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UK's third largest cruise line rebranding to Marella Cruises

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Thomson Cruises has announced that later this month, the UK’s third largest cruise line will be embarking on the biggest and most exciting evolution in the company’s history as it is rebranded as Marella Cruises. "The move comes at the same time as Thomson changes to TUI later this month. The rebrand will see the cruise line set sail towards new horizons with sleek, modern additions to the fleet, such as Marella Explorer next year, and exotic new routes in the pipeline," the company said in a statement.

"With Marella Cruises still part of the world of TUI, customers will still be offered fantastic itineraries, great service and entertainment on board all six ships with the friendliest staff at sea. The word Marella, which means ‘shining sea’ in Celtic, was chosen by the company to reflect its spirit of exploration and discovery across the seas. Those choosing a Marella Cruises holiday will be able to take advantage of flights on their doorstep across 22 regional UK airports, as well as a wide Cruise & Stay programme that combines a cruise holiday with a stay at one of more than 140 hotels across 10 destinations worldwide, including the luxurious TUI Sensatori collection," it continued

"All of the extras that customers have grown to know and love with a Thomson Cruises holiday will still be offered with Marella Cruises, such as tips and service charges included in the price, All Inclusive as standard on Marella Explorer, Marella Discovery and Marella Discovery 2, previously TUI Discovery and TUI Discovery 2, and cruises setting sail at night meaning fewer days spent at sea and more time spent ashore. Thomson Cruises’ industry-renowned staff and crew will also still be a big part of the holiday experience; ensuring passengers receive the warmest of welcomes and the friendliest service at sea throughout their time onboard."

Helen Caron, Distribution and Cruise Director said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for our business. We’re really proud to offer an experience that guests can, and want to, come back to again and again and moving forward as Marella we’ve got brand new, modern additions to our fleet and more destinations, choice and experiences than ever before which really reflects our spirit of exploration and discovery within the new brand.”

Viking Line selects ABB Azipod propulsion for its Chinese-built cruise ferry

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

ABB will provide Azipod propulsion system for new Viking Line cruise ferry to be built in China, the first installation of Azipod propulsion in a cruise-ferry application. The vessel is to be built by Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry co., Ltd. Additional scope of ABB’s supply includes electrical power generation and distribution systems and bow thruster motors.

Scheduled for delivery in 2020, the 13-deck, 63,000 gross ton vessel, 2,800-passenger capacity ship will connect the Finnish port of Turku, Åland Islands and Stockholm Sweden. Azipod electrical propulsion is especially suited to the high efficiency and fast turnaround required to navigate the archipelago between Finland and Sweden.

Like her high-profile, European-built predecessor Viking Grace, the new cruise-ferry will feature LNG engines. However, while the earlier Viking Line ship includes conventional shaftline propulsion technology, the latest contract calls for the first installation in a cruise-ferry application of twin XO 2100-type Azipod propulsion. Azipod XO units are the propulsion solution of choice in the cruise ship market. Like all Azipod propulsion units, the XO-type features intelligent control systems and advanced condition monitoring, and is designed for optimized energy efficiency and maintainability. Classed by DNV-GL the ship will also draw on ABB’s long experience in providing Azipod propulsion systems for ships operating in ice conditions, with the Azipod XO units designed to match the ship’s ice class 1A Super notation.

Engineered for vessel comfort, maneuverability and efficiency, Azipod XO units are designed and built in Helsinki. In fact, the majority of the marine equipment onboard the new vessel will be sourced in Northern Europe. ABB’s experience in running major projects in China also proved pivotal, with the company’s local production set to contribute power distribution systems and bow thruster motors to the project.

“Our expectations for this vessel is that she will be the most efficient cruise ferry operating in the Baltic, if not the world, and our choice of ABB is based on our experience of them as a reliable, innovative supply partner with the knowledge and understanding to run major projects in Finland and locally with shipbuilders,” says, Jan Hanses, President and CEO, Viking Line.

“Following on from our power and propulsion systems role in Viking Grace, we are very excited that the continuation of our cooperation with Viking Line involves the groundbreaking order for Azipod propulsion for this cruise ferry,” says Marcus Högblom Vice President, Global Sales, Azipod and Passenger Ship Segment.

“By utilizing ABBs knowledge in the cruise sector, Viking Line’s expertise in ferry operations and our joint experience from Viking Grace we are - together - writing the future of how propulsion systems will look,” adds Juha Koskela, Managing Director, ABB BU Marine and Ports.

