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SkySea Cruise Line celebrates 200th cruise, first voyage from Zhoushan

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

SkySea Cruise Line, the first smart contemporary cruise line specifically created for the Chinese market, today kicked-off its 200th cruise celebration with the brand’s inaugural cruise from its new seasonal homeport of Zhoushan. The 4-night cruise on the brand's flagship vessel, SkySea Golden Era, will provide its close to 2,000 guests with a number of exclusive celebrations and gifts including a 200th cruise commemorative t-shirt for every guest, a specially themed pool deck party featuring a cocktail tower with a complimentary 200th cruise specialty cocktail, embarkation day 200th cruise Chef created desserts served in the Lido Buffet, additional Lucky Draw prizes throughout the cruise thanks to Phiskin Spa.

During its 200th cruise, the company will have provided cruise vacations to 340,000 guests since its inception in May, 2015. In honor of this proud achievement, the company will surprise its 340,000th cruiser with a free cruise on a 2018 sailing from any of SkySea’s multiple homeports including but not limited to Shanghai, Keelung, Xiamen, Shenzhen and Zhoushan.

MSC Cruises deploys industry-first man overboard detection technology

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

MSC Cruises has launched a new vanguard video surveillance system offering even greater on-board security. In another industry first, MSC Cruises has developed this highly-sophisticated advanced system in collaboration with global leaders in security technology, Bosch and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

The integrated system is part of a bigger MSC Cruises operation to further optimize security monitoring on board and will allow, among other features, for the speediest intervention in the unlikely event a person or object falls overboard. After a successful pilot phase of extensive stress-testing and continuous software upgrades, the intelligent video capturing and analysis system is now operational – initially on MSC Cruises’ latest flagship, MSC Meraviglia.

“The security and safety of our guests and crew on board has always been our highest priority. Therefore – as innovation has been from day one central to the way in which we operate and develop new features for our ships – we have developed a highly-innovative solution that, through the use of military-grade technology, will allow ship command to take immediate action if needed,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises. “While a ship at sea is a challenging environment for accurate video security monitoring and operating high-tech equipment, our teams have managed to successfully develop a system that is at the same time accurate, stable and reliable.”

The new MSC Cruises system consists of a comprehensive shield of intelligent optical and thermal video cameras which provide nonstop comprehensive surveillance alongside the relevant exterior parts of the ship. All captured video images are streamed in real time to a Central Security Room where the video stream is monitored together with all other inputs from the 1,200 HD CCTV cameras on board the ship.

MSC Cruises’ Security Department and experts from Bosch and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have worked more than 14 months to meet demanding security requirements and create the right surveillance setup. While a key component in the surveillance infrastructure is to install highly resilient hardware (cameras, casing, and bases) that resists tough conditions at sea, a significant part of the process is to program the software in such a way it provides reliable and accurate data. In order to further increase the accuracy of the captured video images, they are processed and analyzed by two separate and independent image processing systems.

This double security system has allowed to significantly lower the error margin for false alerts – typically caused by natural movements such as waves, reflection of sun or moon, or a bird triggering the alarm. These ordinary interferences usually pose significant challenges for current shipboard CCTV technology. Through over 25,000 hours of video analysis, extensive software testing and continuous algorithmic updates, the system has now reached a confirmed accuracy level of 97%.

In case of alarm, an acoustic signal and light will alert the ship’s Security Officer in the Central Security Room who can immediately connect to the system and acquire all images and data and, if necessary, retrieve or review the relevant video images. With direct access to the ship command at the Bridge, the Security Officer can drive immediate action if necessary.

This new man overboard detection system was developed to further optimize security aspects for all guests and crew on board the ship. As MSC Cruises continues to bring to the sea some of the very latest advances in customer-centric technology as well as investments in innovative, state-of-the-art maritime technology, safety and security are central to the Company’s strategy.

The system is now operational on MSC Meraviglia and is the first of its kind in the industry. Over time, similar integrated systems will be developed and deployed across MSC Cruises’ global fleet.

Norwegian, lenders in three financial transactions 

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

NCL Corporation Ltd. (NCLC), a subsidiary of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH), and is lenders have entered in three financial agreements.

