The Sepdecuplets : The 17 Ships of the Spirit & Vista Class

In 2000 Costa Atlantica debuted as the first of the Spirit Class. Built by Aker Yards the ship was not record-breaking in any way shape or form, or particularly innovative, but it did however allow for flexibility, being suitable to fit down the Panama canal and also had a significant amount of balconies.

The Vista Class, originally intended to be Holland America’s evolution of the Spirit Class, it soon became a standard across the Carnival Corporation & PLC Fleet, almost by accident. Following the success of the QM2, one of the Holland America Vista’s was transferred to Cunard to become the Queen Victoria. However during building it was decided that the Queen Victoria should incorporate more concepts from the QM2, so the ship was transferred to P&O Cruises as Arcadia. During recent refits Holland America & P&O Cruises made changes to its Vista Class ships by adding more balconies at the back, to improve the revenue from this ships.

For Cunard a new extended Vista class ship was planned, slightly longer but still able to fit down the Panama Canal. The ship emerged as the new Queen Victoria in December 2007. In October 2007 a new Queen Elizabeth was ordered as an ‘improved’ version of Queen Victoria, showcasing a new Sports deck, which gives her a ‘crown’ like profile at the front.

Nieuw Amerstdam and Eurodam are classed as Signature class ships, however they are in effect a slight change in design from there Vista class comrades with an additional deck. Finally Costa decided that they should take the best of the Spirit class and Vista class to create two hybrid ships, known as Costa Luminosa & Costa Deliziosa

It is unlikely any more of these class of ships will be built, as new ‘safe return to port’ legislation by SOLAS may mean that they will not fit the criteria and higher standards now required from new builds.

There can be problems with having such a large class of ships from an economic perspective, the next major change in the cruise product could mean these vessel, all 17 of them will require the same changes. Like the ship classes of the 1990’s have required Balconies to be retrofitted, not always the best option.

Also as the ships appear across various market segments, there can be a problem that people think that the product is degraded from the Luxury end. A common problem which is mentioned amongst shipping enthusiasts regarding Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, as nothing more than a more expensive Arcadia. However most people , once the hull is a different colour and a different funnel is used have no idea.

The onboard product of these ships varies differently, from the Las Vegas style of Carnival, to the Ocean Liner Art Deco styling of Cunard, its is unlikely people will realise they are sister ships at all. For those who are interested the 17 Ships are at the bottom of this article.

Have you cruised on the Vista class, do you agree with this concept of using the same ship across brands? Facebook, Twitter, Email and Comment!

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(The Picture of the Golden Retriever is from our CruiseHound section Click Here to Visit!)

1- Costa Atlantica – Spirit Class
2- Carnival Spirit – Spirit Class
3- Carnival Pride – Spirit Class
4- Carnival Legend – Spirit Class
5- Costa Mediterranea – Spirit Class
6- Carnival Miracle – Spirit Class
7- Zuideram – Vista Class
8- Oosterdam – Vista Class
9- Westerdam – Vista Class
10- Noordam – Vista Class
11- Arcadia  – Vista Class
12- Queen Victoria – Enhanced Vista
13- Queen Elizabeth – Enhanced Vista
14- Eurodam – Signature Class
15- Nieuw Amsterdam – Signature Class
16- Costa Lumiosa – Hybrid Spirit/Vista
17- Costa Deliziosa – Hybrid Spirit/Vista

What is so great about No-Fly Cruising?

Well its obvious, isn’t it? No Airplane, no flights, no airports. Now we are fans of avoiding the Airport, The queues, the shops, the gates, the lighting, na… We would rather not go to the Airport.

This appears however to be the view of an increasing amount of cruisers, while this has been popular in the States for some time, the European market has been slow to follow, however in the past few years ‘ex-UK’ or ‘No-Fly Cruising’ has taken off, with 40 ships operating from the UK on a total of 506 cruises during 2011. It is also our understanding that 40% of UK cruise passengers sail on a no-fly cruise.

This rapid growth in cruising from the UK has meant that UK ports have been working hard to develop facilities for the ships, with Southampton adding to its five cruise terminals, and Portsmouth opening a new one, as well as ongoing problems regarding Liverpool’s Cruise terminal (check our previous article).

Southampton leads the way with 65% of all cruise departures from the UK, Royal Caribbean, P&O, MSC and Cunard all depart from here. The UK is perfectly positioned to operate cruises to Northern Europe, in the Norwegian Fjords, and to the Med, Across the Atlantic, or round the British Isles. We recently visited the MSC Opera which is currently operating out of Southampton (Check out our Ship Visit Article). RCI’s huge Independence of the Sea’s has also been operating out of Southampton.

However the only drawback from an Ex-UK cruise is that it can take a long time (2/3 Days) for a Cruise ship to arrive in warmer climates, which for those who cruise to the sun, and be a large portion of their holiday. We think the strength of these no-fly cruises will benefit those who don’t like flying, we recently recommended this to a friend who hates flying. Also For Northern European Cruises to Amsterdam, Denmark and the Baltic, what better place to start your cruise.

With the rapid increase in fuel prices expected to continue, airfares are only expected to keep rising too, So we expect to see the growth of No-Fly Cruising to continue. This is also the belief of the Cruise Lines, who have home-ported more vessels in the UK than ever before.

If you are considering a No-Fly Cruise, there is a free book which may interest you available from, this is free and we have our own copy, very useful when making this article and suggesting possible cruises to people.

Let us know what you think! Comment, Facebook, Twitter and Email

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MSC Opera Ship Visit in Southampton


A re-invented Princess.

The original Royal Princess has re-emerged as Artania for the German Market under operator Phoenix Reisen. The vessel appears to have had a significant makeover with addition balcony cabins being added.

The ship was original built by Wartsila in Finland, in 1984. She carries 1,200 passengers.
According to ‘P&O PRINCESS: The Cruise Ships by Roger Cartwright’ She was the first ship since the Wilhelm Gusloff of the Nazi ‘Strength through Joy’ movement to offer all outside accommodation.

This was a ship which made balconies, atriums and public rooms at the bottom of the ship, cabins above layout which is so popular now. With the significant amount of balconies and the forward thinking design, it interests me why Carnival were still building the fantasy class in the late 90’s, with so few balconies.

While this ship is now 27 years old, its design, well ahead of the competition has meant it has not required such drastic action as Mein Schiff 2, Carnival Fantasy and Costa Victoria, which have all been retrofitted with balconies which varying levels of aesthetic success.

In 2004 it was announced that in the following year she would transfer to P&O Cruises serving the UK market under the name ‘Artemis’ – named after the Greek goddess of Hunting. While serving as Artemis she was an adults only cruise ship,

In 2009 it was announced she was to be sold to Artania Shipping, However she continued to serve P&O as Artemis til April 2011. Now she is moving to Phoenix Reisen, and is having additional balcony cabins added for many years of additional service!

Phoenix Reisen has provided an excellent photo journal of the refurbishment, and I do recommend you check it out. Royal Princess now has legendary status for Princess Cruises who have announced their new cruise ship will be named Royal Princess. The second Royal princess has followed in her elders footsteps and has joined P&O as their new Adonia.

As a name Artania is interesting choice, sounding like a Cunard vessel from the past, I myself was never a fan of Artemis, it always sounded a bit drab, and false., abit like the over-the-top named The Portunus Club, Thanksfully being renamed P&O Cruises Peninsular Club, Greek must have been a theme at P&O at the time! All too Poseidon for my taste! 

This is truely a ship before its time! Have you been onboard, what did you think? Let us know! Facebook, Twitter, Email and Comment!
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Excellent Photo Journal from Phoenix Reisen –