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Carnival Corp & plc first quarter $15 million net loss smaller than forecast on Europe, Carnival Cruise Line recovery

Carnival Corporation & plc, the Anglo-American cruise shipping group, reported first quarter to 28 February 2014 U.S. GAAP net loss, which included net unrealised losses on fuel derivatives of $17 million, was $15 million, or $0.02 diluted loss per share. For the first quarter of 2013, U.S. GAAP net income was $37 million, or $0.05 diluted earnings per share.  Analysts in London and New York has forecast EPS negative by $0.08.

Revenues for the first quarter of 2014 were $3.6 billion in line with the prior year.

“Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald noted that first quarter non-GAAP earnings were better than anticipated in the company’s December guidance due to better than expected ticket prices for Carnival Cruise Lines and our continental European brands, as well as the timing of certain expenses. “

Donald noted, “We see progress with our continental European brands and continue to be pleased with Carnival Cruise Lines’ pace of improvement. Exciting product innovations and strategic marketing initiatives at Carnival Cruise Lines have driven strong close-in demand resulting in sequential improvement in year-over-year quarterly ticket prices for the brand.”

 

During the quarter, Carnival Cruise Lines announced an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to bring the beloved children’s brand and favorite characters to its fleet and the Carnival LIVE Concert Series, which brings the best in live music to the seas with a diverse roster of popular music artists including Jennifer Hudson, Lady Antebellum and Jewel.  These brand building initiatives complement the continued roll-out of its Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement program, as well as ongoing travel agent outreach and the unprecedented Great Vacation Guarantee. In addition, Carnival Cruise Lines was the national cruise line advertiser of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, with its creative “Bobslide” campaign which targeted the family segment and furthered the brand’s new marketing campaign launched last fall.

 

 

Mitsubishi to book heavy loss from AIDA Cruises’ two newbuildings

Mitsubishi Heavy Industres., the Japanese shipbuilder, will reportedly book a heavy loss from an order for two 124,500 gross ton cruise ship it won in 2011 from IDA Cruises, the German unit of Carnival Corp & plc, news reports say.

“The company also said that, while it would book an extraordinary loss of 60 billion yen from its cruise ship business, it would still be able to achieve its 150 billion yen net profit projection for this financial year,” the Reuters news agency reports, referring to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Cruise Business Online calculated at the time that the Japanese company agreed to build the ships at about €10,000 to €15,000 per berth cheaper than newbuilding orders placed with European builders at the time, indicating a discount of up to 10%, figures show.

On 3 August 2011, AIDA Cruises said, it had signed an agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan to build two cruise liners of 124,500 gross tons each, with accommodation for 3,250 passengers. The ships are due for delivery in March 2015 and March 2016 and they will cost about €140,000 per lower berth each, AIDA Cruises said in a statement

AIDA’s 3,250 passenger vessels contracted in Japan will cost about €140,000 per lower berth. By comparison, the company agreed to pay €150,000 per lower berth on a 71,300 gross ton ship ordered at Meyer Werft in Germany last year. The ship will have 2,192 lower beds.

The most expensive contract in per berth terms of recent time has been an order Royal Caribbean International placed with Meyer Werft for a 158,000 gross ton Project Sunshine – since renamed the Quantum Class - vessel Quantum of the Seas with 4,100 lower berths: it will cost €170,000 per lower berth to build. The brand is part of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd group.

Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises, both parts of the Carnival Corp & plc group and sister companies of AIDA Cruises, agreed to pay €155,000 per lower berth for two and one 143,000 gross ton newbuilding at Fincantieri, respectively. All three ships will have 3,600 lower berths. Royal Princess, first of the two Princess ships, has since been delivered, while the second one will be named Regal Princess. The P&O Cruises’ ship will be called Britannia.

Norwegian Cruise Line that ordered two 143,500 gross ton newbuildings at Meyer Werft last year got their 4,000 passenger vessels at €150,000 per lower berth. These have since entered service as Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway

Mitsubishi built two ships for Princess Cruises – Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess – early in the previous decade, but has not won cruise liner orders since then.

MSC Cruises signs two plus two option 167,600 gross ton ship deal with STX France

MSC Cruises signed a letter of intent (LOI) with STX France for the construction of two new cruise ships with an option for two more. The two ships will join MSC Cruises' fleet, currently counting 12 ships, all built in the Saint-Nazaire yards, the Geneva based  cruise shipping company said in a statement.

The first two cruise ships are due for delivery respectively in 2017 and 2019. The ships will be 1033 feet (315 metre) long and 141 feet wide, with a gross tonnage of about 167,600 tons, boasting 2,250 cabins for guests, nearly 820 crew cabins, and accommodating 5,700 passengers and 1,536 crew members.

"The new prototype will be the biggest cruise ship ever built by a European ship owner and the most versatile and flexible of the world: not only will it be able to call in most of the ports and destinations on earth, without compromise, but it will have extraordinary features that will make it the perfect choice at sea, in summer and in winter,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises.