The first one concerns amendment of an Existing Senior Secured Credit Facility, NCLH said in a statement. This includes reprice and increase the existing $750 million revolving credit facility with a new $875 million revolving credit facility. The second agreement covers repricing the approximately $1,412 million principal amount outstanding under the existing senior secured term A facility and the third one adding a new $375 million term B loan facility due 2021.

“The applicable margin under the New Term A Loan Facility and New Revolving Facility is determined by reference to a total leverage ratio, with an applicable margin of between 2.00% and 1.25% with respect to Eurocurrency loans and between 1.00% and 0.25% with respect to base rate loans. NCLC used proceeds from the New Term B Loan Facility and cash on hand for the Redemption (as defined below). JPM acted as lead arranger for the amendment,” NCLH said in a statement.

Marella Cruises to add Middle East, India and South East Asia to offerings in winter 2018

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Marella Cruises, previously known by its outgoing name Thomson Cruises, has unveiled new itineraries across Asia as part of its winter 2018 programme.

“The newly renamed Marella Discovery will sail to 18 exotic new ports of call on 14 new adult-only itineraries, including Colours of the Far East, departing from Bangkok, Thailand and Enchanting Far East, setting sail from Langkawi in Malaysia. Marella Discovery’s South East Asian adventure will take it to vibrant destinations such as Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Kuala Lumpur,” the company that is part of the TUI AG group said in a statement.

Marella Discovery will also sail to India, calling at ports including Mumbai, Mangalore, Mormugao (Goa), Cochin (Kerala) and Colombo (Sri Lanka), and to the Middle East, with highlights including Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat.

Helen Caron Distribution and Cuise Director at Marella Cruises said in a statement : “I’m absolutely delighted to unveil our latest destinations for winter 2018. Asia is an incredibly diverse part of the world and I have no doubt that our customers are going to love their adventures across countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, India and Oman to name a few. These captivating destinations, along with our new ships, famously friendly staff and value for money, make this is the perfect time to look ahead.”

For the first time in the company’s history, two ships will be based in Barbados for winter 2018. Marella Explorer will sail its first ever winter season from the Bajan paradise and will be joined by Marella Celebration, operating established itineraries.


Celebrity Silhouette to host performing arts cruise in May 2018

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Celebrity Silhouette, which Celebrity Cruises will bring to Southampton in 2018 instead of Celebrity Eclipse, will hos a performing arts cruise in May next year, The Luxury Cruise Company that arranges the event said in a statement.

“This unique cruise will feature the finest selection of talent from Opera, Musical Theatre and classical music ever assembled on a ship. Bravo! A Cruise of the Performing Arts will depart Southampton for seven glorious nights from 19-26th May 2018 aboard the luxurious Celebrity Silhouette, the copany said.

Headlining the musical programme is Welsh superstar Mezzo Soprano, Katherine Jenkins (OBE), and one of the world’s most distinguished Tenors, Alfie Boe. World renowned opera sensations, theatrical favourites and acclaimed classical performers will form part of the diverse musical program on offer, also featuring, Wynne Evans, Ruthie Henshall, Mirusia, The Celtic Tenors, Julian Lloyd-Webber, plus the Jonathon Welch choir.

The National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Guy Noble and Anthony Inglis, will accompany all headline performances in the Silhouette theatre.

Other performers include:

Agenas Music - French trio Chris Scheldeman, internationally recognised virtuoso pianist, composer and conductor, Lorenzo Arcaro, very versatile singer with a flexible baritone-tenor voice and Paul Van Der Burg, virtuoso bass player.

Alexandra Flood (Soprano) Australian coloratura soprano Alexandra Flood made her professional European opera debut in June 2014 as a young artist at the Salzburg Festival and In 2017, Alexandra will perform Maria/West Side Story in Bolzano, Italy

Anthony Inglis is a Grammy nominated conductor who it is said has featured more times at London’s Royal Albert Hall than anyone else in the building’s history, has been described in the UK press as “one of Britain’s most popular conductors”

CARisMA is the union between extraordinary classical guitarists Magdalena Kaltcheva and Carlo Corrieri. They have become much more than just a classical guitar duo. Inspired by Debussy and Einaudi as much as electronic masters like Daft Punk.

