Radar: Azamara introduce new ship Pursuit

Azamara is a leader in small-scale luxury cruising with an emphasis on destination immersion. This summer sees the introduction of Azamara Pursuit: the third in the Azamara fleet. This Renaissance-class ship was built in 2001 and acquired by the line’s parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) in March after 12 years with Carnival. With a history as Swan Hellenic’s Minerva II, Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess, and most recently as P&O Cruises’ Adonia the Pursuit is firmly moving forward with its own identity after a major refurbishment in Belfast.

Azamara Pursuit in Belfast
Azamara Pursuit in Belfast

The maiden voyage for Pursuit will depart on 1 August 2018 and travel to eight Norwegian destinations, including Kristiansand, Flam and Haugesund, with overnight stays in Oslo and Bergen. Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises, said: “We’ve seen unprecedented support from the UK market for Azamara Pursuit, so we are delighted to be able to show our recognition of this by allowing its transformational journey to take place here. We’ve seen double the UK demand for Azamara Pursuit than we usually see for its sister ships, so this is a really exciting time for us as a brand. The maiden voyage will depart from Southampton and provide travellers with the opportunity to enjoy a country-intensive voyage to Norway, visiting eight destinations in the Scandinavian country. We launched our country-intensive series last year as an opportunity for guests to explore countries on a more in-depth level, which is part of our commitment to Destination Immersion.”



Radar: Mariner of the Seas offers mini-cruise breaks and lots of fun

Mariner of the Seas
Mariner of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International’s Mariner of the Seas takes to the water on June 25th following a $120 million refurbishment. Embarking on a series of 3 and 4 night mini-breaks from Miami to the Bahamas, this thrill-packed cruise ship hopes to entice Millennials on board with the promise of fun and adventure.


By offering short holidays to tropical destinations, Royal Caribbean intends to lure the younger cruising generation away from traditional road trips and beach holidays. In 2019 Mariner of the Seas will sail to the new Perfect Day at CocoCay – the first destination in Royal Caribbean’s recently announced collection of private island experiences around the world. 

Sky Pad

The re-imagined Mariner of the Seas has a wealth of new ways to play:

  • Sky Pad – Thegravity-defying bungee trampoline experience amped up with virtual reality
  • The Perfect Storm – A thrilling pair of three-floor-high racer waterslides called Cyclone and Typhoon
  • Laser Tag: Battle for Planet Z – An epic glow-in-the-dark battle for the last planet in the galaxy
  • Escape Room: The Observatorium – Royal Caribbean’s newest escape room challenge
  • FlowRider – The cruise line’s signature 40-foot-long surf simulator
Playmaker Sports Bar & Arcade

There are also new restaurants and bars introduced to take guests effortlessly from day-to-night:

  • The Bamboo Room – A laidback Polynesian watering hole with a throwback vibe and kitschy-cool craft cocktails like the Island Old Fashioned and Tiki Tea – the first in Royal Caribbean’s fleet
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade – For fans watching their home team on one of more than 25 TV screens, making their own legendary plays at the arcade, or refueling on game-day favourites
  • Jamie’s Italian – Serving fresh, handmade and rustic Italian fare by British Chef Jamie Oliver
  • IzumiHibachi and Sushi – Asian-inspired dining featuring hibachi, sushi and sashimi and more – made to order with authentic flavors, the freshest ingredients and impeccable presentation



Radar: EUR 300 available for greening the cruise industry

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Dutch financial institution ING are supporting green innovation in European shipping with a new EUR 300 million fund. 

Sustainability is a key factor in the future of the cruise industry as consumer awareness of green issues grows and stricter regulation compliance increases. This, combined with impressive advances in technology and a genuine understanding amongst cruise operators of the importance of environmental sensitivity, brings a welcome injection of funding for sustainability measures.

Over the next three years, clients incorporating green elements in either the construction of new vessels or the retrofitting of existing vessels can apply for support. The programme applies to both inland shipping and seagoing operators. With both the ocean and river cruise industry in a state of unprecedented growth, the financial support to incentivise greener fleet renewal and incorporate more sustainable technology intends to project the industry on an environmentally harmonious trajectory.

According to the programme founders, “This agreement forms part of ING’s wider sustainability strategy, which aims to facilitate and finance society’s shift to sustainability – environmental, economic, and social. To this end, we are helping to develop and promote sustainable business models and explore how sustainable financing can help support energy transition and combat climate change.”

Radar: Positive move towards protecting Arctic marine environment

In response to a sharp rise in Arctic shipping traffic, Russia and the US are collaborating on a new two-way shipping route in the Bering Strait and Bering Sea. Increased commercial shipping traffic in the area, which notably includes a growth in the number of expedition cruise ships sailing off the Alaskan islands and coast, poses a significant risk to the sensitive Arctic marine environment.

