Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa is coming
onboard Crystal Serenity this May to serve as in-person Executive Chef in Silk
Road and the Sushi Bar, his speciality restaurants with Crystal Cruises. The
world-famous Japanese chef plans to give cooking instruction, personally
prepare dishes, take pictures with guests and sign autographs during a 12-night
western European/Mediterranean voyage departing Dover on 24 May 2012. Crystal Cruises is part of the Tokyo based shipping giant Nippon Yusen Kaisha.
P&O Cruises, the UK based contemporary market unit in Carnival Corp & plc group, has cancelled a world cruise planned for 2013 and decided to deploy the 115,000 gross ton vessel in the Caribbean instead on fly cruises.
"Based on the success of our recent world cruise programmes, we have added more world cruise capacity for 2013. Due to current economic circumstances however, we are seeing a growing preference for shorter cruises which leads us to believe that it could become more difficult to fill an enlarged world cruise programme next year. In order to recognise this situation, we have taken the decision to redeploy Azura from her scheduled world cruise in 2013 and instead operate her in the Caribbean," a spokesperson for P&O Cruises said.
In the autumn, the company revised the itinerary of the 30,000 gross to Adonia for autumn 2012, whereby the ship will sail from Southampton throughout the autumn rather than operating fly cruises in the Mediterranean.
When Thomson Cruises’ Managing Director
Fraser Ellacott said in an interview that he would unveil “exciting plans” in
the next three to four months, could he refer to the introduction of Pacific
Sun that P&O Cruises Australia have sold with delivery to undisclosed
buyers in the summer of 2013?
“For the longer term, clearly we have a
need to modernise,” he told Travel Weekly earlier this week.
Pacific Sun was built in 1986 as Jubilee of
Carnival Cruise Lines and it is of 47,262 gross tons and it has 1,896 lower
berths. Thomson currently has four ships thatall cater for the UK market; Thomson
Dream, Thomson Spirit, Thomson Destiny and Thomson Celebration - plus one ship
branded as Island Escape. These were built between 1982 and 1986 and range in
size from 34,000 to 56,000 gross tons.
Thomson Cruises does not own any of the
vessels but operates them on long time charters from their owners, such as the
Cyprus based Louis group.
Thomson Cruises, which is part of TUI Travel
group, is looking to modernise its fleet both with potential new ships and
upgrades to existing ships, the company’s Managing Director tells Travel Weekly.
Managing director Fraser Ellacott disclosed
that there would be news about “exciting plans” for the UK’s third largest
cruise company in three to four months time. The company operates four ships under the Thomson
Cruises brand name - Thomson Dream, Thomson Spirit, Thomson Destiny and Thomson Celebration - plus one ship branded as Island Escape on the UK market. The
vessels are second generation cruise ships, all built between 1982 and 1986 and
range in size from 34,000 to 56,000 gross tons. All ships are operated on time charter from their respective owners.
“For the longer term, clearly we have a
need to modernise,” he told Travel Weekly. When asked if this would involve work to
the existing fleet and new tonnage, he replied that both were under
consideration. The development flowed from a strategic review of the company he
undertook when taking the helm nine months ago.
Ellacott is also looking to the Middle East
and North Africa as possible new destinations from summer 2013, identifying
Libya, Lebanon, Algeria and the Dead Sea as offering history and culture that
would appeal to British passengers in the wake of the Arab Spring.
Ellacott said it was too early to gauge the
impact of the Costa Concordia tragedy on business, saying the industry would
learn any lessons to emerge from what he described as a “significant event”. In the meantime, he is anxious to highlight
the key USP’s of the Tui UK & Ireland cruise brand, such as fly-cruises
from 22 regional airports, tips and service charges included in the up-front
price, destination-rich itineraries and more flexible cruise and stay options.
He described feedback from customer service
questionnaires in 2011 as the best ever and continuing to improve, with around
half of passengers on repeat cruises with the company. “Once people have tried cruising with us,
very few don’t go back,” he said. A return to ex-UK sailings this summer with
Thomson Spirit offering departures from Newcastle and Harwich was proving
popular with customers in the north of England, added Ellacott according to the report.
With reference to news reports on discounts and promotional offers, Costa Cruises feels bound to point out that the company has never offered any discount on future cruises to guests who were on board the Costa Concordia for the cruise of January 13th and involved in the tragic accident. The information published by a newspaper and reported in various news outlets is totally unfounded, as is confirmed by the English passenger who was quoted by the newspaper.
Costa Cruises reiterates that after the tragic accident the company's priority has always been to provide the maximum possible assistance and solace to the people involved. From the outset the company has been fully aware of and saddened by the suffering and hardship endured by guests and crew members and has acted with this firmly borne in mind.
On a joint basis with rescue teams, the Company worked to provide evacuated passengers and crew members with all the necessary assistance to ensure they were able to return home. Subsequently it contacted guests by telephone, after they had returned home, to check on their physical and emotional wellbeing, and to confirm that they will receive a refund for the cruise and all material expenses relating to it.
As already announced, the company welcomes discussion with its guests and all consumer protection associations to determine indemnity for the hardship endured, with the support of tourism sector trade associations with which it has been in contact for days. Driven by its sense of ethics and the values of fairness and responsibility which guide it, the Company has also given all customers with bookings for future Costa cruises the possibility, if feeling afraid, to cancel their cruise booking by giving notice no later than February 7th. All travel agents who work with the Company were informed of this days ago.
Costa Cruises would also like to clarify that starting on the day after the accident, all advertising initiatives planned were cancelled out of respect for those affected by this tragedy. The Company was unable to stop only one postal promotion which had already been sent to some customers at the end of December.
Costa Cruises is incredulous at the disgraceful and unfounded assertions made about the Company without any form of verification.