-Cristobal service. Laid-up St. Petersburg, Florida following end of charter, 1996. Later chartered to Emerald Empress Holdings and renamed SEMINOLE EMPRESS, but did not enter service because of a dispute between Color Line and Emerald Empress Holdings, and continued laid-up at St. Petersburg. Moved to Frederica, Norway 1998, continued laid-up. Sold to Alberta Trading Co., Nassau (Caspi Shipping Ltd., Haifa) 1999; renamed MAGIC I. Crusing from Haifa for Magic Cruise Lines from 2000, following refit at Eleusis. Chartered 2003 to Ocean Club Cruises for cruise service from Port Canaveral under marketing name CLUB MIRAGE. Ocean Club Cruises ceased operations February 2004. Sold March 2004 to Magic 1 Cruise Corp. (Isramco Inc.), Nassau. Chartered 2005 to Israeli tour operator Egged for cruising on the Israeli market. Presently in service. CARIBE: Built 1968 at Orenstein-Koppel und Lübecker Machinenbau, Lübeck, West Germany, as FREEPORT for Miami Terminal Transport Co. (Freeport Cruise Line), Monrovia. Renamed FREEPORT I before entry into service. Miami-Freeport service and cruises. Sold 1973 to Oy Birka Line Ab, Mariehamn; renamed Freeport. Stockholm-Helsinki service. Sold 1974 to Rederi Ab Svea, Stockholm, reanmed SVEA STAR. Helsingborg- Travemünde service. Sold 1976 to Bremer Schiffahrts GmbH & Co. KG, Bremen; renamed CARIBE. Replaced BOLERO on summer Portland-Yarmouth service for Price of Fundy Cruises and winter Caribbean cruises for Commodore. Renamed CARIBE BREMEN 1981. Sold 1981 to Scandinavian World Cruises, Nassau; renamed SCANDINAVIAN SUN. Commenced Miami-Freeport service 1982. Transferred to SeaEscape Cruises Ltd. Nassau (successor company to Scadniavian World Cruises) 1985, continued in Miami-Freeport service. Sold 1992 to Belle Meade Shipping, Monrovia; renamed BALANGA QUEEN, placed in Karlskrona-Gydnia service for Corona Line. Chartered 1994 to Hansatee, Tallinn, transferred to Tallinn-Helsinki and Tallinn-Travemünde service for Tallink. Sold 1994 to Discovery Cruise Line, Panama; renamed DISCOVERY SUN, placed in day cruise service from Port Everglades from 1995. Presently in service. CARIBE I: Built 1953 at A. Stephen & Sons Ltd., Glasgow, Scotland, for Transatlantic Shipping Corp. (Greek Line), Monrovia as OLYMPIA. Transatlantic service and cruising. Laid-up at Piraeus, 1974. Sold 1981 to Sally Shipping GmbH, Bad Schwartau. Originally intended for static use but, following the capsizing and classification as a constructive total loss of proposed future Commodore flagship NAVARINO (see Regency Fleet History, REGENT SEA), renamed CARIBE and extensively rebuilt for cruising at Perama, Greece, and Hamburg, Germany. Name amended to CARIBE I 1984, cruising for Commodore. Sold 1991 to International Shipping Partners, Nassau, renamed REGAL EMPRESS. Cruising for Regal Cruises. Regal Cruises ceased operations 2003, ship sold to Imperial Majesty Cruise Lines. Presently in service. ENCHANTED CAPRI: Built 1975 at Oy Wärtsilä Ab, Turku, Finland, for USSR Black Sea Shipping Co., Odessa as AZERBAYDZHAN. Reflagged in Liberia and renamed ARKADIYA, 1996. To Winchester Navigation Co., Odessa 1996. Chartered to New SeaEscape Cruises, 1997, renamed ISLAND HOLIDAY. Chartered to Commodore 1998, renamed ENCHANTED CAPRI. Laid-up following bankruptcy of Commodore in 2000. Operated several cruises for New SeaEscape Cruises in 2003 while their ISLAND ADVENTURE was in drydock, then returned to lay-up at Freeport, Bahamas. Presently laid-up. ENCHANTED ISLE: Built 1958 at Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., Pascagoula, Mississippi, as ARGENTINA for Moore-McCormack Lines Inc., New York. New York-Buenos Aires service. Sold 1972 to Nederlandsche-Amerikaansche Stoomvaart Maatschaappij (Holland-America Line), Rotterdam; renamed VEENDAM and converted to cruise ship. Laid-up 1972. Chartered 1972 to Agencia Maritima 'Intermares' Ltd. for cruising from Rio de Janiero. Renamed BRASIL. Charter ended 1975, returned to HAL service and renamed VOLENDAM. Transferred 1976 to subsidiary Monarch Cruise Lines Inc., Panama, renamed MONARCH STAR. Returned to HAL 1978, renamed VEENDAM. Sold 1983 to Billinghurst Shipping, Panama (Bermuda Star Line), renamed BERMUDA