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In future, Thomson Cruises may own its fleet, Mein Schiff 1 and 2 could be transferred to Britain

Thomson Cruises, which is part of TUI AG, may own all its ships in the future and TUI Cruises could be launched in the UK with Mein Schiff 1 and Mein Schiff 2, spokesman for TUI told Cruise Business Online.

“Thomson Cruises ships are popular with British customers many of whom return year after year to experience the fantastic range of destinations and renowned on-board service,” said Kuzeyn Esener, Head of Media Relations at TUI AG in Hannover, Germany.

“Over the last three years we have significantly invested in upgrading our Thomson ships, and we continue to modernise our fleet. However, it is important not only to look at successes of the past but also to identify new trends and to develop the vessels further accordingly,” he continued.

“Besides, we only own one of the vessels of the Thomson fleet whereas the German cruise operations are run with an asset heavy business model, which is more cost efficient in the long run. In future, the Thomson cruise operations may be run with a similar business model,” Esener said.

Thomson Cruises owns the 1986 built Thomson Dream, which is of 55,764 gross tons, through its TUI UK subsidiary. The other four units of the fleet are chartered.

In June, the second newbuilding (Mein Schiff 4)  of the TUI Cruises fleet will be commissioned and two more vessels, the Mein Schiff 5 and the Mein Schiff 6, have been ordered. As soon as we also decide for the optional seventh and eighth vessel we will think of marketing the first two ships of the fleet (Mein Schiff 1 & 2) to an international clientele. The British market may then be favourite choice,” Esener concluded. 

Mein Schiff 1 and Mein Schiff 2 were originally built for Celebrity Cruises, which is part of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. (RCCL) group, which also owns 50% of TUI Cruises. .

Mark Tamis named Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations for Royal Caribbean International

Mark Tamis has been named senior vice president, Hotel Operations for Royal Caribbean International. Tamis will further the global cruise line's commitment to deliver outstanding vacations to almost four million guests per year. He will have oversight of the line's hotel services, food, beverage, entertainment and private destinations, and will report directly to Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.

"Mark has extensive knowledge and a proven track record of success in the hospitality industry and I look forward to welcoming him to the Royal family," said Bayley. "In his role, Mark will lead the dedicated men and women who work every day to deliver the best vacation adventures to our guests from around the world. And I am confident that he can help us take our award-winning experience to even greater heights."

A 25-year travel industry veteran, Tamis most recently served as senior vice president, Guest Operations with Carnival Cruise Lines. Prior to that, Tamis was the chief operating officer of The Setai Hotels and Resorts. He also held a variety of management positions with hotel organization, Ian Schrager Company. Tamis began his career with Four Seasons Hotels after earning a Bachelor of Science degree at Cornell University, School of Hotel Administration.  He is active in various civic and community service organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters and Special Olympics, and founded www.dadsforgiving.org, an organization that encourages fathers to volunteer with their children to benefit their communities.

Fincantieri delivers Britannia

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Britannia, the new flagship of the P&O Cruises fleet, brand of Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest cruise ship operator, was delivered today (February 22, 2015) at Monfalcone shipyard.

The delivery of Britannia further enhances and strengthens the partnership between Fincantieri and P&O Cruises, a prestigious brand characterized by a particularly high target of customers, tailored to the British market, one of the most dynamic and elegant ones in the world.

The ceremony was attended by Enrico Morando, Italian Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance, Micky Arison, Chairman of Carnival Corporation, David Dingle, Executive Chairman of Carnival UK and David Noyes, CEO of P&O Cruises, while Fincantieri was represented by Giuseppe Bono and Vincenzo Petrone, respectively CEO and Chairman.

Britannia is the second P&O cruise ship with a new livery with blue funnels and a stylized 97 meters long Union Jack draped over the bow. It is also the first cruise ship built in Monfalcone with two funnels. The last liner which has been delivered by Monfalcone shipyard with this feature was the Eugenio C in the far 1966.

