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Royal Caribbean rumoured to talk of orders with Meyer Turku

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), the world's second largest cruise shipping group, is in talks with Meyer Turku Shipyard about significant new orders, a Finnish media report said.

"If a deal will be struck, construction of the vessels would take place in the beginning of the next decade. It would bring work to Turku for several years," the Helsingin Sanomat daily reports on its website.

Jan Meyer, ceo of the Turku yard, was quoted by the paper as saying. "Royal Caribbean is the second largest cruise shipping company in the world. Of course I hope that they would order new ships from us in the future. However, at this moment there are no news." The Turku shipyard's latest deliveries to the RCCL group were the first two Oasis class vessels of Royal Caribbean International, the contemporary market unit of the group.

The paper also mentioned that the shipyard, which is owned by the German Meyer family, would soon finalise an earlier agreed contract to build two ships to Carnival, which it described as a UK company.

Carnival plc, which owns P&O Cruises, P&O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises and AIDA Cruises, is a British company, while Carnival Corporation, which owns the other brands of the Carnival Corp & plc group, is a Panamanian company that is headquartered in the US. The two trade as a single entity and have identical boards and top management.

Princess Cruises to have five ships in Australia in 2016-17

Princess Cruises has announced it will home port five ships in Australia to sail the cruise line’s largest-ever program offering in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific for the 2016-2017 season. Princess Cruises will introduce the 3,082-guest Emerald Princess to the market, with Golden Princess returning to sail from Melbourne and Sun Princess, Sea Princess and Dawn Princess rounding out the fleet and expanding the cruise line’s in-market capacity by 20 percent.  

Highlights of the new program include an 84-day Circle South America voyage, more ways to see New Zealand, longer South Pacific cruises and Circle Australia voyage options.  In addition, Land and Sea Vacation packages will immerse adventure-seekers in the diverse destinations.
 
On sale beginning April 22, 2015, the new Princess Cruises’ Australia season runs from October 2016 to April 2017. More details can be found at princess.com.
 
"Australia and the entire South Pacific region has always had an allure as a magical place for travellers, and cruising is one of the best ways to explore this part of the world," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. "As demand for the region grows, we’re responding with more voyages, more destinations and more creative itinerary options."
 
Cruise-goers can choose from 120 cruise options, in total visiting 113 destinations in 39 countries. Some of the choices include:

– An 84-day Circle South America cruise on Sea Princess departing Sydney, Australia on January 11, 2017 and visiting 28 destinations in 18 countries including Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador and Uruguay.  Overnight calls in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Lima and a full-transit of the Panama Canal add to this special voyage.
     
– More ways to explore the natural wonders of New Zealand with all five Princess ships sailing to the country’s beautiful coastal landscapes on cruises ranging from 11- to 14-days.
     
– Circle Australia voyages on Sun Princess with departures from Sydney in October 2016 and March 2017 as well as the first-ever roundtrip voyages from Brisbane and Fremantle.
     
– 10- to 14-day voyages through the idyllic and remote islands of the South Pacific from Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne, on Sun Princess and Sea Princess.
     
– A 42-day four continent voyage from England to Australia on September 28, 2016 aboard Emerald Princess as she sails south for her first-ever season Down Under.
     
– Two 42-day journeys to the Orient aboard Dawn Princess sailing from Sydney and Brisbane with visits to multiple destinations in China and Japan. The Sydney sailing departing March 16, 2017 is timed to visit Japan during its famous Cherry Blossom season.

To further enhance the cruise vacation experience, Princess Cruises will offer two Land and Sea Vacation packages.  The Australian Outback package immerses guests in Aboriginal culture and includes visits to the Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock in Uluru National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The more extensive Ultimate Australia package highlights include a Sydney city tour, the Great Barrier Reef, the northern tropical city of Darwin, the Outback and more.

Disney to start river cruises on Danube


Disney Corporation, an ocean cruise operator, will enter river cruise business in 2016. The move is tipped to be a game-changer in the river cruise segment, as it will be the first family-oriented product in the sector. Alan Lam reports.

In partnership with AmaWaterways, Disney has announced that it is to offer family-focused river cruises on the Danube from the 2016 season.

The planned seven-night itinerary will cover the distance between Budapest in Hungary and Vilshofen in Germany on a new AmaWaterways vessel, namely AmaViola, which is being custom built for the family market with cabin configurations that can accommodate up to five passengers. Disney is also designing shore excursion programmes with families in mind.

