All Leisure to spend £35m on ship refurbishment - Cruise International

All Leisure to spend £35m on ship refurbishment

By Adam Coulter | 2 Sep 2011

Hebridean's Royal Crown

All Leisure Holidays is spending £35m on expanding and refurbishing its three cruise lines – as well as launching a new river programme.

The group will spend £10m refurbishing mv Minerva and will rebrand the Alexander von Humboldt as ms Voyager.

It will also launch Hebridean’s River Crown, a new river boat to complement the group’s luxury cruise ship chartered by HM The Queen, Hebridean Princess.

Roger Allard, executive chairman, All Leisure Group,  said the moves were prompted by customer feedback.

“Our research shows that demand for cruising amongst our target audience has increased over the past few years and in order to continue to meet and exceed customer expectations, we have expanded our fleet as a direct result of specific customer feedback,” said Allard.

Minerva will go into dry dock in Hamburg in November and will come back into service on 2 March, 2012.

The major changes will be:

• six cabins will be removed to free up space and give the ship a total of 181 cabins

• 32 cabins will have balconies added bringing the number of balcony suites to 44

• all the cabins will have upgraded shower and bath facilities

• there will be a new forward observation lounge called the Orpheus Lounge

• the Shackleton Bar will be turned into a horseshoe shape and its size increased

• the promenade deck will be moved to the deck above

• there will be a bigger internet lounge

• the salon centre and gym will be moved down

• a canopy will be added to the pool deck to allow for al fresco dining.

• new propellers and shafts will increase the ship’s fuel efficiency and green credentials

The Alexander von Humboldt will be brought into the Voyages of Discovery brand and will be renamed mv Voyager.

It goes into service when mv Voyager goes into dry dock next November (see below), sailing from Istanbul to Portsmouth.

Prices start at £1,399 for a two-week cruise including flights.

The ships will include the following features:

• The 550-passenger ship will have 278 cabins, 86 per cent of which will be outside, 35 suites and 30 balcony rooms

• the ship marks a departure from the brand’s very traditional feel and will have a “modern hotel feel” to it

• there will be two open seating dining restaurants and one intimate grill restaurant

• a swimming pool will replace the plunge pool and there will be two Jacuzzis

• there will be four bars and two lounges, a lecture theatre, library, bridge and a show lounge

Mv Discovery goes into dry dock in November 2012 for three months and will go through an extensive refurbishment programme, which will include:

• upgrades to the teak decks, new furnishings in the public areas, expansion of the public areas, cabin improvements and improvements to the dining areas.

Perhaps the most significant move is the launch of a river programme next year under the Hebridean brand.

The boat, which is under charter, will be called Hebridean’s Royal Crown (pictured above) and will have a similar feel and standard of five star plus luxury to the Hebridean Princess.

The ship will carry 79 passengers in 42 cabins ranging from Royal, Premium and Deluxe, and will be fitted in an Art Deco style reminiscent of the 1930s.

It will offer just four itineraries next year, from June, two on the Danube and two on the Rhine with fares from £2,995-£5,250.