With the construction of Britannia, Fincantieri consolidates its leadership in building the largest passenger ships in the Italian shipbuilding history. At 144,000 gross tons, 330 meters long and 38 meters wide, the new unit is the largest one ever built by Fincantieri and the largest one made for this historic cruise operator founded in 1837. It has 1,837 cabins, of which 75% have a balcony, and it is able to accommodate 4,324 passengers on board, with total capacity of over 5,700 people, including the crew.

An innovative ship for a new grounbreaking class which looks at the future, Britannia stands out for its new "future-proof design", not only in terms of layout and state-of-the-art performance, but also because it complies with the most recent regulations for big passenger units, among which the "Safe return to port" security system. These ships will represent a new technological benchmark, in Europe and worldwide, for extremely high performance and for the high quality of the technical solutions. They are the best proof that innovation and customer care, like the one established with the Carnival Group, market leader, are essential levers for tackling a crisis like the present one.

Fincantieri has built 68 cruise ships since 1990 and other 16 ships are currently being designed or built in the Group's yards. 

Carnival Corporation expands presence in the Caribbean with $85 million port in Dominican Republic

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest travel and leisure company, today announced it will begin welcoming guests at its newly developed Amber Cove port in the Dominican Republic beginning October 2015. Six of Carnival Corporation’s nine brands will call on Amber Cove along the country’s Amber Coast – a partial filming location for the original Jurassic Park movie – to give cruise passengers another exotic location to explore as part of their vacation experience.

With the opening of the new Amber Cove port, passengers will be able to make stops along the Dominican Republic’s north Amber Coast, which has not been regularly visited on cruise itineraries since the 1980s. It will open expanded itinerary options in the Caribbean, the world’s most popular region for cruise vacations[1], and will pair with the company’s Grand Turk Cruise Center only 100 miles to the north to anchor new central Caribbean itineraries for Carnival’s nine global brands. In looking to the future, the port is strategically located to be incorporated into itineraries featuring potential stops in Cuba.

The new $85 million facility represents the largest cruise industry investment ever made in the Dominican Republic, and will feature a two-berth port able to accommodate the largest cruise vessels in operation today. Carnival Corporation has monitored the various stages of the port's construction progress with the use of drones, an innovative development that is being used for the first time as part of the company’s port development process. The facility, a joint project between Carnival Corporation and the Rannik family of Grupo B&R, is expected to host more than 250,000 cruise passengers in its first year of operation. It will provide approximately 430 local jobs.

“The construction of the cruise port at Amber Cove has been an incredible project for our entire country, as well as the Caribbean region as a whole,” said Francisco Javier, tourism director of the Dominican Republic. “Carnival Corporation’s investment in Amber Cove has already proven beneficial to the economy, and we expect the investment to have a positive long-lasting economic impact. The new port  will also give cruise passengers an opportunity to see another part of the Dominican Republic, our Amber Coast, which hasn’t been available as part of cruise itineraries in nearly 30 years. This is a very exciting development.”  

The port will open with a visit from Carnival Victory from the company’s Carnival Cruise Line brand on October 6, 2015. Following this inaugural visit, five additional Carnival Corporation brands are scheduled to make calls on Amber Cove -- including Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 on November 22, P&O Cruises’ (UK) Azura on December 5, AIDA Cruises’ AIDAvita onDecember 11, Costa Cruises’ Costa Deliziosa on December 31 and Holland America Line’s ms Eurodam on January 19.

Additional ships from the company’s brands are scheduled to call on the port in late 2015 and through 2016 including Carnival Cruise Line’s Fantasy, Splendor, Valor, Sunshine, Conquest and Breeze and Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam. These visits will consist of 57 calls by 13 different ships across the six brands taking place between October 2015 and April 2016, accounting for more than 155,000 guests during this period.

