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Work start in Genoa on the first ship for Virgin Voyages

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

The steel cutting ceremony of the first of three new cruise ships that Fincantieri is building for Virgin Voyages (part of Virgin Group of companies) was held today in Sestri Ponente (Genoa).

The ceremony was attended, among others, by Tom McAlpin, President and CEO of Virgin Voyages, and for Fincantieri by Luigi Matarazzo, Senior Vice President New Building Merchant Ships, and Paolo Capobianco, Director of the Sestri shipyard.

Each ship will measure about 110,000 gross tons, be 278 meters long and 38 wide, with delivery scheduled for 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively. The ships will feature over 1,400 guest cabins that can host more than 2,700 passengers, accompanied by 1,150 crew members on board to deliver the famed Virgin service.

These ships will stand out for original design and craftsmanship. They will include some highly innovative ideas and design solutions, notably for energy recovery, reducing the overall environmental impact. For example, they will be equipped with an energy production system of approximately 1 MW, which uses the diesel engine’s waste heat. The result is, therefore, a project which distinguishes Virgin Voyages in the worldwide cruise scenery.

Steph Armengol appointed VP of Hotel Operations for Oceania and Regent Seven Seas

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises have appointed Steph Armengol to Vice President of the two leading luxury cruise lines. Mr. Armengol, who previously held the position of Senior Director of Hotel Operations for Regent Seven Seas Cruises, will continue to report to Franco Semeraro, Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations for Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

“We are very happy to promote Steph to the position of Vice President of Hotel Operations,” said Semeraro. “Steph’s extensive experience in hotel management for Regent Seven Seas Cruises and pivotal role in the successful launch of Seven Seas Explorer will be a great asset to Oceania Cruises’ standing as an unrivaled vacation experience in its own right.”

Armengol has always been a seafaring man. He went to sea to take his first cruise ship position in 1998 and joined Regent Seven Seas Cruises in 2000 (then known as Radisson Seven Seas Cruises) as sommelier aboard Seven Seas Navigator. Amengol rose to through the ranks and was appointed General Manager in 2005 of Seven Seas Mariner, the world’s first all-suite, all-balcony ship. From Perpignan, France, Armengol enjoys cooking and sharing quality time with friends and family.

Star Cruises to develop cruise infrastructure in the Philippines

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

The Philippines officially welcomed Star Cruises on 19 March when SuperStar Virgo arrived in Manila to begin her inaugural homeport deployment in the country.

The occasion was commemorated with a special ceremony at Manila South Harbour, which was attended by Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea as the Guest of Honour, representing President Rodrigo Roa Duterte from the Office of the President of the Philippines, together with Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo from the Philippines Department of Tourism.

“It is our honor to call Manila SuperStar Virgo’s new homeport for the next few months. As an important market for Star Cruises and the cruise line brands under Genting Cruise Lines, it is our goal to continue to support the country’s tourism industry here in the Philippines and across the region,” said Hui Lim, Executive Director of the Genting Group. “We are proud of our long history with the Philippines as Star Cruises was the first major cruise line to recruit Filipinos for our vessels 24 years ago and we developed Resorts World Manila in partnership with Alliance Global Group.”

“We congratulate Star Cruises for believing in the Philippines,” said Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo. “Thank you for helping us get closer to our vision as a regional cruise center to serve as homeport and eventually as center for cruise crew training, maintenance services and ship building in the long term.”

As the first international cruise line to homeport in the Philippines with the deployment of SuperStar Virgo in Manila, Genting Cruise Lines continue to strive to create new milestones with a series of ‘First’, including the signing of the Memorandum Of Understanding with local stakeholders to pioneer and advance the cruise terminals and the overall cruise experience in the Philippines.

“As part of Genting Cruise Lines’ on-going and long term commitment, this marks the beginning of a significant joint effort in creating new opportunities and to further develop best-in-class cruise infrastructures and facilities here in the Philippines,” added Hui Lim. “Together with the support of the Philippine government and the various local agencies, we will continue to work closely to accelerate the growth of the cruise tourism in the Philippines and to maximize its full potential."
During the homeport welcome ceremony event in Manila, a series of events were held on board with a special celebrity appearance by Star Cruises Philippines brand ambassadors, reigning Miss International 2016, Kylie Fausto Verzosa and the popular Filipino model, LA Aguinaldo, together with the appearance of the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation World Champion Team.

