DSME has Ambitions in Cruising : Cruisia

DSME, Daweoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, has been trying for the past few years to make it ‘big’ in the cruise industry, DSME is one of the worlds largest shipbuilders but has not yet built a cruise ship, as the market appears to have been carved up by the European Yards, Meyer Werft, AKER (Now STX) and Fincanteri.

Do prove to the industry that DSME has what it takes to build a world-class cruise ship they created the Cruisia concept, just like EOSEAS, it is not expected that this ship will be built, just that it will prove that the ship builders have the facilities, knowledge and technologies to build such a vessel.

Cruisia proves to be an interesting ship, at 135,000GRT, carrying a maximum of 4500 passengers and a length of 315meters. That makes it the same length as Celebrity Solstice. The ship was design to be as safe and energy efficient as possible, so is already ‘Safe Return to Port’ ready. The ship was designed in co-operation with Tillburg Design, FORESHIP, Safety at Sea and Lloyd’s.

The ship seems inoffensive enough in design, despite the sharp stern it is a profile which grows on me. The ship also has ‘Loft Style’ cabins, which already feature on Oasis and Allure of the Seas, and will almost certainly feature on Royal Caribbean’s new ‘Project Sunshine’- class ships. (We have a blog for that). However only 53% of cabins have a balcony, and only 63% of cabins are outside. I would expect more from a new cruise ship design, especially as a long-term trend to balconies is well underway.

We have a brochure for DSME’s Cruisia, which also covers their plans for three other sized ships:  
One at 110,000GRT, 3301 passengers, 295meters. Looks just like MSC Musica class.
One at 73,000GRT, 2720 passengers, 250meters.
One at 20,000GRT, 300 passengers, 160meters
You can find pictures of all of these on our Facebook page!

As mentioned above, traditionally the American and European cruise lines have ordered from European yards, only Norwegian Cruise Lines ‘Pride of America’ being partly built in America and finished in Europe. STX believed that through taking over Aker Yards it would be able to get into the cruise ship market, however the industry has curtailed new building programs as the global recession has hit, meaning STX’s European yards are dealing with less business than before, and it’s not just STX. Fincanteri is also suffering from lower volumes and is talking about restructuring.

Previously however Princess Cruises has had Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess delivered from Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, These ships swapped names during construction as there was a fire which gutted the vessel. However Carnival has recently ordered two 125,000GRT cruise ships from Mitsubishi for their German brand Aida, it is believed these ships will be of an entirely new design. One of the most exciting new building projects, I am looking forward to hearing more.

As for DSME it will be interesting to see if any cruise line will pick up on the proposal, Fred Olsen, Louis and SAGA have all been linked to building a new ship in the Far East. Don’t forget to check out our facebook page for extras and to follow us on twitter to keep up to date.

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Life as a Crew Member : Cruiseline Confidential

We have reviewed a few books on this blog in the past, and these reviews have always proved popular, we have also discussed cruise lines that are no longer with us, including Premier Cruise Line, where this book is set.

James Spencer, the author has been kind enough to share a short segment of the book, this gives us a great example of what it felt like on the first day of boarding as a crew member. His book is available as an ebook on Amazon for 86p!

Cruiseline Confidential, Part 1
The Boy, The Fish & The Bollox!
Copyright 2008 by Skinuporshutup Productions


I was quite apprehensive as I walked towards the gangway that I would have to cross to board the Oceanic for the first time. More with nervous excitement than with fear but, their was still a washing machine on its spin cycle whizzing away in my gut. As we all entered the ship for me, it felt like passing in to another dimension. I was hit smack in the face by the air-conditioning and lots of different looking people all moving around at what seemed supersonic speed, all dressed in similar uniforms. This was the Pursers area, like the reception in a hotel only more compact and flashier.

I spoke my first words to a crew member here. His name was Mark Stimpson who, was the Chief Purser. Obviously I was looking rather pale and carrying a couple of suitcases it rather gave the game away that I was a ‘Newboy’ In addition, I was wearing a Leeds United football shirt, which was a little clue. He introduced himself as Mark from Portsmouth and asked me what I would be doing. So I told him I was a waiter. That brought a bit of a sparkle to his eyes and he said ” topman! I hope you’ve left your fucking liver at home! Because you won’t need it here “. At that, he disappeared in to his office.  A bit weird I thought but, he seems a bit of a lad, and having bloodshot eyes and wearing four gold stripes on his arm he definitely looked like the sort of bloke I could get on well with.

While I was talking with Mark, the Crew Purser was checking over our papers and invited us into her office. It was getting better by the minute. The Crew purser was responsible for all the crew embarking or disembarking the ship, payments of salaries, cabin assignment, and basically anything to do with the needs of the crew. She was another Brit. Her name was Sarah, she was quite attractive, tall, long mousy hair and she wasn’t wearing a Bra!  How could I tell? Well the uniform consisted of a dark blue skirt and a very thin short sleeved white shirt. All I could focus on was these ginger biscuits with cherries on top protruding from the part of her torso, just below her shoulders……smashing, mmmmmmmm!…

The book is available in Ebook format on Amazon, for only 86p!

Remember to check our background on ‘The Rise & Fall of : Premier Cruise Line’ and our previous suggested reading;
Selling the Sea by Bob Dickinson
Wind Star : The Building of a Sailship

Do you have any memories of working onboard? Share them below by commenting or on our Facebook & Twitter!

