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Regent Seven Seas Cruises to refinance debt, gives guidance for rest of year

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Regent Seven Seas Cruises, which is part of the Miami based Prestige Cruise Holdings group, plans to refinance an existing credit facility with a new one and the company also gave guidance with regards of the second quarter and second half of the year.

The company plans to publish its second quarter interims on or about 9 August.

Regent said in a statement will hold talks with banks today to refinance its existing credit facility with a new $340 Million senior secured credit facility. The meeting is preliminary in nature, and at this time we have not committed to complete a refinancing, nor can we state the terms on which any such refinancing would be achieved. The Company is also releasing preliminary financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2012.


  • Revenue for the second quarter of 2012 is expected to be a record amount between $130.3 million and $132.3 million compared to $122.8 million in the second quarter of 2011.
  • Net Yield for the second quarter of 2012 is expected to be up between 2 percent and 3 percent driven by an 8.5 percentage point increase in the occupancy rate. This increase is expected to be partially offset by additional product costs associated with the increased inclusive product offerings we added to our European cruise packages in light of the softer European market.
  • Capacity during the second quarter of 2012 decreased to 163,170 available passenger cruise days, approximately 1.1 percent versus the second quarter of 2011, due to the scheduled dry-dock of the Seven Seas Navigator.

Commenting on the second quarter preliminary financial results, the Company’s Chairman and CEO, Frank Del Rio, stated, “We are pleased with our expected second quarter revenue and Net Yield increases over the prior year considering the backdrop of a challenging European environment. In order to drive demand for our softer European sailings, we chose to include additional value in our already industry leading all-inclusive product offerings rather than discount cruise fares"

"This non-discounting strategy is consistent with our longstanding go-to-market philosophy and reinforces our brand’s high value proposition, but it increased product offering costs for the quarter. We believe that our steadfast refusal to discount our luxury product has positioned the brand well for the upcoming year. This can be seen in our booking patterns for 2013 sailings as occupancy build is stable while pricing is up in the high single digits compared to same time last year for 2012."

Other preliminary key operating metrics for the second quarter of 2012 compared to the prior year are as follows:

  • Net Cruise Cost, excluding Fuel and Other expense, is expected to be between $46.6 million and $47.6 million compared to $44.5 million for the second quarter of 2011. The change is expected to be primarily due to increased hotel services costs driven by an increase in occupancy of 8.5 percentage points as well as an expected increase in Deck and Engine expenses associated with a new five year partnership with Wartsila to maintain the engines throughout the fleet.
  • Fuel expense, net of the impact of settled fuel hedges, is expected to be between $10.1 million and $10.6 million compared to $8.6 million for the second quarter of 2011. As of June 30, 2012, the company has hedged approximately 80% of the remaining expected fuel consumption for 2012, 52% of expected fuel consumption for 2013 and 28% of expected fuel consumption for 2014.
  • Other expense is expected to be between $5.4 million and $6.2 million compared to $5.3 million for the second quarter of 2011. The expected 2012 increase is due to expenses associated with the Seven Seas Navigator dry-docking.
  • Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be between $19 million and $20 million for the second quarter of 2012, compared to $24.6 million for the second quarter of 2011. Excluding Fuel, net of the impact of settled fuel hedges, and Other expense(1), Adjusted EBITDA for the second quarter of 2012 is expected to decline between $2.4 million and $3.4 million versus the second quarter of 2011 primarily due to the additional product costs associated with the increased inclusive product offerings due to the soft market in Europe.
  • Capital expenditures for the second quarter of 2012 are expected to be between $8 million and $10 million compared with $7.8 million in the second quarter of 2011.
  • Cash balances are expected to be between $106 million and $107 million at the end of the second quarter of 2012 compared with $97.3 million at the end of the second quarter of 2011.

