- UK agents "blatantly undercutting one another," Viking River Cruises reported saying
- Costa Luminosa begins sailing 10-night Caribbean cruises from Miami
- P&O Cruises cancel two night Arcadia cruise on delayed refit yard departure
- Celebrity appoints Toby Shaw to new role of director and marketing in UK
- Celebrity Century reported to join Croisieres de France in 2015
Ports & Destinations
- Bacardi Bar opens on Norwegian's private island
- Three British cruise ships to visit Gothenburg's Christmas markets
- Atlantic Alliance ports exceed forecast and welcome 2.5 million passengers 2013
- Le Havre provides Christmas atmosphere
- BVI Ports Authority welcomes AIDAbella's first call to the territory
Alternative flash content
- Category: News Archive
- Published on Saturday, 07 February 2009 20:24
Norwegian Wind to be renamed as SuperStar Aquarius
Star Cruises will deploy its latest addition to its fleet, SuperStar Aquarius to Hong Kong after the completion of her season in Hawaiíi in Spring 2007. Now known as Norwegian Wind (operated by Norwegian Cruise Line), the 50,760-gross ton and 1,748-passenger cruise ship will be the largest cruise vessel sailing on regular cruises out of Hong Kong in 2007. The ship has been extensively refurbished, remodeled and stretched in 1998.
Cunard Line's Queen Victoria keel laying ceremony takes place in Italy
A ceremony marking the keel laying for Cunard Line's Queen Victoria was held May 19 at the Marghera shipyard of Fincantieri near Venice, Italy. The second largest Cunarder ever built, Queen Victoria will enter service on December 11, 2007 and become the third in Cunard's fleet of Queens when she joins Queen Mary 2, the largest liner in the world, and QE2. The keel laying involved the placement in the dry dock of one section of the ship's hull. This section is made up of six pre-manufactured blocks, weighs 325 tons and is fitted with 50 tons of pipes, cables, insulation and other equipment.
Star Cruises sells Norwegian Crown to Fred. Olsen
Star Cruises will sell Norwegian Crown to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Pte. Ltd., Singapore effective August 2006. Star Cruises will concurrently charter the vessel back from Fred. Olsen and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) will continue her announced deployment through to November 2007. Norwegian Crown is presently owned by Star Cruises along with four other mid-sized vessels also operated by NCL and Orient Lines. These vessels are on inter-company charter between Star and NCL. Last week, NCL announced that Norwegian Wind will be transferred in late April 2007 to Star Cruises to become SuperStar Aquarius, based in Hong Kong. ”Although a beautiful and well-maintained vessel, Norwegian Crown's smaller size is less suitable for Star Cruises' ambitions in Asia,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. ”Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines specializes in operating smaller and mid-sized upscale vessels and this ship should fit perfectly in their fleet.”
MSC Cruises expands in Northern Europe
MSC Cruises is significantly expanding its presence in the Northern European cruise market. Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO for MSC Cruises, detailed the lineís Northern Europe expansion program at a May 18 press conference in Copenhagen. A key element of the program is a continued strong relationship between MSC Cruises and SAS (Scandinavian Airlines). Due to increased demand, MSC has more than doubled its capacity in the region this summer, with both MSC Lirica and MSC Rhapsody offering new itineraries. ìWe believe in the success of our Northern Europe cruise program,î said Vago. ìIn 2007 MSC Opera will also be positioned to sail in Northern Europe, while in 2008 we will have three ships there -- MSC Melody, MSC Opera and MSC Poesia -- with the potential to carry a total of 126,000 passengers.î Same time, the number of port calls in Northern Europe will grow four times, from 12 in 2004 to 44 in 2008. This season, MSC Rhapsody will cruise for the first time from Amsterdam. Beginning on May 20, 2006, she will offer 7-night itineraries to the Norwegian Fjords plus a new route for the discovery of the Shetland Isles and the Scottish coastline. In June, it will also sail from Amsterdam to the North Cape. MSC Lirica will be positioned in Copenhagen, where she will sail every week to the Norwegian Fjords and the Baltic Capitals.
Pacific Dawn to highlight P&O Cruises' 75th anniversary
P&O Cruises (Australia) will mark its 75th anniversary in 2007 by welcoming the largest cruise ship to the local fleet, Pacific Dawn, and unveiling more than 70 new cruises for sale in 2007/2008. To be based in Sydney, Pacific Dawn (now sailing as Regal Princess) will embark on its 8-night maiden voyage on October 26, 2007 and then offer a selection of cruises to the South Pacific. ìThe fleetís capacity increase means Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland will each have a ship to call their own and passengers in these cities will be able to choose from even more cabins on more cruises, departing right from their doorstep,î said Managing Director Gavin Smith. He said the 2007/2008 program will feature a total of 519 calls at 27 different ports throughout Australia and the South Pacific and also included more short, 7- and 8-night cruises from Sydney and Brisbane. The 70,000-ton Pacific Dawn carries 2050 passengers in 798 cabins, including 184 with private balcony.
Fred. Olsen owners to invest up to $130 million for their new ship
Fred. Olsen Cruise Linesí Norwegian owners, Ganger Rolf ASA and Bonheur ASA, who yesterday announced the purchase agreement of Norwegian Crown from Star Cruises, will invest up to $130 million for their new flag ship. The amount will also include planned refurbishment of the ship. The still yet-to-be-named 34,242 gross ton and 1,050 passenger ship will join Fred. Olsen fleet in spring 2008 after the completion of charter to Star Cruises Group. This new addition will be the largest both in terms of passenger capacity and gross tonnage in Fred. Olsenís fleet of four other cruise vessels, albeit not the newest vessel. Originally built in 1988 as Crown Odyssey for now-defunct Royal Cruise Line, the ship was specifically designed in premium segment and longer voyages in mind. The four other ships of Fred. Olsen fleet include Black Prince, Black Watch, Braemar and Boudicca.
Koja Marine delivers HVAC systems for Project Genesis
Koja Marine has been awarded the air conditioning system contract for the new Genesis-class cruise vessel to be built at Aker Finnyards Turku Shipyard. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd ordered a next generation cruise vessel from Aker Yards in January. The 220,000 gross ton and 5,400-passenger ship ñ a prototype developed under Project Genesis ñ will be delivered from Aker Yards, Finland in fall 2009. The vessel has numerous innovations also in the field of HVAC and HVAC automation. The contract includes an option for yet a similar vessel. Koja Marineís scope of supply includes HVAC and automation design and material delivery for the systems: Air handling units, technical space coolings, a new type of integrated cabin fancoils and public areas fancoils, all air devices, HVAC pumps and heat exchangers, electrification, HVAC automation and commissioning. The Freedom-class HVAC systems are also of Koja Marine design.
Century sails after $55 million makeover
Celebrity Cruises has re-launched its 1995-built Century after an extensive $55-million makeover that began just five weeks ago. Designed to incorporate a variety of Celebrity's most popular Millennium-class attributes, the revitalization of Century is the line's most extensive refurbishment to-date, and the largest cruise ship modification completed by Fincantieri's Palermo shipyard. A total of 314 new verandas have been added to the ship - a first, for an existing cruise ship - along with 14 new suites, 10 new staterooms ranging from inside to veranda categories, an expanded number of ConciergeClass category staterooms, a new specialty restaurant, an expanded AquaSpa, and a series of features and amenities that typify the line's Millennium-class fleet. ”This initiative is nothing short of miraculous, technically and otherwise - particularly the veranda program,” said Celebrity's President Dan Hanrahan. ”Think of what it takes to thoroughly renovate a home, then consider what it took to do what we did onboard a 70,000 gross ton ship...in just five weeks. It's extraordinary.” Cruise Business Review will sail with the Century next week. Stay in tune!
The U.K. cruise market to grow to 1.5 million passengers by 2008
The U.K. cruise market is likely to grow to 1.50 million passengers by 2008, two years earlier than forecast until recently, according to a study by the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA), the industry organisation in Britain. The number of passengers who took an ocean cruise reached 1.07 million last year and PSA forecasts in its annual Discover Cruises report that in 2006, the figure will reach 1.25 million. A steady increase on the supply side combined with good economic conditions fuel the growth of the business. The ultra luxury segment, with per diem fares in excess of GBP 350, clearly outpaced the average market growth by a 12% rise in passengers, to nearly 20,000. They accounted for 1.8% of the total passenger volume but generated 6% of revenues of the industry. The study found that seven night cruises accounted for 45% of the total business, while 14 night cruises had a share of 39%. The percentage of those booking their cruise more than a year ahead stood at 17%, which is almost three times as high as the 6% figure recorded five years ago. The average ticket price stood at GBP 133 per day, while fly cruises cost on average GBP 1,193 (for the full holiday) and cruises departing from British ports GBP 1,353. Three quarters of passengers were aged 45 or more, but 15% were under the age of 35.
Hurtigruten interims improve but loss in sight
Hurtigruten Group, the company that operates the Norwegian Coastal Express fleet, forecasts to break even next year after reporting a pre tax loss of NOK183.7 million for the first quarter of the year, a reduction from a NOK293.5 million loss in the first quarter of 2005. The figures are pro forma as Hurtigruten was formed through the merger of OVDS and TFDS, two Norwegian shipping companies, that took effect on 1 March. The Hurtigruten board says most synergies from the merger are yet to materialise and it forecasts a substantial loss for the full year, although reduction from 2005. A programme called Pluss 2007 calls for implementing cost saving measures that should allow the company to reach a break-even result in 2007. Hurtigruten has expanded its business to include explorer cruises in South America, Antarctica, Greenland and the North Sea/Baltic regions. This partly helped the company to grow turnover by 14.1% to NOK721 million and to increase the number of passenger days by 10% to 49,758. The board says efforts to grow its winter cruising business is thus bearing fruit. The company has a fleet of 14 vessels, 11 of which operate on the Norwegian Coastal Express or Hurtigruten service between Bergen and Kirkenes along the coast of Norway.
Royal Caribbean steps up its worldwide security efforts
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today appointed top federal security and law enforcement executive, Gary M. Bald, Vice President of Global Security, a new position being assigned broad responsibilities for assessing, managing and continuously improving companywide security. Last week, Bald stepped down as Executive Assistant Director for the National Security Branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the third senior-most post at the agency. Baldís new post will report directly to company Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain.
Norwegian Spirit to homeport in New Orleans in 2007 ñ to return New York spring 2008
NCL Corporation announced that Norwegian Spirit will drop anchor in New Orleans beginning in November 2007 sailing 7-night Western Caribbean cruises through April 2008. Norwegian Spiritís itinerary will feature calls into Belize City, Santo Tomas, Guatemala and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. îWe are the first cruise line back in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina this fall with Norwegian Sun and our commitment to New Orleans continues in 2007,î said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. After the 2007 summer deployment out of New York, Norwegian Spirit repositions to New Orleans beginning November 18 replacing Norwegian Sun, which moves to Hawai`i for the winter season. NCL has three ships based in New York for the 2006 and 2007 summer season including Norwegian Spirit; Norwegian Crown with 7-night cruises to Bermuda; and Norwegian Dawn, featuring 7-night cruises to Bermuda and Bahamas. In the winter of 2006, Norwegian Dawn sails alternating 10- and 11-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises out of New York. In November 2007, Norwegian Gem will be homeported in New York as NCL places its newest ship year round in the Big Apple sailing a short series of 7-night Florida and Bahamas cruises and four 10- and 11-day cruises to the Southern Caribbean in the winter; and 7-night cruises to Bermuda and the Bahamas in the summer. In November 2007, Norwegian Dawn will move to Miami, where she will sail 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruises for the winter.
Royal Caribbean's Legend and Splendour to be based at new Latin homeports
Royal Caribbean Internationalís Legend of the Seas will call Santo Domingo home and Splendour of the Seas will explore the Latin Sizzle of South America in new itineraries. Beginning Dec. 16, 2007, Royal Caribbean will have a homeport in the Dominican Republic for the first time. Legend of the Seas will sail out of Santo Domingo, through spring 2008, offering two alternating 7-night itineraries that can be combined for a 14-night vacation. Ports of call for the two Southern Caribbean sailings include Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Roseau, Dominica; St. George's, Grenada; Margarita Island, Venezuela; Oranjestad, Aruba; and Basseterre, St. Kitts; Point A Pitre, Guadaloupe; Fort De France, Martinique; Bridgetown, Barbados and Castries, St. Lucia. As both Legend itineraries do not include a U.S. port of call, they are likely to be popular with international guests. Finding Splendour in South America Beginning Dec. 20, 2007 through mid-February 2008, Splendour of the Seas will sail alternating, 8-night and 6-night round trip itineraries from Santos (Sao Paulo), Brazil calling on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Punta Del Este, Uruguay; Portobelo, Brazil; and four other destinations in Brazil: Buzios, Cabo Frio, Angra Dos Reis, and Ilhabela. Marking yet another industry-first for Royal Caribbean, beginning in mid-February 2008, Splendour will be the only ship to sail ëaround the horní of the curved southern tip of South America from Santos.
Tallink acquires Silja
The troubled Sea Containers group has agreed to sell its Silja cruise ferry business to Tallink Grupp. Tallink and Silja Line will join forces to become the leading shipping company in the Baltic Sea area, Tallink says in a statement. Tallink will pay Sea Containers EUR450M in cash plus issue 5 million new shares to the Bermuda based company to pay for Silja.
Carnival Corporation & Plc orders new ships for Costa, AIDA
Carnival Corporation & plc has ordered two cruise ships for its European brands with an option for a third. Included in today's order are a 92,700 gross ton vessel for Costa Crociere, as well as an option for a sister ship, both to be built by Italy's Fincantieri shipyard, and a 68,500-ton ship for AIDA Cruises to be built by Germany's Meyer Werft yard. The new vessels will add more than 6,500 total lower berths to Carnival Corporation & Plc's fleet and build upon its leadership position within the rapidly expanding European cruise market, with six million passengers expected to set sail by 2015. The new Costa ships will be built at Marghera shipyard and have a basis-two capacity of 2,260 each. The first ship is scheduled to enter service in spring 2009. If the option is exercised, the second ship is slated to debut in fall 2010. The all-in cost for each vessel will be approximately EUR 420 million. Including the new ship and option, Costa currently has five new vessels on order from Fincantieri representing 13,520 total lower berths. The new AIDA ship will have a basis-two capacity of 2,050. Scheduled delivery is spring 2010. The vessel's all-in cost will be approximately EUR 330 million and marks the fourth 68,500-ton vessel ordered for the brand in just the past 19 months. Three other vessels, also being built at Meyer Werft, are slated to debut in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Cruise industry associations, CLIA and ICCL, to merge
Driven by continued growth in the industry and cruising's ever widening share of the leisure travel market, the cruise industry today announced the merger of its two long-standing trade organizations. New York-based Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) will merge with Washington, DC-based International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL), forming an expanded organization representing major cruise lines and more than 17,000 travel agents selling cruises. The merged organization will continue to be called CLIA, and, after a transition period, is expected to move its headquarters to Miami. Current CLIA President Terry†L. Dale will lead the expanded trade association as†President and CEO. Dale has headed CLIA for nearly three years, during which time many highly successful outreach and education initiatives have been launched.
Carnival reports second quarter earnings
Carnival Corporation & plc reported net income of $380 million, or $0.46 diluted EPS, on revenues of $2.66 billion for its second quarter ended May 31, 2006. Net income for the second quarter of 2005 was $388 million, or $0.47 diluted EPS, on revenues of $2.52 billion. Net income for the six months ended May 31, 2006, was $631 million, or $0.77 diluted EPS, on revenues of $5.13 billion, compared to net income of $736 million, or $0.89 diluted EPS, on revenues of $4.91 billion for the same period in 2005. Second quarter 2006 revenues increased 5.8%, driven by both a 4.5% increase in capacity and an increase in revenue yields (revenue per available lower berth day). Net and gross revenue yields in current dollars for the second quarter of 2006 increased 1.5% compared to the prior year. Net revenue yields as measured on a local currency basis (ìconstant dollar basisî), which the company believes better reflects underlying revenue performance, increased 2.6% over the same period last year, with cruise ticket prices, onboard revenues and occupancies all increasing. Net cruise costs per available lower berth day (ìALBDî) for the second quarter of 2006 increased 4.6% compared to the same period last year. On a constant dollar basis, net cruise costs per ALBD increased 5.9% from the same period last year. The increase in costs per ALBD was primarily due to a 43% increase in fuel prices. Excluding the increased fuel prices, the companyís 2006 second quarter net cruise costs per ALBD increased 0.5% compared to last year on a constant dollar basis. Gross cruise costs per ALBD increased 3.8%. Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison said, ìOur second quarter earnings were largely in line with our expectations. Both our North American and European cruise brandsí yields were strong despite some price pressure on Caribbean sailings. We also did a very good job managing controllable costs, although higher fuel prices reduced second quarter earnings by $74 million, or 9 cents per share, compared to 2005.î
First block for the Norwegian Gem
In the covered building dock of Meyer Werft in Papenburg, one of a total of 67 steel blocks of the new 93,500 gross ton cruise vessel Norwegian Gem (S.670) was put into place on the keel blocks on Saturday. Following an old shipbuilding tradition Loui Keong Hui, son of Tan Sri Lim, Chairman of Norwegian Cruise Line, laid the traditional lucky penny, before the block was put down by the yard's 800-ton crane. The first block weighs more than 350 tons, is 20 m long, 27 m wide and about 9 m high. Norwegian Gem” is the seventh ship which is built by Meyer Werft for Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). It will be delivered in autumn 2007. This new vessel is one of the world's biggest Panamax-cruise ship that has ever been built. The ships length overall will be 294.13 m, the breadth is 32.2 m. The ship will be able to reach a speed of more than 25 knots. 2,384 passengers will be accommodated in 1,188 cabins and will be taken care of by a crew of over 1,000.
Cruise Critic stays ahead of the storm, introduces the Hurricane Zone
Cruise Critic, www.cruisecritic.com, has launched The Hurricane Zone, http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/hurricane.cfm, an up-to-the-minute news resource dedicated exclusively to providing updates and weather information as it pertains to cruise travel. The dedicated section, a first for consumer cruising, is a result of feedback from Cruise Critic members, many of whom are genuinely anxious about this yearís hurricane season, one that is predicted to be as busy as last yearís tragic six month stretch. The Hurricane Zone features need-to-know bulletins on storm-related diversions; service-oriented features on topics ranging from travel insurance to a behind-the-scenes look at a cruise lineís response to a hurricane. The section will host weekly columnist Steve Faber, a longtime cruise contributor and resident in ìthe hurricane zone,î who will discourse, via ìFrom the Desk of the Storm Meister,î about storm-oriented topics each Friday throughout the season. Thereís a direct link to threads on Cruise Criticís boards ñ the most popular forum in cruising for travelers to exchange viewpoints. And the section will also feature a map, courtesy of NOAA, that will, via live link, be updated dynamically. The site will be updated frequently if not constantly, as the situation warrants.
