We have some news, with the help of Cruise Industry News, coming out of 2014 Cruise Shipping Miami yesterday:

4th Quantum Class Ship for Royal Caribbean?

RCCI's Quantum Class cruise ship.

RCCI’s Quantum Class cruise ship.

It isn’t a done deal, but it was overheard that a contract for a fourth Quantum-class ship may become reality.
Our thoughts: We like the Quantum-concept, but hopefully Royal Caribbean will find a way to give each sister ship her own identity. The Oasis and the Allure, for instance, are pretty close to being identical twins, versus fraternal twins.

Norwegian Escape Home Port and Hull Art

Norwegian Escape with its hull art to be designed by Guy Harvey. She'll homeport in Miami year-round.

Norwegian Escape with its hull art to be designed by Guy Harvey. She’ll homeport in Miami year-round.

NCL announced the Norwegian Escape will home port year-round in Miami, and that the hull art is to be designed by Guy Harvey.
Our thoughts: One of the nicer, less gaudy works of art for the hull. And, when is NCL going to position a ship in Fort Lauderdale, even if for half the year?  And we thought Carnival took forever on this.

Faster Internet Delayed

A diagram of the O3b satellite.

A diagram of the O3b satellite.

The much hyped O3b satellite internet was destined to launch on the Oasis and Allure of the Seas in late 2013. A bit behind, but still on target to debut aboard, according to a source familiar with the start-up satellite firm. Low-orbiting satellites have been launched and provide more bandwidth and less latency, but are extremely complicated to operate and manage. Royal Caribbean expects to introduce its O3b service later this year.
Our thoughts: Better late than never. High-speed internet is no longer a luxury, but an everyday part of life for many, particularly those with the means to spend money on travel. This should have been done, on all brands, a long time ago.

The Port of Newcastle, Australia

Port of Newcastle, Australia.

Port of Newcastle, Australia.

The Port of Newcastle in Australia is going after itinerary planners with a new stunning coffee table book presenting the port (check it out here). Among top layout and photography, the book presents a number of arguments to bringing a ship to Newcastle – showing off the Australian destination’s features.
Our thoughts: We love new. We love different. In addition to customer service, the two best ways to lure repeat passengers is to provide innovations fleet-wide and exciting, new itineraries.

The NCL Sky did have an atrium, but you still couldn't "cross-over" to some areas without going up one deck, then back down.

The NCL Sky did have an atrium, but you still couldn’t “cross-over” to some areas without going up one deck, then back down.

Well, I think it is, if it is used properly. I am speaking of cruise ships, of course, and the ongoing debate on passengers’ preferences with regards to ship size and passenger space.

I’ve maintained mixed feelings about this for years, ever since setting foot on the first 100,000-plus ton cruise ship, the Carnival Destiny. But, this past weekend after sailing onboard the Norwegian Sky, I think I’ve made up my mind.

The newer, larger ships are quite simply easier to navigate, to get to where you want to go. Sure, there is more walking involved, but for the most part the public spaces are accessible without having to master the art of the maze.

This past weekend alone brought back memories to cruising yesteryear, when you had to go up a deck, cross over, and then back down to get to, say, one of the dining rooms. We had to do this on the NCL Sky, a ship built “way back” in 1999. While the ships today are getting larger (a downer for some), a direct shot to all of the public spaces is pretty much the standard.

What do you think?