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Carnival Corp & plc more than doubles second quarter net profit

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s large cruise shipping company, has reported a rise in net profit for the second quarter of its financial year to $222 million from $98 million in the same period last year. Revenues fell to $3.59 billion from $3.63 billion.

For the first six months of the current financial year, the net profit reached $271 million, up from $78 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenues declined to $7.12 billion from $7.22 billion.

Non-GAAP earnings per share came to $0.25 for the latest quarter, ip from $0.09 a year earlier, and also exceeded analysts abverage forecast of $0.16.

2Q Highlights

              2Q net revenue yields (net revenue per available lower berth day or “ALBD”) in constant dollars increased 4.1% compared to the prior year, which was better than the company’s guidance of up 2 to 3 percent

              2Q net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant dollars increased 6.1% compared to the prior year primarily due to an increase in dry dock days and were better than March guidance, up 6.5 to 7.5% due to the timing of expenses between quarters

              2Q non-GAAP earnings per share (diluted) of $0.25, compared to $0.09 for the prior year Outlook

              At this time, cumulative advance bookings for the next three quarters are well ahead of the prior year at slightly lower prices due to transactional currency impacts

              FY 2015 net revenue yields on a constant currency basis are expected to be up 3 to 4% compared to the prior year (up 2 to 3 % in constant dollars)

              FY 2015 net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant dollars are expected to be up approximately 3% compared to the prior year

              FY 2015 non-GAAP earnings per share (diluted) expected to be in the range of $2.35 to $2.50, compared to $1.93 for 2014

              3Q 2015 non-GAAP earnings per share (diluted) expected to be in the range of $1.56 to $1.60, compared to $1.58 for 3Q 2014 

Fincantieri cuts steel for MSC Seaside

MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned global cruise line based in Geneva, and industry-leading shipyard Fincantieri, today cut the first steel for its next generation cruise ship named MSC Seaside.

In a ceremony held at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago and Chief Executive Officer, Gianni Onorato, along with Fincantieri’s Chief Executive Officer, Giuseppe Bono, launched the cutting of the first steel of MSC Seaside.

MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “Today, we have witnessed the beginning of the work on an extraordinary new ship, MSC Seaside. It is a ship that revolutionizes industry standards, with an audacious and innovative design that brings guests and sea closer. It is also a testament to MSC Cruises’ constant focus on innovation, as it is the fifth prototype ship we’ve designed.”

Vago added, “Moreover, MSC Seaside represents a key pillar in a $5.8 billion, seven-ship investment plan that will double our capacity by 2022. It also steps up our investment in Italy and marks our return to a partnership with Fincantieri, which is something that makes me particularly proud. In fact, the building of the new Seaside ships as well as our other current project with Fincantieri – the $225 million Renaissance Program – are just one example of how a global organization like MSC, of which MSC Cruises is part, plays a key role in the Italian economy.”  

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, said: “This ceremony is unique for our Group and the Monfalcone shipyard. MSC Seaside will be the largest ship ever built in our shipyards, as well as the first we have ever constructed for MSC Cruises, whose strength - like ours - lies in being a truly global player in its industry. In MSC Seaside we have developed a brand new and highly ambitious project, and we look forward to building it. In two years we will celebrate with MSC Cruises a magnificent ship of which we will all be deeply proud.”

MSC Seaside will be based year-round in Miami and will sail a wide range of highly appealing Caribbean itineraries. In addition, MSC Cruises’ Miami-based cruise operations – which also includes the stunning MSC Divina, which will sail year-round from Miami starting November 2015 - will benefit from a newly renovated and expanded dedicated berth and terminal at PortMiami, signifying the company’s strong ambitions in the North American market and commitment to providing guests with best-in-class service.

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises CEO said: “For MSC Seaside, we chose a name that speaks of our vision for cruising in warm weather locations, the proximity with the sea, the joy of traveling, and discovering the wonders of sunny climates in a unique setting. We also call it ‘the ship that follows the sun’ and it will offer a truly remarkable experience for families, sun worshippers and adventurers.”

