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AIDA Cruises reports 20% rise in 2013 passenger volume to 763,700

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AIDA Cruises, the German unit in Carnival Corp & plc group, said it carried 763,700 passengers last year, an increase of 20% on 2012. "This means that the cruise company has grown twice as fast as the market as a whole. A new study by the CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) and the DRV (German Travel Association) shows that the German market for ocean cruises grew by 9.2 percent in 2013 to 1.69 million passengers," the company said in a statement.

"Interest in ocean cruises remains high. Since we offer exceptional value for money, the best service, and innovative product ideas, we are consistently able to persuade new target groups to take a cruise with AIDA, without losing sight of our regular guests," said Michael Ungerer, President of AIDA Cruises, on the occasion of the world’'s leading tourism fair, ITB, in Berlin. "This success would not be possible without our many partners in the travel agency business. I thank all of them for our excellent working relationship."

The cruise company is also set for further growth in the coming years. The AIDA fleet – one of the most modern and energy efficient in the world – will increase in size from its current ten vessels to twelve by 2016. The first ship of the new AIDA Generation, AIDAprima, will be inaugurated and put into service in 2015.

AIDAprima’'s maiden voyage will take place from March 22 – June 16, 2015, taking it on a unique 86-night journey from Yokohama, Japan to Hamburg. AIDA guests will have a chance to visit 39 ports in 22 countries on three continents. From June 20, 2015, the port of Hamburg will be the start and end point for AIDAprima'’s 7-night round trips to the metropolises of Western Europe.

Cruise Business Commentary - Next few weeks in Ukraine hold key to Black Sea season

The cruise industry is waiting on its toes to see what way events in the Ukraine will develop and the next few weeks in the region will play a decisive role for the cruise season in the Black Sea, an industry expert says.

"So far, the events (in Ukraine) haven't had an impact, because the cruise season hasn't started yet. The next few weeks will be decisive," said Peter Wild, head of G.P. Wild (International), the UK based consultancy company.

"I am fairly sure that cruise lines are reviewing their itineraries," he told Cruise Business.

In case that the situation does not calm down, lines may be forced to redeploy vessels at a short notice. This has happened quite a few times in recent years as political unease in Northern Africa, from Tunisia in the west to Egypt in the east, has compromised plans of cruise operators.

A continued turmoil in the Ukraine is unlikely to affect the Mediterranean as such, because the Black Sea is viewed as a separate market. In addition, Turkey remains on the map of international tourism despite political upheavals there too.

The Eastern Mediterranean market continues to suffer from developments in Egypt, whereas the much more violent situation in Syria has not had much of an effect as that country has not been a mainstream destination of cruise lines, Wild pointed out.

The recently concluded winter Olympics in Sochi brought the Black Sea region into the spotlight and several ports in the area have actively promoted themselves as cruise destinations. Yalta in Crimea is one of the marquee ports in the region and it is located in the area affected by current turmoil. Odessa in the Ukraine is another core destination of Black Sea cruise itineraries.

Cruise Business Commentary - FOCL impairment charge highlights valuation concerns

KEY POINTS:

1.Company books NOK411 million impairment charges against fleet of four ships

2. These include 1993 built Braemar and 1988 built Balmoral

The decision of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines to book an impairment charge against the value of its ships did not come as a surprise after All Leisure group in the UK had earlier this month booked a £6.7 million impairment against the value of its 1972 built Discovery of 20,636 gross tons.

However, what is noteworthy in the decision of Olsen is that it includes two ships that younger than 30 years, which is regarded as the depreciation time of major capital assets like ships. The company has reported losses for some time and as the valuation of any asset is ultimately dependent on its ability to generate profits for its owner, this could be understood.

Furthermore, all ships in the Olsen fleet have received major upgrades in the past decade, the two oldest units have been re-engined, while Braemar and Balmoral have been lengthened. This must have increased their book value.

A question that arises from today's news is whether the book values of third generation cruise ships, such as the Fantasy class of Carnival Cruise Lines and Sovereign class of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will require an impairment.

These ships that largely lack balcony cabins must obtain markedly lower yields than more modern tonnage that features more balconies. The question of valuation may, therefore, refuse to go away from the agenda.

Fred. Olsen books NOK411 million impairment charge against fleet

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines (FOCL), which is jointly owned by Olsen family's two listed holding companies Ganger Rolf and Bonheur, has booked an NOK450 million impairment charge against its fleet of four vessels, Ganger Rolf said in a statement, adding that this dragged both the final quarter and full year 2013 results deep to the red.

