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Britons over 50 to spend 43% more money on cruises in 2020 - Saga

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Britons over the age of 50 are expected to significantly increase their spending on cruising in the next five years, a study commissioned by Saga plc, the listed lifestyle company, has found.

"Research commissioned by Saga into the UK’s over 50s spending on travel and tourism, found that spending on cruising is expected to increase by 43% to £2.2 billion by 2020," the company said in a statement.

"This compares £1.65 billion in 2014 out of a total over 50s spend of £41 billion on travel and tourism. Nearly a third (32%) of over 50s in work said they were planning to increase their spending on cruises after retirement," Saga noted.

Last year, however, the British cruise market contracted by 5% to 1.65 million passengers despite a 3.2% growth rate of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

The company, which offers a wide range of services from holidays to investment and insurance products to ver 50s, earlier today said it had placed an order for a 55,900 gross ton cruise ship with Meyer Werft in Germany, with delivery set for 2019. The contract includes an option for a second vessel that would be delivered two years later if confirmed.

Saga Cruises in one plus one option 55,900 gross ton ship deal with Meyer Werft

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Saga Cruises, part of the listed British lifestyle company Saga plc, said it has placed an order for a 55,900 gross ton cruise ship with Meyer Werft in Germany, with an option for a second ship.

No financial details were given, but Saga said the first vessel would be delivered in the summer of 2019 and the second one, if the option is taken up, in 2021. The new ships will be 234 metres in length, have a beam of 30.8 metres and carry fewer than 1,000 passengers in all balcony accommodation.

"Plans for the ship will be refined over the coming months but we anticipate her to have some 540 suites and cabins each with a balcony. Around 15% of cabins will be designed for single occupancy and the maximum capacity for the ship will be fewer than 1,000 passengers. There will be single sitting dining throughout a range of restaurants as well as a variety of bars, speciality restaurants and al-fresco dining options. There will also be outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a spa, saunas, treatment rooms and beauty salon," the company said.

Robin Shaw, chief executive, Saga Cruises, said in the statement: “Our plan for the first of our new modern and elegant cruise liners is sure to delight our existing passengers and we hope it will entice new passengers to cruise with us. We will retain an intimate small-ship feel, for fewer than 1,000 passengers, a high crew to customer ratio, great public spaces and entertainment facilities and dining can be accommodated in a single sitting."

Lance Batchelor, chief executive officer, Saga plc who announced the decision at the company’s half-year results said: “The cruise operation remains at the heart of the Saga brand and demonstrates our commitment to deliver excellence in customer service and outstanding value. This investment will be transformational for the cruise business and for our cruise customers. The precise details of the new purpose built ship will be finalised over the coming months but will retain the traditional features our customers cherish.”

Saga Cruises started operations in the mid 1990s and it currently employs two ships, the 37,012 gross ton Saga Sapphire and the 18,859 gross ton Saga Pearl II. Both ships were built in Germany in 1981 and are second hand purchases. The ship ordered today is the first newbuilding the company has contracted.

Saga offers a wide range of producrs, from holidays to financial services, to customers over the age of 50.


Royal Caribbean announces change to Safety, Environment and Health Team

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Royal Caribbean announced on Friday that Gary Bald, Senior Vice President, Safety, Security, Environment, Medical/Public Health and Situation Management for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., will transition his duties to top corporate and federal security executive Jennifer Love as he prepares for his retirement in the Spring of 2016. Love will join Royal Caribbean on September 28, 2015.

Bald has been with Royal Caribbean since 2006, overseeing environmental practices and stewardship as well as the safety, security and health of the company's 62,000 employees, more than five million guests annually, its fleet of 43 cruise ships and its shoreside facilities and terminals.

"Gary has been a key figure in the development of Royal Caribbean's approach to safety, environment and health, and an important leader who has made significant contributions to the entire cruise industry," said Adam Goldstein, President and COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "Gary's leadership has enhanced the safety and security of our guests, crew and employees. We are privileged to have had Gary at Royal Caribbean"

Goldstein added: "We are very excited to have Jennifer Love join our team. I am confident Jennifer's skills and expertise will build on our momentum and take our company to even greater advances in our preparedness, procedures and systems."

