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Viking Cruises ads new cultural partnerships

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Viking Cruises has announced it has expanded its portfolio of partnerships with premier cultural institutions, with a summer season of events around the country. Viking has signed on to sponsor the United States tour of the acclaimed English boys choir, LIBERA, and the Ballet Sun Valley international festival this summer. The company has also extended its sponsorship of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at The Hollywood Bowl for the fifth consecutive season. These new partnerships build on Viking’s commitment to drive cultural insight and personal enrichment, with current partners that include National Geographic’s “Genius,” PBS’ MASTERPIECE, TED, The Metropolitan Opera, BBC, Highclere Castle, RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Oslo’s Munch Museum, St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, among others.

“Viking’s commitment to cultural exploration extends far beyond the walls of our ships,” said Karine Hagen, Senior Vice President of Viking Cruises. “One of the best ways to explore a destination – whether at home or abroad – is through its music and cultural institutions. We are proud to support world renowned organizations, such as the Libera Boys Choir, Ballet Sun Valley and The Los Angeles Philharmonic, that align with our goal to create special connections between travelers and the cultures of the world.”

Celebrating 20 years of innovation and growth in 2017, Viking’s summer of cultural programming arrives on the heels of high acclaim for its immersive destination-focused offerings, having recently been named a #1 Ocean Cruise Line and one of the Best River Cruise Lines by Travel + Leisure readers in the 2017 World’s Best Awards. Continuing its commitment to cultural exploration both onboard and off board, Viking’s summer sponsorships include:

– LIBERA Boys Choir U.S. Tour: In celebration of their new album Hope, the acclaimed English boys choir that participated in the 2016 christening of Viking Sea in London, is currently on a Viking-sponsored five-city U.S. tour. Three-time Classical BRIT nominees, LIBERA is among the top selling classical artists worldwide in countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, and their work holds a place alongside major artists such as Bocelli. Viking Founder and Chairman Torstein Hagen, a supporter of classical music in its many forms, and a group of Viking colleagues from its headquarters, recently attended the choir’s performance in Westlake Village, Calif. For more information, visit www.libera.org.uk.
– Ballet Sun Valley Summer Festival, featuring Xander Parish: Viking is the lead sponsor of the Ballet Sun Valley international festival, which runs August 21-24 and features dancers from six of the world’s leading ballet companies, including the American Ballet Theatre and London’s Royal Ballet. This unique festival was curated by Sun Valley-native and American Ballet Theatre dancer, Isabella Boylston, and will showcase a world premiere by emerging choreographer Gemma Bond, whose piece was inspired by the solar eclipse happening the day before the first performance. The one-night only world premiere on August 24 will feature video design by Kate Duhamel and a live orchestra under the direction of Maestro Martin West. Xander Parish, a close friend to Viking – and the first Briton to be promoted to principal dancer with the Mariinsky Ballet – will be performing in several “Mixed Repertoire” performances during Ballet Sun Valley. The historic Mariinsky Theatre, upon whose stages have debuted the masterpieces of such great composers as Peter Tchaikovsky, is home to the world-renowned Mariinsky Ballet, Opera and Orchestra. Guests on Viking’s river cruises through Russia have for years enjoyed onboard performances by Mariinsky singers through Viking’s Privileged Access program—and now many of Viking’s ocean cruises also feature similar performances. For more information on Ballet Sun Valley, visit www.balletsunvalley.com.
– Los Angeles Philharmonic at The Hollywood Bowl: For the fifth consecutive year, Viking is sponsoring six Los Angeles Philharmonic concerts at their historic summer home, The Hollywood Bowl. The Viking concert series, beginning August 10, features music by European composers whose home countries are destinations on many of Viking’s river and ocean cruise itineraries, including Antonio Vivaldi (Italy), Pyotr Tchaikovsky (Russia), Wolfgang Mozart (Austria), Ludwig van Beethoven (Germany), and Johann Sebastian Bach (Germany). For more information, visit www.laphil.com.

MV Werften breaks ground for new shipbuilding hall

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

The symbolic first cut of the spade, carried out by Genting Group’s Chairman and CEO Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern’s Minister for Economic Affairs Harry Glawe, Rostock‘s senior mayor Roland Methling and MV Werften Chief Operating Officer Holger Tepper, signalled the beginning of the construction of the new hall 11.

