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Carnival Corporation and China Merchants Group signs MOU for two potential joint ventures to help expand the cruise industry in China

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest travel and leisure company, today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China Merchants Group (CMG) to explore the possibility of two joint ventures designed to accelerate the development and growth of the overall cruise industry in China.
 
The MOU outlines a potential strategic partnership between Carnival Corporation and CMG that includes exploring two possible joint ventures in support of China’s ambitions to grow the cruising industry in China and meet escalating demand for cruises amongst Chinese travelers:
 

– Ship-Owning Joint Venture: Carnival Corporation and CMG will explore a joint venture that would own and operate its own cruise ships as part of the first-ever domestic Chinese cruise line specifically targeted to the Chinese market. The joint venture would explore the possibility of sourcing new ships that are designed and built in China, along with the possibility of acquiring existing cruise ships.

– Port & Destination Development Joint Venture: In this potential joint venture, CMG and Carnival Corporation would collaborate to develop turnaround and transit ports within and around China beginning with a flagship port currently being developed by CMG called Prince Bay Cruise Terminal in Shekou, which is located in Shenzhen. The partners would work to have cruise ships sail from this flagship port, while also developing other cruise ship destinations across China and Northern Asia.

 “The MOU we signed today signifies a great opportunity to take the next step in the future of Chinese cruising, while addressing some key needs for both the cruise industry and its passengers in China,” said Alan Buckelew, COO of Carnival Corporation. “With CMG’s amazing track record, reach and influence in the market, we are working with a strategic partner that can help us explore immediate ways to impact cruise growth in China, including the possibility of a new Chinese cruise brand and new destinations.”
 
Carnival Corporation and CMG formalized their strategic partnership during an event held today at the Hilton Shenzhen Shekou, including an MOU signing ceremony involving Yang Tian Ping, general manager of China Merchants Shekou Industrial Zone, and Alan Buckelew, chief operations officer of Carnival Corporation. The ceremony was also attended by the vice president of China Merchants Group, Sun Cheng Ming, among other distinguished officials and guests.
 
CMG, China’s oldest state enterprise founded in 1872, focuses on transportation, infrastructure, financial services and real estate development, and has had a critical impact on the development of China’s economy over the company’s more than 140-year history. In support of China’s goal to become a preeminent global cruise market, CMG and Carnival Corporation are collaborating as strategic partners to develop the infrastructure required to help accelerate growth in the cruise industry, which is one of the key emerging industries that could help fuel China’s overall maritime economy.
 
While pursuing potential joint ventures to develop and grow the overall cruise market in China, Carnival Corporation remains committed to serving its Chinese guests who are already sailing on the two Carnival brands that give the company the cruise industry’s leading presence in China – Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises.
 
Carnival Corporation just recently announced its plans for immediate capacity growth in China in 2015 to meet growing demand. With Costa Cruises adding the Costa Serena in China in April of this year, Carnival Corporation will be the first global cruise company with four ships homeported in China. Costa Serena joins Costa Atlantica, Costa Victoria and Sapphire Princess already homeported in China. Carnival Corporation is growing its leading market presence by 140 percent from 2013 – 2015 and expects to carry 500,000 cruise passengers in China in 2015.

All planned cruises of Deutschland cancelled as sale of ship not agreed

All cruises of Deutschland, the luxury market vessel operated by Peter Deilmann Reederei in Germany, have been cancelled as the administrator of the operator and the vessel’s owner has not been able to conclude a sale of the vessel, Deilmann said in a statement.

The shore based staff of Peter Deilmann will be laid off or dismissed, while the 22,496 gross ton ship that was built in 1998 will continue to maintain a 50 strong staff on board to secure the vessel.

Both the ship's operator and a separate company that owns it filed for bankruptcy at the start of the year.

Carnival Vista to offer sweeping ocean views, high altitude sky ride and IMAX theatre

There’s big fun and spectacular views on the horizon, as Carnival Cruise Line today announced the details of its most innovative ship ever, Carnival Vista, debuting in spring 2016.   Designed to connect guests to the ocean with sweeping views and plenty to do both outdoors and in, Carnival Vista will take cruising to new heights and introduce an exciting array of groundbreaking new features including: SkyRide, a breakthrough suspended open-air cycling experience; the world’s first IMAX® Theatre on a ship; an expanded water park featuring the colorful Kaleid-O-Slide, the line’s first raft-riding water tube slide; Seafood Shack, a delectable New England-inspired eatery; RedFrog Pub, including the line’s first onboard brewery, and other enhanced dining, bar and entertainment options; as well as new scenic and family-friendly accommodation types. The ship’s inaugural Mediterranean itineraries will mark the line’s return to Europe.

