Scarlet Lady To Visit The UK – Other Cruise News: Silver Discoverer To Become La Belle des Océans – Crystal Mozart To Leave The Crystal Fleet
by Kevin Griffin
At CLIA’s annual UK Cruise Conference last week, Virgin Voyages announced that its new ship, the 2,700-berth Scarlet Lady, will visit one or maybe two UK ports on her way from her builders in Genoa to her home port of Miami next March. From elsewhere came news that river operator CroisiEurope would acquire a second seagoing vessel, by acquiring the Silver Discoverer from Silversea. And finally, the Crystal Mozart will leave the Crystal River Cruises fleet to operate for Genting Cruise Lines next year.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
Scarlet Lady To Visit The UK
Virgin Voyages’ ceo Tom McAlpin has revealed that the line’s first cruise ship the 2,700-berth Scarlet Lady, will call into the UK next year.
She will visit the UK from Genoa, where she is being built, en route to her home port of Miami, sometime in March.
McAlpin revealed the news alongside Sir Richard Branson, who made a surprise appearance at the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Conference in Portsmouth, last week. He would not say which UK port the new ship would call into but added an extra tease — saying it might even be two ports.
He also revealed that the line’s plan at this stage is for all its ships to be adults-only. He added: “We’re not about stuffy service or acres of marble”, and questioned the tradition of requiring passengers to leave their bags in the corridor on the last night of the cruise and be off the ship early the next day, although he didn’t elaborate on how that could be avoided.
Virgin’s prices include all dining (there is no buffet), Wi-Fi, group fitness classes, soft drinks, teas, coffee and still and sparkling water.
Virgin Voyages has three more ships on order for delivery between 2021 and 2023.
Branson, dressed in a space suit and wearing a tee-shirt emblazoned with the words “My other ship is a spaceship”, ran onto the stage and revealed he had never been on a cruise but had always wanted to own his own cruise line. He told delegates: “I hate buffets – I want a very different type of cruise. I want to get people on a cruise who have never cruised before”.
Scarlet Lady will be sailing four and five-night cruises to the Caribbean from April next year. McAlpin said back-to-back bookings, creating a nine-night cruise have proved popular in the UK.
Scarlet Lady will have no main dining room, no set dining times, no dress code and no buffet.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
Silver Discoverer To Become La Belle des Océans
French-based river cruise operator CroisiEurope, presently owners of a single sea-going vessel, the 197-berth La Belle de L’Adriatique, announced last week that it would acquire the small cruise ship Silver Discoverer from Silversea Cruises.
The 120-berth vessel will be renamed La Belle des Océans.
At 338 by 49 feet, La Belle des Océans has seven decks, and will allow the company to develop unique new itineraries. Her sixty spacious suite all have exterior views, and nine of them have a private balcony.
La Belle des Océans features two bars, a restaurant, a bar-grill around the pool, fitness centre, beauty salon with hairdresser and spa and laundry service. The itineraries and dates of the cruises will be revealed soon, with the christening scheduled for the spring of 2020.
The Silver Explorer was built in Japan in 1989 as the Oceanic Grace, and operated fro many years as the Clipper Odyssey.
Crystal Mozart To Leave The Crystal Fleet
Crystal will soon bid farewell to Crystal Mozart, the ship that started its river brand. This latest move will position Crystal’s river fleet as the youngest in the industry.
The line revealed this week that it will transfer Crystal Mozart to sister company Genting Cruise Lines ahead of the spring 2020 season. An exact date has yet to be revealed, though Crystal Mozart is scheduled to depart for its final cruise on December 2, 2019.
Crystal Mozart debuted in 1987 as Mozart sailing with the German operator Peter Deilmann Cruises, but was completely gutted and refurbished by Crystal before entering their service as the Crystal Mozart in 2016. She is currently the largest ship in Crystal River Cruises’ river fleet.
Following Crystal Mozart’s departure, Crystal River Cruises’ fleet will comprise four identical ships, custom built for the line between 2017 and 2018, with all-suite, all-balcony accommodations above the water line.
“While the new ships’ itineraries vary, our guests and travel advisors will now find a uniform ship experience across the fleet,” said Tom Wolber, Crystal’s president & ceo.
The ships — Crystal Bach, Crystal Debussy, Crystal Mahler and Crystal Ravel — are among the most spacious in the industry, with staterooms the line says are 40 percent larger than the industry average.
Passengers booked on Crystal Mozart in 2020 will be accommodated on similar itineraries offered by Crystal Mahler and Crystal Ravel.
(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)