Although only intended as voluntary at the moment, precautionary sustainable practices of this type go towards protecting these precious areas; whose pristine environments form the very basis for expedition cruising in the first place. The International Maritime Organisation will discuss the proposal in February.

Radar: Specialist Yards attract Expedition Vessel Builds

Roald Amundsen
Roald Amundsen

Consumer demand to explore the world’s remote locations by cruise ship is growing at an exciting pace. Exploration cruise vessel construction is booming as cruise lines seek to meet this need with technologically advanced, environmentally sensitive and highly customised ships for polar and tropical itineraries.

Specialist shipbuilders, feeling the effects of a declining oil and gas industry, are moving quickly to fill this niche. European yards are dominating the market just now, with Norway clearly the strongest contributor. Other global players are showing an interest in this sector, in particular the Chinese.

VARD, a Norwegian subsidiary of cruise ship construction giant Fincantieri, has orders from French luxury cruise company Ponant and TUI/Hapag- Lloyd Cruises for polar-class vessels. Australian Coral Expeditions have also instructed VARD to build their new expedition vessel intended to tackle the Great Barrier Reef, Kimberley region, Cape York and Arnhem Land, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, South Pacific Islands, Tasmania and south east Asia.

Ulstein Yard

Again in Norway, Ulstein won the new Lindblad contracts and the Kleven shipyard has the latest Hurtigruten vessels underway. Other European yards are enjoying success securing new builds too, such as the Netherlands-based De Hoop – who won the contract to build Celebrity Cruise’s Celebrity Flora despite never having built an ocean cruise liner before. This vessel is destined for the popular Galapagos Islands.

Some features of these new vessels include zero-speed stabilisers to allow the ship to remain in a stationary position without dropping anchor on a sensitive sea bed, LNG and Hydrogen fuel cell ready systems, expanded fuel and water tanks to provide for longer endurance ranges in remote areas, helicopter landing platforms, submarine vehicles and Zodiac launches.


Luxury expedition yachts for small groups are also part of this growth trend, with the Dutch Damen yard and yacht builder AMELS collaborating on an IMO Polar Code compliant SeaXplorer designed for only 12 guests and 25 crew.

Photos courtesy of Hurtigruten, Ulstein, Damen and Ponant

Radar: Shetland’s Lerwick closes for the season – with high hopes for 2018

Despite the inclement weather conditions of 2017, cancelling 10% of Lerwick’s planned cruise calls, this busy Northern Scottish port has enjoyed a bumper year.

On Wednesday 27th September, Norwegian Jade (sister ship to the Norwegian Jewel pictured above) made the final call for the season, as part of her transatlantic voyage to New York via Iceland. As the 70th cruise ship to call at Lerwick since April, annual passenger numbers totalled 50,768 with a cruise ship tonnage of   2,146,061 gross tonnes, just short of last year’s record.

To combat the risk of bad weather affecting cruise line itineraries in future, the Lerwick Port Authority plan to deepen the approach channel and berth at Mair’s Pier to accommodate a number of vessels which currently need to anchor and transfer passengers by tender. This work is planned for 2018.

Next season is shaping up to break all records with an estimated 3,863,922 gross tonnes of cruise ships expected, including 11 maiden calls, among them the record-breaking 316-metre-long, 167,600 gross tonne MSC Meraviglia, in July with 5,300 passengers and 2,000 crew. Other highlights will include 14 planned calls by Viking Ocean Cruises’ vessels, Viking Sun, Viking Sea, Viking Sky and Viking Star throughout the season.


Photo copyright: John Coutts Photographer courtesy of Lerwick Port Authority

Radar: Silversea partners with iconic photographer Steve McCurry

Silversea has announced an exciting partnership with renowned photographer Steve McCurry to document the ambitious expansion of their fleet and destination portfolio. The creative pairing with this legendary master of visual storytelling promises unique insights into the authentic and immersive experiences Silversea offers guests.

Silversea’s purpose-built fleet of nine ultra-luxurious vessels, including the recently added Silver Muse, are sleek and nimble, allowing them to access secluded ports and off-the-beaten-track destinations. The luxury and expedition itineraries offer guests more than 850 destinations in more than 130 countries on all seven continents.

Silver Muse
Silver Muse

Steve McCurry, who is best known for his haunting portrait of a green-eyed Afghan refugee girl in National Geographic, is one of the world’s leading photographers and has been recognised with the Robert Capa Gold Medal, the National Press Photographers Award, and four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest.

