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Vard Tulcea lays keel of Le Commandant Charcot

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

The keel of hybrid electric polar exploration vessel Le Commandant Charcot was laid at the Vard shipyard in Tulcea, Romania, on 14 December 2018, the French expedition cruise specialist Ponant that has ordered the ship said in a statement

The launch is scheduled for 2020, before delivery in 2021. Vard is part of the Fincantieri group.

“Designed for a new type of cruise ship, the vessel will incorporate all the latest innovations in environmental protection, making Ponant a model of excellence in responsible tourism,” the company said.

Le Commandant Charcot, which will use LNG as fuel, will be the first exploration vessel to surpass the ecological standards set out in international regulations. “Designed for intense polar explorations, and with PC2 Polar Class certification, Le Commandant Charcot will be able to reach exceptional destinations such as the Geographic North Pole and remote sites of the Antarctic continent including the Ross Sea, Charcot Island and Peter I Island,” Ponant said.

NCLH refinances senior credit facility, maturities extended and margins lowered

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH), the world’s third largest cruise shipping group, said it has refinanced its senior secured credit facility, with interest rate margins lowered and maturities extended.

The company amended its existing senior secured credit facility by repricing its $875 million revolving credit facility - also know as "revolver" - repricing and increasing its Term A loan facility to approximately $1.6 billion and extending the maturity dates for both to January 2024.

The Term Loan A was due to mature in 2021 and it had an amount of 1.5 billion before the increase, the 2017 annual report of NCLH shows.

"The proceeds from the increase in the Term A Loan were used to prepay the entire outstanding amount under the Company's existing Term B loan facility. The amendment also reduced the applicable margin under the Revolver and Term A Loan by 25 basis points. Both the Revolver and Term A Loan bear interest at LIBOR plus an applicable margin of between 1.00% and 1.75%, depending on the Company's leverage ratio," NCLH said in a statement.

"The refinancing of this facility further builds on our foundation for the future by strengthening our liquidity profile through more favorable rates and the extension of maturities," said Mark Kempa, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.  “We remain focused on strengthening our balance sheet and remain on track to reach our targeted leverage range of 2.5 to 2.75 times by the end of 2020.”


Dream Cruises enhances The Palace to be the first Asian all-inclusive ship within a ship

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Dream Cruises, Genting Cruise Lines’ luxury cruise brand, has announced a collection of new benefits and services to enhance the travelling experience of guests in its exclusive enclave, The Palace, to further align the brand as the Asian equivalent of international all-inclusive, high-end cruise lines.

“Inspired by our international, luxury sister brand Crystal Cruises, “The Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line in the world”, Dream Cruises’ The Palace concept delivers our Asian equivalent to this acclaimed level of cruising,” said Thatcher Brown, President of Dream Cruises. “Sophisticated Asian guests desire the excitement and energy of a large megaship but also demand the privacy and intimacy of their own exclusive facilities and Dream Cruises’ response was the creation of The Palace, the perfect solution featuring an “Asian Luxury ship within a Megaship” concept across our fleet. Combined with the confidence and elegance of international hospitality standards, The Palace will provide a luxury vacation experience unlike any other.”

Well received since its introduction on Genting Dream and World Dream two years ago, The Palace is a “ship-within-a-ship” concept with nearly 10,000 square metres of suites, private restaurant, gym, sundeck, swimming pool and other facilities and featuring priority embarkation, exclusive dining, dedicated butlers and additional comprehensive services. In response to demand and ease of reference that The Palace should be the Asian equivalent on par or surpassing international high-end cruise lines, The Palace will now feature an all-inclusive luxury experience with 5-star Asian food and beverage offerings in addition to other privileges found on international high-end cruise ships.

The Palace features and benefits

– The Palace features a pro-rated 25,000 gross tons of space within the approximately 151,000 gross ton Dream Class ships for a space ratio of over 80 gross tons per passenger, one of the highest space ratios in the cruise industry

– All-suite accommodations highlighted by approximately 150 luxury suites with access to a private restaurant, lounge, bar, gym, swimming pool, jacuzzi, children’s area and other facilities

– A 1 to 1 crew to passenger ratio for The Palace, also one of the highest in the cruise industry

– Flawless personal service and attention to detail, including 24-hour butler concierge service

– All-inclusive luxury fine dining featuring creative Asian and Western menus offering a wide selection of attractively presented herbal soups, seafood including abalone, bird’s-nest desserts and other delicacies all created with highest-quality ingredients

