Johanna Jainchill is reporting that Allure of the Seas' construction is ahead of schedule, which is good news for Royal Caribbean that is eagerly waiting for its newest ship to debut. While visiting the STX Finland shipyards in Finland, Jainchill reports progress on Allure seems to be ahead of its sister ship Oasis of the Seas was at the same point in her construction schedule.
During a tour of the Oasis at this time last year, the theater was all scaffolding. Today, the Allure’s theater appeared ready for the cast of Chicago to start rehearsals.The loft suite one year ago was metal and wires. Today, it was ready, with the bed made and bathroom products on the sink. The cupcake shop was merely a shell one year ago. Today, it was only lacking actual cupcakes.
If you're thinking that because Allure of the Seas is ahead of schedule that the ship will debut sooner, think again. Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein reiterated that Allure of the Seas will stick to the schedule she is currently on and would not take an even earlier delivery of the vessel. Royal Caribbean has already moved up the Allure’s inaugural cruise twice, "The program was so locked in with the arrival and training of the crew and the transatlantic [voyage], and we already sent the invitations out for the South Florida [inaugural] events. We will stick with what we have scheduled."
The Maryland Port Administration has awarded a contract to TEAM to design and build a Passenger Boarding Bridge for the South Locust Point Cruise Terminal in the Port of Baltimore, Maryland, USA. The new bridge should be ready in 2011.
This passenger bridge, which connects the cruise terminal with a cruise ship, will be the first of it's kind and will consist of an enclosed mobile walkway that is fully air-conditioned. The tunnel will have four fixed tunnel sections leading from quay level up to 7 meters in height. At its heighest point, there will be an integrated rotunda that connects the walkway module with a 3-tunnel telescopic boarding bridge known as KRONUS.
The KRONUS is also air-conditioned and features next to anelectro-mechanical driving system an electro-mechanical lifting system to reach the required highest and lowest elevations and match up with ship shell doors on various cruise ships.
If you're looking for a cougar cruise, there's a new one that has been announced, but you will need to get to Spain to experience this one. Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas will depart from Barcelona and cruise April 16-21, 2011.
This cruise comes after cougar cruises have been banned by the three largest cruise lines in Australia, and also by Carnival, the world's largest cruise line, in the USA.
"We are pleased that Royal Caribbean will be hosting our European Cougar Cruise," says Rich Gosse, Executive Producer of http://www.cougarevents.com. "While it is perfectly acceptable for middle-aged men to date women their daughter's age, women don't have the same privilege. After the tremendous success of the world's first International Cougar Cruise, December 2009, aboard Carnival, we were shocked that they refused to allow another. If there had been problems on the first Cougar Cruise we would understand being banned. But hundreds of our cougars and cubs onboard were well-behaved, and there were absolutely no problems. We expect the same will be true with the European Cougar Cruise."
Interested in going on the cougar cruise? You can book it by going to http://www.SinglesTravelCompany.com
A blogger for a New Zealand web site is in the middle of a 10 night cruise and had to report that while everything on the cruise ship was great, what was really awe inspiring was the fact that their two young sons have stopped fighting thanks to the fun of the ship.
The squabbling and bickering has stopped and no one has punched, pinched, kicked or dobbed on anyone for ages. "They're not fighting," my wife whispers, noting that our two boisterous young sons are acting out of character.
Their sons were enrolled in the Adventure Ocean Kids' Club and it sounded like they were happy with the experience in the club.
We can look forward to three themed sessions every day. On selected evenings the staff also host casual dinners so parents can eat alone. Elsewhere onboard there are activity sessions and playgroup meetings for babies and toddlers. And, next to a video-arcade room, is a "teen-only" dance club and lounge room for the older offspring. They have organised activities, too.
Quick update regarding Explorer of the Seas and how it's itinerary is being affected by Hurricane Earl from CruiseCritic.
Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas, which left Bayonne on Thursday, will arrive early in Portland today and will ride out the storm before leaving late on Saturday. It had been due to be at sea today. A spokesperson told Cruise Critic: "We made arrangements to stay overnight in Portland, and will depart on Saturday evening once the storm has passed and we receive the go-ahead from the U.S. Coast Guard."
Cruising in China is expected to grow this year, with a 5% increase in domestic cruises, and the future for China looks bright. The Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal in downtown Hongkou District opened in 2008 and already construction of another port, the Shanghai Wusongkou Terminal, is scheduled to be completed by 2012. Once the second terminal is complete, Shanghai will be able to handle eight cruise ships per day, with home-ported ships stopping there 66 times in this year alone, more than double the amount from last year.
At the All Asia Cruise Convention, Royal Caribbean senior vice-president Michael Bayley sounded optimistic about the future of cruises in China, "China has a potential of around 40 million cruise guests annually if the market penetration reaches the level of the U.S. and Europe".
Royal Caribbean already has a vested interest in the growth of cruising in China, as Royal Caribbean signed a memorandum of understanding last year with Shanghai International Port Group to form a strategic partnership in cruise operation areas, such as market promotion, port, staff training and management-experience exchange.
"Such strategic partnerships are an important and valuable element of our activity to increase penetration in China," Bayley said.
Photo by Royal Caribbean
The Japan Cruise Symposium taking place in Fukuoka, Japan is looking at opportunities for Japan to become a major cruise line destination but before that can happen, Japanese ports need to become more appealing for cruise lines to visit.
Royal Caribbean Regional Vice President Rama Rebbapragada said that Royal Caribbean ships stopping in Japan have doubled in recent years. Rebbapragada is also the current chairman of the Asia Cruise Association (ACA) saw the symposium as a great opportunity to build better partnerships with more communication about shore attractions in Japan.
Other concerns raised by other cruise line representatives include changing the perception that Japan is a very expensive destination, encourage Japanese ports to aim to be marquee ports and promote cruising in the country better to its people.
There will be a new specialty restaurant on the soon-to-be-completed Allure of the Seas, Samba Grill, a Brazilian-style Churrascaria restaurant.
The new restaurant will be a little different depending on the time of day. During the evening, Samba Grill will be adults only while during the day it will revert to being the Solarium Bistro, where it will serve light breakfasts and lunches.
Samba Grill will be a notable difference between what you will find on Allure of the Seas' sister ship, Oasis of the Seas, where the Solarium Bistro serves healthier choices for all three meals during the day and dinner in the evening for a supplementary charge of $20.
While eating at Samba Grill, guests will be served by waiters dressed as gauchos, who will offer grilled meat off skewers while live music is playing.
The new restaurant will have a charge of $25 per person, as well as a vegetarian alternative, featuring a wide-ranging salad bar, for $15 per person.
STX Finland's Torku shipyards are home to the soon to be completed Allure of the Seas. Allure is floated, painted and almost ready to leave for her international press gala and start her service in Royal Caribbean's fleet, but once Allure of the Seas leaves, there's a lot of doubt in the Torku shipyards about what's next.
There isn't any news of any other ships on order and that's been the case now for a few years. The main competitor to the shipyards are in Germany, Italy and France and all of them have received orders over the last few years. Turku shipyard is the only one who has no job pending.
One issue for Torku is that cruise lines tend to build cruise ships where previous ships were built, such as Carnival Cruises, who ordered a new ship to be built at the Italian Fincantieri shipyard because the ship of the previous series of ships was ordered from there.
There's no question that Turku shipyard's future depends largely on Royal Caribbean, the shipowner whose ships have been built in the shipyard for 40 years.
So what are Royal Caribbean's future ship building plans beyond Allure of the Seas? The company has not yet committed to anything since the beginning of the financial crisis ended. It is, however, considering new ships, since the company's main competitor Carinval Cruise Line is looking to take a bigger lead in the cruise market.
Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein hasn't said much about what the future will hold, opting to focus on what's still in front of him, "We are going to grow as a company and brand, but today we focus on fully Allure of the Seas ship."