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Viking Ocean Cruises orders two more newbuildings at Fincantieri

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Viking Ocean Cruises and Fincantieri have signed an agreement for the construction of two additional cruise ships, Fincantieri said in a statement.

"The new units, like the four sister ships which the ship owner has already ordered, will become part of Viking’s fleet respectively in mid-2018 and at the end of 2020. The contract is expected to be operational when the technical and financial conditions will be defined. The first ship was delivered in early 2015; the second and third ships are scheduled for delivery in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Technical and financial conditions are still being defined for the fourth ship option," the Italian shipbuilder said.

"These additional units, too, will be built for ocean cruises: at about 47,800 gross tons, having 465 cabins, and being able to accommodate 930 passengers on board with a total capacity of over 1,400 people, including the crew. The ships will be built according to the latest navigation regulations and equipped with the most modern safety systems, including the Safe return to port," the shipbuilder continued.

The two new units will be designed by Fincantieri, while the interior fittings, as for the previous ships, will be assigned to Rottet Studio of Los Angeles and to SMC Design of London.

CORRECTED: Hurtigruten to refurbish five ships at Fosen Yard

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

A new company has been established to take over the Fosen shipyard and it is this firm, called Fosen Yard AS that will carry out the refurbishment of the Hurtigruten ships.

Noryards Fosen that filed for bankruptcy last month remains insolvent.

It is not party in the Hurtigruten contract and thus it has not been saved from insolvency.

A corrected version of the article follows:

Hurtigruten, the Norwegian company that operates expedition cruises and a coastal express service, will renovate four 1990s built vessels and a recently acquired expedition cruise vessel at Fosen Yard AS, a new company that has been established to take over the yard.

Polarlys, Kong Harald, Nordkapp and Nordnorge will undergo a total transformation of their interiors in the course of next year. The fours ships will assume a contemporary, brighter interiors in the refits. In addition, the Spitsberge  that Hurtigruten acquired from Portugal recently will be converted to a small expedition cruise vessel from ferry. The contract is reportedly worth NOK550 million in total.

The four vessels were all built between 1993 and 1997 and they measure about 11,300 gross tons. They have accommodation for about 600 passengers each. The Spitsbergen has 320 berths and it was built in 2009. It is due to enter service in 2016 with new interiors designed by Tillberg Design of Sweden.

Noryards Fosen that previously owned and operated the Fosen shipyard filed for bankruptcy on 23 September after a Norwegian company had cancelled an order for an offshore services vessel and the board’s efforts to find other work to keep the yard in business had failed. Noryards Fosen was part of the Noryards Group, which is controlled by the Ukrainian shipbuilding group Zaliv.

AIDAbella to spearhead AIDA Cruises’ Chinese expansion

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

AIDA Cruises, the German contemporary market unit in Carnival Corp & plc group, will send AIDAbella as the first ship of the line to Shanghai for year round operations.

The company, which started operations in 1996, with just one ship, has become the largest cruise operator in the German speaking market. “Now we are about to take another important step and export our successful concept – Made in Germany - with AIDAbella to China, the strongest growing cruise market in the world,” said Felix Eichhorn, President of the Rostock based company, in a statement.

The ship was built in 2008 and it can accommodate 2,050 passengers.

Norwegian group raises private offering of notes by 20% to $600 million

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH), the world’s third largest cruise shipping group, said that its subsidiary, NCL Corporation Ltd.has entered into an agreement to sell $600.0 million aggregate principal amount of 4.625% senior unsecured notes due November 2020 in a private offering.

“The size of the offering was increased from $500.0 million to $600.0 million. The Notes are to be issued at par,” NCLH said in a statement.

“The company expects to use the net proceeds from the Offering, after deducting the initial purchasers' discount and estimated fees and expenses, to redeem and discharge its outstanding 5.00% Senior Notes due 2018 and for other general corporate purposes, which may include debt repayment and/or opportunistic repurchases of common stock from time to time under its ongoing share repurchase program,” NCLH said.

North American cruise capacity could contract 2017 on China transfers

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Cruise industry's capacity in the North American market may contract in 2017 in the wake of transfers of vessels to China, said Robin Farley, cruise industry analyst at UBS Securities in New York.

"CCL (Carnival Cruise Line) announced last week they will be deploying two more ships, 2,124-berth Carnival Miracle and 3,000-berth Carnival Splendor, to sail year-round in China starting in spring '17 and spring '18, respectively. While CCL had previously indicated a Carnival brand ship would go to China in '17, the '18 deployment was incremental," she said in a research note.

These redeployments will reduce the 2017 capacity growth to 0.8% from an earlier estimate of 1.3% and that of 2018 to 3.9% from 4.8%.

"We often know about ship withdrawals only a few months in advance, so the true net increase is typically a couple of percentage points lower than the gross increase, so we believe 2017E (estimate) could end up being negative for North American cruise capacity, which has never happened before," Farley said

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