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Virgin Voyages to scrap main dining room, buffet and extra charge for specialty restaurants

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Virgin Voyages, the nascent cruise line that is part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group of companies, will include dining in all the 20 plus venues onboard Scarlet Lady, its first ship, in the cruise fare.

There will be no main dining room nor a buffet on the 110,000 gross ton ship that is under construction in Italy and which is due to enter service in 2020, the company said in a statement. Dress codes and pre-allocated dining times and seating in restaurants would not be featured either. 

“Imagine you're building a city, an epic city, in the middle of the ocean (miles from civilization). Look around the world, find what's hot, ignore what's not, think about what’s next, bring it all together, and only pick the very best.” the company said.

“Our voyages are Adult-by-Design, intended to provide an elevated eating experience that reflects our sailors’ daily lives, and the lives they aspire to lead. Dine wherever you want, whenever you want, in whatever way you want, guaranteed to exceed your appetite’s (and heart’s) expectations,” Virgin Voyages said, adding that there would be a bar in every restaurant on board the ship.

 “With 20 plus eating options available and included in your voyage fare, our wide variety of eateries will have you signing up for another voyage if for no other reason than to try everything you missed out on the first time around.” Virgin Voyages said.



Royal Caribbean and PortMiami opens new Terminal A

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has officially opened Terminal A, the largest cruise port in the U.S., in collaboration with Miami-Dade County. The new terminal is a striking addition to PortMiami and will serve as homeport to Royal Caribbean International ships such as Symphony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, two of the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ships.

“Terminal A is an important milestone in the growth of the cruise industry in South Florida and underscores our commitment to Miami, where our company was founded almost 50 years ago,” said Richard D. Fain, CEO and Chairman of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

“We are thrilled to announce the opening of Terminal A, the largest cruise port in the U.S. and would like to thank Royal Caribbean for their continued support of the Miami community,” said Carlos A. Giménez, Mayor of Miami- Dade County. “With the opening of Terminal A, we are excited to welcome even more visitors to Miami,” said Giménez.

PortMiami currently serves 750,000 Royal Caribbean passengers annually, representing roughly 15% of the port’s overall passenger traffic. Because of the new terminal, Royal Caribbean expects to increase its Miami passenger intake to nearly 2 million annually. This will make PortMiami Royal Caribbean’s largest cruise port in the U.S., solidifying PortMiami’s status as the Cruise Capital of the World.

“We look forward to all the new and exciting developments the opening of Terminal A will bring to our cruise lines, our guests, and the Miami community. We are proud that our Oasis class vessels, each hosting more than 5,000 guests, will now be able to call on PortMiami,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.

Terminal A will accommodate the passengers of two of the world’s largest ships in the Oasis class, the new Symphony of the Seas and her sister, Allure of the Seas. The new LEED certified facility, which is the largest and most modern cruise facility in the U.S., has leveraged new technologies to enhance the waiting areas and boarding experience of guests. Overall, the design evokes the points in Royal Caribbean’s crown and anchor logo when viewed from the water; the ‘M’ of Miami when viewed from the east or western approaches; and a sense of waves rising or ships passing when viewed from the terminal side. As a result, the terminal will serve as a dynamic addition to the Miami skyline.

Former Marella Spirit reported sold for scrap

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Former Marella Spirit that had until recently been operated by TUI AG’s British cruise line Marella Cruises on charter, has reportedly been sold for demolition in India.

A report on the website said that the sale was concluded on 29 October and the ship had been renamed Mare S for a voyage from Athens to Alang. The ship had been owned by the Cyprus based Louis Group since 2003.

The 33,930 gross ton ship had been built as Nieuw Amsterdam for Holland America Line at Chantiers de l’ Atlantique in France in 1983.

It was the first major passenger ship built for the company since the Rotterdam of 1959. Its design was based on the 8,566 gross ton Prinsendam of 1973 that had been lost in a fire in 1980. A second ship of the same class called Noordam followed in 1984 (not to be confused with present ship of the same name).

