'Marina' calls on its maiden voyage

As the season winds down, it was welcome last Saturday to the newest of the cruise ships seen here this season, the maiden-calling Marina.

This ship was the first of two purpose-built vessels to be built for Oceania Cruises Inc of Miami. It is twice the size of their other vessels seen here, second-hand units built for the bankrupted Renaissance Cruises.

The contract for the construction of the pair was awarded to Fincantieris Ponente Sestri yard at Genoa and was signed on June 18, 2007. Marina, laid down on March 10, 2009, was launched on April 4, 2010, and delivered on January 19, 2011, three days before it set out on its maiden voyage.

Of 66.084gt with an overall length of 239.35m, it is a twin-screw diesel-electric ship with a speed of 20 knots.

It has 13 decks and berths for 1252 passengers in 626 double-occupancy suites and staterooms, and a crew of 780. Nominal owners are listed as Marina New Build LLC.

Along with the other vessels in the fleet, it is registered at Majuro, in the Marshall Islands. Sister ship Riviera was handed over by the builders on April 27, 2012.

Oceania Cruise, which prides itself as being a company that offers luxury, worldwide cruises, was founded in 2002. The first ships it operated were three of the eight 30,277gt sister ships built at St Nazaire by Chantiers de l'Atlantique for failed Renaissance Cruises.

They were chartered from Cruiseinvest, a company that acquired several of the ships after Renaissance went out of business. They were acquired later by Oceania.

The first ship in the fleet, built in 1998 as R Two, was taken over in October 2002 and given the name Insignia. It was chartered to a French firm in April 2003, and after passing back to Oceania was renamed Regatta.

In June 2003, it was joined by R One, also dating from 1998, and it seems rather odd that this vessel should also take the name Insignia. This vessel has been on charter for two years from April 2012 to Hapag-Lloyd as Columbus 2.

The next ship to join the fleet, in November 2005, was Nautica, built in 2000 as R Five. This vessel made six visits during the 2008-10 seasons, while Regatta made three calls last year. These two smaller ships each have 684 passenger berths.

Having mentioned Queen Mary's recent circumnavigation of New Zealand to commemorate a voyage of Captain Cook, the latest update on the vessel it was built to replace, Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), has come to hand.

Late last year, it was reported that the former Cunarder had been sold for breaking up in China. Then the good news came that the ship had been granted a reprieve and would be turned into a luxury floating hotel.

The perfect location is said to be either Hong Kong or Singapore. Since it left the Cunard fleet after being retired following its sale to the Dubai investment company Istithmar World, QE2 has faced an uncertain future lying idle at Port Rashid.

But work is in progress preparing the liner for its voyage to China in about four to five months' time. Seven of its nine diesel engines are being overhauled along with other equipment.

Indications are that the work of converting 950 cabins into 400 deluxe roomsand 200 suites plus other refurbishment, will cost US$100 million,. work thatcould be carried out by Guangzhou Wenchong or other shipyards around Shanghai.

Azzura comes back into port this evening after being anchored outside the harboursince Saturday. The first-time caller discharged phosphate at Ravensbourne but has had to wait to load logs because of cruise ship occupancyof the Beach St berth over the past three days.

A 29,407gt, 52,050dwt bulk carrier, the Hong Kong-registered vessel isowned by Cello Inc, which is affiliated to Nomikos Transworld Maritime ofAthens. The vessel was built at Yokohama by the IHI Marine United yard and entered service on June 30, 2004.


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