28 March 2013

Thomson Destiny interiors, January 2007

Thomson Destiny

IMO 7927984
Name history: Song of America, Sunbird, Thomson Destiny, Louis Olympia
Built 1982, Wärtsilä Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 37 773 GT
Length 214,51 m
Width 28,41 m
Draugth 6,80 m
1 664 passengers
1 664 berths
4 Sulzer-Wärtsilä diesels, combined 1 7060 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 21 knots

For a history of the Thomson Destiny (today sailing as the Louis Olympia), see the first entry on her.

The photographs below show a selection of interior images from the Thomson Destiny, taken during my January 2007 cruise on her. These are not my best-ever interior shots, which is partially explained by the fact this was just the third time I had conciously attempted to document a ship's interior (the first time was the Isabella back in 1994). But I think these are interesting never the less, particularly as the ship has since changed names.

The forward pool area on deck 9, viewed aft.
The aft pool area (adults pool) facing forward, viewed from part of the way up the funnel.
The Cristoffer Columbus suite sounded grand but wasn't an actual suite as there was only a single room.
Mind you, the people who had paid for the cheapest possible inside cabin did not complain. The lovely mrs Id demonstrates the correct operation of a bed.
Going downwards a bit, Blake's café on deck 7. This was a bit out of the way and we only visited it once.
The Oklahoma Lounge, aft on deck 5, was one of the two main entertainment venues.
Oklohoma Lounge looking both older and more stylish than it actually was.
The venue for the nightly shows was the Can-Can Lounge (forward of Oklahoma Lounge). We thought the song-and-dance routines performed were frankly boring, but most of the passengers seemed to love them.
Reception area on deck 4.
A stair lobby, probably the forward one on deck 4.
Next time: Volcan de Timanfaya

23 March 2013

AIDAblu in Funchal, 15 January 2007, and Arrecife, 18 January 2007


IMO 8521220
Name history: Crown Princess, A'Rosa Blu, AIDAblu, Ocean Village Two, Pacific Jewel
Built 1990, Fincantieri Monfalcone, Italy
Tonnage 70 285 GT
Length 245,08 m
Width 32,25 m
Draugth 7,90 m
1 748 passengers
1 748 berths
4 MAN-B&W diesels, combined 24 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
2 stern thrusters
Speed 19,5 knots

So, the AIDAblu. Not the current, 2010-built AIDAblu but rather the first AIDAblu built in 1990 for Princess Cruises as the Crown Princess.

Although the ship was delivered to Princess Cruises, she was in fact originally ordered by Sitmar Cruises as the second ship in the three-ship newbuilding spree the company commissioned shortly before it was sold to P&O. P&O purchased Sitmar in 1988 and merged their US cruise operations into their Princess Cruises brand (Sitmar did survive as a separate brand in Australia for some years). The Sitmar-ordered newbuildings were delivered to Princess Cruises as the Star Princess, Crown Princess and Regal Princess. The Star Princess had already been named Sitmar Fairmajesty before the sale, but the original planned names - if any - of the Crown and Regal Princesses are unknown at least to me.

Anyway, the Crown Princess was delivered to Princess Cruises in June 1990 and entered service with them the following month. She stayed with Princess for a dozen years, until in 2002 P&O decided to create an entirely new brand for the German market to compliment their existing Aida Cruises brand: the A'Rosa Cruises brand, which was essentially an attempt to make an upmarket version of Aida. In June 2002 the ship entered service for A'Rosa Cruises as the A'Rosa Blu. A'Rosa was not a success and the brand was closed down two years later, with the A'Rosa Blu moving under the Aida brand as the first AIDAblu.

AIDAblu's Aida career would not be long either, as the non-purpose-built ship was not well suited for Aida's brand. When the new AIDAdiva was delivered in spring 2007, the AIDAblu was transferred to Ocean Village Cruises, which was an attempt by P&O Cruises (which by this time was Carnival PLC of course) to recreate the success of Aida Cruises for the UK market. Ocean Village had one ship at this point, the Ocean Village (ex-Star Princess), and her near-sister joined her as the Ocean Village Two.

