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TUI AG’s cruise operations stage 33.5% EBITDA leap in first quarter 

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

The cruise operations of TUI AG, the Hannover based travel company whose shares are listed in London, have had a strong start of a new financial year as EBITDA rose by 33.5% to €37.5 million, the company said in a statement.

“The Cruises segment continued its growth path in the period under review with a significant increase in its underlying earnings,” the company said in a statement. Its financial year runs to 30 September and the fresh figures relate to the first quarter of the present financial year.

Average rate per passenger per day of TUI Cruises, of which the company owns 50%, rose to €149 from €143, while those of the fully owned Hapag-Loyd Kreuzfahrten unit decreased by €16 to €533. Marella Cruises in the UK enjoyed a rise to £129 from £122.

“In June 2017, Mein Schiff 6 joined TUI Cruises’ fleet. TUI Cruises will launch the new Mein Schiff 1 in May 2018. Marella Cruises has also modernised its fleet: Marella Discovery 2 was launched in May 2017, while Marella Majesty left the fleet in the period under review,” the company said.

Carnival Cruise Line significantly expands Its West Coast presence and offerings

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Carnival Cruise Line has announced several significant initiatives designed to further bolster its leadership position on the West Coast: the deployment of Carnival Panorama to Long Beach in 2019 – the first new Carnival ship based in Southern California in 20 years; the grand re-opening of its 146,000-square-foot state-of-the-art Long Beach Cruise Terminal, and a multi-million-dollar port development project in Ensenada, Mexico, that will provide guests with one-of-a-kind experiences ashore.

The announcement was made by Carnival President Christine Duffy in Long Beach, California at a VIP ceremony officially unveiling the enhancements to the newly upgraded cruise terminal with travel agents, port officials, local dignitaries and media in attendance.

“This is a momentous occasion for both Carnival and the City of Long Beach – not only are we celebrating the grand re-opening of this magnificent cruise terminal, but also demonstrating our commitment to the West Coast with the deployment of the spectacular new Carnival Panorama in 2019 and the announcement of an exciting new port development project in Ensenada,” said Duffy. “The West Coast is an important market with vast growth potential and these initiatives further demonstrate the confidence in our future success in Long Beach. We are very much looking forward to having Carnival Panorama homeported here beginning next year.”

“The expansion of the terminal and arrival of this exciting new ship is great news for the city of Long Beach, underscoring Carnival’s longstanding commitment to our community while adding additional opportunities for growing our economy and promoting all that our wonderful city has to offer,” said Robert Garcia, mayor of Long Beach. “Carnival has been an excellent partner for 15 years and we look forward to working with them for many years to come.”

Carnival Panorama to the West Coast

In 2019, Carnival will make history when it deploys its third Vista-class ship, the 3,960-passenger Carnival Panorama, on 7-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach, providing an exciting new seagoing vacation option to this vital and fast-growing market.

Like its name implies, Carnival Panorama will include venues offering both indoor and al fresco experiences, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Library Bar, and Bonsai Sushi, along with open-air attractions like the groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction SkyRide, a massive WaterWorks aqua park, and the SportSquare recreation area.

Also featured will be a vibrant Havana section with tropics-inspired staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, Family Harbor featuring extra-roomy accommodations, the Family Harbor Lounge, and Ocean Plaza, a spacious dining and entertainment venue with indoor and outdoor seating. Other innovations unique to Carnival Panorama will be announced in the near future.

Reservations for Carnival Panorama are expected to open in late March 2018. Additional information on Carnival Panorama is available at www.carnival.com/cruise-ships/carnival-panorama.

Expanded and redesigned new Long Beach Cruise Terminal

Carnival’s Long Beach Cruise Terminal – the busiest in North America with ships docking five days a week representing a 70% utilization rate – has been operated by Carnival since 2003 and encompasses the world’s largest, free-span geodesic dome originally built to house also Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose plane and served as the location for many famous Hollywood movies.

With the expansion, Carnival is now utilizing 100% of the dome, up from a portion, for its operations. The renovation of the Long Beach Cruise Terminal more than doubles the size of the facility’s space while dramatically enhancing the overall passenger experience and operational flow. It also includes the expansion of portside shore power to enable larger ships to plug into the local electric grid, reducing exhaust emissions while docked.

The terminal’s striking design features California’s recognizable landmarks, bringing indoors the state’s iconic natural elements, including a backdrop of the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range. In a nod to the dome’s former tenant, a replica of the Spruce Goose hangs from above, as well as the original model of the plane used in the 2004 movie, “The Aviator.” The dome also includes the cruise industry’s first 1980s-style arcade which is available for families to enjoy.

“This project is many years in the making and Carnival’s Long Beach Cruise Terminal is one of the most visually striking and efficient facilities of its kind, providing a seamless embarkation for our guests while making a tremendous economic impact on the Southern California region,” said Carlos Torres de Navarra, Carnival’s vice president, strategic and commercial port development.

Arrival of Carnival Splendor to Long Beach

The grand re-opening of the terminal coincides with the arrival of Carnival Splendor to Long Beach, which operates seven-day cruises to Mexico and longer-length voyages to Alaska and Hawaii, representing a 40 percent capacity increase on this route.

The 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor is currently the largest ship based year-round in Southern California and offers a variety of onboard amenities, including a 22,750-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa, a reservations-only steakhouse serving prime dry-aged beef and other gourmet fare, a sliding magrodome covering the main pool area, and nearly 600 balcony staterooms.

