World Magazine : World - Autumn 2017
“It allows the adults to be very well looked after on their level, while the kids of all ages can ride dodgem cars, experience the wave-rider or parachute simulator and be entertained at night clubs. They are multi-generational and multi-demographic.” More than 40 cruise ships of all sizes and styles are due to be launched over the next three years, but it’s the recent growth in small-ship ultra-luxury cruising that has O’Sullivan excited right now. He says after a fairly long hiatus with only five ultra-luxury new builds in 15 years since the early 2000s, the last few years have seen significant activity in this area. He explains: “Seabourn launched three ships in 2009, 2010 and 2011 – literally modernising the fleet and adding another 1,400 berths a week... Then Silversea built one in 2010 – Silver Spirit – and Europa 2 launched in 2013. “Now, Seabourn, Silversea, Crystal and Regent are all building or have just built – so this end of the market will see a significant growth in berths. This growth in inventory will have a huge positive impact on the consumer, with what’s available and pricing,” he adds. Just quietly, O’Sullivan considers the new Seabourn Encore to be one of two best ships ever built. “It’s between Seabourn Encore and Europa 2 – both similar in size, with different décor – and both simply stunning ships. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Seabourn Encore topple Europa 2 and become Berlitz number-one ship for 2017. “The fact that cruise lines are prepared to invest that sort of money into smaller luxury ships is very exciting for the entire industry.” Small-ship cruising aside, shipyards are busy with new builds across all categories of the cruise industry, including the mid-size Köningsdam, the first new ship for Holland America Line (HAL) in a decade. A sister ship, Nieuw Statendam, is currently being built with a launch date of November 2018, while parent company Carnival Corporation has just announced a third ship for HAL to begin service in 2021. Other new builds include the state-of-the-art National Geographic Quest, the first new ship for the Lindblad Expeditions fleet for many years, and Star Clippers’ exciting five-masted Flying Clipper – modelled on the magnificent France II – which will be the largest square-rigged sailing vessel ever built. And, of course, some ships get makeovers. Impressive major refurbishments have transformed luxury vessels such as Oceania Sirena and Regent Seven Seas Voyager, while Crystal Cruises recently allocated US$750 million for the restoration of the much-loved mega-ship of her time, the SS United States. The total revamp will have her back in full tuxedo service – much as she was when she was launched with much fanfare back in 1952.
World - Summer 2017
WORLD - Winter 2017