U.K. Cruise News Shorts: Cunard, P&O Get Sporty; Azamara Gets the Blue; and MSC Adds Eataly

January 22, 2013
(12:30 p.m. EST) -- From time to time, there are news stories from the cruise world that only need a few words of explanation, but are important enough that we just can't pass them up. Here are a few of those we thought you might like to know about.

Azamara Journey gets the blue

Azamara Journey has come out of a short dry-dock in Singapore sporting a new look.

During the eight-day spruce-up, the major change to the ship was visual: The hull is now painted “Azamara Blue” to match sister ship, Quest.

And just like Quest's dry-dock in November 2012, in addition to the new paint job, the line gave Journey updates to soft furnishings in public spaces, a new steam room in the fitness centre and a new caviar and champagne bar in onboard for-fee eatery, Aqualina. HAL's Prinsendam adds Lido-deck enclosure, Italian eatery

Holland America Line added its casual Italian restaurant, Canaletto, and enclosed the neighbouring lido deck to make what it's calling a “Wintergarden” on ms Prinsendam.

Canaletto is located inside the Wintergarden, which is adjacent to the ship's lido dining area on the ship's aft deck. The changes to the ship were made during a dry-dock in the Bahamas.

The restaurant serves classic Italian fare with tableside service for dinner only, and reservations are encouraged. With the addition of the eatery to Prinsendam, Canaletto is now on all 15 ships in the Holland America fleet. Cunard and P&O Get Sporty

Following on from Norwegian Cruise Lines' addition of the ‘Sport 24' channel onboard Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Jade in 2012, Cunard and P&O have made a joint announcement that they will do the same across all ships in 2013.

Sport 24 is the “first-ever dedicated 24/7 sports channel specifically designed for the cruise industry,” according to the line, and is available in public bars and lounges across the entirety of the Cunard and P&O fleets via satellite connection.

2013 sporting events to be featured on Sport 24 include the Australian Open, Formula 1, US Open Tennis, Wimbledon, the British and Irish Lions Rugby Tour and the Bundesliga. And, for football fans, all Barclays Premier League matches will be shown, as well. HAL's Rotterdam to add eight cruises in the Mediterranean

Holland America Line has announced that its ms Rotterdam will be moving to the Mediterranean next autumn -- by way of the U.K.

Said to be a celebration of its 140th anniversary, Rotterdam will sail a mixture of 10-, 11- and 14-night cruises through Spain, Italy, the French Riviera, the Dalmatian Coast, Turkey, Greece and the Middle East in 2013. The new itineraries are somewhat different from the ship's sailings over the same period in 2012. Then, the ship sailed several cruises round-trip from Rotterdam to Mediterranean Spain in addition to a transatlantic and Caribbean return.

This year, beginning from Harwich on September 29, Rotterdam will make its way via three separate cruises to Barcelona, then to Rome, and finally Athens, where it will sail three 10- and 11-night cruises. Rotterdam returns to Rome in early December before finishing its Mediterranean stint with a 10-night cruise back to Harwich, which arrives on December 20. Italian-based MSC adds a double-shot of restaurant ‘Eataly' to newbuild

MSC Cruises has recently signed an agreement with Eataly, to bring two of the restaurants onboard the soon-to-launch flagship of the fleet, MSC Preziosa.

Preziosa's two Eataly outlets are the first two at sea for the popular Turin-based chain founded in 2007 by Oscar Farinetti. The Preziosa-based restaurants join 11 more in Italy, four in Japan and one on New York's 5th Avenue, with another soon to open in Chicago, in the U.S.

--Jamey Bergman, U.K. Production Editor