09 October 2013

Carnival Legend in Helsinki, 26 June 2013

This entry marks the first time a ship of Carnival Cruise Lines has been featured in this blog. It might also be the last time, as Carnival are pulling their ships out of Europe due to the high cost of air fares. Now of course I might travel to North America or the Caribbean and the usual sailing grounds of Carnival ships, which will change things. In any case, photos of a Carnival ship calling in Helsinki are going to be rare in the future as well.

Carnival Legend

IMO 9224726
Built 2002, Kvaerner Masa-Yards Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 85 920 GT
Length 292,50 m
Width 32,20 m
Draugth 7,80 m
2 124 passengers (lower berths), 2 680 passengers (maximum)
6 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 62 370 kW
2 azipods
3 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

The Carnival Legend was the fourth of the six Spirit-class ships to be constructed in Helsinki for Costa Cruises and Carnival Cruise Lines. (As a minor point of interest, unusually the class was not named after the first ship in it: the Costa Atlantica was the first ship of the class, but the second ship, Carnival Spirit, gave the class its name). This was also the last class of cruise ships to be built in Helsinki and as shipbuilding in the city is being run down, it's likely that no new cruise ships will ever be built here.

In any case, the Carnival Legend was launched (floated out) on 17 December 2001 and delivered to her owners in August 2002. She was named in Harwich during the same month by Judi Dench and made a cruise out of Harwich before crossing the Atlantic to her usual waters in the Caribbean. For the 2013 summer season the Carnival Legend returned back to her "home ground" for Baltic Sea cruising.

The photographs below show the Carnival Legend departing from Helsinki West Harbour in the afternoon of 26 June 2013, photographed from Sisä-Hattu. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Leaving home: The blue building in the background is the assembly hall in which the Carnival Legend was built.
I have to say I actually quite like the Spirit-class design. And I'm not saying that just because the ships are Finnish-built, there is something very pleasant in the overall styling of the vessels.
The return of The Photoganic Tree.
Summer vegetation in the foreground.
The rosehip bush in the foreground adds a nice splash of colour.
Outbound, with Ocean Princess in the background sailing out of the South Harbour.
Next time: AIDAmar

05 October 2013

Azamara Quest in Helsinki, 17 June 2013

Azamara Quest

IMO 9210218
Name history: R Seven, Delphin Renaissance, Blue Moon
Built 2000, Chantiers de l'Atlantique St. Nazaire, France
Tonnage 30 277 GT
Length 181,00 m
Width 25,46 m
Draugth 5,80 m
777 passengers (maximum)
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 13 500 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 18 knots

Some of you might remember how last year I looked at the liveries of different R-class ships operating for different owners in The R Week. Maybe someone in a decision-making position was reading it, as since then Azamara Club Cruises have alreated their livery to a dark-hulled one that stands out better from the general crowd of white-hulled ships (although they did ignore my main advice about funnel colours). Okay, so maybe they didn't change their livery because I wrote about it. But change their livery they did, which of course gives new, interesting photo opportunities.

The Azamara Quest has been featured in this blog previously as the Blue Moon, but let's look at her history for a bit anyway:

Originally the Azamara Quest was Renaissance Cruises' R Seven, penultimate ship of the R class. When Renaissance Cruises went under in 2001, the R Seven was arrested in Tilbury in September, a month before the rest of the Renaissance fleet was arrested and the company declared bankrupt. In December of the same year the ship was sold to Cruiseinvest Eight and moved to lay-up in Marseilles, alongside her sisters R One, R Two, R Five, R Six and R Eight. The R Seven was reactivated in May 2003 when she was chartered to Germany's Delphin Seereisen as the Delphin Renaissance.

After three years the Delphin Renaissance left the Delphin Seereisen fleet in May 2006 when she was sold to Pullmantur Cruises of Spain. Pullmantur was at the time a notable operator of the R-class ships, having used the R Five/Nautica under the marketing name "Blue Dream" in 2002-2005 and at the time still used the ex-R Six (that had been marketed as the "Blue Star") under the name Blue Dream. The Delphin Renaissance was renamed Blue Moon and repainted in the black-hulled livery used by Pullmantur on their R-class ships (essentially the same livery as the ships had had with Renaissance Cruises), having been white-hulled as the Delphin Renaissance. Interestingly, the rest of the Pullmantur fleet were white-hulled at time.

In 2007 Pullmantur Cruises' new owner Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. transferred the Blue Dream and Blue Moon to the new Azamara Cruises brand (originally they had been slated to transfer to Celebrity Cruises instead). The Blue Dream became the Azamara Journey in May 2007, while the Blue Moon followed six months later as the Azamara Quest. Since then the Azamara Quest has remained in service with Azamara Cruises. The company was rebranded Azamara Club Cruises in 2010. In 2013 the originally white-hulled Azamara ships were repainted with dark hulls, essentially identical to their original Renaissance Cruises livery.

The photographs below show the Azamara Quest departing Helsinki on the afternoon of 17 June 2013. The weather, as you can see, was atrocious. but as this was the Azamara Quest's first visit to Helsinki in the new livery I was there anyway.

At the cruise quay on Katajanokka. It wasn'r raining yet, but the clouds sure are threathening...
Two Helsinki landmarks in the background: Helsinki Cathedral (left) and Uspensky Cathedral (right), lutheran and orthodox respectively.
At Suomenlinna when the ship was departing. By this point the rain was pouring down heavily, as you can see from the full-size image.
More rainy Quest.
Notice the near-horizontal raindrops. Fred. Olsen's Boudicca was also in port on this day, but as the rain showed no sign of abating I decided not to stay out to photograph her.
Next time: Carnival Legend.