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Scenic orders luxury yacht cruise ship at Uljanik in Croatia

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Scenic, the Australian river cruise specialist, says it is entering the ocean cruise market with the launch of ultra-luxury Scenic Eclipse in August 2018.

The 16,000 gross ton vessel that will be built at the Uljanik shipyard in Croatia, will be 165 metres in length. It will have two main engine rooms in two separate fire zones and the same arrangement is repeated it vital functions, such as food storage and preparation and navigation.

The all-suite ship, which looks more like a billionaire's yacht than a cruise ship, will have an ice-strengthened hull, twin helicopters, an aft marina with a fleet of Zodiacs and a seven-person submarine. The cabins will range in size from 32 sqm to an owner suite of 233 sqm, the company said in a video presentation.

Scenic has an option on a second sister vessel, which would launch in June 2019.

Scenic is describing the vessel as the "world's first discovery yacht;" it will have the highest ice-class rating -- 1A Super -- allowing it to operate deep into the Arctic and Antarctica, where it will spend three months of the year.

The passenger numbers will be limited to 200 during polar expeditions, allowing several landings per day for passengers. The helicopters, which will carry an extra charge to hire, will allow passengers to get closer to the wildlife than by boat. The same with the submarine, which will also carry an additional charge. Otherwise, the vessel will be all-inclusive of tips, shore excursions, all dining venues, scuba diving and snorkeling, all drinks and Wi-Fi, CruiseCritic reports.

The ship will have an almost 1:1 staff to passenger-to-crew ratio and each suite will have a butler. Other features include:

  • six restaurants, including pan-Asian, French Italian and a steakhouse
  • four bars and lounges;
  • a 240-seat theater;
  • a heated pool with a retractable roof;
  • a 450 sqm spa with indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis and plunge pools;
  • a gym with separate yoga and Pilates studio;

The ship will also have "zero speed stabiliser fins," which are 50% larger than typical on a ship of this size, which allow it to navigate in rougher conditions than other ships of its size and which will also work when the ship is stationary. Such stabilisers are only fitted in the largest megayachts, the company said in a video presentation.

Karen Moroney, the wife of the owner of the line, Glen Moroney, will design the interiors.Scenic Eclipse's maiden voyage begins 31 August, 2018, from Istanbul to Venice. Then it sails to Canada via Iceland and onto the Arctic, before heading to the British Isles, across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, including Cuba, then down the Chilean fjords and onto Antarctica, CruiseCritic reports on its website.



Fire hits AIDAprima at Nagasaki shipyard - reports

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

A fire broke out on board AIDAprima, the first of two 124,500 gross ton newbuildings AIDA Cruises in Germany has on order at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries at Nagasaki,German media reports say.

The fire started late in the evening of 11 January on deck 7 near the Theatrium and destroyed some 15 square metres of it before the fire could be put out. Shipyard workers were evacuated from the vessel that was being fitted out at the time of the incident, the reports said, descdibing the damage as light.

Carnival adds newbuildings for P&O Cruises Australia and Princess after Costa Asia deal

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Fincantieri, the Italian shipbuilder, has signed a memorandum of agreement with Carnival Corporation & plc for the construction of four new cruise ships of an overall value of about €2.5 billion euros. “The final contracts, subject to several conditions, including satisfactory shipowner financing, are expected to be executed in 2016,” the shipbuilder said in a statement.

Two ships will be built for the Costa Asia brand, as unveiled on 30 December (see separate article), one for P&O Cruises Australia and one for Princess Cruises. The four units will all be built at the shipyards in Monfalcone and Marghera, with deliveries scheduled in 2019 and 2020. “Once entered into service in their respective fleets, they will serve growing cruise markets, including China, Australia and others,” the company said.

The newbuilding for P&O Cruises Australia will be the first such vessel to enter service with the Sydney based company. It currently operates five vessels, all second hand transfers, with a sixth due from Princess cruises in 2017.

Each unit will be designed and developed specifically for the brand and for its reference guests. The 135,500 gross ton Costa Asia and P&O Cruises' ships will carry 4,200 passengers. Princess Cruises’ new 143,700 gross ton ship will carry 3,560 passengers and will be its fourth Royal Princess class vessel.

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: “The signing of this agreement happens during a real and beyond all expectations boom of the cruise sector. This announcement confirms, once again, the effectiveness of our strategy: with these projects, based on those of the prototype units acquired in extremely challenging conditions, we ensure our group not only continuity and development, but also a new-found profitability in this segment”.

“We will deliver on our fleet enhancement plan with the construction of these four new ships, that are consistent with our long-term strategy of measured capacity growth over time,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc.

“These ships will be great additions to our fleet that support our goal to exceed guest expectations and create great vacation memories for each guest onboard our ships. These strategic investments in new ships that wow our guests are an important part of our measured growth strategy, which includes replacing less efficient ships with newer, larger and more efficient vessels over a very specific period of time,” he said in the statement.

