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Carnival Corp & plc reports better than anticipated $106 million second quarter net profit

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest cruise shipping group, has reported for the second quarter of 2014 U.S. GAAP net income, which included a net gain on vessel transactions of $15 million and net unrealized gains on fuel derivatives of $11 million, was $106 million, or $0.14 diluted EPS.

For the second quarter of 2013, U.S. GAAP net income, which included a gain on a ship sale of $15 million and unrealized losses on fuel derivatives of $31 million, was $41 million, or $0.05 diluted EPS. Revenues for the second quarter of 2014 were $3.6 billion, compared with $3.5 billion the prior year.

Carnival Corporation & plc President and CEO Arnold Donald noted that second quarter earnings were significantly better than anticipated in the company’s March guidance due to better than expected net revenue yields for most of the company’s cruise brands, as well as lower than expected net cruise costs.

Donald noted in a statement: “We benefited from effective marketing initiatives, which combined with a gradually improving economic environment, led to revenue yield improvement for our continental European brands in the quarter compared to the prior year and is expected to continue through the remainder of the year. In addition, we achieved a six percent improvement in fuel consumption.”

Royal Caribbean increase presence in Hong Kong

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today announced that it is expanding its presence in the Asia-Pacific region and establishing an office in Hong Kong, augmenting the cruise company’s already established Chinese offices in Beijing and Shanghai. On this occasion, the cruise company also unveiled the summer 2015 cruise season for Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager of the Seas, which will homeport in ‘Asia’s World City.’

"As a global industry leader, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is committed to pursuing the exciting strategic opportunity that Asia in general and China in particular represent,” said Adam Goldstein, President and Chief Operating Officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “As a testament to our commitment and confidence in Hong Kong and the surrounding region, Voyager of the Seas, one of our flagship vessels, will offer sailings into and out of Hong Kong starting in the summer of 2015. To support our expansion, we have now established a fully staffed office in Hong Kong, building on our 20 years of success in the market.”

On June 26, Voyager of the Seas will sail a six-night itinerary from Beijing (Tianjin) to its new homeport of Hong Kong, where the ship will offer 22 sailings through October 2015 for international vacationers to enjoy a three- to 10-night cruise aboard one of the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ships. Guests can choose sailings that visit Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, as well as destinations in China.

Dr. Zinan Liu, Regional Vice President of Asia and Managing Director of China for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said, “Hong Kong has immense potential as a homeport for Chinese vacationers to board a Royal Caribbean cruise that helps make memories that will last a lifetime. To ensure that we truly dazzle Hong Kong vacationers, who are sophisticated and trend-setting travelers, Voyager of the Seas will undergo an extensive bow-to-stern revitalization before she arrives in Hong Kong next summer.”

As part of its plan, Royal Caribbean also will partner with the Hong Kong Tourism Board and local travel organizations, with the aim of raising Hong Kong and the Asian-Pacific cruise industry to new levels. Mr. Anthony Lau, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) said “We are excited that Royal Caribbean has decided to make Hong Kong one of its key homeports in the Asia Pacific, which is a vote of confidence in our city’s potential for the global cruise industry. Strategically located in Asia and with a host of experiences to offer, Hong Kong is a popular port among cruise travelers from not just Asia but around the world. In recent years, especially after the opening of the international-caliber Kai Tak Cruise Terminal last year, the HKTB has intensified promotion of Hong Kong’s appeal as a cruise destination through dedicated campaigns.”

Titanic II projected service entry postponed by two years to 2018

The projected entry into service of  Titanic II is now scheduled to take place in 2018 rather than 2016 as originally envisaged, according to Clive Palmer, owner of Blue Star Line Pty Ltd, the Australian company that plans to build the ship in China.

“The first project development phase has been completed,” said Palmer, owner of Blue Star Line. “Currently the focus is on the evaluation and the project master plan development and more information will be available once this phase is completed."

"Titanic II is scheduled to be launched from its construction base in China in 2018, before her maiden passenger voyage retracing its original journey from Southampton to New York,” he said in a statement.

Fincantieri launches IPO, values company at up to €1.24 billion

Fincantieri, the Italian state owned shipbuilder that is major builder of cruise ships, has launched initial public offering (IPO) of shares, with an aim to list on Borsa Italiana in Milan, the bourse said in a statement.

Shares in the shipbuilder would be offered to investors in an upcoming initial public offering at an indicative price of €0.78-€1.0 euros per share, making for a market capitalisation of €969 million to €1.24 billion.

Fincantieri said that a maximum of 703.98 million shares would be sold through the offering, which is set to run from next Monday until June 27. While the maximum indicative price is binding, Fincantieri said that the minimum is not.

Wybecke Meier appointed new TUI Cruises’ CEO

Wybecke Meier has been appointed new chief executive officer of TUI Cruises, the Hamburg based premium market cruise shipping company. She will assume her position on 1 October and she follows Richard Vogel, who resigned last week.

She comes from outside the TUI group and she has worked in the travel industry for many years.

Mein Schiff 3, the first newbuilding of TUI Cruises, which is 50% owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) and 50% by TUI AG, was named in Hamburg on Thursday. The 99,300 gross ton vessel will be followed by a sister ship next spring. The first two ships of the company were transfers from Celebrity Cruises.

Richard Fain, chairman and ceo of RCCL, said in a statement that TUI Cruises has not moved from stage of establishing and building up its business to stage of expansion.

Viking Star