Newest MSC Cruises vessel delivered today
The MSC Musica's delivery took place today at St. Nazaire at Aker Yards France, in the presence of the President Patrick Boissier, shipowner Gianluigi Aponte and the CEO of MSC Crociere Pierfrancesco Vago. An exceptional guest was invited for this event: Gerard Depardieu, the international celebrity who is very popular in Italy. The Ceremony has also been attended by Karl Erik Kjelstad, President and CEO of Aker Yards and Mrs Ela Aponte, godmother of the new flagship MSC Musica. Soon after the delivery ceremony, MSC Musica will sail from Saint Nazaire toward Venice, where on June 29 she will be officially launched at the presence of the godmother Sophia Loren and numerous VIPs. She will then leave Venice for her first Mediterranean cruise. MSC Musica is the first of five ships ordered by MSC Cruises from Aker Yards France to be delivered over a period of three years: next delivery will be MSC Orchestra, followed by MSC Poesia and MSC Fantasia in 2008 and MSC Serenata in 2009.
Carnival launches fleetwide mobile phone service
Through an exclusive agreement between Carnival Cruise Lines and Wireless Maritime Services (WMS), a joint venture of Cingular Wireless and Maritime Telecommunications Network, Carnival passengers sailing aboard the ”Fun Ships” can now use a new communications option that allows them to stay in touch with people back home using their personal cell phones while in port or at sea.
Fred Olsen expands regional cruising
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines (FOCL) that introduced its fourth vessel in the spring will expand its programme of cruises from regional ports in the UK as a result of the bigger fleet. The 11,200 gross ton Black Prince, the smallest vessel in the fleet, will be based mainly in Liverpool next year for a series of cruises to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Islands. The ship will also sail from Greenock in Scotland, Belfast in Northern Ireland plus Dublin and Waterford in the Republic of Ireland. The 19,000 gross ton Braemar will focus on operating from Leith and Newcastle, while the 28,000 gross ton sister ships Black Watch and Boudicca will operate from Dover and Southampton. The company plans to continue to expand after 2008, when it will introduce the 34,000 gross ton Norwegian Crown that will be renamed and refitted prior to its entry into service. FOCL will have a total of 15 cruises from ports in the UK in January, February and March 2007: cruise ships no longer desert British ports in the winter period.
Stena to lengthen two ropaxes
Stena Line, the Swedish ferry company,will spend Ä100 million to lengthen the two large ropax ferries it operates between Harwich in the UK and Hoek van Holland in the Netherlands. The Stena Hollandica and the Stena Britannica, both built in South Korea in 2003 and of 44,000 gross tons, will be lengthened to 240 metres from 211.6 metres, making them the largest ropax vessels in the world. ìThe investment is Stena Line's largest investment ever in rebuilding ships,î the company said in a statement. The ships currently have 900 berths and 3,400 lane metres of vehicle deck capacity. ”Our North Sea Operations are of huge strategic importance to us and we believe that this investment is vital to our ability to meet customer demand on this route” said Gunnar Blomdahl, CEO of Stena Line. ”This investment will enable Stena Line to cater for the right capacity of both passenger and freight traffic.”
Cunard's Commodore Warwick to host final voyage after 36 years of service
Commodore Ronald Warwick OBE, LLD, FNI will retire on July 31, 2006 with 36 years of company service after hosting his final transatlantic crossing on the Cunard flagship, Queen Mary 2, from New York on July 24. The Commodore and his wife, Kim, will host a variety of functions during the six-day voyage. Special lunches will be held in the Commodore's honour in both New York and Southampton and all passengers will take part in a 'Commodore's Dinner' during the voyage complete with commemorative menu. Captaining Cunard Queens is something of a Warwick family tradition. Commodore Warwick holds the unique distinction in Cunard Line's long history of notable Captains by following in the footsteps of his late father, Commodore William Warwick CBE, who sailed as Master of the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, was the first Master appointed to Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1968, and was also promoted to Commodore of the fleet, in 1970. Commodore Ronald Warwick joined Cunard Line as a Third Officer in 1970.† He first sailed as Captain in 1986 on board Cunard Princess, and also sailed in command of the Cunard Countess and Cunard Crown Dynasty before his appointment as Master of Queen Elizabeth 2 in July 1990. From April 1996 he sailed permanently as Senior Master on board Queen Elizabeth 2 until his appointment as Master-designate of Queen Mary 2 in 2002. In December 2003 he was promoted to the rank of Commodore of the Cunard Line fleet. In June 2005 Commodore Ronald Warwick's service to the Merchant Navy was recognized by his being awarded the OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours for that year. Commodore Warwick also holds the rank of Captain in the Royal Naval Reserve, and is a Fellow of the Nautical Institute.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines names fifth ship
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines (FOCL) has announced that its fifth ship will be called Balmoral and will be the first ship of this name to sail under the Fred. Olsen flag. The 34,242-ton vessel is being purchased from Star Cruises and is currently operating for Norwegian Cruise Lines as Norwegian Crown. It will transfer to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines in autumn 2007 and begin cruising in January 2008. Although Scottish by name, on board the dÈcor and design concepts of Balmoral will reflect a British atmosphere in keeping with the other vessels in the fleet. Public room names include Blenheim - a very familiar name to those with long-standing acquaintance with the company, and Ballindalloch named after a stately home set in the heartland of Scotland in the Grampian region. Mike Rodwell, managing director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: ìThe choice of the name Balmoral is ideal for this elegant ship - like our fourth ship Boudicca she has been named to reflect our commitment to our British customers.î The Fred. Olsen ship, which will be Bahamas registered, will be joining another vessel of this name operating in UK waters. The British registered M.V. Balmoral, operated by Waverley Excursions Ltd., carries up to 800 passengers, offering daytime tours around the coastline of Britain. The two companies have agreed that their activities are mutually exclusive, and indeed there are positive aspects to the association.
NCL is the first cruise line to offer cell phone service fleetwide
NCL is the first cruise line to offer cell phone service fleetwide. The service is available for all passengers on all of its ships worldwide even when communications towers are oceans away. The company is providing the service through
Wireless Maritime Services, a joint venture of AT&T Wireless and Maritime Telecommunications Network (MTN). Leading the way in shipboard technology, NCL was the first cruise line to offer cell phone service when it introduced the new technology on Norwegian Sun more than two years ago. NCL pioneered the industry's first Internet access on the high seas with its Internet cafÈ in 1999. In 2002, NCL became the first cruise line to provide remote wireless Internet (also known as Wi-Fi) to its guests. All services are now standard throughout NCL's entire fleet. The offering combines satellite and wireless services, enabling passengers to make and receive calls on their own cell phones with their own phone
numbers while in international waters. The service is available to most passengers with GSM and CDMA phones that
operate at 1900 MHz, which is standard in the U.S. Passengers can make and receive both voice calls and text messages. In addition, passengers with data-capable GSM/GPRS devices can access data services, such as email, internet and picture messaging. Passengers are billed by the carrier to whom they subscribe at roaming rates set by that carrier, just as if they were roaming on land instead of at sea.
CROWN PRINCESS EXPERIENCES AN UNEXPECTED LIST
After departure from Port Canaveral at approximately 3:40 pm eastern time on July 18, Crown Princess experienced an unexpected list to the port side as she began sailing north towards her final port of New York. Initial reports are that a number of passengers did sustain serious injuries. There are also numerous reports of injuries such as cuts, bruises and fractures. ”We are currently assessing the full extent of passenger injuries, and have returned the ship to Port Canaveral to transfer the more seriously affected passengers to a medical facility ashore. We deeply regret this incident, and are doing everything we can to make our passengers as comfortable as possible under these difficult circumstances,” Princess Cruises statement says, and continues: ”We are also investigating the cause of the ship's sudden list, which is unknown at this time. We can confirm that the watertight integrity of the ship has not been compromised, and it is safe for passengers to remain onboard while the ship is alongside in Port Canaveral.” The cruise will be terminated in Port Canaveral, and arrangements are being made to return the passengers home. A full refund will be given to passengers, together with a full reimbursement of any additional expenses. Princess will provide details about the next cruise after it is able to fully evaluate the situation. Crown Princess is currently on a 9-night Western Caribbean sailing, roundtrip out of New York, with calls at Grand Turk, Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman. Port Canaveral was the last port of call before returning to New York.
Finland wants to ban all discharge waste water into Baltic
The Finnish environmental ministry wants to ban the discharge of all waste water from ships, including cruise liners, into the Baltic Sea. The country has already presented a motion in the matter to Helcom, the inter-governmental commission set up for the preservation of the Baltic Sea, the Finnish news agency STT reports. ìThis summer has again shown that even many large cruise vessels discharge their waste weater directly into the Baltic rather than use reception facilities available in ports, ìsaid Stefan Wallin, permanent secretary at the ministry, according to the STT report that was cited in the media. ìAlthough this is not illegal, it cannot be considered as acceptable from the environmental point of view,î he was reported as saying. Wallin, who spoke at a shipping policy conference in Turku in south western Finland, said that the aim is to find an answer to the problem on the international level.
RCCL lowers guidance after second quarter dip
Second quarter net profit of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) fell to $122.4 million from $155.2 million in the same period as fuel costs rose by 25% and revitalisation of Century increased expenses by $55 million. Looking ahead, the company lowred its earnings per share (EPS) estimate for the full year to $2.90-$3.00 from $2.95-$3.15. However, it retained its earlier 3% to 4% rise forecast for net yields for this year, although trading in the Caribbean continues soft. Second quarter net yield growth of 6% exceeded forecast of 5%, while net cruise costs increased 14.4% due to fuel, timing and other items. ”Despite continuing pressure from higher fuel prices, our second quarter results were better than we expected,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer. ”We are especially pleased with the performance of our two brands, which continue to drive strong yield growth
Aker Yards reports record operating profits
Aker Yards had revenues of NOK 6 144 million in the second quarter of 2006, an increase of 52% compared with NOK 4 053 million in the corresponding period of 2005. High activity in all three business areas and the acquisition of two yards in France contributed to the positive development. The order reserve increased by NOK 12 739 million from the previous
quarter, of which order intake in the second quarter was NOK 4 669 million. The acquisition in France contributed with NOK 14 billion to the order book. Offshore & Specialized Vessels contributed the major part of the order intake, with orders for 15 new vessels. The order backlog at the close of the second quarter was NOK 60 607 million, compared with NOK 36 305 million at the end of the second quarter 2005. Aker Yards achieved an EBITDA result of NOK 382 million in the second quarter of 2006, compared with NOK 240 million in the corresponding quarter of 2005. The EBITDA margin for the second quarter of 2006 was 6.2%. The group's revenues will increase significantly as a result of acquisitions in France, Ukraine and Norway, whereas margin improvement will not come to full effect until the necessary integration synergies have been effectuated. The EBITDA margin target of 7%, over the business cycle, across the business areas, remains firm.
KONE supplies elevators for three Solstice-class vessels
KONE has won the contract to design, supply and install all the elevators on Celebrity Cruises' three new cruise ships. The ships, which belong to the new Solstice-class series, will be built by Meyer Werft GmbH in Germany. KONE will supply the cruise ships with altogether 69 units including customized passenger elevators, service elevators and dumbwaiters. The ships will be delivered in October 2008, July 2009 and June 2010 respectively. The new series of ships will provide cruise passengers with increased luxury and added space. The ships will be 315 meters long and over 36 meters wide, each accommodating 2,850 passengers. The new ships continue Celebrity's tradition of high design and innovativeness. A third Solstice-class vessel was just ordered last month.
Caribbean continues to soften - Veitch
The Caribbean market has continued to soften as the year has progressed, according to Colin Veitch, ceo of NCL Corporation. He said in a conference call that higher interest rates combined with higher cost of commuting plus a slowdown in the appreciation in house prices in the US has affected the market, with the lowest priced offerings affected most.
NCL Corporation cuts yield rise forecast to 3% from 5%
NCL Corporation Ltd., parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, NCL America and Orient Lines, has lowered its guidance for net yield rise on continued weakness in the Caribbean. ìThe Company continues to experience a very competitive pricing environment, especially in the Caribbean. Bookings are closer to sailing date than at the same time last year. As a result of this challenging environment, the Company now expects Net Yields for the full year of 2006 to increase approximately 3% versus the Companyís previous guidance of an increase of approximately 5%,î NCL Corp said in a statement. Revenues for the second quarter of 2006 increased 33.5% to $499.1 million from $373.8 million in the second quarter of 2005. The increase in revenues was primarily attributable to a 19.5% increase in capacity and a 9.2% increase in Net Yields. The improvement in Net Yields in the second quarter of 2006 from the same quarter in 2005 was primarily a result of higher passenger ticket prices, which is partially due to the effect of increased capacity in our premium Hawaii business, and an increase in onboard spending. Gross Yields increased 11.8% from the second quarter of 2005. Fuel prices continued to rise during the quarter, resulting in a year-over-year increase in fuel costs of 55.5%. Average fuel prices for the second quarter of 2006 increased approximately 33% to $365 per metric ton from $275 per metric ton in the second quarter of 2005. Despite this increase and the continued increase in payroll and start-up costs from the expansion of the Companyís inter-island cruises in Hawaii, second quarter 2006 operating income increased to $19.6 million from $0.9 million for the same period in 2005.
Financials drag Star Cruises to the red
An increase in financing costs combined with non-realised foreign exchange losses dragged Star Cruises, the third largest cruise shipping group in the world, to a second quarter net loss of US$33.9 million compared with a profit of $6.2 million in the same period last year. Net revenue yields rose 2.6% and capacity by 21% to 2.5 million passenger days. Operating profit increased by 68.4% to $39.5 million. However, non-realised foreign exchange losses of $20.2 million replaced a profit of $16.2 million booked in the same period last year. Financing expenses increased to $41.8 million from $34.5 million. Excluding brands grouped under its NCL Corporation unit, net yields rose 2.4% on a capacity increase of 28.5%, while occupancy ratio fell to 87.6% from 100%. This was due to low occupancy levels on Super Star Libra, formerly Norwegian Sea of NCL, that operated its first season in India and the Mediterranean following transfer from the sister company.
Star Cruisesí shares rise on interims
Shares in Star Cruises, the worldís third largest cruise shipping group, staged solid gains after the company had reported a strong rise in second quarter operating profit, but a net loss due to largely unrealized financial items (please see separate article for further details). The Star Cruisesí stock closed in Hong Kong at HK$1.39, up 2.21% on Tuesday. It remains close to its 52-week low of HK$1.25 whereas the high of the same period is HK$2.88. Elsewhere shares in leading cruise shipping companies closed mixed. In London, Carnival PLC ended the day 0.3% firmer at £20.29, while in New York, Carnival Corp traded up 1.33% at $37.23 at lunchtime on Tuesday. In Oslo, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd closed NOK 6.50 lower at NOK 205.50, while in New York shares in the company had also lost ground, trading 0.46% lower at $32.65 at lunchtime local time.
TTS buys Schat-Harding from Umoe
TTS Marine signed a letter of intent with Umoe Industri to acquire of Umoe Schat-Harding, which supplies lifeboats and other life-saving equipment to the shipping and offshore markets. The company had a turnover for the six months ending 30 June 2006 of NOK 236 million, EBITDA at NOK 37 million. The turnover is divided into NOK 93 million on after sales and NOK 143 million on new sales. Order backlog at 30 June 2006 for new sales was NOK 430 million. The agreed purchase price is around NOK 360 million based on a net interest bearing debt of around NOK 30million, out of which NOK 210 million will be paid in cash that will be financed by debt and around NOK 150 million financed by issue of 4,000,000 shares in TTS Marine ASA with a subscription price of NOK 37.71 per share. After the execution of this agreement Umoe Industri`s equity share of TTS will be 16.5%.
Carnival Freedom to launch 7-night cruise from Miami in November 2007
The new 110,000 gross ton Carnival Freedom will operate year-round 7-night Caribbean cruises from the Port of Miami beginning in November 2007, becoming the newest Fun Ship to operate from that port. Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, the 2,974-passenger ship will launch alternating weeklong eastern and western Caribbean cruises from the Port of Miami beginning November 17, 2007. Prior to the start-up of this program, Carnival Freedom will operate a special one-time four-day cruise from Miami to Key West and Cozumel Nov. 12-16, 2007. ”With its wide range of on-board amenities, array of balconied staterooms, myriad dining, dancing and entertainment venues, and expansive facilities for children and teens, Carnival Freedom will be a spectacular addition to the 'Fun Ship' fleet. Deploying this ship to Miami will provide our guests with even more exciting 'Fun Ship' vacation options from the 'Cruise Capital of the World',” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. Carnival Freedom will replace Carnival Triumph which will be deployed from Miami to New Orleans to begin year-round 7-night Caribbean departures beginning in September 2007. Including Carnival Freedom and the line's four other Miami-based ships, Carnival will have 12,810 total lower berths at that port -- the most of any of its 18 North American departure points. Prior to the start-up of its new Miami-based cruises, Carnival Freedom will debut with an inaugural summer schedule of Mediterranean/Greek Isles voyages from March 14 to October 16, 2007, followed by a 14-day transatlantic crossing from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy to Miami.
Fred. Olsen to base new ship in Miami
UK-based Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines says that the latest addition to its fleet, Balmoral, will use Miami as its base port for winter season Caribbean cruising. The ship, currently sailing as Norwegian Crown for Norwegian Cruise Lines, is due to arrive in Florida on 1st March 2008 and will operate four cruises before it returns to Europe for the summer. It is expected that the following winter the ship will be based in Miami for the entire season. Balmoralís first Florida cruise pattern will consist of two 10-night Eastern and two 11-night Western Caribbean itineraries, both of which will combine popular with more unusual ports of call. For instance St Kitts and Santo Thomas de Castilla mix with Antigua and Jamaica to provide a more unusual and interesting experience in the Caribbean. Nigel Lingard, Marketing Director for the line, said: ìThe size of Balmoral will complement the existing fleet perfectly, and whilst her name is resolutely Scottish, the decorative style on board will resemble an elegant English country house hotel and will retain the essentially British nature of the dÈcor and atmosphere so familiar to Fred. Olsen passengers.î He continued: ìWe know that our existing passenger base in the US is very comfortable with our British atmosphere on board, and we are confident that Balmoral will continue to attract those Americans who actively seek out a more unusual style of cruise holiday.î Balmoral will begin cruising on 30th January 2008.