These second-quarter preliminary results are based on management's initial analysis of the results of operations for the quarter ended 30 June 2012 and are subject to change based on the completion of the Company's normal quarter-end review process. The Company plans to report final results for the quarter ended 30 June, 2012 on or about 9 August , 2012.

European "Sustainable Cruise Project" in full swing

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

The “Sustainable Cruise” project co-funded by the European Commission by means of the “LIFE+” Programme, the EU’s funding instrument for innovative or demonstration environmental projects, is well and truly underway.

The Project Manager is Costa Cruises, the largest Italian travel group and Europe’s number one cruise company, which devised the proposal and presented it to the EU together with Ce.Si.S.P. (Centro interuniversitario per lo Sviluppo della Sostenibilità dei Prodotti or Academic Research Center for Sustainable Product Development) and the Italian enterprises VOMM, Contento Trade, Design Innovation, RINA Services and Medcruise, the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports.

The aim of the project is to provide stimulus for the implementation of the EU Directive on waste on board ships and to create incentives for waste reduction, recycling collection, and reuse.

The 114,500 gross ton and 3,780-passenger Costa Pacifica, which was built in the Genoa/Sestri Ponente shipyard and entered service at the end of May 2009, was chosen to pilot this, the world’s first ever shipboard experimental project involving the use of innovative techniques and methods for several types of waste – packaging, biodegradable (organic) waste and paper – with very specific objectives regarding reduction at the source and recycling.

The scope of the project goes beyond shipboard application and also includes coordination with European port waste disposal facilities so as to increase opportunities for recycling and reuse, with a specific brief to promote a Euro-Mediterranean network of ports fostering cooperation in the field of waste management. This is where Medcruise is particularly involved.

“Sustainable Cruise” also aims to set up a new voluntary certification scheme for shipboard waste treatment – and its effects in terms of CO2 reduction – possibly paving the way for the introduction of specific EU environmental legislation for shipping.

“We are very proud to be managing this highly innovative project on board the Costa Pacifica, which will be the pilot ship for new models of management of certain types of solid waste,” commented Costa Cruises Vice President Quality Standards Compliance & Auditing Ernesto Gori. “The fact that we are the first cruise company in the world to carry out such a landmark experiment, which will lead to even higher standards in the treatment of shipboard waste, is further tangible evidence of our environmental excellence”

The “Sustainable Cruise” project dovetails with Costa Cruises’ own waste management policy, which has been applied fleetwide for some time now; Costa has a policy of 100% separation of solid waste on board, with separate storage and disposal of the following 7 streams: glass, plastic, metal, food, paper, ceramics, aluminum.

With regard to the details of the “Sustainable Cruise” on the Costa Pacifica, the project includes intervention in the area of packaging – cardboard boxes, glass bottles, and plastic bottles and containers – so as to reduce this type of waste at the origin, with the involvement of product suppliers.

Another area of the project concerns wet waste, i.e. food and other organic waste, which – on a ship like the Costa Pacifica carrying up to almost 5,000 Guests and crew – accounts for a sizeable 22% of total waste. In compliance with international MARPOL laws (Annex V) protecting the marine environment, at present food waste is collected and processed by special equipment (shredders, crushers, compactors) to reduce the volume before it is discharged overboard as fish food. Thanks to the state-of-the-art technology used by the “Sustainable Cruise” project, the “pulp” produced from food waste will now be processed and turned into a useful by-product (e.g. compost).

The third category involved in the project, namely paper, accounts for about 16% of the total waste generated by a ship like the Costa Pacifica. “Sustainable Cruise” has already analyzed the waste flow (supply, storage, use and disposal) of paper on board the vessel. Work is now focusing on devising processes that can be applied so as to reduce paper at the source, reuse it or dispose of the waste sustainably.