Catherine Summers is a jazz performer often compared to Julie London or Carmen McRae, the UK-born vocalist fostered her career in Perth and is acclaimed for her rich timbre, vocal range and a warming, husky quality to her voice.

Giulia Mazzoni studied at the Conservatorio “G. Verdi” in Milan and made her recording debut with the album Giocando con i Bottoni, with 14 new compositions for solo piano inspired by modern pop and rock influences to traditional Romantic.

Henry Choo (Tenor) Originally trained as a pianist, Henry achieved an Associate Diploma in Singing under the tutelage of Noel Ancell OAM. He furthered his vocal and operatic studies at the Melba Conservatorium of Music and the Australian National Academy of Music.

Jonathon Welch is a multi award winning singer, conductor, teacher, songwriter and recording artist with a career spanning over thirty years. Making his debut with Dame Joan Sutherland at the Sydney Opera House in the ‘Merry Widow’ 1988 Jonathon has over sixty stage roles to his credit.

Professor Julian Lloyd Webber is the Principal of Birmingham Conservatoire. Widely regarded as one of the finest musicians of his generation and described by Strad magazine as ‘the doyen of British cellists’.

"Mark Vincent is the only classical artist in Australian history to have released 6 albums by the time he was 20… and sold in excess of 500,000 albums….The young 15-year-old boy won Australiaʼs Got Talent back in 2009 with his mind-blowing rendition of Nessun Dorma," the company said.

Mirusia is an Australian-Dutch soprano and has gained worldwide fame as soloist with Andre Rieu. At the age of 21, Mirusia was announced as the youngest winner ever of the prestigious Dame Joan Sutherland Opera Award.

The National Symphony Orchestra is one of the longest established and most versatile professional orchestras working in Great Britain today. It has a firmly established national and international reputation, with an impressive recorded legacy.

Richard Troxell’s beautiful lyric tenor voice has been thrilling audiences in leading roles in opera houses and on concert stages around the world.

Ruthie Henshall’s West End debut was in Cats which she followed by joining the world premiere cast of Miss Saigon, taking over the role of Ellen. She also played Ellen in the final Broadway company of the show, and on the acclaimed symphonic recording. Her roles also include Fantine in the West End production of Les Miserables at the Palace Theatre.

Sam & Ella are electric and eclectic, having toured the world with many artists including Marc Almond (Tainted Love), Right Said Fred (I’m too Sexy) Sigue Sigue Sputnik and almost every Sixties legend you can name including Gerry & The Pacemakers, PJ Proby & The Searchers.

 Sergi Giménez Carreras, tenor was born in Barcelona and has performed master classes with great, legendary singers such as Montserrat Caballé, Jaume Aragall and José Carreras.

 The Stomping Ivories - Touring internationally with grand pianos and a drumkit this world class vocal trio performs off a seemingly spontaneous hit list of over 350 songs - with gems of hilarity and heart strings tugged in-between.

 Teddy Tahi Rhodes Bass-baritone has rapidly established an international career on both the opera stage and the concert platform. A regular guest with all the major Australasian orchestras, engagements include recitals at Sydney’s Utzon Room and in Washington DC.

The Celtic Tenors will give you a night to remember. Whether playing a neighbourhood cathedral or major concert halls in international cities like New York, Amsterdam or Shanghai, you are assured of a professional, sparkling and most of all, good humoured performance.

The Hamiltons grew up playing country, cajan, jazz, folk, and 60’s music in their fathers’ band, and debuted in Australia with an exceptional French album (they are half French!) which Van Dyke Parks called “a total triumph on so many levels”. The Hamiltons perform with a manic passion, tinged with nostalgia but cemented in a pop tradition.

Kevin Fitzsimmons Quintet - Jazz singer/songwriter/bandleader, Kevin Fitzsimmons, and his band are known for their sassy new takes on standards by likes of Mercer, Jobim, Ellington, Legrand, Porter, Gershwin, delivered with sophistication and verve.

Vladimir & Anton Jablokov are brothers who share a rare gift – mastery of the classical violin. These Slovakian virtuosi have been competing against each other ever since they were children.

Wynne Evans is the opera singer known to millions throughout the UK as the face and voice of ad, the multi-million pound advertising campaign that has made him a household name, having made over fifty radio and television commercials for the company.