EasyCruise and Louis in franchise agreement
EasyCruise has announced its second franchise agreement, with Cyprus based cruise ship operator Louis plc. This new agreement will cover the Eastern Mediterranean regions and follows swiftly from the launch of the company's first franchise vessel - easyCruiseTwo - with Dutch company Boonstra River Line, which left Amsterdam on its maiden voyage on 11 August. EasyCruise and Louis plc will now jointly approach Neorion Holdings, the Greek shipyard group to increase the number of ships covered by the letter of intent already announced by easyCruise from two firm and two optional to three firm and three optional vessels. The announcement means that if all the new building contracts and options are exercised, the total fleet operating under the easyCruise brand will reach eight vessels by 2011.
Hamworthy acquires German desalination plant maker
Hamworthy, the UK based company that designs and manufactures marine and offshore fluid handling systems, today announces that it has acquired Serck Como GmbH, a market leader in desalination plant for cruise ships and other vessels and condensers/heat exchangers for onshore applications. Serck Como, a privately owned company based near Hamburg, Germany is currently profitable and experiencing significant growth especially in the cruise sector, which comprises the majority of its business. For the calendar year 2005 sales totalled Ä17.6 million and EBIT was Ä1.36 million. Net assets totalled Ä2.0 million and net debt on completion is expected to be Ä1.5 million. Serck Como provides Hamworthy with an enhanced presence in Germany with its significant ship owner population and major shipyards. In addition, Serck Como's technology complements Hamworthy's existing wastewater treatment business as well enhancing its customer base globally.
Construction of the MSC Orchestra progresses at Aker France shipyard
The Aker France shipyard in St. Nazaire has placed the rudder in position for MSC Orchestra. This is a flap-designed rudder, model number HIN R4400, produced by Rolls Royce. It is 17.9 feet high, 14.4 feet long and has a surface area of 237.8 square feet, representing an important phase in the construction of this new ship. On September 9 MSC Orchestra will be moved from the Aker France shipyard to Penhoet quay, where the interior fit out will take place. MSC Orchestra will be completed in April 2007 and, in line with sister ship, MSC Musica, will be christened on May 29, 2007 in Venice. She will have 80% external staterooms, of which 65% have a balcony. There will also be an emphasis on public spaces such as the spa/fitness area. MSC Orchestra represents another step in MSC Cruisesí ongoing expansion program, as will the construction of both MSC Fantasia and MSC Serenata, due to join the fleet in 2008 and 2009. MSC Cruises will then reach a passenger capacity of 1,100,000.
Alaska cruise tax approved
Alaskan voters on August 22 went to the polls and approved a combined $50 per person head and berth tax on cruise passengers and a 33 percent levy on the adjusted gross income of cruise ship casinos. With 87 percent of the precincts reporting, 52.4 percent had voted in favor. Other elements of the referendum require cruise lines to reveal their financial arrangements with business partners in port, such as shore excursion operators and preferred retailers. The industry has maintained that passage of the measures would be detrimental to Alaska, and spent more than US$1 million in a failed effort to defeat the proposals, according to financial disclosure statements filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. Most of that funding came from the North West CruiseShip Association, which warned the taxes might drive away future cruise passengers and reduce spending ashore, noting that Alaskaís overall market share is flat. Juneau is predicting an increase in arrivals of slightly more than one percent in 2006, ìthe lowest projected growth in cruise passenger arrivals since 1995,î according to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Carnival comments potential impact of Alaska cruise tax initiative
Carnival Corporation & plc today commented on the potential impact of Alaska's Ballot Initiative 2 which has been approved by the state's voters and is expected to be implemented in 2007. Although still subject to final certification by the state, the new taxes include a $50 per passenger head tax which will increase the government taxes and fees paid by passengers embarking on Alaskan cruises. At this time, the company cannot estimate the impact these additional passenger taxes may have on its Alaskan cruise business. In addition to the head tax, the initiative includes a gaming
tax on any gambling conducted within state waters as well as a state corporate income tax for cruise lines operating ships in Alaska. Carnival estimates that the gaming and income taxes may reduce 2007 earnings per share by approximately $0.03. The initiative also calls for cruise lines to reveal profits on shore excursions and any advertising revenues earned from shoreside businesses. Carnival Corporation & plc brands currently carry approximately 560,000 passengers annually in Alaska aboard 16 cruise ships - eight from Holland America Line, seven from Princess Cruises and one from Carnival Cruise Lines. ”We are disappointed that the Ballot Initiative 2 has passed as we believe this will inhibit the future growth and expansion of Alaska's tourism business,” said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO. ”The estimates of the impact of these taxes are being made prior to our finalizing deployment, legal and other business
decisions that will need to be considered as a result of thisinitiative,” he added.
P&O Cruises to refurbish Oriana
P&O Cruises will send its 1995 built Oriana for a refit in Bremerhaven in November that will include the introduction of a fine dining restaurant plus some other alterations to the ship, according to the Portunus club magazine for the companyís past passengers. The Curzon Room, currently a lounge with interiors in Indian style including large parasol like chandeliers, will be converted into a fine dining restaurant with 96 seats. The parasols will be retained and a cover charge introduced for the restaurant. The adjacent Tiffanyís Bar will be renovated to serve pre dinner drinks, while the Lordís Tavern Pub will receive a new entertainment system, including plasma screens. Weddings at sea will be introduced in January 2007 which probably means that the shipís registry will be transferred from London to Hamilton in Bermuda as is already the case with other Carnival Corp & PLC ships under the British flag that offer the option.
Navigator lifts RCI bookings in UK by 29%
The pending introduction of Navigator of the Seas next April from Southampton has helped Royal Caribbean International (RCI) to record a 29% year-on rise bookings from Britian so far this year. Claire Bateman, Trade Marketing and Promotions Manager for RCI and Celebrity Cruises says: ìItís been a fantastic year to date with sales figures for Navigator of the Seas currently showing as up 29% year on year and we couldnít have gotten to this point without the support and enthusiasm of our trade partners.” RCI will replace the 70,000 gross ton Legend of the Seas that is currently operating its second season from Britain with the 137,000 Navigator of the Seas next year. The company will launch a £1 million marketing campaign to promote the new ship in the autumn. The UK is the worldís second largest source market, with 1.25 million passengers expected in 2005 and 1.50 million in 2008.
Construction begins for the UK's largest cruise ship
A ceremony marking the keel-laying for P&O Cruises Ventura was held today at the Monfalcone shipyard of Fincantieri near Trieste, Italy. The largest ship ever built for P&O Cruises and for the British cruise market, Ventura will enter service in April 2008. The keel-laying involved the placement in the dry dock of one section of the shipís hull. This section is made up of six pre-manufactured blocks, weighs 650 tons and is ready-fitted with piping and other internal structure. The ceremony follows an intensive period of design and development. 50 sections and several additional interconnecting steel blocks will be used in the construction of Ventura and she will take to the water for the first time at her float out in June 2007, before her delivery to P&O Cruises at the end of March 2008.
Alaska tax faces hurdles
A week after Alaskan voters approved a series of new cruise taxes, election officials must certify the results before they become law and go into effect for the 2007 season. The target date for certification is September 15, according to the Alaska Division of Elections. Even then, some of the tax provisions may face legal challenge, according to industry observers inside and outside Alaska. These would include the tax on casino profits and another provision placing a corporate income tax on the cruise lines. Both could be in conflict with federal law or other regulations. ìItís a very complex measure. In my 40 years in Alaska, Iíve never seen a voter initiative this long and this complex,î said John Shively, Holland Americaís vice president of government and community relations. Budgetary considerations may also come into play at a time when the state of Alaska has a hiring freeze due to the partial shutdown of oil production in Prudhoe Bay. ìThe measure will require hiring six new state employees at a cost of US$626,000 annually at the Department of Revenue, and the Department of Environmental Conservation estimates that it will cost US$5,600,000 in employees and implementation costs in the first year,î said Patti Mackey, executive director of the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau. ìThe state is required to enact this law within 90 days of passage.†Since the cruise lines will not be in Alaska at that time, and the state wonít be able to collect fees until next year at the earliest, the state will have to find funds now to begin establishing the program,î she pointed out.
Crystal invests $23 million in Symphony refurbishment
Ultra-luxury cruise specialist Crystal Cruises is spending $23 million to enhance Crystal Symphony in what will be the cruise line's largest-ever dry dock. In just two weeks, from October 31 through November 12, 2006, nearly 1,300 people will work around the clock on more than 150 separate projects to create what will essentially be a new ship, especially to those familiar with it. Emerging with a decidedly sophisticated and contemporary style, Crystal Symphony's comprehensive undertaking will transform all staterooms, a continuation of the ship's last dry dock in 2004 when all penthouses were refurbished; much of Tiffany Deck, the ship's main entertainment area, including a completely reconstructed social lounge, new casino and new nightclub; complete redesign of all boutiques, shops and cafÈ; as well as dozens of behind the scenes improvements. This major construction project follows an earlier multi-million dollar renovation two years ago that debuted a brand-new Feng Shui-inspired spa, a new Vintage Room - today one of the ship's most popular features, an expanded Computer University@Sea, redesign of specialty restaurants, and complete refurbishment of all penthouse accommodations. ”As a leader in luxury travel, Crystal has an obligation to provide our discerning clientele with an experience that continues to deliver upon their expectations and at the same time exceed our own exacting standards,” says Thomas Mazloum, Crystal's senior vice president of hotel operations. ”Within the last two to three years, we will have invested in excess of $35 million dollars in new construction projects that will ultimately transform the look of Crystal Symphony with incredibly sophisticated and modern architectural features and design elements.”
Royal Caribbean acquires Pullmantur
In a move to further expand its European and Latin American operations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced its agreement to purchase Pullmantur S.A., a Madrid-based cruise and tour operator. Royal Caribbean expects the acquisition to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2006, subject to regulatory approvals. Pullmantur, formed in 1971, is the largest cruise operator in Spain. It has two primary business interests: cruises and tour operations. Its cruise division consists of five ships operating in Europe and Latin America. Its tour operations sells travel packages to Spanish guests - including hotel and flights - primarily to Caribbean resorts, and sells travel packages to Europe aimed at Latin American customers. Pullmantur also has a small air business that operates three aircraft in support of its cruise and tour. Pullmantur has offices in Spain and Portugal, with approximately 2,600 employees, and will be Royal Caribbean's first wholly-owned European brand. Royal Caribbean has signed an agreement with the shareholders of Pullmantur to buy all of the capital stock of the company for Ä430 million, plus Pullmantur's net debt of approximately Ä270 million. Royal Caribbean has obtained a committed bridge facility to support the purchase. As part of the transaction, Pullmantur will be withdrawing from all Cuba- related activities prior to closing. ”Pullmantur offers a terrific strategic opportunity for Royal Caribbean to further grow our presence in the European and Latin American markets in a major and tangible way,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. ”We have made significant inroads into these regions through our Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises brands, and this combination will allow us to accelerate our growth in these markets. Pullmantur will remain an independent brand under the Royal Caribbean umbrella, keeping its distinctive and successful customer experience.” ”Our partnership with Royal Caribbean is a bold strategic move that will enable us to further grow our highly successful brand,” said Alfonso Lopez Perez, general manager of Pullmantur. ”This is an excellent opportunity to align ourselves with one of the world's largest and most successful companies in the travel industry. We are very familiar with Royal Caribbean, and I know our two organizations will both benefit from the combination.” Royal Caribbean expects this acquisition to be neutral to marginally accretive to 2007 earnings per share and accretive thereafter.
DFDS Seaways in two cruise ferry deals
DFDS Seaways has purchased the passenger ship m.s. Fjord Norway from the Norwegian shipping company Fjord Line. She will be delivered 16 October 2006. After refurbishment and change of name, the vessel will be deployed on the previous Fjord Line route Bergen-Haugesund-Stavanger-Newcastle from the start of November, which will be a new route of DFDS Seawaysí. ”We are convinced that there is a large market potential, which will increase for passengers and for freight, on both sides of the North Sea, and we have the know-how required to develop operations with good profit margins on this traditional route,î DFDS COO, S¯ren Jespersen, said. Fjord Norway will sail under Danish colours. A thorough refurbishment and upgrade will bring the ship up to DFDS standard. Fjord Norway has large public areas, seven restaurants, a nightclub, piano bar, a 500m2 tax-free shop, conference facilities and a play area for children. She has 501 cabins and can accommodate 1,600 passengers and 580 passenger vehicles. Freight capacity: 1410 lane metres. Fjord Norway is sister ship to KING OF SCANDINAVIA, which was acquired by DFDS Seaways in February 2006 and deployed on the Amsterdam-Newcastle route. As a consequence of the acquisition of the Fjord Line's route to England, DFDS Seawaysí current Gothenburg/Kristiansand-Newcastle route will close 1 November 2006 and the passenger ship PRINCESS OF SCANDINAVIA has been sold to interests abroad as a result. The parties have agreed not to disclose the sales and purchase price of the vessels. The purchase of Fjord Norway and the sale of PRINCESS OF SCANDINAVIA will not have
Norwegian Cruise Line to build up to three new cruise ships
NCL Corporation Ltd. announced today that it has entered into a contract with Aker Yards S.A. of France to build up to three new cruise ships, totaling 12,600 berths for delivery between 2009 and 2011. The contract price, comprising two firm ships and one option, is Ä2.17 billion, or approximately $2.8 billion at today's exchange rate. The ships will be built for the company's Norwegian Cruise Line brand (NCL) and will each be approximately 150,000 Gross Tons and 4,200 passenger berths. The order is firm for two ships for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2009 and the second quarter of 2010, and there is an option for a third sister ship for delivery in the first quarter of 2011. The contract price for each of the first two ships is Ä735 million, and for the optional third ship is Ä700 million.
Star Cruises signs global distribution agreement with Amadeus UK
Amadeus, a global leader in technology and distribution solutions for the travel and tourism industry, has signed a global distribution agreement with Star Cruises, the leading cruise line in Asia Pacific, to distribute Star Cruisesí inventory through Amadeus UK. Amadeus UK will be the first of the Global Distribution Systems to have Star Cruises available in its system. Star Cruisesí content was launched in the UK in early August. ìThe agreement with Amadeus UK will complement our ongoing sales and marketing activities in the UK in terms of the enhanced connectivity and widening the reach with travel trade partners in UK. It will also provide a more user-friendly and seamless system for booking cabins in the UKî, said Ms. Jean Teo, Star Cruisesí Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. Star Cruises started offering cruise itineraries for the first time in the Eastern Mediterranean from early June with the basing of its ship in Valletta, Malta. The ship was on a seasonal deployment in India from September 2005 to May 2006. The introduction of Star Cruises into the Global Distribution system in the UK is a timely development for its expanding travel trade partners in the UK. Star Sruises is the worldís third largest cruise shipping group with a fleet of 20 ships: its brands comprise of Star Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) NCL America and Orient Lines.
ABP invests in future growth of Southampton cruise business
Associated British Portsí (ABP) Port of Southampton has signed a new seven-year agreement with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL). The agreement precedes an investment of approximately £10 million that will enlarge the City Cruise Terminal at 101 Berth so that it can accommodate the new generation of large cruise ships, including RCCLís Navigator of the Seas, a Voyager class vessel of RCCLís Royal Caribbean International brand, which will be based in Southampton during 2007. To cater for the 3,800-passenger capacity of Navigator of the Seas, City Cruise Terminal will be enlarged to provide a remodelled passenger entrance and security area, expanded registration area with fifty check-in desks, and larger waiting and baggage-reclaim halls. In February of this year, ABP announced that the port had broken its long-standing record for the number of deep-sea cruise passengers handled over the course of one year, after 702,356 passengers passed through the port in 2005. In March, Southampton was named ëBest Turnaround Port Operationsí at the worldís largest cruise conference, held annually in Miami, Florida. One month later, the port received five cruise ships on one day ñ the first time so many cruise vessels have gathered simultaneously at any UK port since 1966. The port then welcomed RCCLís Freedom of the Seas on 29 April, which, at 160,000 gross tons, is the worldís biggest cruise ship.
Turku university launches course to train fitting out specialists
The Turku University of Applied Sciences (Turun Ammattikorkeakoulu) will start a course aiming to specialise people with background in engineering or economic studies with the requirements of fitting out cruise ships. The next course will commence in November and last about one year. The group will meet on two evenings each week. The course targets people who work in the shipbuilding, sub contracting or equipment supplier industries or are due to start to work in this area in the near future. Its purpose is to deepen the knowledge of participants about IT, safety, structural systems of ship, interior materials and structures, issues related to fire safety and weight, cost control plus planning and project management. The course fee is Ä168 plus Ä84 for materials. Applications should reach the university by 26 October.
US judge dismisses rogue wave class action motion
A judge in the US has ruled that there are no grounds for a class action lawsuit in the case of a rogue wave that made a cruise of Norwegian Dawn in April 2005 a rough ride. ìAfter a rigorous analysis of the facts and law, United States District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga denied the plaintiff's motion for class certification in the lawsuit stemming from the April 10, 2005 voyage of Norwegian Dawn. The ship encountered heavy weather on its return to New York including an unpredictable large wave. None of the guests and crew suffered serious injuries, NCL Corporation said in a statement. ”We are pleased and gratified with Judge Altonaga's decision that the lawsuit is not appropriate for class action status. From the outset, this frivolous lawsuit has existed only in the minds of the plaintiffs' lawyers,î said NCL Corporation's President and CEO Colin Veitch. The court victory followed the very favorable conclusions of The National Transportation Safety Board (”NTSB”) and the Bahamas Maritime Authority(BMA), both finding no wrongdoing by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) or Norwegian Dawn's Captain. In its report released in November 2005, the NTSB concluded that although the rough weather made the voyage unpleasant, ”the safety and integrity of the ship was in no way compromised by this incident.”