The future shipbuilding complex will be 385 metres long, 99 metres wide and up to 24 metres high. Centrepiece will be a highly productive semi-automatic panel line, one of the most advanced in the world, welding panels of up to 25 x 16 meters. The so called laser-hybrid technique offers high quality standards at less heat production. Besides the panel line, hall 11 will also house a new section building line and a section outfitting line. Commissioning of the facilities will be in summer 2018. The Rostock site will then manufacture 80 large sections per ship of the 342-metre long Global Class.

“With these new facilities we will significantly increase the capacity of our steel prefabrication – and thus increase our productivity too,” explained Chief Operating Office Holger Tepper in the course of the event. “Around 200 employees will be working in the new hall complex.” In the mid-term, the number of employees at the site will be doubled, rising to a figure of 1,000 employees. In total, over €100 million will be invested in the Rostock yard within the shipbuilding group’s comprehensive investment programme, about €80 million of this in the new hall.

“With this groundbreaking ceremony, MV Werften is taking the next step in its comprehensive investment programme for the three sites in our federal state. Not only Rostock-Warnemünde, but also the sites in Stralsund and Wismar will profit from this expansion”, said Minister for Economic Affairs, Employment and Health, Harry Glawe, at the ceremony. “This is a good prospect for the entire maritime industry here in our state.”

SuperStar Libra to offer three homeports in Malaysia and Thailand

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Star Cruises has announced SuperStar Libra’s latest deployment from 3 September onwards with triple homeports in Kuala Lumpur via Port Klang and Penang in Malaysia, as well as in Phuket, Thailand, with two cruises per week, including the 3-nights Kuala Lumpur (via Port Klang)/Phuket/Penang cruise or the 4-nights Kuala Lumpur (via Port Klang)/Langkawi/Phuket/Penang cruise. With the introduction of Star Cruises’ multiple homeports and fly-cruise options, guests in Southeast Asia as well as the region will now have more flexibility and easy access to take a cruise with SuperStar Libra from any of these three well-connected key cities, especially Kuala Lumpur, which is now a major aviation hub in Asia.

“We are extremely delighted with SuperStar Libra’s new deployment in Kuala Lumpur, together with Penang and Phuket,” said Ang Moo Lim, President of Star Cruises. “Star Cruises is optimistic this will grow our source markets in Southeast Asia, allowing guests more access to multiple homeports and concurrently developing and stimulating the growth of the cruise tourism sector across borders through fly-cruise options.”

Throughout Star Cruises’ outstanding long history and strong connection with Malaysia and Thailand, Star Cruises had pioneered the cruising industry in the region for over 24 years and will continue to do so, bringing in millions of tourists and tourism dollars, growing both the local cruise tourism and international/inbound travel via the fly-cruise travel market.

With Penang previously as the only homeport for SuperStar Libra in Malaysia, domestic travellers nationwide and international passengers can now celebrate with more options to either embark from the historically rich culture city of Penang or the modern bustling city of Kuala Lumpur via its new main homeport in Port Klang, Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur remains one the key gateway to Malaysia and also the Southeast Asian region with an expected targeted inbound tourism of over 30 million in 2017. In Thailand, Phuket is also a renowned destination for many international tourists and Star Cruises is now opening up options for travellers from the island, both domestic and from the fly-cruise travel to hop a cruise with SuperStar Libra.

The 42,285 gross ton SuperStar Libra offers extensive onboard programs to guests, including live international performances, shopping at luxury retailers and duty-free shops, taking part in various sports and recreational activities, relaxing at the spas, swimming pools and jacuzzis, as well as a wide range of shore excursions at various popular destinations. Besides that, SuperStar Libra also offers a wide range of onboard accommodations to suit diverse needs and budget from the spacious cabins of the Executive Suites with their own personal living room space to the amazing sea view of Oceanview Staterooms and more.

Celebrity Cruises appoints first ever female Captain in the Galapagos

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

For the first time in cruise industry history a female seafarer will navigate the rich archipelago of the Galapagos as Captain. A native of Ecuador, Nathaly Albán will command the ultra-exclusive Celebrity Xploration; as Captain of the recently revitalized catamaran.

With a total of 12 years’ experience sailing throughout the Galapagos, Captain Albán has worked on several ships in the region, first joining the Celebrity family in 2006 as third officer onboard the 100-guest Celebrity Xpedition.

Continuing the brand’s dedication to advancing the role of women in leadership, Albán’s appointment follows that of Celebrity Summit’s own Captain Kate McCue.

“Empowering strong women and elevating them to deserved leadership roles is a cause that is close to my heart, and one that Celebrity Cruises truly values,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “When the opportunity presented itself to promote Nathaly, who radiates passion and love for her job and for Celebrity, to captain, the decision was easy.”