High-Powered Outdoor Fun

With SkyRide, the cruise industry’s first pedal-powered open-air aerial attraction, Carnival is creating some of the best and highest outdoor vistas ever offered on a cruise ship.  Adventurous riders can climb aboard hanging recumbent-like bikes to cycle their way around the 800-foot suspended track with panoramic views from 150 feet above the sea. Nearby will be SkyCourse, an exhilarating suspended ropes course.  Both are part of the expanded outdoor activity park that also includes a new indoor sports hangout, The Clubhouse at SportSquare¸ featuring mini-bowling, ping-pong, arcade basketball, sports video gaming and more.

In the largest WaterWorks water park in the fleet, kids and kids at heart will find a thrilling array of splash-tastic fun including Kaleid-O-Slide, the line’s first-ever water tube attraction. Riders will hop on inflatable one or two-person rafts taking them on a fun-filled 455-foot adventure of exhilarating twists and turns with stunning kaleidoscopic visual effects.

Big-Time Entertainment at the Multiplex

Carnival Vista’s views are truly spectacular inside, too. Carnival is partnering with entertainment innovator IMAX® (NYSE: IMAX) to bring the world’s most immersive   cinematic experience to sea with the first-ever IMAX® Theatre on a ship. Guests will take in the latest Hollywood blockbusters, IMAX classics and IMAX documentary content on a screen that’s three decks high. Next door at the Thrill Theater, moviegoers can enjoy a multi-dimensional special effects experience.  Both are part of the Carnival Multiplex, a first at sea for film fans, complete with concession stand offering popcorn and movie snacks. The Warehouse, featuring a variety of video and arcade games, is located adjacent to the Carnival Multiplex.

Fresh New Dining & Bar Options

Featured on Carnival Vista and a first for the fleet will be the New England-inspired Seafood Shack, a casual indoor/outdoor dining venue near the Lido Marketplace eateries. This seafood-lovers’ paradise will feature a menu full of delicious, fresh favorites available for purchase, including lobster rolls, steamed lobster, fried shrimp, crab cakes, fried clams and more.

At the RedFrog Pub, Carnival will brew up great beer for good times in its first ever brewery. During each sailing two giant copper-topped glass kettles will create tasty ales and lagers that can be enjoyed on tap from the bar and through unique tabletop taps that allow guests to pour their own beer. The full bar will also offer an array of Caribbean-inspired cocktails, beers and rums. Indoor/outdoor seating, live music and brewing tours and tastings will also be offered in this fun venue.

Carnival is expanding the line’s popular Latin-infused Havana experience inside and out on Carnival Vista. Celebrating Cuba’s gloried past, Havana Bar serves traditional cocktails and bites during the day and transforms into a sizzling Latin dance club at night. The fun also extends outdoors with a new Havana Pool located aft and offering stunning views of the ocean, whirlpools and relaxation area, complete with colorful umbrellas, faux palm trees, thatched patio huts and comfy seating, perfect for soaking up the sun while enjoying a refreshing mojito.

More Accommodation Options

Carnival Vista will offer a wide variety of well-appointed, beautifully designed staterooms and suites including two new accommodation classes. Tropics-inspired Havana Cabanas feature accommodations with private outdoor patios – complete with lounge chairs and hammock – that face the expanded Lanai ocean-air outdoor promenade and offer magnificent sea views in addition to easy access to the Havana Bar and Pool.

Located within a new dedicated family zone on Deck 2, the new Family Harbor accommodations offer an array of deluxe ocean-view, balcony and interior staterooms that accommodate up to five family members. Parents and kids will have even more room to relax at the new, exclusive Family Harbor Lounge, a secluded space designed as the ultimate family hang out with large-screen TVs, games and complimentary breakfast and snacks. A special family concierge desk will be available here to assist families in making this their best vacation ever.

“Carnival Vista celebrates the connection to the oceans on which we sail and gives our guests amazing seascapes around every corner and more ways to enjoy every moment of sun and fun during their cruise vacation,” said Mark Tamis, Carnival’s senior vice president of guest operations. “From our exhilarating new high-altitude SkyRide to the Kaleid-O-Slide water tube slide to our IMAX anchored Carnival Multiplex to the multitude of dining and bar options, we are thrilled to share the details about our largest and most innovative ship with our guests while providing our valued travel agent partners with an exciting new option to offer to their clients.”

New Meaning to Dining Out

Thanks to an expanded Lanai on Deck 5 guests can stroll or sit and enjoy a beverage at one of the many dining and bar venues that will now feature outdoor areas.

– The line will offer its first-ever outdoor seating options at specialty eateries including Fahrenheit 555, a classic American steakhouse, and Japanese-style Bonsai Sushi restaurant where diners will enjoy sea views as delicious as their meals.  Cherry on Top will be the sweetest spot at sea, with a new premium mixed-to-order custom ice cream creation bar, outdoor seating and more than 80 bulk candy options.

– The intimate Library Bar will also offer guests indoor/outdoor options, in addition to the hoppin’ RedFrog Pub and stylish Havana Bar.

Vacationers will find Fun Ship 2.0 favorite poolside eateries and bars including Guy’s Burger Joint, award-winning burgers and hand-cut fries created by chef and author Guy Fieri, and BlueIguana Cantina, featuring freshly made tacos and burritos. Poolside bars BlueIguana Tequila Bar and RedFrog Rum Bar will also provide innovative cocktail options, as will the mixologists at the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar.

