MSC Cruises Plans Two Seaside Evo Ships From Fincantieri – Other Cruise News – New Sky Princess To Debut In 2019 – Northern Sea Wolf Passes Panama
by Kevin Griffin
As MSC Cruises’ new MSC Seaside, first of a new class of cruise ship, is being prepared to enter service later this month, an order has been placed for two “Seaside Evo” ships that will carry an extra 420 passengers. Elsewhere, Princess Cruises has announced that its fourth ship of the “Regal Princess” class will be named Sky Princess when she enters service in 2019. And in British Columbia, the third of their northern tourist ships, the Northern Sea Wolf, has now passed through Panama and will arrive soon for conversion into a day cruise ship between Vancouver Island and Bella Coola in the Great Bear Rainforest.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
MSC Cruises Plans Two Seaside Evo Ships From Fincantieri
As MSC’s radical new MSC Seaside enters service this month from Fincantieri, MSC has confirmed a further $1.8 million order with the Italian shipbuilder for two “Seaside Evo” ships, for delivery in 2021 and 2023.
MSC had previously announced plans for a third vessel in the “Seaside” class to debut in 2021. But as part of Wednesday’s announcement, it said that the order for this ship would be taken instead by the first of the new “Seaside Evo” ships.
An Evolution of MSC Cruises’ new “Seaside” class vessels, the new 169,380-ton “Seaside Evo” ships will be 1,112 feet long, offer more onboard space and cabins, and a larger Yacht Club. The 4,560-berth design will accommodate up to 5,646 passengers in total.
Following the “Seaside” class, the “Seaside Evo” ships will have optimised hull lines, propellers and rudders and anti-fouling paint to reduce wave resistance and increase fuel efficiency.
The new orders were revealed as Fincantieri officially delivered MSC Seaside to MSC Cruises in Monfalcone.
“We are proud to have accomplished such an important project: a ship, for a new customer, the largest ever built in Italy,” said Giuseppe Bono, ceo of Fincantieri. “This demonstrates not only our ability to satisfy the needs of the shipowners, but also the extraordinary operational level which Fincantieri has achieved. We believe we have built a highly innovative ship with MSC.”
The 153,516-ton MSC Seaside, which can host up to 5,179 guests, is the first of two new 4,140-berth “Seaside” class ships and will be christened in Miami on December 21, before entering service to the Caribbean. Her sister ship, MSC Seaview, will be christened in Civitavecchia on June 2, 2018.
The MSC Seaside will make her maiden voyage from Miami this month, with itineraries including Nassau Ochos Rios, Georgetown and Cozumel. Her 2018 sailings will also visit Antigua, Freeport, Costa Maya, St Thomas, St Maarten and San Juan.
The “Seaside” Class are designed to bring guests closer to the sea and to operate in sunny waters, while continuing the technological developents that have been introduced in recent years.
MSC Seaside is the second MSC Cruises ship to enter service in 2017, with MSC Meraviglia having entered service in May. With the addition of these ships and the “Seaside Evo” vessels, the line’s investment plan has now grown to include twelve new ships to be built by 2026, for an overall investment of €10.5 billion.
MSC is expecting the delivery of at least one new ship a year until 2026, with six to enter service between 2017 and 2020.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
New Sky Princess To Debut In 2019
Princess Cruises’ newest ship, the 3,600-berth Sky Princess, will make its debut in the Mediterranean, the line announced last Thursday.
The 143,700-ton ship will be a sister to the Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess, which have debuted over the past four years.
Currently under construction in Italy, Sky Princess will debut on October 20, 2019 with a 7-night Mediterranean cruise from Piraeus to Barcelona, with calls at Kotor, Corfu, Messina and Naples.
This voyage will be followed by three more 7-night Med sailings between Barcelona and Civitavecchia. Itineraries for the four seven-night sailings being varied, guests will be able to combine them to create longer 14-night cruises.
Sky Princess’s inaugural Mediterranean season will close with a 14-night voyage from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale on November 17, 2019, featuring calls in Valencia, Malaga, Cadiz, Lisbon and Funchal.
The new ship is named after the first Sky Princess, which was completed as Sitmar Cruises’ Fairsky in 1984.
This 1,250-berth ship became the Sky Princess when Princess Cruises bought Sitmar Cruises in 1988, and was the last cruise ship to be built with steam propulsion as opposed to diesel or diesel-electric.
After a career that spanned almost three decades and saw her serving Sitmar Cruises, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises Australia and Pullmantur Cruises, she was broken up as the Atlantic Star in April 2013.
Northern Sea Wolf Passes Panama
BC Ferries has confirmed that its latest 247-foot passenger vessel for the central coast of British Columbia, the Northern Sea Wolf, will have a capacity for 150 passengers and thirty-five vehicles.
Although carrying as many as 375 passengers when engaged as a ferry in the Greek Islands, the Northern Sea Wolf operate more as a day cruise ship.
She will join fleetmates Northern Adventure and Northern Expedition, which operate both day and night sailings in the same area. The Northern Sea Wolf will operate with morning departures and evening arrivals, with sailings in opposite directions every day.
Night cabins on the two larger ships cost $90 per night for an inside cabin and $120 for an outside cabin from May 1 to September 30, and $85 or $110 per night in the off season, with fares slightly less to Haida Gwai, better known to most as the Queen Charlotte Islands.
While the Northern Expedition has all twin cabins, the Northern Adventure has four-berth cabins. Both ships carry a maximum of 600 passengers including deck passengers who are provided with reclining aircraft-style seats.
The Northern Sea Wolf, which is now on her delivery voyage from Greece, was modified overseas to remove two upper car decks on each side to accommodate overheight vehicles such as tourist camper vans. Renovations to the interior of the vessel will take place once she reaches British Columbia.
The ship has now transitted the Panama Canal and is headed north for British Columbia, where she is scheduled to enter service in June 2018.
The vessel, the former Greek ferry Aqua Spirit, was purchased by BC Ferries for $12.6 million Canadian in order to revive the Port Hardy-Bella Coola direct sailing that was closed nearly four years ago.
Summer service is scheduled to begin in June 2018 through mid-September. There will be five sailings a week from Port Hardy to Bella Coola. The Northern Sea Wolf will also provide service to the other mid-coast ports of Bella Bella, Ocean Falls and Shearwater.
The voyage between Port Hardy and Bella Coola and vice versa will take approximately 10 hours and are planned to as daylight sailings to maximise the tourism potential. Meanwhile, ferry and accommodation package holidays on all routes are available from BC Ferries Vacations.
With the arrival of its third northern ship, BC Ferries’ replacement of its original night boats will be complete. The 282-berth Queen of Prince Rupert, built in 1965, spent forty-four years on the coast, and the 700-berth Queen of the North, a former Stena Line ferry, spent thirty-two years on the coast before being lost in a grounding incident in 2006.
(Kevin Griffin is managing director of specialist cruise agency The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)