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UK cruise bookings soar 28% above year-on in latest week

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

UK cruise bookings have staged a strong recovery in latest week and year to date they lag 3% behind of the same point in time in 2011in the market in the wake of the Costa Concordia disaster, Travel Weekly reports in an email newsletter.

“Sales of cruises for summer 2012 rose sharply last week, with industry analyst GfK Ascent reporting a 28% improvement on the comparable week a year ago. The surge in bookings followed a serious decline year on year during the preceding three weeks, despite some improvement at the start of February,” the report said.

“GfK Ascent recorded a 29% fall in cruise bookings year on year in the week immediately after the tragedy, and a 24% reduction in the week to January 28 which followed. Sales picked up in the third week to February 4, but remained 15% down on the comparable period in 2010.”

“Last week’s surge in bookings appears to signal a recovery, with the cruise market for the season to date just 3% down on the same time last year. The sector remains ahead of the summer 2012 holiday market as a whole, which GfK Ascent reports as 9% down year on year to date. However, the decline is in line with reduced capacity,” the report said.

Several cruise operators have offered incentives in the UK in the recent past to trigger new bookings in the form of free upgrade to balcony accommodation and  generous on board credit etc.

AIDAstella name of new ship to debut 2013, company increases sailings from German ports

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

AIDA Cruises, the German unit in Carnival Corp & plc group, will name the new shiop due to enter service next year AIDAstella, whule the company will increase the number of sailings from German ports by extending the season of AIDAsol in Hamburg so that it will run from May to December, the company said in a statement.

In addition to detailed descriptions of the destinations, the 2013/2014 catalogue contains a lot of information about onboard facilities and activities. It also contains a large number of photos from guests who responded to a call from AIDA and sent in their nicest holiday snaps. Exciting add-ons are provided by the QR codes, which enable readers to quickly access videos and other Internet pages. Those who do not want to wait for the printed version can view the online catalogue or compile their own individual catalogue at, where destinations and topics can be selected and then downloaded as a pdf file with just a few clicks of the mouse.

AIDAstella is the name of the ship that will set course on its maiden voyage through Northern Europe on 17 March 2013, following its christening ceremony. It will also spend its premiere season in northern climes, embarking on two-week cruises from Hamburg starting in May. In winter, AIDAstella will visit the fascinating world of the Canary Islands.

AIDA Cruises is further expanding its Northern European program in the 2013/2014 season, with the Rostock-based company offering cruises from Hamburg on AIDAsol for the first time from May to December. Also new is the 4-day city tour on AIDAstella, which takes guests from Hamburg to Amsterdam and London in March and April. In addition to the 10-day alternative, the popular Baltic Sea cruise will now also be offered as a 1-week trip. In future, globetrotters too can embark on great adventures from just outside their front door, e.g. from Warnemünde to New York on AIDAbella or from Hamburg to Buenos Aires on AIDAcara. In all, there will be six AIDA ships travelling on 34 different routes from Hamburg, Kiel and Warnemünde.

AIDA passengers can discover new ground in Northern Europe at Ísafjörður in Iceland as well as Klaksvik on the Faroe Islands and on the southern coast of England, the Isle of Portland will be visited by an AIDA ship for the very first time. From Le Verdon and Brest on the Atlantic coast of France, guests can embark on excursions to Brittany and the region of Bordeaux while, from the Portuguese port of Leixões, guests can visit the home of Port wine. The Dutch port city of IJmuiden, the Malaysian island of Langkawi and the Caribbean island St. Kitts are likewise new additions to the program.

In addition, AIDA guests can look forward to a greater choice of cruises in the Adriatic. From April to October, there will be four different routes to Venice, Dubrovnik and Zadar, while AIDAaura will set course from Antalya through the Bosporus and on to the Black Sea. The routes in the western and eastern Mediterranean are also a must in the AIDA program, of course. The cruises on offer range from short 3-day trips starting from Palma de Mallorca to 2-week voyages giving guests ample opportunity to explore and experience the relaxing way of life in the Mediterranean. AIDAaura will also set course for the Black Sea region again between June and August.