More details of the European “Sustainable Cruise” project and regular updates regarding the results of the work are posted

The “Sustainable Cruise” project reflects Costa Cruises’ environmental compliance excellence. Not only does the Company comply with all the (domestic and international) environmental laws and regulations in force, but it but also voluntarily pre-empts and proactively implements possible solutions designed to enhance environmental protection. The environmental management system implemented on all Costa’s ships is developed in accordance with the requirements of UNI EN ISO 14001/2004. The ships in the Costa fleet have been assigned RINA’s Green Star notation certifying that they are operated in compliance with environmental protection standards that are stricter than the provisions of the international MARPOL Convention.

Fincantieri will build an innovative ferry for Société des traversiers du Québec

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Fincantieri, one of the world's leading shipbuilders, has been awarded a contract to build a latest generation ferry by Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ), a Canadian company that operates in maritime passenger transport. 

The contract, awarded following a public tender in which major competitors took part, is worth CAD 148 million, and has been signed by Georges Farrah, STQ Chairman and CEO, and Gabriele Cocco, Executive Senior Vice President Fincantieri Merchant Vessels. The contract has not needed the support of Italian export credit agencies and has benefited from funding allocated to a program of major projects being financed by the Government of Quebec. 

In January 2010 the Quebec Ministry of Transport had awarded the contract for naval architecture and engineering services to Deltamarin/Navtec, a Finnish-Canadian consortium, which drew up preliminary plans in preparation for the project's tender. The public tender for the ship's final design and construction took place between January and June 2012. 

Over coming months Fincantieri will work on the detailed design of the new ship, which is scheduled for delivery in Canada in late 2014.

The ferry will be a concentration of technology and innovation, adopting the most advanced solutions in terms of energy saving and low environmental impact. It will be equipped with a diesel electric propulsion system, like on modern cruise ships. The four diesel power generators will be dual fuel and can run on either gas (Liquid Natural Gas - LNG) or marine diesel oil. Two electric propulsion engines will operate azimuth thrusters, each equipped with two counter-rotating propellers, which together with transverse propellers, will give the ferry exceptional maneuverability. These characteristics, combined with a complex and extensive system of ramps and doors at both bow and aft, will allow the vessel to load and unload very quickly. The ship will be certified in the highest class designated by international registries for this type of service and will also be in Ice class 1 A and propulsion class 1 AS, the highest level awarded by the classification registries.

The ferry will be used for multiple services on the Matane-Baie-Comeau-Godbout route, which employs 115 people and, with 1,600 sailings a year, allows more than 200,000 passengers and over 116,000 vehicles to travel from shore to shore. It provides year-round links between Gaspé and North Shore, and is a tourist attraction with a significant return for retailers in the areas served. It also plays a vital role in the economy and industry of both regions.

Georges Farrah, STQ Chairman and CEO, said: "I am very happy with the outcome of the very demanding design and construction process for this new ship due to start service in Matane in three years’ time. At 130 meters long and with a capacity for 800 passengers and 180 cars, the new ferry will be much larger and better equipped than the "Camille-Marcoux" that it will replace. Its larger hold capacity will be suitable for all types of vehicles. The crossing will be a more pleasant experience for passengers."

Gabriele Cocco, Executive Senior Vice President Fincantieri Merchant Vessels, commented: "Fincantieri is particularly proud of this success which confirms it at the technical forefront and as leader in the high-tech ferry sector. From today, as well as the Mediterranean, the Baltic and North Sea, we shall also be present in North America with an extremely innovative product, the first to be used in a region with particular sensitivity to environmental conservation, and which will ensure considerable energy savings and a minimum level of pollution."

Holland America Line to feature new itineraries for 2013 Europe cruise season

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Lucky seven is the magic number for Holland America Line in summer 2013 when the line deploys seven ships to Europe and features seven maiden ports of call. The seven ships sailing on more than 53 unique European itineraries - ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Prinsendam, ms Rotterdam, ms Ryndam and ms Veendam - will cruise throughout the region on 107 departures that span from the northern tip of Norway to the Black Sea and across the Mediterranean.

