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Carnival Cruise Line names new Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Richard Morse – an accomplished professional with more than 35 years of experience in the hotel and resort industry – has been named senior vice president of hotel operations for Miami-based Carnival Cruise Line, the world’s largest cruise operator.

In this capacity, Morse will be responsible for all guest-facing aspects of the Carnival vacation experience, including entertainment, culinary and dining, beverage, housekeeping, and guest services and logistics. He joins Carnival January 11, 2016, reporting to Gus Antorcha, Carnival’s executive vice president of guest shipboard operations.

Prior to joining Carnival, Morse spent 36 years at Marriott International, one of the world’s largest hotel companies, most recently serving as general manager of Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at the National Harbor in Maryland.

In addition to on-property experience, which included management positions at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square and the Renaissance Miami Biscayne properties, Morse served as regional vice president of Renaissance Hotels for the eastern U.S. and area vice president for Marriott’s Select Service and Extended Stay properties in the eastern U.S. Morse earned his bachelor’s degree in hotel administration from Cornell University.

“Richard is the ideal candidate for this position, possessing extensive experience in all aspects of guest operations, while assembling a talented team for one of the world’s most successful hotel companies,” Antorcha said. “His wide-ranging experience, outstanding management skills and commitment to innovation will be of great benefit as we continue to build upon our leadership position in the cruise industry,” he added.

Carnival Corp & plc to publish final quarter interims on 18 December

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest cruise shipping company, will publish its final quarter and full financial year to 30 November 2015 results on Friday, 18 December.

Analysts in London and New York estimate that full financial year earnings per share would rise to $2.60 from $1.96 in the same period a year earlier, while the mean estimate for the final quarter is $0.40, which compares to $0.27 reported for the final quarter of the 2014 financial year.

The Anglo-American company earlier this year said it would place orders foe a total of nine ships, two of which have been ordered sat Meyer’s shipyards in both Germany and Finland.

The remaining five ships would be ordered from Fincantieri in Italy. The company has not as yet published any details about them nor confirmed the orders, but it has stated that this would be done before the end of 2015.

Abu Dhabi officially opens its new cruise terminal

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor and Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, officially opened the new Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal. His Highness toured the premises during the opening ceremony of the new terminal organised by Abu Dhabi Ports – the master developer, operator and manager of ports and Khalifa Industrial Zone in the Emirate.

Zayed Port’s new permanent terminal, a major landmark for cruise tourism in the Arabian Gulf, will serve as a major facilitator in boosting the cruise tourism sector which in turn will reflect on the Emirate’s economy. The state-of-the-art terminal will attract international cruise liners to home port at Abu Dhabi, making it their first destination stop within the region and allow passengers to enjoy a longer stay in the Emirate.

His Excellency Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State & Chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports expressed confidence that the new Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal will support the influx of cruise tourism into the Emirate: “With the leadership’s direction, Abu Dhabi Ports is dedicated to further develop the tourism sector in support of Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification efforts. By working closely with our strategic partners and building the necessary infrastructure we hope to expand Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector and reinforce its position as a major global destination.”

Zayed Port shall witness a fivefold increase in the number of passengers and ships during the 2015/2016 season in comparison to the first cruise season of 2006-2007. Growth projections for the cruise tourism sector in the Emirate anticipate more than 300,000 passengers by the 2019-2020 season.

Commenting on this occasion, H.E. Ali Majed Al Mansoori, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “The new terminal is a testament to Abu Dhabi’s commitment to providing world-class infrastructure and services to support its growing tourism sector.

This facility will strengthen the city’s position as an international tourist destination, supporting the diversification of the emirate’s economy, in line with Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030. Abu Dhabi Airports would like to congratulate the entire project team and the strategic partners on the successful completion of this project.”

The new terminal is expected to be a turning point in Abu Dhabi’s ambition to establish itself as a leading winter sun cruise destination.

“These are exciting times for Abu Dhabi’s cruise industry,” said His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, TCA Abu Dhabi Chairman. “The opening of the new Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal marks a step-change in how Abu Dhabi is perceived as a cruise destination, and the collective effort of all partners involved in this achievement underlines the important role the cruise sector has in the expansion of our tourism industry.”

“Our global cruise marketing activity has built awareness of the depth and diversity of the emirate’s shore excursion opportunities to stimulate demand for Arabian Gulf cruises. I anticipate Abu Dhabi’s wide-ranging landscapes and experiences, UNESCO inscribed heritage sites and the forthcoming world-renowned cultural museums on Saadiyat Island will continue to be the catalyst to attract more passengers to commence their cruises from Abu Dhabi on home porting vessels at the new state-of-the-art terminal facility in years to come,” added Al Mubarak.

