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Celebrity Edge to be delivered ahead of schedule

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Celebrity Cruises has announced that the inaugural season of Celebrity Edge has expanded, as the transformational new ship will be completed ahead of schedule and enter service earlier than planned.

The schedule change will now allow Celebrity to offer not one, but two distinct 7-night maiden voyages on Celebrity Edge’s alternating eastern and western Caribbean itineraries. Travelers also have the option to book back-to-back sailings for a 14-night journey:

Maiden Voyage West: A seven-night western Caribbean cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale, FL., on December 9, 2018, and visiting Key West, FL.; Costa Maya, Mexico; Cozumel, Mexico; and George Town, Grand Cayman

Maiden Voyage East: The previously announced seven-night eastern Caribbean cruise departing from Ft. Lauderdale on December 16, 2018, and visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten

“Thanks to the amazing work of the STX France shipyard team, the industry-changing Celebrity Edge is now scheduled to arrive much earlier than anticipated, which gave us the opportunity to offer not one, but two maiden voyages,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Both of these maiden voyages, plus the taste of luxury preview sailings, will have all of the festivities one would expect from the launch of such a revolutionary new ship, and now even more guests will have the chance to experience these one-of-a-kind inaugural sailings.”

In addition to the alternating maiden voyages, Celebrity will also be offering four new Edge Preview Sailings, perfect for eager guests who simply can’t wait to get a taste of luxury. These three-night Bahamas cruises will also sail round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, FL., departing on November 21, November 24, December 3, and December 6.

Celebrity Edge will homeport in Fort Lauderdale, FL., now making her first sailing November 21, 2018. Celebrity Edge will be joined by three sister ships in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Irish Continental Group orders a new €165.2 million ferry for Dublin-Holyhead route

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Irish Continental Group plc has entered into an agreement, with the German company Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft & Co.KG, whereby FSG has agreed to build a cruise ferry for ICG at a contract price of €165.2 million. Upon completion, it will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity.

The cruise ferry will accommodate 1,800 passengers and crew, with capacity for 5,610 freight lane metres, which provides the capability to carry 330 freight units per sailing. Overall, it will effectively be a 50% increase in peak freight capacity compared to the Ulysses.

The Agreement between ICG and FSG provides that the cruise ferry is scheduled for delivery before Mid-2020. Twenty percent of the contract price will be paid in instalments during the construction period. The balance of 80% will be paid on delivery. ICG intend to utilise credit facilities to finance the cruise ferry.  The pre-delivery instalment payments to FSG will be protected by means of bank guarantees.

This cruise ferry will be designed and built to the highest standards of cruise shipping, and equipped with efficiency, comfort and capacity in mind. Emissions scrubber technology (included in the above price) and ballast water systems will meet current and known future environmental regulations and will deliver optimal fuel consumption while minimising related costs. The cruise ferry will be powered by four main engines delivering 33,600 KW of power which will ensure a high degree of service reliability equal to the Ulysses which is currently the most reliable ship to ever operate on the Irish Sea.

The cruise ferry is being built specifically for Irish Ferries Dublin-Holyhead services.  It is expected to replace the schedule of the MV Ulysses, which in turn will replace the currently chartered vessel MV Epsilon in the fleet.  This will allow for the deployment of the W.B. Yeats (arriving Mid 2018) full-time on the direct Ireland-France route alongside the Oscar Wilde.  The cruise ferry will also adhere to Ice Class specification which allows for a wide geographic area of operation.

Freight capacity will be provided over five decks.  Uniquely, the vessel has been designed for three tier freight bow loading to allow for efficient loading/unloading and quick turnaround times.  Passenger facilities will be spread over three decks.  In addition to a superb choice of bars, restaurants (to include both á la carte and self-service options), special provision has been made for premium Club Class passengers, with a dedicated lounge featuring private access direct from the vehicle decks.  A choice of state-of -the-art entertainment options and cinemas, dedicated facilities for freight drivers, as well as many retail outlets will ensure that all passengers will be comfortable and engaged throughout their journey.

This new cruise ferry provides Irish Ferries with a significant increase in both its freight & tourism carrying capacity on the fast-growing Dublin-Holyhead route.

Work starts on eighth Pandaw Charity funded clinic in Myanmar

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Work has started to construct the eight clininic in mYanmar funded by Pandaw Charity, whivh has beenset up by Pandaw Expeditions, the Singapore-Scottish river cruise company.

One monk has loaned the charity the land within the protection of his monastery and work will begin immediately to construct a two storey building of 1,200 square feet. This will, in addition to consulting rooms, contain an x ray facility, ultra sound room and a diagnostic lab, Pandaw chairman Paul Strachan said in a statement.

Seven already established clinics are all in villages within a 20 mile radius of the central clinic and when necessary the medical team will be able to refer patients to the central clinic for further diagnosis. This year saw us hit our 300,000th patient treatment since inception in 2010.

All medications are provided free. "Some of our clinics are now over run. The Balin clinic near the Pakokku bridge can now get several hundred patients in a day, many arriving the night before to get in the queue. The new central clinic will cost $50,000 to build and all these clinics need money to keep going. Any help you can give us would be appreciated,” Strachan said.

Pandaw has its headquarters in Singapore and the company has its domicile in Scotland in the UK.


Bus crash in Mexico leaves 12 RCCL passengers dead, another 18 injured

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

At least 12 people have been killed and another 18 injured after a bus carrying passengers from two Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) ships crashed in Mexico, media reports said.

The vehicle overturned between Mahahual and Cafetal in Quintana Roo state in the south-east of the country, Travel Weekly in the UK reported on its website.

It was taking a total of 27 people from Serenade of the Seas of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Equinox of Celebrity Cruises on an excursion from Costa Maya to the ancient Mayan ruin at Chaccoben, the report said, adding that those on board were from the US, Italy, Sweden and Brazil.

Carnival says next year bookings ahead of prior year at higher prices

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s ;atgest cruise shipping group, said its cumulative advance bookings for full year 2018 are ahead of the prior year at higher prices at this time. Since November, booking volumes for 2018 have been running well ahead of the prior year at higher prices.

The company expects full year 2018 adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $4.00 to $4.30, compared to 2017 adjusted earnings per share of $3.82.

President and CEO Arnold Donald commented: "Despite booking disruptions from this year's multiple hurricanes, we are still heading into 2018 with a stronger base of business and higher prices than last year.”

“We have numerous efforts underway to keep the momentum going in 2018 and beyond, from our innovative approaches to increase consideration for cruising, including our recently announced partnership with Univision, to the further roll-out of our state-of-the-art revenue management system. In 2018 we also look forward to the delivery of four new cutting-edge ships, Carnival Horizon, Seabourn Ovation, AIDAnova, and Nieuw Statendam to further our strategic fleet enhancement program."

Based on current booking trends, the company expects full year 2018 net revenue yields in constant currency to be up approximately 2.5% compared to the prior year. The company expects full year net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency to be up approximately 1.0% compared to the prior year.

As a result of higher fuel prices, forecasted fuel costs for the full year 2018 are expected to increase approximately $117 million compared to the prior year, net of realized fuel derivatives, reducing earnings by $0.16 per share. This is partially offset by favorable movements in currency exchange rates, which are forecasted to increase earnings by $0.08 per share.

Donald added, "We remain on track to achieve double digit return on invested capital in 2018. We are committed to the continued distribution of cash to shareholders through increasing dividends, currently totaling $1.3 billion annually, and ongoing share repurchases, which have exceeded $3 billion since late 2015."