Tallink and Meyer Turku signs letter of intent for new generation LNG powered fast ferry

AS Tallink Grupp and Meyer Turku Oy signed a Letter of Intent for the construction of an environmentally friendly car-passenger ferry for Tallinn-Helsinki route shuttle operations. The ship will cost around 230 million euros and will be built at Turku shipyard for delivery in the beginning of 2017. The project will provide approximately 2000 man-years employment for the shipyard.

The new ferry will be about 212 metres in length with a gross tonnage of 49 000. The ship will operate on the route between Helsinki and Tallinn and she is planned to carry 2800 passengers.

The ship will bring significant improvement in energy efficiency which is achieved by applying numerous innovations and new technical solutions. Green values, reduction of all emissions, minimizing the amount of waste and increasing recycling utilization, have been very carefully taken into account in the design of the ferry. The ship uses LNG as fuel and she complies with the new and stricter emission regulations for the ECA areas including the Baltic Sea.

Management Board Member of AS Tallink Grupp, Janek Stalmeister said that with the new ferry Tallink aims for an upgrade of the Tallinn-Helsinki route ferry service. “As the market leader and a long time operator on the route we have a good understanding of customer expectations and know what needs improvement. I am confident that the world-class experience of Meyer Turku will be once again a valuable asset for us to deliver a high quality new ferry, which will strengthen our competitive advantages," he added.

“A series of six ferries between years 2002-2009 has been delivered to Tallink and this ship will be the 7th newbuilding for the same shipowner. I ́m very happy that Meyer Turku will continue the excellent and trusting cooperation with Tallink. This new ferry prototype gives us an excellent opportunity to apply improved design & building methods. For all these reasons this Letter of Intent signed today is very important to Meyer Turku and to the entire Finnish shipbuilding cluster," says Jan Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku Oy.

Over the next few months Tallink Grupp and Meyer Turku will work on the final shipbuilding contract and financing.

TUI AG's cruise recovery exceeds forecast, Hapag-Lloyd to break even in current year

Cruise operations of TUI AG, the world's largest tour operator, have posted a recovery that exceeded the company's own forecast and the loss making Hapag-Lloyd Cruises unit should break even in the current financial year as planned, TUI said in a statement.

The business, which comprises the fully owned Hapag-Lloyd unit and 50% stake in TUI Cruises, increased revenues to €281.0 million in the 2013-14 financial year from €261.0 million in the same period a year earlier. EBITA turned positive by €24.2 million from being negative by €30.4 million in the previous 12 month period.

Cruises – turnaround target outperformed /Break-even for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises in the fiscal year 2014/2015 confirmed

Occupancy of the TUI Cruises' fleet, currently comprising three ships, was improved by 1 percentage point to 102% ; the average rate per day per passenger also rose to €171, up by 9% year-on-year. "With Mein Schiff 4, to be commissioned in June 2015, and the two newbuilds ordered, Mein Schiff 5 (2016) and Mein Schiff 6 (2017), TUI Cruises will consistently continue its growth path in the premium cruises market segment," TUI said.

Occupancy of the luxury and expedition cruise ships at Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten fell by 2 percentage points year-on-year to 68% . "However, overall the Sector recorded a positive development in the second half of the financial year, in particular in relation to the two expedition cruise ships and thanks to the amortisation of the start-up costs for the Europa 2 luxury cruise ship," TUI stated. The average rate per day per passenger in the period under review climbed by 7% to €450. "For the fiscal year 2014/2015 the Group has confirmed that Hapag-Lloyd will break-even," TUI said.

New CEOs for Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises

Recognizing the deep bench of internal talent that has powered its long-term success, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd named two senior company executives to chart the future course of the company’s two largest brands.

Michael Bayley, who worked his way up from an assistant purser’s position aboard the Nordic Prince, will serve as President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, the world’s largest cruise brand. Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, whose career at the company began in the New England sales office, will serve as President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, a leader in the premium market.

Both appointments are effective immediately.

Said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd: “This is a happy day for Michael and Lisa, and a proud day for all of us at the company. To recognize these two incredibly talented people with these vital leadership positions after years of dedication, effort and innovative thinking is gratifying for everyone here. I am impressed with the skills they have demonstrated over the course of their careers, and I am excited to see where they take these powerful brands next.”

Bayley assumes Royal’s helm after a successful term as Celebrity’s President and CEO. At Celebrity, he delivered strong results while building the company’s “modern luxury” positioning, which resonated successfully with Celebrity’s sophisticated customer base. Before his Celebrity role, Bayley served in several senior roles at Royal Caribbean International, including Executive Vice President of Operations. He is credited for playing a key role in the company’s international expansion, helping launch company operations in markets around the world.

