Oriana To Leave P&O In August 2019 – Other Cruise News: First Ever Cruise Ship To Great Yarmouth – AmaMagna Preview
by Kevin Griffin
Last week it was announced that the 1995-built Oriana would be leaving P&O Cruises in 2019 after a career of twenty-four years, possibly to cruise in Chinese waters. Elsewhere, Great Yarmouth has been added to the roster of UK cruise prost with the arrival of Seabourn as its first cruise line customer. Finally, we have an advance view of the double-width river cruiser AmaMagna on the Danube.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
Oriana To Leave P&O In August 2019
Last week P&O Cruises made the announcement that “Oriana will be leaving the P&O Cruises fleet in August 2019. Over the years, Oriana has earned a loyal following and we know many of you have very precious memories of her.
“All guests booked on Oriana cruises departing after August 2019 are being contacted by post and email and we will do our utmost to provide an alternative holiday choice.
“We are very sorry for this change but there is still time to sail on Oriana before next summer or try one of our other ships exclusively for adults such as Arcadia or Aurora (from March next year).”
“The only hint to where Oriana is going was a sentence that appeared briefly on P&O Cruises’ website that said “We’ve sold her to a company operating in the domestic Chinese market.”
P&O’s original Oriana was sold first to Japanese owners, and then later to Chinese owners, in both cases for stationary use as an exhibition ship.
The second Oriana has not has a good run of luck recently. In November, P&O Cruises had to announce that it was cancelling Oriana’s January 6, 2018 departure, a 50-night cruise to explore the Caribbean and the Americas.
The company cited necessary technical maintenance, which would last for a period of three weeks. After the drydocking there were still complaints about the ship’s stabilisers.
Meanwhile, this January P&O announced that it had signed a shipbuilding contract for a second 5,200-berth cruise ship from Meyer Werft that is scheduled to be delivered in 2022.
As with the Iona, due for delivery in 2020, this second vessel will be the largest cruise ship to be built specifically for the British market.
The LNG-powered 180,000-ton ship will be built on a new platform that is being used to add large new ships to the Costa, AIDA and Carnival fleets as well as P&O Cruises.
The Oriana will be at least the sixteenth Carnival Corp & plc vessel to be sold to non-Carnival owners.
Others have included the 1,250-berth Pacific Sky and 1,486-berth Pacific Sun (both since scrapped), the 1,420-berth Ocean Dream, 380-berth Minerva, 1,176-berth Artania, 212-berth Star Pride, Star Legend and Star Breeze,1,250-berth Magellan, 1,450-berth Grand Celebration, 1,308-berth Grand Classica, 684-berth Serena and Azamara Pursuit, 1,400-berth Columbus and the1,250-berth Vasco da Gama.
Reports of China remind us that in the spring of 2017, another Carnival group ship, the 56,769-ton 1,600-berth Costa NeoRomantica was sent to Hong Kong to cruise locally for Costa Cruises. This compares to the 69.153-ton 1,870-berth Oriana.
Rival Royal Caribbean Cruises meanwhile has preferred to transfer its older ships to other companies within the Royal Caribbean group, including Pullmantur Cruises in Spain, TUI Cruises in Germany and Marella Cruises in the UK.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
First Ever Cruise Ship To Great Yarmouth
The 450-berth Seabourn Quest arrived in Great Yarmouth this weekend, marking the first time the Norfolk town has welcomed a cruise ship.
Seabourn Quest docked at Peel Ports’ new Great Yarmouth Outer Harbour on Saturday June 30 carrying American passengers on part of a Northern Europe cruise.
Passengers got the chance to visit some of the town’s key attractions such as the Time and Tide Museum and the famous Golden Mile.
Some of the passengers were also able to visit Norwich for the day.
The cruise is a 15-night Copenhagen to Dover itinerary via Norway, the Faroe Islands and Scotland. Seabourn Quest will return to Great Yarmouth once more on June 30, 2019.
Meanwhile, the 600-berth Seabourn Ovation will be the second ship to call on Great Yarmouth on September 30 as part of a 16-night Round Britain cruise from Dover.
Great Yarmouth was important to the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and used to victual their ships which, were moored in Yarmouth quite regularly. Lord Nelson, who was born close to Great Yarmouth, also returned here after the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801.
Great Yarmouth also boasts a museum dedicated to Nelson, the Norfolk Nelson Museum, situated in an impressive Georgian property near the seafront.
AmaWaterways, founded in 2002 by US-based but Vienna-born Rudi Schreiner, amid in 2019 will be operating twenty-two ships in Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa.
The line’s latest addition, the 196-berth AmaMagna will set new standards in May 2019.
At nearly twice the width of traditional European river ships, AmaMagna will offer a watersports platform, a choice of four restaurants, wellness studio and the largest accommodation yet seen on a river ship.
The only other vessel of comparable size is the 154-berth Crystal Mozart, another double-width ship that is restricted to the Danube because of her size.
AmaMagna will offer the most spacious and comfortable accommodation on the Danube, with fifty-three suites ranging from 355 sq ft to a double size 710 sq ft. All will offer full-width step-out balconies and a sizeable marble bathroom, many with double sinks, as well as a deluxe walk-in multi-jet shower and separate bath.
Another thirty-four staterooms offer 252 sq ft with full balcony and eleven staterooms are 205 sq ft with large fixed windows.
Fine dining will be offered in all restaurants at no additional charge, with complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks at meal times.
Two more restaurants have also been added. At the forward end, Al Fresco will accommodate up to 35 diners, while the 65-seat Jimmy’s Wine Bar, named after the late Jimmy Murphy, one of Ama’s co-founders, will offer delicious cuisine paired with complimentary fine wines.
On the top deck there is both a swimming pool and whirlpool.
AmaMagna will sail next summer on 7-night rotations along the Danube between Vilshofen, near Passau, and Budapest.
(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)