Continuing Shawn J. Dake’s
Cruise Ships 2011, The Year In Review: Celebrity Cruises, TUI Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises
Celebrity Cruises latest newbuild in the five-member class of 122,400 gross ton ships joined the fleet in July. CELEBRITY SILHOUETTE provided a few new innovations while maintaining the basic platform of the three earlier ships. The latest addition carries 2,886 passengers double-occupancy. The fifth and final ship in the program, CELEBRITY REFLECTION, will arrive in 2012. Meanwhile, existing ships are being given upgrades to match amenities aboard the “Solstice Class.” CELEBRITY INFINITY (ex INFINITY) emerged from a $30 million dry-dock at the Grand Bahama Shipyard during November with most of her lounges receiving complete makeovers. An additional 60 new revenue-generating cabins were added, raising the double-occupancy passenger count to 2,046 guests on the 91,000 gross ton ship. Celebrity Cruises bid farewell to their CELEBRITY MERCURY (ex MERCURY), which left the fleet to join TUI Cruises as MEIN SCHIFF 2.
TUI Cruises, which is a joint venture between TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., signed a contract with STX Finland Oy for construction of a new 97,000 gross ton cruise ship which will be the first newbuild for the line. Slated for delivery in spring of 2014, the ship will carry up to 2,700 passengers. Following the nomenclature of their two existing vessels, the ship is expected to take the name of MEIN SCHIFF 3. As noted above, MEIN SCHIFF 2 (ex MERCURY, CELEBRITY MERCURY) joined the line following a two-month conversion for the German market. The latest addition was built for Celebrity in 1997 and was rechristened on May 14, 2011 by Olympic fencing champion Anja Fichtel in Hamburg. Additional balconies were added, similar to the work performed on sister ship MEIN SCHIFF (ex GALAXY, CELEBRITY GALAXY). The German cruise line has been extremely successful with their “all-inclusive” shipboard experience There is an option for a second new vessel for this company which has rapidly become the second largest cruise line in Germany, behind Aida Cruises. During 2011, over 1.2 million Germans took an ocean cruise.
Azamara Club Cruises added the word “Club” to their name but continued their reputation for destination-oriented cruises and fine cuisine. AZAMARA JOURNEY (ex R SIX, BLUE DREAM, CELEBRITY JOURNEY) took top honors in “Cruise Critic UK’s Choice Awards” in the best small ship category. Sister AZAMARA QUEST (ex R SEVEN, DELPHIN RENAISSANCE, BLUE MOON) was docked in Nagasaki, Japan on March 11th when the earthquake struck. Being far from the epicenter the ship was safe, however remaining calls in Japanese ports were cancelled. Both ships carry 694-passengers and measure 30,277 gross tons.
Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years. A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary. A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs. Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America. With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.