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DFDS reports modest rise in first half passenger volumes

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

 DFDS, the Copenhagen based ferry group, has reported a slight rise in passenger volumes a the demand for passenger ferry services in the second quarter compared to last year was boosted by the late Easter.

The number of passengers in the latest quarter increased 3.6% compared to the second quarter of 2016, while in the first six months of the year, volumes increased 1.8%.

“Outside peak seasons demand from UK residents continue to be soft while demand from overseas markets, especially Asia, is increasing,” the company said in a statement.

Apollo, Genting Hong Kong and TPG continue to sell shares in Norwegian

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Apollo Global Management, LLC, the Genting Hong Kong owned Star NCLC Holdings Ltd. and certain funds affiliated with TPG Global, LLC intend to sell 15 million shares in Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings lts, the world’s third largest cruise shipping company.

The shares would be sold to a group of underwriters comprising of Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Barclays Capital Inc. and Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC at a price of $54.57 per share, valuing the lot at $818.5 million.

Genting Hong Kong was the sole and later principal shareholder of Norwegian until it started to sell down its stake in order to buy Crystal Cruises and to expand the company, grow its Star Cruise business in Asia and set up the Asia-Pacific focused Dream Cruise premium market cruise line in 2015.

Earlier this month, Genting Hong Kong said it expects to a make a loss of about $200 million to $220 million this year due to start up costs and capital expenditure related to the growth of its business.

Meyer Werft cuts steel for Spectrum of the Seas

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Excitement was in the air today at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, as Royal Caribbean International marked the official start of construction by cutting the first piece of steel for its new Quantum Ultra ship. The next engineering marvel in the cruise line’s lineup will officially be named Spectrum of the Seas.

Set to debut in 2019, Spectrum will be the next evolution of the cruise line’s groundbreaking and high-tech Quantum class of ships placing the ship in a new class of her own. The revolutionary Quantum Ultra ship will specifically be designed for guests in China and the Asia-Pacific region, and will feature cutting-edge and unprecedented experiences and amenities.

“Today is a very special day in the development of our new Quantum Ultra ship, Spectrum of the Seas. We are now one step closer to delighting our guests in Asia Pacific with this remarkable ship,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Spectrum will be another giant leap forward in vessel design and guest experiences that will provide travelers with ample opportunities to create unforgettable memories.”

Norwegian unveils Norwegian Bliss features, calls it sister ship of China based Norwegian Joy 

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Norwegian Cruise Line, the contemporary market unit in the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings ltd group, has revealed features and amenities for Norwegian Bliss, the line’s 16th ship, which will sail to Alaska and the Caribbean, with select voyages to the Mexican Riviera beginning in June 2018.

In terms of layout, the 167,800 gross ton vessel is effectively similar to Norwegian Joy that he line introduced this year on the Chinese market, although e.g. the interior will be different.

Following popularity aboard Norwegian Bliss’ sister ship in China, Norwegian Joy, guests will be able to put the pedal to the metal for the first time aboard a North American-based cruise ship with a two level electric-car race track. “The competitive track, the longest at sea at nearly 1,000 feet, will rev up the hearts of all who race around her many twists and turns with four speed settings accommodating novice, intermediate and advanced drivers, reaching up to 30 miles per hour -- with a special “turbo boost” available on each lap,” the company said in a statement.

The electric cars run silent so as to not disturb those seeking to enjoy the serene environment. “But guests will have the full racing experience while they channel their inner Andretti, as the sounds of a race car engine are piped in through speakers located in the car’s headrest,” Norwegian said

Passengers can test their agility at the open-air laser tag course, which is themed as an abandoned space station, while the sun deck will feature two spacious pools and six infinity hot tubs that scale the side of the ship. “The ship’s Aqua Park also includes two multi-story waterslides. Not for the faint of heart, the high-speed Ocean Loops free fall slide includes two exhilarating loops, one that extends out over the side of the ship and a second see-through loop that stretches down to the deck below, sure to offer a wet and wild ride,” Norwegian stated..

The tandem Aqua Racer slide allows guests to race side-by-side on inner tubes for more than 360 feet, with a translucent section that provides stunning ocean views as guests twist and turn to the finish line.

 Junior cruisers can splish, splash and have a blast at the Kids’ Aqua Park, a watery wonderland of splash pads, water cannons, tipping buckets and slides. The little ones will also have a blast at Splash Academy, the fleet’s award-winning complimentary youth program. Centrally-located on Deck 5, Splash Academy will offer age-appropriate supervised activities for children aged three to 12 with fun and energetic programming including games with the conservation-minded Officer Snook, a circus spectacular celebration, jungle-themed nights and more. Teens aged 13 through 17 will enjoy their own space aboard Norwegian Bliss on deck 5, Entourage, adjacent to the ship’s arcade.

Moving to the dining areas on board, Norwegian said modern décor and premium ingredients will meet southern flavours at the all-new Texas Smokehouse, Q, where guests will be able to tap their boots to the beat of live contemporary pop country music each night as they indulge in authentic Texas barbeque in a sleek urban setting.

