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Copyright Š Aaron Saunders 2013 First published in Great Britain in 2013 by Seaforth Publishing, Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 47 Church Street, Barnsley S70 2AS British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978 1 84832 172 4

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing of both the copyright owner and the above publisher. The right of Aaron Saunders to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Typeset and designed by Roger Daniels Printed and bound in China through Printworks International Ltd.



Acknowledgements Introduction

6 7

1988 Sovereign of the Seas 1988 Seabourn Pride 1990 Carnival Fantasy 1990 Crown Princess 1992 Dreamward/Norwegian Dream 1993 Statendam 1994 Silver Cloud 1995 Sun Princess 1995 Celebrity Century 1996 Grandeur of the Seas 1996 Carnival Destiny 1997 Paul Gauguin 1998 Carnival Paradise 1998 Disney Magic 1998 Grand Princess 1998 R One 1999 Norwegian Sky 1999 Voyager of the Seas 2001 Seven Seas Mariner 2002 Zuiderdam 2003 Crystal Serenity 2004 Queen Mary 2 2004 Caribbean Princess 2005 Pride of America 2006 Freedom of the Seas 2007 Fram 2007 AIDAdiva 2007 MSC Orchestra 2007 Queen Victoria 2008 Celebrity Solstice 2008 MSC Fantasia 2009 Oasis of the Seas 2009 Carnival Dream 2009 Seabourn Odyssey 2009 Silver Spirit 2010 Le Boreal 2010 Norwegian Epic 2011 Disney Dream 2011 Marina 2012 Viking Longship

20 24 28 33 36 40 44 48 52 56 60 66 70 74 79 83 86 90 95 98 102 106 112 115 119 122 127 130 134 140 146 151 156 161 165 168 174 178 182 186

References Index

190 192


consumer tastes and a string of unfortunate accidents led Dreamward – by now renamed Norwegian Dream – down the sad road of obscurity, culminating in layup that would last over four years. Similarly, Carnival Cruise Lines rocked the industry when it announced that Paradise, the last ship to be built in the line’s highly successful Fantasy class, would be a completely non-smoking vessel when she debuted in December 1998. Other lines, most notably Renaissance Cruises, had dabbled with no-smoking policies, but nothing could compare to the extent that Carnival went to ensure that Paradise remained smoke-free, requiring passengers to sign waivers that stated any smoking on board would be met with a fine and disembarkation at the next port. Carnival even went so far as to partner up with the American Lung Association of Connecticut to offer a series of ‘Quit Smoking Caribbean Cruises’ in 2002. Paradise remained that way until September 2004, when the company determined that a completely nonsmoking ship was no longer viable. But she still earned her place in history as the world’s first truly non-smoking cruise ship; a remarkable feat given that nearly fifteen years after

her launch, the industry is slowly moving towards a non-smoking future. Other ships, such as Silversea’s Silver Cloud, are noteworthy because of what they represent. In the case of Silver Cloud, not only was she the launch vessel for a new ultra-luxury cruise line, she was a resounding success. Sporting balconies on nearly every stateroom, she was thus equipped with what was to become cruising’s most necessary feature by the end of the century. Aside from several dry-dock stays to spruce up her mechanical spaces and public areas over the years, Silver Cloud didn’t even need a major refit until autumn 2012, just shy of twenty years after her launch. Interestingly, the last ship featured in this book isn’t a typical cruise ship at all. But Viking River Cruises’ new Viking Longships are poised to do for river cruising what Sovereign of the Seas did for ocean cruising back in 1988. When they were first announced in 2011, there were only to be four of these bright, highly innovative vessels

Holland America Line’s Westerdam (left) and her trendsetting sister Zuiderdam (right), docked in Juneau, Alaska. (AUTHOR PHOTO)


Silver Cloud S I LV E R S E A C R U I S E S N 1994, the fledgling cruise line Silversea Cruises was formed by the Vlasov Group of Monaco and the Lefebvre family, based in Rome. Their goal was simple: to create the most luxurious cruise line afloat by outshining and outsizing the competition. But these were not idealists with rose-tinted glasses. Both parties were the former owners of Sitmar Cruises, the Italian line that could trace its history back to 1937. In 1988, the line was purchased by the P&O Group, and the few new ships it had on order entered service for Princess Cruises. Now looking to the future, both parties decided to