Albán was only one of six women in her graduating class at La Escuela de la Marina Mercante Nacional in Ecuador. Prior to graduating, she held a variety of roles in the maritime industry, most notably serving in the FLOPEC Tanker Fleet of the Ecuadorian Navy. Following her graduation, Albán worked on several ships in the region, including Celebrity Xpedition.

"Simply put, Captain Nathaly Albán was the ideal candidate for the job and we believe in celebrating and advancing our brightest talent,” said Patrik Dahlgren, SVP of Global Marine Operations, Celebrity Cruises. "Our goal is to attract, develop and retain the best people from many different regions of the world and backgrounds. Our industry has typically been very male dominated - yet we believe in inclusiveness and opening up opportunities for all."

When asked how it feels to be named captain of Celebrity Xploration, Albán responded: “It is a great honor and privilege – I’m overwhelmed with positive emotion. I told my family many times that I would be wearing white one day and be the first woman to serve as a captain of a ship in the Galapagos, now it’s happening and I’m committed to delivering the very best experience for all guests onboard.”

Albán will begin her new role on Celebrity Xploration in August of 2017.

Discerning travelers now have even more options in the region, with the recent addition of two distinct new ships, Celebrity Xploration and Celebrity Xperience, which began sailing in March 2017, following a multi-million dollar refresh per vessel for signature modern luxury enhancements. Guests can continue to sail onboard Celebrity's state-of-the-art Celebrity Xpedition as well. Together, the three ships offer six unique itineraries to 15 islands with more than 30 ports of call, and multiple packages to choose from.

AmaWaterways announces Godmother for AmaLea

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

AmaWaterways has announced that highly-respected travel industry leader Filomena Andre will serve as Godmother of its newest European ship, AmaLea. Andre will “bless” the 154-guest ship alongside AmaWaterways’ executive team during a christening ceremony in Vilshofen, Germany in May 2018.

“We choose the Godmothers for our ships very carefully. It is essential to us that they share our passion for growing the river cruise industry and our commitment to providing the most memorable vacations for our guests,” said AmaWaterways’ Executive Vice President and Co-Owner Kristin Karst. “Filomena is such a well-respected travel industry leader and we are thrilled to welcome her as Godmother of the stunning AmaLea. We can’t wait to celebrate onboard with her next year!”

Andre has served as a travel industry leader for more than three decades, beginning her career as a travel agent and quickly moving into management positions. In 2010, she joined the Automobile Club of Southern California as vice president for AAA Travel Products & Services, preceded by a long career as an executive at Signature Travel Network. Today, Andre oversees travel product management, strategy and performance for the Auto Club organization, the largest AAA affiliate in the country. Recognized as a strong advocate for retail travel, Andre is also a member of several industry advisory boards.

“It is such an unexpected honor to be selected as Godmother of AmaLea,” said Andre. “Rudi, Kristin, Gary and the entire AmaWaterways family have the innovative mindset and passion needed to push the river cruising industry forward. That, together with their exemplary customer service, is what I’ve admired most about their teams in the office and onboard their ships.”

Sister ship to Karst’s namesake, AmaKristina, AmaLea boasts the most advanced design of any river cruise vessel currently in operation. The ship will feature the line’s exclusive Twin Balconies in most staterooms – offering panoramic views from both a French and outside balcony. The ship also features four suites, interconnecting staterooms and triple occupancy staterooms designed for multi-generation families. Guests will enjoy gourmet dining onboard AmaLea, with free-flowing wines at multiple venues – including The Chef’s Table; a heated sun deck swimming pool with a swim-up bar; fitness center and spa; complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the ship; in-room Internet and Entertainment On Demand; and a fleet of bicycles carried onboard for guests to enjoy complimentary, taking their own path or participating in guided tours.

In addition, guests sailing aboard AmaLea will enjoy expanded biking and hiking options next cruise season – giving adventure enthusiasts the opportunity to explore in more ports than ever before. Also debuting in 2018, AmaWaterways’ complimentary ‘Sip and Sail’ cocktail hour will serve premium beer, wine and spirits in the ships’ cocktail lounge each evening before dinner.

AmaLea will start her inaugural season with a series of six Tulip Time cruises from Amsterdam before hosting seven-night cruises on the Danube River between Vilshofen and Budapest with optional three-night pre- or post-cruise land programs offered in Munich and Prague. Topping off the 2018 sailing season will be four iconic Christmas Market Cruises on the Danube.

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