The flavours aboard Norwegian Bliss will travel south-of-the-border with Los Lobos, an outpost of the brand’s new restaurant serving elevated Mexican cuisine that made its debut in 2016 aboard Norwegian Dawn during her extensive dry dock enhancement under the Norwegian Edge, the brand’s investment program that encompasses the entire guest experience. Los Lobos will offer an upscale, modern take on traditional favorites like fresh guacamole prepared tableside, al pastor tacos, enchiladas de mole, handcrafted margaritas featuring private-label Patron Barrel Select, Norwegian's own tequila blend, and more.

Featuring indoor and outdoor seating located on deck 8 aft, Los Lobos will be adjacent to Cagney’s Steakhouse, Norwegian’s signature American-style steakhouse that serves up choice cuts of Hartley Ranch Premium Black Angus Beef including the larger-than-life 20 oz. Porterhouse, a tender 8 oz. filet mignon and signature ribeye. “Between Los Lobos and Cagney’s Steakhouse, The A-List Bar, named for Norwegian President & CEO and 30-year veteran Andy Stuart, will serve handcrafted cocktails, wines and premium spirits,” Norwegian said

Sweets and treats will be served up day and night at Coco’s, a completely new à la carte dessert venue located on deck 6 in the heart of the ship, 678 Ocean Place, where liquid chocolate in an enclosed oversized chocolate fountain will adorn its entranceway, delighting kids and kids at heart. The chocolate-themed dessert restaurant will feature handmade pralines, truffles, crepes and other decadent treats paired with fine coffees and teas.

In a nod to Seattle, guests aboard Norwegian Bliss can warm up for their glacier walk with a Caramel Macchiato or grab a Teavana® Shaken Iced Green Tea Lemonade to sip on while lounging on a pristine Caribbean beach with a full service Starbucks® store on board. Guests can start their day with Starbucks® coffees, teas and bites available à la carte.

Norwegian Bliss will also feature signature à la carte restaurants French cuisine at Le Bistro; the tastes of Tuscany at La Cucina; seafood at Ocean Blue; global fusion cuisine featuring sushi, dumplings, handhelds and more at Food Republic; Cheeseburgers in Paradise® at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville® at Sea; and handmade cupcakes and macarons at The Bake Shop. Teppanyaki, the brand’s family-favorite Japanese hibachi steakhouse will also be onboard at cover charge pricing. “In a new complimentary dining concept, The Local will offer guests pub fare in a relaxed neighborhood atmosphere 24 hours a day,” Norwegian said.

Norwegian’s beverage concepts will round out the ship’s culinary offerings. The District Brew House will serve 24 beers on tap and more than 50 bottled beers, along with bites from the adjacent Food Republic, while Norwegian Bliss’ beverage programme will also feature a selection of local craft cocktails developed by Seattle-based celebrity mixologist and chef Kathy Casey as well as Miami-based Gabe Orta, one of the master curator’s behind the city’s ultra-popular BarLab concepts.

The Mandara Spa will be located on deck 16 aft, with 24 treatment rooms, a full-service salon and barber shop, fitness center and thermal suite. The Fitness Center will offer latest state-of-the-art TechnoGym® cardiovascular and strength training equipment, as well as personal training and group fitness classes including TRX, Norwegian Fight Club, RYDE Cycle and more.

The ship’s thermal suite will be an exclusive enclave of relaxation where guests can soothe aching joints in the vitality pool and heated whirlpool; rinse off and clear mind and spirit in special experience showers; reduce inflammation and improve respiratory functions in the salt room; cleanse the body in the steam room or sauna; cool down in the snow room; or catch up on their latest reading on one of the 17 heated stone loungers. Passes to the exclusive enclave of relaxation will be available for purchase for a limited number of guests each sailing. In addition to the luxurious spa, adults will be able to unwind in two private lounge spaces while cruising aboard Norwegian Bliss at Vibe Beach Club and Spice H2O, the company said.

Seabourn joins Sabre

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Seabourn is expanding their reach to millions of travelers in the U.S. and Canada by joining the Sabre travel marketplace, one of the largest e-commerce platforms connecting suppliers and buyers worldwide. Travel agents subscribed to Sabre will now have the ability to book the full inventory of Seabourn via Sabre Cruises, an intuitive booking capability within the Sabre Red Workspace.

Sabre's cruise interface will allow agents to browse ships within a graphics-rich reservation workflow, to shop and book Seabourn's itineraries to all seven continents and more than 300 hidden harbors and marquee ports around the globe. In addition, travel agents can get detailed information about the line's unique offerings, amenities and pricing. The e-commerce agreement will also provide Sabre-connected agents with a seamless experience to book a voyage online aboard one of Seabourn's fleet of ultra-luxury ships.

"We are proud to join the Sabre travel marketplace to provide our global travel professional partners with an additional valuable resource to access and book our award-winning cruises," said Chris Austin, Seabourn's senior vice president of global marketing and sales. "We value the travel agency community, who have a breadth of knowledge and expertise, and this collaboration will help them grow their business and sales."

"The Sabre agency platform and Cruise API's will significantly increase the exposure of Seabourn collection of cruises, ships, personalized services and fine amenities among an influential community of travel agents," said Traci Mercer, senior vice president of Lodging, Ground and Sea in Sabre Travel Network. "With this additional and enhanced cruise content from Seabourn, we continue to enrich our comprehensive inventory and deliver more choice for travel agents in North America."