“In addition, MSC Seaside will spearhead our campaign to expand our presence in North America. MSC Cruises has the unique opportunity to provide North American guests with an outstanding ‘Mediterranean Style Cruise’ experience, and guests from around the world a unique setting as it will sail to the most sought-after destinations in the Caribbean.”

With a gross tonnage of 154,000 tons and the ability to accommodate up to 4,140 guests at double capacity, this new cruise ship will be the largest ever built by Fincantieri. The ship is set to arrive in Miami in December 2017, where she will also be christened, marking the first time an MSC Cruises’ ship is christened in the US. Sales for cruises on MSC Seaside will start approximately two years ahead of its inaugural season, to reflect the high demand for this unique product.

Large, spacious and designed for the utmost comfort, MSC Seaside will benefit from a bold design and leading-edge technology while boasting a 360° seafront promenade. In addition, the ship will be characterized by the most interactive and originally-designed aqua park at sea with five water slides and attractions for all ages.

The ship will feature open modular connected staterooms – convertible staterooms that can accommodate up to 10 people – for families and groups, as well as luxury suites with private Jacuzzis and hanging gardens. MSC Seaside will also boast an enhanced MSC Yacht Club with private solarium, lounge and pool. The public spaces of the ship will feature breathtaking views with a two-deck glass-walled atrium and panoramic exterior elevators. This ship will set a new standard in cruise vacations by seamlessly blending wide family offerings with distinct elegance, with a wide choice of indoor/outdoor dining and bars and beautifully designed entertainment spaces.

MSC Seaside is the first of two identical ships on order from Fincantieri, the second of which will  enter in to service in 2018. In addition, MSC Cruises has an option for an additional Seaside generation ship to be delivered by 2021.

MSC Seaside and her sister ship will set new standards for eco-friendliness, featuring Advanced Water Treatment (AWT) systems to remove pollutants and hazardous substances from waste water; garbage treatment plants for highly efficient solid waste management; scrubbers to reduce emissions; antifouling paints; and optimized hull lines, propellers and rudders to reduce drag and fuel consumption. In addition, the ships will have LED lighting, meaning lower energy demand and significantly lower fuel consumption, as well as advanced heat recovery plants to feed fresh water, laundry, swimming pools and  hot water. The ship is fully compliant with the Safe Return to Port requirement.

The company, which grew by 800 percent since 2004, carried 1.67 million guests in 2014 and reported strong financial results with a turnover of $1.7 billion. In addition, MSC Cruises is forecasting an additional 10 percent growth for 2015.

AIDA Cruises introduce flat fee social media, data volume based other Internet pricing

AIDA Cruises, the German unit in Carnival Corporation & plc group, says it is introducing an Internet flat fee for social media networks on board its ships and data rather that minute based pricing for other Internet use.

“For €4 per day, or €19 per week, passengers will be able to share their experiences on board with friends in popular social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or WhatsApp,” the company said in a statement.

"The use of mobile devices is continuously growing. We want to accommodate this trend and are offering our guests an additional service with the flat rate," says Thomas Pfitzer, CTO at AIDA Cruises.

In addition to the new, exclusive social media flat rate, AIDA is also dramatically increasing the bandwidth and thereby the speed of Internet. AIDA Cruises will also be introducing new Internet packages on all AIDA ships in upcoming weeks.

For the first time, the packages are not based on minutes but allow unlimited access. In the future, AIDA guests will be able to choose between three Internet packages.

The M package(250 MB) for €25, the L package (500 MB) for €39, and the XL package (3 GB) for €99 can be used on an unlimited basis for the complete duration of the voyage. If desired, guests can upgrade to a higher data volume by additionally paying just the price difference to the higher rate.

"With these package offers, we help keep the costs of satellite-based Internet connections at sea reasonable and calculable for our guests," Pfitzer emphasizes. On board, the MyAIDA portal provides convenient Internet access.

On AIDAmar and AIDAvita, the new Internet offerings have already been very well received by guests. By July of this year, four more ships in the AIDA fleet will be equipped with the enhanced communication service. By November, the rollout will be complete. WLAN is offered in the public areas and staterooms on all ships.

