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Princess Cruises' next new ship to be based in China year round

Carnival Corporation & plc, the largest cruise company in the world, announced that the new ship currently under construction for Princess Cruises will be based in China year-round when introduced in summer 2017. Based in Shanghai, the ship will be the first year-round international luxury vessel designed and built specifically for Chinese guests.

The as-yet-unnamed ship is being built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, and will carry approximately 3,600 guests on a variety of itineraries, to be announced at a later date. Based on the design of its highly-acclaimed ships Royal Princess and Regal Princess, the new vessel will feature a number of new innovations customized for the growing number of Chinese cruise vacationers.
 
“Deploying our next new ship in China underscores our strong commitment to growing the China cruise market and providing discerning travelers with amazing vacation experiences at sea,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises.
 
Princess ships began homeport cruising in China just last year, with a successful inaugural season of Shanghai-based cruises aboard Sapphire Princess. This ship returns for a second China season which begins on June 4 and runs through October 2015.
 
The ship will be based on the design of the company’s new Royal Princess and Regal Princess which have been enthusiastically received by guests from all over the world for their luxurious and beautifully-designed spaces, array of entertainment and activity options, and multiple culinary venues.
 
The new ship will share many of these special features which include a dramatic multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship; an over-the-ocean SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; the Princess Live! interactive studio; the largest pastry shop at sea; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; Princess Watercolor Fantasy, a fountain and music show; Movies Under the Stars featuring the largest outdoor screen at sea; and balconies on all outside staterooms. Accommodations will be configured to appeal to families and multi-generational travelers.
 
In addition, the new ship will showcase the exclusive Princess Class experience designed specifically for the Chinese market that the company introduced during its first season. Delivered by the ship’s dedicated and caring crew, Princess Class enriches the travel experience of each cruise guest, enabling them to participate in unique cultural, culinary, entertaining and inspiring programs including the World Leaders Dinner, traditional English afternoon tea, a Lobster Grill, Ultimate Balcony Dining, an ocean-view hot pot dinner option, ballroom dancing, and an unparalleled duty-free shopping experience.
 
Additionally guests will enjoy the international flavor of cruising with Princess, including experiencing cuisines from China, Japan, Italy, France, and North and South America among other regions; as well as an array of international festivals re-created to celebrate cultures around the world.
 
“And as this ship is still in the design phase we are looking forward to creating other new and exciting venues and experiences catering to the Chinese vacationer, which we will reveal in the coming months,” Swartz added.

NYK's cruise operations triple profit

Cruise operations of Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), the Japanese shipping giant, tripled in the financial year to 30 March 2015, the company said in a statement.

Recurring profit reached JPY 2.1 billion compared to JPY 0.7 billion in the previous 12 month period. Revenues rose to JPY 49.8 billion from JPY 45.2 billion.

"Crystal Cruises in North America performed well in world cruises and cruises to European destinations, and Asuka Cruises also performed favourably in key summer and New Year’s cruises," NYK said.

The company has agreed to sell Crystal Cruises to Genting Hong Kong that owns Star Cruises. The two cruise shipping companies will maintain separate identities and management.

First Chinese-built ship’s entry into service could take ten years – Arnold Donald

It can take five years for the first order of cruise ship made from the Chinese shipyard, and another five years for the delivery, predicts Carnival Corporation & plc CEO Arnold Donald. He spoke to Cruise Business after a panel discussion at the Society of American Travel Writers’ Editors Council conference in Miami today.

“Carnival wants to be part of cruise shipbuilding in China,” Donald said. We want to ensure the ships are built on current standards of quality and safety, he explained.

Currently Carnival Corporation & plc has a total of nine ships on order from Italian and Japanese shipyards, and it’s also close to finalizing orders for another nine ships from the German, Finnish and Italian shipyards. These nine ships will be delivered between 2019 and 2022, and will implement new cost efficiencies. The new classes of ships under planning stage will also offer bigger proportion of balcony cabins.

As far as China is concerned, which Donald said could become a largest cruise market in the future, Carnival’s brands (Costa and Princess) are currently the market leaders. “Currently we have 2.5 million cruise days in China compared to our closest competitor Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. with 1.8 million,” he said. Earlier this week Costa Cruises announced it will deploy the 2,720-passenger Costa Fortuna to China next year and this week it also celebrated the arrival of 3,004-passenger Costa Serena to Shanghai.

Costa to continue to invest in China by adding Fortuna in 2016

The long-awaited Costa Serena, elegant and exquisite “Ship of Gods” among the Costa fleet celebrated its maiden call at the Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal today. This eagerly anticipated ship known for her ancient Rome flavor will join Costa Atlantica and Costa Victoria to homeport out of Shanghai year-round. The launch event was attended by Buhdy Bok, President of Costa Asia, Costa Cruises Pacific & China, and distinguished guests from the local government, trade partners and media.

Costa Serena’s arrival impeccably interprets “Italy at Sea” with its distinguished ancient Roman essence and increases capacity in the region by 74%, satisfying the rapidly growing demand and further remaining as a leader in Chinese market. The cruise will set sail on April 24, when her passengers will be able to sample its wide-range of onboard pleasures. This latest embodiment of Costa Serena combines well with the local government’s plan to boost the shipping industry and tourism in the region.

