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Deutschland sold to undisclosed US buyer, to retain name

Deutschland, the sole remaining vessel of the failed Peter Dreilmann Kreuzfahrten company in Germany, has been sold to an undisclosed US buyer, who intends to return the vessel to service and to retain its name, the administrator of MS „Deutschland“ Beteiligungsgesellschaft, the failed company that owned the ship, said in a statement.

The buyer has paid an instalment of the purchase price, which has not been disclosed, and would settle the rest by the end of May, said Reinhold Schmid-Sperber, lawyer at Reimers Rechtsanwalte, the German law firm that has acted as administrator of the previous owner of the ship.

The buyer has experience in the international cruise industry and it intends to return the ship to service under its present name and to retain most of the crew that has been employed on the vessel.

Deilmann, which had operated the ship on charter from its owner, ran into financial difficulties last year and subsequently collapsed. German media reports say the vessel has liens and liabilities that amount to €60 million and it is not known whether the sale price of the 1998 built, 22,496 gross ton ship would cover these.

Deutschland is the only major deep sea passenger vessel that flies the German flag. Deilmann attempted to switch the ship under the Maltese flag before its collapse to reduce costs. It is not known whether the ship would retain the German flag under the new ownership.

Ovation of the Seas to become second Quantum class ship based in China

Royal Caribbean International, the contemporary market unit in the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) group, says it will based Ovation of the Seas in China, where it will join Quantum of the Seas, the lead ship of the three strong class.

"Furthering the cruise line’s commitment to growing the China vacation market, Royal Caribbean International today announced that Tianjin, China, will be the new home for its third Quantum-class ship, Ovation of the Seas," the company said in a statement. The news was given today by Royal Caribbean’s President and CEO, Michael Bayley, in a Beijing press conference of media, travel agents and officials. Launching in April 2016, Ovation of the Seas will be the cruise line’s fifth cruise ship based in the region.

“Cruising has become very popular for Chinese consumers and Royal Caribbean is already capturing their imaginations with our industry-leading cruise ships,” said Bayley. “We are furthering our commitment by bringing two of the world’s newest and most advanced Quantum-class cruise ships to the region. In addition, we are significantly expanding our investment in the training and employment of Chinese talent so they can join us in delivering our amazing and distinctive vacations to Chinese travelers.”

Currently under construction, Ovation of the Seas will join Quantum of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Legend of the Seas in the China seas. The five ships will comprise the largest fleet deployment for any cruise brand in China, homeporting in four metropolitan Chinese cities – Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Xiamen – and primarily sailing three- to 12-night itineraries to destinations in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. Royal Caribbean’s summer 2016 Asia adventures will open for booking in August 2015.

In addition to committing ships to the region, Royal Caribbean is investing in people shoreside. The cruise line created a curriculum with the Tianjin Maritime College in August 2014 in order to attract, train and employ more Chinese talent. In the 13,000 sq. ft. school, students are instructed in the skills needed for a successful culinary or restaurant service career with Royal Caribbean. The cruise line has already hired more than 3,000 graduates and hopes to expand the program to accept more students and work with colleges in other Chinese cities.

Royal Caribbean also is exploring new ways to engage the Chinese economy and help create more Chinese jobs. The cruise line is investigating potential Chinese drydock facilities to revitalize Legend of the Seas as early as 2018; logistics centers in China to supply its ships deployed in the region; and an inbound-tourism business model to bring thousands of North American vacationers to experience China.

Once launched, Ovation of the Seas’ maiden sailings will include a 52-night Global Odyssey from Southampton, U.K. to Tianjin. Vacationers can be among the first to experience the new ship on the 2016 Ovation Global Odyssey, which will open for sale on Thursday, March 26, 2015. Five itineraries will take guests to some of the world’s most iconic cities:

A seven-night England to Barcelona cruise, departing May 3, 2016 from Southampton
16-night Barcelona to Dubai cruise, via the Suez Canal, departing May 10
14-night India and Southeast Asia cruise, departing May 26 from Dubai to Singapore
Three-night Malaysia cruise, departing June 9 on a roundtrip sailing from Singapore
And 12-night Exotic Asia cruise, from Singapore to Tianjin.

Royal Caribbean is the leading and the most successful cruise line in China, shown by business growth, consumer and trade preference, and industry and consumer recognitions and awards. For its inaugural season, Ovation of the Seas will homeport in Tianjin – approximately 70 miles southeast of Beijing, while Quantum of the Seas will complete a full year of sailings from Shanghai. Mariner of the Seas will join Quantum of the Seas in Shanghai, while Voyager of the Seas will sail regularly from Hong Kong’s new Kai Tak Cruise Port. In addition to Japan and Korea itineraries, Voyager of the Seas will offer four- and five-night Taiwan and Vietnam cruises. For its part, Legend of the Seas will offer a set of sailings from Tianjin and then reposition to its new homeport of Xiamen for the remainder of the season.

“While China gets the newest Quantum Class, North America is getting the newest Oasis Class, Harmony of the Seas. There will be three Oasis-class ships sailing from two Florida ports starting in 2016, in addition to Anthem of the Seas from Cape Liberty, giving vacationers plenty of options for a truly memorable Royal Caribbean cruise.” added Bayley.

