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Stena Line is expanding on the Baltic Sea

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Stena Line acquires five ferry routes between Sweden and Germany to Latvia. The three routes, Travemünde to Ventspils and Liepaja as well as the route Nynäshamn-Ventspils have been acquired from Scandlines GmbH. Moreover, Stena Line has acquired Scandlines GmbH's vessels and operation on the routes between Trelleborg to Sassnitz and Rostock, which makes Stena Line the sole owner. The acquisitions are part of Stena Line's strategy of expansion into growth markets.

"Through the acquisition of the routes from Germany and Sweden to the Baltic States, we are increasing our presence in the southern Baltic and expanding our offering for both freight and passengers. Our ambition is to continue developing the new operations in order to give our customers better service and capacity," says Gunnar Blomdahl, CEO for Stena Line.

The background to the acquisition is the strong growth in sea transports to and from the Baltic region, which is expected to show continued growth. Three vessels in total, of which two are chartered, operate the routes to the Baltic States. 

"Through the new routes, we are supplementing our existing network and can offer transports to and from the Baltic States," says Gunnar Blomdahl.

Apart from the purchase of the three routes between Germany and the Baltic States, Stena Line is also acquiring the vessel Sassnitz and the operations on the routes from Trelleborg to Rostock and Sassnitz. These routes have previous been run jointly with Scandlines GmbH, via Stena Line's subsidiary Scandlines AB, under the Scandlines Hansa brand. Stena Line will now be the sole owner of the routes, which are currently operated by four ferries. The Trelleborg routes as well as the new routes to Latvia will operate under the Stena Line brand.

In total, the transaction concerns about 300 employees in Germany and the Baltic States. The staff that are employed with Scandlines in Germany, Lithuania, Denmark and Latvia and who work on the specified routes will be offered new positions with Stena Lines. 

The deal is on the assumption of approval from the German competition authorities.

CruiseBritain expects 17% rise in embarkations at British ports

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

The year 2012 will see increased numbers of cruises sailing from UK ports as the appeal of basing ships in Britain grows.  CruiseBritain reports that initial estimates of cruise embarkations for 2012 show a rise of 17% year-on-year.  In addition, Round Britain cruises focusing on calls to British and Irish ports will rise to over 100 departures for the first time and show a projected growth of 33% since 2011, the organisation said in a statement.

A total of 666 cruises are currently scheduled to depart from British shores carrying embarking holidaymakers as far afield as South America, the Caribbean, Baltic, Mediterranean and America. Closer to home, the Round Britain sailings will take cruise passengers to a diverse selection of British and Irish ports including Tyne, Isles of Scilly, Kirkwall, Liverpool, Milford Haven and Jersey.

"There are 20 cruise lines scheduled to operate Round Britain cruises," commented Kate O'Hara, Chair of Cruise Britain. 'The increasing appeal of Britain as a cruise destination can be seen both in the rise in cruise numbers and also in the wide variety of cruise lines. Britain's ports will host some of the world's largest cruise ships from lines such as Royal Caribbean, mid-size vessels from Crystal and Saga, boutique cruise lines such as Silversea and expedition ships from Voyages of Discovery and Noble Caledonia. Britain is a unique destination that offers complete circumnavigation and a huge variety of attractions for passengers.'

The core season remains May -September but the more off-peak months are showing growth, particularly in the autumn and early winter months.  'The main departure ports continue to be Southampton and Dover' added O'Hara' but it is good to see the growth of the profile of ports such as Harwich, Tyne and Portsmouth. Passengers have more choice than ever before and this reflects the diversity of British attractions and the options that the country offers to cruise line.

Norwegian pilot strike hampers cruise itineraries

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A strike by drivers of pilot vessels in Norwaythat escalated this morning means that pilots are unable to board and disembarkvessels, which causes disruption to shipping itineraries, the Norwegian CoastalAdministration (Kystverket) said in a statement.

A total of 103 pilot boats have beenidled by the strike this morning, whichis part of a larger public sector paydispute. Already on 24 May, pilots on the Oslo fjord joined the strike action:they are employed by the municipally owned Port of Oslo.