Despite the addition of a second ship under the Ocean Village brand it was not as successful as Carnival Corporation & PLC had hoped, and in 2008 they made public the plan to close down Ocean Village Cruises, moving the ships to Australia under the P&O Cruises (Australia) brand. Personally I find this to be a huge loss, purely due to the fact that I really really liked Ocean Village Cruises' visual identity - their livery was awesome. The Ocean Village Two was the first one to leave the Ocean Village brand, sailing for Australia in late 2009, entering service as the Pacific Jewel in early 2010. The Ocean Village joined her as the Pacific Pearl a year later. Both ships remain the P&O Australia fleet. Interestingly, the third unit in the fleet is the Pacific Dawn (ex-Regal Princess), aka the Pacific Jewel's sister ship. In other words, the P&O Australia fleet consists solely of ships ordered by Sitmar.

The photographs below show the AIDAblu at Funcal on 15 January 2007 and in Arrecife on 18 January 2007. Click on the images to see in larger size.

Departing Funchal, as photographed from my private balcony on the Thomson Destiny. Mind you, we actually paid for the cheapest possible cabin but got upgraded due to this having been our honeymoon.
During the cruise it did seem that where-ever the AIDAblu went, the Thomson Destiny followed.
Next time: Volcan de Timanfaya.

18 March 2013

Volcan de Tejeda in Santa Cruz de la Palma, 14 January 2007

Volcan de Tejeda

IMO 9081590
Built 1995, Hijos de J. Barreras Vigo, Spain
Tonnage 9 667 GT
Length 120,00 m
Width 19,50 m
Draugth 5,30 m
250 passengers
250 berths
1 023 lanemetres
2 Deutz diesels, combined 6 616 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thruster
Speed 15,5 knots

Volcan de Tejeda was the second in a pair of two sister ships built for the Spanish Naviera Armas for their traffic around the Canary Isles in 1995 by Hijos de J. Barreras in Vigo. Her elderly sister is the Volcan de Tauce delivered in March 1995. Volcan de Tejeda followed in September of the same year and entered service in November.

Originally she was painted in a livery with wide grey decorative stripes on the hull (as seen in the photo below). Sometime between mid-2008 and early 2009 she was repainted in the current Armas livery with much more white. According to the Armas webiste, she is no longer in service with the company as of 2013.

The photograph below shows the Volcan de Tejeda moored at Santa Cruz de La Palma on 14 January 2007, photographed during my Thomson Destiny cruise to the Canaries. Click on the image to see it in larger size.

Not a large or impressive ship, but an neat little ferry never the less.
Next time: Either some new wintertime images of the Silja Symphony or the first AIDAblu as seen during the Thomson Destiny cruise.

15 March 2013

Thomson Destiny at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 13 January 2007

Since the winter doesn't seem to be planning an getting warmer here in the north, I think it's a good time to look at some older photos from warmer places. In January 2007 I made a week's cruise with Thomson Cruises' Thomson Destiny around the Canary Isles. Looking at the photos taken there, there is a surprisingly modest number of ship photos... but still, a few that are worth featuring here. Starting with the star of the show, the Thomson Destiny.

Thomson Destiny

IMO 7927984
Name history: Song of America, Sunbird, Thomson Destiny, Louis Olympia
Built 1982, Wärtsilä Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 37 773 GT
Length 214,51 m
Width 28,41 m
Draugth 6,80 m
1 664 passengers
1 664 berths
4 Sulzer-Wärtsilä diesels, combined 1 7060 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 21 knots

The Thomson Destiny was built in 1982 by Wärtsilä's shipyard in Helsinki as the Song of America for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. She was RCCL's first new ship in a decade, entering service in Decemeber 1982 on week-long cruises from Miami to the Caribbean. Unusually for a cruise ship but common on ferries at the time, the Song of America was built in an arrangement where cabins were located in the fore of the ship and public rooms aft. As the ship was also designed with public rooms having higher ceiling heights than cabin areas (1½ times the height of cabin decks), this resulted in a somewhat unusual layout with some decks only existing in the front of the ship.

