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Norwegian says current booked position on par with strong 2015

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the third largest cruise shipping group in the world, said strong North American markets have helped it to reach current booked position in line with record of 2015.

“The company’s current booked position for 2016 is on par with prior year’s record levels and at higher prices. Strength in the Caribbean, Alaska, Hawaii, and other North American markets is offsetting softness in European itineraries,” Norwegian said in a statement.

Constant Currency Adjusted Net Yield increased 3.6% (2.5% as reported), driven primarily by solid demand in the Caribbean and strong onboard revenue. Gross Yield increased 2.4%.

First half of 2017 booking trends remain strong at higher prices and the company remains confident in reaching previously stated targets of double-digit Adjusted ROIC in 2016, growing to 14% by 2018, and $5.00 Adjusted EPS in 2017.

Norwegian reports $73.2 million first quarter profit on strong Caribbean yields

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the world’s third largest cruise shipping group, has reported first quarter net profit of $73.2 million compared to a loss of $21.5 million in the same period last year. Total revenues rose to $1.08 billion from $938 million.

“We are pleased to report another quarter of solid financial performance and significant earnings growth driven primarily by strong pricing with robust demand in the Caribbean driving net yield growth above our expectations,” Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said in a statement.

“We are on track to reach our stated targets of $5.00 Adjusted EPS (earnings per share) in 2017 and double-digit return on invested capital on an adjusted basis in 2016, growing to 14% by 2018. Our recent announcements regarding our China-dedicated ship, Norwegian Joy, have been extremely well-received in the Chinese market giving us strong momentum prior to the ship’s introduction in 2017,” continued Del Rio.

Adjusted EPS growth of 41% to $0.38 on Adjusted Net Income of $86.7 million. EPS increased to $0.32 on Net Income of $73.2 million.

Lloyd Werft Design Center opens

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Kalle Id reporting from Bremerhaven

The Lloyd Werft Design Center was ceremonially opened today at Bremerhaven, Germany. The new facility will allow the shipyard to more effectively produce the design work required by the extensive order book it has acquired, primarily from Crystal Cruises, since the yard was bought by Genting last year.

Housed in Lloyd Werft former administrative building – originally built as a laundry for the North German Lloyd – the new center will fully operational on 30th May of this year. Currently, Lloyd Werft employs circa 90 designers, and there simply wasn't enough space for all of them in the existing design facility, especially as the workforce is expected to grow to 150 by the end of the year, Benedikt Brinkmann, head of design and engineering at Lloyd Werft told Cruise Business Review. In total, 250 people can be employed in the facility.

At the moment, the main customer for the Lloyd Werft Design Center is Crystal Cruises, with the Center participating in both the interior and exterior design of Crystal's new river and ocean cruise ships, working alongside Crystal Cruises' own design team. According to Brinkmann, the contracts from companies in the Genting Group currently fill the yard's order book completely, and therefore there are no plans to build cruise ships for other clients.

Lindblad buys 80.1% stake in ecotourism company Natural Habitat

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, the New York based company which operates expedition cruises and holidays, has announced that it has acquired 80.1% of the outstanding common stock of Natural Habitat, Inc. a leading adventure travel and ecotourism company based in Boulder, Colorado.

 Natural Habitat was previously owned by Gaiam, Inc. a leading brand focused on wellness and fitness, and Ben Bressler, Natural Habitat's Founder and President. Bressler will retain an ownership interest of 19.9% in Nat Hab and will continue as President of the new Lindblad subsidiary. The transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings per share, exclusive of any purchase accounting adjustments.

The purchase price for the 80.1% interest in Natural Habitat was approximately $20 million and was financed through a combination of cash on hand ($14.85 million), Lindblad stock ($2.65 million, or 264,208 shares) and a note (approximately $2.5 million). Gaiam's 51% ownership interest in Natural Habitat was acquired for cash, while the shares acquired from Bressler were purchased through a combination of cash, Lindblad stock and a note. Bressler's remaining 19.9% interest is subject to an arrangement providing for put/call rights that generally cannot be exercised, with certain exceptions, until 2020.

