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TUI Cruises orders two ships at Meyer Turku

Mein Schiff 4 at Turku 1000px

TUI Cruises, the German premium market cruise line, and Meyer Turku have signed an agreement for two 99,300 gross ton cruise ships. “This order further strengthens the order book of the shipyard, which contains now a high work load until the year 2020,” the shipbuilder said in a statement.

"TUI Cruises has firmly established itself in the German-speaking market, with occupancy of our fleet totaling more than 100%  last year," said Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises, in the statement.

This year, demand has also been excellent so far – with bookings currently being taken for five ships. A further expansion provides a great opportunity to strengthen our position with one of the most modern fleets in the German market."

"We are very happy and proud to continue our successful partnership with TUI Cruises by adding two new cruise ships to this advanced fleet of ships built by the yard in Turku. We are also working on further improving the ships again," said Jan Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku.

“For Turku shipyard this order is of great importance. We have now a solid platform to operate the shipyard at an output of 30 % above the 2015 level until 2020. We have now the long term view and stability to plan investments and further recruitments – i.e. to work on our competitiveness in the long run.”

Mein Schiff 4 was successfully delivered from Meyer Turku on 8 May 2015 and Mein Schiff 5 and Mein Schiff 6 are to be delivered in 2016 and 2017, respectively. The cruise ships ordered today will be delivered in 2018 and 2019.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings to open sales office in Australia

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. announced today the expansion of its presence in the Australia and Pacific region, with the establishment of a sales and marketing center based in Sydney, Australia to support the growing demand for cruise travel in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

The office will represent the company’s three lines: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Industry veteran Steve Odell will be joining the company as Senior Vice President and Managing Director Australasia for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.  Beginning October 1, 2015, Odell will be responsible for the continued growth of the company’s presence in the region and differentiating each brand’s unique offerings.  

“In view of the growing international interest in cruising combined with our strong growth strategy, the new office in Australia is a natural next step in our global expansion of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings,” said Harry Sommer, executive vice president of international business development for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “It reflects our confidence in the growing Australia and New Zealand markets and we believe that our three brands – Norwegian with Freestyle Cruising, Oceania Cruises as an upper premium product and Regent Seven Seas Cruises in the luxury sector – are all a perfect fit for the Australian market, offering a wide variety of experiences and worldwide itineraries.”

Odell joins the company with broad cruise industry experience earned over the past thirty years through pioneering activity in a variety of senior positions in the luxury sector. He has played a key role in the establishment of the luxury cruise segment in Australasia since 2000, most recently as Silversea’s President EMEA & Asia Pacific.  He has also served as Chairman ICCA (now CLIA Australasia) between 2005 & 2007 and was a founding Board member of the Asia Cruise Association (now CLIA Asia).

The new Australia office will offer sales and marketing support for all three brands, providing additional training opportunities on a more regular basis and directly by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd staff. The company’s relationships with current travel industry partners and local representatives will remain in place, with the office providing further on-site support.

TUI Cruises' Meine Reise now allows booking services during cruise; calls and messenger to follow

TUI Cruises, the German premium market line, says it has expanded the use of its Meine Reise online portal so that passengers now can book services also when on their cruise, while online messaging and phone calls are on the pipeline

Until now, the portal has only allowed the booking of e.g. spa treatments, tables at specialty restaurants or shore excursions up to four months before the passenger has boarded the ship.

"It will work quite comfortably on your computer, smart phone or tablet over the shipboard network and it's free," said Mike Schwanke, Director of Marketing at the Hamburg based company, referring to the new on board use option of the portal.

The latest expansion of the portal also means that passengers can check their on board account balance online. In the future, TUI Cruises plans to introduce telephone call and messaging service over the platform, it said in a statement.


Updated: Nine confirmed dead on Alaska excursion plane crash

Update: "The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a go-team from its Alaska Regional office to investigate a sightseeing plane that crashed near Ketchikan, Alaska.

A float-equipped DeHavilland DHC-3T (Turbine Otter) airplane crashed in an area of steep, mountainous terrain about 25 miles northeast of Ketchikan. According to local authorities, multiple fatalities have been reported," NTSB said in the statement.

A small plane carrying a pilot and eight passengers from a Holland America Line cruise ship was believed to have crashed in Ketchikan, Alaska, on Thursday, the CNN reports.

"The plane was on a shore excursion, sold through Holland America Line, when the accident happened about 20 miles northeast of Ketchikan, near Ella Lake," the report said..

"There is official no word yet on the condition of those on the plane, but a private helicopter pilot reported to seeing plane wreckage against a cliff near the location it was believed to have gone down, the Alaska Department of Public Safety said," CNN reported.

European cruise industry economic impact growth almost halved to 2.2% in 2014

The cruise industry’s economic output in Europe reached a new record of €40.2 billion in 2014, up 2.2% on the previous year, but representing a sharp reduction from the 4.0% growth rate in 2013 on 2012, figures releaed by CLIA Europe, the industry’s ceiling organisation showed.

The direct expenditures generated by the industry reached €16.6 billion, up from €16.2 billion in 2013. This represents an increase of 2.4%, again much less than the 4.5% increase in the 2013 figure over that of the previous year

Europe’s cruise industry has delivered a record boost to Europe’s economic recovery, but CLIA Chairman Pierfranceso Vago has warned that future growth requires action to unlock potential.

In 2014 the cruise industry also generated almost 10,000 new jobs across Europe, with 349,000 now employed in cruise and cruise related businesses, including over 82,000 manufacturing jobs. Wages and other benefits for European workers reached €10.75 billion.

Pierfrancesco Vago, CLIA Europe’s Chairman, said: “The cruise industry is making a vital contribution to Europe’s economic recovery. In 2014 the cruise industry injected nearly €40 billion into the European economy and sustained almost 350,000 European jobs, over 80,000 of which were in the manufacturing sector. These record results are something we’ve all worked hard for and we should celebrate and build on.”

But on a cautionary note he added, “While future growth can be achieved in Europe, it is far from guaranteed.” He continued: “Although a record 6.4 million European residents booked cruises in 2014 last year and European shipyards with record order books for new cruise ships remain the centre of the world’s cruise shipbuilding, there are some worrying trends. For example the numbers embarking on cruises from European ports is down by 3.6% to 5.85 million.”

He concluded, “This downward trend in Europe as a destination is a result of the serious hurdles to growth, which if ignored risk leaving that potential forever locked up and risk stalling the year on year economic growth we have all worked hard to deliver. Europe needs to tackle them by implementing environmental legislation in a harmonised way, streamlining visa procedures, investing in coastal infrastructure, and improving port facilities.”