The world’s largest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas (2016/226,963 gt), has arrived in the UK, directly from the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire. The $1 billion vessel will use Southampton for a series of shakedown cruises before heading for Barcelona, her summer base port, on 29 May.
Harmony is Royal Caribbean International’s third Oasis class vessel and the 25th ship to join the Miami-based fleet, which includes the world’s six largest cruise vessels. The 16-deck flagship has maximum capacity for 6,360-passengers and boasts 23 swimming pools and 20 dining venues.
The German operator AIDA Kreuzfahrten has introduced its new flagship into service, almost a year later than planned, following delivery from Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki on 11 March. The Italian-flagged Aidaprima (2016/124,500gt) is claimed to be the most environmentally-friendly cruise ship in the world.
The 3,300-passenger vessel is powered by a pair of Caterpillar-MaK dual fuel medium speed engines which can burn natural gas, heavy fuel oil or marine gas oil. When alongside in port the ship will use LNG, which is the cleanest burning fossil fuel. Alternatively, she is fitted with an exhaust gas treatment system, which removes up to 99% of particulates, NOx and SOx emissions. Another industry-first is the installation of Mitsubishi’s propriatorey Air Lubrication System, which pumps air underneath the hull to reduce friction resistance as the ship sails through the water.
AIDA’s 11th vessel will be christened on 7 May to coincide with the 827th anniversary of the port of Hamburg, from where she will operate a year round weekly itinerary to Southampton, Zeebrugge and Rotterdam.
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The last of Stena Line’s decommissioned HSS 1500 high speed catamarans has departed Holyhead under tow for a new role in Turkey. Such an ominous scenario usually means beaching and scrapping, however the former Stena Explorer ‘s new owners say they intend to use her as a static office block in Istanbul. How long this remains the case has yet to be seen.
After some initial weather delays the vessel, since renamed One World Karadeniz, was gently coaxed from her berth, from where she had remained in lay-up since finishing operational service in September 2014, into Holyhead Bay. She was subsequently connected up stern-first to the Dutch ocean-going tug, Bluster for the three week voyage to Turkey.
During her service with Stena Line between 1996 and 2014, Stena Explorer made almost 29,000 crossings, carrying more than 15 million passengers, three million cars and over half a million freight units on the Holyhead Dun Laoghaire link.
The second of the CMA CGM Group’s new 18,000 TEU series of vessels was delivered on 2 June. The London-registered CMA CGM Georg Forster (2015/175,000 gt), named after the 18th century German travel writer, who was part of the James Cook’s expedition in Southern Seas, subsequently called at Southampton on 6 July.
With a length of 398m and beam of 54m, the Explorer class vessels are the largest in the CMA CGM fleet. They will operate on the French Asia Line rotation between China, Malaysia, Egypt, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic coast up to Germany. The vessel will be christened in Hamburg on 9 July