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HM The Queen to name Britannia

Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, will name the new P&O Cruises vessel Britannia at Ocean Terminal, on Tuesday March 10, 2015, P&O Cruises said in a statement.

The biggest ship designed exclusively for Britain, Britannia is P&O Cruises latest "modern classic", heralding a new era of holiday choice.

"We are honoured and proud that Her Majesty will name Britannia almost 20 years after she named the P&O Cruises ship Oriana.

"Britannia, a ship for the nation, will be the embodiment of contemporary Britain, and with her Union Jack livery she will fly the flag for Britain across the Globe,”said Carnival UK chairman, David Dingle

MSC Cruises unveils Vista and Seaside class details, additional order plans

MSC Cruises, the world’s fourth largest cruise shipping group in terms of capacity, has unveiled details about its Vista and Sunshine class newbuildings plus plans to order more of these ships.

Two 167,600 gross ton Vista class vessels are on order at STX France for delivery in 2017 and 2019 respectively. However, the Geneva based company said on a video that it intends to take delivery of two additional 5,700 passenger units, which are due to enter service in 2020 and 2022, respectively.

The Vista class will feature an aqua park with amusement park, double deck indoor promenade lined with bars and restaurants plus an 80 metre led dome, the largest on any ship. A double deck lounge in the aft will be provided for entertainment. There will be family cabins, while suites will feature private Jacuzzis. The Yacht Club will be enhanced compared to existing ships.

The Sunshine class of two 154,500 gross ton ships from Fincantieri in Italy, with deliveries due in 2017 and 2018, would be complemented by a third unit that is scheduled to enter service in 2021.

The 5,300 passenger Sunshine class vessels are designed for warm water cruising and they will feature 43,000 sqm of public areas. A double deck atrium with a glass wall facing the stern will be a feature of these ships, as will panoramic lifts. A waterfront promenade will be featured, while accommodation will comprise family cabins and suites with private Jacuzzi.

Evac Group acquires Deerberg Systems

Evac Group (Evac), a Finnish leading global provider of environmentally friendly water, waste and wastewater collection and treatment equipment and solutions for the marine, building and offshore industries, says it has acquired Deerberg-Systems GmbH in Germany.

Deerberg, based in Oldenburg, Germany, is the global market leader in marine environmental protection systems for the treatment of dry and wet waste (DW) on board all kinds of vessels. The Deerberg Multi-Purpose-Waste-Management-System MPWMS® is renowned in the marine industry to be the leading solution in this field. With this acquisition Evac is now able to offer a total, flexible multipurpose waste management system from one source. 

According to industry estimates, the DW treatment market will continue to grow in the coming years. These estimates are based on strong demand coming from the cruise vessel and ferry segments. The acquisition of Deerberg will elevate Evac to be the leading player for total waste management systems in the cruise ship segment.

Tomi Gardemeister, CEO of Evac Group Oy, says; “The fit with the excellent DW solution lines of  Deerberg is perfect. This acquisition will strengthen our role as a solutions provider for the cruise business sector, because the requirements of waste logistics needs and DW treatment are growing within the sector.”

“ This move will further enhance our total waste management solutions offering to our main customers, both in recycling and recovery, as well as in energy efficient thermal treatment,” he said in a statement.

Tallink and Meyer Turku seal €230 million cruise ferry contract

AS Tallink Grupp, the listed Estonian cruise ferry company and Meyer Turku Oy have signed a contract for the construction of the LNG powered fast ferry for Tallinn-Helsinki route shuttle operations, Tallink said in a statement.

The two parties signed a letter of intent regarding the project on 11 December last year

The dual fuel ship will be about 212 metres in length with a passenger capacity of 2800. The fast ferry will cost around €230 million and will be built at Meyer Turku shipyard for delivery in the beginning of 2017.

The project will provide approximately 2000 man-years employment for the shipyard. The new environmentally friendly ship uses LNG as fuel and she complies with the new and stricter emission regulations for the ECA areas including the Baltic Sea. The ship, with a gross tonnage of 49 000 and service speed of 27 knots, will bring significant improvement in energy efficiency.

Highly innovative hull form design minimizes the flow resistance and ensures that the ship operates well in ice conditions. Efficient and fast cargo turnaround in ports has been taken into account in the design of the new generation fast ferry.

According to the contract 20% of the total cost will be paid during the construction period and the rest after the delivery of the vessel. AS Tallink Grupp plans to finance 80% of the new ship cost in 2017 by long term loan. The loan terms will be concluded in the near future. According to the strategy Tallink will continue deleveraging during the current and next year. The management aims not to exceed the curent debt level due to the new ship investment.

 Janek Stalmeister Stalmeister, CEO of AS Tallink Grupp, says that Tallink wants to develop sea travel and to revolutionise business concepts and this project will be one of the attempts to succeed on that. “We have brought a new understanding to the fast ferry services with the Shuttle concept and now the time is right to take the next step. We have learned from our own experience, listened to our customers and experts and we are now very excited about the end result”, added Stalmeister.

Viking Cruises selects New Orleans for launch of Mississippi River cruise service

Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Viking Cruises Chairman Torstein Hagen announced the selection of New Orleans as the homeport for Viking River Cruises’ first North American river cruise itineraries. The Mississippi River cruises will operate from docking facilities near the French Quarter in New Orleans. Viking’s new service will result in the creation of 416 new direct jobs for Louisiana-based operations and vessel crews, with an average salary of $40,000, plus benefits; and Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 368 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 780 new jobs in the Southeast Region of the state.

