New CEOs for Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises

Recognizing the deep bench of internal talent that has powered its long-term success, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd named two senior company executives to chart the future course of the company’s two largest brands.

Michael Bayley, who worked his way up from an assistant purser’s position aboard the Nordic Prince, will serve as President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, the world’s largest cruise brand. Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, whose career at the company began in the New England sales office, will serve as President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, a leader in the premium market.

Both appointments are effective immediately.

Said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd: “This is a happy day for Michael and Lisa, and a proud day for all of us at the company. To recognize these two incredibly talented people with these vital leadership positions after years of dedication, effort and innovative thinking is gratifying for everyone here. I am impressed with the skills they have demonstrated over the course of their careers, and I am excited to see where they take these powerful brands next.”

Bayley assumes Royal’s helm after a successful term as Celebrity’s President and CEO. At Celebrity, he delivered strong results while building the company’s “modern luxury” positioning, which resonated successfully with Celebrity’s sophisticated customer base. Before his Celebrity role, Bayley served in several senior roles at Royal Caribbean International, including Executive Vice President of Operations. He is credited for playing a key role in the company’s international expansion, helping launch company operations in markets around the world.

Said Bayley: “Royal Caribbean International is a brand with an incredible history – and unlimited potential. The ships, personified in the new Quantum class, are some of the best and most innovative in the world. And the crews that service Royal Caribbean International guests have a track record of delighting guests from every culture around the world. I look forward to an exciting future as we raise our game to an even higher level of performance.”

Lutoff-Perlo began her company career as a district sales manager in her native New England. She moves to her new role from her position as Executive Vice President, Operations at Royal Caribbean, where she played a critical role in the recent successful launch of Quantum of the Seas, the first in the company’s newest class of ships. After a successful sales career, Lutoff-Perlo made her mark as a specialist at bringing new ships to market for both Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity. In addition to the Quantum class, she played a key role in the launch of Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager and Radiance classes, as well as Celebrity’s Solstice Class.

Said Lutoff-Perlo: “Celebrity Cruises has done a remarkable job differentiating itself in a crowded and competitive premium marketplace, and with its newly announced Edge class ships, the brand has the opportunity to push its leadership position even farther. I’m excited to tackle that challenge with a team of men and women I know well, including crews that consistently exceed our guests’ highest expectations.”

Fain said: “No one who has seen either of these two exceptional executives in action can be surprised by their continuing growth as leaders. As a company, we have a mantra of continuous improvement; in Michael and Lisa, we have two talented leaders who will help us continue to deliver on that commitment to our shareholders, employees and guests.”

Celebrity Cruises orders two new ships from STX France

Celebrity Cruises has taken a bold step in ship design with the signing of a letter of intent for a new class of vessels, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and French shipbuilder STX France announced today. The two 2,900-guest, 117,000-gross-registered-ton ships, developed under the project name EDGE will build upon the modern luxury experience of the brand's Millennium and Solstice class vessels.

At 984 feet long, 123 feet wide and 190 feet high, Project EDGE will deliver small ship itineraries with large ship amenities, a perfect vacation experience in step with today's premium vacationer.

"The addition of two project EDGE vessels to our fleet delivers on our long-term strategic plan of moderate capacity growth, and continues the positive momentum the Celebrity brand has achieved in the premium segment of our industry," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

"Our new class of ship will set the standard for premium world travel and deliver the next generation of modern luxury experiences that our guests know and love," said Michael Bayley, president and chief executive officer of Celebrity Cruises. "STX France designs and builds some of the most innovative and stylish cruise ships in the world, and project EDGE offers them the opportunity to again set a new standard for modern iconic architecture. On this stunning new ship we will bring our guests even closer to the must-see destinations of the world, while indulging them onboard in the most luxurious accommodations, the finest culinary experiences, and the best hospitality delivered by our dedicated staff."

"We are excited to be collaborating with Celebrity on this dramatic step forward in premium cruise ship design," said Laurent Castaing, managing director of STX France. "This class of ships will be designed to deliver the destination to vacationers who want to experience all the world has to offer."

These vessels also represent a significant leap forward in environmentally friendly ship design, benefiting from new technologies to drive significant fuel efficiency and an ongoing process to ensure the extensive use of sustainable materials.

The company expects delivery of the first ship in Fall 2018, with the second vessel delivered in the early part of 2020. The order is contingent upon the completion of customary conditions, including financing.  

Based upon current ship orders, projected capital expenditures for full year 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are $1.4 billion, $1.5 billion, $2.3 billion, $0.4 billion and $2.2 billion, respectively.

Capacity increases for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are expected to be 2.4%, 5.5%, 6.7%, 3.8% and 4.3%, respectively.  These figures do not include potential ship sales or additions that the company may elect to make in the future.

