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Pullmantur increases Latin America capacity by 40%

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Alan Lam reports

Having recently reduced its exposure to Latin America on account of the softening of that market outlook and re-focused its business on Spain, Pullmantur Cruises seems to have reversed its strategy yet again and decided to increase its capacity deployment in Latin America.

As the market in Spain fails to stage a desirable recovery, the line will increase its Latin America capacity by 40% towards the end of this year. “Latin America is a region extremely important for Pullmantur,” said José Blanco, VP Commercial of Pullmantur Group. “For this reason we are going to increase our capacity in this market year round.”

According to Blanco, the region represents an enormous opportunity for the group despite having suffered various economic challenges that impact on its people’s desire and ability to travel.

In support of this strategy, the group underlines that it needs to “democratize” its products and that cruise is a “choice form of travel”, which enables passengers to see many places in a relatively short time.

For the 2016-2017 season, Pullmantur offers three visa-free itineraries from four Caribbean ports of embarkation - namely Cartagena de Indias, Puerto Limón, Santo Domingo, and Colón.

This second strategic refocus in as many years comes only a month after the group having appointed Richard Vogel as it new President and CEO. It is not unreasonable to assume that this new emphasis is built on the hope of a Caribbean revival - partly because of the refreshed interest in this region due to the thaw in Cuba-U.S. relations - in the wake of the continuing European cruise market stagnation.

“The Caribbean is an excellent destination,” said Blanco, “the most important in the world, not only in terms of cruise passenger numbers, but also its cultural, beach and gastronomical attractions.”

Silversea to invest $170 million in upgrading fleet

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Silversea, the Monaco based luxury market brand, has unveiled the biggest fleet-wide refurbishment plan in its history, worth $170 million.

This investment is not aimed at simply maintaining Silversea’s self-imposed high levels of excellence, but to reaffirm the company’s commitment to exceptional standards of guest comfort and timeless elegance, it said in a statement.

The company has a fleet of 10 ships.

“We are thrilled to be moving ahead with these major refurbishments and look forward to welcoming guests aboard and sharing our unique vision of ultra-luxury cruising, both in terms of service and physical environment,” said Manfredi Lefebvre, Chairman of Silversea.

“We pride ourselves on being the reference when it comes to ultra-luxury cruising and this investment reflects our long-term commitment in this regard toward our ships, our guests and our crew,” he said in the statement

Genting Hong Kong warns it will report up to $75 million loss for first half

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Genting Hong Kong, the cruise ship, shipbuilding and casino group that is listed in Hong Kong, says t will report a$60 million to $75 million loss in its first half 2016 results due to absence of one off sale gains and higher expenses in its cruise operations

“The board of directors of the Company (the “Board”) wishes to inform the shareholders, investors and potential investors of the Company that, based on the preliminary assessment of the latest unaudited financial information, excluding the share of results of Travellers, the Group is expected to record a consolidated net loss in the range of US$60 million to Us$75 million for the six months ended 30 June 2016 as compared with a consolidated net profit of US$2.1 billion, excluding the share of results of Travellers, for the six months ended 30 June 2015,” the company said in a statement

The company added the expected decline in the consolidated net results of the Group is mainly attributable to firstly, to the absence of a one-off accounting gain of $1,567.4 million recognised arising from the reclassification of the Group’s investment in Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (“NCLH”) from “Interest in associates” to “Available-for-sale investments” in May 2015.

In addition, last year the company booked a total gain of $599.6 million arising from the disposals of certain stakes in NCLH in the six months ended 30 June 2015.

Finally, one-time start-up and marketing costs for the launch of new Dream and Crystal cruise brands and products in 2016; and higher overall operating and selling, general and administrative expenses including depreciation and amortisation as a direct result of the integration of the Group's recently acquired businesses.

Costa Crociere takes 33.3% share in Chantiers Naval de Marseille to turn yard to major repair and conversion facility

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

San Giorgio del Porto, part of Genova Industrie Navali (GIN) holding company in which Genoese shipyard: T. Mariotti has a stake and Costa Crociere have signed an agreement for the development of a world-class center for ship repair and conversion.

“The agreement, announced today, provides for the entry of Costa Crociere with a 33.3% share in Chantier Naval de Marseille, company specialised in ship repair and conversion based in Marseille and controlled by the Genoese San Giorgio del Porto,” the French shipyard said in a statement.

The agreement between San Giorgio del Porto and Costa Crociere for the strengthening of Chantier Naval de Marseille calls for an initial investment of €10 million aimed at increasing the efficiency of the shipyard with the best available technologies.

The investment will generate volumes and a scale that will allow the entire shipping industry to take advantage of the facilities for any type of vessel and maximize the potential of the basin number 10 able to accommodate big ships. The investment will also create a positive impact in terms of direct and indirect employment.

Costa Crociere is part of the Carnival Corporation & plc group.

RCCL says strong North America compensates for weakness in Eastern Mediterranean and Shanghai

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd (RCCL), the world’s second largest cruise shipping group, says its booked position for the remainder of 2016 remains strong, similar to last year's record levels. 

However, it notted that a strong North America compensated for weakness in Eastern meditrrranean and in Shanghai – the first time Cruise Business Online learns a major cruise shipping group reports a soft market in China.

“Looking further ahead, the company's booked position for the next twelve months is also strong, up on both rate and volume, versus same time last year.  Net Yields on a Constant-Currency basis are expected to increase in the range of 4.0% to 4.5%, driven primarily by the deconsolidation of the Pullmantur Group,” it said in a statement. 

“Continued strength for North American products are helping offset weakness in the Eastern Mediterranean and in Shanghai,” the company pointed out.

Net cruise costs, excluding fuel are expected to be up approximately 1.0% for the year.  This includes a slight increase in this cost metric driven by the deconsolidation of the Pullmantur Group offset by a slight decrease in costs from the rest of the fleet.

"While there are always puts and takes in our key markets, our portfolio is performing as expected, our booked position remains strong, and our newbuilds are entering their markets to great fanfare," said Jason T. Liberty, chief financial officer.  "These factors are driving another year of record earnings."

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, the company expects 2016 Adjusted EPS to be in the range of $6.00 to $6.10 per share.

 

  • Net Yields are expected to increase in the range of 4.0% to 4.5% on a Constant-Currency basis (up approximately 2.0% As-Reported) with the increase from previous guidance driven primarily by the deconsolidation of the Pullmantur Group.
  • Net Cruise Costs, excluding fuel are expected to be up approximately 1.0% on a Constant-Currency basis (up flat to up 1.0% As-Reported), unchanged from previous guidance. This includes a slight increase in this cost metric driven by the deconsolidation of the Pullmantur Group.
  • Adjusted EPS is expected to be in the range of $6.00 to $6.10 per share, a $0.20 decrease from the mid-point of the company's previous guidance, driven by a negative $0.27 impact of currency and fuel rates, partially offset by the better than expected second quarter.

"Our business remains strong and we continue to improve our return profile," said Richard Fain, chief executive officer.  "This keeps us solidly on our path towards the Double-Double."

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