Costa orders two 135,500 gross ton newbuildings for Costa Asia at Fincantieri

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

The Costa Group said it had signed an agreement with Fincantieri to build two ships for Costa Asia brand, with final contracts expected to be executed in 2016. The ships, each with 135,500 gross tons and carrying 4,200 guests, will be built in Italy. They will be specifically designed for the Chinese market, joining the fleet in 2019 and 2020.

“Costa Asia new ships are part of a memorandum of agreement signed by Carnival Corporation & plc with Fincantieri to build four new ships by 2020 at the company’s shipyards in Monfalcone and Marghera, Italy,” the company said in a statement.

Carnival group said in the spring it would order five vessels at Fincantieri and four at Meyer in the course of this year. The company has since unveiled the Meyer orders, with two ships to be built at Papenburg and two for Turku.

Thanks to the new agreement announced today, the Costa Group has eight new ships on order with a total capacity of 45,000 berths (four for the German brand Aida Cruises; two for the Italian brand Costa Cruises; two for Costa Asia), bringing the total capacity of the fleet to 110,000 berths.

“We are happy to continue our long-standing strategic partnership with the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri. This new investment is expected to create wealth and employment for the Italian country as a whole. As for Costa Diadema, the latest Costa ship built by Fincantieri and the best expression of Italy’s finest, also Costa Asia ships will feature an innovative Italian style design. In addition this new agreement will allow us to continue significantly build the Chinese cruise market, which will become the second largest in the world at the end of the decade” - said Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Group.

The Costa Group was the first cruise company to enter the Chinese market back in 2006. Three Costa ships are currently deployed in China and Asia year-round: Costa Atlantica, Costa Victoria and Costa Serena. A fourth ship, Costa Fortuna, will be added in April 2016.

Crystal launches new 'All Exclusive' brand campaign and announces private charter air service

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Aboard the newly christened Crystal Esprit, Crystal Cruises’ ultra-luxury yacht, CEO and President Edie Rodriguez unveiled to special guests and distinguished travel partners the line’s new brand campaign – All Exclusive™ – heralding the debut of the new Crystal as the company embarks on the most significant brand expansion in luxury travel and hospitality.

In addition to sharing Crystal’s new advertising campaign, Rodriguez announced the company’s plan to expand Crystal Luxury Air that currently includes a Boeing 777-200LR and Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with the addition of two ultra-long-range aircrafts in an elegant Airbus CJ319 jet and a Bombardier Global Express XRS. The new planes will service private charters and transport guests to their Crystal destinations for ocean, river or yacht voyages from any point in the United States to the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and the Pacific.

A play on the all-inclusive platform the line adopted in 2013, which offers travelers a world-class luxury vacation that includes fine wines and spirits, pre-paid gratuities and enriching onboard experiences, Crystal’s All Exclusive™ embodies the world’s most luxurious travel portfolio. The campaign highlights a revolutionary collection of experiences that go far beyond all inclusive luxury to offer the most elegant journeys around the globe – by ocean, yacht, river and air.

“In a single phrase, ‘All Exclusive’ takes the common industry term of ‘all inclusive’ and reshapes it into something bigger, bolder and unprecedented, where all inclusive is all exclusive,” said Rodriguez. “Since my arrival at Crystal, it has been my vision to grow this brand into something even more magical. Today, we are reinventing travel in a class all by itself, and All Exclusive is the perfect representation of that. Whether it is by ocean, river or air, everything we do is designed to take our guests to a new level of luxury, service and adventure.”

Crystal’s private charter jet service, which takes flight in March 2016, will provide the luxury line’s superior guest service, catering to corporate executives, small groups and discerning travelers with a preference for flexible and individual travel. Recognized in the private jet industry as the epitome of luxury and comfort, the Bombardier Global Express XRS will feature a spacious two-cabin configuration, accommodating up to 13 guests, four executive wide club seats with foldout tables, a four-place conference space opposite a single seat workstation and cabinet, laptop imagery on cabin monitors, surround sound, high temperature oven and an aft entertainment cabin with a 31.5 inch LCD.

The ACJ319 jet will accommodate just 30 travelers in the utmost luxury, including 16 lay-flat seats, and beginning summer 2016 it will transport guests to their desired Crystal destination, including to ocean, river and yacht voyages. “With our vast choice of aircrafts, we are confident Crystal Luxury Air will deliver the fast and hassle-free requirements our guests and discerning travelers have been wanting with global air travel,” said Rodriguez.

The comprehensive, 360-degree brand campaign roll-out will encompass all elements of Crystal’s marketing and sales – advertising, brochures, website, direct mail and more. Leveraging high-end, stunning and stylish photography to evoke the feelings and sensations unique to the award-winning Crystal Experience, the imagery portrays a dreamlike state where imaginations are brought to life, where anything you want in travel is available to you, any time, all the time, creating the memories of a lifetime.

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