Okay, so we are only a few days away from Saint Nick’s annual ramble around the world and the night children look forward to pretty much all year, but how about the cruise world? What Christmas presents would it like if Pere Noel delivered his goods to businesses?
You can be sure it would wish, collectively, for a hurricane-free year in the Caribbean, as well as the end to the pesky Norovirus that continues to rear its ugly head periodically during cold and flu season.
And it would surely ask for more advanced propulsion technology, something that continues to cut down on emissions and moves cruising genuinely closer to a carbon-neutral situation.
American-based lines would also like to have the politics removed from its sphere of influence in the Caribbean, and return to visiting Cuba once again, an island that sorely needs the tourism dollars as well.
But, if you went cruise line by cruise line, what would be on their letters to Santa for 2020? We thought it was worth looking into our cruise crystal ball and sending a few ‘presents’ the way of some of our favourite lines. Here’s what we came up with:
Azamara Club Cruises:
A time machine for chief executive Larry Pimentel to go back to Liverpool on December 14, 1999, and the re-naming ceremony of Cunard’s Caronia, so someone can put his proper name in front of then deputy prime minister John Prescott, who infamously introduced the then-Cunard CEO as “Larry Pimpernel.” Even the Liver Bird statue blushed.
A specially-minted Emmeline Pankhurst Memorial Medal to commemorate the sailing on March 8, 2020 – International Women’s Day – of their Celebrity Edge, which will most fittingly have an all-female bridge and officer team. The leader of the British suffragette movement would surely have approved.
New letter-headed notepaper so they can write – regularly – to the British Travel Awards to remind them that they are, in fact, one of the top ultra-luxe lines in the world. Amazingly, this paragon of maritime virtue didn’t get into the top two of ANY award in 2019.
Cunard – see Azamara.
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines:
A 78ft tape measure. Next year will see the line’s Braemar (beam, 73.8ft) attempt a third passage along the Corinth Canal in Greece, which is only 78ft wide. It’s a rare feat of nautical navigation, and the captain needs all the help he can get.
Chile’s answer to Sherlock Holmes. The expedition-focused Norwegian line was the victim of Chilean bandits last month, who hijacked a truck full of their passengers’ luggage en route to Punta Arenas and an Antarctica cruise aboard the Roald Amundsen.
Successful sea trials. One of the world’s leading expedition-cruise companies, Lindblad have much of their future tied up in the shape of the forthcoming new National Geographic Endurance, which is just about to undergo full sea-going testing from Norway’s Ulstein Verft shipyard, prior to her January maiden voyage. Only the second cruise vessel to incorporate the radical new X-BOW design, she promises to be a game-changer for the company.
Regent Seven Seas:
The best maritime security money can buy. They’re going to need it after last week’s announcement that the forthcoming new Seven Seas Splendor will have a specially-curated onboard art collection worth a whopping $5million. The collection has taken nearly two years to come together for their latest vessel – which is due to debut in February – and features more than 300 pieces from artists and galleries around the world, including works by Picasso, Miro and Duncan McClellan. Inspector Clouseau need not apply.
Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection:
A LOT of crossed fingers. The luxury hotel company has already suffered several setbacks in the creation of their cruise arm, having had to postpone their launch from January to much later in 2020 following delays at the Barreras shipyard. The company recently announced they would lead a rescue package for Spain’s largest privately-owned yard, and there will be much holding of breath until its future is secure.
A LOT of binoculars. They will be needed in 2021 when the line’s first expedition ship, Seabourn Venture, sets sail in polar waters, complete with its radical Bow Lounge, which promises to get guests as close as possible to the marine life on its voyages. This low-level, foredeck space is a clever idea for improving its observation space, and there is sure to be much scanning of the horizon here.
SeaDream Yacht Club:
A shipyard that can fulfil the vision of owner Atle Brynstad for a new ship to boost the company’s long-time duo that is now 35 years old. SeaDream recently cancelled its 2021 order for the new 15,600-ton SeaDream Innovation with Dutch shipyard Damen “by mutual consent.”
An extra-large calendar. Next year will be a huge one for another of the world’s most distinctive cruise lines, with TWO new ships, the debut of their mouth-watering S.A.L.T. (Sea And Land Taste) dining programme AND their first World Cruise that visits all seven continents. The purpose-built Silver Origin will be the most luxurious vessel to sail around the Galapagos Islands in July, while the eagerly-awaited Silver Moon will be a sister ship to the much-lauded Silver Muse next August. That’s a lot of new development to keep track of in just a few months!
An even longer tape measure than Fred Olsen’s. Talking of precision, Windstar will need every measuring gadget at their disposal in 2020 as the Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo undertakes a massive lengthening project of their three 30-year-old classic ships, adding a new 84ft mid-section that will allow for 50 additional suites, plus two restaurants, pool and whirlpool spa. Even allowing for the fact this ‘stretching’ process is now well established, it still represents one of the most ambitious expansion plans in recent times, and it will make the trio of Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride look and feel like all-new vessels.
And, for all our readers: a very Merry Christmas and peaceful New Year, with the prospect of much happy cruising in 2020!
What would YOU like to see your favourite cruise line doing in 2020? Tell us all about it in the Comments section below.