After the ceremony, over 2,000 passengers set sail on board SuperStar Virgo for her debut 6 Day/5 Night cruise itinerary departing from Manila, with stops in Laoag, the capital of Ilocos Norte, Philippines, Kaohsiung, the largest southern port city in Taiwan, and Hong Kong, a bustling metropolis world famous for shopping, dining, entertainment and nightlife.

In Ilocos Norte, the arrival of SuperStar Virgo on 20 March was greeted by the Guest of Honour, the Honorable Imee R. Marcos, Governor, Province of Ilocos Norte, together with the Honourable Eugenio Angelo Barba, Vice Governor, Province of Ilocos Norte and the Honourable Gladys Go-Cue, Vice Mayor of Currimao, members of Ilocos Norte Sanguniang Panglalawigan, as well as the City and Municipal Mayor of the Province of Ilocos Norte.

SuperStar Virgo’s itinerary is the perfect opportunity for Filipinos to enjoy exciting ports of call during the first-ever “Jewels of the South China Sea”, a new itinerary pioneered by Star Cruises that connects four scenic cities in Asia - Manila, Laoag, Kaohsiung and Hong Kong - across a 6 Day/5 Night cruise.

Even at this early stage, the announcement of the new cruise itinerary and the homeport deployment of SuperStar Virgo in the Philippines have generated a huge amount of interest with nearly all cabins being sold out. This success and support of the travel industry means that SuperStar Virgo will be returning for another season of cruising from Manila in December of this year, calling at ports in the Philippines, as well as other popular Asian destinations such as Kota Kinabalu, Brunei; Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Vietnam; Taiwan;Hong Kong; Okinawa (Japan) and other ports of call.

Fincantieri lays the keel of Nieuw Statendam

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

The keel laying ceremony for Nieuw Statendam, the new cruise ship which Fincantieri is building for the shipowner Holland America Line, a brand under Carnival Corporation & plc, took place today at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Marghera (Venice).

The first building block of the ship, 11.3 meters long, 34.8 wide and weighing about 260 tons, is part of the central section of Nieuw Statendam, due to delivery at the end of 2018.

The new unit, sister ship of Koningsdam, the new Pinnacle class ship delivered in March 2016 from the same shipyard, will be about 99,800 gross tons, almost 300 meters long, with accommodation for up to 2,650 passengers on board in more than 1,300 cabins. She will be characterized by a modern and contemporary style which blends perfectly with the traditional elegance, which distinguishes all the ships in the fleet. The design will be created, as for Koningsdam, by two of the world’s major and prestigious architecture studios, Tihany Design and Yran & Storbraaten, with “the architecture of music” being an inspirational element for the design of many public areas.

The ship’s technology is aimed at optimizing energy efficiency and minimizing environmental impact and it responds to the most demanding and current safety regulations.

Fincantieri has built 76 cruise ships since 1990 (of which 53 from 2002) and other 31 ships are currently being designed or built in the Group's yards.

Windstar Cruises to sail New England and Canada next year

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Windstar Cruises will be sailing into (and out of) Manhattan on its first-ever itineraries in New England and Canada beginning summer/fall 2018. Windstar's 212-guest all-suite yacht Star Pride will embark on four new sailings (with five sail dates) that span nine to 16 days, offering leisurely opportunities to enjoy fall foliage and discover charming New England coastal towns, historic gems like Boston and Newport, and the seductively old world appeal of the Canadian Maritimes and Quebec. Star Pride will arrive in New York for the first time via Iceland, the cruise line said in a statement.

This announcement comes on the heels of news that the small ship cruise line, headquartered in Seattle, will be sailing to Alaska and along Canada's west coast aboard Star Legend, a sister ship to Star Pride, in spring/summer 2018. The company has not sailed in North America in recent years, so the addition of both regions is a major development for the company, which operates primarily in Europe, the Caribbean/Central America, and French Polynesia.

"New York is a city of legendary over-achievers, and we have every intention of over delivering on our brand's New England and Canada experiences, including our maiden call to Manhattan with Star Pride," said Windstar President John Delaney. "New York is one of our major markets, a key gateway, and one of the world's great destination cities in its own right. We are thrilled to make Windstar so easily accessible to such a large national and international audience by being in New York."