STAR. Bermuda Star Line bought by Commodore 1990, renamed ENCHANTED ISLE. Renamed HOTEL COMMODORE 1993, hotel ship at St. Petersburg, Russia. Renamed ENCHANTED ISLE and returned to Commodore service, 1994. Following bankruptcy of Commodore in 2000, laid-up at Violet, Louisiana. Renamed NEW ORLEANS September 2003. Departed Violet for breakers at Alang, India, 24 October 2003. Arrived Alang 4 December 2003, breaking up commenced 9 December. ENCHANTED SEAS: Built 1958 at Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., Pascagoula, Mississippi, as BRASIL for Moore-McCormack Lines Inc., New York. New York-Buenos Aires service. Laid-up 1969. Sold 1972 to Nederlandsche-Amerikaansche Stoomvaart Maatschappij (Holland-America Line), Rotterdam; renamed VOLENDAM and converted to cruise ship. Chartered to Monarch Cruise Lines Inc., Panama, 1975, renamed MONARCH SUN. Monarch bought by HAL 1976. Returned to HAL and renamed VOLENDAM 1977, continued under Panamanian flag. To Netherlands Antilles flag 1982. Sold to Banstead Shipping Ltd. (Orient Overseas Line/C.Y. Tung Group), Panama, 1984, renamed ISLAND SUN. Transferred to Tung-owned American Hawaii Cruises 1987, renamed LIBERTE. Remained under Panamanian flag; cruising in Tahiti. Sold to Bermuda Star Line, Panama, 1987, renamed CANADA STAR; QUEEN OF BERMUDA 1988. Bermuda Star Line bought by Commodore, 1990, renamed ENCHANTED SEAS. Chartered to World Explorer Cruises/Semester-At-Sea for service as cruise ship and floating university 1998. Full-time floating university from 2002. Replaced as floating university 2004. Initially to be chartered to World Explorer Cruises for full-time cruising, and refurbishment commenced at Hong Kong June 2004, however charter fell through August 2004 when structural problems were discovered. Sold for breaking up and renamed UNIVERSE November 2004. Departed Hong Kong for Alang, India 19 November 2004. Beached at Alang 7 December 2004 and breaking up commenced shortly after. ENCHANTED SUN: Built 1974 at Kynossoura Dock Yard Ltd, Kynossoura, Greece, for Hellenic Mediterranean Lines, Piraeus. Brindisi-Patras service. Sold to Stena Gulf Line Ltd., Nassau, 1988, renamed SCANDINAVIAN SAGA and chartered to SeaEscape. Chartered to California Cruises, Nassau, renamed PRIDE OF SAN DIEGO, 1991. Renamed TROPIC STAR II, 1992. Renamed STENA ARCADIA 1994, laid-up at Venice, Italy. Sold to Empress Cruise, Nassau, 1997, renamed EMERALD EMPRESS. Laid-up at Freeport, Bahamas. Sold to Yucatan Shipping, Nassau, 1998. Sold to Triple Shipping, Monrovia, 1998, renamed SOFIA. Sold to Commodore Holdings Ltd., Nassau, 1999, renamed ENCHNATED SUN. Laid-up at Freeport following bankruptcy of Commodore in 2000. Sold 2001 at auction to Cardinham International, Nassau, renamed TALISMAN. Sold 2002 to International Shipping Partners, Nassau; Renamed MANISTAL. Continued laid-up at Freeport. Sold to Circle Line Cruises, Nassau, 2003; renamed ST. TROPEZ and commenced service on casino cruises from Ft. Lauderdale. Presently in service.
  5. Recently my father found menus from my grandparents' cruise in Home Lines' ITALIA in my grandmother's basement. These menus are from Washington's Birthday, Thursday 22 February 1962, when ITALIA was in Barbados. Luncheon: Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Farewell Dinner: Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 ITALIA was nearing her 34th birthday when these menus were printed. She had been in the Home Lines fleet for 14 years, on permanent "Sun-Way" cruise duty from New York since the year before. She would last another two years before she was retired, three before she was scrapped in Bilbao. My grandparents had only good things to say about ITALIA, even though she was very old, but they never returned to Home Lines. This was their second cruise; their first had been on NIEUW AMSTERDAM. They returned to HAL many times and also sailed with Chandris, Celebrity, Incres (my father's first cruise), Orient Lines, NCL, Princess and Royal Caribbean, most multiple times. This post is dedicated to my late grandfather, who instilled in my father and me a love of ships and cruising. See here and here for more history on ITALIA.
  6. dougnewmanatsea