Following the arrival of larger tonnage in the Royal Caribbean International (as the compan ywas now known) fleet, the Song of America was sold in 1999 the UK cruise operator Airtours who at the time operated cruises under the name Sun Cruises. The ship was renamed Sunbird and begun cruising in the Mediterranean. Unlike previous old RCI tonnage sold to Airtours, the sky lounge around the funnel was not removed when the ship was sold, probably due to structural reasons. In 2002 Airtours was rebranded as MyTravel, and subsequently the Sunbird was repainted with MyTravel funnel markings in place of Sun Cruises ones.

MyTravel entered financial difficulties soon afterwards and decided to sell their cruise fleet to Louis Cruises in 2004. The Sunbird was chartered back to Sun Cruises until March 2005 when she left the Sun Cruises fleet. Almost immediately afterwards Sun Cruises' worst competitor in the lower-end UK cruise market, Thomson Cruises, took the ship under charter from Louis as the Thomson Destiny. The ship was used for Mediaterranean and Canary Isles cruising by Thomson.

In May 2012 Thomson and Louis Cruises swapped ships: the Thomson Destiny joined Louis Cruises' own fleet as the Louis Olympia, while the similarly sized but superior Louis Majesty took her place in the Thomson fleet as the Thomson Majesty. During the 2013 summer season the Louis Olympia will be used on short three- and four-day cruises around the Aegean Sea.

The photograph below shows the Thomson Destiny as Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 12 January 2007. Click on the image to see in larger size.

The structure above the bridge was added when the ship left the RCI fleet. It did somewhat disimprove her looks, but since I got to travel in one of the suites I cannot complain.
Next time: Volcan de Tejeda (unless I take the chance to head out for some winter ship photography, in which case you'll get that).

13 March 2013

Sea Wind in Turku, 15 February 2013

Sea Wind

IMO 7218332
Name history: Svealand, Saga Wind, Sea Wind
Built 1972, Helsingør Skibsværft og Maskinbyggeri, Denmark
Tonnage 15 879 GT
Length 154,41 m
Width 21,04 m
Draugth 5,02 m
Ice class 1B
12 passengers (as a cargo ship), 363 passengers (maximum)
363 berths
60 cars
1 270 lanemetres
4 MaK diesels, combined 7 356 kW
2 controllable pitch propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 18 knots

For a history of the Sea Wind, see the first entry on her. The photographs in this entry show the Sea Wind departing from Turku on the evening of 15 February 2013, photographed from Ruissalo. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Sea Wind leads while the brightly lit Viking Grace follows. The Grace is scheduled to depart before the Sea Wind, I think, but her arrival in Turku was delayed.
Onwards to the darkness.
Next time is archive time! We might be looking at old photos from my 2007 Canaries cruise to get some international colour to this blog again. Unless of course I feel inspired to go and take some new photos instead.

08 March 2013

Baltic Princess in Turku, 15 February 2013

Baltic Princess

IMO 9354284
Built 2008, Aker Yards France / Aker Yards Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 48 915 GT
Length 212,10 m
Width 29,00 m
Draugth 6,42 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 800 passengers
2 484 berths
600 cars
1 300 lanemetres
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 32 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 24,5 knots

The Baltic Princess, as most of you will probably know, recently swapped routes with the Silja Europa and hence the former now sails as a Silja Line ship between Turku and Stockholm. For the previous history of the Baltic Princess under the Tallink house flag, see this previous entry.