Silversea’s Silver Cloud was one of the first luxury ships to utilise the economies of scale to provide guests with an unparalleled experience while still keeping costs low. (SILVERSEA CRUISES)

reunite for this new chapter in the history of luxury cruising. By utilising the economies of scale present on a larger ship capable of holding more passengers than its competitors could at the time, Silversea would offer big-ship amenities while still maintaining high levels of service and offering accommodation and features that simply demanded a larger vessel. The result was the 296guest, 514ft long Silver Cloud. With completion at Italy’s T Mariotti shipyard, Genoa, Silversea enlisted the services of Petter Yran and Bjorn Storbraaten, the Norwegian partnership largely responsible for the look and feel of Seabourn’s intimate Seabourn

Pride and Seabourn Spirit, to lend their knowledge, expertise and skilled hand at crafting Silver Cloud’s architectural, exterior and interior design elements. It was decided that Silver Cloud would be an all-suite ship, first and foremost. Although Silversea wasn’t the first to pioneer this concept, it was the first to place particular emphasis on a single defining feature: balconies. Over one hundred of Silver Cloud’s total of 148 suites would feature private, step-out balconies that were furnished with two cushioned lounge chairs and a small centre table. Only thirty-eight suites would lack balconies, but still feature oversized picture windows. To up the ante even more, each suite would measure 295sq ft on average and would come complete with a spectacular bathroom clad in marble that featured both tub-and-shower combination, along with a small writing desk, a television and VCR, a three-seat sofa, two armchairs, and a coffee table, and, of course, a walk-in closet. If the base suites were designed to be both inviting

and luxurious, Silver Cloud’s top-of-the-line suites could best them in terms of sheer space. At the top of the pack was the 1,019sq ft Grand Suite, which could be made into a two-bedroom unit by booking the adjacent Veranda Suite. If guests chose to do this, they had a suite that was spread across an astonishing 1,314sq ft – far Why She Matters: Silver Cloud was more than other luxury vessels offered at one of the first cruise ships to the time. successfully apply the economies of Of course, all that space would be scale to a luxury product, proving a useless if not populated by features not larger ship could still offer an intimate luxury experience without found in the other cabin categories, and compromising on amenities – here the Grand, Owner’s, Royal and Silver including balcony staterooms. suites excelled. Not only did the Grand Suite have a balcony, it had two, both of which measured 145sq ft – as large as most standard Oceanview staterooms on mainstream lines at the time. These enormous suites also contained a marble-clad bathroom with a full whirlpool tub,

EEN to capitalise on her massive scale, early advertisements for Grand Princess featured a computer illustration of her taking up the entire length and width of New York City’s Times Square. The subheading read, ‘Imagine an entertainment and dining extravaganza to rival the city that never sleeps’. Another late 1998 campaign promoting her inaugural season had a photograph of her (actually a detailed builder’s model) superimposed behind – and towering over – the United States Capitol building. The message here: ‘We believe this truth to be self-evident: there’s never been a bigger, more expensive cruise ship’. None of this was marketing spin; at the time, Grand Princess truly was the largest and most expensive cruise ship ever built. She cost over US$450 million and had taken four years to bring to life from inception to launch.

K Builder : Fincantieri Length : 951 feet Breadth : 118 feet Passengers : 2,592 Gross tonnage : 108,806

The world had never seen a cruise ship quite like Grand Princess when she entered service in 1998. Her exterior profile – most notably her navigation bridge and raised aft lounge – gave her one of the most distinctive silhouettes in the industry. (AUTHOR PHOTO)