    New Celebrity Food Quality Poll

    Definitely, though I don't think that is the exact set I had on my last Celebrity cruise (the earlier ones were way too long ago to remember). I'm going to be on CENTURY so only the one specialty restaurant, but I do intend to try it. My previous Celebrity cruises have all been on ships that didn't have specialty restaurants. To be honest, this particular cruise was so ridiculously cheap that I won't be overly disappointed if the food is only average (in the past it was definitely better than average).
  7. dougnewmanatsea

    New Celebrity Food Quality Poll

    Huh? Michel Roux was part of Celebrity from day one. He was part of the team that developed the whole "brand" for Chandris. For a long time I would say that was absolutely the thing Celebrity was known for - food and the Michel Roux affiliation in particular. There has always been a "name" chef, either Michel Roux or Jacques Van Staden. So the arrival of celebrity chefs can't account for food decline. (I have not been back since Roux left, but am about to be, which is why I am checking this board for the first time in eons. I wasn't necessarily planning on coming out of lurkerdom but just had to comment on this.) Anyway I think Celebrity started a bit of a trend - now there is Jacques Pepin on Oceania, Georges Blanc on Carnival (!), Ettore Bocchia on Costa, Charlie Palmer on Seabourn, Todd English on Cunard, Marco Pierre White, Gary Rhodes and Atul Kochhar on P&O, Nobu Matsuhisa on Crystal ... and that's just off the top of my head. Past ones included Daniel Boulud on Cunard, Wolfgang Puck on Orient Lines (yes, really!) and maybe the first, Paul Bocuse on Royal Viking, which didn't last long as people who were already paying for "world class" didn't like being asked to pay extra for his alternative restaurant. It became a "generic" Italian restaurant in not too long. Bocuse on RVL is the only one I can think of that (slightly) predated Michel Roux on Celebrity, and I doubt many people even remember that one. I never would have but Google Books has the past 30 years of Cruise Travel now and I was looking through back issues a while ago. Jacques Van Staden does have a rather different role as the aforementioned celebrity chefs as he is actually a direct employee of Celebrity who is responsible for the day-to-day food and beverage operations of the fleet - basically he is the corporate executive chef, whereas Roux was an outside consultant, as are all those other guys I mentioned on other lines. Interestingly, Jean-Marie Zimmermann, who is the "global culinary ambassador" (read: corporate executive chef) at Cunard, used to be that at Celebrity. He was recommended by Michel Roux. I'm not sure if he'd count as a "celebrity" chef - he's earned a Michelin star in his own right, before he started with ships, so maybe? Anyway, Cunard's food is IMHO as good as the Michel-Roux-"designed" food on Celebrity was and better than anyone else has delivered on a large ship. (But to some extent, chefs on Cunard are allowed to design their own menus, not like Celebrity.) In a few months I will taste Jacques' food and see what I think of that. The new menus I've seen look "OK" though some of the stuff I've seen on there is a little off-putting - lasagna with cheddar cheese?! - but it's hard to tell what the quality of food will be like from reading menus. (Anyone who has ever been given a printed menu while flying economy class knows this. ;) )
  8. Dear All, I visited the wonderful TSS THE TOPAZ on 6 June with the World Ship Society Port of New York Branch. She was built in 1956 as EMPRESS OF BRITAIN, one of the last three ocean liners built for Canadian Pacific. In 1965 she went to Greek Line as QUEEN ANNA MARIA, then in 1975 to Carnival as CARNIVALE, in 1993 to short-lived Carnival subsidiary FiestaMarina Cruises as FIESTAMARINA, in 1994 to Epirotiki Cruises as OLYMPIC, and finally to her current owners, Topaz International Cruises (owned by Capt. Paris Katsoufis) as THE TOPAZ in 1997. From 1997 through 2003 she was chartered to Thomson Cruises, and since 2003 she has been chartered to the Peaceboat Organization of Japan. In 2006 the 32,327 GT turbine steamer celebrates her 50th anniversary. She is now the last survivor of the Canadian Pacific fleet and the last remaining liner built for North Atlantic service to Canada. THE TOPAZ will sail for Peaceboat at least until 2008, but faces mandatory retirement in 2010 due to SOLAS regulations. While most of her original interiors were destroyed and replaced by very garish decor during refits by Carnival in the 1980s, she is still a fascinating survivor from another era and a most interesting ship to visit. I have posted my 141 photos of the visit along with extensive captions in an online gallery. As you go through the photos, keep in mind that this was a Carnival ship as recently as 13 years ago! I would like to thank the Peaceboat Organization and the officers and crew of TSS THE TOPAZ for their hospitality and the World Ship Society Port of New York Branch for organizing this visit annually for the past several years. Finally, if you you are interested in this ship and her sisters (the newer EMPRESS OF CANADA became Carnival's first ship, MARDI GRAS), I highly recommend the superb book "The Last White Empresses" by Clive Harvey (London: Carmania Press, 2004) which is available in the US and Canada from Purple Mountain Press and in the UK and elsewhere from Mainmast Books. While two of the three ships covered (EMPRESS OF BRITAIN, EMPRESS OF ENGLAND, and my favorite, EMPRESS OF CANADA) are no longer with us, the book's last chapter is appropriately titled, "And the Ship Sails On...", and indeed she does. I hope she continues doing so until her mandatory retirement in 2010, at which time she will be 54 years old and will have had one of the most extraordinary careers of any ocean liner. I hope you enjoy the photos.
  9. dougnewmanatsea

