--------------------- MY 82nd BIRTHDAY PICTURE ------------------

20.03.2017 ( News items Updated Monthly ) - There had been a few problems with posting on this website which appear to happen if someone calls me on Skype while I am posting here. If you call and get ignored it will only be while I save what I am posting ! Any news items for this website can be emailed direct to me - This site contains a lot of unusual and interesting cruising and other travel news every month which you often will not find on another website although I do know some people copy my news items ! lol - I also post cruise and other travel news items on the very popular American owned travel and cruising website ' www.cruisingtalk.com ' , which has a forum for members to post or comment, and where with the previous owners I was their UK Manager for about six years . The ' www.cruisingtalk.com ' website is free to join !
23.02.2017 - Picture from the Australian port of Sydney where the CMV Cruises magnificent looking cruise ship ' Magellan ' berthed on time on Wednesday, for two days, during her 120 night world cruise from the UK. Also in port was the P & O Cruises ship ' Arcadia ' for a two day stay but had to anchor in the harbour for one day as no berth was available for her which I doubt would have pleased her passengers who were on a 114 night cruise from the UK which cost nearly £ 2,000.00p more then the longer cruise on the CMV Cruises ' Magellan ' ! Below is a harbour webcam picture showing the ' Magellan ' about to pass under the harbour bridge about 06.15 hrs on Wednesday morning ( their time ) as she heads up harbour to her berth with her overall string of lights on ! .
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24-02-2017 A rather rusty looking 28 year old P & O Australian 70,285 grt cruise ship ' Pacific Dawn ', which had been built for Princess Cruises in 1989 before being transfered amongst the parent companies various companies. During her present visit to the Sambawang shipyard in Singapore work will include the addition of some new leisure water features with two water slides and also some speciality restaurants. Across from her can be seen the 1988 built 15,396 grt cruise ship ' Voyager ' which was operated by the All Leisure Group company ' Voyages of Discovery ' before they went bust earlier this year ! The ' Voyager ' which has been in Singapore waters since the 9th January 2017 is reported as for sale and has in the past operated as the Hong Kong based casino ship ' Walruss ' !
25.02.2017 - Picture of the present P & O Australian Cruises ship ' Pacific Pearl ' showing her, like most of their ships, to be registered in London ! It will be interesting to see if this port of registry is changed when she joins the CMV Cruises fleet in May 2017 as ' Columbus ' having previously sailed on the UK market as the P & O Cruises ' Arcadia '. Most of CMV Cruises own operated cruise ships are registered in the Bahamas and their brochures do show her as also being registered there ! Picture below of her at the New Zealand port of Auckland today. ( There is a ' Pacific Pearl ' listed in the Australian port of Sydney sailings lists as operating cruise again from that port from February 2020 ! }

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03.03.2017 - After being laid up in Thailand since 2014 and renamed ' Oasia ' the ex Saga Cruises 1973 British built cruise ship ' Saga Ruby ' , which had been built as the norwegian operated ' Vistafjord ', is reported today as being sold to Indian ship breakers.

She was reported as the last British built cruise ship still afloat !

Around the time she was offered for sale by Saga an application had been made to have her as a hotel and timeshare ship, with public entertainment, in the old Royal Docks in London ! When finally sold by Saga Cruises it had been reported that the ship was to be used as a hotel ship in Myanmar ( Burma ) but this also failed to happen and even though kept in operational condition and offered for sale by her present Singapore based owners there was no buyers. R.I.P.

18.03.2017 - The ' Oasia ' hass now sailed from Thailand waters and appears to be under the control of a ship breakers crew ! She is now registered in St Kitts and Nevis with no recent AIS signal being transmitted ! She is thought to now be in waters around Singapore but it is not known if she needs a refueling stop there as this type of crew have been known to run the ship on as little fuel as possible !

22.03.2017 - Having passed through the port area of Singapore the ' OASIS ' ( New Name ) is now heading up the Malacca Strait at 9 knots and this morning was off Port Klang.

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05.03.2017 - Picture of the 168,800 grt new NCL Cruises ship ' Norwegian Joy ' which has just been floated out at the German Meyer Werft shipyard and has been designed to operate on the Chinese market with the main language on board being ' Manderin ' ! Picture below of the racing car track which will be one of the ' Theme Park ' type facilities on board.
06.03.2017 -Picture from Italy show the remains of the Costa Cruises 2006 built 114,147 grt cruise ship ' Costa Concordia ' being broken up at the T. Mariotti shipyard after the ship went aground.