Steve McCurry
Steve McCurry

In July Steve joined Silversea on a trip to the Virunga Mountains in East Africa where he focused his lens on the few remaining mountain gorillas living there.

Further trips are planned to Istanbul, Sicily and Svalbard. Images from these adventures can be seen at www.steveandsilversea.com


Photos courtesy of Silversea and Steve McCurry.

Radar: Seabourn announce speakers for Conversations 2017/2018

seabourn converations steve wozniak
Steve Wozniak

An insightful and interesting enrichment programme elevates a cruise beyond the realms of a leisure experience to one of personal growth and learning. The Seabourn Conversations series for 2017/2018 brings together prominent personalities to share their perspectives on life and work.

Select speakers of the 2017-2018 Seabourn Conversations program include:
  • Margaret Trudeau (Seabourn Quest, October 2, 2017) – The former wife of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and the mother of the current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, she will share thoughts on Canadian politics and the global landscape.
  • Paul Deegan (Seabourn Encore, October 25, 2017) – Award-winning author, motivational speaker, and veteran climber of mountainous regions on five continents, Deegan was co-leader of the first environmental expedition to Mount Everest at age 18.
  • Arturo Sandoval (Seabourn Quest, November 5, 2017) – Award-winning and legendary jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer, Sandoval is one of the most dynamic performers in modern jazz.
  • Richard Stone (Seabourn Encore, November 10, 2017) – As the Royal Portrait Painter, Stone has captured most members of Britain’s Royal Family on canvas, as well as leading members of society and the community.
  • John Pizzarelli (Seabourn SojournNovember 15, 2017) – The world-renowned jazz guitarist and singer, Pizzarelli is among the prime revivalists of the great American songbook, bringing to his work the cool jazz flavor of his brilliant guitar playing.
  • Steve Wozniak (Seabourn Quest, December 20, 2017) -Designer of the hardware, circuit board designs and operating system for the Apple I personal computer, Wozniak was awarded the National Medal of Technology by President Ronald Reagan in 1985 and the Hoover Medal in 2014. His autobiography, iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon, was a New York Times bestseller.
  • Brad Goreski (Seabourn Sojourn – December 21, 2017) – No one knows what to wear better than celebrity fashion stylist and TV personality Goreski, co-host of Fashion Police on E!, brand stylist for Kate Spade NY, and author of the 2012 memoir Born to Be Brad: My Life and Style, So Far.
  • Grant Harrold (Seabourn Encore, January 5, 2018) – “The Royal Butler” draws on decades of passion for good manners, including time spent in Royal Households and leading his own The Royal School of Etiquette and Butlers, to be Britain’s Official Etiquette Expert.
  • Sir Tim Rice (Seabourn Quest, January 13, 2018) – English author and lyricist Rice’s talent has earned him awards at the Oscars, Golden Globes, Tonys and Grammys. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994, he is perhaps most renowned for his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber on Jesus Christ SuperstarEvitaand more. His production show, An Evening With Tim Rice, is currently playing fleet wide on all Seabourn ships.
  • Jeffrey Archer (Seabourn Encore, August 18, 2018 and August 25, 2018) – An Oxford alum and member of Parliament who wrote his first novel, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less in 1976 at the age of 34. He has gone on to write many more novels and is now published in 97 countries and more than 33 languages, with international sales surpassing 330 million copies.

Images courtesy of  www.seabourn.com

Radar: Lerwick welcomes Viking Star to new facilities

Viking Star Lerwick Mair's Pier
Viking Star at Lerwick’s Mair’s Pier

Viking Star berthed today in Lerwick Port Authority’s new £16.5 million multi-purpose jetty at Mair’s Pier .

Viking Star’s passengers are the first to use a new meet-and-greet station and information point accommodating the harbour’s welcoming team. The mobile unit will also be used elsewhere in the port which expects 75 vessels and a 21% increase in passengers to a record of almost 62,000 this season.

Victor Sandison, Senior Commercial Executive, Lerwick Port Authority, said: “The additional berthing and improved visitor arrival experience are part of our ongoing programme to attract and service the cruise industry which makes an important contribution to the Shetland economy.”

Radar: Azamara Club Cruises announce Alaska season

azamara quest visits Alaska
Azamara Quest

Azamara Club Cruises will embark on it’s first season to Alaska in 2019 with a selection of 11 cruises. The Azamara Quest is due to sail on 8 to 10 day voyages between May and September to include the popular AzAmazing Evenings, land tour options and late nights in port. Highlights include stops in Icy Strait Point, Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, Haines and Ketchikan on one-way tours between Seward and Vancouver.