Ovation of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas are among the Quantum Class, the world’s most advanced cruise ships. While Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Sea will sail the China seas, Anthem of the Seas will make Cape Liberty in Bayonne, N.J. its long-term home, and offer New York metropolitan vacationers a range of Bermuda, Caribbean, and Canada and New England adventures, the company said.

Renderings of Virgin Cruises' planned newbuildings surface on Internet

virgin-cruises

Two renderings of the planned two newbuildings of Virgin Cruises, the new cruise shipping unit of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group business empire, have surfaced on the internet.

The first one of images, posted on cruisecurrents.com, shows a large vessel with a red hull and forward part of the superstructure built entirely of glass plus X-form bow, which curves backwards rather than forwards in order to improve seakeeping qualities.

The second picture shows a vessel from the stern. The superstructure is split in two, as in the Oasis class vessels of Royal Caribbean International. Near the stern, as part of an outdoor arena, there is a large sky diving simulator, which rises to the height of the superstructure. Neither rendering is dated nor do they provide any additional information.

 

MSC Cruises cancels all calls in Tunisia

In the wake of Wednesday’s (March 18) terror attack at the Bordo National Museum, in Tunis, MSC Cruises has decided to suspend all remaining Tunisian calls in the 2015 summer program in the interests of guest and crew member safety.

Itineraries affected by the change will impact four of MSC Cruises’ 12 ships as follows:

– MSC Splendida will call at Valletta, in Malta
– MSC Fantasia will call at Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca
– MSC Preziosa will call at Cagliari, in Sardinia
– MSC Divina will call at Valletta a day earlier and head directly to Corfu, Greece

Tunis has long been featured on MSC Cruises itineraries, and the city’s extensive range of cultural offerings have proved very popular with visitors.

MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: "Sadly, the murderous actions of the people behind this devastating attack will have far-reaching and profoundly damaging effects on democratic Tunisia and its faltering economy. Tunisia can little afford to be considered a no-go zone at this time, but regrettably that is how tourists will now see it."

The safety and security of guests and crew members is MSC Cruises’ number one priority at all times, and the events that took place this week preclude the possibility of MSC Cruises calling in Tunisia for the foreseeable future.

MSC Cruises remains in continuous contact with relevant government ministries and international bodies, and does not consider additional itinerary changes to be necessary at this time.

Mr Vago added: "Tunis is a key destination for MSC Cruises, and we hope to be able to restore it to itineraries in due course. But until we receive the necessary reassurances that the security situation has returned to normal, we have to take our guests to alternative Mediterranean destinations."

He concluded: "I want to personally thank the Tunisian authorities for the way they have addressed this exceptionally challenging situation, and for enabling us to implement our own response plan effectively."

Cruise Shipping Miami 2015: Will China transform the cruise industry?

Following the publication of CLIA’s latest set State of the Industry figures, which showed another year of impressive growths in Asia and Australasia, a panel discussion was held at CSM to debate whether or not China would transform the cruise industry. Alan Lam reports from Miami.

China is now the biggest source of international travel market; in 2014 the country contributes about 110 million tourists to the world, with only 700,000 of which being cruise passengers. A conservative estimate puts the country on course to achieve three million by 2020; in fact, if this rate of growth continues, it is likely that the Chinese cruise tourist number will reach eight million by then. This will mean becoming the second biggest source market. In any case, China will become a main engine driving the global cruise business.

China represents about one half of the total Asian market. Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia and Chairman of CLIA SE Asia, urged the industry not to overlook the rest of Asia while all the attentions are on China. A number of other markets are also strong and growing, such as Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia.

All Asian markets are different; therefore we cannot generalize and regard them as one. However, there is one unique feature that is shared throughout the region; that is, the demographics of cruise tourists are the same as those of other forms of tourism.

Without exception, all the panelists believed in the great potentials of the region, especially China. “We’ll see double-digit growth in the next five to ten years,” said Alan B. Buckelew, COO, Carnival Corp. & plc. “The middle class in China will expand to 225 million people by 2020. More and more ships will be deployed to Asia in response to demand.”

“The potential is almost limitless,” said Dominic Paul, SVP International, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises & Azamara Club Cruises, and MD, RCL Cruises Ltd. “China’s domestic market will continue to grow and the rest of the world, particularly Europe and Mediterranean, will also benefit from it.”

However this dynamism is not without its challenges. “China is not an easy market to break into,” warned Dominic Paul. “It is a market that takes a lot of understanding and hard work to succeed. It is not as simple as just putting a ship in and expecting success. In the coming years, we expect a lot of hard works to build up the demand.”

Ann Sherry agreed with this sentiment, “The challenge for the next five to ten years will be to sell and distribute the products effectively in the region.”

Gavin Smith, Regional Vice President, Asia-Pacific, RCL Cruises Ltd., & Chairman, CLIA Australasia, highlighted a very valid challenge the industry would be facing in the next 10 years. Australia is meant to absorb capacities from China during the winter months in the northern hemisphere. “Fifteen percent of the world population live in China,” he said, “and only two percent live in Australia. If Australia were to accommodate ships from China in winter, this would be a challenge.”

In this connection it becomes imperative to develop year-round cruising in China.

“Success in Asia will be a huge benefit to global cruise industry,” said Dominic Paul. “It will drive cruise shipbuilding and improve earnings across the board. I am optimistic about Asia.”

China is transforming the cruise industry.