McGowan’s Nightmares: The Super Six – Where Are They Now? And Who Wins The Medal?

By Michael Barker

Well, actually, there are more than that, but the Super Six are those cruise ships that seem at long last to have approached (from the Eastern States – the proverbial, microbial ‘Eastern States of Australia’), then passed Fremantle over the past number of days, and in the process gave the Premier the odd covid nightmare.
But they don’t include the others that sat around Fremantle, or still do in the case of one, menacing the slightly paranoid good burghers of Fremantle, not to mention the Premier, the Admiral admirable, Mr McGowan.
In order of appearance, the Super Six are: Radiance of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Celebrity Solstice, Golden Princess, and Pacific Aria.
(Obviously, there’s quite a side industry in ship naming! But not a growth one, we’d suggest.)
There is a seventh, the Viking Orion, but she’s so far back in the field from the six, we can forget her, at least for the moment.
So where are the Super Six just now? Can our Premier sleep easy again, at least on the cruise ship front? The short answers seem to be: A long way away from here; and, Yes. But when you’re a front line decision-maker, never speak too soon!
At the time of our deadline for this story (Monday night), and allowing for delays in notification of ships’ positions by as much as a day or longer in some cases, here is the story, with some accompanying position images by way of confirmation.
Radiance of the Seas. By the time you read this, she’ll be just about in Singapore, her stated destination. She’s currently passing by Freo people’s favourite other island, Bali. As we mentioned on our Facebook page over the weekend, she got so far out in front of the other five, we are confident she’ll be awarded the inaugural McGowan Medal for Best Cruise Ship In Sea. Radiance by name, radiant by nature. A good front runner. Flies under the Bahamas flag, as do her two sister ships in hot pursuit of her. Like them she belongs to the Royal Caribbean group which seems to come in at about second largest cruise operator on the seas, behind the cruise juggernaut Carnival. We at Shipping News are not surprised at her likely win of the McGowan Medal, as we fell in love with her way back when she visited in February and featured her here.
Ovation of the Seas. More than a few ship-lengths behind her stable mate Radiance, and just a little ahead of her other sister ship, Voyager of the Seas, Ovation can hold her observation deck high. She’s nearly at her Asian port, whichever that may be. Looks like coming in second, wherever she’s headed. May be Bali? Royal Caribbean haven’t exactly confirmed where Ovation and Voyager are headed. Adds a nice element of mystery to the race.
Voyager of the Seas. Just behind Ovation. Would probably like to make it into second and steal the cheer (ovation – sorry) for doing so from her Royal Caribbean sis. A lot of sibling rivalry we hear, when it comes to performance on the open seas. But she needs to keep an eye on Celebrity Solstice, who’s a dark horse in the race for third. Plainly Solstice has laid a bet on spoiling the RC trifecta.
Celebrity Solstice. Not from the Royal Caribbean stable, but a half sister, as her owner is a subsidiary in the Royal Caribbean group. A stunner in her own right. The way these ships get traded and renamed, you never know, she may well finish up as an official RC ship yet. ‘Celebrity of the Seas’ doesn’t sound half bad, hey? But who’d want to be a celebrity of the seas just now, I hear you asking. Certain to come in third or fourth. Flies under the flag of Malta. Headed for Singapore.
Golden Princess. Another race outlier from a non RC stable. She’s a Princess Cruises gal. One imagines that line may be renamed in the future, at least for Australian purposes. Suspect she will pace herself in this race, save on fuel, and slide in, to Singapore, inconspicuously, possible in the dead of night, without fanfare, in fifth position. Flies under the United Kingdom flag. Princess Cruises, by the way, are part of the uber-big international cruise operator, Carnival, which is reported to have just sold an 8% share of the company to Saudi Arabia, presumably to help keep the corporate cruise juggernaut, if you’ll pardon the pun, financially afloat.
Pacific Aria. (Oops. I got a typo, which I quickly corrected, when I typed that one in. ‘Acidic Aria’ it said. I’m sure it’s anything but. These ships, all of them, are quite majestic to behold. Just the same, who’d want to be a big cruise ship just now?) Apart from that, almost not worthy of a mention in this race. Poor sixth. Could’ve done better. Seems not really to have tried. Not sure where she is due to dock or anchor next. Flies under the UK flag too. Part of the P&O cruise line, also owned by Carnival.
And what of the other vessels we have been enthralled with over the last little bit?
MSC Magnifica. She’s in the Red Sea heading for the Suez Canal, under a Panama flag. Seemingly headed for the wrong canal? But then again, we understand she still has a few European guests (as passengers are called on expensive cruise liners) on board. Owned by MSC Cruises.
The World. Sailing for Colombo, under the Bahamas flag. As you’d expect. Bahamas flagged ships seem to be the most expensive! Privately owned. We also featured her here earlier on in the Shipping News.
Seabourn Encore. Has left Colombo and now headed for the Suez Canal, behind Magnifica. Also has the Bahamas flag. Another Carnival boat. Taking the long way round?
Silver Whisper. Another Bahamas flagged ship. Just about to leave Port Elizabeth. Next port, Capetown. Must have a cricketing tour group on board. (Sorry, poor attempt at humour – mainly for cricket lovers.) after that? Not sure. A Silversea Cruise line ship. Silversea are now part of the Royal Caribbean group.
Vasco da Gama. Having dropped Aussies at Rotto and Perth hotels, and sent some Kiwis on to New Zealand by air a couple weeks back (how time flies during covid!), she’s now in Cape Town. Not sure where next. Also flies the Bahamas flag. ( Some very good women and men sprint athletes come from Bahamas, we believe. Presumably, they must also have a few very good sailors given all,the ships registered there; and, we imagine, lots of good tax lawyers.) She’s one of CMV’s- Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ – boutique vessels. We like Vasco. And she seems not to have earned any lasting enmity on her 2020 visits to Freo! We featured her before covid upset things.
QM2. She is almost home, up the Thames, to Buckingham Palace. Or somewhere nearby, Southampton.
Artania. Of course, no report would be complete without a report on the Artania. A sad case, all round. Well, she’s still alongside at you-know-where. Looking a little forlorn. Unfortunately, an instant reminder of the State’s covid stats. However, we do wish her, and her Captain and crew, a safe and uneventful voyage home. We understand she due to unfurl the sails this Saturday, 18 April. Yet another Bahamas flagged ship. Operated by Phoenix Reisen out of Germany.
And the Viking Orion? Well, another pretty boat. She sails under the flag of Norway. We love Norway (even if they wanted to go messing about with oil in our Great Australian Bight recently)! Getting closer to passing our Capes. We’re watching.