Vessels that have a dispension from usingpilots operate normally. These include the ferry services of Color Line, StenaLine and DFDS from Oslo. However, cruise liners and most other ships have toembark pilots

IMO incorporates recommendations from cruise industry operational safety review in meeting outputs

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has announced that the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee incorporated a number of recommendations from the ongoing Cruise Industry Operational Safety Review in its meetings in London, being held May 16 to 25. The committee focused extensive attention on passenger ship safety and considered a number of recommendations developed by the Review, launched on behalf of the global cruise industry in January, along with other safety recommendations submitted by IMO member governments.

"CLIA commends the IMO, its Secretary-General, the Maritime Safety Committee and the 170 IMO member States around the world for their ongoing commitment to working with the industry to improve the safety of passengers and crew, which is the number one priority of CLIA members," said Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA. "We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the IMO and a wide range of stakeholders to undertake further continuous consideration, development and implementation of measures to strengthen our industry’s safety culture."

At the meeting, the IMO put forth immediate actions to enhance passenger ship safety, with the Review the source of many of the items. The Review includes a comprehensive assessment of the critical human factors and operational aspects of maritime safety and the development of comprehensive best practices for industry-wide implementation.

Independence of the Seas to feature running project

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Staying fit and healthy on holiday is now part of the daily routine with a new running programme on board Royal Caribbean International’s Southampton based Independence of the Seas.  Launching on Saturday 2 June 2012, the new programme, Royal Caribbean Runners, accredited by the official England Athletics running project, Run England will be available exclusively onboard Independence of the Seas and is open to all guests, the company said in a statement.


"The adrenalin-focused cruise line has teamed up with Sport England and Run England to deliver a new on board running programme designed to aid holidaymakers in getting, and staying, fit. As well as running, the cruise line is credited with bringing sports such as surfing, rock climbing and ice skating to life at sea through its comprehensive on-board facilities."


"With such a significant year of sport for the UK, Royal Caribbean Runners encourages guests of all abilities to take part and consider running and walking as part of their everyday lives.  Olympic gold medalist and Royal Caribbean fan, Sally Gunnell has been backing the new onboard programme and has created a motivational video which will be available to guests on board.  Sally’s advice follows her own personal experiences on active family holidays with Royal Caribbean International."

Sally Gunnell explains: “Running in the fresh air is one of the most refreshing and energising activities you can do – there is no excuse not to pack your trainers for your holiday and give it a go. The new Royal Caribbean Runners programme is all about encouraging people to have a go for the first time, and see how running in a group is both motivating and more fun. It is so easy to boost or rediscover your fitness, and a holiday is the perfect time to rejuvenate and get into new healthy habits.”

Royal Caribbean International’s ship, Independence of the Seas, features a jogging track that stretches around the ship – just under five laps of the circuit is a one mile run. Plus, the ship also features one of the largest gyms at sea packed with over 120 machines, as well as other fitness activities such as a full size boxing ring, rock climbing wall, surf simulator and ice skating rink. The Royal Caribbean Runners programme brings to life yet more of the cruise line’s active-holiday choices on offer.

Runs are led by Run England trained members of the sports activity team on board Independence of the Seas, who have also joined Sally Gunnell for running sessions and learnt first-hand how to motivate people to become sporting stars.  Guests can find out full details of the Royal Caribbean Runners groups by talking to the onboard sports team or in the daily cruise compass.


Dominic Paul, Vice President and group managing director, Royal Caribbean International, EMEA – and competing triathlete - commented: “With the greatest show on Earth coming to London in just a few months we’re seeing that increasingly guests make more of an effort to stay active while on holiday. From sports courts to surf simulators Independence of the Seas is renowned for the huge variety of its fitness facilities and with the addition of the Royal Caribbean Runners programme the entire onboard Sports Team is eager to start putting the training tips garnered from Sally Gunnell into practice in hopes of encouraging guests to take their first running steps. Fitness enthusiasts will also find the facilities and people on hand to make sure your holiday delivers a boost to your usual training routine.”


As well as the Royal Caribbean Runners groups on board Independence of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International has also supported Run England running groups on land by providing incentives to encourage new groups, and existing groups to complete weekly training plans. Any guest who joins a Royal Caribbean Runners group during their cruise, will also receive a free running t-shirt when they sign up to a Run England group back home.