“The addition of Costa Serena reinforces Costa Cruises’ leadership position in China’s fast-growing cruise market. According to the current analysis by the CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), Costa Cruises occupies the leading position in the cruise market with four out of ten reservations made for Costa ships. After 9 years of successful operations and explicit support and encouragement from the Chinese government, Costa Cruises will continue to expand its offerings and satisfy the demands of the China market. ” said Michael Thamm, CEO of Costa Crociere S.p.A.

The ethereal Miss Gao Yuanyuan, a talented Chinese actress, was onsite to bless the Costa Serena on her vessel debut. She was also named Costa Cruises brand ambassador as she epitomizes the glamour and style of the Costa Serena. “It’s an honor to be named the Godmother of Costa Serena and be a part of her debut in Shanghai. My personal experience with Costa Serena last summer truly left me with enduring memories of its exquisite and gorgeous culture with its bounds of exciting activities, delicate Italian cuisine, and relaxation of a European lifestyle. All my best wishes to this elegant ship and I trust she can present the best of Italy to China.”

The exclusive design of the Costa Serena is matched by the quality and breadth of the facilities aboard, many of which have been customized to better suit Chinese tastes. The interiors are inspired by mythology and ancient Rome, where guests are able to experience a taste of Italy on-board. Its traditional and imaginative magnificence will undoubtedly deliver a satisfying and remarkable experience with its many authentic Italian restaurants that are within the most elegant atmospheres accompanied with delicious food delights along with Chinese cuisine with savory hotpot for the Chinese consumer to have a taste a little closer to home.  

Buhdy Bok, President of Costa Asia, Costa Cruises Pacific & China, stated, “Costa Serena brings a taste of Italy tailored to maximize the luxury for our Chinese guests. Our success in China has come from expanding on the enjoyment of our guests onboard. The support from our prominent partners and local authorities here in Shanghai has been instrumental to our incomparable growth and we are grateful for their invaluable assistance.”

Today's celebration follows Buhdy Bok’s official announcement on the addition of a new cruise ship to the China fleet by April, 2016. Costa Fortuna, spectacular in every detail and successor to the luxurious Italian cruise line, will be the 4th ship of Costa’s investment plan in China, further increasing the capacity by 38% in 2016. Together, the company's move highlights its strategy to strengthen its leadership and position in China, as well as its commitment and confidence to continuously develop China to be one of the leading cruise markets in the world.

Tourist industry needs new roadmap as global GDP slowdown hits - report

Travel and tourist industries need a new road map as growth figures are poised to stall as a result of declining global productivity according to US economic and social theorist and advisor to governments Jeremy Rifkin, the Travel Weekly reports in the UK.

But Rifkin suggested this period of stagnation in what he called "the old economy" could herald a "third industrial revolution" which would transform the world economy and travel sector. He told the World Tourism Forum in Lucerne: "GPD is slowing all over the world. Productivity is waning all over the world. Unemployment is stubbornly high in every country and no industry is more affected than travel and tourism." He warned: "Your growth figures will slow over the next 20 years. You rely on the health of every other industry," he was quoted as saying.

In January, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised down its forecast for the global GDP growth by 0.3 percentage points to 3.5%. It also revised down its forecast for 2016 as well, again by 0.3 percentage points, to 3.7% compared to its previous forecast in April 2014. "Even with the sharp oil price decline—a net positive for global growth—the world economic outlook is still subdued, weighed down by underlying weakness elsewhere," the organisation said on the Internet.

The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has forecast will travel grow over the same period from just over one billion global trips in 2013 to 1.8 billion a year by 2030. Yet Rifkin insisted: "We're at the beginning of a very long sunset, [although] we can glimpse the sun rise."

The peak in oil prices in 2008 had marked the end of an era, he said, arguing: "Your industry started to shut down in the summer of 2008. We're seeing the death of the second industrial revolution [based on oil and car use and telecommunications]," the report said.

Figures on the website of Cruise Lines' International Association (CLIA) show that the global cruise market grew by 1.8% to 21.7 million passengers last year, a marked slowdown from a 4.9% growth in the previous year. In Europe, the growth virtually lost all momentum as the market only expanded by 0.5% in 2014 compared to a growth rate of 4.0% in 2013. The British market actually contracted by 5% despite a good performance of the country's economy: its GDP rose by 2.6% in 2014 on the previous year, according to Office of National Statistics figures.

"You can have all the innovations of Silicon Valley, but if they are plugged into the old economy, it is not going to increase productivity," Rifkin was quoted as saying. However, he suggested we are in the throes of a transformation or "third industrial revolution".

This would develop from the convergence of new communications technology (the internet), new sources of power and new forms of transport (driverless cars and trains).

Rifkin said: "Within 25 years much of the human race will be harvesting their own energy and creating energy co-ops. Millions of people are going to produce their own energy in the next 25 years and share it over the grid. The energy companies will manage the grid."

He argued: "Certain industries have ruptured already – music, TV, newspapers have gone of out business, book publishing is dying." Rifkin added: "The sharing economy is going to eliminate a good deal of goods and services from the capitalist economy."

But he said his vision of the economy could "dramatically increase productivity and reduce costs".
He told the forum: "You need to create a roadmap for travel and tourism."