Natural Habitat is a leading adventure travel and ecotourism company with a focus on responsible land-based travel. Adventures include polar bear tours in Churchill, Canada, Alaskan grizzly bear adventures, small-group Galapagos tours and African safaris. Natural Habitat offers eco-conscious expeditions from Antarctica to Zambia with a multitude of adventures in between.

Since 2003, Natural Habitat has partnered with World Wildlife Fund ("WWF") to offer conservation travel, sustainable travel that directly protects nature. As part of this transaction, WWF extended the end date of this agreement from December 31, 2018 to December 31, 2023.

The acquisition of Nat Hab provides Lindblad a platform for expansion into land-based offerings with a partner that has a strong, trusted and complementary brand and a shared focus on nature and conservation. Lindblad expects to market its ship-based trips to Natural Habitat's customer database while simultaneously marketing Natural Habitat's offerings to its own customer database, expanding the market reach of both businesses.

For the year ended December 31, 2015, Natural Habitat realized net revenues of approximately $41 million, EBITDA of approximately $3.7 million and net income of approximately $1.5 million.

Damen and Expedition Voyage Consultants team up to develop globally capable expedition ship

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

In response to interest from clients in the fast-growing expedition cruise market, Damen has teamed up with Expedition Voyage Consultants Ltd. to develop a specialist Damen cruise ship, with capacity for around 100 passengers. The cruise ship combines Expedition Voyage Consultants’ unmatched operational experience with Damen’s shipbuilding excellence, providing unforgettable experiences in luxury travel to destinations from Polynesia to the Northwest Passage.

Henk Grunstra, Damen Product Director says: “This expedition ship will be a significant advance in the market, making it possible for expedition companies to deliver their customers the best expedition experience. This ship will be able to offer innovative and exciting itineraries with a higher level of safety, economy and comfort. Capable of visiting virtually any destination, the design will offer cruise lines the option of including activities such as helicopter operations and submersible diving alongside traditional small boat landings and watersports. Innovative design features for smooth operations and an immersive guest experience will be incorporated from the experience of Expedition Voyage Consultants.”

The move is driven by the fast growing expedition cruise sector, which has seen unprecedented expansion into remote destinations. Mr. Grunstra explains, “Expedition cruising requires small, comfortable and highly capable vessels that customers can be confident in, no matter if they are cruising Polynesia or the Northwest Passage. With the existing tonnage aging and environmental regulations tightening, it is important that operators have vessels they can rely on well into the future.”

This partnership follows a successful cooperation with Expedition Voyage Consultants’ sister company, EYOS Expeditions, which resulted in Damen developing the world’s first Polar Code compliant expedition yacht – the SeaXplorer.

Ben Lyons, Chief Executive Officer of Expedition Voyage Consultants Ltd. and EYOS Expeditions says: “This vessel will be capable of taking expedition cruise passengers beyond the usual range in terms of both geography and experience. The vessel’s high ice capability and endurance make her globally capable, and she will be equally at home in the tropics or polar waters. She is designed to be a multi-functional platform equipped with all of the tools an operator might need.”

Expedition Voyage Consultants Ltd. will infuse the design with the lessons learned during their team’s collectives 100+ years of experience in the expedition cruise business. During that time, the team has sailed aboard a wide range of commercial expedition vessels ranging from icebreakers to luxury cruise ships.

Capability matters

“An expedition vessel should be able to reach remote destinations safely and deliver a super experience in often challenging conditions. Because the ship’s design effects the experience of the guests, whether that be how quickly they can reach shore or how safely operations can be run in all types of weather, capability matters.”

“We’ll take our collective experience, gained from a wide variety of vessels, and apply the best features we’ve seen to this design. Combining that operational knowledge with Damen’s expertise will create a highly functional and reliable vessel purpose built for expedition cruising, and it is very exciting to be able to incorporate these operational elements into the design from the first line,” explains Mr. Lyons.

Mr. Grunstra adds, “This partnership brings two industry leaders together; Damen has unparalleled experience from building over 5500 vessels, including complex vessels such as passenger ships, offshore patrol vessels, sail training vessels and superyachts. EVC has decades of expedition knowledge operating voyages from the polar regions to the remotest tropical islands. Combining this will create an exceptional product.”

The final design will be unveiled in the Autumn.

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