Viking Line has stated that its contract with XSI includes an option to build a second cruise ferry at the yard.

Celebrity Cruises unveils $400 million fleet wide upgrade

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Celebrity Cruises, the premium market unit in the Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd (RCCL) group, has unveiled a $400 million fleet wide upgrade programme called Celebrity Revolution that will run over four years from 2019.

All cabins will be upgraded and refurbished onboard the nine ships of the company, which will include the fitting of 11,579 cashmere mattresses onboard. Storage facilities will be improved in the cabins as well.

Retreat Sundeck and Retreat Lounge will be introduced to suite guests that will offer complimentary beverages, entertainment and “gourmet bites,” the company said in a statement.

Oceanview Café will be another new feature to be introduced onboard the ships of the line.

P&O Cruises Australia plans ‘more efficient assets”

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

 P&O Cruisess Australia, the Sydney based contemporary market unit in the Carnival Corporation & plc group, plans to replace its existing fleet of five ships, all of which were built in the 1990s to other brands,  with more modern tonnage over time.

“We also expect to replace existing ships over time with more efficient assets for this market. We will make announcements when relevant, Sandy Olsen, Vice President Corporate Affairs, Carnival Australia, told Cruise Business Online

She was referring to the news that the company will receive the 2001 built Golden Princess from sister company Princess Cruises in 2020, a year later than it had been envisaged to receive a 135,000 gross ton newbuilding from Fincantieri.

This would have been the line’s first newbuilding, but the Carnival group decided to allocate the ship to Carnival Cruise Line instead.

 

P&O Cruises to introduce Ocean Medallion-enabled Golden Princess in 2020

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

P&O Cruises’ guests will be at the leading edge of a global revolution in the cruise experience when the line welcomes its first Ocean Medallion-enabled ship, Golden Princess, to the brand in 2020.

Ocean Medallion is a new enhanced cruise holiday experience that uses a wearable device – powered by a first-of-its-kind interactive technology platform - to enable a level of service and personalisation never before considered possible.

P&O Cruises will offer its own unique Ocean Medallion enabled guest experiences in a way that makes it even easier to offer great value holidays to like-minded Aussies who want to celebrate good times with the home-grown brand.

The technology, which is expected to be a game-changer for the guest experience, will be launched first on Princess Cruises later this year on Regal Princess in the Caribbean, followed by five additional ships in 2018 including the 2600-guest Golden Princess in Australia. Additional Princess ships will be Ocean Medallion enabled in 2019 and 2020 including the larger 3000+ guest Ruby Princess which will replace Golden Princess in serving Princess guests in Australia.

Carnival Australia Executive Chairman Ann Sherry also announced that Carnival Cruise Line intends to increase its Australia operation to two ships sailing full-time in 2020.

Ms Sherry said the Corporation was strategically realigning the Australian business to ensure it was at the cutting edge of guest expectations and had solid foundations.

“Carnival’s commitment to this market and the decision to put P&O Cruises’ guests at the heart of industry innovation through Ocean Medallion is a mark of respect for the Australian consumer,” Ms Sherry said.

Key decisions are:

– Ocean Medallion-enabled Golden Princess will sail under the P&O Cruises brand from 2020.

– P&O Cruises’ fleet will be refreshed over time.

– Princess Cruises will replace Golden Princess with the larger 3000+ guest Ruby Princess which will be Ocean Medallion-enabled before her arrival, sailing alongside flagship Majestic Princess.

– Carnival Cruise Line intends to increase its Australia operation to two ships sailing full-time in 2020. The detailed deployment will be announced in May 2018. As part of the strategic realignment, Carnival Splendor will remain within Carnival Cruise Line’s global fleet.

“Seven of Carnival Corporation’s nine cruise brands sail in this market and we intend to further strengthen our leadership position,” Ms Sherry said.

“In fact, this is a year of milestones for our Australian business: P&O Cruises marks a staggering 85 years as the home-grown cruise line, Princess Cruises celebrates more than 40 years sailing in Australia while Carnival Cruise Line notches up its five year anniversary.

“Our brands have pioneered the growth of the industry and set the industry up for success, and today’s announcement is about taking deliberate and strategic steps for the future of the business. We are making sure our locally-based fleet is fit-for-purpose and is at the cutting edge of revolutionising the cruise experience for Australian guests.”

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