    Cunard UK says QE2 held back "luxury fleet"

    The idea that QE2 was holding back Cunard from being a "luxury" line is, frankly, just silly. Mr. Shanks is certainly correct that her departure makes Cunard's product more consistent, but more "luxury"? Agreeing with that would require me to consider the current two ships "luxury", and if I did (which I do not), I'd consider QE2 to be as well. Anyway, Cunard stopped competing in the "luxury" market (as defined in cruise industry jargon) when it gave ROYAL VIKING SUN and the Sea Goddess twins to Seabourn.
  10. dougnewmanatsea

    QE2 interior photos on lower decks.

    OK, I will post them when I get the chance. :)
  11. dougnewmanatsea

    QE2 interior photos on lower decks.

    I wish I'd seen this earlier as I have photos that would probably fulfill your wishes, but it appears you already have plenty now. I can still post mine if you like though it might take a few days.
  12. dougnewmanatsea

    Farewell, QE2

    Without a doubt, there have been few ships that have garnered such a devoted following as Queen Elizabeth 2 has. Indeed, with 39 years of service, sailing over 5.5 million miles and carrying over 2.5 million passengers, sailing to nearly every region of thew world, few ships have had the same sort of opportunity to win the hearts of the public. An icon even to those who have never stepped aboard, QE2 was nevertheless most beloved of us who have had the opportunity to get to know this great lady on a more personal level. Keep reading my personal farewell letter to QE2...
  13. dougnewmanatsea

    Farewell, QE2

    Thanks to all for your kind comments. I do agree that QM2 is her logical successor. I have already enjoyed sailing in her once and in the next year and a bit I shall hopefully be doing so two more times. I am also getting this strange urge to sail in QUEEN VICTORIA - what can be going on here?
  14. dougnewmanatsea

    New Queen Elizabeth

    My understanding is that they'll be above the spa. Hopefully we will see more info soon; the new ship is still nearly two years away but with QE2's farewell over it is time for the Cunard PR machine to switch gears.
  15. dougnewmanatsea