"While the popularity of European cruising continues to grow, the region is opening new ports, which enables us to offer more maiden calls and exciting new itineraries," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. "Whether it's a shorter cruise or a longer Collectors' Voyage, Holland America Line is proud to offer comprehensive experiences around the world, and these new European itineraries are sure to entice any cruise enthusiast."

Ranging from seven to 64 days, these cruises allow travelers the opportunity to explore a variety of destinations, from iconic ports of call as well as smaller, less-traveled and equally fascinating port cities.

The 2013 Europe cruise season reflects Holland America Line's focus on destination diversity, timeless appeal and quality. Maiden port calls include Alanya, Turkey; Alcudia (Mallorca), Spain; Galway and Killybegs, Ireland; Hydra and Igoumenitsa, Greece; and Sassnitz, Germany. A total of 20 overnight stays at some of Europe's popular ports provide guests with more time to explore several of the world's most interesting destinations. Overnight calls include Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Barcelona, Spain; Bordeaux, France; Copenhagen, Denmark; Dublin, Ireland; Venice, Italy; Hamburg, Germany; St Petersburg, Russia; Istanbul, Turkey and more.

Notable new itineraries

Ryndam's seven-day Turkish Explorer voyage sails round-trip from Piraeus (Athens), Greece, with calls that enable guests to experience the landmarks and highlights of Turkey and Greece, including an overnight stay in Istanbul, Turkey. The ship departs Sept. 7, 21 and Oct. 5. Cruise fares begin at $1,099 per person, double occupancy.

The seven-day Homeric Quest voyage also aboard Ryndam sails round-trip from Piraeus (Athens) and is perfect for any Greece lover looking for an in-depth exploration of the country. Guests will experience five different Greek ports, as well as visit the ancient city of Ephesus in Turkey, which was once ruled by the Persians and Alexander the Great. The ship departs Sept. 14, 28 and Oct. 12. Cruise fares begin at $1,099 per person, double occupancy.

Eurodam's 11-day Mediterranean Odyssey voyage sails round-trip from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, with an overnight stay at Piraeus (Athens). Guest can explore the best of Greece during port calls at Kerkira (Corfu), Katakolon (Olympia) and Santorini, Greece, as well as two calls at the Italian ports of Messina and Naples. The ship departs April 29. Cruise fares begin at $1,499 per person, double occupancy.

The Noordam's 11-day Adriatic Explorer voyage sails between Civitavecchia (Rome) and Piraeus (Athens), and features a fascinating mixture of ports that were once home to the legendary Roman and Greek empires. With overnights in Venice and Piraeus (Athens), guests can take their time exploring these culturally rich cities. The ship departs April 25, May 28, August 4, Sept. 6 and October 9. Cruise fares begin at $1,599 per person, double occupancy.

Also new for 2013 is the 11-day Ancient Mysteries voyage sailing between Piraeus (Athens) and Istanbul aboard ms Noordam. This itinerary offers a unique experience with a call at Port Said, Egypt, the gateway to Cairo. In Cairo, guests can visit the Giza Pyramids, the Sphinx or the renowned Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. During an overnight stay at Istanbul, guests can take time to explore the historic Turkish Bazaar, known for its exotic spices and other Turkish delights. The cruise departs May 6 and 17 and Aug. 15 and 26. Cruise fares begin at $1,699 per person, double occupancy.

Prinsendam's 16-day Mediterranean Explorer itinerary sails from Barcelona to Piraeus (Athens). This cruise gives guests the opportunity to visit many intimate, unique ports such as Sète and Toulon, France; Brindisi, Italy; and Igoumenitsa and Hydra, Greece, while still experiencing popular ports like Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; Kotor, Montenegro, and Rhodes, Greece. The ship departs Sept. 16. Cruise fares begin at $3,499 per person, double occupancy.

