Posted on Friday, January 4, 2013 by Martin Cox
Before we embark on a new year of news and events from the maritime world, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to MaritimeMatters in 2012: the people who comment; those who loan photographs, like Mike Tattoli, Frank Cleope, Jr, Juliana Barrett and many others; those who send messages reminding us of something we need to look into; our Finish correspondent Kalle Id for his fascinating ferry stories; guest contributors Richard I. Weiss, New York’s Allan E. Jordan and Byron Huart, Italy’s Maurizio Eliseo and UK’s Peter Newall, LA local seaman Gordon Ghareeb and great regular contributor Shawn Dake, for his wide-ranging and fascinating news coverage, frequent updates on the “Future Ships List” stories on new and older vessels with a sharp focus on the Reserve Fleet departures and his massive Year End Review (next one coming very soon).
Finally, to my close friend and co-editor at MaritimeMatters whose energy and determination to cover the floating world of passenger ships knows no bounds: Peter Knego, thank you!
In an incredible globe-trotting year, Peter Knego has reported from ships across the world, bringing us keenly written and excellently photographed news, blogs, Sea Treks and Decked! stories that began 2012 on the CARNIVAL INSPIRATION in Los Angeles with a double Decked! feature before joining the CARNIVAL LIBERTY for a seven night Eastern Caribbean cruise. Still in January, Peter spent an afternoon aboard the 2010-built COSTA DELIZIOSA during the ship’s maiden Los Angeles call. He reported from the Palm Springs Modernism exhibit at the Palm Springs Convention Center where Los Angeles-based Off The Wall Antiques displayed two large art panels by the late Emanuele Luzzati that were commissioned by Sun Line for its deluxe cruise ships STELLA MARIS II and STELLA SOLARIS II. Both vessels were designed by the late Nino Zoncada, one of Italy’s most prolific architects and a frequent collaborator with the legendary Gio Ponti. Seattle-based luxury expedition cruise operator American Safari Cruises placed its 36-passenger yacht SAFARI EXPLORER in winter Hawaiian cruise service this past winter. Peter joined the ship in March for a seven night Trek from the “big island” of Hawai’i to Maui via Moloka’i and Lana’i. Then, in late March, he joined the second in a pair of brilliant new cruise ships commissioned by Disney Cruise Lines, the 130,000 gt DISNEY FANTASY, on the first of her three short inaugural cruises. In April, Peter reported on the MV MARCO POLO departing Tilbury, with a full complement of passengers for a special Maritime Heritage Cruise that traced a portion of RMS TITANIC’s initial route, in addition to commemorating the RMS LUSITANIA’s sinking with a special wreath-laying ceremony. Prior to embarking MARCO POLO, he stopped by the 325- by-36 foot former Onassis yacht CHRISTINA O in London. Next, Peter filed a “Double Disney Decked!” series of posts with side-by-side (or, rather, top-to-bottom) looks at the similarities and differences between Disney Cruise Line’s twin megaships DISNEY DREAM and DISNEY FANTASY. Reporting from the largest, most lavish steamboat ever built, the AMERICAN QUEEN, Peter covered the gala re-christening by godmother Priscilla Presley as the ship returned to service under the newly-formed Great American Steamboat Company banner. His next Trek was aboard Oceania Cruises brand new, 66,172 gross ton MV RIVIERA, beginning with her gala christening in the port of Barcelona before sailing to Venice. From there, it was off to Genoa to inspect the famed PACIFIC, the former “Love Boat” PACIFIC PRINCESS, which has been laid up since 2008 at the San Giorgio del Porto shipyard. In June, he was off to Alaska for a trek aboard Lindblad Expedition’s 62 passenger, 152-foot MV NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SEA LION for an in-depth cruise experience, then he returned to Alaska for a deluxe expedition on board American Safari Cruises MV SAFARI ENDEAVOUR. In August, on board the QUEEN MARY, Knego presented “AUGUSTUS: The Ecstasy, The Agony And The Aftermath”, featuring images of the 1952-built Italian liner in her heyday and during a visit in 1999 while she was moored as the MS PHILIPPINES (Manila Floating Hotel and Restaurant) at Manila, before showing images of the ship on the beach at Alang, India, just prior demolition. After that, it was back to Southampton for a seven night voyage to four northern Europe ports aboard Princess Cruises recently refurbished GRAND PRINCESS, followed immediately by an eight night voyage to four western European ports from Southampton aboard Star Clippers’ four masted barquentine STAR FLYER. In mid September, he headed headed east to visit America’s most celebrated and important passenger ship, the laid up SS UNITED STATES in Philadelphia, then continued his Eastern U.S. romp with a visit to the world’s only nuclear-powered commercial passenger ship, the futuristic NS SAVANNAH of 1962. He made a quick visit to the critically endangered cruiser, the USS OLYMPIA, the oldest surviving steel-hulled warship in the U.S. and the only remaining ship to have served in the Spanish-American War. In October, he brought us a 2012 Piraeus Pictorial with images of both new and classic ships in the Greek port, before embarking on an eight night voyage from Piraeus to Civitavecchia aboard Windstar Cruises’ newly refurbished, four masted staysail schooner WIND STAR. While in Tuscany, Peter took a special Trek to the island of Giglio, where efforts were well-underway to remove the wreck of the ill-fated COSTA CONCORDIA. Days later, he began a voyage from Bangkok to Singapore aboard Silversea Cruises’ spacious, ultra-luxe SILVER SHADOW with a visits to Ko Samui, Cambodia and Viet Nam before arriving in Singapore. After that, there was an in-depth blog from mv LEISURE WORLD (ex SKYWARD), followed by a visit to the historic DOULOS PHOS, with a look at the 98-year-old ship’s early career as Mallory Lines freighter MEDINA, her 1948 transformation into the Italian emigrant ship ROMA and evolution into the celebrated cruise ship FRANCA C. Then, it was off to Miami for his first look at Celebrity Cruises’ latest Solstice Class ship, the spectacular CELEBRITY REFLECTION, with a day at sea before attending the Miami christening of Carnival Cruises’ latest, largest ship, the CARNIVAL BREEZE, before embarking on an eight night voyage to the Caribbean. Peter is the hardest working blogger in seven seas.
My humble thanks to all for making MaritimeMatters the place to navigate for news, views and images from the floating world of passenger ships.
- Martin Cox, MaritimeMatters publisher and behind the scenes developer.