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Fincantieri preferred bidder in the sale of STX France

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Fincantieri S.p.A. announces that it has received a letter from Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers, advisor appointed by STX Europe, with the notification that it has been selected as preferred bidder in the sale of the 66.66% stake in STX France SA.

STX France is a major cruise shipbuilder, which has several ships in its orderbook for MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

All Leisure group cancels early January cruises of two ships

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

All Leisure group, the privately owned British company that owns boutique cruise brands Swan Hellenic, Voyages of Discovery and Hebridean Island Cruises, has cancelled the first cruises of the year of the first named two brands.

Voyages of Discovery, which operates the Voyager cruise ship, has cancelled the Riches of the Orient cruise, which is due to start in Malaysia on 4 January 2017, information on the company’s website shows. A message on the Swan Hellenic website announces the cancellation of Minerva’s “Gateway to the Atlantic Isles” cruise scheduled to leave Marseille on 3 January.

Cruise Business Online has been unable to obtain further details from the All Leisure group.

Hebridean Island Cruises, which operates the Hebridean Princess, is due to recommence sailings in the waters of the west coast of Scotland in March.

Brittany Ferries sign letter of intent with Flensburger for 42,000 gross ton ropax ferry

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Brittany Ferries, the French company that operates large ropax and cruise ferry units in the Western Channel, says it has signed a letter of intent with the Flensburge shipyard in Germany to build a 42,000 gross ton ropax vessels for its service between Caen in France and Portsmouth in the UK.

The LNG powered ship that is planned for delivery in 2019, would be 185 metres in length, have a beam of 31 metres and carry 1,680 passengers, for whom there would be 257 cabins.

The lane metre capacity of the ship would be 2,600, whereby it would be able to carry 130 lorries or 550 cars. The parties plan to sign firm contract to build the ship in the spring of 2017.

Flensburger recently won an order from the Irish Continental group to build a large ropax vessel for its services between Ireland and the Continent and the UK.

Virgin Voyages’ newbuildings to be much wider than existing ships of equal length

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Virgin Voyages, the cruise shipping company in Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, has disclosed the hull dimensions of its three new buildings that will be about six metres wider than ships of the same length currently in service.

“Each ship will weigh about 110,000 gross tons, be 278 metres long and 38 (metres) wide. The ships will feature over 1,400 guest cabins that can host more than 2,800 passengers, accompanied by 1,100 crew members on board to deliver the famed Virgin service,” the company said in a statement.

The ships will be significantly wider that existing vessels of comparable length, many of which were restricted by the 32.2 metre maximum beam of the old locks in the Panama Canal. The greater beam of these ships means that the designers have more freedom to lay out public areas.

The additional beam could leave the designers with a problem of lots of internal space on cabin decks, which in the past would have tended to result in large numbers of inside cabins.

However, this is unlikely to be the case with these ships, which are due for delivery from the Sestri Ponente yard of the shipbuilder in 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively, as the present trend is to eliminate inside cabins as much as possible.

Neither the company nor the shipbuilder have disclosed e.g. a deck plan of the vessels yet, but the greater beam of the vessels may result in new thinking in ways to provide more outside and balcony cabins compared to existing vessels of comparable length.

Carnival says advance bookings, prices well ahead from year on

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest cruise shipping group, said at this time, cumulative advance bookings for the first three quarters of 2017 are well ahead of the prior year at considerably higher prices.

“Since September, both booking volumes and prices for the first three quarters of 2017 have been running well ahead of the prior year,” the company said in a statement.

Arnold Donald, President and CEO, commented: "We enjoyed strong momentum in booking patterns throughout 2016 and therefore are in a stronger booked position entering the new year at higher prices as a result of our ongoing efforts to increase consideration and demand for our brands."

Based on current booking trends, the company expects full year 2017 net revenue yields in constant currency to be up approximately 2.5 percent 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 percent compared to the prior year.

As a result of higher fuel prices, forecasted fuel costs for the full year 2017 are expected to increase approximately $200 million (fuel price impact only) compared to the prior year, net of realized fuel derivatives, reducing earnings by $0.27 per share. In addition, unfavorable movements in currency exchange rates are forecasted to reduce earnings by a further $0.16 per share.

Taking the above factors into consideration, the company expects full year 2017 adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $3.30 to $3.60, compared to 2016 adjusted earnings per share of $3.45.

Donald added, "We are anticipating another solid year of operational improvement in 2017. Despite the unusual and significant impact of fuel and currency working against us simultaneously, the underlying strength in our fundamental business leaves us well positioned to achieve sustained double digit return on invested capital and to create continued value for our shareholders."