– All-inclusive branded premium teas, coffees, wines, champagnes, whiskey and other beverages

– Finest-quality bed linens, duvets, towels and bathrobes by Frette

– High-quality toiletries including Etro products

– Free shore excursions, movies, music and other services

– Priority embarkation and disembarkation at homeports and destinations

– Priority access to shows, restaurants, spa and other services

– Complimentary pressing service

– Complimentary welcome on board mini bar beverage and snacks

– Welcome on board surprise and delight amenity

– Fresh Flower arrangement in the room for Palace Villas and Penthouses

– Complimentary standard package Internet access throughout the cruise

– Complimentary city shuttle transfers (for eligible ports of call)

– Private shore excursions arrangement for fee

– Palace pre-programed phone to request butler concierge service with the touch of a button

To further enrich the travel experience, new services and benefits in The Palace will span food and beverage to activities and entertainment and shore excursions, delivering a holistic suite of privileges to discerning Dream Cruises guests.

New signature Palace benefits

– All-inclusive set meal entitlement at available specialty dining restaurants during meal-times

– Enhanced all-inclusive Seafood Buffet selection in The Palace restaurant during all cruises

– Complimentary Premium Beverage package at all bars and inclusive restaurants

– Exclusive Palm Court “Captain’s Welcome Cocktail Party” with Officers

– Crystal Life Café – Expanded Healthy Breakfast and Vegetarian Lunch Options

– Dedicated Palace Kids’ Program, for Palace children 2yrs to 12yrs old

– Dedicated “Connoisseurs Circle” Bespoke Enrichment Program of talks, events and activities including complimentary well-being and fitness classes

– Complimentary choice of selected Palace shore excursions or general shore excursions per port

Six Holland America Line ships to sail in Europe in 2020

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Guests looking to explore the fjords of Norway, castles of the British Isles, flavors of Italy and beaches of Greece can choose from six Holland America Line ships to discover a wide range of ports and regions on cruise itineraries for the 2020 Europe season. Anchored by the return of Nieuw Amsterdam to the Mediterranean, Nieuw Statendam, Rotterdam, Veendam, Zaandam and Zuiderdam will offer cruises from March through early November.

In addition to transatlantic crossings to and from Europe, the ships will span the entire region on itineraries from seven to 35 days, including the Baltic; British Isles; French and Spanish rivieras; Iberian Peninsula; Iceland; the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, including Norway and the North Cape. Istanbul, Turkey, is back on the schedule with seven overnight visits, and Veendam will offer several distinct and unique European itineraries.

"European cruises are incredibly popular because they are the most affordable and convenient way to visit more cities and countries in one seamless vacation," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "With an expanded season and six ships offering itineraries that cover the entire region, our guests have a wide selection of cruises that showcase the best of each country with the most enriching and immersive experiences."

Roundtrip sailing options from a variety of port cities make for a convenient cruise vacation. Guests can embark at Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Boston, Massachusetts; Civitavecchia (Rome) and Venice, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; and Copenhagen, Denmark. Cruises also sail between Barcelona, Spain, and Venice or Civitavecchia.

To offer more in-depth experiences in some of Europe's most popular cities, Holland America Line has scheduled overnight calls at 13 ports, including Antwerp, Belgium; Amsterdam; Barcelona; Dublin, Ireland; Funchal, Madeira; Istanbul; Lisbon, Portugal; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Reykjavik, Iceland; South Queensferry (Edinburgh), Scotland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Venice; and Valletta, Malta.

Nearly every cruise can be combined with the nonrepeating itinerary coming before and after, allowing guests to see more of Europe with a Holland America Line Collectors' Voyage. Ranging from 14 to 35 days, these artfully crafted longer journeys offer extra time so guests can discover the art, history and culture of different regions in Europe.

Three ships spend the summer season in Northern Europe

Due to strong demand, three ships will offer cruises in Northern Europe from April through September, giving travelers more ways to explore the Norwegian fjords. Nieuw Statendam, Holland America Line's newest ship, will return to Northern Europe on seven- and 14-day roundtrip cruises from Amsterdam, while Rotterdam sails seven- and 14-day roundtrip cruises from Rotterdam. Veendam's roundtrip Amsterdam itineraries allow for a more in-depth exploration of the region, with itineraries ranging from 14 to 21 days in length.