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Der Club Schiff der Britischen

Now as I last covered Virgins Cruise Dream, and how in 2003 they may have been knocked off course by Island Cruises and Ocean Village Cruises. However it would appear that these cruise lines never throughly took to the market and neither are still operating, despite there apparent German counterpart Aida going from strength to strength.

The ‘First Time’ cruise market which these ships mainly catered for had three cruise options to choose from in 2007 Island Cruises, Ocean Village Holidays and Thomson Cruises. These lines operated in the 3-4 star bracket, and the ships were all over 15 years old.

Island Cruises was formed by Royal Caribbean and First Choice Holidays in 2001, starting operations in 2002, targeting the British cruise market with Island Escape, a former cruise ferry which had operated with a variety of cruise lines.  During the launch the ship starred in the ITV show ‘Cruise Ship’ an Airline-esque tv show highlighting the ups and downs of cruising.

Island Escape was joined by Island Star in 2005, purpose-built as a cruise ship for Celebrity in 1990 this seriously improved Island Cruises product, with the new ship having Balconies and a large refurbishment prior to entering service.

However following the merger of TUI Travel and First Choice into TUI TRAVEL GROUP PLC which bought Island’s part owners into the same group as Thomson Cruises the line was disbanded, with Island Star going to Pullmantur and Island Escape joining Thomson Cruises.

Ocean Village was founded by P&O Princess Cruises PLC, a move which saw Arcadia transferred from P&O. Essentially a British adaption of Aida Cruises, Ocean Village was marketed as the ‘Cruise for People who Don’t Do Cruises’. It was this tag line that encouraged my parents to risk their hard earn wages to go cruising. As a safety anchor we did a week on land staying a Majorca, but more on our Ocean Village cruise next week. 😉

Following the merger of P&O Princess Cruises PLC and Carnival Corporation into Carnival Corporation & PLC (yes Dual Listed, a Anglo-American company!) Ocean Village received Aida Blu as Ocean Village Two in 2007. Then there was further talk of Oceana joining as Ocean Village Three, but this did not happen.

In 2008 it was announced that Ocean Village was to be disbanded by 2010, as the ships would generate a higher profit in Australia, who’s cruise market is booming, Ocean Village and Ocean Village Two where to join P&O Cruises Australia as Pacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel respectively.

Why didn’t we cruise Ocean Village again? I hear you ask. Well with the itineraries not having significant variation, and one of the great things about a cruise is the variety of destinations, our attention was drawn to other lines.  But I think Ocean Village provided a suitable stepping stone to jump into cruising, something which no other line has effectively filled.

Both Cruise Lines, Island Cruises and Ocean Village provided a more informal cruising atmosphere, however since their founding nearly 10 years ago there has been a shift in the traditions of the more traditional cruise lines, with ‘Anytime’ dining, relaxed dress codes and changes in Entertainment offered onboard.

Furthermore the British Cruise market has changed, Independence of the Seas sailing year round from Southampton, this still shocks me, this ship is huge and sails year round! There are less ‘new cruisers’ than before, and the cruise ships sailing for the British Market; Ventura, Azura, Independence of the Seas & MSC Opera, are better than ever before!

What was your experience of Ocean Village & Island Cruises? Facebook, Twitter, Comment and Email

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Richard Branson’s Virgin Cruise Dream

For as long as I can remember Richard Branson has been linked to starting a cruise line, to date this has not yet surfaced, and recently its been even more quiet…

The core aspects of the Virgin brand is to create a memorable experience, with flair and fun. Virgin Atlantic succeeds very well in doing so, and their advertising campaigns show this. Richard Branson has said that any Virgin Cruise Line would target a 30-55 age group, so would likely carry over these core aspects.

The reason that such an endeavour may not have happened is that starting a cruise line is expensive, and the market is growing mature in Virgins UK home. However I believe there is also the problem that people actually like their cruise lines, with Royal Caribbean basically offering what Virgin Cruise Line would offer. Virgin has done well by going into an industry which isn’t particularly customer friendly – airline, telecoms and banking, and providing excellent customer service, something which is a core aspect of the Virgin brand.

Unfortunately for Virgin no cruise line actively annoys and disrupts their customers to make such a strategy worthwhile in the cruise industry. In 2003 I wrote to Virgin Holidays suggesting they should start a cruise line, their response being that they will look into all markets.

It was back in 2005 when Branson made lots of noise about starting a cruise line, he even met Stelios who had just launched ‘easyCruise’ (covered here) It is even reported he met with executives from Royal Caribbean over plans for a joint venture. Although the UK market quickly boomed with Island Cruises, Thomson and Ocean Village all quickly adding capacity. Ocean Village was probably most like what the Virgin product would have been like. It was a real belief at the time that it was just a few months away til Virgin Launched a cruise line there was even reports in Lloyds List.

Back in 2009 CruiseCritic suggested that Richard Branson would start his proposed cruise line within the year. While this has not yet been the case rumors still persist about Virgins entry into the cruising arena.

However if such a project was launched between Virgin and Royal Caribbean, we expect it would take a similar form as TUI Cruises, with Celebrity Century starting off the venture, with perhaps a new ship like what has been just ordered at STX Turku. Any Virgin Cruise Line would benefit from Virgin’s international airline system and worldwide brand partners, for which cross promotion would be irresistable!

Now with the closure of Ocean Village and the merger of Island Cruises and Thomson Cruises, it would be my belief that Virgin do not have a cruise product planned, as people are happy with what the market provides, only when the market gets it wrong will Virgin be able to make a valid attempt, otherwise we have another Virgin Cola.

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