The photographs below show the Baltic Princess departing from Turku on the evening of 15 February 2013, photographed from Ruissalo. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Photographing departures from Turku during the wintertime does have the problem that when the sky is cloudy (and at least this winter, it was pretty much always cloudy) the city lights up the sky and turns the ship into a dark silhouette.
Notice the new bolt-upright Silja Line logotype on the hull.
Now this is what a proper night-time photo should look like, lighting-wise.
Next time: Sea Wind

02 March 2013

Viking Grace interiors, 14-15 February 2013 - Part 2

Following up Wednesday's Viking Grace interiors entry, here is the second and final installment of Grace interiors. For part 1, click here.

In the intervening days after part 1, two other things written by me have also seen the light of day on the internet: Part 2 of my english-language trip report from the Viking Grace is now up at MaritimeMatters, while for those fortunate enough to speak Finnish can read the latest issue of Ulkomatala, which includes a detailed article on the history of Viking Line's Turku-Stockholm services by yours truly.

Viking Grace

IMO 9606900
Built 2013, STX Europe Turku, Finland
Tonnage 57 700 GT
Length 218,60 m
Width 31,80 m
Draught 6,80 m
Ice class 1 A Super
2 800 passengers
2 876 berths
530 lane metres of cars
1 275 lane metres of cargo
4 Wärtsilä dual fuel (LNG/diesel) engines, combined 30 400 kW
2 fixed-pitch propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Service speed 21,8 knots
Maximum speed 25,6 knots

Last time we covered decks 9 and 10, today it's turn for decks 11 and 12.

Deck 11 houses the Oscar à la carte restaurant forward. Adjacent to Oscar is the Seamore Champagne Bar, and aft of these is the Frank's casual restaurant, Wellness Spa and right aft the second level of Club Vogue.

The decor in Oscar is quite restive - except for the gilded ceiling. And, unlike the Sweet & Salty cafeteria downstairs, it manages to look stylish rather than boring.
The restaurant continues aftward on the starboard side in a space with a slightly different styling that can be separated into a cabinet for groups.
Night-time Oscar, facing forward.
A more detailed look on the tables near the windows.
Aft and port of Oscar is the Seamore Champagne Bar (notice the column in the middle actually reads "champance", while the sign outside the space read "champange").
Seamore also functions as an aperitive bar for people dining at Oscar, though the Turku route's schedules are not particularly conductive for such an arrangement, particularly during the evening.
Oscar ceiling light detail.
More ceiling light details, this time from the forward staircase.
The Arcade on deck 11, facing aft from the forward staircase, towards the Atrium.
The three-deck high Atrium, facing forward.
The decorative fixtures of the atrium both move and change colour.
Aft of Oscar and off the Atrium is Frank's casual restaurant, finished in a bewildering array of styles. This central section really reminds me of a school cafeteria.
The service counters - multiple "action station" kitchens, each with it's own menu - are already slightly more adventurous.
The central area near the windows sees the return of the 50s-style space dividers from Buffet Aurora and the grey palette from Sweet & Salty...
...but the two wings of the room with sea views assume a fantastic palette, combined with fantastic modernist lamps.
Entrance to the Wellness Spa. Unfortunately I did not see anything else of the spa as it was fully booked when we tried to go there.
The aft staircase on deck 11. The stairs are colour-coded (by lighting): the forward one is turquise, the midship one yellow and the aft one purple, as seen here.
Aftmost on deck 11 is Club Vogue. All photos from there were included in part one of this series.

The sole passenger-accessible spaces on deck 12 are the extensive outer decks. Unfortunately, due there being windbreakers, the deck area is bloody cold during the wintertime.

To emphasise the environmental friendliness of the Viking Grace, Viking Line chose to alter their traditional funnel colours and paint the funnel all white. The result is less attractive than the original (the funnel is also quite small, probably also in an attempt to make it look more environmentally friendly).
During night-time the funnel is impressively lit though.
The big thing on the Grace: the LNG tanks on the aft deck. Although it whas been previously reported the ship would currently run entirely on diesel (due to the fueling infrastructure not being ready), there is always a small amount of gas carried and used, so that the LNG systems don't go "cold".
Next time: Baltic Princess (for real this time, I promise).