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Stena Line’s first new generation ferry floated out in China

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Ferry Company Stena Line has achieved another important milestone in its major new fleet investment programme with the launching ceremony of the first of its next generation of RoPax vessel taking place at the Avic Weihai Shipyard in China.

The first new vessel will be named Stena Estrid* and she took to the water for the first time on Jan 16th and is on schedule to enter service on the Dublin to Holyhead route in early 2020, the first of three new E-Flexer vessels bound for the Irish Sea by 2021.

Stena Line CEO Niclas Mårtensson said: “Today the first of our new generation vessels achieved a very important milestone for Stena Line. The Stena Estrid successfully completed her float out manoeuvre from dry dock at the Avic Shipyard and now enters a busy phase of works ahead of her Irish Sea launch early next year.”

All three vessels that are being built for the Irish Sea will be larger than today’s standard RoPax vessels at 215 meters long with a freight capacity of 3,100 lane meters and the space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers. This represents a significant multi-million investment by Stena Line and underscores our commitment to our Irish Sea operations and our determination to deliver the best possible freight and travel experience. Stena Line has a strong belief that Irish Sea ferry transportation will continue to grow and it remains a key strategic business region for the company.

“Stena Estrid will bring many benefits to ferry users including speedy and efficient loading/unloading operations plus further development of our Scandinavian inspired facilities including our restful and bespoke Hygge Lounge and the latest upgrade of our premium product, the Stena Plus concept. The new ships will be spacious, light and make use of panoramic views. This is a very exciting time for our business and I’m proud that as Europe’s largest ferry company, Stena Line continues help shape the industry for the next generation of freight and leisure customers,” concluded Niclas Martensson.

Stena Line is the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea, offering the biggest fleet and the widest choice of routes between Britain and Ireland including Holyhead to Dublin, Fishguard to Rosslare Liverpool to Belfast, Heysham to Belfast and Cairnryan to Belfast, a total of 232 weekly sailings. The company also offers a direct service from Rosslare to Cherbourg with three return crossings a week.

In addition to the three Irish Sea bound E-Flexer vessels, Stena Line has also ordered a further two E-Flexer RoPax vessels with a larger design, to be deployed within Stena Line’s network in 2022. These larger ships will be 240 meters long with a total freight capacity of 3,600 lane meters, and passenger capacity of 1,200. Stena Lines sister company Stena RoRo is managing all the E-Flexer building projects that are ongoing on Avic Weihai Shipyard.

*Stena Estrid is connected to Stena Line’s Scandinavian heritage and Estrid is an Old Norse eastern-nordic version of the name Astrid. Estrid is commonly found on old runestones and meaning divinely beautiful.

Virgin Voyages' to feature 'RockStar Suites'

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Virgin Voyages, the new lifestyle brand set to disrupt the travel industry, has released several designs and images of their RockStar Suites. The new company is throwing out traditional clichés on luxury and formalities, instead bringing Rebellious Luxe to life at sea with their RockStar Suites designed by Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio as the pinnacle of that experience.

Highlights of the Massive Suite, the top suite aboard the Scarlet Lady, include its very own guitar-clad music room, views of the ocean from every corner of the suite, and a massive terrace complete with its own Peek-a-View outdoor shower, hot tub, hammocks and a runway outdoor dining table, where a staircase will help Sailors make their way on top of the table for dancing.

“Virgin has always avoided stuffy formalities and brought a lot of excitement and a bit of rebelliousness to our customer experiences,” said Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group. “With these glamorous suites, Virgin Voyages is bringing rock and roll to the high seas and spoiling our Sailors like the rockstars they are.”

“We have combined brilliant design and Virgin Voyages’ epic Sailor experience vision to create a completely new version of luxury -- Rebellious Luxe, which is at the intersection of luxury and a rebellious attitude that makes everything we do different, indulgent and meaningfully relevant to our Sailors. Whether they want to sleep all day, praise the sun with yoga at dusk or party all night, our RockStar Suite Sailors can live out their fantasies aboard the Scarlet Lady,” said Tom McAlpin CEO of Virgin Voyages.
RockStar Suite Design

Virgin Voyages’ RockStar Suites bring a fresh take to yachting glamour steeped in the Virgin brand’s rock and roll heritage. Inspired by mega yachts and rock and roll style icons like Grace Jones, the RockStar Suites feature Tom Dixon’s iconic retro-futurism designs with a palette of deep blues used with iridescent dichroic elements to echo the colours of the sky and sea when sailing. Touches of yacht materiality are sprinkled throughout the suites with real leather finishes, marble-clad bathrooms and Terrazzo flooring. The suite’s design features nautical nods with a brass glam station and accenting beauty counter and bedhead lighting. The supremely modern suites boast high-quality design elements and bespoke Tom Dixon furniture pieces. Because music is the soundtrack to the soul, each suite is equipped with a vinyl turntable.

“We were intrigued to be appointed to rethink some of the most interesting spaces on this ship. A very rare opportunity to delve into a completely new escapist realm,” said Tom Dixon of Design Research Studio.

The RockStar’s View

With suites situated atop of the Scarlet Lady, RockStar Suites Sailors will have the best view that money can buy, with all suites purposefully configured to maximise the view of the ocean. Many of the ship’s suites feature a Peek-a-Boo shower, an all marble shower with a dichroic glass window carved in the center so Sailors can always look out at the ocean.

Rockstars who opt for the ship’s top Mega RockStar Suites, can bathe under the sun or stars with their very own Peek-a-View outdoor shower.

