Juy 14, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson
QE2 in Cape Town - where would you put her?
Recent reports of the possibility of the QE2 being brought to Cape Town from Dubai to become a floating hotel have aroused considerable interest among readers, and while there is enthusiasm for seeing the grand ship in South African waters once again, it is also cautioned with a touch of healthy scepticism.
It seems we’ve all heard these stories before about well-loved passenger ships heading off for a new start somewhere, only to end in disappointment. The memories of SS FRANCE remain all too recent.
But another point has been raised, with good reason. If the ship was to come to Cape Town, where would she be berthed?
Comments here from a reader who asks to remain nameless.
“The QE2 project is really the most silliest idea, considering how cheap land is here in South Africa (for hotels etc). In the waterfront the only berth that is possible is the old Collier Quay, but it would have to be structurally strengthened AND permission obtained to remove the old grain elevator equipment. Now that would be a coup!!”
He says there was a request some ten years or so ago to bring in an old oil rig platform and place it on legs at the end of the collier jetty, with the bottom two floors as parking??
In any case, as he points out, I&J has a 30 year lease on the inner berths of the collier jetty and is unlikely to want to give that up.
What do other readers think of the idea of having QE2 as a permanent floating hotel in Cape Town?
Cruise news - MSC SPLENDIDA joins fleet
Fort Lauderdale – MSC SPLENDIDA, the second in MSC Cruises’ luxurious “Fantasia” class of cruise ships and the newest addition to the most modern fleet in the industry, was named in Barcelona on Monday. This latest ship brings the MSC Cruises’ fleet total to 10 ships.
The event featured a Flamenco performance by Joaquín Cortés and a spectacular display of castells, the Catalan tradition of human towers, in addition to a special concert by world famous tenor José Carreras. Performing in his hometown, the maestro was accompanied by the 60 musicians of the Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès.
The celebration was complete with a traditional ribbon cutting by the godmother of the MSC Cruises fleet, Italian icon Sophia Loren, and a spectacular fireworks display completed the naming ceremony.
MSC Splendida – at 137,936 gross registered tons and 333m long and 38m wide – ranks in the top tier of Post-Panamax megaships in the world’s cruise fleet and, with a top cruising speed of 23 knots, is capable of sailing extensive itineraries to offer her guests truly outstanding experiences.
As on the MSC Fantasia, MSC Splendida features an Aqua Park main pool with 150 fountains and water jets, and North Pole-themed children’s play center. The ship’s unique amenities include two mini-bowling alleys in her high-tech Sports Bar and the signature L’Olivo restaurant, serving exciting Mediterranean cuisine from couscous to paella.
She offers 1,637 staterooms (43 accommodate special needs guests) with 80 percent of them, including the ship’s 107 suites, providing an ocean view. The staterooms range from 193 to 571 square feet.
MSC Splendida features the company’s newest private club concept, MSC Yacht Club. Designed for discriminating vacationers and originally introduced on MSC Fantasia, MSC Yacht Club offers an exclusive six-star experience at sea unique to MSC Cruises. The 99 suites and luxurious private facilities in the club area allow guests to enjoy the comfort and convenience of a personal Butler trained to the rigorous standards of the International Butler Academy, 24-hour concierge service, private pool and bar, exclusive retail services, and complimentary beverages. Selections include quality Italian wines from the MSC Cruises wine cellar, beer and cocktails at the exclusive MSC Yacht Club lounge.
The MSC Yacht Club also features private elevator access to the Aurea Spa and a staircase sparkling with Swarovski crystals.
Highlights of MSC Splendida’s many features include:
290,000 square feet of public space, including an expansive theater; the 18,300 square foot “Aurea Spa” well-being center; four restaurants, including a speciality Mexican restaurant (Santa Fe) a restaurant with a panoramic view (Villa Verde) and a restaurant serving specialty Mediterranean cuisine (L’Olivo); wine bar, coffee bar, and several special theme bars, including a sports bar and Jazz bar; shops, casino, disco club, mini-bowling alleys, Formula 1 simulator and an interactive 4D cinema.
Four swimming pools, including one with a Magrodome (retractable roof). The 150 fountains in the Aqua Park illuminate at night to the rhythm of music.
North Pole children’s area – Thousands of square feet dedicated to the younger guests where trained staff will offer the Mini-Club, Junior Club and Teenager Club programs that are a hallmark of MSC Cruises’ family-friendly style as all kids 17 and younger sail free. A two-deck-high water slide that combines thrills and fun with breathtaking scenic views highlights this youth-oriented space. There will also be a fun area for Mini-Club, Junior Club, and Teenager Club guests.
Designed by De Joro Design Studio, MSC Splendida’s interiors complement these famous sites of history with exuberant modern and classically refined Italian designs featuring many natural and traditional materials.
Even before her christening, MSC Splendida achieved unique status as the first ship to earn the “Energy Efficient Design” award from Bureau Veritas. This worldwide recognition cites the ship’s use of best-practice standards throughout its design and onboard systems to conserve energy, according to the international rating agency.
MSC Splendida is also the second MSC Cruises ship to earn the Bureau Veritas Six Golden Pearls designation for compliance with the three highest international standards in the areas of environment (ISO 14001), health and safety (OHSAS 18001) and food safety (ISO 22000) and the additional notation for the vessel Cleanship 2 (waste; water; air), covering systems which limit emissions to the air and water and waste handling. MSC Fantasia, sister ship to the MSC Splendida, also received this coveted honour when it was introduced into the MSC Cruises fleet in December 2008.
Sailing the heart of the Mediterranean and the adjacent European Atlantic seaboard, MSC Splendida is set to embark on a series of inspiring itineraries to many of history’s most famous sites.
Alexandria, Ashdod, Athens, Barcelona, Casablanca, Crete, Genoa, Madeira, Malta, Malaga, Naples, Olympia, Rhodes, Rome, Taormina, Tenerife, and Tunis are among the destinations. – MSC media release