Higher volumes help Viking Line to profit
An increase in both passenger and freight volumes, reflecting a higher number of crossings made by its ships, helped Viking Line, the Finnish cruise ferry group, to return to profit in the nine months to 31 July.The group made a net profit of Ä5.1 million in nine months to 31 July compared with a loss of Ä0.6 million in the same period last year. The recovery was partly due to a 5% rise in turnover, which reflected a higher number of crossings the companyís ships made in the latest review period. Repair and maintenance costs declined from year-on, but bunker prices were markedly higher. Yield per passenger remained unchanged. The companyís seven ships carried a total of 4.18 million passengers, which was 4.6% more than a year earlier, while the number of freight units increased by 4.0% to 66,573 units. The company now expects the 2006 financial year result to be better than that of 2005 while in its previous interim report in June it forecast earnings in line with those of 2005, when it made a Ä2.8 million net profit
Interim loss deepens at Color Group
Color Group, the Norwegian cruise ferry group, suffered a deeper loss than in the same period last year in the first six months of 2006 and the board forecasts difficult trading conditions to drag full year earnings below those of 2005. High cost of bunkers and a slight drop in passenger volumes led to deepening of interim loss at Color Line, the Norwegian cruise ferry and hotel group. First half pre tax loss amounted to NOK86 million compared with a NOK51 million loss year-on. The number of passengers the privately owned company carried on its 10 ferries declined by about 38,000 to 1.93 million. The decline was mainly due to fewer passengers using the short-haul crossings between Norway and Denmark and Norway and Sweden. Meanwhile, Color Fantasy, the 75,000gt cruise liner with car deck the company operates between Oslo and Kiel, has carried a million passengers since entering service in December 2004. The ship has increased passenger volume by 40% on the service and the number of German passengers by 45% since its introduction. Looking ahead, the Color Group board forecasts that a falling trend in full year earnings that started in 2003 will continue and anticipates the 2006 result to fall slightly short of the NOK256 million pre tax profit the group made last year.
Carnival expected to post higher interims on 21 Sept
Carnival Corporation & PLC, the worldís largest cruise shipping company, is expected to report a rise in interim profit in the third quarter of its financial year, when it unveils its figures on 21 September. The average per share earnings forecast from 19 analysts, posted on the companyís website, is $1.46 compared with $1.36 actualised in the third quarter of the 2005 financial year and of $1.03 in the preceding financial year. Group net profit for the third quarter of 2005 amounted to $1.15 billion, a record for the company and an increase from $1.03 billion in the same period in the 2004 financial year.
RCI returns to Asia with Rhapsody in December 2007
Royal Caribbean International (RCI), part of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL), will return to Asia in December 2007, bringing the active cruising experience to the region. The Vision-class ship, Rhapsody of the Seas featuring the line's signature rock-climbing wall and indoor glass walls providing views of Asian landscapes, will offer a series of cruises out of Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, visiting ports of call in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. ”The introduction of Rhapsody of the Seas into Asia, together with our previously announced deployments of ships to South America and the Dominican Republic are all part of the company's strategy of international business development and expansion into emerging and high-growth markets,” said Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean International. ”We have had the pleasure of hosting thousands of satisfied Asian guests onboard our vessels over the past several years and intend to bring to Asia all of the elements and the characteristics of our style of cruising that have made our brand globally recognized as an award-winning vacation experience.” RCI operated the Sun Viking and Legend of the Seas in Asia in the late 1990s, but withdrew from the region later. Last year it planned to bring Celebrity brand to asia Pacific, but later canceled its plans.
Carnival stock seen heading north
Shares in the constituents of Carnival Corporation & PLC, the worldís largest cruise shipping company, could shrug off their recent weakness and post solid gains in the future, according to two research reports published this month. Panmure Gordon & Co initiated coverage of Carnival PLC, the UK constituent of the group, with a ”buy” rating. The target price is set to £29 while the stock currently trades at about £23.70 on the London Stock Exchange. In a research note cited on newratings.com on 13 Sep, the analysts mention that the companyís capacity growth is expected to accelerate to 8% next year. The analysts believe that Carnivalís share price would rebound in the current year on account of abating concerns in the Middle East and weakening oil prices. Meanwhile, Dresdner Kleinwort maintain their ”long term buy” rating on Carnival Corp, the American part of the group, with target price is set to $53, according to newratings.com. The stock currently trades in New York at about $43.50. The analysts mention that the recent Caribbean channel check indicates a decline in fourth quarter ticket prices, with modest hikes for the first quarter of 2007. Carnival is well positioned to meet the EPS estimate for the third quarter of this year, the analysts say. The average earnings per share (EPS) forecast from 19 analysts, posted on the companyís website, is $1.46 compared with $1.36 actualised in the third quarter of the 2005 financial year and of $1.03 in the preceding financial year
KONE delivers elevators to the Genesis-class
KONE has signed a contract with Aker Yards for the design, supply and installation of all the elevators on a 220,000 gross ton newbuilding being constructed in Turku, Finland. The new ship type has been developed under the project name Genesis for Royal Caribbean International, part of Royal Caribbean Cruises. KONE will supply the cruise ship with a total of 41 customized elevators serving the vertical transportation needs of both passengers and crew. The elevators will be hoisted by KONE EcoDisc machinery and based on either the KONE MiniSpace or the machine-room-less KONE MonoSpace platform. Delivery of the elevators is scheduled for autumn 2009. In addition to Freedom of the Seas - which was delivered in May 2006 - two more Freedom class cruise ships are under construction at Aker Yards for RCL, and these will also be equipped with KONE elevators. These ships will be delivered in 2007 and 2008. You can read more on design philosophies of KONE elevators from the latest issue of Cruise Business Review.
NCL unveils marketing campaign
Norwegian Cruise Line launched its first national media campaign in ten years with a preview for the press in New York. ìItís much more than a new television commercial,î said Andy Stuart, executive vice president of marketing, sales, and passenger services. îItís a comprehensive launch of a new brand identity.î The company estimates it will spend $100 million on the new campaign in its first year, which consists of TV, radio, print, and internet ads, all designed to stress the positive aspects of Freestyle Cruising, which was introduced six years ago. Other elements of the campaign include integrated pre-cruise document packets, pier signage, in-cabin materials and amenities, card keys and lounge menus, and even travel agent collateral materials. The companyís web site also will be redesigned to reflect the new brand identity. ìIt cuts across everything we do,î Stuart added, saying that the time was right for the new campaign. Between 2006 and 2010, he noted, NCL has berths scheduled for delivery equal to 50 percent of the lineís current capacity. The new campaign makes its debut to consumers and agents on October 2. It was created by Austin, Texas-based GSD&M, which has produced memorable ads for a number of high-profile clients including Southwest Airlines.
Carnival Corp & PLC third quarter profit rises to $1.23 billion
Carnival Corporation & plc reported net income of $1.23 billion, or $1.49 diluted EPS, on revenues of $3.91 billion for its third quarter ended August 31, 2006. Net income for the third quarter of 2005 was $1.18 billion, or $1.40 diluted EPS, on revenues of $3.61 billion.Net income for the nine months ended August 31, 2006 was $1.86 billion, or $2.25 diluted EPS, on revenues of $9.03 billion, compared to net income of $1.92 billion, or $2.29 diluted EPS, on revenues of $8.52 billion for the same period in 2005.Third quarter 2006 revenues increased 8.3 percent, primarily driven by a 5.2 percent increase in capacity and an increase in revenue yields (revenue per available lower berth day). Net revenue yields in current dollars for the third quarter of 2006 increased 1.0 percent compared to the prior year. Net revenue yields as measured on a local currency basis (”constant dollar basis”), which the company believes better reflects underlying revenue performance, were in line with the same period last year. Gross revenue yields increased 2.1 percent.Net cruise costs per available lower berth day (”ALBD”) for the third quarter of 2006 increased 4.8 percent compared to the same period last year. On a constant dollar basis, net cruise costs per ALBD increased 3.8% from the same period last year. The increase in costs per ALBD was primarily due to a 29% increase in fuel prices. Excluding the increased fuel prices, the company's 2006 third quarter net cruise costs per ALBD were in line with last year on a constant dollar basis. Gross cruise costs per ALBD increased 5.4%. For the fourth quarter, advance booking levels are slightly behind last year at this time on a capacity adjusted basis, with average pricing slightly above last year in current dollars. As a result, the company expects that net revenue yields for the fourth quarter of 2006 will increase slightly. Looking to early 2007, Arison said that overall booking levels on a capacity adjusted basis, for the first quarter of 2007 are modestly down compared to the same time last year. The sluggish demand for the Caribbean is continuing into the first quarter of 2007 causing North American booking levels to be behind last year, while business for the company's European brands for that period is running ahead of last year's pace.
Carnival shares rise more than 5% on better than forecast interims
Shares in the constituent companies of Carnival Corporation & PLC, the worldís largest cruise shipping company, jumped more than 5% after the company had posted third quarter earnings in excess of analystsí expectations. The groupís net profit amounted to$1.23 billion or $1.49 per share compared with consensus forecast of $1.46 and of $1.36 in the third quarter of the groupís 2005 financial year. Shares in Carnival PLC, the UK holding company, closed 5.7% firmer at £24.57 in London while in New York at lunchtime on Thursday shares in the US holding company Carnival Corp were 5.5% higher at $45.98.
Alaska tax certified
Officials at the Alaska Division of Elections have certified Ballot Measure 2, otherwise known as the Alaska cruise ship tax, setting the stage for its provisions to become law in 90 days. The official certification took place on September 18, according to a spokesman. In the meantime, the cruise industry continues to study its options and has taken a wait-and-see approach while state officials do the necessary administrative work to put the provisions of the ballot measure into effect. ìThere will be various regulations they will be writing to implement this law,î said John Hansen, president of the North West CruiseShip Association. ìNo doubt there will be some public hearings and public input on the regulations as they are being drafted. We'll certainly participate in that,î he said.
Holiday Kreuzfahrten out of business
Holiday Kreuzfahrten, the German operator of two chartered ships, has gone out of business and ceased trading, media reports say. The company has operated the 29,000 gross ton Mona Lisa and 17,600 gross ton Lili Marleen on long term charters, catering for the German speaking market. Both ships operated in the Baltic at the time of the privately owned companyís failure.
Dresdner raises Carnival 2007 earnings estimate
Higher than expected capacity growth combined with low unit cost growth has encouraged analysts at Dresdner Kleinwort to raise their 2007 earnings estimate for Carnival Corp & PLC, the worldís largest cruise shipping group, to $3.03 per share from $2.97, according to newratings.com analyst news website. Dresdner retained the target price for shares in Carnival Corp, the US constituent of the group, unchanged at $53 from the previous research note published on 7 July. The average earnings per share (EPS) forecast for financial year to 30 Nov 2006 is $2.73, with the 2007 average at $3.09 and that for 2008 at $3.45, according to the Carnival website. EPS for the financial year to 30 Nov 2005 amounted to $2.70.
Wärtsilä engines for Solstice-class
Wärtsilä Corporation won an order in August to power a new post-Panamax cruise ship contracted by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL) for its Celebrity Cruises brand at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany. With this order included Wärtsilä will now be powering the whole series of three new post-Panamax cruise ships contracted by RCL at Meyer Werft during 2006. The other two contracts were awarded to Wärtsilä in spring this year. Each ship will be equipped with four 16-cylinder Wärtsilä 46 engines having a combined power of 67,200 kW. The engines will be arranged in a diesel-electric power plant supplying all propulsion and electrical requirements of the vessel. The Wärtsilä engines will be equipped with common-rail fuel injection systems. The common-rail systems ensure that the engines have no visible smoke at any power level while also meeting international regulations for NOx emissions. The ships are of a new class of 118,000 gross ton cruise ships which are able to carry 2,850 passengers in 1,425 cabins.
Wärtsilä to retrofit Royal Caribbean's gas turbine ships
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd has chosen Wärtsilä diesel engines for retrofitting in eight cruise ships of Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International. This order was received in spring this year. The new engines will give RCL better fuel economy while meeting all environmental requirements for air emissions. The eight ships concerned are the Millennium-class ships of Celebrity Cruises and the Radiance-class ships of Royal Caribbean International, all being of Panamax size.
Each ship has a 58 MW power plant based on gas turbine-driven generating sets for propulsion and all other electrical requirements on board. The ships will now each be fitted with an additional 11.2 MW generating set powered by a 16-cylinder Wärtsilä 38 engine. Wärtsilä will deliver the complete Wärtsilä 38 generating sets in V-form configuration with required ancillary equipment. The new generating sets will provide base load power for the ships. The low fuel consumption of the Wärtsilä 38 engines and their use of heavy fuel oil will thus significantly improve the ships' fuel economy. The generating sets will be installed starting from 2007 onwards. Wärtsilä Corporation has booked orders so far in 2006 to supply a total of 20 environmentally-sound diesel engines with a combined power of more than 358 MW to Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL) for installation in 11 cruise ships, both newbuildings and retrofits. The value of all these orders is more than EUR 50 millions.
Wartsila to power Project Genesis
Wärtsilä Corporation received a contract from Aker Yards Oy, Finland, in July 2006 for the delivery of the main engines and the transverse tunnel thrusters for the 220,000 grt Project Genesis cruise ship contracted by Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd (RCL) for operation by Royal Caribbean International. Due for delivery in autumn 2009, this cruise ship will be powered by six Wärtsilä 46 common rail diesel engines. The engines will be incorporated in the ship's diesel-electric power plant supplying all propulsion, ancillary and hotel services. Wärtsilä is also supplying four Lips transverse tunnel thrusters.
AIDAdiva floated out at Meyer Werft
The AIDAdiva, the first of four new ships for the German cruise operator AIDA Cruises (Rostock), is growing rapidly at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg. The ship was floated up in the building dock for the first time on Thursday. The four new and innovative 68,500 gross ton ships will have a length overall of 252 m and will be 32.2 m wide. The AIDAdiva will be delivered to the owner in April 2007. The new club ships will present the third generation of ships built and operated according to the AIDA concept. 2,050 passengers will be accommodated in 1,025 cabins. The ships will feature plenty of interior design novelties such as the Theatrium. The well-known brand design regarding the outer appearance of the AIDA ships will be maintained. Hence, in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, MEYER WERFT will deliver one club ship each to AIDA, Germany's leader in the cruise market.
Oceania Cruises ìis not for saleî
Oceania Cruises, the privately owned Florida based company, is not up for sale. A rumour recently cited in the industry media said that Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) might want to acquire Oceania, which operates three ships in the upper end of the premium segment. ìThe companyís not for sale and never has been,î said Tim Rubacky, Director of Corporate Communications at Oceania Cruises. He said its owners are ì200% committed to the companyî and called the rumour a ìnone-event.î He continued: ìThere will be some very big news coming down the pike in the next few months and the beginning of next year. And I think we might see the exact opposite of what all the speculation is ñ we might actually be the hunter and not the hunted.î
Aker Yards signs lifecycle service agreement
Aker Yards and Union Naval (Marseille and Barcelona) have concluded an agreement giving Aker Yards Lifecycle Services opportunity for conversions in the Mediterranean. The parties have agreed that conversions of the Mediterranean region are quoted and managed by Aker Yards Lifecycle Services (AY-LCS), with the work taking place at the repair yards of Union Naval Marseille and Barcelona (UNM-UNB), with resources of the repair yard and other AY-LCS alliance members.
This alliance with UNM-UNB is part of Aker Yards' strategy to to provide services in all major Cruise & Ferries operation areas. The demand of such services is growing and Aker Yards has conversion, refurbishment (of passenger areas), retrofit (of ship systems) as well as maintenance & spare part services in Europe, North-America & Caribbean and Asia. In addition to Union Naval Marseille and Union Naval Barcelona, AY-LCS has an alliance agreement with Turku Repair Yard (North-Baltic conversions), Foreship (engineering), OP-Group and Riverco (public spaces), Alandia Engineering (electrical systems), SRC (Europe / ship systems), SeaQuest (Asia / ship systems). With the integration of Marseille?s facilities, Union Naval has become the shipyard with the biggest capacity in all Mediterranean, owning four docks: two in Barcelona (120 x 19, 215 x 35) and two in Marseille, (250 x 37, 320 x 53) with unbeatable facilities provided to carry out repair works and to convert any kind of vessels. Union Naval Marseille has the possibility to operate the biggest repair dock in Europe and the second of the world (465 x 85) to accommodate almost 100 % of the actual worldwide fleet. UNM has begun its operations on19 September 2006. The first vessel in its facilities has been the Blue Dream, owned by Pullmantur Cruises newly acquired by Royal Caribbean.
Viking allows also second XPRS option to lapse
The Finnish ferry company Viking Line has decided to allow also the second option for a ropax ferry of the XPRS type with Aker Yards Finland to lapse. Viking Line ordered for 2,500 passenger and 1,000 lane metre capacity ropax vessel at Aker Yards Finland on 29 November last year and the contract included an option for two similar vessels. However, the Viking Line board decided on 6 June not to exercise the first one of the two options. Instead, the company seeks to replace an existing ferry on the Kapellskar-Mariehamn service, a crossing of about three hours. The current ship on the service is of about 5,000 gross tons and some 34 years old.
Fincantieri first half profit rises to Ä60 million
Fincantieri, the Italian state owned shipbuilding group, has reported a first half 2006 consolidated pre-tax profit of Ä60 million, up on the Ä51.2 million in the same period 2005, ìdespite the difficulties arising from -international scenario with a weakening of the dollar and ongoing tension in raw materials base markets.,î the company said a statement. Fincantieri has also experienced a significant increase in the cost of work, above all as a result of contract changes which came into force at the beginning of the year. Thanks to the companyís effective commercial efforts, and despite a general drop in demand for new buildings, orders gained in the period are worth over Ä3.30 billion, compared to approximately Ä850 million for the previous year. This is mainly due to consolidating the leadership of the Group in the large cruise ship sector.As a result, on the 30th June 2006 the order book stood at approximately Ä9.3 billion, an increase on Ä7.8 billion year-on. This guarantees that the production capacity of the Groupís shipyards is already saturated with a workload of 3 years.
SMM set new attendance record
The SMM 2006, the shipbuilding, machinery & marine technology, international trade fair in Hamburg, that was arranged for the 22nd time, set a new attendance record with 45,000 people visiting the show. The event was split over four days this time while the previous event two years ago attracted about 42,000 visitors. It then covered five days. The latest event closed on Friday.
Newbuilding planned for Viking Lineís Kapellskar-Mariehamn route
Viking Line plans a newbuilding crossing between Kapellskar in Sweden and Mariehamn on the Aland islands in Finland and if everything proceeds according to plan, the new ship should enter service in 2009. The company has decided in favour of a newbuilding rather than a second hand acquisition as a new vessel will be better able to accommodate the wide cars of today. It will also have more spacious lifts and wider stairways and short distance between the vehicle decks and shops etc. The vehicle decks themselves will have adequate deck height to allow easy access for high lorries. The needs of passengers with disabilities will also be taken into account in the design. Yesterday the Viking Line board decided not to take up a second option for a 34,000 gross to9n XPRS type ropax vessel at Aker Yards Finland. The first option had been allowed to lapse in June. The production for the so far only XPRS the company is building started in Turku today.
