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Viking Ocean Cruises and Fincantieri in two plus two ship deal

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Viking Ocean Cruises, the privately owned luxury cruise line and the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri have signed a memorandum of agreement to build two 47,800 gross ton cruise ships, plus a further two on option, Fincantieri said in a statement.

The first two ships are due for delivery in 2021 and 2022, respectively, but the agreement remains subject to satisfactory conclusion of certain technical and financial matters.

Like the previous ships of the company, the newbuildings will carry 930 passengers that are accommodated in 465 cabins, all of which have their own balconies.

 

Majestic Princess to sail from Sydney over 2018-19

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

In a major development for the local cruise industry, Princess Cruises has announced that its latest ship, the Majestic Princess, will be based in Sydney over the 2018-19 southern hemisphere summer season.

Carrying 3560 guests, the 143,000 gross ton Majestic Princess will be the largest Princess ship ever to sail in Australian waters, with her deployment confirming the cruise line’s popularity amongst Australian and New Zealand cruisers.

The newest ship of Princess Cruises’ 18-ship fleet, the newly-launched Majestic Princess sailed on her maiden voyage in Italy last week (April 4). She will offer cruises in Europe and China before heading south to Sydney where she will be homeported from September 2018 through to March 2019, when she will return to China. Originally Majestic Princess was earmarked for year-round operation in China market.

During her inaugural Australian season, Majestic Princess will sail on 16 cruises to destinations including Fiji, New Zealand and Tasmania as well as two Asia voyages between Shanghai and Sydney, and Sydney and Hong Kong. Fares start from $1499* per person twin share for a balcony room on a six-night roundtrip cruise to Tasmania departing November 18, 2018.

Majestic Princess features 13 dining options including two restaurants with menus designed by Michelin star chefs – Harmony by Chef Richard Chen and La Merby Chef Emmanuel Renaut – as well as more than 1000 square metres of designer shopping, the cruise line’s largest ever thermal suite and a dramatic over-the-ocean glass walkway, the SeaWalk.

Guests can enjoy a wide range of high-end accommodation including suites, Club Class mini-suites and new deluxe balcony rooms, with more than 80 per cent of the ship’s 1780 staterooms offering private balconies.

Majestic Princess’ deployment is a highlight of Princess Cruises’ new 2018-19 Australia and New Zealand program which will go on sale at 9am on Thursday April 27, 2017. The program features four Princess ships – Majestic Princess, Golden Princess, Sun Princess and Sea Princess – which will together offer almost 100 cruises from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle and Auckland over a seven-month period.

Unveiling the program, Princess Cruises Vice President Australia & New Zealand Stuart Allison said the deployment of Majestic Princess was testament to Australians’ love of cruising and the popularity of Princess Cruises in the region.

“From her gourmet restaurants to her stunning onboard features, Majestic Princess is nothing short of magnificent. We’re thrilled to be welcoming our newest, most stylish and most luxurious flagshipto our shores – having just experienced her preview voyage I know Australian cruisers will love all that she has to offer,” Allison said.

Majestic Princess has already attracted enthusiastic reviews from media and travel agents. Cruise Critic Editor in Chief Carolyn Spencer Brown said: “It's as if Majestic has pulled together the best of cruise worlds, old and new.” Meanwhile Australian travel agent Janette Wall from Cruiseabout said: “Majestic Princess has certainly raised the bar for the 21st century cruiser.”

Princess’ latest program also reinforces the cruise line’s role as the destination experts, revealing two new ports of call for the cruise line – the stunning and remote Conflict Islands in Papua New Guinea and Queensland’s exciting Moreton Island, famous for its great marine life and fun adventure activities. In total the program covers cruises to 72 different ports in 18 countries.

Meanwhile, the 2018-19 summer will see Princess deliver its biggest ever New Zealand season, with a record 39 cruises to Australia’s transTasman neighbour. Majestic Princess alone will sail on 14 New Zealand cruises, including six one-way cruises between Sydney and Auckland.

Fincantieri and French government sign STX France agreement

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Fincantieri S.p.A. , the Italian shipbuilder, said that it has signed with the French State, represented by the Agence des Participations de l'Etat (APE), the Heads of Terms announced on 6 April, to acquire a stake in STX France, the St Naxzaire based builder of e.g. cruise ships.

“The agreement, which is a key element for the finalisation of the final agreements among future shareholders, also includes the guidelines of the business plan, shared with APE, prepared by Fincantieri for STX France. Fincantieri is working with the Court of Seoul in order to finalise the acquisition of STX France as soon as possible,” Fincantieri said.

STX France is 64% owned by the STX Offshore & Shipbuilding group, based in South Korea. It has run in serious financial difficulties and it is selling various assets as a result. The French government controls 34% of the shares in the French shipbuilder.