Carnival Splendor joins Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration which sail three- and four-day cruises to Ensenada and Catalina Island. Together, these three ships carry approximately 600,000 guests annually from Southern California on more than 250 three- to 14-day cruises, offering an unbeatable mix of destinations that appeal to a broad range of consumers, including families seeking an attractive and affordable vacation option.

New port development project in Ensenada

Carnival officials also announced a major port development project in Ensenada, Mexico, currently featured on the line’s three- and four-day cruises from Long Beach. The project will provide guests visiting the destination with an unparalleled, one-of-a-kind dining and retail experiences ashore, along with unique attractions for guests of all ages to enjoy. Details about the development will be announced at a later date.

“This project will provide our guests with a truly unique shoreside experience while making our short cruises from Long Beach even more attractive to consumers,” said Torres de Navarra. “This port development project will make Ensenada one of the West Coast’s premier destinations.”

TUI Cruises orders Mein Schiff 7 at Meyer Turku for 2023 delivery

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

TUI Cruises, the German premium market cruise line, has ordered a 2,894 passenger newbuilding at Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, with delivery set for 2023, TUI AG that owns 50% of the company said in a statement.

“TUI Group’s Cruises segment is one of the Group’s strong growth pillars. Due to the continued increase in demand, the world’s number one tourism group is planning to expand the segment by an additional newbuild of the Mein Schiff fleet,” TUI AG said.

The now ordered vessel is of identical design to the Mein Schiff 1 and Mein Schiff 2 with a capacity for up to 2,894 passengers and 111,500 gross tons.

“The future investment underscores TUI Group’s strategy. The cruise business is one of the key elements of the growth roadmap pursued by the globally operating TUI Group. The Group continues to invest in its cruise portfolio and expands, modernises and rejuvenates the fleet. The planned measures will help TUI to accelerate the expansion of this growth segment,” TUI AG said.

Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd (RCCL) owns the other half of Hamburg based TUI Cruises.

MSC Group and Onorato Armatori reported to have ordered four large cruise ferries in China

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

The Geneva based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) Group and Onorato Armatori, the Italian ferry company, have signed a contract with Guangzhou Shipyard International Co. (GSI) and China Shipbuilding Trading Co., (CSTC) to build four 2,500-passenger, 3,765-lane metre cruise ferries, the Meditelegraph.com reports on its website. The contract includes an option for four additional vessels.

The new ships will be 229.50 metres in length and 32 metres wide with 534 cabins for up to 2,500 passengers, and can travel at a speed of 23.5 knots. They have been classed by RINA. Additionally, the vessels will feature a variety of environmentally friendly features including LNG-ready engines. The ship ship should enter service in 2020, the report said.

GSI and CSTC are subsidiaries of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC). Of the initial order for four: Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV), MSC Group’s Genoa, Italy-based ferry business, will receive the delivery of the first and third vessel, a statement said. Onorato Armatori will receive the second and fourth, Meditelegraph said.

Scenic orders second yacht with 2020 launch

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Following the extraordinary global interest in Scenic’s soon-to-launch Scenic Eclipse, Scenic has announced its flagship will be joined by a sister ship, Scenic Eclipse II.

"Scenic Eclipse II will further strengthen Scenic’s position as the leading innovator in the cruise industry, setting an unparalleled benchmark in design, luxury and technology," the company said in a statement.

Launching in 2020, Scenic Eclipse II will embark on her maiden voyage from Athens to Lisbon, before the debut sailing season, which will include the European and Russian Arctic, a region of diverse wildlife and habitat, well suited to discovery by Scenic’s fleet of 6-star luxury meets expedition ships.

Itineraries will include remote and long sought after destinations including Russia’s White Sea, a real treat for the explorers at heart, and a luxurious voyage that will more than satisfy those who long to experience the delights of an untamed territory; the Northwest Passage, which represents the pinnacle of Polar exploration; Southern Greenland, rarely visited with wilderness that offers some of the most spectacular and un-spoilt scenery anywhere on earth; and Alaska to Russia across the Bering Sea, to experience the stark beauty that this remote region has to offer.

Scenic Founder and Chairman, Glen Moroney said the expansion of Scenic’s ocean cruise fleet was a natural progression for the company and one he was very excited about.

“Since we first announced our foray into ocean cruising we have had unprecedented interest in Scenic Eclipse, from guests keen to experience our unique blend of 6-star luxury meets expedition cruising,” Moroney said.

“The debut of Scenic Eclipse II will not only allow us to expand our offering and pioneer new destinations, such as the Russian Arctic, it will also allow us to continue our passion for innovation in design and innovation in handcrafted itineraries, which we are confident will appeal to a wide variety of guests. Itineraries for the ship’s debut season will be released in April 2018,” he said.

Building will commence next year in Pula, Croatia, where Scenic Eclipse is currently under construction.

Scenic Eclipse II will be of similar design, including 114 all-verandah suites, nine restaurants, eight lounges and bars, a luxurious Spa Sanctuary, separate fitness areas and indoor, outdoor and plunge pools, as well as a marina deck, helicopters and a submarine.

The Scenic Eclipse fleet will be built to comply with the new International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Polar Code requirements, as well as to the highest international safety standards.

Utilising state-of-the-art technology and a host of safety features, including innovative zero-speed stabiliser fins that are than 50 per cent larger for even greater stability, the ship will have a rating of Ice Class 1A (Polar Class 6), the highest of any luxury vessel, which will ensure the safest navigation through polar waters.

The ship will also feature special “Safe Return to Port” capabilities, guaranteeing essential systems remain operational in the unlikely case of an incident.

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