Viking Ocean Cruises has ordered fourth newbuilding at Fincantieri - equipment supplier

Viking Ocean Cruises, the privately owned Switzerland based cruise shipping company, has placed an order with Fincantieri in Italy for a fourth cruise ship newbuilding, an equipment supplier said in a statement.

"This is our fourth new build contract with Fincantieri for Viking Ocean Cruises, and all the four vessels have Scanship Total Clean Ship," Frode Andersen, VP Sales & Marketing at Scanship, the Norwegian waste treatment system supplier, told Cruise Business Online.

EArlier today, the company said in a statement: "Scanship Holding ASA has through its subsidiary Scanship AS entered into a contract with the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for a total clean ship system delivery to Viking Ocean Cruises newbuild," Scanship said.

"This is the fourth total clean ship system we will be delivering to Fincantieri for the Viking Ocean Cruises. From next year on until 2017, these ocean-going liners will enter service with the most advanced systems to date for waste management and wastewater purification. We are excited to be aboard, and to set sail in the tradition of real Viking exploration. This time around the voyage will be in an environmental sustainable way", Henrik Badin, CEO of Scanship, said in the statement.

Viking Ocean Cruises' first three ships will be called Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sea, respectively. The company has been expected to place an order for fourth vessel. They are of 47,800 gross tons and can accommodate 928 passengers each. The company will commence operations next year and it targets the high end of the market.

Virgin Group sets up Virgin Cruises, appoints ex Disney Cruise Line president McAlpin as CEO

Virgin Group, the London based company of the billionaire businessman Sir Richard Branson, says it has established Virgin Cruises in Miami and that Tom McAlpin, formerly president of Disney Cruise Line has been appointed CEO of the new venture.

"The company will be based in the Miami area and plans to design and construct two new world class cruise ships. Virgin Cruises will offer guests an outstanding experience, although their launch date is strictly under wraps for the moment," Virgin Group said in a statement.

“We plan to shake up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love,” Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder, said. “They’ll be sailing on the latest ships offering a great quality, a real sense of fun and many exciting activities all delivered with the famed Virgin service.”

Tom McAlpin joins the Virgin Cruise management team as CEO, fresh from his position as President and CEO of The World, Residences at Sea. Previously Tom was the president of Disney Cruise Line having joined as part of the founding management team.

“Cruise guests deserve something better and different to what is being offered today, and Virgin Cruises is committed to creating breathtaking experiences for them and a new generation of guests,” he said. “Opportunities like this do not come often, so I am very excited to lead this business and introduce the Virgin brand to the cruise industry, as it has always put customers at the heart of what it does.”

To work on this new venture, Virgin has teamed up with one of the world’s leading private investment firms, Bain Capital. “We are pleased to pursue this exciting opportunity with Virgin, one of the world’s most respected and iconic brands,” Ryan Cotton, a principal with Bain Capital said. “With a small number of global players, an experience in need of refreshing, and consumers ready for something new and exciting, the industry exhibits all the characteristics of one that is ripe for a new entrant.”

Jason Montague appointed President and COO for Prestige Cruise Holdings

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: NCLH) announced today that Jason Montague has been named President and Chief Operating Officer of Prestige Cruise Holdings, Inc. effective today,  following the resignation of Kunal S. Kamlani.  Montague was instrumental in launching Oceania Cruises in 2002 and is widely regarded as one of the original co-founders of the company.

“As we continue to refine the future organization, Jason stands out as a leader who is knowledgeable about the brands and is so passionate about them,” said Kevin Sheehan, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “Jason’s financial background also aligns well with our corporate culture and strong focus on financial discipline.”

Prestige Cruise Holdings, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Frank Del Rio noted that Montague had played a key part in creating the great brands that have been built at Prestige. “We are confident that both the Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands will continue to prosper and grow with Jason at the helm,” said Del Rio.

Most recently, Montague served as Executive Vice President and Chief Integration Officer for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.  Prior to the acquisition of Prestige, he served as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Prestige Cruise Holdings, Inc.  During his twelve year tenure, he helped Del Rio launch Oceania Cruises in 2002 and has seen the company through the purchase of its initial three R-class vessels, the equity investment by Apollo Management, the acquisition and integration of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, the financing and delivery of Oceania Cruises’ Marina and Riviera new builds and the recent acquisition by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

“I am truly excited to take the helm of these two amazing brands which have had so much success and have such a bright future ahead,” said Montague. “I look forward to building  relationships with the travel agent community, delivering an exceptional product for our loyal guests, and engaging our hard-working team members.”

Prior to joining Oceania Cruises, Montague operated a successful consulting practice focused on strategic planning and development of small to medium-sized companies. Previously, he held the position of Vice President Finance for Alton Entertainment Corporation, a brand equity marketer who was majority owned by the Interpublic Group of Companies. Montague holds a BBA in Accounting from the University of Miami.

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