As the world’s largest cruising market – representing more than 37 percent of the global cruise business[2] – the Caribbean is a strategic geographic region for Carnival Corporation and the overall cruise industry and is highly popular for vacationers.

This new port facility in the Dominican Republic underscores the company’s focus on creating great vacation experiences, as passengers sailing the Caribbean will have an exciting new destination to visit. It will also give Carnival Corporation’s nine global cruise brands the ability to create more diverse itineraries, another important part of the cruise experience. More than 60 percent of cruisers are repeat passengers, and offering robust itineraries keeps the experience fresh and engaging for them.

“There are several markets that are becoming increasingly important to the cruise industry, but today the Caribbean is the single largest share of our business,” said Giora Israel, senior vice president of global port and destination development for Carnival Corporation. “We are constantly looking for new ways for our guests to enjoy their cruise experience, and it is always exciting to add new destinations to our itineraries, especially in the Caribbean where many of our passengers have been before. We are confident that our guests will love visiting Amber Cove, which we believe will quickly become a very popular port of call for our guests. And because Amber Cove is easily accessible, it will give our guests a convenient gateway to the Puerto Plata region, which is spectacular. And importantly, Amber Cove will allow us to offer our guests a new option in our Caribbean itineraries.”

The opening of Amber Cove adds to the portfolio of cruise destinations Carnival Corporation has developed in the Caribbean. This includes the Grand Turk Cruise Center in the Turks & Caicos Islands, Puerta Maya on the Island of Cozumel, Mexico, and Mahogany Bay on the island of Roatan, Honduras. It is one of roughly 60 ports Carnival Corporation’s brands visit in the region.

The Amber Cove port is located in the heart of the Dominican Republic’s North Coast just outside the historical town of Puerto Plata, which was discovered by Christopher Columbus in the 1490s and was recently named by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the “Best Places to Travel in 2015.”  This newest Caribbean destination was developed to re-establish the Dominican Republic’s North Coast as a popular cruise destination – the last cruise ship to call at Puerto Plata was nearly 30 years ago.

Amber Cove will feature a waterfront welcome center with a variety of retail offerings, including a marketplace for Dominican crafts and souvenirs, as well as a wide range of unique food and beverage establishments. The port will also include a recreational area featuring amenities such as a pool, splash zone and green space areas. The transportation hub -- the single largest component of the port -- will provide visitors easy access by land and sea to the surrounding destinations and attractions.

The new port will host one of the most extensive shore excursion programs available in the Caribbean, offering roughly 40 different landside experiences including beaches, water sports and special culinary, cultural and adventure options. Many of these excursion offerings will come from well-established local operators. Nearby Ocean World, one of the region’s largest marine adventure parks, offers guests popular ways to experience and interact with a variety of marine animals.

Norwegian enjoys highest booked revenue and highest yields ever

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the Miami based company that acquired Prestige cruise Holdings last year, is optimistic about the future and says it enjoys record booked revenue and yields, despite softness in the Caribbean for the start of the year.

“Looking to the balance of the year, the outlook is much more encouraging with solid pricing and booking trends across all markets. While 2015 is primarily an organic year, we expect to deliver robust Adjusted EPS growth of approximately 23%,” said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO, in a statement.

“Until recently, our booked revenue had been on par with prior year; however, the last three weeks of this Wave season has seen a significant acceleration in booking volume. Norwegian Escape is in a better booked position than her last two predecessor sister ships, Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway, and Seven Seas Explorer has set both single day and single week booking records at the Regent brand.”

“At year end, and as of today, the company has more booked revenue and the highest net yields on future sailings than ever before, including full year 2015 and 2016,” said Del Rio.

 “As anticipated, the combined impacts of the challenging Caribbean capacity and pricing environment along with a normalized winter season for the Norwegian brand, which last year included an extended bareboat charter of Norwegian Jade for the Sochi Olympics, results in tempered expectations for the first quarter.”

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