At 951ft in length, she was not the longest passenger ship afloat, but her 201ft height and astonishing 710 balcony staterooms were features that had never been seen on that scale before. There was another reason Grand Princess was making waves, and it had everything to do with her appearance. Her flared bow was unlike anything the industry had seen to that point. Rounded and sweeping, it separated near the top to house a promenade deck that wrapped around the very stem of the bow. It then wrapped aerodynamically up and over, giving way to a set of three decks that stepped upwards aesthetically, towards Grand Princess’s navigation bridge. Here too, Princess broke with tradition. Entirely enclosed in floor-to-ceiling glass windows, the bridge aboard Grand Princess measured 159ft across from port to starboard, with each bridge wing extending 41ft out over the side of the ship’s 118ft beam. These wings were so enormous that they were supported on each end by two large diagonally-slanted 80

columns that descended three decks in height, anchoring their base to the bottom of Caribe Deck 10. But the one feature that everyone could not help but notice was perched high atop the stern of Grand Princess: a unique nightclub known as Skywalkers. Suspended on dual support columns some 150ft above the sea below, Skywalkers was accessible through a glass-walled companionway that featured a moving walkway and almost ethereal lighting. This connected to the ship’s aft stairwell and lifts banks on the Sports Deck. Inside, Skywalkers could seat 189 guests, all of whom were treated to near 360-degree views, thanks to oversize windows that, much like the ship’s navigation bridge far forward, wrapped around the entire superstructure. The entire arrangement was, in a word, futuristic. Looks aside, even the raw numbers were impressive. Grand Princess featured 1,300 staterooms and suites that would give her a standard passenger complement of 2,592 guests based on double occupancy. Her crew was almost as numerous, with 1,100 officers and staff to assist guests at any given time. All guests would be accommodated in 1,300 suites and staterooms, of which 928 featured outside views, and 710 of which had personal balconies. What’s more, passengers now had to pay close attention to what kind of accommodation they booked: a total of thirty-five different types of cabins were available on Grand Princess, including twenty-eight suites measuring up to 800sq ft; 180 spacious mini-suites at 325sq ft; 502 balcony staterooms between 215 and 255sq ft; 218 standard Oceanview staterooms that were between 165 and 210sq ft; and finally, 372 highly-affordable inside staterooms at 160sq ft. By creating so many different types of accommodation, then breaking these down further into sub-categories related to their actual position on the ship, Princess could ensure that there was an accommodation type to suit every taste and budget. Out of the twelve passenger decks, seven feature accommodation. With all that unprecedented interior space to play with, Princess Cruises created dozens of new dining, lounging and entertainment options. But rather than just building out cavernous public rooms, the line took a different stance, developing general arrangement plans that would be adopted by other lines building large ships over the next decade. To keep things manageable (and, presumably, to hide the vessel’s guests and crew from each other), intimate public spaces were created. For her size, the atrium aboard Grand Princess was strikingly modest, rising only three decks. To deal with the problem of passenger flow – particularly around dinner hours – Princess came up with another innovation that would quickly become standard throughout the industry – multiple dining venues. Grand Princess was not the first ship to place passengers in different dining rooms, but it was the first to do it with considerable success on a ship of this scale.