"After an evaluation of estimated market values versus booked values of the vessels at year-end, FOCL has written down the book values of MV Braemar by NOK 145 million, MV Balmoral NOK 179 million, MV Boudicca NOK 46 million and MV Black Watch NOK 40 million," Ganger Rolf said.

Braemar is of 24,000 gross tons and it was built in 1993, while Balmoral is five years older and measures at 45,000 gross tons. Boudicca and Black Watch are of 28,000 gross tons and date to 1972-73. All ships are operated on the British market.

The news came about a week after All Leisure group, the listed British boutique cruise shippng company, had booked a £6.7 million charge against the 1972 built Discovery of 20,636 gross tons. The company said the values of mature cruise vessels had fallen markedly in recent times.

FOCL operating revenues in the final quarter of 2013 were NOK 349 million (NOK 337 million in 2012), while operating result before depreciation (EBITDA) was NOK - 9 million (NOK 15 million) and net result was NOK - 537 million (NOK -44 million). "Net result in the quarter is significantly influenced by an impairment of NOK 411 million on the cruise vessels," Ganger Rolf said.

For full year 2013,, FOCL had operating revenues of NOK 1,470 million (NOK 1,628 million). EBITDA were NOK 65 million (NOK 193 million) and net result was NOK - 637 million (NOK - 85 million), Ganger Rolf stated.

"The UK cruise market’s difficult economic conditions and overcapacity continued to result in lower sale and occupancy. The number of passenger days totaled 292 542 (301 935) for the quarter. Net ticket income per diem was 1 % lower compared to the corresponding quarter last year. The average spot price of fuel oil in the quarter was in line with 4 quarter 2012" Ganger Rolf commented.

TUI Cruises adds Black Sea, Arabian Gulf and Far East to portfolio 2015-16

TUI Cruises, the German premium market cruise shipping line that will have four ships in 2015 compared to two at the moment, says it will start the April 2015 to April 2016 cruise season with more than 50 different itineraries and 23 new ports. "Cruisers can choose from 166 departures between 4 and 17 days long. In summer 2015, two well-being ships per route will be travelling in the Mediterranean and in Northern Europe," the company said in a statement.


"With four ships and a total capacity of 8,848 beds, we are in an even better position to satisfy the demand for Mediterranean and Northern European travel, and we can now offer Mein Schiff fans new travel experiences with routes to Asia", says Richard J. Vogel, CEO of TUI Cruises.

The routes on offer on Mein Schiff 2 and Mein Schiff 3 can be booked from 5 March 2014 onwards, while journeys on Mein Schiff 1 and Mein Schiff 4 can be booked from 12 March 2014. Mein Schiff 4´s maiden voyage and following two runs are expected to be bookable from September 2014. For all who book their holidays on one of our well-being ships by 31 August 2014 can earn themselves a limited early booker discount of up to 350 euros per person.

On course for the Far East: Mein Schiff 1 - the first well-being ship in Asia In November 2015 Mein Schiff 1 will be heading towards the Rising Sun: winter 2015/2016 will see a TUI Cruises well-being ship discover Asia for the first time. Mein Schiff 1 will set sail from Singapore on three different journeys to Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. Guests there will be able to experience dream islands, vibrant cities and stunning nature. Highlights include the Thai capital of Bangkok with its majestic Royal Palace and the 46-metre long Buddha statue. But Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore will also be waiting to impress cruise lovers with their sights.

"Asia with Malaysia" from 2 to 9 December 2015 on Mein Schiff 1 from/to Singapore including our premium all inclusive costs from €798 per person in an inside cabin based on two people sharing; from €1,948 per person including flight from/to Germany.

"Asia with Vietnam" from 20 to 27 January 2016 on Mein Schiff 1 from/to Singapore including our premium all inclusive costs from €848 per person in an inside cabin based on two people sharing; from €1,998 per person including flight from/to Germany.

"Asia with Thailand" from 6 to 13 January 2016 on Mein Schiff 1 from/to Singapore including our premium all inclusive costs from €898 per person in an inside cabin based on two people sharing; from €2,048 per person including flight from/to Germany.

Mein Schiff 4: first season in Northern Europe and the Canaries. With Mein Schiff 4, spring 2015 will see the second new ship from TUI Cruises be put into service. The maiden voyage will take the newest member of the fleet towards South Norway. It will set sail from Kiel, heading north to the ports of Bergen, Geiranger, Hellesylt, Haugesund, Stavanger and the Danish capital of Copenhagen before heading back to Kiel. With Haugesund - situated on the Karmsund - there is a new port with a variety of excursions in the programme. In the summer season 2015, Mein Schiff 4 will be setting off on different routes in the Baltic Sea with the Baltic States and, together with Mein Schiff 1, in Northern Europe and around the UK.