Because a rockstar can never have too much champagne, the sea terrace for each suite will feature a specially-designed champagne table where an ice bucket fits perfectly at the center of the table situated next to stargazing loungers, and Yellow Leaf brand, sustainably sourced terrace hammocks.

RockStar Lifestyle

RockStar Suites Sailors will live their best lives all taken care of by the RockStar Services Crew, from time of booking, to sail away and throughout their voyage. There will be backstage access for RockStar Suites Sailors at every corner, with early access to onboard entertainment, restaurants, Shore Things, a private transfer to and from the ship in Miami and an exclusive express VIP pathway to the ship during embarkation. RockStar Suites Sailors will have their very own wardrobe team to help unpack and repack, complimentary pressing service and nightly express swimsuit drying service-- because no Rockstar should ever have a wet bottom.

In Rebellious Luxe fashion, Virgin Voyages has reimagined the mini-bar for its rockstars, instead, suites will have a full bar and cocktail kit fit for a rockstar, with the first round on the house.

All RockStar Suites Sailors will have access to Richard's Rooftop, their very own private members club-- a secluded place for them to bask under the sun or have a drink under the stars.

All suites are clever cabins, with mood lighting that automatically adjusts to match the time of day and in room tablets that allow sailors to adjust the room’s lighting. Sailors will enjoy luxurious comforts like premium linens and a plush king bed in every suite as well as upgraded bath amenities for pampering.

Sailors looking to up their holiday game, can opt for one of the Scarlet Lady’s Mega RockStar Suites, primely located on deck 15. Mega RockStar Suites will receive a personalised bar filled with their favourites, and the RockStar Services Crew will tend to their Rockstar rider list, digging up whatever their heart may desire to make their voyage perfect-- all red gummy bears, an electric guitar and beyond. With only 78 RockStar Suites aboard the Scarlet Lady, among them are fifteen Mega RockStar Suites, aptly named the Massive Suites, Fab Suites, Posh Suites and Gorgeous Suites.

The Massive Suite

There are only two Massive Suites aboard the Scarlet Lady, with each suite sitting atop of the ship’s bridge. These 2,147 square foot suites are a place that legends dream of-- each with its very own music room, which seconds as an extra bedroom that is stocked with guitars and an amplifier. At the center of the Massive Suite is a circular oversized couch set up, perfect for conversation and a cocktails from the suite’s adjacent in-room bar. Rockstars can primp for an appearance aboard the Scarlet Lady in the suite’s glamorous bath and dressing room area complete with a hot tub, vanity area, two full-sized wardrobes and a marble-clad bathroom with a Peek-a-Boo shower area that overlooks the bedroom and out to the ocean. The Massive Suite’s larger-than-life terrace will be where friends, family and groupies alike can enjoy a private hot tub, a Peek-a-View outdoor shower, a circular conversation pit, a lookout point with stargazing loungers and two full length hammocks. Sailors in the Massive Suite can climb a staircase to the top of the runway outdoor table for dining and dancing in full Rockstar glory.

From now through January 31, Virgin Voyages fans can enter for the chance to win the opportunity to Party Like a Rockstar, in Virgin Voyages style, at their next #ShipTease event in New York City on Valentine’s Day. Those interested in the sweepstakes should visit www.virginvoyages.com to enter.

MSC Cruises turns former sand extraction site to MSC Ocean Cay Marine Reserve

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

MSC Cruises, the Geneva based cruise shipping company said it is transforming a former industrial sand extraction site into a marine reserve and private island destination that will exist in harmony with the local ecosystem in the Caribbean.

“Ocean Cay has been designed to immerse guests in the natural beauty of their surroundings. The vision is to create a sustainable destination with activities that allow guests to connect with nature as well as providing opportunities to learn about the protection of the oceans and the importance of preserving coral reefs through dedicated edutainment programmes,” the company said in a statement.

Around the island lies 64 square miles of protected waters and a coral nursery is being established to encourage and sustain the growth of new coral. Plans are underway for a marine laboratory to be situated on Ocean Cay that will research climate change-resistant coral in hopes of providing insights to similar island habitats.

Gianni Onorato, CEO said in the statement: “Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will bring something new and unique to our Caribbean itineraries from Miami and Havana and is set to become a truly memorable highlight for our guests. We have created a guest experience that complement the breath-taking natural beauty of this remarkable part of the Caribbean. There was no need for us to build extensively on an island that already had the ingredients of a natural paradise. However we have undertaken extensive work to clean-up the island, removing tons of historic industrial waste and helping to return the beaches and the entire 64 square miles of protected waters surrounding the island to their pristine state.”

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines enjoys strong start of the year

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, the UK based destinational company, said it had enjoyed the best start of January in the history of the company, with sales exceeding one million pounds on three days in a single week.

Justin Stanton, Sales and Marketing Director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “We are delighted that there is such high demand for our unique style of cruising. Customers are clearly recognising the value of our attractive ‘Cruise Sale’ offers, with almost everything included in the price.”

“With strong bookings for both 2019 and 2020, we are anticipating a very successful year for our smaller, friendlier ocean and river cruise ships,” she said in a statement.

Variety Cruises celebrates 50th anniversary

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Variety Cruises, the UK based operator of cruises on small vessels, celebrates its 50thanniversary this year and it has launched a programme to cover the period from the summer of this year to winter 2019-20.

The boutique operator has a fleet of eight yachts that will operate 15 different itineraries that cover 30 countries, the company said in a statement.

Its destinations include 27 UNESCO World Heritage sites and eight uninhabited islands. In all, the Variety Cruises’ programme covers 90 ports, of which 125 are exclusive to it.

The company said that 70% of its guests are newcomers and 30% repeaters to the brand.

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