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New Cruise Terminal for London Olympics - Other Cruise News: Celebrity Eclipse to have British Beers - Crystal's Spanish Atlas - Marina's Log Jam

by Mark Tre' - "The Cruise Examiner"

Approval was given last week for the first new cruise terminal to be completed in London apart from the Tilbury Cruise Terminal several miles downriver. The new facility at Enderby's Wharf is planned to be ready for the London Olympics in 2012 and will also include housing and a hotel and two berths for Thames riverbuses. Elsewhere, Celebrity announces a range of British beers for its Southampton-based Celebrity Eclipse and Crystal publishes a new Spanish-language Atlas. Oceania's Marina meanwhile had to cancel a scheduled call at Huatulco because of what turned out to be a log jam.


New Cruise Terminal for London

On Friday it was announced that planning application for a cruise liner terminal, hundreds of new homes and a new hotel by West Properties to plans by architect Ian Simpson has been approved by Greenwich Council, leaving a final approval to London Mayor Boris Johnson.

While London already has a number of cruise facilities, including a berth at HMS Belfast, a floating cruise terminal for ships anchored in the Pool of London or off Greenwich, and a cruise terminal downriver at Tilbury, the new mixed use berthing facility will be built at the existing Enderbys Wharf, on the southwest side of the Greenwich Peninsula.

In addition to 770 new homes and a 251 bedroom hotel, the nine-acre site will include shops, a children's nursery and a gymnasium. The cruise ship terminal will have a single cruise ship berth capable of taking ships up to 240 metres (787 feet) in length. There will also be two separate berths for Thames Clipper riverbus services.

Although the water is deep alongside, the length restriction will limit the number of ships that can use the new terminal. For example, Crystal Symphony, at 778 feet, will be a candidate but Crystal Serenity, at 820 feet, will not. All the ships of Regent, Seabourn and Silversea will be able to call, as will those of Hapag-Lloyd, including the new 739-foot Europa. But none of the ships of Cunard and P&O, other than the 594-foot Adonia,will be able to call, while all of Fred. Olsen's ships will be candidates. And Holland America's 778-foot Amsterdam and Rotterdam will just make it, while ships like the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam are too large.
The Great Eastern was 692 feet long, by the way.

The land includes the Grade II listed Enderby House which was built in about 1830, and is mentioned in Herman Melville's novel "Moby Dick." This property will be extended and converted into a restaurant, with accompanying exhibition and tourist space.

The site was formerly owned by Alcatel Lucent, still based on adjacent land, and it was here that the first Atlantic submarine cables were made. From this berth the Great Eastern loaded 20,000 tons of undersea cable to cover the 2,500 miles between Valentia, Ireland, and Heart's Content, Newfoundland, the first successful Transatlantic cable. On the fourth attempt, by her and other ships, she reached Newfoundland on July 27, 1866, completing the "eighth wonder of the world."

The new Transatlantic cable allowed the first "e-mails" to be sent between Europe and North America, to what were then called cable addresses,. Among the first to exchange messages were Queen Victoria and US President Andrew Johnson. The Great Eastern then returned to sea to recover the lost third cable, which it managed to connect and land at Heart's Content on September 7 that same year, thus providing two working Transatlantic cables. Cable was still made at Enderby's Wharf until 1975.

Once approved by London's mayor, work is scheduled to begin on the new development by the end of the year and it is hoped that the cruise terminal will be ready for use in connection with the London Olympics in 2012. The rest of the project will reportedly take four or five years to complete.


Celebrity Eclipse To Have British Beers At Inclusive Prices

Celebrity Eclipse, which will join Royal Caribbean's year-round Independence of the Seas in being based out of Southampton for the summer, will have new beverage charges that are inclusive of service charge, a first for any ship within the Celebrity fleet. It is thought that this move will satisfy British clients, who are not used to tipping in their own pubs.

Beer offerings on the UK-based ship will include a full range of UK brands, including Boddington's, Fuller's London Pride, Guinness, Murphy's Stout, Newcastle Brown Ale and Old Speckled Hen. Tea will also be served in the afternoon.

These beer offerings compare with P&O Cruises, the main competition out of Southampton, who do not offer London Pride or Murphy's Stout but make up for it with Bass Ale, John Smith's, Marston's Pedigree and Caffrey's Irish Ale.

Celebrity must be doing something right, however as the number of UK passengers booking their next cruise on board is three times as high as the next best ship in the fleet. About 80% of the cruisers on Celebrity Eclipse during her Southampton season are British.

Crystal Cruises' Spanish Atlas

Crystal's new 211-page Spanish-language Atlas, outlining its 2011 cruise line-up, is now available to the more than 400 million Spanish-speaking people in 23 countries around the world. Information that is now accessible in Spanish includes itineraries, pricing, and complete information about the line's offerings this year.

Although Crystal is the only luxury cruise line to publish a full Atlas in Spanish, there has been huge growth in both the Spanish and South American cruise markets in recent years.

Successful Spanish-speaking cruise lines now include Royal Caribbean's Pullmantur, Carnival Corp & PLC's Iberocruceros and independent Happy Cruises in Spain while start-up operator Corporacion de Cruceros Nacionales has now opened in Mexico. Perhaps Crystal is betting on some of the several hundreds of thousands of Spanish-speaking cruisers who have now gone to sea wanting to upgrade to a more upmarket product.

Until recently, there have not been many experiments in Spanish-language cruising but one of the best-remembered was FiestaMarina, one of Carnival's very few unsuccessful operations (another was Carnival Air). In this effort, Carnival renamed it's Carnivale as FiestaMarina in October 1993 and ran her on Spanish-speaking cruises from San Juan and La Guaira. But the fledgling line was unsuccessful as demand was not there. When it was disbanded a year later the ship became the Olympic for Epirotiki Cruises - Carnival's only other failure, which was very soon eclipsed by the vastly more successful Costa Cruises.

Oceania's Marina Back on Course

We had a report over the weekend that the Marina, en route from Miami to Los Angeles and San Francisco, was having trouble with her starboard propeller and had to cancel a scheduled call at Huatulco, Mexico. Heading directly for Acapulco it was discovered that the problem was caused by a log that had somehow jammed into her propeller. Once the impediment was removed, she sailed on time from Acapulco.

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