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Princess Cruises to offer two "international" sailings on new Majestic Princess in Asia

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Princess Cruises today announced the addition of two 14-night Grand Asia voyages sailing between Shanghai and Singapore on the fleet’s newest ship, Majestic Princess.

Available to guests throughout the world, these sailings will visit Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand in 2018, including spending more time ashore on the late night call in Hong Kong. The first voyage departs Shanghai on February 25, 2018, with the second departing Singapore on March 11, 2018.

“Based on the response we received during Majestic Princess’ recent maiden cruise, we are confident she has redefined the international, luxury cruising experience,” said Jan Swartz, Group President of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia, “We are thrilled to open up the opportunity for other guests to experience our newest flagship in our fleet.”

Among the exceptional venue designs, amenities and entertainment experiences, Majestic Princess features two new restaurant concepts, La Mer and Harmony. La Mer offers an authentic yet updated Parisian bistro experience with a fine dining dinner menu featuring authentic French cuisine made unique with modern twists by three Michelin-star chef Emmanuel Renaut. Harmony is a specialty restaurant with modern décor and a sophisticated Cantonese dinner menu designed by Michelin-star chef Richard Chen. Together, these two venues present guests with exceptional French and Chinese dining experiences.

In addition, guests on board also have the opportunity to taste Gong Cha, the Chinese-style bubble milk tea, the authentic American steakhouse experience of Crown Grill familiar across the global fleet, Lobster Grill and Dim Sum Bar as well as Alfredo’s featuring “The Best Pizza at Sea.”

Additionally, The Shops of Princess features the highest quality products direct from the brand’s manufacturers including luxury brands like Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard and EFFY.

On May 21, Majestic Princess will embark on the “Silk Road Sea Route” a 49-day journey from Rome to Shanghai. During the voyage she will visit a total of 22 ports including Athens, Dubai, Cochin, Singapore, Port Klang and Xiamen before arriving in Shanghai, her new homeport in China. Majestic Princess will begin her first cruise from China on July 11 carrying 3,560 guests to a variety of cruise destinations.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings partners with Alibaba Group to enter the China cruise market

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. today announced the launch of a new partnership with Alibaba Group, the world’s largest online and mobile commerce company.

"The two companies will leverage Norwegian’s expertise in providing exceptional vacation experiences and its innovative and award-winning cruise offerings along with Alibaba’s unparalleled insights into the wants and needs of the Chinese consumer to deliver the cruise industry’s most-customized product for the local China market. Utilizing Alibaba’s expansive ecosystem for engaging consumers, the two companies will look to further increase the awareness in China of the unique offerings of a cruise vacation. They plan to make it the preferred vacation choice among Chinese travelers in what is forecasted to become the cruise industry’s second-largest source market. The companies will also collaborate to provide Alibaba customers with new and unique online-to-offline (O2O) experiences at sea across Norwegian’s China-based and global fleet," NCLH said in a statement.

The announcement comes as Norwegian prepares to enter the Chinese cruise market in June 2017 with the introduction of its most innovative ship to date – the 3,850-passenger Norwegian Joy - the first premium cruise ship designed and constructed specifically for Chinese travelers. Norwegian Joy will be the 25th ship in Norwegian’s fleet across its three brands - Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

"We are pleased to partner with Norwegian Cruise Line on this tremendous initiative,” said Michael Evans, President of Alibaba Group. “Our expanded relationship is another example of how Alibaba is helping international brands to reach Chinese consumers through our robust data, marketing and technology. We look forward to further strengthening our collaboration with Norwegian in the future.”

Alibaba operates the world’s largest online and mobile marketplaces. Alibaba is much more than an e-commerce company, offering a wide range of products and services to its nearly half billion monthly active users. In China, people live, work and play on Alibaba, buying local and overseas products, and enjoying its entertainment and lifestyle services – travel, food delivery and social networking.

"Since launching our first cruise over 50 years ago, Norwegian has grown to become one of the most storied names in leisure travel with groundbreaking innovations that have shaped the modern cruise industry," said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. "Our partnership with Alibaba will combine Norwegian's history of innovation in the cruise industry and our entry into the Chinese cruise market with Norwegian Joy with Alibaba's extensive knowledge of China's consumer base and its unique ecosystem which continually reaches consumers in new and ever-expanding ways."