MSC Cruises, the Switzerland-based global cruise line – number one in Europe, South America and South Africa – is the first cruise line to choose Abu Dhabi and the new terminal as its home port for the 2015/16 season. MSC Musica that berthed at the terminal on the inaugural day will call various ports of the region in the UAE and Oman during this season. MSC Cruises and Etihad Airways recently announced ‘Fly & Cruise’ packages for guests from Europe, who will fly with Etihad Airways and partner airlines to enjoy the cruise in the region on the vessels homeporting in Abu Dhabi.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman, said: “We are proud to be the first global cruise line to call Abu Dhabi home for the season. The itineraries in the region are much sought after by our guests.

Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal with the support from Abu Dhabi Ports’ strategic partners will ensure the ease of the cruise passengers’ overall journey into and out of the Emirate. Through the terminal’s tourist information services, retail facilities, provision of city tours, passport border control counters and smooth and timely customs processes tourists will have an enjoyable experience.

Abu Dhabi Airports provided check-in counters operated by Etihad Airways. These counters will allow cruise passengers to check into their flights from within the terminal and will only need to go through passport control at the airport for their exit stamp.

Lindblad to build two U.S. flagged coastal vessels

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc. today announced that it has signed definitive agreements with Nichols Brothers Boat Builders ("Nichols Brothers") for the new build of two U.S. flagged coastal vessels. They will be U.S. built at their shipyard on Whidbey Island in Washington State. The first completed ship is scheduled to be delivered in the second quarter of 2017 and the second vessel is scheduled to be delivered in the second quarter of 2018. The new 100-guest ships were developed with decades of experience of captains, expedition leaders, engineers and designers.

"These new ships mark an exciting step in the long-term growth of the company, and enables us to capitalize on the substantial demand for our expeditions. With our significant resources we can continue to deliver on our promise of expedition travel at its best, and can now expand our unique offerings in the Americas where we have very strong demand," said Sven Lindblad, President and CEO of Lindblad.

"We are pleased to be working with Nichols Brothers in Washington State on this project given their long history in ship building, including having built our current U.S. flagged ships, the National Geographic Sea Lion and National Geographic Sea Bird."

"This is an important milestone in the company's history as we enter the 50th Anniversary of the birth of expedition travel begun by my father, Lars-Eric Lindblad, with the first laymen expedition to Antarctica in 1966," added Lindblad.

Some key features of the new vessels:

– 50 cabins: 22 with balconies, and eight that can be configured into four adjoining cabins for families.
– As the primary focus is the world outside, all public spaces are designed for maximum viewing with easy, quick access to decks for inevitable announcements from the bridge of a phenomenal sighting.
– An outdoor walkway around the entire sun deck, which will feature an al fresco bar and grill, in addition to the restaurant and a lounge with bar and facilities for presentations.
– A fleet of sea kayaks, paddle boards, and specially designed landing craft - all of which are geared to get guests out and into the wild, remote places being explored.
– A fully equipped fitness room and a Wellness spa.
– State-of-the-art expedition technology, including a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), video microscope, and a hydrophone and bow-cam designed for immediate bow deployment to hear and film, for instance, humpback whale vocalizations and see bow-riding dolphins.
– Full warm and cold water diving gear and underwater cameras for the Undersea Specialist to bring back rare imagery of the undersea world.
– State-of-the-art A/V system for the highest quality presentations, including National Geographic photography instruction.

Lindblad had previously signed a non-binding letter of intent with Nichols Brothers for these new builds and paid a $4 million non-refundable slot fee during the third quarter of this year to reserve the shipyard's capacity, which will be charged against the second vessel's cost. The definitive agreements provide for Nichols Brothers to construct the two new build vessels at a purchase price of $48.0 million and $46.8 million, respectively, payable monthly based on the value of the work performed (offset by the $4.0 million slot fee previously paid). Jensen Maritime is serving as the naval architect on the project with interior design work provided by Tillberg Design International. Building of the vessels will commence this year.

New-starter Diamond Cruise to set sail from Shanghai in March

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

China’s Suzhou Tai Hu International Travels Ltd. (苏州太湖国际旅行社有限责任公司) has acquired a cruise vessel from Germany for its newly established subsidiary, Diamond Cruise International Co., Ltd., which aims to set sail from Shanghai as early as March 2016.

Diamond Cruise was registered in the Bahamas in July 2015. According to its parent company it will start operation with this first vessel, which will be renamed “Brilliant of the Seas” (辉煌号) and undergo extensive refurbishment, transforming it into a cruise vessel suitable to cater for the taste of its targeted Chinese clientele.

Just as one cruise operation is shut down, another is starting. Diamond Cruise will be the first new cruise brand in China following the closure of the HNA operation. The company also intends, in the next five years, to acquire further three to four ships in an effort to “gain supremacy” in the fast-moving Chinese cruise market, it says.

Founded in 1993, today Suzhou Tai Hu International is a large travel conglomerate with extensive interests in cruise business, including cruise ship management and supplies. It has named most major international cruise brands as its partners in this regard. The group has cruise-related operation branches in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Nanjing.

Alan Lam reporting from Hong Kong 


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