The maiden voyage "South Norway with Copenhagen" from 23 to 31 May 2015 on
Mein Schiff 4 from/to Kiel including our premium all inclusive costs from €1,748 per person in an inside cabin based on two people sharing.

Springtime temperatures in winter and seven completely different islands: In winter 2015/2016, guests on Mein Schiff 4 will be able to discover the Canary Islands. On two different 7-day routes, the ship will set sail from Las Palmas in Gran Canaria to either Madeira, La Palma, Tenerife and Fuerteventura or Agadir (Morocco), Lanzarote, Tenerife and La Gomera. Brand new to the schedule: three 14-day trips "Canaries with Cape Verde" including Dakar (Senegal).

"Canaries with Cape Verde" from 4 to 18 October 2015 on Mein Schiff 4 from/to Las Palmas including our premium all inclusive costs from €1,948 per person in an inside cabin based on two people sharing; from €2,398 per person including flight from/to Germany.


Premiere in the Black Sea: Mein Schiff 2 meets the "Pearl of the Orient"
In spring 2015, Mein Schiff 2 will be setting off from Antalya for a 13-day trip to the Black Sea. Via Piraeus (Athens) it will sail through the Dardanelles into the trendy metropolis of Istanbul. After one night and a further full day, the ship will head to this year´s Olympic city Sochi and continue on via Sevastopol and Odessa in the Ukraine to Burgas and Marmaris before returning to Antalya. The second well-being ship will be spending summer 2015 on ten-day trips from/to Palma in the western Mediterranean.

In winter 2015/2016, guests aboard Mein Schiff 2 will be able to experience the magic of the Orient. Operating out of the hub of Dubai, the ship will set sail on one of two different tours around the Persian Gulf - calling in on Khasab (Oman), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and Manama (Bahrain) or Khor Fakkan (UAE), Muscat (Oman) and Abu Dhabi. Both routes can be combined perfectly to form 14-day cruises.

"Black Sea with Sochi" from 4 to 17 May 2015 on Mein Schiff 2 from/to Antalya including our premium all inclusive costs from €1,748 per person in an inside cabin based on two people sharing; from €2,188 per person including flight from/to Germany.

"Dubai with Bahrain" from 30 November to 7 December 2015 on Mein Schiff 2 from/to Dubai including our premium all inclusive costs from €848 per person in an inside cabin based on two people sharing; from €1,588 per person including flight from/to Germany.

In the summer of 2015, Mein Schiff 3 will explore many exciting and partly new ports to the line. In addition to the popular "Adriatic with Croatia" route from Valletta via Brindisi, Dubrovnik, Kotor and Corfu, it will also be setting sail to the Eastern Mediterranean in the coming season. Here, guests can look forward to the city of Bodrum on the Turkish Aegean, which will start running on this route for the first time.

In the winter season 2015/2016, Mein Schiff 3 will be setting sail to the Caribbean for the first time. Altogether, two different one-week trips are offered, which can be combined perfectly. Guests can therefore board or disembark in La Romana (Dominican Republic) and Barbados. On the southern Caribbean trip, in addition to the ABC islands Aruba and Curaçao, the cruise also stops at Grenada and Tobago. On the northern Caribbean tour, the islands of Dominica and Guadeloupe as well as Antigua and St. Maarten await the guests of Mein Schiff 3.

"Southern Caribbean with Tobago" from 13 to 20 November 2015 on Mein Schiff 3 from/to La Romana to Bridgetown including our premium all inclusive costs from €1,098 per person in an inside cabin based on two people sharing; from €2,248 per person including flight from/to Germany.

"Northern Caribbean with Antigua" from 4 to 11 December 2015 on Mein Schiff 3 from Bridgetown to La Romana including our premium all inclusive costs from €998 per person in an inside cabin based on two people sharing; from €2,148 per person including flight from/to Germany.

TUI Cruises is a joint venture of TUI AG and the globally active cruise ship company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The Hamburg-based company, founded in April 2008, has been offering holidays at sea for the German-speaking market since May 2009. The TUI Cruises Mein Schiff fleet now has over 3,836 beds at its disposal and focuses on well-being and relaxation from bow to stern. With its premium all inclusive concept, TUI Cruises is primarily aimed at couples and families who prioritise space, generosity, quality and individual service. The variety of service restaurants, the SPA & sport area, the personal Nespresso machines in the cabins, spacious balconies as well as relaxation islands on deck ensure that holidays with TUI Cruises have a profound affect on body and soul. Two new ships will be joining the Mein Schiff fleet, one in May 2014 and the other in spring 2015.

Viking Star