Three main dining rooms were created: Botticelli, holding 504 guests; Da Vinci, holding 486, and Michelangelo, seating 486. In addition, the Painted Desert specialty restaurant could seat ninety-two; Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria could seat ninety; and the Horizon Court buffet could hold 620 guests, with 105 more if the outdoor terrace seating was utilised. When the cruise industry began to shift away from pre-set ‘early’ and ‘late’ dinner sittings in the early 2000s, Grand Princess required no major refit work; her multitude of dining venues allowed Princess to offer ‘anytime’ dining alongside the more traditional offerings. This modular approach to dining was also applied to the ship’s entertainment venues; rather than trying to develop a way in which 2,600 passengers could see the same show, Princess opted to create several smaller, more intimate show lounges to complement the traditional Broadway-style revues that would headline in the 748guest Princess Theatre. These venues were all located along the length of the Promenade Deck, allowing guests to mingle and move from one lounge to the next. In the Explorer’s Lounge, the colonial-club atmosphere was enhanced by the staff who for a time wore pith helmets and donned safari-print shirts and if guests were facing the stage in this intimate, 274-seat showroom, they would be hard-pressed to remember that they were really at sea. If ‘jungle safari’ wasn’t their theme, guests could journey a few steps aft to the more traditional Wheelhouse Bar. Clubby and adorned with maritime memorabilia, it felt a world apart from the ship it was built upon. At the aft end, the 457-passenger Vista Show lounge served as the second-largest entertainment venue aboard Grand Princess, bookending this entertainment deck. Topside, Grand Princess boasted three large swimming pools, including the stunning conservatory-style Calypso Reef and Pool that featured a retractable glass Magrodome ceiling. A smaller swim-against-the-current pool was situated around the Lotus Spa complex, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the pool deck. Nine hot baths, a putting green, jogging track, and numerous activities designed especially for children ensured that passengers of all ages were never at a loss for things to do. Powering this technological marvel through the water were six Siemens generators each with an output of 11,520kW and driven by GMT V-16 diesel engines. Grand Princess utilised traditional shaft-and-propeller technology; her two fixed-pitch propellers churned through the water driven by two Siemens electric motors with 21MW of propulsion power each. Together, they could drive the 951ft hull across the oceans at a very comfortable 22-knot cruising speed, up to a maximum speed of 24 knots. Three bow and three stern thrusters provided extra propulsion manœuvrability for Grand Princess during docking and undocking operations. Grand Princess was so successful that she quickly


spawned two nearly-identical sister ships: Golden Princess in 2001, and Star Princess in 2002. While their overall design was very similar, a few subtle changes were planned: the tiered decks below the navigation bridge now sported flat bulkheads instead of the slightly slanted bulkheads found on Grand Princess, and the new sisters sported a redesigned atrium concept that would remain in use until the introduction of Crown Princess in 2006. After thirteen years of dedicated service, Princess Cruises announced in early February 2011 that Grand Princess was to undergo a dramatic transformation at the Grand Bahama Shipyard in Freeport, Bahamas. The press release issued at the time stated that the iconic 1998 ship would be refitted with new and extremely popular features introduced on the line’s later ships, such as the Piazza-style atrium concept pioneered on the 2006 Crown Princess. A new café, wine and sushi bar, seven new suites, and even a tea lounge with up to 500 different blends of teas would be just some of the 81

Early advertisements featured renderings of Grand Princess taking up all of Times Square in New York City. Other ads showcased her towering over the United States Capitol building. (AUTHOR’S COLLECTION)

LTHOUGH Queen Mary 2 had been built in France by Chantiers de l’Atlantique, Queen Victoria Length : 964 feet would become the first Cunard Line ship to be Breadth : 106 feet constructed in Italy, at the Fincantieri shipyard near Venice. Her construction got off to a bit of a rocky start, Passengers : 2,014 although through no fault of the shipyard. Queen Victoria Gross tonnage : 90,049 was originally intended to be a newbuild for Holland America Line before the order was moved by Carnival Corporation to Cunard. A derivative of Holland America’s Vista class design pioneered by the 2002-built Zuiderdam, Cunard determined after the launch of the Queen Mary 2 that additional modifications were needed to the design of Queen Victoria. The hull that had been intended for Holland Why She Matters: Before the 2004 America Line, and then Cunard, was debut of Queen Mary 2, Cunard Line subsequently transferred to Carnival revealed it was planning to build a subsidiary P&O Cruises to become its second, smaller liner that was 2005 Arcadia, while the delivery date for projected to enter service in 2005. Queen Elizabeth 2 was gradually Queen Victoria was pushed back to 2007 reaching the end of her service because a new hull order was placed with career, and it was becoming Fincantieri in 2004. increasingly important for Cunard to The new vessel would still be based construct a new ship that would not upon the existing Vista class design, but only bring increased recognition to with some important modifications. their brand, but also which would be Compared to Zuiderdam, Queen Victoria more versatile than the gargantuan would be 36ft longer, 5,000 tons gross Queen Mary 2. While early reports larger, and would offer an increased suggested that this new 90,000-tons capacity that would make her capable of gross ‘Panamax’ ship would be named Mauretania, or even possibly carrying just over 2,000 guests and a Queen Elizabeth 3, the line finally crew of 900. From her keel to the top of announced that its newest vessel her funnel, Queen Victoria would rise would be Queen Victoria. 203ft, making her 22ft taller than RMS Queen Mary was from keel to her uppermost smokestack. Queen Victoria would derive her hotel and propulsion power from four 16-cylinder Wärtsilä-Sulzer ZA40 engines and two 12-cylinder Wärtsilä-Sulzer ZA40, with a total combined power output of 63,400kW. The act of actually driving Queen Victoria through the water would be left to two azimuthing Azipods manufactured by Finnish firm ABB. Situated on the underside of the hull of Queen Victoria, each pod would be capable of rotating 360 degrees and would function as the ship’s main source of propulsion and steering. Each rated at 17,600kW of power, the pods would pull the ship through the water at a top speed of 24 knots, while optimum cruising speed would be slightly slower at 18 knots. At this speed, Queen Victoria would consume 10 tonnes of heavy fuel oil and marine gas oil per hour. To help position Queen Victoria during docking, undocking and tendering operations, three 2,100kW Constructed by Italy’s bow thrusters developed by ABB Marine would provide Fincantieri, Queen Victoria was assembled in a the new Cunarder with greater manœuvrability. During series of massive ‘blocks’. tendering operations that required anchoring, one of Here, scaffolding adorns two enormous anchors weighing over 11 tonnes each the exposed, unfinished could be deployed from Queen Victoria’s bow. A third, bow of the ship. (CUNARD LINE) spare, anchor would rest atop her open bow area on Builder : Fincantieri



