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CLIA study expects 6 of 10 cruise passengers to be repeaters

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the industry’s ceiling organisation identified seven 2015 cruise industry outlooks, based on several studies, it said in a statement.

Travelers Will Continue to Set Sail – Cruise travelers intend to continue to set sail and are highly satisfied with prior cruise experiences. In fact, 62% are return cruisers and 69% ranked cruising as a better value than a land-based vacation.

Size Doesn't Matter – Five years ago, the largest cruise ship in the world was introduced with a 6,300-passenger capacity. With 22 new ocean, river and specialty cruise ships scheduled for debut this year, the focus is less on size and more on unique design and amenities.

Specialty Cruises Continue to Thrive – CLIA's specialty segments, which includes sophisticated ships, luxury yachts, elegant ocean liners and the newest river cruises, continue to experience double digit passenger growth. In fact, specialty cruises grew by 21%annually from 2009 to 2014 estimates.

Caribbean Continues to Be Queen – The Caribbean remains queen for the cruise industry with more than a third of the global deployment capacity market share in 2015.  At the same time, cruise travelers are expanding horizons. 

The Mediterranean continues to grow as a destination, as well as other regions including Asia and Australia.  In 2015, 52 ships will provide 1,065 Asian cruises with capacity for 2.17 million passengers.

Oh, the New Places We Will Go – The cruise industry is seeing an increase in passengers looking for global experiences. As a result, cruising has made the world more accessible than ever. CLIA's member cruise lines offer nearly 1,000 ports around the globe, including many areas that fall within a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Travel Agents Are Key to Cruise Travel – While the Internet and mobile devices have overtaken how consumers make purchases, travel agents continue to be the most popular and best way to book a cruise. In fact, seven out of ten cruise travelers (70%) use a travel agent to plan and book cruise vacations.

Passengers Are at the Helm – When it comes to travel, consumers are in control more than ever before. The cruise industry is excited, motivated and responding with key innovations that are meeting the needs of today's passengers, such as bow-to-stern Wi-Fi and phone connectivity, multigenerational appeal, themed cruises and "foodcations".

The Travel Agent Pulse Survey was conducted among 482 North American CLIA-certified travel agents via an online survey between November 7-23, 2014.

The 2014 North American Cruise Market Profile Survey was conducted in partnership with market research firm TNS and cruise industry consultancy Bob Sharak & Associates. Drawn from a panel of more than 1 million households, an online survey was conducted between August 12-26, 2014, which collected cruise and travel opinion data among 1,600 U.S. and Canadian residents. This report presents data on travelers who are 25 or older with an annual household income of more than $40,000. 

CLIA forecasts 23 million cruise passengers 2015

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the industry’s global ceiling organisation, has released its annual State of the Cruise Industry Report 2015. The organisation expects a record 23 million passengers are expected to sail this year, an increase of 4% on last year. It said  61% of North American CLIA-certified travel agents reporting an increase in 2015 travel bookings over this time last year. 

The cruise industry this year will have major economic impact globally. In 2013, the global economic output of the cruise industry was more than $117 billion; the industry supported nearly 900,000 jobs and contributed to $38 billion in wages.

"From new ports around the globe to the investment by CLIA's member cruise lines in new, innovative ships, it's an exciting time for the cruise industry and cruise passengers," said Adam M. Goldstein, CLIA Chairman and President/COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "This year will prove to be another step forward for the entire industry as our members continue to strive to make cruising the best overall vacation experience."

Genting Hong Kong issues profit warning on non operational issues

Genting Hong Kong, parent company of Star Cruises, has issued a profit warning on one off, non operational matters.

Based on the preliminary assessment of the latest unaudited financial information, excluding the share of results of NCLH and Travellers, the Group is expected to record a net profit of not less than $235 million for the year ended 31 December 2014, as compared with a net profit, excluding share of results of NCLH and Travellers, of approximately $483 million for the year ended 31 December 2013, Genting Hong Kong said in a statement.

The reduction in gain arising from disposal of certain stakes in NCLH. Such gain in 2014, as disclosed in the Company’s 2014 interim report, amounted to approximately $153 million (2013: $452 million).

Further, the 2014 performance of the group was affected by the absence of gain on deemed disposal of certain stakes in NCLH and Travellers as a result of their initial public offerings, which were completed in 2013 (2013: $219 million).

The 2013 results included a one off gain of approximately $124 million arising from deemed disposal of certain stake in NCLH as a result of its issuance of certain new shares for NCLH’s acquisition of Prestige Cruises International, Inc., which was completed in 2014. Last year, it booked a fair value gain of approximately $18 million arising from the disposal of certain financial assets, while in2013 it had suffered and impairment and fair value losses of $94 million.

“Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Group expects its EBITDA for the year ended 31 December 2014 to remain stable as compared with 2013.” Genting said.

“The Board wishes to remind investors that the Company is still in the process of finalising its consolidated results for the year ended 31 December 2014 and the above net profit comparison did not take into account the Group’s share of results of NCLH and Travellers (both of which are associates of the Group) as both of them are listed companies on overseas stock exchanges,” Genting stated.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. announces Chief Executive Officer direct reports

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. yesterday announced executive appointments reporting directly to President and Chief Executive Officer Frank J. Del Rio.

The new appointments are:

– Bob Binder, President of International Operations

– Howard Sherman, Executive Vice President, Revenue Management

– Robin Lindsay, Executive Vice President, Vessel Operations  

– Victor Gonzalez, Executive Vice President, Supply Chain and Logistics Management

– Harry Sommer, Senior Vice President and Chief Integration Officer

Drew Madsen and Jason Montague will continue as President and Chief Operating Officers of Norwegian Cruise Line (Madsen) and Oceania Cruises / Regent Seven Seas Cruises (Montague). Wendy Beck will continue in her role as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer with additional responsibilities for support services.

“Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is on an incredible growth trajectory. The Board of Directors and I have been working closely to fine-tune our vision for the future and how we can best channel the core competencies of our three great brands and the talents of our 30,000 team members,” said Del Rio.  “To that end, we have crafted an organizational structure with both centralized and brand-specific functions and selected seasoned leaders that will carry out that vision.”

SkySea Cruises to launch its maiden voyage in May from Qingdao

SkySea Cruises, the joint venture of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) and China’s biggest online travel agent Ctrip, will launch its maiden voyage from the new cruise homeport in Qingdao. Alan Lam reports.

The launch will be a major event for both the port of Qingdao and SkySea Cruises. On 29 May the port will debut its new cruise homeport by sending off SkySea’s cruise vessel, Celebrity Century, on her maiden six-day Qingdao-Nagasaki-Fukuoka-Qingdao voyage. RCCL's Celebrity Cruises unt sold the 1995 built vessel to Ctrip last year. It is likely that the ship will be renamed, but this has not happened yet.

Three new cruise berths are currently under construction and upgrading in Qingdao, including one capable of hosting mega ships. A new International Passenger Centre will also be open to facilitate cruise operation.

In October last year, the port of Qingdao shut down its bulk cargo operations in the old port area in an effort to support the construction of new cruise homeport. Qingdao’s main cruise terminal was completed in March 2013; it has an annual passenger capacity of 1.5 million.

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