Said Bayley: “Royal Caribbean International is a brand with an incredible history – and unlimited potential. The ships, personified in the new Quantum class, are some of the best and most innovative in the world. And the crews that service Royal Caribbean International guests have a track record of delighting guests from every culture around the world. I look forward to an exciting future as we raise our game to an even higher level of performance.”

Lutoff-Perlo began her company career as a district sales manager in her native New England. She moves to her new role from her position as Executive Vice President, Operations at Royal Caribbean, where she played a critical role in the recent successful launch of Quantum of the Seas, the first in the company’s newest class of ships. After a successful sales career, Lutoff-Perlo made her mark as a specialist at bringing new ships to market for both Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity. In addition to the Quantum class, she played a key role in the launch of Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager and Radiance classes, as well as Celebrity’s Solstice Class.

Said Lutoff-Perlo: “Celebrity Cruises has done a remarkable job differentiating itself in a crowded and competitive premium marketplace, and with its newly announced Edge class ships, the brand has the opportunity to push its leadership position even farther. I’m excited to tackle that challenge with a team of men and women I know well, including crews that consistently exceed our guests’ highest expectations.”

Fain said: “No one who has seen either of these two exceptional executives in action can be surprised by their continuing growth as leaders. As a company, we have a mantra of continuous improvement; in Michael and Lisa, we have two talented leaders who will help us continue to deliver on that commitment to our shareholders, employees and guests.”

Celebrity Cruises orders two new ships from STX France

Celebrity Cruises has taken a bold step in ship design with the signing of a letter of intent for a new class of vessels, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and French shipbuilder STX France announced today. The two 2,900-guest, 117,000-gross-registered-ton ships, developed under the project name EDGE will build upon the modern luxury experience of the brand's Millennium and Solstice class vessels.

At 984 feet long, 123 feet wide and 190 feet high, Project EDGE will deliver small ship itineraries with large ship amenities, a perfect vacation experience in step with today's premium vacationer.

"The addition of two project EDGE vessels to our fleet delivers on our long-term strategic plan of moderate capacity growth, and continues the positive momentum the Celebrity brand has achieved in the premium segment of our industry," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

"Our new class of ship will set the standard for premium world travel and deliver the next generation of modern luxury experiences that our guests know and love," said Michael Bayley, president and chief executive officer of Celebrity Cruises. "STX France designs and builds some of the most innovative and stylish cruise ships in the world, and project EDGE offers them the opportunity to again set a new standard for modern iconic architecture. On this stunning new ship we will bring our guests even closer to the must-see destinations of the world, while indulging them onboard in the most luxurious accommodations, the finest culinary experiences, and the best hospitality delivered by our dedicated staff."

"We are excited to be collaborating with Celebrity on this dramatic step forward in premium cruise ship design," said Laurent Castaing, managing director of STX France. "This class of ships will be designed to deliver the destination to vacationers who want to experience all the world has to offer."

These vessels also represent a significant leap forward in environmentally friendly ship design, benefiting from new technologies to drive significant fuel efficiency and an ongoing process to ensure the extensive use of sustainable materials.

The company expects delivery of the first ship in Fall 2018, with the second vessel delivered in the early part of 2020. The order is contingent upon the completion of customary conditions, including financing.  

Based upon current ship orders, projected capital expenditures for full year 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are $1.4 billion, $1.5 billion, $2.3 billion, $0.4 billion and $2.2 billion, respectively.

Capacity increases for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are expected to be 2.4%, 5.5%, 6.7%, 3.8% and 4.3%, respectively.  These figures do not include potential ship sales or additions that the company may elect to make in the future.

Viking Ocean Cruises has ordered fourth newbuilding at Fincantieri - equipment supplier

Viking Ocean Cruises, the privately owned Switzerland based cruise shipping company, has placed an order with Fincantieri in Italy for a fourth cruise ship newbuilding, an equipment supplier said in a statement.

"This is our fourth new build contract with Fincantieri for Viking Ocean Cruises, and all the four vessels have Scanship Total Clean Ship," Frode Andersen, VP Sales & Marketing at Scanship, the Norwegian waste treatment system supplier, told Cruise Business Online.

EArlier today, the company said in a statement: "Scanship Holding ASA has through its subsidiary Scanship AS entered into a contract with the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for a total clean ship system delivery to Viking Ocean Cruises newbuild," Scanship said.

"This is the fourth total clean ship system we will be delivering to Fincantieri for the Viking Ocean Cruises. From next year on until 2017, these ocean-going liners will enter service with the most advanced systems to date for waste management and wastewater purification. We are excited to be aboard, and to set sail in the tradition of real Viking exploration. This time around the voyage will be in an environmental sustainable way", Henrik Badin, CEO of Scanship, said in the statement.

Viking Ocean Cruises' first three ships will be called Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sea, respectively. The company has been expected to place an order for fourth vessel. They are of 47,800 gross tons and can accommodate 928 passengers each. The company will commence operations next year and it targets the high end of the market.

Viking Star