Popular itineraries return

Other ships calling in Europe in 2013 include the line's newest vessel, Nieuw Amsterdam, and Veendam and Rotterdam. The 2,106-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam will sail a series of seven- to 12-day cruises throughout the Mediterranean, visiting some of the region's most popular ports, from Marseille (Provence), France, to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Rotterdam sails a series of seven- to 18-day voyages throughout Europe. Itineraries allow guests to explore the gems of the Baltic, experience the beauty of Norway's fjord-scalloped coastline and discover the Canary Islands.

In July, Veendam sails a 35-day Voyage of the Vikings roundtrip from Boston, Mass., tracing the path of past explorers across the Atlantic to ports in Greenland, Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands.

Longer voyages offer exceptional value
For true explorers seeking an in-depth experience at an exceptional value, extended Collectors' Voyages ranging from 14 to 33 days offer the ultimate European cruise experience. These artfully crafted, longer cruises combine back-to-back itineraries, enabling guests to visit more ports and spend extra time exploring centuries of art, history and culture. Per-person cruise fares begin at $1,799, double occupancy.

A highlight of the Mediterranean season comes spring 2013 when ms Prinsendam, the line's smallest and most intimate ship -- just 835 guests, departs Fort Lauderdale, Fla., March 14, 2013, on its roundtrip 64-day Grand Mediterranean Voyage. Visiting 32 ports in 14 countries, the itinerary includes overnights in seven world-class ports including Funchal, Madeira; Istanbul, Turkey; Piraeus, Greece; Venice and Sorrento, Italy; and Barcelona, Spain. Per-person cruise fares for the full cruise begin at $7,999, double occupancy. Seven shorter segments are also available ranging from 14-to 46-days.

Engaging unique experiences

Additional exciting Holland America Line Europe itineraries enable guests to be among the few to cross the Arctic Circle, transit Germany's Kiel Canal, cruise the Gironde Estuary into Bordeaux, France, or explore the world's third largest volcano with an overnight stay at Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Other exciting itineraries include visiting the ancient pyramids in Egypt, along with the holy lands in Jerusalem and Nazareth. Those interested in taking a dip in the famous "Blue Lagoon," Iceland's unique geothermal seawater, can choose the Icelandic Adventure aboard Prinsendam, which includes an overnight stay at Reykjavik.

Scottish travel agent head attacks Carnival UK commission policy

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

The head of Scotland’s largest travel agency has described the way agents have been treated by leading cruise operator Carnival UK as ‘deplorable’ following last year’s commission cut, Travel Weekly reports in its emailed newsletter.

Bill Munro, chairman of Barrhead Travel, spoke to Travel Weekly after Carnival chairman Micky Arison said the move to 5% saw it lose only big-discounting agents who were “not good for business”. Munro claimed Carnival UK had, in effect, put the kind of cap on agents’ earnings imposed on independent petrol stations. He said: “It doesn’t matter how many pies, packets of crisps or fuel they sell, earnings are capped.


“CCS [Complete Cruise Solutions, Carnival UK sales arm] is saying it doesn’t want us to make any money out of selling its product. If it pays only 5%, all it can expect is order takers, not entrepreneurial agents creatively marketing, which is what agents do for other lines.”

Munro said Carnival Corporation & plc's latest trading result – a 96% profit slump, which was blamed on fuel prices and the Costa Concordia disaster – was “exactly what it deserved." 

“The way they treat the industry is deplorable,” he added. “The sooner they start paying productive agents who actively market their products and discount very little the better. That would be welcomed with open arms, instead of being treated in this appalling manner.”

Responding to claims by Arison and Carnival UK CEO David Dingle that trading was holding up well, Munro said: “I don’t believe it for a moment.” Giles Hawke, Carnival UK sales director, accepted 5% had not worked for all agents, but said: “We are not capping earnings. We have agents doing multi-millions of pounds of business with us. All agents who work proactively with us are doing innovative things. We have been open and taken a commercial approach to how we distribute our cruise product.”