Love spent nearly 25 years at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where she gained broad experience and received numerous honors and awards for her exemplary leadership in both national security and criminal financial law enforcement. Most recently, Love headed the enterprise-wide security programs and process for the Cablevision Systems Corporation and served as the company's chief liaison to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

"I am delighted to join Royal Caribbean, a company renowned for innovation and continuous improvement," Love said. "I look forward to working with the talented team to take Royal Caribbean to the next level."

Among Love's honors are the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive Service in 2010, and the National Association for Advancement of Colored People, Community Leader Award in 2009.

Carnival, City of Mobile announce year-long season of cruises from Port of Mobile

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Carnival Cruise Line and the City of Mobile announced today that the Carnival Fantasy will operate a year-long schedule of four- and five-day cruises to Mexico from the Mobile Cruise Terminal beginning in fall 2016.

Prior to its deployment to Mobile, the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy will undergo a multi-million-dollar refurbishment that will add several elements of the cruise line’s popular Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement program, including Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, two poolside watering holes, the RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, and the BlueIguana Cantina Mexican-themed eatery.

On its new schedule from Mobile, Carnival Fantasy will offer four-day cruises to Cozumel and five-day cruises to Cozumel and Costa Maya or Progreso from November 2016 to November 2017.

“Carnival Fantasy’s four- and five-day cruises from Mobile provide consumers with an affordable way to visit stunning Mexican ports from a convenient homeport while offering our valued travel agent partners an exciting new short vacation option to market to their clients,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president. “We’ve been working very closely with the port and city officials to make these cruises a reality and wish to thank Mayor Stimpson and his team for not only all their hard work but also for creating a welcoming and positive environment that makes these cruises an attractive option for today’s consumers,” she said.

“We are pleased and excited to welcome Carnival Cruise Line back to Mobile,” said Mayor Sandy Stimpson. “This agreement has been a priority since the day we took office. It represents a win for our City, a win for Carnival and most of all a win for the thousands of consumers who can once again enjoy a great cruise out of one of America’s greatest cities. We are building something special in Mobile, and this renewed partnership is evidence of that momentum.”

Year-long schedule of 4- and 5-night cruises from Mobile

Carnival Fantasy’s Mobile-based program kicks off Nov. 9, 2016 and will run through Nov. 27, 2017.

On this route, Carnival Fantasy departs the Mobile Cruise Terminal Thursdays on four-day “long weekend” cruises to Cozumel and on Mondays and Saturdays on five-day voyages to Costa Maya or Progreso. Each of these destinations are popular for their beautiful white sand beaches, interesting historical sites and attractions, and excellent snorkeling, scuba diving and water sports. During the day-long call in Progreso, guests have the opportunity to visit Chichen Itza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and while in Cozumel guests can visit ancient Mayan ruins or enjoy the destination’s wide range of shopping and dining experiences. At Costa Maya guests can explore the centuries-old Chacchoben ruins or visit the Lost Mayan Kingdom, a multi-million-dollar water-themed attraction currently under construction that will feature spectacular slides, an elaborate lazy river, a suspended ropes course that spans the property and more.

Wide variety of on-board choices

Carnival Fantasy will undergo a multi-million-dollar refurbishment in early 2016 that will add a number of terrific onboard options. These include Guy’s Burger Joint, a complimentary poolside dining venue serving handcrafted burgers and fries created by the poplar chef and restaurateur, all enjoyed amidst lively interiors that celebrate Fieri’s California roots and love of car culture.

Located adjacent to Guy’s Burger Joint is the BlueIguana Cantina offering authentic handmade burritos and tacos along with an elaborate toppings and salsa bar. Also located poolside is the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Rum Bar offering the region’s top rums and beers as well as the BlueIguana Tequila Bar with margaritas, Mexican beers and other frosty libations.

Carnival Fantasy also features a 12,000-square-foot spa, a WaterWorks aqua park featuring a 300-foot-long slide and a kiddie splash area, and a Serenity adults-only retreat, as well as fun, supervised programs for kids ages 2-17, full casino gambling and a wide array of dining options, including a 24-hour pizzeria.

Carnival interims, earnings upgrade, fail to fire up investors

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Shares in the two listed holding companies of the Carnival group remained firmly in the red after the group had reported a slight fall in third quarter interims, but raised its financial year 2015 earnings forecast.

Soon after 1000am local time in New York, shares in the Panama domiciled and US listed Carnival Corporation traded 2.28% lower from the opening at $51.48. At the same time, shares in Carnival plc, which is the British holding company of the group, had lost 1.60% to trade at £34.50.


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