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Quantum of the Seas arrives her new homeport

Royal Caribbean International today celebrated the arrival of Quantum of the Seas in Shanghai (Baoshan), China, set to sail on three- to eight-night, roundtrip itineraries, year-round from Shanghai to North Asia destinations, and deliver an unprecedented vacation experience to guests from China and other international markets.

The ship sailed a 53-night epic journey across the world from New York to Shanghai via the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean, following its inaugural season at Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J. and bringing the largest group of international cruise vacationers ever – up to 4,000 guests – to Shanghai. Government officials, port authority from Baoshan district together with executives from Royal Caribbean International joined the welcome ceremony for Global Odyssey guests at Wusong International Cruise Terminal this morning.

Quantum of the Seas is now joining Voyager of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Legend of the Seas in China and together rank as the most advanced and innovative cruise ships in the region, reaffirming the brand’s commitment to the Asian market.

“Chinese consumers have grown to expect the best the world has to offer, and Quantum of the Seas meets that standard like no other ship – this is a cruise from the future,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “The addition of Quantum of the Seas has increased our brand’s capacity to the highest ever in the region. There is incredible potential in the Chinese market, and bringing our newest and most technologically advanced ship to China will cement our leadership position in the area.”

The groundbreaking Quantum-class ships, Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas (debuting April 2016) feature Royal Caribbean’s unmatched innovations in onboard attractions, including the North Star, a glass capsule that takes guests more than 300 feet above the ocean for incomparable panoramic views, and the RipCord by iFly skydiving, a heart-pounding skydiving experience and FlowRider surfing simulators.
Guests will be dazzled with the ships’ cutting-edge transformative venues, such as the Two70, a great room by day and an immersive, multimedia entertainment spectacular at night, and SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating, circus school, basketball, and more; and the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever. Guests enjoy a choice of 18 onboard restaurants, each serving a distinctive menu of delectable fare, and rollicking live entertainment in Music Hall, the Royal Theater and Royal Esplanade.

The Quantum-class ships span 18 decks, encompass 167,800 gross registered tons, carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy and feature 2,090 staterooms.

Fincantieri says Virgin Cruises deal to be finalised in final quarter 2015

Fincantieri, the Italian shipbuilding group that is world leader in cruise ship construction, and Virgin Cruises, brand of Virgin Group and new cruise operator, expect to finalise an order for thee 110,000 gross ton ships in the final quarter of this year, Fincantieri said in a statement.

“The agreement, subject to the satisfaction of the usual customary conditions, is expected to be finalized in Q4 of 2015,” Fincantieri said in the statement. The two companies signed a binding letter of intent earlier today to build the three ships.

Virgin Cruises to order three 110,000 gross ton ships, first to be based at Miami

Virgin launch picture 1000pxA

Virgin Cruises has selected PortMiami as the home port for its first cruise ship that will set sail in 2020 and has signed a binding letter of intent with Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri for three new mid-size ships, its London based parent company Virgin Group said in a statement.

“Virgin Cruises’ three new mid-size ships, of about 110,000 gross tons each, are slated for delivery in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Each ship will feature 1,430 guest cabins to host more than 2,800 guests,” Virgin said.

“There will also be 1,150 crew on board to look after the guests and deliver the Virgin service. Embarking from PortMiami, Virgin Cruises plans to offer a range of seven-day Caribbean itineraries, with a Sunday sail date,” the company said.


Carnival shares edge lower despite robust interims

Shares in Carnival Corporation, the US constituent of the Anglo-American Carnival Corp & plc group, have failed to rally at the US market open despite unaudited quarterly earnings coming in significantly above expectations.

It posted an EPS of 25c a share compared  to the average market forecast of about $0.16c.

“The problem is that CCL (Carnival Corp & plc) also posted a raft of guidance for full-year 2015, including Q3 2015 non-GAAP EPS of $1.56-$1.60, and FY non-GAAP EPS of $2.35 to $2.50, that looks somewhat off course, compared to consensus,"  said Ken Odeluga, a senior market analyst at Cityindex in London.

Shares in Carnival Corporation fell 0.9% to trade at $49.46 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday morning local time, while Carnival plc, the UK based and London listed holding company, lost 0.2% to £32.80 by late afternoon local time.

Carnival seen to perform better in 2016 than this year

The statement from Carnival has a very strong bullish tone, and there’s little doubt its earnings will get a further lift in the current year, after net income advanced about 12% in FY2014, said Ken Odeluga, a senior market analyst at Cityindex in London.

“But a lift is all the market expects, with profits looking set to rise by a modest 2.5%, or perhaps even less now, given the measured guidance in today’s report,” he said in a reaction to Carnival group’s second quarter interim results released earlier today.

“There’s a clue in one of Carnival’s most assertive statements in the report, that it’s "stepping up…marketing investment for the remainder of the year to further solidify our base of business for 2016".

"2015 won’t entirely be a write-off in earnings terms, but the tough comparable earnings of the year before have presented a high hurdle amid low margin for error year-to-year, and it makes sense to expect growth in 2016 to look better than that expected for 2015,” he concluded.

“Ironically, the crude oil related-benefits which bolstered the cruise line’s earnings in the second half of 2014, are part of the reason why earnings for the current year are going to be softer,” he said

“CCL(Carnival Corp & plc)  got caught on the wrong side of a fuel hedging deal which will cost 6c a share in Q3; at the same time, for now, full-year 2015 net cruise costs excluding fuel are forecast to rise circa 3% says Carnival Corp. Unfortunate, considering CCL said fuel prices it paid “fell 37%” for Q2 2015 vs. Q2 2014,” Odeluga said

Stepped-up “marketing investment” for the remainder of the year, and quarterly net cruise costs, excluding fuel having already risen 6.1% (under an artificially flat currency effects) are further incrementally negative news, which a forecast net revenue yield rise of 3%-4% (again, in flat FX terms) can only vaguely be expected to offset.