“The two new ships will reaffirm MSC Cruises' dedication to outstanding and genuine dining options and out-of-this-world entertainment with new panoramic spaces, a bigger theatre and a spectacular amusement park connected to an outdoor aqua park as well as a two-deck 'inside promenade."

Among the new features of the ships will be specially designed cabins for families and an extended MSC Yacht Club, the entirely self-contained private club on the prestigious foredecks that will now be completed with a vast solarium, a private lounge and restaurant and duplex suites.

The new prototype is the result of a long development process, conducted in the framework of STX's ECORIZON ® programme, leading to the creation of a new generation of ships that are cleaner, more efficient and moretechnological. They will be water emission free, while its hull and propulsion system will be optimised for better energy efficiency. The installation of scrubbers will allow for fumes to be neutralised and CO2 emissions to be in accordance with the latest evolutions of international maritime regulations.

The contract signed is worth 16 million working hours for STX France and its subcontractors, 9 million for the prototype and 7 million for the second unit. Building is due to start in spring 2015. The contract will be binding when the financial package is secured.

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"Growth and development have always been the characteristics that have defined MSC since the very beginning of our journey into the world of cruising. The launch of this prototype and the building of these two new ships confirm our commitment to further growth and to further development. MSC Cruises will expand its capacity by 31%; we will incredibly enrich our offer on board and we will broaden our horizons to ensure we meet the growing global demand in every region," said MSC Cruises' Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago.

"Once again our longstanding partnership with the STX yard has proved key for these plans."We are really proud of building this new generation of ships for MSC Cruises, a long-time appreciated partner. We invested a lot of R&D and design efforts to make sure that MSC Cruises' new flagship would truly be unmatched. The latest commercial negotiation was particularly challenging in the light of today's global competitive landscape in the shipbuilding industry. I would like to point out that the competitiveness agreement signed with our trade unions has been decisive to reach this LOI signature," said Laurent Castaing, STX France General Manager.

Carnival Corp & plc expected to report first quarter loss on 25 March

Carnival Corp & plc, the Anglo-American cruise shipping group, is forecast to report a loss when the company will publish earnings report for the first quarter of its financial year on 25 March.

Analysts forecast earnings per share (EPS) negative on average $0.08 for three months to 28 February, with estimates ranging from $0.06 to $0.11 in the negative territory. A total of 15 analysts have participated in the poll, the results of which are summed on the company’s website.

By comparison, Carnival reached EPS positive by $0.08 in the three months to the end of February 2013.

Viking Cruises breaks its own Guinness world record with launch of 18 new ships

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Viking Cruises yesterday announced it has set a new world record with the inauguration of its newest Viking Longships. In a multi-phased event taking place over 24 hours, the company christened 16 of its award-winning Viking Longships – nine were christened in Amsterdam; four were christened in Rostock, Germany; and three were christened in Avignon, France. The first-of-its kind ceremony was subsequently certified by a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ adjudicator as ‘The Most Ships Inaugurated in One Day by One Company.’ Viking already held the previous record, having christened 10 new ships in one day in 2013. Adding to the festivities, on Friday, March 21, Viking will also christen two new, unique river vessels in Porto, Portugal – bringing the total to 18 new ships launched across four countries in five days.

All of Viking’s new ships will be deployed on its most popular itineraries in Europe, and 2014 marks the first year that the company’s award-winning Longships will sail in France. A total of four Viking Longships will be deployed on Viking’s itineraries in France, including one vessel dedicated specifically to the company’s new Châteaux, Rivers & Wine itinerary in Bordeaux. Also, as a testament to the popularity of Viking’s Portugal’s River of Gold itinerary, the two new ships there will double the  company’s current capacity on the Douro River.

"Today we mark a new milestone for Viking and for modern river cruising. We are proud to celebrate the arrival of our newest ships, and it is an honor to have each one named by a prominent godmother," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "River cruising is the fastest-growing segment of travel, and it is in large part because of the enthusiasm of our guests and travel trade partners that we have enjoyed such success.”
 
Viking Godmothers

Recognizing the travel trade’s contribution to the growth of the river cruise industry, Viking highlighted esteemed travel agent partners by naming them as ceremonial godmothers for seven of the 18 new ships. With cultural enrichment and privileged access at the heart of every experience Viking offers its guests, women representing distinct elements of travel, food, wine and entertainment were selected to honor that focus and serve as godmothers for another seven of the new ships. And in the spirit of strong business partners, Viking selected four valued representatives from the banking and shipping sectors to serve as godmothers for the additional four new ships. The full list of godmothers includes:

Amsterdam Christenings – March 17
– Mary Berry, Godmother to Viking Alsvin, is a legendary TV baker and cookbook author. She currently stars in the new series Mary Berry Cooks, which airs on BBC 2.
– Kathryn Burney-Mazza, Godmother of Viking Baldur, is the Executive Vice President of Sales for TravelSavers.
– Vicky Garcia, Godmother of Viking Magni, is the Co-Owner and Chief Operating Officer of American Express’ Cruise Planners.
– Hanh Haley, Godmother of Viking Gullveig, is the partner of Travel Leaders Group Chairman Michael Batt.
– Sarah Henshall, Godmother of Viking Lif, is the Vice President of Travel & Branch Operations for AAA Carolinas.  
– Geraldine Ree, Godmother of Viking Eistla, is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Expedia CruiseShipCenters.
– Anne Morgan Scully, Godmother of Viking Ingvi, is the President of McCabe World Travel, Virtuoso’s top-producing agency.
– Ayako Ward, Godmother of Viking Delling, is a noted food and cruise travel writer and throughout her career has spent 25 years at sea, during which time she served as an interpreter and specialist in handling Japanese passengers, as well as serving as international hostess onboard the beloved ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2.
– Pam Young, Godmother of Viking Bestla, is the Vice President of Industry Relations for Travel Leaders Franchise Group. 

Avignon Christenings – March 18

– Susi Barrie, Godmother of Viking Heimdal, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and wine personality, well known from BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen.  
– Mireille Mathieu, Godmother of Viking Buri, has sung on stages all over the world, and in duets with some of the finest singers of our time. Originally from Avignon, she is now celebrating a 50-year career. With more than 130 million albums, 1,200 songs in nine languages and 55 singles sold worldwide, Ms. Mathieu, or “Marianne de France” as she is called, is one of France’s greatest artists.
– Anne Willan, Godmother of Viking Hermod, is recognized as one of the world’s preeminent authorities on French cooking. She founded École de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris and has had more than 50 years of experience as a teacher, author, culinary historian and food columnist. She is the author of more than 30 books, including her memoir, One Soufflé at a Time: A Memoir with Recipes, which was released in 2013.  

Rostock Christenings – March 18

– Marion Krase, Godmother of Viking Hlin, is a senior employee in the repair and new-building department at the Neptun Werft shipyard.
– Regula Oderbolz, Godmother of Viking Idi, is managing director at UBS AG Switzerland and heads Global Trade & Export Finance for the bank.
– Monica Petitpierre, Godmother of Viking Kvasir, is the wife of CIC Bank’s Cedric Petitpierre, a banker for the river cruise industry. Originally from the Brazilian metropolis of São Paolo, she now lives in Switzerland and is now strongly involved with social projects in the health sector.
– Laura Pfleumer, Godmother of Viking Kara, is a corporate client assistant at UBS AG Switzerland and is responsible for the daily bank business of Viking.  

Porto Christenings – March 21

– Laura Ferreira, Godmother to Viking Torgil, is the wife of Pedro Passos Coelho, the Prime Minister of Portugal, and is currently the Coordinator of the Medical and Rehabilitation Center in the Mira Sintra Educational Center for the Handicapped Citizen.
– Ana Moura, Godmother to Viking Hemming, is one of the most prestigious fadistas – or female fado singers – in Portugal. The primary subject of a 2011 article in The New York Times about the country’s new fado movement, Ms. Moura is a Golden Globe® nominee and has collaborated with the Rolling Stones and Prince.  

Viking Longships

Since debuting in 2012, Viking Longships have amassed a long list of prestigious awards. They recently topped Condé Nast Traveler’s annual readers’ Cruise Poll for best river cruise ships – with Viking Odin specifically being named  the #1 top-ranking river cruise ship – and the entire class of vessels was  named “Best New River Ships of 2012” in Cruise Critic’s® Editors’ Picks Awards.

Viking Longships integrate a patented corridor design and cutting-edge technology with comfortable amenities that reflect guest preferences and current travel trends. These new features include a revolutionary all-weather indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace that reinvents the onboard lounge experience by bringing the panoramic outdoor river scenery indoors with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors and allows guests to enjoy the views and dine al fresco. Accommodating 190 passengers in 95 staterooms, Viking Longships have a patented layout that allows for two Explorer Suites – the largest river cruise suites in Europe – as well as seven two-room Veranda Suites with a full-size veranda in the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom; 39 Veranda Staterooms with full-size verandas; and 22 French Balcony Staterooms. Additionally, all Longships have sustainability upgrades, such as onboard solar panels and organic herb gardens, and energy-efficient hybrid engines that also reduce vibrations for a remarkably smooth ride.

Inspired by the design of the Viking Longships, the company’s two new vessels in Portugal will be smaller, hosting 106 passengers in 53 staterooms, but will tout many of the same popular features as Viking Longships – including an Aquavit Terrace, a wide variety of stateroom choices, onboard solar panels and an organic herb garden, as well as Viking’s signature Scandinavian design aesthetic.

The expansion of Viking’s fleet comes as a response to increased traveler demand for destination-focused cruises. In addition to the new Viking Longships and new vessels in Portugal, the company’s first ocean ship, the 930-passenger Viking Star®, is currently under construction and will set sail in early 2015. 

Viking Star