The ship will have four suites with beds and pullout sofas that can hold a family of four, and chairs that can be converted into an extra bed. There will also be six sets of adjoining cabins that allow members of families to share accommodation spaces.

The new venture aims to open up a new market in the river cruise business, as until now, it has been catered for adult travellers only. “We think the Disney brand will bring families to the river cruising category,” said Ken Potrock, the Disney executive in charge of this project, “and we think that’s very exciting development for the industry.”

The cruises will be sold via Adventures by Disney, the corporation’s tourism division. Initially there will be five departures, on the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th of July, as well as a Christmas cruise departing 22nd of December. The ports of calls will be Vilshofen, Passau, Linz, Melk, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. Passengers can also add an optional two nights of sightseeing tour to Prague at either end of the sailing, extending it to a nine-night itinerary.

The cruise line will offer archery, strudel making, historic castle visits, interactive Disney games and an array of other family-orientated activities both on board and on land. In all there will be five or six activities to choose from each day, far more than those found on most other current river cruises.

In addition to the ship’s regular staff, Disney will provide eight “adventure guides” on board each sailing.

The cruise is recommended for children of age eight upwards, with a minimum age limit of four.

Prices will be $4,179 per person, based on double occupancy.

Starting small, Disney has plans to expand this new venture in the coming years. This will be a transformational development, perhaps the beginning of a new era in the river cruise sector.

 

Ovation of the Seas to homeport in Sydney winter 2016-17

Royal Caribbean International, the contemporary market unit in royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) group, said Ovation of the Seas homeports in Sydney for boreal winter 2016-17. “Currently under construction in Germany, Ovation of the Seas will not only claim the title of the largest cruise ship to ever call Australia home but also the most technologically advanced in the region,” the company said in a statement.

Previously, the company has said the vessel would be based in China. Ovation of the Seas is the third and final unit in the 168,000 gross ton Anthem class of ships.

“Royal Caribbean has been breaking the boundaries in Australian cruising since we arrived in 2007 but today, we have completely changed the face of the cruise industry, making the single largest investment in Australia by any cruise line,” said Gavin Smith, regional vice president, Royal Caribbean, Asia Pacific.

“Ovation of the Seas will completely redefine the idea of cruising in Australia, taking the industry to the next level by offering a host of incredible never-before-seen features and technologies. This demonstrates our belief in, and long term commitment to, the Australian cruising market.”

Ovation of the Seas will be the fifth ship in the Royal Caribbean Australian fleet for winter 2016-17, joining four other Royal Caribbean ships – Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas in Sydney and Legend of the Seas in Brisbane – offering an expansive range of the newest, most modern and exciting style of cruising Australians have ever experienced. Additional details for the Royal Caribbean’s winter 2016-17 season will be revealed at the end of April.

Meyer acquires remaining 30% of Turku shipyard shares

Meyer Werft, the privately owned German shipbuilder, has acquired the remaining30% of the shares in Meyer Turku Shipyard it does not already own, the Finnish  shipbuilder said in a statement.

In September 2014, Meyer Werft took up 70% of the sharesin the yard and Finnish Industry Investment Ltd (FII), a government owned entity, acquired the remaining 30% from STX Europe in September 2014.

“As usual for the FII´s investment policy, it exits from its investments. In the case of the Turku shipyard, it was agreed that Meyer had a call option to buy FII’s minority stake in the shipyard. Meyer has now decided to further invest in Turku shipyard using the call option,” Meyer Turku said Jan Meyer, Chief Executive Officer of Meyer Turku in the statement.

“At the time of the purchase Meyer was only operating shipyards in Germany and therefore going to invest in Finland was a big and strategic step for us – which we carefully considered from different angles.,” said

“Our well-coordinated acquisition with the Finnish Government made it possible for us to implement this strategic move, and I am sincerely grateful for the government for its valuable contribution. In general, I hope that our decision to buy all the shares is received as a sign of confidence that we can make Turku shipyard a long term shipbuilding success,” he said.

“We are happy to see that the Turku shipyard is developing so positively. Our engagement was an investment in Finnish strengths – the shipyard and the strong maritime cluster.  It is good to see that Meyer is sharing our confidence and further invests in the Turku shipyard.  This benefits not only the yard but also the maritime cluster and Finland at large”, says Jan Vapaavuori, the Finnish Minister of Economic Affairs.

“Meyer has had a great start in Finland bringing a lot of new orders to Turku. I want to congratulate Meyer and the whole shipyard for a fine start in Finland”, concluded Minister Vapaavuori.

The change in the ownership  structure is expected to become effective within the next weeks.