Aida Diva deck plans unveil exciting details
Aida Diva, the first Sphinx class newbuilding of Aida Cruises, features some unconventional details, although the basic layout follows principles used in the earlier vessels of the company. The fitness and wellness facilities, including a bar, will be located above the bridge as is customary in most modern cruise liners, but these will be built around a ìwellness oasis,î which itself is covered by a sliding glass roof. The 2,000sqm area features palm trees, cabana-style beds for relaxation and hammocks with a large Jacuzzi in the centre. The spa itself will feature 14 treatment rooms.
There will be no theatre, but the main show facility and atrium will be merged as Theatrium into a three deck high space with a total floor area of 3,000sqm and a stage at the stern of the lowermost deck. Like in all previous ships built for the company, all public spaces will be on upper decks ñ the numbers 10 to 14 dedicated to public and outdoor space ñ with cabins on decks 4 to forward part of deck 10. Customarily in most modern cruise ships, public space with daytime activities in focus in located on upper decks and the rooms for mainly night time use at the promenade deck level. The 68,500 gross ton Aida Diva is under construction at the Meyer Werft in Germany and it will enter service in April 2007 with Aida Cruises, which is part of Carnival Corp & PLC.
Cunard veteran Captain Paul Wright to assume command Queen Victoria
Captain Paul Wright, a 26 year veteran of Cunard Line, has been appointed master of Queen Victoria, the company's newest ocean liner currently under construction in Venice that will enter service in December 2007, it was announced today. Captain Wright first went to sea in 1965 as a cadet with Shell Tankers, and quickly progressed to passenger ships in 1969 when he joined Canadian Pacific.† His first appointment with Cunard was to Cunard Countess in 1980 and since then he has served on Cunard Princess, Sagafjord and Cunard Dynasty.† In 1999, Captain Wright was promoted to Captain of Cunard's flagship Queen Elizabeth 2 where he served until construction began on Queen Mary 2, the largest ocean liner ever built.† He oversaw construction of QM2 in St. Nazaire prior to commission, and in 2004 was appointed Master of Queen Mary 2, rotating with the recently retired Commodore Ronald Warwick. Having sailed to all seven continents, when asked what his most memorable moments at sea have been, Captain Wright cites two: meeting Astronaut Neil Armstrong who was lecturing onboard in the early 1990's and sailing Queen Mary 2 into Hamburg on her maiden call when half a million people lined the shore to greet her. In commenting on his appointment, Captain Wright says:† ”I fully expect that sailing Queen Victoria into Southampton for the first time will give me a third most memorable event - and I have no doubt it will be equally memorable for those who turn out to greet us; nothing stirs the imagination quite as much as a new Cunarder arriving in port for the first time.† She will be a magnificent vessel built in true Cunard style.”
P&O Cruises Australia forecasts 150,000 passengers in 2008
P&O Cruises Australia, the contemporary market unit of Carnival Corporation & PLC that caters for the Australian market, expects to carry 150,000 passengers in 2008. This will three times the figure of 2003 when it had just one ship and the first full year when it will have three ships in service. ìIn 2003 P&O Cruises Australia carried about 50,000 passengers and visited around 20 destinations. By 2008, weíll be carrying 150,000 passengers a year and offering cruises to more than 60 ports,î Managing Director Gavin Smith said in a statement. The company will introduce the 70,000 gross ton Pacific Dawn late next year. The ship is currently trading as Regal Princess for Princess Cruises and it will be the largest vessel based year-round in Australia. However, Smith said the decision of Princess Cruises, to deploy its 2,000-passenger 77,500 gross ton Sun Princess in Australia over the summer of 2007-2008, replacing the smaller 670-passenger 30,000 gross ton Pacific Princess, was further testimony to the continued growth of the Australian cruise market. Like Pacific Princess, the ship will feature dining and entertainment tailored for Australians with an onboard currency of Australian dollars.
ìLike travellers around the world, more and more Australian holidaymakers are realising that cruising is a great way to travel. You just relax and enjoy shipboard life while the destinations come to you,î he said.
Credit Suisse, UBS: mixed views about Carnival
Analysts at two banks have published research notes on Carnival Corp & PLC with somewhat mixed views about the share as investment option. In a research note published on 22 Sept, analyst S Barry of Credit Suisse maintains his ”neutral” rating on Carnival Corp, the US constituent of the Anglo-American dual listed company. The target price has been raised from $37 to $40, according to the newratings.com analyst news website. However, the shares traded at about $48 in New York in early October. Meanwhile, UBS in London has initiates coverage of Carnival PLC, the UK part of the group, with a buy rating and £28.00p target, saying it is a ”long-term structural growth story.” Favourable demographics, high barriers to entry, low market penetration and a rational competitive environment should offset shorter-term weakness based on fear of hurricanes and consumer weakness, but says the recent fall in fuel prices means the risks are ”skewed to the upside.” The Carnival PLC stock closed at £26.01 in London on 4 Oct.
Kelvin Hughes introduces wide screen bridge
Kelvin Hughes, the UK based marine navigation solutions specialist, has developed the worldís first widescreen bridge using the new Manta Digitalô common core processors. Looking forward to the new IMO standards coming into effect in 2008, the new common core processors will meet the requirement for enhanced performance in radar processing and tracking. They have also been designed to be truly multi-functional with the capability of enabling the display of radar, chart, radar + chart, HAP more. Using the latest widescreen flat panels, the new Manta Digitalô bridge from Kelvin Hughes comprises of three completely multi-functional displays, each panel is capable of showing digital charts, radar, conning information or the new and unique dual PPI function. Manta Digitalô processors are already available for ECDIS, VDR and SVDR. The new Kelvin Hughes chart radar will be available in 2007, to meet the new IMO standards, the company says..
Herculean project to cut emissions proposed by Wartsila and MAN
The two world leading European marine engine manufacturer companies, MAN Diesel and Wärtsilä Corporation have agreed to propose a large scale Cooperative Research Project - HERCULES-B. The target is to maximize fuel efficiency in parallel to emissions reduction. The principal aim in HERCULES-B is to improve efficiency of marine diesel propulsion systems to level of more than 60%, hence to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions substantially. An additional concurrent aim is towards ultra low exhaust emissions from marine engines by the year 2015. Today diesel propulsion systems power 99% of the world fleet. The project will deliver a number of Technology Demonstrator engines, operating with improved efficiency and reduced emissions. Certain new technologies developed, will be validated onboard new-built ships. The HERCULES-B Project is planned to run over a four-year period with a targeted budget of Ä60 million. The Project is expected to be fully agreed in 2007 to be subsequently proposed for funding within the Framework Program 7 (FP7, Theme Transport), of the European Commission The HERCULES-B is a large innovative research and development project aiming for technological breakthrough in the reduction of fuel consumption and emissions for the next generation marine diesel engines onboard ships, reaching beyond today's limits set by the IMO and radically improving the environmental effect of Waterborne Transport.
MSC Cruisesí offer reflects Caribbean gloom
Weakness in the Caribbean market has plagued the cruise industry for some time and a recent offer from MSC Cruises suggests that no immediate improvement is in sight. In fact, the rates that include full board on ship are in line with those charged for room only by inexpensive hotels in the Miami region. The lowest fare in the offer works at $63 per person per night or $126 per cabin and night.
For a period up to 30 Oct, the company offers ìSuper Super Saver rates enable travelers to lock in exceptional savings of up to 63% on select MSC Cruisesí 2007 11-night Deep Caribbean and Panama itineraries.î These rates start at just $695 per person, double occupancy (government fees and taxes additional) for an interior stateroom (as compared to a retail rate of up to $1,800 per person, double occupancy); starting from just $100 more, guests can enjoy their cruise in an ocean view stateroom (brochure rate is up to $2,100 per person, double occupancy), MSC Cruises says. This promotion applies to MSC Lirica itineraries departing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale 31 Jan to 18 Apr and MSC Opera cruises departing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale 5 Feb to 21 March.
UK holiday market worth £97 billion
Britons are estimated to spend a total of £97 billion on holidays this year, according to a study conducted by the insurance company AXA Insurance. The cost of holidays in themselves is estimated at £45 billion, with a further £29 billion used as spending money and £7 billion in buying new clothes, according to the study that was cited on the BBC news ë website. Half of the population of some 60 million took between one and three holidays each year, while one in 10 had four or five breaks each year. Meanwhile, the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) the industry ceiling organisation in the UK, expects the number of cruise passengers to reach 1.25 million this year compared with 1.07 million in 2005. The figure should reach 1.50 million in 2008. ìThe growth in demand for cruise holidays comes at a time when the package foreign holiday market is contracting ñ down 3% in 2005 - and shows the resilient appeal of cruise holidays which increased its equivalent share of the holiday market from 5.2% in 2004 to 5.6% in 2005. There was a significant trend towards cruises that leave direct from the UK (ex-UK) ñ out of 1.07 million that took an ocean cruise last year, 406,000 of them chose to take a cruise departing from a UK port. To qualify this, approximately 40% chose to cruise from the UK compared to 25% in 2001, PSA said in a statement. The country's GDP amounted to £1.22 trillion in 2005, according to data from the Office of National Statistics.
Pearl Seas Cruises signs contracts to build two new ships
Pearl Seas Cruises of Connecticut, U.S. have signed contracts with Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax, Nova Scotia to build two new luxury passenger ships for world service. Pearl Seas Cruises is an offshore affiliate of American Cruise Lines, Inc., which has the newest fleet of cruise ships in the world. These new ships will carry 165 and 210 passengers. The first ship is scheduled to begin cruise service in July 2008 and the second in June 2009. The first ship will begin with international cruises in the Canadian Maritimes, Newfoundland and New England, and followed later in the year with itineraries in the Caribbean. ”Pearl Seas Cruisesí name connotes high regard for beauty and excitement as well as capturing the romance of the exceptionally, precious jewel, from the sea. The ships have been designed for the luxury market, redefining smaller, more intimate luxury ships that can slip into exotic ports off the beaten path as well as larger more well known ports of call,” the company says in the statement. Pearl Seas Cruisesí ships have innovative modern designs including state of the art technologies and luxury amenities. The ships will include a spa, a spacious dining salon to seat all passengers at one time with surrounding windows for panoramic views, several lounges, and a well-stocked library. The shipsí design will also include an elevator to all decks, and three spacious observations decks. The ship will be fully stabilized, and meet the newest and most stringent safety and environmental standards. The new shipsí oversized suites (over 240 square feet) will all feature private balconies with large opening picture windows offering spectacular views. Every stateroom will be fitted with flat-screen satellite TV and DVD player, individual climate control, Internet access and many other modern conveniences and amenities expected by the discerning traveler. The atmosphere is relaxing and inviting, much like that of a fine private club. The Ships will be powered by Caterpillar diesel engines for propulsion and generators and will be stabilized by Rolls-Royce Commercial Marine active wing Stabilizer units. These new ships will be Marshall Islands flagged.
J P Morgan, Matrix analysts bearish about Carnival
Analysts at two securities houses have taken a bearish view on the future performance of shares in companies that constitute the Carnival Corp & PLC group, according to papers cited on business websites on the internet. Matrix Research in London has downgraded Carnival PLC, the listed British holding company in the group to sell from hold, while J P Morgan in New York say investors should give neutral weight in their portfolios to shares in Carnival Corp, the US based holding company, compared with an earlier recommendation to overweight the stock. The broker warned that there remains limited upside to Carnival shares in the near term, following the recent rally on the back of a mild hurricane season and lower oil prices, according to sharecast.com. Shares in Carnival PLC traded 0.6% down at £25.40 in London on Thursday morning, while those in Carnival Corp closed at $47.95 on Wednesday in New York, down from $48.30 on the previous day. Both shares hit a low in August ñ the UK listed stock at £19.62 and the American one at $36.74 - but they have trended higher since then.
First plate cut for Celebrity Solstice
Celebrity Cruises has taken its first major step toward physically launching Celebrity Solstice in the autumn of 2008 as the line's President Dan Hanrahan today ceremoniously pressed the start button for the plasma cutter at shipbuilder Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, creating the ship's first steel plate.”This is a very exciting day for the Celebrity brand, as we take the first tangible step toward making Celebrity Solstice a reality,” said Hanrahan.. The first in a class of three 117,000 gross ton ships, Celebrity Solstice will be a 2,850- guest vessel measuring 1,033 feet in length and 121 feet in width, and will feature larger standard staterooms, a higher percentage of verandas, and an exceptional range of guest-inspired services and amenities. The company is part of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) as the trio are the first post-panamax vessels in the premium market category apart from Queen Mary 2 of Cunard Line.
Aker Yards Lorient wins order for small ferry
The departmental council of Morbihan (Brittany, France) has confirmed the option to build a second RoPax vessel (roll-on roll-off passenger ship) at Aker Yards, Lorient, a shipyard located in Lanester, Morbihan. It is a sister ship of the Bangor, delivered in May 2006. The 450 passenger ship will be 46 metres long and is due for delivery in the second quarter of 2008. The value of the order is Ä13 million. The ship is designed to serve the island of Groix, in Brittany. It will benefit from the unique design features of the Bangor, such as multiple entrances, in order to facilitate embarkation and disembarkation, or the transversal propulsion system, making the ship easy to manoeuvre.
Dubai forecasts 30,000 passengers in 2007
Dubai is gearing up to welcome as many as 50 cruise ships at its cruise terminal during the cruise tourismís winter season starting from this October to April 2007. The number of passengers is expected to rise to 30,000 in 2007 from 20,000 forecast for this year and 13,000 that actualized in 2005, according to traveldailynews.com. The bulk of the cruise tourists come from the UK, Germany and the US markets. In a survey, 80% of the cruise passengers in Dubai revealed that they would extend their visit to the emirate during their next visit and 95 per cent said they would recommend others to visit Dubai to enjoy its all-appealing facilities, pristine beaches and unparalleled shopping options. Costa Classica and AidaCara, of the Carnival Corp & PLC unit Costa Crociere and its subsidiary Aida Cruises, will operate from Dubai this winter.
Piraeus could be cruise hub of the Eastern Med, tourism head says
An additional 5 million tourist arrivals could be added on cruises if Greek authorities supported the sea cruise industry, said Yiannis Evangelou, the president of the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (HATTA). Speaking to reporters, Evangelou said the port of Piraeus has all the capabilities of duplicating, in eastern Mediterranean, the role that Barcelona plays in the western Mediterranean, while he underlined that a decisive factor was a climate of stability and security in Greece, accrding to a report of the Athens News Agency (ANA). HATTA's head said the Mediterranean was the most rapidly growing sea cruise region in the world, with growth prospects capable of exceeding even the Caribbean, which showed signs of saturation. He also underlined the intention of large sea cruise companies to ”anchor” in Greek ports and to begin cruises around the Mediterranean using Greece as a hub. Around 14,000 Greek nationals boarded a ship for a sea cruise last year, while a total of 1.2 million cruise passengers made transit passages to Piraeus.
TUI rumoured to face break up or takeover
TUI, the German tour operator and shipping group that owns Hapag-Lloyd, has reportedly held talks with the city state of Hamburg over the possibility of Hamburg taking a stake in TUI, Forbes.com says, citing separate reports in the weekly Focus, daily Die Welt and the Financial Times Deutschland. TUI wants allied investors to hold a blocking minority stake of 25.1% to prevent a possible takeover and break-up of the company, Focus said, adding that TUI has asked Hamburg's Senate to acquire 5 to10% of its shares. At the same time, a number of TUI's major shareholders have put an ultimatum to management demanding a break-up of the company, the Financial Times Deutschland reported. TUI operates cruise ships on the German speaking market under the Hapag-Lloyd brand name, while in the UK its has the Thomson Cruises brand that operates four chartered in vessels.
RCI unveils Rhapsody of the Seasí itineraries in South Pacific
Royal Caribbean International (RCI) says it is combining its signature active cruising experience with crocodiles, kangaroos and koala bears, when the cruise line returns 'down under' for the 2007/8 season. Rhapsody of the Seas will sail a series of new itineraries to the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand as she heads for her recently announced Far East adventure. On 27 October and 10 November 2007, Rhapsody of the Seas offers 14-night roundtrip cruises from Sydney to New Zealand , cruising through Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound and calling on the ports of Dunedin , Christchurch , Wellington , Napier, Tauranga and Auckland . These sailings will be available for sale through travel agents in the UK and Ireland . Three out of the five new itineraries on Rhapsody of the Seas, sailing 28 September, 15 October and 24 November 2007, have been chartered by Cruiseco, a consortium of more than 120 cruise specialist travel agencies in Australia. ”Royal Caribbean 's expansion into the South Pacific and Asian regions is part of our international business development and global expansion strategies,” said Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean International.
NCL ship is first to homeport in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina
Norwegian Sun entered the Port of New Orleans yesterday as the first cruise ship to homeport in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. The ship docked at the city's new $37 million Erato Street Terminal, which is designed to accommodate larger cruise ships. Norwegian Sun calls the Crescent City home for the winter season sailing 7-night exotic Western Caribbean cruise with ports of call including Costa Maya, Mexico; Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala; Belize City, Belize and Cozumel, Mexico. ”We're proud to demonstrate our commitment to the city of New Orleans by returning to the city with a big, new balcony-rich ship,” said Bob Thye, Senior Vice President, Revenue Management and Itinerary Planning
for NCL Corporation. ”The cruise passengers returning to New Orleans will see that the city's historic beauty and charm is still alive and thriving,” said Gary LaGrange, President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans. ”With the addition of the Erato Street Cruise Terminal and Parking Garage, the Port is poised to continue to create new cruising opportunities for cruise lines and passengers.” In 2004, New Orleans was one of the fastest-growing homeports in the US, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Cruise passenger embarkations and disembarkations in New Orleans grew an astounding 818% in the last 11 years prior to Katrina, from approximately 80,000 in 1993 to 753,000 in 2004. The cruise industry also contributes $226 million to the city in direct and indirect sales, and supports more than 2,500 jobs.
Interferry forum discusses security
Tackling terrorism and tackling new markets provided the main talking points at trade association Interferry's 31st annual conference this month - reminding delegates of the delicate balance between the demands of security and commerce. Representatives of 47 ferry operators worldwide were among 225 senior-level delegates drawn to Long Beach, California, by the upbeat conference theme of Partnering for Profit. Rear Admiral Brian Salerno, US Coast Guard director of inspections & compliance, warned in his keynote opening address: ”Ports with high capacity ferry systems score very highly from the risk perspective because they are considered to be very attractive terrorist targets. However, a pilot scheme involving trace detection technology - with passengers 'fingerprinted' to check for explosives handling - had reduced the average time to 14.7 seconds, albeit with several false alarms. Further passenger, vehicle and baggage screening methods would be tested in the future, he added, because ”we have to find the most innovative technology that is not invasive to passengers and that fits in with existing operational systems.”