“The partnership with Alibaba complements our strong, existing relationships with our loyal travel agents to provide unmatched insight into what Chinese travelers look for in a vacation experience,” said David Herrera, President, NCLH China. “The combination of Norwegian’s expertise in delivering memorable vacation experiences, Alibaba’s insights into Chinese consumer behavior and our travel agents’ knowledge of the preferences of Chinese travelers will create a cruise product unequaled in China.”

Norwegian took delivery of Norwegian Joy on April 27, after which the ship began her repositioning from the shipyard in Germany to her home port of Shanghai. Her inaugural and christening gala ceremony will take place on June 27 in Shanghai, featuring the ship’s Godfather, ‘King of Chinese Pop’, Wang Leehom.

Meyer Turku 2016 operating profit rose to €25 million

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Meyer Turku, the German owned Finnish cruise ship builder, has reported an increase in operating profit to €25 million last year from €15 million in 2015.

Revenues rose by a third, to €792 million from €594 million. Operating margin widened to 3.2% last year from 2.5% in 2015, the figures show.

“We are progressing solidly on a path of growth and the positive result enables us to invest more in the shipyard and to expand our shipbuilding team further through new recruitment,” said Jan Meyer, CEO, in a statement.

Carnival Cruise Line to develop new cruise destination on Grand Bahama island

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Officials from Carnival Cruise Line and the Bahamian government signed an agreement yesterday during a special signing ceremony in Freeport, Grand Bahama, for the construction of a new cruise port facility to be funded and operated by Carnival Cruise Line on Grand Bahama Island. The as-yet-unnamed planned port will be the largest purpose-built cruise facility ever constructed in The Bahamas and will take inspiration from the beauty of the Bahamian people and their islands. Features will include a one-mile stretch of beach, food, beverage and shopping outlets, a wide array of water-based amenities and other recreational facilities. The port will also feature a pier capable of accommodating two of Carnival’s largest cruise ships simultaneously and is expected to eventually host up to 1 million guests annually.

The multimillion-dollar project will provide a significant economic benefit for the country of The Bahamas, including many employment and economic opportunities throughout the development, construction and ongoing operation once completed.

“Carnival Cruise Line is the leader in year-round cruising to The Bahamas and this new development will not only provide a truly extraordinary and one-of-a-kind destination experience for our guests but it will further solidify our partnership with the people of The Bahamas,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “In 2017, along with Carnival’s sister lines, Carnival Corporation will bring close to 3 million guests to The Bahamas via calls to Nassau, Freeport, Grand Bahama, Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays, the latter two of which were developed and are operated by Carnival Corporation brands Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. Collectively, we represent the single largest cruise company investor in The Bahamas,” Duffy added.

During the signing ceremony, Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald said, “When Ted Arison, the founder of Carnival and the modern day cruise industry, embarked on his first cruise, it was to The Bahamas. From that day until now, The Bahamas continues to be one of the most strategic and important destinations for our company.” Donald continued, “Signing this agreement today is especially meaningful to me, as we strive to further contribute to the prosperity of the people of The Bahamas through providing experiences that continue to exceed our guests’ expectations.”

Prime Minister the Right Honourable Perry G. Christie stated, “The Government of The Bahamas has had a long and close association with Carnival which has been of great economic benefit to both parties.” He continued, “This new cruise port initiative in East Grand Bahama will deliver a cruise port in the traditional sense, but more than that, its shore project will create a new ‘destination’ with a distinctive flavour and characteristics that offer the broadest Bahamian entrepreneurial and employment opportunities, representing another phase in the development of Grand Bahama as a viable tourist centre.”

The project is subject to a detailed public discussion process, environmental studies and permitting.

RCCL sees 2017-21 capital expenditure to total $9.0 billion

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd (RCCL), the world’s second largest cruise shipping group, expects to spend a total of $9.0 billion in capital expenditure in the years 2017-21, the company said.

“Based upon current ship orders, projected capital expenditures for full year 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 are $0.6 billion, $2.6 billion, $1.5 billion, $2.0 billion and $2.3 billion, respectively,” RCCL said in a statement.

“Capacity changes for 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 are expected to be -1.9%, 3.1%, 6.8%, 3.9% and 7.9%, respectively. These figures do not include potential ship sales or additions that we may elect to make in the future,” RCCL said.

Scheduled debt maturities for the remainder of 2017 plus 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 are $1.2 billion, $2.0 billion, $0.8 billion, $1.2 billion and $0.6 billion, respectively.

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