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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.” 

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.

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