Ferry operators discuss reinventing service concept
Stay-at-home passengers were far from the thoughts of most speakers in a conference programme in California largely dedicated to ways of winning custom from an increasingly discerning or experience-hungry travelling public. Geoff Dickson, Vice President Food and Retail Services at Canada's BC Ferries, whetted the appetite in the opening session, Selling the Product, by describing how flat food and beverage sales had been lifted through up market franchise agreements. ”We saw how hospitals, universities and airports had seen a ten-fold increase going this way because the public recognises well-known brands,” he explained. ”Last year we opened a 12,000 square foot shoreside shopping and eating complex and sales have doubled to $8 million.” Darrell Bryan, Executive VP and General Manager of Seattle's Clipper Navigation, revealed that 45% of the company's business was now non-marine after diversifying to become a package vacation and short breaks specialist. ”We realised we are competing not so much with other modes of transportation but with other destinations,” he declared - adding that average sale per person had risen from $91 to $234. In similar manner, DFDS Seaways Managing Director Soren Jespersen outlined how the company has won new and younger customers by focusing on event packages and on-board rock concerts. ”Looking ahead I can see that 75-80% of our business will be based on mini-cruises,” he predicted.
Norwegian Pearl leaves drydock at Meyer Werft
After completing extensive tests and engine trials, Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Pearl left the Meyer Werft covered building dock on Sunday, October 15 in Papenburg, Germany. The ship will now berth at an outfitting pier where all remaining work will be completed. The 93,500-ton Norwegian Pearl is scheduled to transit the Ems River to Eemshaven, Netherlands on Nov. 4 for sea trials. Following her inaugural sailing on December 16, 2006 from Miami, Norwegian Pearl will sail 9-night Southern Caribbean and 5-night Western Caribbean itineraries roundtrip from Miami through April 2007. She will then reposition to sail 7-night Alaska itineraries roundtrip from Seattle for the summer before returning to Miami in September for the remainder of 2007. Norwegian Pearl will feature an industry first-a full-size, four-lane, ten-pin bowling alley, and two NCL firsts-a rock-climbing wall and two top-of-the-ship Deluxe Owner Suites. Norwegian Pearl will accommodate 2,400 guests, and will feature all the elements of NCL's dynamic modern Freestyle Cruising fleet including 10 restaurants, 11 bars and lounges, two swimming pools, a casino, and much more.
Antonini sees intensified competition from Asian yards
Faced with fierce competition from shipbuilders in Korea, Japan and China, Europe has responded by focusing on technological supremacy and is third in terms of tonnage built and first in terms of value. Italy has distinguished herself in the highly specialised niche market for passenger ships, cruise ships and ferries of over 150 metres, with market shares of over 40% of the world total, noted Corrado Antonini, chairman of Fincantieri, the Italian shipbuilding group. Domestic shipbuilders engaged in the construction of smaller vessels are also doing well on the whole. However, there are good reasons for the European shipbuilding industry to reflect, both on the increased production capacity of Asia within the prospect of a world demand which is forecast for a downturn in the not so distant future and on the competition, especially from Korea, which is increasingly moving into the high tech sector. ìGiven the globalization of the shipbuilding industry, the only barriers we can erect are, in short, to keep working on the cost front and providing innovative proposals to ship owners. It is on these issues that a fruitful, wide-ranging relationship is developing between the European Commission and the shipbuilding industry for support to the sector, with particular attention to the fundamental, key activities of research, development and innovation,î he said in a speech in Rome today
Seabourn Cruise Line orders two new ultra-luxury ships
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Seabourn Cruise Line will build two new, ultra luxury ships, for delivery in spring 2009 and 2010. Seabourn, a division of Miami-based Carnival Corporation & plc, has signed a letter of intent for the project with shipbuilder T. Mariotti S.p.A. of Genoa, Italy. The sister ships will have an all-in U.S. dollar cost of $250 million each. Each of the 32,000 gross ton ships will accommodate all guests in 225 luxury suites, 90% of which will offer private verandas. Combined, the two vessels will more than double Seabourn's current fleet capacity of 634 berths. The letter of intent to build the ships is subject to a number of conditions including definitive contracts, financing and other terms. According to Micky Arison, Chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc, ”This order represents our confidence in the luxury segment of the cruising market, which has shown significant and consistent revenue growth in recent years, with robust future potential. Through our own and independent research, we know that the luxury consumer views the Seabourn brand as the absolute ultimate in leisure travel. This new generation of yacht-like ships will secure its position at the top of the cruise industry pyramid for many years to come.” Marco Bisagno, President of T.Mariotti S.p.A. noted, ”When they were introduced, the three existing Seabourn ships embodied a new class of cruising vessel, and they spawned an entirely new niche in the market. We are proud and excited that Seabourn has enlisted Mariotti to craft what will be the next generation of intimate, ultra luxury cruising vessels, to be built in Genoa by our skilled team.” The design specifications call for hulls 650 feet long, with abeam of 84 feet and a draft of 21 feet. The ships will be powered by diesel-generated electricity and operate with twin screw propellers, with a service speed of 19 knots. They will be equipped with two bow thrusters to enhance maneuverability and two stabilizers. The ships will also be ”green ships” employing advanced wastewater treatment technology.
Four cruise lines order Azipods for newbuildings
ABB, the power and automation technology group, announced today it has signed contracts worth Ä210 million to supply Azipod propulsion, power generation and distribution systems for a total of eleven vessels, including cruise liners of Royal Caribbean International (RCI), Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line and Costa Crociere.. RCIís Genesis project will be equipped with three Azipod units. She will be the biggest cruise liner in the world with 220,000 in gross tonnage, 360 m in length and accommodation for 5,400 passengers when she enters service in autumn 2009. In addition to the Azipod systems ABB delivery includes medium voltage generators, main switchboards, transformers, frequency converters and bow thruster motors. The vessel will be built by Aker Yards, Finland. Two cruise vessels, one each for Holland America Line and Costa Crociere, will be equipped with two 17.6 MW Azipod units each. ABB will also provide medium voltage generators, main switchboards, frequency converters, bow thruster motors and transformers. The ship deliveries are scheduled for 2008 and 2009. The vessels will be built by Fincantieri, Italy. Two Celebrity Cruises Solstice ñclass cruise vessels will have two 20.5 MW Azipod units for main propulsion. The ABB delivery also includes medium voltage generators, main switchboards, frequency converters, transformers, and bow thruster motors. Ship deliveries are in 2008 and 2009. The vessels will be built by Meyer Werft, Germany.
DNB NOR raises RCCL price target
DNB NOR, the Norwegian bank, has raised its price target for shares in Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited (RCCL) to NOK 290 from NOK 270, according to the imarkedet.no business news website. Analysts at the bank expect earnings per share of $1.60 in the third quarter on a turnover of $1.62 billion and say a falling price of oil combined with a firmer dollar both help the worldís second largest cruise shipping company to post strong interims. The company's sharres are listed both on new York and Oslo Stock Exchanges and there is lively trade in them also in Norway. RCCL will publish its interims at the end of next week.
Carnival PLC has underperformed FTSE 100 but outlook positive
Shares in Carnival PLC, the UK constituent of Carnival Corp & PLC group, have underperformed the FTSE 100 index of the London Stock Exchange, but according to Richard J Hunter, Head of UK Equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, the outlook is better. ìThe company's share price has not of late reflected the potential which logic says it should have. Over the last year it has fallen 8% at a time when the FTSE100 has marked up a gain of 16.5%,î he writes in an article posted on the Money Weekly section of yahoo.co.uk. He cites a number of factors, the oil price over the last year had been soaring for a number of reasons and as a core requirement to its business the effect on profit margins was immediate. US passport controls on cruises are also due to be enforced in 2007, although there could yet be some slippage since the Bill is currently still with the US Senate. The other major drag on the share price has been the wider issue of global warming, whose impact on more regular and violent hurricanes. The final concern in the mix has been the state of the US consumer and, to some extent, the UK consumer also. Whilst holidays tend to be at the top of most wish lists regardless it seems of individual financial circumstances, luxuries such as cruises could well be the first to go if any kind of recession starts to bite on either side of the pond. ìIn all, the market consensus for the shares is resolutely positive. Quite apart from the oil price more recently moving in the company's favour, there has also been a reduction in geopolitical tension in the Middle East and the US/UK terror alerts have recently been downgraded again. Whilst the fourth quarter is a traditionally tough time for the cruise liners, to some extent travel is not seasonal and the general growing trend of a more affluent and ageing population could well play into its hands,î he said. On Friday, the Carnival PLC shares traded at £25.71, roghly in the middle of their £19.62 to £34.16 range in the past 52 weeks.
Panama approves canal expansion
Voters in Panama have overwhelmingly approved a national referendum calling for the construction of a third set of locks for the Panama Canal. The tally was 78% in favor. The expansion will allow for more traffic, wider ships, and double current operating capacity. The canal will reach maximum capacity in the coming years, according to the Panama Canal Authority, and currently cannot accommodate the largest ships. The proposal to expand the canal in order to serve post-Panamax vessels has been circulating at least since the beginning of the decade, when Panama inaugurated two new cruise piers on its Caribbean coast shortly after control of the canal was transferred to Panama from the United States. In April of this year, the Canal Authority estimated that expanding the canal would take seven to eight years to complete and could become operational between fiscal years 2014 and 2015. It estimated the cost of the project at $5.25 billion.
Kathy Ireland named Carnival Freedom godmother
Kathy Ireland, whose career path has taken her from the international runways of modeling to the boardroom of her own billion dollar business, has been named godmother of Carnival Cruise Lines' new 110,000-ton Carnival Freedom, scheduled to launch European service in March 2007. Kathy Ireland will break a ceremonial bottle of champagne across the ship's bow during a naming ceremony scheduled to take place in Venice, Italy, March 4, 2007, immediately prior to a gala overnight reception for dignitaries and travel agents. Kathy is chief designer and CEO of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, a Los Angeles- based company whose mission is ”...finding solutions for families, especially busy moms.” Following the naming ceremony and overnight gala, Carnival Freedom will debut with a 9-night cruise to the Mediterranean and Greek Isles departing March 5, 2007, then operate a summer schedule of 12-night Mediterranean and Greek Isles voyages round-trip from Rome (Civitavecchia) March 14 - Oct. 16, 2007. Carnival Freedom will then sail a 14-night transatlantic crossing from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Miami, positioning the vessel for the launch of year-round 7-night Caribbean cruises from that port Nov. 17, 2007. Carnival Freedom will feature a number of high-tech amenities, including ”100% bow-to-stern” wireless Internet access, cellular phone service, and a 270-square-foot LED screen on Lido Deck displaying movies, concerts and other programming. The ship will also house 22 lounges and bars, four swimming pools, Carnival's signature ”Twister Waterslide,” a 14,500-square-foot spa, and four dining venues, including two two-deck-high formal restaurants, a 1,400-seat casual poolside eatery featuring a 24-hour pizzeria, and an upscale supper club offering U.S.D.A. prime steaks and other gourmet cuisine.
Seabourn's Natahsohn suffers fatal heart attack
Deborah L. Natansohn, President and COO for Seabourn Cruise Line ñ and one of the most influential and inspirational women in the cruise industry ñ died today. Natansohn, 53, suffered a heart attack on Sunday. Natansohn, one of the few female presidents of the cruise industry, has served atop Seabourn since 2004, helming the company at a time of an evolution that was topped only last week by signing of a letter of intent to build two new cruise ships. Previously, she was senior marketing officer at Cunard Line, where she led the introduction of the storied Queen Mary 2. Prior to that she was President of Orient Lines and Pearl Cruises; the former was acquired by Norwegian Cruise Line during her tenure.
Aker Yards 3rd quarter result below ambitions
Aker Yards ASA reported an EBITDA of NOK 304 million for the third quarter of 2006, an increase of 7.8% compared with the third quarter of 2005. Challenges on three ro-ro container vessels gave a negative result effect in the quarter of approximately NOK 60 million for the business area Merchant Vessels. Additionally, capacity costs related to low capacity utilization in France resulted in a negative effect of NOK 90 million in the quarter, slightly more than anticipated. Order intake in the third quarter was NOK 19 995 million, giving an order backlog of NOK 77 519 million at the end of the quarter, comprising 150 vessels. Aker Yards had revenues of NOK 6 505 million in the third quarter of 2006, an increase of 54% compared with NOK 4 219 million in the corresponding period of 2005. High activity in all three business areas and the acquisition of new yards contributed to the development. The order backlog increased by NOK 16 912 million from the previous quarter, and order intake in the third quarter was NOK 19 995 million. Further, currency fluctuations resulted in an upward adjustment of the backlog. Cruise & Ferries contributed a significant part of the order intake, with the order for two post-Panamax cruise vessels for NCL representing approximately NOK 12 billion. The order backlog at the close of the third quarter was NOK 77 519 million, compared with NOK 35 457 million at the end of the third quarter 2005. Aker Yards achieved an EBITDA result of NOK 304 million in the third quarter of 2006, compared with NOK 282 million in the corresponding quarter of 2005. The EBITDA margin for the third quarter of 2006 was 4.7%. Challenges on three ro-ro container vessels gave a negative result effect in the quarter of approximately NOK 60 million. Additionally, capacity costs related to low utilization in France gave a negative effect of NOK 90 million in the quarter.
Carnival returns to New Orleans
”Fun Ship” cruising returns to New Orleans today when Carnival Cruise Lines' 2,056-passenger Fantasy embarks on a 4-night cruise to Mexico this afternoon from the new Erato Street Cruise Terminal, part of the ship's year-round 4- and 5-night program from that port. On the Fantasy's year-round schedule from New Orleans, 4-night cruises depart Thursdays and call at Cozumel while 5-night cruises depart Mondays and Saturdays and visit Cozumel and Costa Maya.
The 70,000 gross ton Fantasy - the namesake behind Carnival's Fantasy-class - marks the return of year-round Carnival voyages from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. With the Fantasy's new short cruises, combined with Carnival Triumph's year-round 7-night cruises from New Orleans announced earlier this year, Carnival expects to carry approximately 320,000 passengers annually from that port. Carnival will be the only cruise line to operate two ships year-round from New Orleans.
Rosie O'Donnell named godmother of Norwegian Pearl
Rosie O'Donnell will serve as the godmother of Norwegian Cruise Line's newest ship Norwegian Pearl. The popular talk show host and actress will christen NCL's newest Freestyle Cruising vessel in a ceremony at the Port of Miami on Saturday, December 16 at 5 p.m. NCL has also donated the use of Norwegian Pearl to O'Donnell's charity, Rosie's For All Kids Foundation, for a one-night charity event on Friday, December 15. Guests onboard the one-night cruise will enjoy an evening of culinary delights, a Broadway-style show in the Stardust Theater with O'Donnell and guest entertainers direct from Broadway performing, a comedy show by popular comedy troupe Second City and a sail-away cocktail party on the pool deck.
Silversea ”breaks the mold”
Silversea Cruises has announced plans to test a concept it calls ìPrivileged Passage,î which will re-invent the concept of ultra-luxury cruising, according to the line. ìIn order to attract more first-time and nontraditional cruisers, we want to completely break the mold of the conventional cruise vacation and change travelersí perceptions about the rigidity and formality often associated with cruising,î said Albert Peter, Silverseaís CEO.†The Privileged Passage program will do away with formal nights and receptions.†Guests will not have to worry about packing a tuxedo or evening dress; instead, they'll enjoy the freedom to dress in comfortable casual resort attire throughout the voyage.†Guests will find it easier to design their day with extended open hours for the fitness center and spa. Theyíll also be able to request Early Embarkation and Late Disembarkation at no additional cost.†Silversea will also make it easier for guests to personalize their experiences ashore by offering a selection of complimentary tours specially designed to intimately connect travelers to the places and cultures they visit.† The Privileged Passage program is set to debut on a test basis aboard the Silver Whisperís April 9, 2007, departure. ìIf this pilot cruise is as well-received as we expect, we plan to offer more voyages of this type,î Peter said.
Norwegian Cruise Line confirms its megaship order
Norwegian Cruise Line today confirmed the contract to build two cruise vessels, and an option for a third, by lifting all subjects in the contract. The next generation, post-Panamax 'Freestyle Cruising' vessels will be delivered from Aker Yards in Saint Nazaire, France in 2009 and 2010.
Royal Caribbean receives antitrust approval on Pullmantur purchase, announces ship swap
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has received antitrust approvals from Spain and Portugal on its planned purchase of Madrid-based cruise and tour operator Pullmantur S.A. With purchase plans on schedule, company officials also unveiled Celebrity Expeditions, an extension of the Celebrity Cruises brand, and a ship swap involving Pullmantur's Blue Dream and Celebrity's Zenith. In August, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. signed an agreement with Pullmantur's shareholders to buy all the company's capital stock, subject to regulatory approvals. Today's announcement eliminates the last major requirement to finalization. The company anticipates closing in mid-November. ”We are pleased that the Spanish and Portuguese authorities have given us the green light on our Pullmantur acquisition,” said Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain. ”It allows us to move ahead with very exciting plans for both Celebrity and Pullmantur. For Celebrity, it allows us to build out and extend the Celebrity brand with tailored ships for target markets -- a long-time strategy for the brand -- and, for Pullmantur, it enables us to add needed capacity to the fleet.” Rounding out the Celebrity brand has been a strong focus for the company, and the expansion of Celebrity Expeditions furthers that strategic objective. When the 718-guest Blue Dream joins Celebrity's fleet, it will formalize a small ship, destination-driven offering new to the brand, which will operate under the banner of Celebrity Expeditions. Currently, Celebrity has only one ship, the 100-guest Celebrity Xpedition in the Galapagos, in this category. The line expects the concept to grow over time. Blue Dream will be renamed Celebrity Journey, and will join Celebrity's fleet in April, 2007, sailing Bermuda itineraries from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ, beginning May 5, 2007. Before switching brands, the ship will undergo a one-month revitalization and drydock to incorporate many of Celebrity's signature elements such as two specialty restaurants; expanded spa services, including in-room offerings; expanded concierge service, including butlers; and additional guest suites. The restyled ship will sail the same Bermuda itineraries originally scheduled for Zenith.
cruise industry reports double-digit growth
Consumer demand for cruise vacations continued unabated in the second quarter of 2006 with 2.97 million passengers carried, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). This was an increase of 11.67% over the same
period from one year ago, when 2.66 million people took a cruise vacation. Of the total 2.97 million guests carried, 2.5 million were guests sourced from North America and 466,000 originated from international source markets. The 2006 second-quarter passenger figures are new statistics released today by CLIA, whose 20 member lines represent nearly 98% of the cruise capacity marketed in North America. In addition to the growing passenger totals, CLIA cruise lines also posted a collective 103.2% occupancy factor in the second quarter of 2006 compared with 99% for the same period in 2005. For the first six months of 2006, CLIA's member-line fleets carried 5.76 million guests, an 8.73% increase over the 5.3 million guests carried during the same period in 2005. North American guests for the period totaled 4.94 million, up 4.52% over the 4.73 million carried during the first six months of 2005.
