The bank holiday weekend saw a total of 8 cruise ships calling at Gibraltar, two of which were on their inaugural calls. A commemorative exchange of plaques took place on board both ships with representatives of the Gibraltar Tourist Board, the Gibraltar Port Authority and their respective local agents, MH Bland and Smith Imossi.
Monday 30th April saw the arrival of Sapphire Princess. The ship entered service in 2004 and is operated by Princess Cruises, a brand of the Carnival Corporation PLC. Sapphire Princess was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has a length of 290 metres, a tonnage of 116,000GT and a capacity for approximately 2670 passengers and 1100 crew. In 2012 the ship was refitted with the ‘Movies Under the Stars ’poolside theatre and a new adults’ retreat called ‘The Sanctuary’.
Princess Cruises has enhanced the on board experience by providing guests with ‘Personal Choice Dining’, on board entertainment featuring ‘Voice of the Ocean’ as well as four original musical productions and shore excursions designed in collaboration with local experts in key regional cruise destinations.
Sapphire Princess has spent a long time cruising Asia and is presently on its way to Southampton, UK where the ship will be based until October 2018.
MS Asuka ll called into Gibraltar on Tuesday 1st May. Formerly known as the Crystal Harmony, the ship was built in 1990, is 241 metres in length, has a tonnage of 50,142 GT and a capacity of approximately 960 passengers and 545 crew.
In 2006 the ship was transferred from the fleet of Crystal Cruises to that of Crystal’s parent company Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and underwent extensive refurbishment to make the ship more attractive to the Japanese market. Operating now under the new name of Asuka ll the ship was fitted with a Japanese style bath house, a traditional Japanese tea room and a Japanese speciality treatment facility.
Asuka ll has been rated one of the best cruise ships serving the Japanese market and operates cruises from Japan in addition to worldwide cruises.