    Farewell, QE2

    Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.
  16. dougnewmanatsea

    Live onboard QM2 11-21-2008

    From that photo the new Chart Room chairs aren't too attractive but worse to me is the very ugly new carpet, which looks like it should be on a Princess ship or QUEEN VICTORIA. (Then again, the Chart Room carpet from QUEEN VICTORIA would be far more suitable than this.) I would not be at all surprised if over time we see QM2's carpets replaced with "corporate" patterns that can also be seen on other ships. If the "wave" pattern found in Princess cabin passageways ever finds its way to QM2 there will be hell to pay....
  17. On 16 October 2008, Cunard Line's RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 and RMS Queen Mary 2 met in New York City for the final time. The ships sailed in tandem from their home port of Southampton, England on 10 October 2008, calling at New York on 16 October and returning to Southampton on 22 October. This was QE2's final call in New York and her final round-trip crossing of the North Atlantic. She was Cunard's flagship and primary ship on the Southampton-New York run from 1969 to 2004 when she was replaced in that capacity by QM2. Since then she has operated mainly on cruises with occasional Atlantic crossings. Her final cruise will depart Southampton on 11 November 2008, arriving in Dubai on 27 November 2008, where she will be converted to a floating hotel. These photos were taken from a NY Waterway Tours vessel chartered by the World Ship Society Port of New York Branch and the Steamship Historical Society of America Long Island Chapter. Thanks to WSS PONY, SSHSA-LI, NY Waterway Tours and Cunard for helping to make this such a spectacular event. Click here for photos.
  18. dougnewmanatsea

    Dry dock QM2

    It would allow for more extensive work to be done than is being done. Whether what could be done in three weeks is "major" really depends on what you consider "major".
  19. dougnewmanatsea

    Dry dock QM2

    I think Cunard has "ideas" about changes it would like to make (and no I don't now what they are ;) ) but they have been put off indefinitely. Or at least, accommodation changes have been. Technical changes will continue and of course so will routine maintenance.
  20. dougnewmanatsea

    Quest for Adventure

    The Spirit of Adventure web site has finally been updated with information on QUEST FOR ADVENTURE. The deck plans reveal that the ship will be undergoing a very major refit. As has been done on many other ships (e.g. DISCOVERY, SUPERSTAR ARIES), the officer's cabins on Bridge Deck are being converted to high-end passenger cabins (despite having lifeboat-obstructed views). Interestingly, these will have french balconies. French balconies are also being added to the suites that look out onto the boat deck, which is, I think is a new innovation. Most of the suites on boat deck are being expanded, eliminating the anachronistic inside suites, and having balconies added. The public room layout will remain mostly the same but they will be redecorated in a style similar to SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE. There are a few errors on the web site though - in several places the ship is referred to as QUEST OF ADVENTURE, and there is a typo on the deck plan... Who can find it? ;) Anyway, I think she looks very nice... I would very much like to try her, or SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE for that matter, or both! Everyone I know who has been has really enjoyed the product, and the itineraries are really excellent.
  21. dougnewmanatsea

    Photos: QE2's Final New York Departure with QM2

    Glad everyone enjoyed the photos. It was really an amazing evening.
  22. dougnewmanatsea

    QM2 World Cruise 'the other way around'

    I don't know why Cunard has done this in this particular case but I remember P&O doing this in the 1990s... At the time I think it was with ORIANA going in one direction and ARCADIA (the previous one, now OCEAN VILLAGE), or maybe it was VICTORIA (or both, depending on the year) in the other.
  23. dougnewmanatsea

    Saga Rose Greenland Voyager August 2007

    Ruby is lucky to have the opportunity to sail with Capt. Albert - I haven't (yet) but I've known him in cyberspace for a long time and he's great... A real ship enthusiast. It is always a pleasure to come across someone who is passionate about his job. As for itinerary changes, it's true that some cruise lines are adjusting their itineraries due to fuel prices. Perfectly legal, of course, since the passage contract allows them to do just about anything they want. I can see why people would be upset about that, though - it is, after all, being done for the safety of the operators' profit margins, not the safety of the passengers. There's nothing you can do about it, but I can understand why people don't like it. On the other hand, people who complain about weather-related changes are jerks, pure and simple (I can think of a lot of other things to call them but I don't think I can print those words here ;) ). Of course these are probably the same people who would be moaning if the ship didn't divert and got caught in rough seas instead. With some people you just can't win! I imagine most of us have missed ports because of bad weather at one time or another and I certainly am not going to second-guess the judgment of the cruise line and the ship's master in keeping passengers, crew and ship safe. (In particular this comes up a lot with tender ports, since tendering isn't safe in really bad weather.)
  24. dougnewmanatsea

    No Newbuilds for Azamara?

    According to a reliable industry source, RCCL has formally withdrawn from negotiations with major European shipyards to build new ships for its Azamara. The poor financial performance of the Azamara brand was cited as the reason. I guess competing against Oceania has not proven to be easy, though given high demand for this type of product I am frankly rather surprised to hear that Azamara is apparently not doing to well. (Then again, Celebrity traditionally hasn't....)
  25. dougnewmanatsea

    Saga Rose Greenland Voyager August 2007

    Count me in as another member of the anti-baked-Alaska-parade club.