 

Fincantieri delivers Silver Muse ahead of schedule

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Silver Muse, the new ultra-luxury cruise ship built by Fincantieri for Silversea Cruises, was presented today at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Genoa Sestri Ponente.

The official delivery of the ship will take place tomorrow morning, Monday, April 3rd.

Guests attending the ceremony included His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa, who blessed the ship, Giovanni Toti, Governor of Liguria, Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, the Chairman of Silversea Cruises, and Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri.

At 40,700 gross tons and the capacity to accommodate 596 passengers on board, Silver Muse represents an evolution of Silver Spirit, delivered in 2009 by Fincantieri in Ancona, and redefines the ultra-luxury ocean travel experience, while maintaining the small-ship intimacy and spacious all-suite accommodations which are hallmarks of the Silversea experience.

The new build expands Silversea's fleet to nine ships. Silver Muse will offer guests the highest number of large suites (Silver, Royal, Grand and Owner's) in the fleet, and the greatest number of connecting suites for families and friends. Silver Muse offers a welcoming blend of spaciousness, luxury, and comfort, where guests can feel immediately at home. In addition, she will offer more restaurants than any other ultra-luxury ship – eight venues – offering the finest and widest bespoke culinary experience at sea.

Among the voluntary notations of the ship, the “Green star 3 Design” stands out. It is assigned to units that are designed, built and equipped in order to prevent air and water pollution. Furthermore, the “COMF-NOISE A PAX” and “COMF-NOISE B CREW” are assigned on the basis of the noise levels measured on the ship. Results have confirmed the extremely high level of comfort offered to passengers on board.

A new call system (CRM, or Customer Relationship Management) was used on Silver Muse to perform all the inspections with the ship owner and the Classification Society. It defines all the necessary regulations to inspect the different ship components and uses tablets to take track of all the events, without getting off board.

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: “A cruise ship is the result of the most complex innovation and product process and it represents the state of the art of this industry, as Silver Muse proves. For our company, indeed, this is the second delivery in just four days, with two different kind of ships, in two different yards and for different customers. This demonstrates our operational capacity, unique in the world.” Bono concluded: “With the current record workload level, Fincantieri guarantees full employment of its sites dedicated to cruise ship building until 2025 with an annual average incidence of 1% - in the coming years - on the Italian GDP. This is why our group is considered and appreciated worldwide as an excellence and fundamental for our country.”

Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, Silversea Chairman, said: “Since the laying of the keel in December 2015, Silversea and Fincantieri have been working closely together to produce one of the finest ships to leave this shipyard and we look forward to welcoming our first guests onboard. On behalf of everybody at Silversea, I would like to thank Fincantieri for their tireless commitment to deliver Silver Muse to us on schedule and to such a high standard of craftsmanship.”

Roberto Martinoli, CEO at Silversea Cruises, said: “Today marks another milestone for Silversea, our guests and our colleagues as we celebrate our new flagship, Silver Muse, joining the fleet. The attention to detail throughout the ship is a reflection of our dedication, in conjunction with Fincantieri, to offer the ultimate luxury experience at sea.”

Fincantieri has built 78 cruise ships since 1990 (55 since 2002) and 29 other ships are currently being designed or built in the Group's yards.

Carnival raises 2017 earnings guidance to £3.50 to $3.70 per share

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Carnival Corporation & plc, the American-British cruise shipping group, expects full financial year 2017 adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $3.50 to $3.70 compared to December guidance of $3.30 to $3.60 and 2016 adjusted earnings per share of $3.45.

“At this time, cumulative advance bookings for the remainder of 2017 are well ahead of the prior year at considerably higher prices. During the quarter, both booking volumes and pricing for the remainder of 2017 have been running ahead of last year,” the company said in a statement. Its financial year ends on 30 November.

Arnold Donald, President and CEO commented: “Wave season, our peak booking period, was strong leaving us well positioned with bookings at considerably higher prices and with less inventory remaining for sale in 2017 compared to the prior year, resulting in increased earnings guidance.”

“We are clearly benefiting from our efforts to increase cruise consideration through guest experience innovations, creative marketing, and public relations programs. We are reaching consumers through multiple touch points and laying the foundation for continued earnings improvement and sustained double digit returns on invested capital,” he said.

The company expects full year 2017 net revenue yields in constant currency to be up approximately 3 percent compared to the prior year, better than December guidance of up approximately 2.5 percent. The company continues to expect full year net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency to be up approximately 1 percent compared to the prior year.

Changes in fuel prices (including realised fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates compared to the prior year are expected to decrease earnings by $0.35 per share.

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