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07.03.2017 - The ferry ' Herald of Free Enterprise ' sunk 30 years ago after a bow door was left open as she sailed on the 6th March 1987 from Zeebrugge. 193 passengers and crew died in this accident and our thoughts are with those that lost family and love ones. Picture shows the ferry refloated and off the South African port of Port Elizabeth after the tow rope had broken on her way to the breakers yard. The ferry had been renamed ' Flushing Range ' and arrived at Kaohsiung on the 22nd March 1988 to be broken up.
07.03.2017 - Picture of the record breaking 1952 built 53,330 grt American liner ' ss United States ' which holds the record for the fastest crossings of the Atlantic Ocean by a passenger ship and has been moored up in the American port of Philadelphia for the past 21 years after being wothdrawn from service and much or her interior furnishings and fittings were sold off . Numerous plans have been made to preserve this ship and one of the cruising companies recently examined the ship , which some years ago had all the astbestos removed having been towed to and from Turkey, to see if it would be possible to turn her into a modern cruise ship but decided she could not be converted ! The trust type preservation group that own the ship are paying out a reported US $ 60.000 a month, which is mainly coming from donations, to keep her at her present berth which is reported to be silting up ! As many people that would have remembered or travelled on this passenger ship when in service have passed away and none of the companies running tourist attractions in the USA seem interested in her the best thing that could happen to her now is to remove this eye sore from the Philadelphia water front area and send her to a breakers yard as she is unlikely to attract customers as a tourist attraction ! Even if she did open she now has just bare rusting metal areas inside her and would cost millions of dollars for interior work to be carried out ! She would never be iike the British built ' RMS Queen Mary ', moored at Long Beach, California, which retains much of her original interior and serves as a hotel, using many of her modernized cabins. Large events are also held on board in her original public rooms and it is reported she is having US $ 23 million of work carried out at present to preserve this nearly 85 year old liner !

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08.03.2017 - Picture of the 1998 Japanese built and operated 26,594 grt cruise ship ' Pacific Venus ' which with the expansion of the asian cruising market has recently been operating cruises from Kobe and Yokohama to the South Pacific area with calls at Tuvalu, American Samoa, Hawaii and also the Marshall Islands.
08.03.2017 Picture of the 1996 built Thomson Cruises 69,472 grt cruise ship ' TUI Discovery ' which having previously sailed with RCI Cruises as the ' Splendor of the Seas ' is a new addition to the Thomson Cruises fleet. In May 2018 she will be operating some cruises from the UK port of Newcastle and in September 2018 will also be operating cruises from the UK port of Southampton after an absence for a few years of Thomson operating any cruises direct from the UK.

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09.03.2017 - Picture above shows the Greek owned Madeira registered 1966 built cruise ship ' Ocean Majesty ' which is 10,417 grt and some years ago was converted from a spanish ferry into a cruise ship. This week having cruised to Port Said, from Bremerhaven, she has passed through the Suez Canal and then called at the Red Sea port of Jeddah for about 8 hours. She is now continuing down the Red Sea at about 16.5 knots with her destination shown as Male ! In the past she had been chartered by the UK holiday company ' Page & Moy ' and then operated UK cruises but at present she appears to be chartered by a German company. Even though she is now over 50 years old her owners ' Majestic International Cruises ' mainatain her in excellent condition and fully compliant with all the latest Solas regulations. She is now this Greek companies last cruise ship with the company previously owning four classic cruise ships !
09.03.2017 - Fancy a UK holiday with a difference this ' Tree Type House ' has been added to one of the preserved dock side cranes at the UK port of Bristol and is available to rent at £185.00p per day. Moored alongside at present is the 1949 Southampton built UK excursion steamer ' Balmoral ' which after some fund raising returned to service last year and has been operating day trips from ports around the UK. The ' Balmoral ' was built as a ferry and operated a service between Southampton and the Isle of Wight, plus also made some excusion trips, before being withdrawn from the service about 1968 . Snce then she has had several owners. Details of her day trips for 2017 will shortly appear on their website.

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12.03.2017 - Pictures show the 1914 American built passenger ship ' Doulos ' at the ASL shipyard at Batam, Indonesia, where her hull was stripped of old paint and she was given a coat of preservative materials prior to her being run ashore and land locked and then converted into a hotel and museum on the indonisian holiday island of Bintan which is connected to Singapore by a regular ferry service...

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15.03.2017 - Picture below shows the 1914 built ' Doulos Phos ' beached at the Indonesian holiday island complex at Bintan. Having been built as a cargo ship she was converted into a pasenger ship in Italy and sailed mainly on emigrant voyages as the ' ss Roma ' from about 1949 until 1953. She was then bought by Costa Lines and after a refit and had new engines fitted she was operated on cruises as the ' ms Franca C ' from 1954 until 1977. We often met her then when I was sailing on the British owned P & O ' Spirit of London / Sun Princess ' .