Deck 4. Each link on her port and starboard anchor chains would weigh 180lbs, and each chain would measure 2,436ft. Inside, Queen Victoria would be unmistakably Cunard. In designing her interiors, the line ensured that its second-largest ship ever constructed would draw upon its illustrious history as well as implementing some of the most successful features introduced on Queen Mary 2. But she wouldn’t just be a scaled-down version of QM2; instead, Queen Victoria would offer some trendsetting features of her own that would further cement the revitalisation of the Cunard brand. Paying homage to all things British was the Royal Arcade, an open promenade rising two decks in height that was inspired by London’s famous Burlington Arcade shopping district. Situated along decks 2 and 3, the Royal Arcade represented a fresh new take on how to house the typical on-board shops. Admittedly, the shopping experience was better aboard Queen Victoria than on most ships, thanks to Cunard’s partnership with famous British retailers such as Harrods, Wedgewood and Royal Doulton. Wrought-iron railings ran the length of the Arcade’s upper promenade, and the entire room was anchored by a sweeping staircase adorned with a classically-styled clock manufactured by Dent & Company, clockmaker to HM Queen Victoria and manufacturers of the timepiece found with London’s iconic Big Ben. If the Royal Arcade paid homage to all things British, the floating museum known as Cunardia would do the same for Cunard’s rich maritime heritage. Located on Deck 2 amidships, exhibits and artefacts in this unique area would educate guests aboard three of the line’s most famous ships: the 1936-built Queen Mary; the Queen Elizabeth of 1940; and Queen Elizabeth 2, which first set sail in 1969. Equally stunning was the ship’s two-storey Library, clad in wood-style panelling and accented by a spiral staircase. Over 6,000 individual volumes were available for guests to check out, or to enjoy in one of the Library’s inviting leather armchairs underneath a Victorian-style stained glass ceiling. In an era when on-board libraries were quickly becoming a scarce commodity on cruise ships, this bi-level space was easily one of the most stunning afloat. Cunard had pioneered many firsts since its inception by Samuel Cunard in 1840, and it continued this tradition of innovation aboard Queen Victoria by offering the first ocean-going box-style seating at sea in the Royal Court Theatre. Located forward and spanning three decks (decks 1, 2 and 3), Queen Victoria’s main show lounge could seat 830 guests, although the sixteen additional-fee private boxes were the real highlight of this wonderfully European room, decorated in shades of gold and red. But those who opted to purchase the boxes for the evening performance didn’t just get prime seating; they were also treated to champagne, chocolates,

Giants of the Seas  

A truly sumptuous and fascinating book for all those drawn to the world of the modern cruise ship