– The ship’s main dining rooms, Reflections and Horizons, offer a tantalizing array of delicious menu items for guests who want to enjoy a full-service breakfast, lunch or dinner. The striking modern interiors created by award-winning designer BigTime Design Studios offer decidedly different décor than previous Carnival ships. The Horizons dining room will also feature a unique bar that’s the perfect spot for meeting friends and enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail or an after-meal aperitif.

The beautiful Vista Atrium will set a festive mood with its giant, multi-deck-high centerpiece that will delight guests with its LED screens and changing visuals to create the right atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to welcome guests boarding the ship, meet friends at the bar or enjoy live entertainment and dancing.

Relax and Recharge

For those looking to unwind and relax, Carnival Vista has a lot to ahhh about. The luxurious two-level Cloud 9 Spa will feature an array of chill-worthy amenities, including a thalassotherapy pool, four steam chambers, the line’s first infrared sauna and hamam, and special “experience showers” that provide a soothing fragrance element, along with a high-tech indoor cycling studio. Guests can get away from it all at the adults-only Serenity retreat, where there’s breathtaking views, tranquility and even more lounging options to relax including the line’s first outdoor massage huts.

Family Fun for All

As the family cruise leader, carrying more than 700,000 children on board each year, the company designed Carnival Vista with even more fun for families day and night.

– The indoor/outdoor Camp Ocean for children under age 12 is a dedicated undersea-themed play space with more than 200 fun and educational ocean-inspired activities.

– Carnival Vista will be the second ship in the fleet to feature Dr. Seuss Bookville, a special reading and play space inspired by the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss. Here kids and their families can read beloved Dr. Seuss books, make arts and crafts and stretch their imagination with toys and games. Also part of the line’s Seuss at Sea program, Carnival Vista guests can enjoy Green Eggs and Ham with The Cat in the Hat and Friends character breakfast, the Seuss-a-palooza Story Time and Parade and more.

– Carnival Vista will also introduce four new games at the family-centric HASBRO the Game Show, as well as special family-friendly comedy performances at Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez.

Carnival’s Return to Europe

The largest ship in the fleet, Carnival Vista will measure 133,500 tons, 1,055 feet long and have a guest capacity of 3,936 (based on two per cabin). The new vessel will debut May 1, 2016, with a 13-day cruise departing from Trieste, Italy -- the first European voyage for Carnival in three years. A variety of spectacular Mediterranean itineraries will be offered with port calls throughout Italy, France, Spain, Croatia and Turkey, as well as several new destinations for Carnival such as Crete (Heraklion), and Corfu, Greece; Valletta, Malta; Palermo, Sicily; Cagliari, Sardinia; and Gibraltar. On October 21, 2016, Carnival Vista will embark on a special 13-day transatlantic crossing and arrive in New York November 3, 2016, then operate a series of voyages from the Big Apple. Carnival Vista’s European cruises are currently available for reservations.  Additional information on the New York departures will be available next month.

RCCL to report final quarter and full year 2014 results on 29 January

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), the world’s second largest cruise shipping group, will report its final quarter and full year 2014 results on Thursday, 29 January.

Analysts in New York and in Oslo, where shares in the company are listed, expect earnings per share (EPS) to rise to $0.43 on average for the final quarter from $0.23 in the same period last year, figures on the company’s website show.

For 2014, they expect an increase in EPs to $3.48 from $2.40 in 2013.

The future of winter cruise is “winterless”

The third edition of Seatrade Winter Cruise Forum took place in Cartagena, Spain, on 21st and 22nd of January. Cruise Business Review was again present. Alan Lam reports.

 

The main theme discussed in this forum was how to change the perception of winter cruise into a winterlessyear-round cruise. As from year to year the industry is stretching the cruise season out for as long as possible, the only way to promote an even wider awareness of and achieve a bigger yield from the so-called off-season cruise operation is for the industry itself to change its own stubborn image of cruise being a sunny weather activity, stop regarding these colder months of the year as a collective handicap of the industry and begin to see the opportunities while recognising the limitation of the colder season, such as smaller markets and cooler climate.

 

Cruising is much more than just about sun, sea and beachesUnlike the Northern Europeans and North Americans, the Asians, for example, do not go on cruises in search of warm weather and beaches. The demand for winter cruise products is growing stronger all the time. The industry has gone a long way to prepare itself for the market, such as building ice class ships with retractable roofs over the swimming poolsThe Quantum class ships are built with more “inside” features and AIDA’s first newbuilding will be based in Hamburg year-round.

 

But there are various obstacles and challenges in need ofaddressing, such as issues concerning profitability, appropriate staffing levels, the readiness of ports & destinations, and a demographically smaller source market for bigger ships, etc.

 

A full report will be published in the next edition of Cruise Business Review.

 

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