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16.03.2017 - For those of you who like visiting the UK and have previously stayed in London the above picture shows the 228 bedroom five star ' Luton Hoo Hotel ' with a Spar and Golf Course which is set in about 1,000 acres of park land with two lakes but only 28 miles from the center of London. The house was built in 1763 by Robert Adam, for the 3rd Earl of Bute, and over the years has had additions added . The grounds were landscaped by Capabilty Brown and are maintained in the standards of a five star hotel. Prices for this ' Elite Group ' hotel are advertised as £ 189.00p for B&B but like many of the larger London hotels special offers are sometimes available. The grounds of the hotel are about 1.5 miles from Junction 10 of the M 1 motorway and about 6 miles from St Albans, which was the Roman town of Verulamium and where many finds of the roman occupation of the area are to be seen. The last family to live in the house was that of Sir Harold Werner and part of our present Queen Elizabeth's honeymoon was spent as their guests. Pictures show parts of the hotel.

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17.03.2017 - Picture of the ' Magic Carpet ' which is fitted to be fitted to the latest Celebrity Cruises 117,000 grt cruise ship ' Celebrity Edge ' which is being built at the STX shipyard in France. She is expected to enter service in 2018 and will carry 2,900 passengers. The ' Magic Carpet ' moves up and down on the ship and is planned to be used as a speciality restaurant in the evenings !

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18.03.2017 - A very clear bow cam picture from the P & O Australian cruise ship ' Pacific Eden ' which has had a bow camera added since being transfered to the australian fleet last year having previously sailed as a HAL Cruise's ship. Her sister ship ' Pacific Aria ' , which joined the Australian fleet at the same time, has also been fitted with a bow camera. Compared with the bow cam pictures from most of the UK P & O Cruises fleet it seems someone needs some training in how to improve the poor quality of most of the bow cam pictures from the UK fleet !
18.03.2017 - Although the UK ' All Leisure Group ' went out of business in January 2017 two of the cruise ships operaterd by group companies still appear to be out of service. The ' Voyages of Discovery ' small cruise ship ' Voyager ' , which is pictured above looking rather rusty, has in the past operated as the Hong Kong based casino ship ' Walruss ', and arrived at the Sembawang shipyards in Singapore about three weeks ago but there is no news on her future use. The classic style ' Minerva ' ( pictured below ) which was operated by the group company ' Swan Hellenic Cruises ' arrived at the Lloyd Werft ship yard at Bremerhaven on the 6th March 2017 having previously been laid at at Marseilles. There was a report that Fred Olsen Cruises had looked at this ship but decided she would not fit in with their fleet of classic cruise ships and so her future use remains uncertain ! The third cruise ship operated by the group company, ' Hebridean Cruises ' as the ' Hebridean Princess ' is expected to continue in service and operate her published list of cruises in 2017 ! This cruise ship was built in the 1960's, and started life as a scottish ferry, but it now fitted out like an upmarket country house hotel ! In the past ' Hebriden Princess ' has been chartered by Queen Elizabeth ll for family cruises around Scotland. As a result of these charters the original company was awarded the ' Royal Coat of Arms ' !

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19.03.2017 - Picture of the new American Samoan ferry ' Manuatele ' which has recently suffered problems with one of her generators and was being prevented from sailing from Pago Pago by the local authorities ! It is also reported today that their other ferry is out of service at present with mechanical problems as a result of some flooding !