Those drawn to far-off places will find an extensive range of cruises to the USA and Canada, the islands of the Caribbean, as well as Brazil and further to Cape Horn, while AIDAmar, AIDAdiva and AIDAaura head for the mysterious and fascinating world of the East. Their cruises through the Red Sea, the Orient and Southeast Asia include such exotic destinations as Luxor, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok. 


And it pays to book early, with an Early Booker Plus discount of up to €450 for the first and second person in the cabin. The allocation is limited, though, so be quick. And another first: AIDA is now offering the new X season as a particularly economical period to travel on a large number of cruises. 

NCL Corporation cuts final quarter loss, full year profit rises almost sixfold

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

NCL Corporation, the Bermuda domiciled parent of Norwegian Cruise Lines and NCL America, reduced net loss in fourth quarter 2011 to $1.9 million from $40.0 million in the same period last year, while revenues increased to $488.6 million from $483.6 million. However, full year net profit soared to $126.9 million from $23.0 million in 2010 on a 10% rise in revenues that reached $2.20 billion, the company said in a statement.

President and CEO Kevin Sheehan did not give guidance for this year, but referred to investments ion both new tonnage and upgrades to the existing product and stated: ”. These investments in developing our assets, improving our travel agent relationships and enhancing the guest experience will provide benefits in 2012 and onward.”

Operating income for the year ended December 31, 2011 increased 37.1% to $316.1 million from $230.6 million in 2010. Net Revenue for the year increased 10.8% primarily due to the addition of Norwegian Epic to the fleet in June 2010 along with a 3.0% increase in Net Yield, or 2.4% on a constant currency basis. The improvement in Net Yield came primarily from higher ticket pricing as well as increased onboard spend per Capacity Day. Adjusted EBITDA for the year increased 24.9% to $506.0 million from $405.1 million in 2010 and revenue increased 10.3% to $2.2 billion from $2.0 billion.

Continuing business improvement initiatives resulted in a 1.8% decrease in Net Cruise Cost per Capacity Day, or 2.0% on a constant currency basis. Fuel price per metric ton remained elevated versus prior year increasing 14.2% to $571 from $500 in 2010. Excluding fuel, Net Cruise Cost per Capacity Day decreased 4.4%, or 4.7% on a constant currency basis.

Interest expense, net of capitalized interest, increased to $190.2 million from $173.8 million due to a full year of interest on the debt related to Norwegian Epic along with higher average interest rates. Other income was $0.9 million versus an expense of $34.0 million in 2010, which included a non-recurring charge of $33.1 million related to foreign exchange contracts associated with the financing of Norwegian Epic.

As far as the final quarter of 2011 is concerned, adjusted EBITDA in the quarter increased 38.7% to $88.3 million from $63.6 million in 2010. This improvement was a result of an increase in Net Revenue to $361.8 million from $355.2 million and a decrease in Net Cruise Cost to $274.8 million from $292.5 million in 2010. A 2.5% increase in Net Yield, the same on a constant currency basis, as a result of improved pricing and higher onboard spend per Capacity Day drove the increase in Net Revenue. Net Cruise Cost per Capacity Day decreased 5.4%, or 5.8% on a constant currency basis, due to lower dry-dock costs and more normalized repairs and maintenance costs and other operating expenses. The price of fuel in the quarter increased 15.8% to $573 per metric ton from $495 in 2010.


Interest expense, net of capitalized interest, decreased to $45.8 million in the quarter from $54.7 million primarily due to a write-off of certain deferred financing fees in 2010.

 Net loss for the quarter narrowed to $1.9 million on revenue of $488.6 million versus a loss of $40.0 million on revenue of $483.6 million in 2010.