This can be used with smartphones, tablets, and notebooks with WLAN connections, regardless of the operating system. At the reception desk, Internet terminals are offered for guests without own mobile devices. The new Internet packages and fees will be part of the standard offering on the new flagship AIDAprima. 

Viking Ocean unveils four new European itineraries and opens 2017 sailing season

Fresh off the christening of its first ship, the 930-passenger Viking Star, Viking Ocean Cruises yesterday announced that four new itineraries and 2017 departures for Viking Star – and sister ships Viking Sea and Viking Sky – are now open for booking. The 2017 program includes sailings on Viking’s most popular itineraries in the Mediterranean, Western Europe, Scandinavia and the Baltic. Viking’s guests now have even more opportunities for destination-focused cruises in 2016 and 2017 that span from ancient empires to the towering fjords of Norway and beyond.

“We are encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response Viking Star has generated among our guests and travel industry partners,” said Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking Cruises. “We made a commitment to reinvent ocean cruising, and we are well on our way. By 2017 we will have two more ships designed to enable our guests to better experience their destination. We will also have four new itineraries that offer our guests more time in port and enriching, cultural experiences at a better value than our competitors.”

New Mediterranean & Holy Land itineraries

Not only is Viking adding sailing dates to existing itineraries, but the company has also created four new enrichment-filled programs that will take guests from the sun-soaked region of the Mediterranean to the cultural capital of St. Petersburg.

– NEW FOR 2016: Ancient Empires & Holy Lands (15 days; Rome to Istanbul) – This 15-day itinerary offers the opportunity to explore historic destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean and experience some of the sacred sights of the Middle East while traveling through the heart of the Holy Land. Guests will have the chance to spend three days in Israel, making stops in Jerusalem and Haifa, gateways to Bethlehem and Nazareth, and will also be able to explore the ancient cities of Rome, Athens and Istanbul. Introductory 2-for-1 pricing starts at $4,199 per person with discounted airfares from $695 per person.

– NEW FOR 2016: Bergen to the Bosphorus (15 days; Bergen to Istanbul) – This epic journey begins in beautiful Bergen before cruising south to the Mediterranean, stopping in Paris and Lisbon along the way. Once in the Mediterranean, travelers visit Tunis, Valletta and Athens before concluding the trip in the ancient cosmopolitan city of Istanbul. Introductory 2-for-1 pricing starts at $3,699 per person with discounted airfares from $895 per person.   

– NEW FOR 2017: Secrets of the Southern Mediterranean (8 days; Rome to Barcelona) – Guests will set sail through the southern Mediterranean, departing from glorious Rome and continuing on to some of North Africa’s most historically significant destinations, including Tunis, a dazzling city that mixes North African tradition and French colonialism, and Algiers, home of the Notre Dame d’Afrique. The itinerary also stops in Valletta, Sardinia and Valencia before concluding the trip in beautiful Barcelona. Introductory 2-for-1 pricing starts at $1,999 per person with discounted airfares from $595 per person.

– NEW FOR 2017: Barcelona, the Baltic & Beyond (22 days; Barcelona to Stockholm) – This voyage travels through the waterways of Western Europe and the Baltic, giving guests the opportunity to explore iconic world-class cities such as Barcelona, Lisbon, Paris, Amsterdam and St. Petersburg. Introductory 2-for-1 pricing starts at $5,999 per person with discounted airfares from $695 per person.

Carnival Corporation & plc expected to report strong rise in second quarter earnings on 23 June

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest cruise shipping company, is expected to report a fourfold increase in second quarter earnings per share (EPS) next week compared to the same period last year.

The company has scheduled a conference call with analysts for 10:00 a.m. (EDT); 3:00 p.m. (BST), Tuesday, 23 June, to discuss the company's second quarter financial results which are expected to be released that morning, the company said in a statement.

Industry analysts in London and New York forecast the group to report EPS of $0.43 on average, with the highest forecast $0.59 and the lowest $0.37.

In the second quarter of the company’s previous financial year, the EPS came to $0.10