The ships will take guests to the most stunning fjords in Norway including Geirangerfjord, Hardangerfjord, Olsofjord, Eidfjord, Liefdefdfjord, Lilliehöökfjord, Trondheimsfjord and Sognefjord.

When not in Norway, Nieuw Statendam will cruise the Baltic, the Iberian Peninsula and the Mediterranean; Rotterdam will visit the Baltic, British Isles and Iberia; and Veendam will feature memorable cruises to the Baltic, British Isles, Iceland, Iberia and the Holy Land.

In 2020 Zaandam sets sail on the epic 35-day Voyage of the Vikings roundtrip Boston cruise departing July 18. The legendary journey calls at 18 ports in the U.S., Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands and Ireland, making it easy to visit Europe without international air. Two shorter segments from Boston to Amsterdam (17 days) or from Amsterdam to Boston (18 days) are available.

Four ships offer Mediterranean cruises in 2020

Holland America Line's Mediterranean cruises are anchored by Nieuw Amsterdam in 2020, which will spend a full season in the region. The ship will offer the popular 12-day Mediterranean Romance, Mediterranean Tapestry and Mediterranean Empires cruises to Greece, Turkey and Italy roundtrip from Venice or between Venice and Barcelona or Civitavecchia (Rome), as well as the 12-day Adriatic Dream and Greek Odyssey itineraries between Venice and Civitavecchia.

Nieuw Amsterdam will be joined by Zuiderdam from May through June on 12-day itineraries, followed by Nieuw Statendam and Veendam in September and October on cruises ranging from 10 to 14 days. Zuiderdam, Nieuw Amsterdam and Veendam all feature overnight calls to Istanbul and a combined 14 overnights at Venice.

Veendam itineraries span Europe, explore the Holy Land

Veendam's season spans April through October and features longer European explorations from 14 to 21 days to a variety of regions. In addition to Norway, highlights of the ship's summer include a European Rivers Explorer cruise to the Scheldt River, Gironde Estuary and Tagus River; the "Holy Land" itinerary to Greece, Croatia, Turkey and Israel; and cruises to Spitsbergen and Iceland.

Spring and fall Transatlantic crossings, Viking Passage Adventure

Guests who enjoy leisurely sea days combined with enriching ports of call have a 19-Day Viking Passage cruise in August and several transatlantic crossings between Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Northern Europe or the Mediterranean in the spring and fall. Ranging from 13 to 17 days, the transatlantic cruises feature six or seven consecutive days at sea, where the ships become the destination.

Travelers looking to take in the beauty of the North Atlantic in peak summer can embark Zuiderdam's Viking Passage itinerary from Copenhagen to New York, New York. The ship visits some of the most picturesque ports in Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Canada, retracing the route the Vikings sailed centuries ago.

Cruise fares for Europe 2020 cruises begin from a range of $999 to $4,799 per person, double occupancy, depending on the itinerary. Taxes, fees and port expenses are additional.

EXC programming brings European cultures on board

Throughout the voyages, EXC programming brings the traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences of Europe to life onboard. Through EXC Encounters, guests can participate in activities such as learning to braid a Viking cord using a lucet, a tool dating from Viking times, or reveling at a German bierfest with a live "oompah" band.

The EXC Team will provide further customized guidance for the European calls, and online EXC Port Guides provide exclusive handbooks for each destination. For guests who enjoy exploring on their own, printed EXC Port Maps present a simple view of the best each port has to offer. The in-stateroom EXC Channel will feature a selection of curated films, documentaries and TV shows exploring destinations on the ship's itinerary.

Shares in Carnival dive 11% in London on weak first quarter outlook

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Shares in Carnival plc, the UK listed and domiciled holding company in the Carnival Corporation & plc group, fell close to 11% in London after the company had forecast a fall in first quarter earnings per share.

Carnival said the company expects adjusted earnings per share for the first quarter 2019 to be in the range of $0.40 to $0.44 versus 2018 adjusted earnings per share of $0.52.

Shortly before the market’s close, shares in Carnival plc traded at £38.77, a fall of10.83% since the opening, information on the London Stock Exchange website shows. This was also the session’s low.

At the same time, shares in Carnival Corporation, which is a Panama domiciled and US listed company, traded 10.02% lower at $49.80, finance data stream shows.

Leading share indices of both London and New York had fallen sharply during the day as the markets continue to reel from a rise in interest rates in the US, a weakening outlook for the global economy and a continued fall in the price of oil.