RCCL third quarter net profit falls to $345.4M
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) has announced net income for the third quarter of 2006 of $345.4 million, or $1.63 per share, compared to net income of $374.7 million, or $1.64 per share, for the third quarter of 2005. The third quarter of 2005 includes a net gain of $44.2 million, or $0.19 per share, related to the redemption of the company's investment in First Choice Holidays PLC. Revenues for the third quarter of 2006 increased to $1.6 billion from revenues of $1.5 billion in the third quarter of 2005.
Net Yields increased 2.7% over the third quarter of 2005, consistent with previous guidance of an increase of approximately 3%, driven by strong cruise pricing. Net Cruise Costs, on a per APCD basis, increased 4.5% compared to the third quarter of 2005. Fuel accounted for 3.4 percentage points of the increase in Net Cruise Costs. Our ”at-the-pump” fuel price averaged $442 per metric ton this quarter and $385 per metric ton in the third quarter of 2005. Non-fuel costs accounted for the remaining increase of 1.1 percentage points. This figure also includes expenses associated with the cancellation of one Infinity sailing to replace one of the ship's propulsion pods. Although the company traditionally has losses in the fourth quarter, we expect a very good fourth quarter 2006 based on strong yield growth and lower costs. The company expects Net Yields for the fourth quarter of 2006 will show year over year increases consistent with those seen in the third quarter. This continued yield improvement demonstrates the strength of our two brands. Back in February 2006, the company provided initial Net Yield guidance for the full year 2006 of an increase of 2% to 4% compared to 2005. We subsequently increased that to 3% to 4% in April. From that guidance, the third quarter results were slightly better than anticipated and the fourth quarter guidance slightly worse. Accordingly, we now expect to come in close to the mid-point of this range. Based upon the expectations and assumptions contained in this outlook section (including Pullmantur), management expects full year 2006 earnings per share to be $2.90 to $2.95. Looking into 2007, overall booking levels and ticket prices are in line with levels achieved at the same time last year. The beginning of the year is down slightly, with bookings beyond the first quarter more robust. While it is still too early to quantify projections for 2007, management is optimistic that the current demand environment will result in positive yield performance for the full year.
Conover named Seabourn President, CEO
Respected cruise industry executive Pamela C. Conover has been named President and CEO of Seabourn Cruise Line, the Miami-based, ultra luxury brand owned by Carnival Corporation & plc. In her new role, she will report to Carnival Vice Chairman Howard Frank. Conover, who was assigned as acting president of Seabourn after the company's late President Deborah L. Natansohn suffered a heart attack on October 22, was most recently Senior Vice President of Shared Services at Carnival Corporation, where, among other duties, her market research and strategic analysis resulted in an order for two new ships for Seabourn. ”I am extremely gratified to be offered the helm at Seabourn at this exciting juncture,” said Conover. ”Seabourn's two new, state-of-the-art ships will represent the next evolution of the ultra luxury segment, and
except for the tragic circumstances I couldn't be happier about returning.” Micky Arison, Chairman of Carnival Corporation & plc, said, ”Pam brings a wealth of experience to Seabourn and I am confident that she will continue Debbie Natansohn's record of making Seabourn the best luxury brand in the cruise industry.”
Aker Yards prepares for growth in France, Finland
Aker Yards has announced today its business model for its newly acquired yard in Saint-Nazaire. Focus on core competencies, sharing of best practices and resources across the organisation, new sourcing strategy and simplification of the organisation are the key words of the new strategy that will help the yard improve in the magnitude of Ä60 million over the next 3 years. The plan is to triple the turnover in France by 2009 but this will require the creation of more than 2 000 jobs in the area of Saint-Nazaire. The new business model, presented today to the work council and management, is the result of an 100 days integration process in which 12 task forces in France and Finland have analysed the two ways of doing shipbuilding. Best practices, efficient organisations and fix costs were reviewed and compared. This process resulted in about 150 initiatives to be implemented over the next three years worth in the magnitude of Ä100 million in savings, among which some 60 million for France. ”This new business model will help us secure and develop shipbuilding activity in the Saint-Nazaire area”, explains Jacques Hardelay, Managing Director, Aker Yards, France. ”We expect to triple the turnover by 2009 but this growth wonít be possible without the development of a real maritime network of sub-contractors, ready to follow us.” Aker Yards estimates that more than 2 000 new jobs will be needed in the Saint-Nazaire area to support its growth. The expected increase of the activity will also create 640 new jobs internally among which 100 outfitting coordination jobs and 400 steel production blue collars positions to be filled between the end of 2006 and the end of 2009. The recruitment is already on its way with 250 vacancies available right now. Due to the change of business model, some internal reorganisation will be necessary. The dialog with the work council has started and discussions are expected to continue until mid January 2007. It is estimated that about 240 employees (mainly white collars) will need to change job. Aker Yards will provide training and support to accompany the transition. The Cruise & Ferries Business Area order book has 18 ships for a value of ca. Ä5.5 billion. With 4 cruise ships for MSC Cruises in construction (plus 1 option), and 2 cruise ships for NCL (plus 1 option), the Saint-Nazaire yard will go back to a high level of activity in 2007 and until 2011. Aker Yards plans also hire 200 more people on its yards in Finland.
Fred. Olsen appoints Space to redesign Balmoral interiors
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has appointed Space (the Design Practice) Limited as consultants to transform the interior of Balmoral, currently sailing as Norwegian Crown and due to join the fleet in January 2008. Director Mark Hilferty and his team are no strangers to cruise ship design, having worked with Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, P&O and Renaissance Cruises, as well as creating the interiors of Fred. Olsen's Black Watch, Braemar and Boudicca when these ships were purchased. The cruise line has also appointed a Project Manager, Tor Hansen, based in Oslo and Ipswich, who will oversee the refit of Balmoral's interior and work on other refurbishment projects. Space will be working closely with members of the Olsen family and Tor Hansen to create a distinctive style for Balmoral, which will be recognisably a Fred. Olsen ship, while retaining her own very individual character. The overall theme of Balmoral will be British, calling to mind a comfortable and opulent English Country House. The names of the interior rooms are currently being decided but will include the Ballindalloch Room (the main restaurant), the Blenheim Lounge (main lounge) and Neptune Lounge (entertainment venue.) Mark Hilferty commented: ”Once again, we are delighted to be involved with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. It is more than ten years since I first stepped onboard Black Watch and met with Mr. Fred. Olsen for the first time, and I feel just as proud to be involved with this project as I was with Black Watch back then.”
Eurodam for Holland America Line
Holland America Line has decided to name its latest newbuilding Eurodam. The 2,044 passenger, 86,000 gross ton ship is under construction at Fincantieri in Italy and it will enter service in 2008.
ìInnovations will include a top-deck Pan-Asian restaurant, an Explorer's themed lounge, an Italian specialty restaurant, a newly designed atrium and a reconfigured show lounge,î reports cruisecritic.com, a leading industry website in the US that targets consumers. Even its already fabulous Explorations Cafe, powered by The New York Times, will get a fresh look and locale. It will be housed on the Starboard side of the top-of-the-ship Crow's Nest and will feature Internet-accessible computers, music listening stations and of course books and magazines. On the accommodations side, Eurodam will introduce a new stateroom concept. Ten cabins will feature ceiling-to-floor and wall-to-wall panoramic windows. Otherwise, the vessel will be outfitted by now standard Holland America features, such as Euro-top Mariner's Dream beds, deluxe waffle/terry cloth robes, Egyptian cotton towels, flat panel TVs, DVD players, make-up mirrors with halo lighting, massage shower heads, professional grade hair dryers, fresh flowers and complimentary fruit baskets, the cruisecritic report says.
Aker Yards wins order for two plus two 62,000 gross ton ropaxes from Stena
Aker Yards has entered into a contract with Stena Rederi AB in Gothenburg (Sweden) to deliver two innovative Super Ferries. The value of the contract is approximately Ä400 million. Deliveries are scheduled for the first and third quarter of 2010. The contract includes options for two further vessels of the same type. The 62,000 gross ton ships ordered will be 240 metres long and 32 metres wide. In each vessel there will be 5,500 m trailer lanes and 700 m car lanes of vehicle space, and the passenger capacity will be 1,200 in each. With main engine output of 4 x 8,000 kW (4-stroke diesel engines) they will reach a service speed of 22 knots. The contract is a genuine proof of Aker Yards ability to operate across borders and sharing competences between its three business areas: The basic design of these special ferries will take place in Finland and the building in Germany.”After several years, we are very pleased to renew our customership with such an innovative client as Stena, and are looking forward to a long future cooperation. Aker Yards is also proud to demonstrate its ability to design innovative ships tailored to the customer's needs. By this project we utilize our versatile qualifications within the group even more than before,” says Karl Erik Kjelstad, President & CEO of Aker Yards. Although the yards traditionally serving the ferry business (Finland and France) were fully booked for the delivery dates requested by the client, Aker Yards with its17 yards co-operating across borders had the possibility to offer building of the ferries in Germany. Aker Yards, Germany has experience in building passenger ships and roro ferries, and the designer, Aker Yards, Rauma has experience in designing and building of passenger and car ferries for more than 20 years.
Star Cruises rights issue to raise $200 million to part fund NCL expansion
Star Cruises Limited on 8 th November 2006 announced a US$200 million fully underwritten rights issue to inter alia part-finance the building of up to three newbuilds announced on 7 September 2006. The balance of the financing for the newbuilds will be via bank borrowings and internally generated cash, the company said in a statement. The Lim Family and Resorts World Limited have given their full support for the rights by providing undertakings to the Company to take up their portion of the rights. The Lim Family is also negotiating to sub-underwrite the public portion of the rights. Commenting on the rights issue, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman of Star Cruises, said ìThe rights issue will strengthen NCLís competitive position by allowing the company to invest in up to three ìThird Generation Freestyle Cruisingî ships. This will enhance NCLís product offering and expand its broad range of itineraries.î The total contract price for the three newbuilds is approximately S$3.0 billion and each ship will be about 150,000 gross tons with 4,200 passenger berths. Each of these ships can carry a quarter million passengers a year. Tan Sri Lim further commented ìAs a partner with Genting International bidding for the Sentosa Integrated Resort in Singapore, Star Cruises brings to the consortium a vast sales and marketing network in Asia built over 13 years that is second to none and a US distribution network built up over 40 years through its subsidiary NCL. This distribution network will be the touch points to millions of potential tourists globally. These new ships will enhance the reach of our sales and marketing network, and together with Genting International PLC has a distribution network that is certainly unparalleled.î
P&O Cruises, Cunard and Ocean Village scoop UK awards
Carnival UK swept the board at the prestigious British Travel Awards ceremony, picking up a total of five awards between brands P&O Cruises, Cunard Line and Ocean Village. The award categories were two-fold, consumer awards voted for by the readers of the Times and Sunday Times, and industry awards voted for by travel professionals. In the consumer awards, P&O Cruises topped the single cruise line category, being voted Favourite Cruise Line. In the travel industry voted awards, P&O Cruises also scooped Best Mainstream Cruise Line, with Ocean Village picking up Best Niche Cruise Line and Cunard winning Best Premium Cruise Line.Cunard also received the Cruise Line of the Year award, as voted by a panel of experts including 31 industry opinion formers. Carnival UK managing director David Dingle said: ìThese awards recognise and underline the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in the Carnival UK cruise lines, and I am delighted to have received such recognition at the British Travel Awards.î
NCL forecasts 1% net revenue yield drop in final quarter
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), part of the Star cruises group, forecasts net yields to fall by 1% in the final quarter of 2006 on the same period last year due to downward price pressure in the Caribbean and Hawaii. The parent company expects this weakness to extend to the first quarter of 2007 and notes that bookings continue to be made loser to sailing date than what was the case at this time last year. Star Cruises group made a third quarter net profit of $60.4 million, up 82% on the same period last year. However, the fresh figure included a $16.7 million gain from the sale of Norwegian Crown to the Fred Olsen group. NCLís third quarter net revenues rose by 15.1% while capacity increased by 15.2%, leading to a 0.1 percentage point fall in net revenue yield. On the group level, net revenue yield rose 13% but occupancy ratio decreased by 3.9%, which contributed to a 3.3% fall in net revenue yield.
Princess to hold simultaneous namings for Emerald Princess and Royal Princess in Santorini
In a historic first for Princess Cruises, the 3,100-passenger Emerald Princess and 710-passenger Royal Princess will formally join the fleet in an unprecedented dual christening ceremony, set against the brilliant blue waters of the Greek island of Santorini. The simultaneous namings will take place on May 12, 2007 and will be the first double ship launch for Princess. The unique naming event, featuring one of the line's largest and smallest vessels, will underscore the range of ship choice found throughout the Princess fleet, which includes three intimately sized ships. The modern Emerald Princess, an amenity-filled sister ship to the line's largest vessels, will offer a dramatic contrast to Royal Princess, less than a quarter of the size and offering passengers a true small-ship experience. Both ships begin sailing in Europe this April on a series of Mediterranean itineraries, featuring a variety of sought-after and unique destinations, including the Greek isles, Crimean Coast, Egypt and the Holy Land, and a number of new ports on the Adriatic Sea. The event also marks the first cruise ship christening held in the idyllic Greek isle's waters. Santorini, recently voted by Travel & Leisure magazine as Europe's top island, is a featured call on five Princess itineraries. Both Emerald Princess and Royal Princess will make regular visits to this picturesque island throughout the Europe cruise season. ”These two ships represent the full scope of our fleet - from large to small - and it will be a wonderful contrast to launch them together at the same time,” said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service and sales. ”And because we're renowned for our wide-ranging worldwide itineraries to exciting places, we're excited to celebrate this historic event in such a fabulous port.” The two new ships will both offer passengers the best of Europe with a variety of cruise experiences and itineraries. Emerald Princess will sail to the most sought-after ports in the Mediterranean, featuring the region's most popular and historic destinations. Royal Princess' boutique cruise experience is the perfect complement to its series of ”Elite” itineraries, taking advantage of the ship's small size to introduce four unusual new ports to Princess' worldwide lineup.
Royal Caribbean finalises Pullmantur purchase
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has completed its purchase of Madrid-based cruise and tour operator Pullmantur S.A. Closing documents were signed today in Madrid. In August, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. signed an agreement with Pullmantur's shareholders to buy all the company's capital stock. Last month, the company received regulatory approval for the acquisition. ”The Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Pullmantur partnership officially begins today and we could not be happier,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. ”Together, we look forward to an exciting future of expanding our brands globally.”
Oceania buys fleet after $400 million debt offering
Oceania Cruises has completed a $400 million bank debt offering and it has acquired the three ship fleet that it has operated under long term leases for a total of $375 million from Cruiseinvest LLC. The debt offering comprises of a $300 million six-year term loan, a $75 million seven-year term loan, and a $25 million five-year revolving credit facility. UBS Securities and Lehman Brothers acted as financial advisors for the transaction and underwrote the credit facilities with a syndicate of leading North American and European financial institutions. ìOceania Cruises will now assume full ownership and management responsibilities for each of the vessels and no changes will be made to the current operations onboard. The renowned ship management firm V.Ships Leisure of Monte Carlo remains as marine and technical managers for the fleet, and ICS, a subsidiary of Miami-based Apollo Ship Chandlers, will continue to provide hotel services for the fleet,î Oceania said in a statement. Since its inception in 2002, Oceania Cruises has grown from a start-up company with one ship and fewer than 50 employees, to a three-ship fleet with 2,052 berths, 165 shore-side staff and more than 2,000 crew members worldwide. From 2003 to 2006, available berths quadrupled yet yields per guest increased by 41% during this time period and occupancy levels remained consistently close to capacity. The company has a high degree of earnings visibility, with more than 72% of the available occupancy for 2007 and 30% of the available occupancy for 2008 having already been booked as of November 2006. The company operates the 684-guest vessels, Regatta, Insignia and Nautica.
Celebrity cancels cruise due to pod trouble - again
Celebrity Cruises is canceling one sailing on Millennium to replace the port thrust bearing in the ship's propulsion system. The ship must enter drydock to replace the bearing, which will result in the cancellation of its December 10 sailing. The ship is expected to return to its scheduled sailings on December 17. The cancelled sailing is a seven-night Caribbean cruise, roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale.Guests booked on the cancelled sailing will receive a full refund and a free Celebrity cruise of equal value from North America of up to seven nights, departing on or before December 31, 2007, excluding holiday and Celebrity Xpedition sailings. Travel agents will receive full commissions for the cancelled sailing, plus a $50 rebooking fee per stateroom when their clients reschedule their cruise.”I sincerely apologize to our guests for the disruption this cancelled cruise will cause them,” said Dan Hanrahan, president of Celebrity Cruises. ”We will do everything we can to assist them onboard other sailings. Millennium continues to operate safely, however, this is a matter that can only be addressed through repairs in a drydock.” The cancelled cruise is expected to have a negative impact on the earnings of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. of approximately $.02 per share
Royal sponsor for new Hurtigrute ship
HRH Crown Princess Mette Marit has agreed to name Fram, the latest newbuilding of the Norwegian specialist cruise operator Hurtigrute, in Oslo on 19 May next year. ìWe are happy and very proud that Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess has agreed to become the godmother of Hurtigruteís new pride, m/s Fram,î said Henrik Andenes, Managing Director of the company. The ship will make seven and 14 night cruises in the waters of Greenland next summer and Andenes says there is already strong demand for the sailings that will start with a first cruise from Reykjavik in Iceland on 27 May. The 114 metre long vessel will have 318 berths and following the season in Greenland, the ship will head for Antarctica for austral summer cruises in that region.
Silja Line becomes Tallink Silja
Tallink Grupp has decided to change the business names of its Finnish and Swedish subsidiaries Silja Line OY Ab andSilja Line AB. The new business names are, correspondingly, Tallink Silja OY in Finland and Tallink Silja AB in Sweden. The changes of the business names are being registered.
Kadri Land was appointed as the Managing Director of Tallink Silja AB. Keijo Mehtonen will continue as the Managing Director of Tallink Silja Oy.