In 2001-02 the ship operated as Patriot for American Classic voyages and after the collapse of this company, it was chartered by Thomson Cruises in the UK as Thomson Spirit. The company changed name to Marella Cruises in 2017.

The two Holland America ships were notable also for the fact that they marked the yard’s return into the construction of major passenger tonnage – the previous large passenger vessel built at the yard had been the Trans-Atlantic liner France in 1962.

Virgin Voyages to call in Cuba during the inaugural season

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Virgin Voyages has announced that the company’s first ship, Scarlet Lady, will feature Cuba as one of her voyage destinations during its inaugural season in 2020.

Virgin Voyages’ decision to sail to Cuba was influenced by customer and travel partner research it conducted in North America and the United Kingdom. Both groups consistently rank the Caribbean island as one of the most desired and interesting destinations to visit on a voyage.

“Virgin Atlantic has been visiting Cuba for 13 years, and I cannot wait to see our iconic Scarlet Lady gleaming in the Havana Harbor,” said Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson. “Havana is the perfect place for our sailors to go and experience a city that exudes an irresistible energy and passion.”

“We are thrilled to share the news about our partnership with Cuba and can’t wait to take our sailors to Havana, which is without doubt, one of the Caribbean’s most authentic and enriching destinations,” said Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin. “This fantastic place offers the chance for our sailors to create their own unique stories as they uncover cultural treasures, meet the locals and just soak up the atmosphere.”

The Adult By Design (18+) brand will offer the newest and most beautifully designed ship sailing to Havana ensuring that their sailors get there in style. All sailings to Cuba from Miami feature an overnight stay, meaning sailors have time to really explore and experience the capital city’s vibrant nightlife and cultural heritage.

While in port, sailors can visit Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; dance the night away at a salsa club, visit Cuba's warm and friendly residents through people-to-people exchanges, or simply wander the streets alongside pastel-washed colonial architecture. OFAC-compliant shore experiences are in development and details will be made available later in 2019.

The Virgin Voyages destination announcement was made at the Havana International Fair, FIHAV, with remarks from Virgin Voyages executives, government representatives and local tourism leadership.

“We have a long-standing relationship with Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group and are pleased to announce this new partnership with Virgin Voyages,” said Manuel Marrero Cruz, Minister of Tourism for Cuba. “The Cuban people look forward to welcoming Virgin Voyages’ first ship, its crew and passengers to our shores in 2020”.

Specific sailing dates relating to Virgin Voyages’ visits to Cuba will be released when the company opens up bookings for sale next year.

Cruise ship building hub in Baoshan established

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
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A cruise ship building hub has been established in Baoshan in China as part of an earlier announced tri-partite agreement to develop in the industry in China, Fincantieri said in a statement

“As part of the agreements between Fincantieri, CSSC and Carnival Corporation & plc announced in February 2017 and related to the construction of two cruise ships, the first ever built in China for the local market, the hub will act as a fundamental industrial basin to supply this production. In fact, today, 70% of the total value of a modern cruise ship is realised through the supply chain,” Fincantieri said.

The district will provide financing, tax commercial and administrative benefits, land for necessary development and other resources, in the light of a possible establishment of foreign companies, introduced by the partners.

Fincantieri has given a broad support to the district in defining the preferential policies to attract suppliers and will promote the park in its network and in the industry as a whole, as a foundation for the companies which want to access to the opportunities of this project. In this way, the Group will become a lever for the establishment in China of its supply chain or of other SMBs, which would greatly benefit from this operation.

This project is part of the initiatives undertaken by Fincantieri in China aimed at developing the local cruise market, which in the coming days could reach new goals.

These activities will allow Fincantieri to monitor as first mover the development of the strategic high potential market, to broaden its borders and to lay the foundations for further developing its business and accessing even the most complex markets, considering the favorable moment that the cruise sector is experiencing, the Italian shipbuilder stated.