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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.

Costa Group strengthens organization

Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Group, today announced a number of changes to strengthen the leadership team and the company’s organizational structure.

Effective February 1st, 2015, the current Senior Vice President Hotel Operations & Product Development, Neil Palomba, will be appointed President of Costa Crociere, Genoa. He will be responsible for managing the Costa brand, as well as for the structure and design of products, sales and customer care at Europe’s leading cruise company.

Also effective February 1st, 2015, the company will appoint Buhdy Sin Bok, the current Senior Vice President Pacific Asia & China, as President of Costa Asia, Shanghai. This reflects the increasing importance of Asia for the Costa Group, especially the rapidly growing Chinese market in which Costa Asia is the market leader.

The two newly appointed presidents will, together with Michael Ungerer, who heads AIDA Cruises, report directly to the CEO of Costa Crociere S.p.A..

"I would like to congratulate Neil and Buhdy on their new positions and look forward to working with them intensively on the further expansion of our company. These appointments will help us strengthen our Costa and Costa Asia brands and support the development of our global activities, especially in Europe and Asia," says Michael Thamm.  

Development of a central Marine Operations Center for the Costa Group

A further organizational change announced today is the establishment of a central Marine Operations Center in Hamburg, Germany. Under the name Carnival Maritime, Costa Group is creating, with the support of Lufthansa Technik, a highly modern, digitalized unit for the operation of its fleet, currently numbering 25 ships. Carnival Maritime will be led by Jens Lassen, current Senior Vice President Marine Operations AIDA Cruises, who will also report directly to the CEO of Costa Group.

"The Hamburg location offers us excellent access to technology and expertise in the maritime sector. We are certain that the close cooperation with Lufthansa Technik will enable us to transfer airline know-how to improve continuously the quality of our fleet’s operations,” Thamm continues.

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