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20.03.2017 - Picture of the 1959 dutch built 2,180 grt antarctic supply ship ' Antarctic Dream ' which was built for the Chilian Navy. Having been withdrawn from naval service in recent time this ship has operated cruises for about 76 passengers from ports in South America but last year her departure was delayed after local officials found a reported 35 safety related faults on board ! This week she has turned up in the Gulf of Oman and it looks as if she might have visited a local ship yard as she appears to be carrying out engine testing according to the AIS ship position maps. She is now registered in MONGOLIA ! At present her owners are shown on an official website as unknown !
21.03.2017 - Picture above of the new decorations on the bow of the P & O Australian operated cruise ship ' Pacific Dawn ' which has arrived back in Brisbane after a refit in Singapore. Several new features have been added to this 28 year old cruise ship, including an 80 mtrs long double water slide, ( pictured below ) but passengers on the cruise from Singapore to Brisbane have said in reviews of the ship that the cabin mattresses were still very old and uncomfortable and had not been renewed ! It seems the spending on her was not wisely balanced out !
23.03.2017 - Latest news on cruises calling at Turkish ports in 2017 is that Cunard, P & O, Princess, HAL, Azamara, Celebrity, RCI and Uniworld have cancelled calls at many of the turkish ports after the problems in Istanbul ! Some may still call at Kusadasi ! Passengers booked on cruises due to call at Turkish ports in 2017 should confirm details of port calls with their cruise company and also check that refunds for advanced booked tours are available !
23.03.2017 - Picture of the sinking South Korean ferry ' Sewol ' which sunk after it is thought some cargo had moved in April 2014. Over 300 people died and nine bodies have still not been recovered. Many pasengers on board at the time of the sinking were said to be students and the South Korean government had always said the ferry would be recovered. A contract has been signed with the ' Shanghai Salvage Company ' for the work to be done at a reported cost of US $ 72 million ! After a lot of survey work and preperation it has been decided that recovery work can only proceed in calm water with wind speeds lower than 10 mph . The ship is in 40 meters of water and was raised one meter today. A heavy lift ship is in attendence and once the ferry is raised enough the platform on the ship will be moved beneath the ferry. After the ferry had sunk it was found that a number of parts of the ship had been altered without approval ! Her captain received a 36 year prison sentence although the death penalty had been asked for ! Picture of the heavy lift recovery ship below with her deck used for carrying heavy items lowered -
27.03.2017 Latest news is that the corroded ferry is that it is now on the heavy lift ship and will be taken to a near by port where it will be off loaded into a dry dock and then examined for any signs of the nine students who are still missing. Pictures below shows the planned lifting of the ferry from the sea bed and her on the heavy lift ship.
28.03.2017 - The recovered ferry is on the heavy lift ship and will be taken to a local port for examination. Already some bones have been found which will have a DNA check carried out to see it there is any connection with the nine missing students. Picture from a memorial service which was held yesterday near where the heavy lift ship is at present anchored.

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27.03.2017 - Pictures of the 1966 swedish built small ferry ' Soby ' which now operates from Mindalo in the Cape Verde Islands. Having returned to the port at the weekend and while containers and other items were being unloaded the ferry developed a list and turned over finishing up on her side ! It is reported that amongst items to have been unloaded are two cars and some small containers. Planned recovery details are not at present known.
28.03.2017 - Picture of the maltese registered 656 ft long ship ' Florentina ' which suffered a four meter gash in her hull while leaving the UK port of southampton and having a pilot on board ! She had been moored near the old KGV dry-dock which is now used for the storage of waste metals. It is expected repairs will need to be carried out before the ship can continue on her planned voyage.
29.03.2017 - Although previous advertisments had said it was to be her last series of UK cruises this year the CMV Cruises website now shows that the 1948 built ' Astoria ', which is on long term charter from her Portugese owners, will be operating a series of six UK cruises from the 18th March 2018 ! Picture below shows the ' Owners Suite ' on this magnificently maintained cruise ship which is now the oldest cruise ship in the world operating regular cruises and will be operating on the French market between her UK cruising seasons ! Having been built as the ' Stockholm ' for the Swedish American Lines atlantic ocean service the ship collided with the larger italian liner ' Andria Doria ' in foggy weather off of New York and the Italian liner sunk ! The ' Stockholm ' had her whole bow area crumpled up but managed to rescue over 300 passengers from the Italain ship before slowly returning to New York where repairs are said to have cost over one million pounds. She was converted into a cruise ship in Italy about 1990 and is now registered in Madeira.
The very comfortable owners suite on the ' Astoria '.
It can be booked and will hold up to six passengers !
29.03.2017 - Unconfirmed reports have said that the ' Voyager ' which has been in the area of the Sembawang Singapore shipyard since January 2017 after her previous owners the ' All Leisure Group ' went into liguidation, which left many passengers stranded abroad, has been sold to mexican interests who are said to be ' Hoteles Dinamicos Sa De CV '. This 1990 built cruise ship has previously operated as the Hong Kong based casino ship ' Walruss ' and it is reported that when the company went into liquidation US $ 162,800 was owed to Gulf Petrolium as well as money being owed to the shipyard ! .
29.03.2017 - Picture from the steel cutting ceremony at the Italian Fincantiers shipyard, Sesti Ponente, last Thursday for the first ship to join the ' Virgin Voyages ' new cruise ship fleet. Her maiden voyage is planned to take place from Miami in 2020. The ship is reported to be 110.000 grt., 912 feet long and 125 feet wide. She will carry 2,700 passengers with a crew of 1,150.
Heading down the Saigon River today at between 10 and 11 knots, after about a 32 hour visit to the Vietnam city of Ho Chi Minh, the CMV Cruises magnificent flag ship ' Magellan ' continues on her maiden 120 night around the world cruise from the UK port of Tilbury.
Her next port of call is Singapore where she is due to arrive about 08.00 hrs on the 31st March 2017 and will be at the port for about a 32 hour visit. Picture below shows the Ho Chi Minh colonial style city hall.
17 hours !

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' Oceangate ' )