In January, Gov. Jindal and Hagen met at Viking’s operational headquarters in Switzerland to discuss the new itineraries and the impact the project will have on New Orleans and the region. Plans call for the construction of six new vessels over the next three years at an estimated cost of $90 million to $100 million per vessel, all of which will be built in U.S. shipyards and crewed by U.S. citizens. The vessels will be owned by Tennenbaum Capital Partners, a Los Angeles-based alternative investment management firm, and time-chartered to Viking in full compliance with maritime laws. Viking River Cruises customers, traveling to New Orleans from across the U.S., Europe and beyond, will bring new business to hotels, restaurants, museums and other attractions in the city, expanding sales for local merchants. More than 90 percent of sales created by the project will come from out-of-state customers.

Gov. Jindal said, “We’re proud to welcome Viking River Cruises to New Orleans. This investment will not only bring great new jobs to our state, but it will also showcase Louisiana and the Mississippi River to the rest of the world. Since its launch in 1997, Viking River Cruises has connected its passengers to Europe and Asia’s most scenic landscapes and cultural landmarks. With today’s announcement, the picturesque Mississippi River and the beauty of New Orleans, Baton Rouge and other great cities of the American South will join the list of the company’s journeys as Viking River Cruises launches its first North American cruise. Viking could have chosen another port anywhere in the world, but chose Louisiana because of our state’s outstanding business climate, workforce and port infrastructure.”

With the launch of cruise operations on the Mississippi River in late 2017, two boats will be deployed per year, for a total of six new boats in the first three years. Cruises will take passengers on a journey along the Mississippi River from New Orleans to itinerary stops in St. James, East Baton Rouge and West Feliciana parishes; continuing upriver to Memphis, Tennessee; St. Louis; or St. Paul, Minnesota, depending on the season. The specialty-built riverboats will have a full complement of luxury amenities and host up to 300 passengers at approximately one-tenth the size of oceangoing cruise vessels. Viking’s cruises are renowned for their locally oriented educational and entertainment programs.

“The Viking team is very proud to partner with the State of Louisiana, and we are grateful for the support of Governor Jindal,” Hagen said. “We are excited about the prospect of bringing modern river-cruising to the Mississippi, a river that has been traveled by explorers for centuries. We know our passengers will enjoy the rich history, culture and cuisine of all the great cities and towns along the Mississippi River from New Orleans to St. Paul. Together with our U.S. partners, we take great pride in the economic benefit that river-cruising provides to the regions our guests visit, from the shipbuilders to the local businesses.”

“New Orleans is on a roll, and this investment is yet another example of the continued growth across industries in our city,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “With the creation of nearly 800 direct and indirect jobs, Viking’s project will generate major opportunities for our citizens, boost our tourism industry, and continue to turbocharge the Port of New Orleans. I am thrilled to welcome Viking River Cruises to New Orleans.”

LED began discussing expansion possibilities with Viking River Cruises in November 2013. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes a $4.5 million performance-based grant for site preparation at the company’s docking locations in Louisiana. The company also will receive the customized solutions of the nation’s No. 1 state workforce development program, LED FastStart®, which will include partnerships with the Louisiana Workforce Commission and local educational institutions.

“Having the top river cruise company homeport in New Orleans will be an outstanding chance to tell the story of the Louisiana renaissance to the world,” said President and CEO Michael Hecht of Greater New Orleans Inc. “Viking River Cruises choosing greater New Orleans is a testament not only to our culture and river, but also to our outstanding teamwork at the state, regional and local level. GNO Inc. is proud to have been an integral part of the team that met with Viking on two continents to bring them to New Orleans."

Viking River Cruises was founded in 1997 with the purchase of four ships and the launch of river cruise operations in Russia. Since that time, the company has grown to become the world’s leading river cruise line, owning the largest share of the market and operating the largest fleet of cruise vessels along rivers across the globe. The company’s fleet currently features 60 modern, deluxe river vessels, including its innovative Viking Longships®. The company first expanded into the U.S. market by establishing U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles. The Mississippi River itineraries will be the company’s first cruise offering in North America.

“We are thrilled by the choice of the Port of New Orleans as Viking’s initial entry into the North American market,” said Port of New Orleans President and CEO Gary LaGrange. “Viking is one of the premier cruise brands throughout Europe and Asia. Their worldwide reputation underscores New Orleans as a destination city for both international and domestic leisure travelers. The Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans has worked with the Viking team for nearly two years to determine the proper venue for the new ships within the port and along the Mississippi River, and we couldn’t be happier to add Viking to the port’s cruise portfolio.”

“Viking River Cruises is an exciting and compelling addition to the opportunity-rich New Orleans destination,” said President and CEO Stephen Perry of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Viking is synonymous with elegance and class, and they will bring a diverse domestic and international clientele drawn not only to tremendous enjoyment of the river through cruising, but to the New Orleans part of their visit in this historic capital of American music and food as well.”

“It was an honor to be part of Governor Jindal’s recent economic development trip to Europe, encouraging companies to locate in our great state,” said Chairman Greg Rusovich of the Louisiana Board of International Commerce. “We witnessed the world-class standards employed by Viking River Cruises. Their New Orleans homeport will provide a positive impact along the Mississippi River, benefiting the ports and the private sector.”

“The decision to locate Viking’s North American homeport in New Orleans speaks to the operational capabilities of our port, the expertise of our hospitality workforce and the increasing popularity of river cruising around the globe,” said executive board Chairman Henry Coaxum of the New Orleans Business Alliance. “We welcome Viking to the New Orleans business community and look forward to its success.”

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