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Carnival and CSSC signed MOA to build two cruise ships in China

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Alan Lam reporting from Tianjin

Carnival Corporation & plc and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) today (Friday 23 September) signed an MOA to build two cruise ships in China, with options for two more.

The signing ceremony was conducted during the initial session of this year’s China Cruise Shipping Conference and International Cruise Expo (CCS11) in Tianjin.

Each ship will be about 133,500 gross tons, with a passenger capacity of 5,000, broadly based on Carnival Vista Class design.

Both ships will be targeting the Chinese domestic market, owned and operated by Carnival and its Chinese partners under a new cruise brand yet to be announced.

“We are very proud to be your partner here in China,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corp. & plc. “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

This MOA is the latest development in a continuous dialogue process that begun three years ago; it is also the first milestone since the formalization of the partnership between Carnival and its Chinese partners in London in October last year in the presence of President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister David Cameron.

The design and building project is a drawn out one, deliberate gradual, as the first unit will not be delivered until 2021/22.

“To build a ship we need to learn from our partners,” said Wu Qiang, General Manager, China State Shipbuilding Corp. “We need to take one step at the time. We must first pay the ‘school fee’ and learn the technology. It will take 5-10 years for us to master the technology because of its complexity.”

The mindset of the Chinese leadership concerning the next stage of China’s cruise industry development is firmly on building its own ships. This is much reflected in CCS11.

Our correspondent is attending this conference and expo. An extensive article on this topic will be published in the November 2016 edition of Cruise Business Review.

MSC Cruises to deploy MSC Splendida to China as of May 2018

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

MSC Cruises will deploy its MSC Splendida to China as of May 2018. In connection with this, following in the footsteps of the announcement of the opening of the new MSC Cruises own office in Shanghai and a new management and operations team based there, the company is taking another key step to further improve its ability to serve the Chinese home market.

Built in 2009, 137,936 gross ton MSC Splendida will also become one of the largest, most modern cruise ships operating in the region. She features 1,637 cabins, 76% of which come with a balcony and can accommodate a total of 4,363 guests.

In her new positioning, MSC Splendida will join MSC Lirica, which has been serving the Chinese market since May 2016 and has recently moved her homeport to Tianjin, to serve the thriving North China market during the winter season.

Speaking at a press conference in Beijing, Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises' Chief Executive Officer, commented: "Deploying MSC Splendida to the shores of China is a further testimony of our commitment to this key growth market. In fact, since it came into service MSC Splendida has been the most popular ship for Chinese and other Asian guests cruising the Mediterranean with us."

"MSC Splendida represents a second, strong step towards meeting the growing demand for our unique product and ultra-modern ships by Chinese guests. She will also undergo significant dry-dock enhancement in late 2017, ahead of her deployment, to further improve and customise her already amazing range of services."

MSC Splendida will also introduce the MSC Yacht Club to the Chinese market. This is an exclusive, "ship-within-a-ship" high-end concept that is unique to MSC Cruises and is designed for the most discerning guests who desire exclusivity and privacy. Offering a broad range of private facilities, MSC Yacht Club's guests benefit from exclusive services including a 24-hour personal butler, dedicated concierge reception as well as priority boarding and disembarkation. MSC Splendida will be the only ship to make this high-end offering available to Chinese guests in their home market.

MSC Splendida will visit many popular cruise destinations in China, Japan and Korea. Her itinerary details will be communicated shortly.

TPG and Canada Pension Plan Investment to inject $500 million in Viking Cruises’ parent company MISA

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

TPG Capital, the San Francisco based private equity firm, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board have teamed up to make a $500 million investment in MISA Investments Ltd., the parent company of Viking Cruises, MISA said in a statement.

“Both TPG and CPPIB will make an equal $250 million investment for a combined 17 percent stake. The deal is expected to close in early Q4 2016 pending regulatory approval,” the company said.

The joint investment will help accelerate Viking Cruises’ growth initiatives and strengthen the company’s balance sheet.” The Viking Cruises company consists of two business lines: Viking River Cruises and Viking Ocean Cruises.

Viking Cruises provides travel in 44 countries, currently operating across North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and will expand to China starting this year.

Tor Hagen, CEO of Los Angeles-based Viking Cruises, says the new partnership and “long-term growth equity capital” will help the target to “grow further, particularly in destination-focused ocean cruising.”

One dead, two critically injured in Harmony of the Seas' lifeboat drill accident - report

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

One person has been killed and two other critically injured after a lifeboat fell from the world's biggest cruise liner, the Harmony of the Seas, which was docked in the French port of Marseille, the Daily Telegraph in London reports on its website.

“According to La Provence, the local newspaper, five members of the ship's navigation crew were on board when the lifeboat became detached. The accident is understood to have taken place during a basic security drill,” the report said.

Harmony of the Seas belongs to Royal Caribbean International, the contemporary market unit of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Limited (RCCL), the world’s second largest cruise shipping group. The French built ship is operating its first season.

Two officers die as cruise ship hits bridge in German Canal

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Two officers if Viking Freya, a river cruise ship belonging to Viking River cruises, have lost their lives after the vessel hit a bridge on the Rhine-Main-Danube (RMD) Canal in Germany, local media reports say.

The accident happened at 0130 am on Sunday morning as Viking Freya was on its way to Budapest in Hungary. It hit a bridge that crosses the canal, which liks the two most important inland waterways of Europe. The wheelhouse of the vessel was completely destroyed in the collision and the two crew members died as a result.

The cause of the accident remains unknown. The wheelhouse can be lowered to allow the vessel to pass under low bridges, but at the time of the accident it had not been brought to the low position, a reported on the website of said.

None of the 184 passengers on board were hurt. The ship has a crew of 49 and those that lost their lives were Hungarian citizens, the report said.


CBR 1/2016 contents

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