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Ship Shape: Cruise Ships Around the World
Ventura (Photo: P&O Cruises)

Ship Shape: Cruise Ships Around the World

Ship Shape: Cruise Ships Around the World
Ventura (Photo: P&O Cruises)

March 12, 2021

Adam Coulter
U.K. Executive Editor
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(3:40 p.m. EST) -- Global cruise operations have been paused for almost a year, but that doesn't mean that cruise ships aren't sailing.

We've been looking out for cruise ship news -- whether that's ships being delivered, auctioned, scrapped or, this week, floating.

Here's your weekly round up of cruise ship news.

Whatever Floats Your Boat

Floating P&O Cruises ship pic: Dave Medlock

What exactly is going on off the south coast of England?

As regular readers of this round-up will know, 11 cruise ships or so are regularly floating off the shores of Dorset and Devon at any one time.

The majority of them are floating on the sea, but last week, dogwalker Dave Medlock spotted one appearing to float above the ocean.

It's the second vessel in as many weeks to be floating seen above the horizon: Last week, a tanker appeared to miraculously hover over the water, and this week P&O Cruises' Ventura seems to be doing the same thing.

We'd love to tell you that it's the latest innovation from the line, but no -- it's an optical illusion called a "superior mirage," essentially a temperature inversion that plays tricks on your eyes by bending light.

Super mirages can occur on land, too, but in this case the warmer air above the sea creates a refracting lens that makes distant objects appear to float above the surface.

Coral Geographer Delivered

Coral Geographer (Photo: Coral Expeditions)

Coral Expeditions latest ship, Coral Geographer, has been delivered to the Australia-based line.

It is the line's second ship to be built at the Vard shipyard in Vietnam and increases the fleet size to five. And because of its small size (120 passengers and just under 100 meters long), it is cleared to sail around Australia.

Coral Expeditions resumed cruise operations March 10 in Western Australia on Coral Adventurer, and Coral Geographer is due to start sailing March 31 -- "Across the Top of Australia." Its maiden voyage will include depart Cairns, sailing to Broome, with highlights including Holmes Reef, Pajinka (Cape York), Koolama Bay and King George Falls. 

Lirica on Fire

Screen shot of the MSC Lirica fire video on Facebook

MSC Lirica

caught fire Friday off the coast of Corfu, and while it looked frightening on

social media posts

, MSC Cruises confirmed no one has been hurt. (The ship has no passengers onboard.) The cruise line released the following statement:

"Today at 15:42 local time in Corfu where she is currently in warm layup, MSC Lirica reported a fire incident into the MSC Maritime Support Centre in London, UK.

"The fire originated from one of the ship’s starboard-side fiberglass lifeboats on deck 6.

"The fire has since been brought under control thanks to the intervention of the ship's two fire brigades and the support of the local emergency services.

"The incident operation was declared completed by 18:58 local time.

"There were no injuries among the 51 crew who were on board the ship at the time of the incident.

"From a preliminary assessment, there was no damage to the inside of the ship but only to her side due to the flames and the dense black smoke caused by the fiberglass lifeboats.

"A full investigation is now in progress."

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