RCCL strengthens UK team with air/sea manager
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) has invested further into its UK and Ireland team with the appointment of Claire Trevis in the role of 'Manager - Air/Sea'. This is another step demonstrating Royal Caribbean Cruise Lineís commitment to these markets and to ensure that all trade partners and guests are fully supported in every way possible. Former Aviation Director for the First Choice Group, Trevis joined Royal Caribbean on Monday 13 November reporting directly to UK Operations Director, Paul Randall. Heading up two teams of over 20 people, Trevis will work with direct reports - Supervisor Carrie-Ann Fouche for Air Operations and Supervisor Lori Dunmore for Air Planning - to ensure the smooth and efficient day-to-day running of all aviation activities for both the Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises brands. Trevis, most recently General Manager at Telme Farebase/Advance Travel Planners International and previously moving through the ranks at Unijet Travel, comes armed with a wealth of experience and expertise in the management and organisation of busy air and sea divisions.Commenting on Trevis' appointment, Randall said, ìWe are really delighted to have Claire join the Royal Caribbean team. The appointment of as a high caliber travel professional as Claire possessing such key aviation knowledge, truly demonstrates our commitment to fly/cruise. In a time when our ex UK sailing's are experiencing incredible success and generating significant growth, we are determined not to lose focus on our traditional fly/cruise market and are committed to providing the best product possible for our guests.ì
Delphin reported to have signed LOI for 34,000 gross ton newbuilding
Delphin Kreuzfahrten, the German cruise operator, has signed a letter of intent with an unnamed German shipyard for a 34,000 gross ton newbuilding that will be delivered in 2009. The 194 metre vessel will have accommodation for 880 passengers, the Cruise & Ferry Info trade magazine reports. The vesselís external appearance resembles that of Silja Europa, a 59,900 gross ton cruise ferry built by the Meyer Werft in 1993.
Norwegian Pearl joins NCL fleet
Meyer Werft delivered the 93,500-gt cruise ship Norwegian Pearl to Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), which is based in Miami. The hand over took place in the Dutch port of Eemshaven. The Norwegian Pearl is the third ship out of a series of four the Papenburg shipyard is building for Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). The ship combines modern event gastronomy of NCLís concept of ìfreestyle cruisingî with extravagant interior outfittings meeting state-of-the-art technical demands. Along with its new design, ship offers the passengers numerous specialities and a great deal of convenience: Some 70 per cent of the cabins are outside cabins, with most of them having their own balconies. Moreover, with its 1,100 crew, NCL offers the passengers outstanding service. Both safety and entertainment meet the latest technical standards ensured by the diesel-electric pod propulsion system, interactive communication systems and sophisticated stage technology. Upon delivery, the Norwegian Pearl will leave Eemshaven for Rotterdam from where she will set out on a mini-cruise with 2,000 passengers to Southampton. On 2 December she will start her transatlantic crossing from Southampton to Miami where she will be named on 16 December. Godmother of the ship will be the American talk show host Rosie OíDonnell.
UK cruise market matches 17% growth forecast 2006
The UK cruise market grew by 17% to the targeted 1.25 million passengers in 2006 from 1.06 million last year, the Passenger Shipping Association confirms. In total, the market is expected to grow by another 100,000 passengers, taking the total to 1.35 million and an increase of 8% in 2007, cruisecommunity.com reports on its website. Meanwhile official government statistics show that UK residentsí holiday trips abroad rose on average 3% per year in 2001-05 to 66.4 million
DFDS Seaways and Fjord Line in headwinds
DFDS Seaways, the cruise ferry unit of DFDS in Copenhagen, suffered from high bunker costs and failure of the 1986 built second had acquisition King of Scandinavia that was introduced in service between Ijmuiden and Newcastle earlier this year to meet the expected demand. In general, ticket prices remained flat but on board spending increased on the six cruise ferries of the company. Passenger volume fell by 7% and EBITDA by 3% to DK224M. Fjord Line, the Norwegian ferry company that recently sold one of its ships and routes to DFDS, is reported to face bankruptcy proceedings after failing to pay two creditors a total amount of NOK92,000. A court hearing is due in Bergen next week, the reports say. CBR has not been able to obtain a comment from the company.
Island Cruises reported to plan doubling fleet
Island Cruises, the joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) and First Choice Holidays, is reported to plan doubling its fleet to four ships by 2010. The first priority of the company is to introduce cruises targeting the British market year round, a report in the Cruise & Ferry Info magazine says. At the moment, the 40,000 gross ton Island Escape and 48,000 gross ton Island Star trade in Brazilian waters in the northern winter and these cruises are sold to the local market. Both ships are transfers from the RCCL fleet. Meanwhile, First Choice has confirmed that it is in talks with MyTravel, another British tour operator, to sell its package holiday unit and that it plans to focus on other parts of the travel industry.
Louis almost doubles nine month pre tax profit
Louis plc, the Cyprus based hotels and cruise shipping group, has announced a strong rise in pre tax profit for the first nine months of the year, mainly thanks to financial gains and better earnings from operations. Profit before taxation increased to Ä35.1 million compared to Ä18.0 million during the corresponding period last year, showing an improvement of Ä17.1 million (96%). This improvement was mainly due to the increase in the profit before interest, taxes, depreciation and hotel rent expenses (EBITDAR) as well as Exchange / Financing gains (realised and unrealised)in the amount of Ä1.9 million compared to losses of Ä3.2 million for 2005, that is, an overall improvement of Ä5.1 million. The profit attributable to the shareholders increased by more than 62%, from Ä20.8 million from the corresponding period of 2005 to Ä 33.5 million. This significant improvement is in line with the projections. ìBased on the results of the nine months ended 30 September 2006, the currently prevailing foreign exchange rates and current facts, the Company remains at the previous forecast for a significant increase in the profit attributable to the shareholders of Louis plc for the entire year of 2006,î the company said
Holland America launches new campaign to ìreach emerging consumersî
Holland America Line will launch a new advertising campaign in 2007 designed to provoke target consumers to rethink which cruise line is best suited for a vacation. The multi-million dollar magazine campaign first appears in the January issue of Vanity Fair, arriving in homes the week of 4 December 2006. ”Our new campaign is artfully unexpected and takes an emotional approach to capture the attention of cruisers with vibrant, stunning visuals. These are supported with our signature brand messages,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programmes. ”We are not changing our brand; we are changing how we communicate about our brand to reach the youthful mindset of baby boomers.” This is not your father's or mother's Holland America Line,” added Meadows. ”Our goal is to reach emerging consumers and rattle their perceptions about what they think our brand is and show them that we are multi-layered and offer experiences that they seek in a premium style.î Each ad features a hidden Holland America Line ship sailing within a series of vivid, pictorial icons. Each icon is paired with a single suggestive word like: ”Sublime,” ”Luminous,” or ”Enchanting.” The executions are simply executed to intrigue people while reaffirming that the Holland America Line brand is a lasting experience, not just a trip. Two of the ads separately feature a pear and pearl as the key visual.
Pakistan joins cruise league as Dubai service starts
Gulf Dream Cruises, which is based in Karachi, has introduced five night cruises from the Pakistani port city to Dubai, using the 23,000 gross ton Dream, one of the original Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) ships built in the early 1970s. The ship spends 12 hours in Dubai and there is a sea day both outbound and inbound.
MSC Poesiaís keel laid in St Nazaire
The keel of MSC Poesia, the third 90,000 gross ton cruise liner of MSC Cruises, has been laid at Aker Yards, France in St Nazaire. The ship will enter service in 2008 and it will follow sister ships MSC Musica that entered service in the summer and MSC Orchestra, which will be introduced next year. While the size and architecture of the MSC Poesia are reminiscent of the MSC Musica and MSC Orchestra, new designs have been added for the entertainment areas. A Sports Bar will be fitted in place of the MSC Musicaís Wine Tasting Bar, while a gastronomic Mediterranean restaurant will replace the Chinese restaurant onboard the MSC Orchestra. Each day, a different gastronomic menu will be offered, each reflecting the best in Mediterranean culinary tradition, according to the shipís stopovers.
Carnival confirms talks with TUI but declines to unveil subject
Carnival Corporation & plc confirms that it has held discussions with TUI AG, the worldís biggest tour operator, but declined to comment on their nature. However, the company said ìthe nature of the discussions has been incorrectly reported by various German media as they do not involve exclusive distribution of any of Carnival's cruise products. The company's very successful Aida brand, which serves the German market, is completely satisfied with its present distribution model and appreciates the support that it receives from its travel agent partners. Carnival said the talks with TUI are continuing and ìshould current discussions lead to an agreement with TUI, Carnival Corporation & plc will immediately announce details of the agreement. However, until that time, the company will not comment further.î
Costa confirms its option with Fincantieri
The Italian company Costa Crociere SpA has exercised an option with Fincantieri for the construction of a new 92,700 gross tonnage cruise ship. The new ship, which is scheduled for delivery in March 2010, will be built at Fincantieriís Marghera shipyard, at an all-in cost of approximately 420 million euros. The vessel will have 2,260 lower passenger berths and a total of 1,130 cabins, 772 (68%) of which with private verandas, this being the highest percentage of veranda cabins in the whole Costa fleet. She will be the sister ship of another 92,700-tonner, already announced, also to be built in Marghera and scheduled to enter service in spring 2009.
Veolia eyes Moroccan and Algerian ferry companies
French group Veolia Transport is planning a massive expansion in the European ferry sector. ìThe passenger ferry market inEurope saw a turnover of Ä15billion last year and is growing rapidly, especially in the Mediterranean,î director Stephane Richard said, according to Fairplay Daily News. Veolia stepped into shipping with a 28% stake in SNCM, and has now expressed interest in the privatisation of Moroccoís Comanav, which runs ferries from Morocco to Spain, France and Italy; meanwhile it hasconfirmed it is looking to buy a stake in Algerian ferry operator ENTMV,which trades as AlgÈrie Ferries between Algeria, Spain and France. Veolia has also bid for cross channel ferry specialist Transmanche Ferries, which operates between the French port of Dieppe and Newhavenin the UK. It is soon to strengthen its position in SNCM to become the sole operator of the ferry line, once the state has sold its remaining 25% stake and private investment fund Butler Capital Partner confirmsits exit. SNCM has seen a revival of its passenger traffic since the arrival of Veolia, and has resumed investments with the purchase of the ferry Superfast X. SNCM is widely expected to win the Corsican ferry tender, the award of which is expected on 22 December.
Celebrity expands Celebrity Expeditions, adds Celebrity Quest
Cruises has taken another significant step in its quest to expand the Celebrity Expeditions, its sub-brand. Celebrity Quest will join Celebrity Expeditions in 2007, pairing new avenues for delivering the ”Celebrity Treatment” with exotic new itineraries for the vessel and its sister ship, Celebrity Journey. The three-ship class includes Celebrity Xpedition, which has
sailed in the Galapagos Islands since 2004. ”Rounding out the Celebrity brand has been a strong focus for our company, and the expansion of Celebrity Expeditions furthers that strategic objective,” said Celebrity?s President Dan Hanrahan. ”Celebrity Quest, Celebrity Journey and Celebrity Xpedition combined represent a natural extension of the brand as we move into new markets with tailored-to-market products.” The 710-guest Celebrity Quest -- most recently sailing as Blue Moon, owned by Pullmantur -- will join the Celebrity Expeditions fleet in October 2007. Like Celebrity Journey, which sets sail in May 2007, the vessel's smaller size allows for greater versatility in deployment, allowing
Celebrity to offer guests exceptional destination experiences, while adding 32 new ports to the line?s itinerary portfolio. With those, the Celebrity brand next year will call on 247 ports.
Carnival and TUI plan join venture to operate Aida and TUI Cruises
Carnival Corporation & plc the largest cruise vacation group in the world, and TUI AG, the world's largest tour operator, have announced the signing of a letter of intent to form a joint venture company to develop, market and operate two cruise brands - Carnival's existing Aida Cruises and a new TUI Cruises brand - both designed for the German-speaking holiday market. Under the proposed joint venture agreement, a new TUI Cruises brand, which will target a different segment of the German cruise market than the Aida brand, will be developed. It is expected that the first TUI branded ship, with an estimated 3,000 passenger berths, will be delivered in spring of 2010. Aida, the German affiliate of Costa Crociere S.p.A., is currently the market leader in Germany with its ”club resort” cruise concept aimed at younger, more active passengers. Aida currently operates a four-ship fleet, with four additional ships under construction at Germany's Meyer Werft shipyard and scheduled for delivery between 2007 and 2010. The new joint venture company will be managed under the direction of Pier Luigi Foschi, chairman and CEO of Carnival's Costa Cruises unit, who currently oversees Carnival's German operations, including Aida. Michael Thamm, president of Aida Cruises, based in Rostock, Germany, will become president of the new joint venture company. Under the proposed transaction, TUI will initially purchase 5% of the joint venture in 2007 and is expected to purchase another 20% in 2010. For purposes of this transaction, Aida's business was valued at Ä1.9 billion for inclusion in the joint venture, which will be formed with Ä600 million of indebtedness.
Carnival takes up option for second 130,000 ton newbuilding for CCL
Carnival Corp & PLC takes up option for 130,000 gross ton newbuilding with Fincantieri for its Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) brand. The ship will be delivered in the summer of 2010 and the order is worth Ä565 million. The new vessel, which will have 3,652 lower passenger berths, will be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri at its Monfalcone yard at an estimated all-in cost of 565 million euros. The ship is scheduled for delivery in summer 2010. The vessel will be a sister ship to a previously announced 130,000-ton ship slated to enter service in fall 2009 that will begin a new class for the line. The two sister ships will be the largest ever constructed for Carnival Cruise Lines. ”Carnival Cruise Lines remains the undisputed leader in contemporary cruising and these new ships represent the most spacious and innovative design ever created for a Carnival 'Fun Ship,'” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. ”In addition to introducing a host of new and exciting facilities and features, this groundbreaking class of ship will enable us to build upon our distinction as world's most popular cruise line,” he added. With today's announcement, Carnival Cruise Lines now has four new ships on order or under construction with Fincantieri representing a combined 13,284 total lower berths. Corporate-wide, Carnival Corporation & PLC now has 19 new ships on order - 13 of which are being constructed by Fincantieri.
Louis charters Orient Queen to German companies
Louis plc announces that it entered into an agreement with two German companies, namely Hansa Kreuzfarten GmbH and Delphin Kreuzfarten GmbH for the charter of its cruise ship Orient Queen from 18.12.2006 until 07.05.2007 for a period of 140 days. The vessel was previously chartered to an English company for a 31day long period (30.03.2007 till 29.04.2007); however the said agreement was cancelled due to the inability of the charterer to fulfill its contractual obligations. Orient Queen will now be conducting a Round the World trip, departing from Piraeus and sailing to a number of countries such as Egypt, the Seychelles, Mozambique, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, French Polynesia, Samoa Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, India, the Arabian Gulf and eventually returning to Piraeus. Louis bought the ship from the Lebanese Abou Merhi group last year.
easyCruise to relocate to Athens
easyCruise, the cruise line owned by Stelios and the easyGroup has announced today that it will relocate its centre of operations from Monaco to Athens, Greece. A subsidiary of the company will establish an office in Athens and the recently appointed Finance Director, Stelios Panagiotou, will be based there. An executive search firm based in Athens†(part of KPMG) has been appointed to search for a suitable executive to head the operation in Greece with the title of General Manager.† As already announced the m/v easyCruiseOne will be based in Greece in the summer of 2007, a programme already enjoying strong bookings. Following the plans to relocate operations Gwyn Hughes has decided to relinquish his role as CEO of easyCruise Ltd. †Stelios commented: ìI would like to thank Gwyn for his efforts in developing the plans for this exciting company. He will oversee the plans for moving the operational center of the company to Athens to be closer to the ship. I am glad that after this Gwyn will continue to offer his experience on the new building contract negotiations, which are expected to continue with shipyards for at least another 6 months pending EU regulatory processes relating to export credit guarantees.î Gwyn commented: ìWith the decision to base the operation in Athens it was opportune for me to hand over to a Greek management team.î easyCruise will continue to have a marketing company based in the UK headed by Paul Ellerby.
Royal Caribbean names third Freedom-class ship
Royal Caribbean International's third and final Freedom-class ship will be named Independence of the Seas. The ship, currently under construction at Aker Yards in Turku, Finland, is set to make her debut in May 2008. She will follow Liberty of the Seas, which makes her entrance into New York City harbor May 3, 2007. ”Independence of the Seas will have all of the signature elements of her sister ships, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, making the Freedom-class ships the most innovative and forward-looking class of ships in the cruise industry,” said Adam Goldstein, president for Royal
Caribbean International. ”Her name reflects the all-encompassing mindset behind Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, where guests have the freedom to create their own unique adventure by choosing multiple onboard options, from active pursuits such as rock climbing, surfing or ice skating; to more relaxing experiences, such as spa treatments, fine dining or world-class entertainment.” At 151,000 gross ton and holding 3,634 guests double-occupancy, Independence of the Seas will share the title of the world's largest cruise ship with Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas. Among new programs and onboard embellishments yet to be announced, amenities on Independence of the Seas will include the popular innovations already found on her sister ships including the FlowRiderÆ surf simulator; the H20 Zone aqua park; cantilevered whirlpools, suspended 112 feet above the ocean; an ice-skating rink; a boxing ring; and the 1,215-square-foot Presidential Family Suite, which sleeps up to 14. Beginning May 19, 2007, Liberty of the Seas will sail alternating
7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries year-round from Miami, calling on San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Labadee, Haiti in the east; and Labadee; Montego Bay, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico in the west. Liberty of the Seas will depart Miami on Saturdays while Freedom of the Seas, also sailing
alternating 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries out of Miami, will depart Sundays.
Costa to increase its presence in Dubai
Costa group plans to deploy three cruise ships in Dubai for the 2007/2008 winter season. In addition to the AIDA brand vessel AIDAcara, the Costa Crociere brand will base Arabian Gulf the Costa Romantica (53,000 gross tons and total guest capacity of 1,697) and the Costa Europa (55,000 gross tons and total guest capacity of 1,830). There will be a total of 39 departures (15 on the Costa Romantica, 10 on the Costa Europa and 14 on the AIDAcara) with a total passenger capacity of 103,000 (40,000 on the Costa Romantica, 30,000 on the Costa Europa and 33,000 on the AIDAcara). The three ships will be deployed on the same itinerary already marketed by Costa in winter 2006/2007. The AIDAcara will extend her season from December 6, 2007 through March 8, 2008, with departures from Dubai every Friday; the Costa Romantica will set sail on Saturdays from December 21, 2007 to March 30, 2008; and the Costa Europa will depart every Sunday from December 22, 2007 through February 25, 2008.
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