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Norwegian Cruise Line to deploy largest-ever ship to Alaska trade

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Norwegian Cruise Line will once again pioneer a new era of Alaska cruising beginning June 2018, as the company announced today that its next new vessel, named Norwegian Bliss, will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience. Norwegian Bliss will cruise to America’s Last Frontier from Seattle and will be the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to make its debut in the Emerald City.

At a ceremony held at Port of Seattle’s Pier 66, Norwegian President and CEO Andy Stuart shared the exciting news, alongside Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick and Port of Seattle Commission President John Creighton.

“Norwegian was the first cruise line to begin cruising to Alaska from Seattle in 2000 and it’s only fitting that we bring our newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, directly to this incredible location,” said Andy Stuart, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Alaska is one of the top destinations for our guests to explore and we are thrilled to be the first cruise line to offer our guests the opportunity to experience this coveted destination aboard a brand new, state-of-the-art cruise ship custom designed for Alaska, the first of its kind to ever debut in Seattle.”

The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss is designed with features and amenities to offer guests the ultimate Alaska cruising experience. At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, the ship will be constructed at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany and scheduled for delivery in Spring 2018.

After a transatlantic cruise and a Panama Canal transit through the new locks, the ship will sail north along the West Coast, reaching Seattle for the start of the summer cruising season. Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle, offering guests the premier way to see America’s last frontier, while also providing all of the innovative features, entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising.

Continuing Norwegian’s tradition of decorating each ship’s hull with signature art, Norwegian has also announced that the world’s premier marine life artist, Wyland, has been commissioned to design the hull artwork for Norwegian Bliss. Known for his iconic whale murals, marine life paintings and sculptures, Wyland has inspired generations to be passionate about the importance of marine life conservation. The enormous extent of Wyland’s public artworks, his award-winning art galleries and his non-profit foundation’s community service projects have made him one of the world’s most recognized and beloved artists. His engaging and beautiful design for Norwegian Bliss’ hull art will be revealed later this month.

To further enhance the overall guest experience for cruisers from Seattle, Norwegian’s parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, has entered into a groundbreaking 15-year agreement with the Port of Seattle to collectively invest $30 million to upgrade the Pier 66 facilities. From expanding the guest check-in space by 300% to more than 150,000 square feet to a new VIP lounge with expansive views of Elliott Bay and the addition of two new elevated passenger boarding bridges to provide easy and comfortable passenger boarding, the new amenities will provide guests with the perfect send-off to start their Alaskan adventure.

“The Port of Seattle is proud to partner with Norwegian Cruise Line as we work to bring people from around the world to see the great Pacific Northwest from Seattle to Alaska,” said Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick. “Our long relationship together is evident in this historic and unprecedented 15-year lease here at Pier 66.”

Norwegian Bliss will feature amenities and interactive experiences that will excite and inspire, and more details on the ship’s accommodations, dining and onboard offerings will be shared in the coming months. The ship will be available for reservations in January 2017.

Genting Hong Kong takes delivery of Genting Dream from Meyer Werft

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Genting Hong Kong, a leading global leisure, entertainment and hospitality company, commemorated the official handover of Genting Dream, the newly constructed ship for Dream Cruises, on October 12, 2016 during a special event in Bremerhaven, Germany. Shipbuilder Meyer Werft delivered Genting Dream to Dream Cruises with the traditional Changing of the Flag ceremony where the Meyer Werft and German flags were lowered, and the flags for Dream Cruises and the Bahamas were raised to signify the official transfer of the ship to Dream Cruises.

The launch of Dream Cruises marks the latest chapter in Genting Hong Kong’s history – a culmination of 20-plus years’ of Asian cruise industry experience combined with the company’s internationally-acclaimed luxury cruise expertise and long heritage of award-winning service and hospitality .

Dream Cruises was designed as the first-ever Asian luxury cruise line and caters specifically to the large and rapidly growing high-end market in China and Asia. The new brand aims to be a pacesetter in the cruise industry in the region, meeting the needs of the ‘emerging generation’ of confident, independently-minded and affluent Asian travellers and will offer its guests inspirational luxury, which is Asian at heart and international in spirit.

With the completion of the official handover ceremony from Meyer Werft to Dream Cruises, Genting Dream, the first ship of the fleet, will begin her epic ocean voyage that will take her from Germany to Gibraltar, through the Mediterranean Sea and the Suez Canal, across the Indian Ocean with visits to India, Singapore, Vietnam and Hong Kong before ending at her new homeport in Guangzhou (Nansha), China on November 13, 2016.

Genting Dream will provide passengers with the highest levels of service and spacious comfort in the region and boasting a crew of over 2,000 - the majority of whom speak Chinese. Accommodations on board Genting Dream will reflect both size and choice for travellers with over 70 per cent of staterooms featuring private balconies and over 100 connecting rooms catering to extended families and groups. Two floors of lavish suites in the exclusive Dream Palace will feature European butler service and special guest privileges.

Genting Dream will be featured in the November/December issue of Cruise Business Review.

Damen unveils 115 passenger capacity expedition cruise vessel design

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Damen Shipyards Group, the privately owned Dutch shipbuilder, has unveiled its Expedition Cruise Vessel design that can accommodate 115 passengers. This follows the introduction of SeaXploer, an expedition yacht design in the autumn of last year.

“The result of a partnership unique in the industry, the vessel benefits from unparalleled collective experience. With Damen taking the lead, the design also draws on the skills and expertise of two additional parties: Expedition Voyage Consultants Ltd and the Danish Naval Architect firm, Knud E. Hansen,” DAmen said in a statement

For the propulsion system, Damen has selected a diesel-mechanical hybrid configuration. More specifically, this will encompass IMO Tier III compliant (EPA tier 4 equivalent) medium speed engines. A PTI-PTO variable frequency drive will also be included, thus enabling efficient load distribution on the engines.

Designed to be ‘battery ready’, the vessel could be equipped with an energy storage battery system capable of various functions such as peak- shaving, provision of supplementary power for manoeuvring or silent sailing operations and auxiliary generator UPS.

“This hybrid propulsion technology is the most fuel efficient option available,” said Damen Product Director Henk Grunstra, referring to the vessel’s 16 knot service speed and 18 knot maximum speed. “In combination with the hull design and the effective use of electricity on board, we are expecting to reach fuel consumption and CO2 reductions of at least 20%.”

From the outset of this project, Damen has collaborated with Expedition Voyage Consultants; an established and trusted name in the expedition cruise business known for their innovative approach to expedition management. Their wealth of practical expedition experience (with their team having led well over 500 expeditions) was instrumental in creating a fit-for-purpose vessel with safe and efficient operations embedded into its design.

“Bringing Knud E. Hansen onto the project team allowed us to benefit from their vast collective expertise in designing passenger ships- including the first ever expedition cruise ship. By combining Knud E Hansen’s portfolio including designs for more than 700 cruise vessels and the 6,000-plus ships that Damen has built over the years, you have quite a team at your disposal,” Grunstra said.

The Damen Expedition Cruise Vessel has been designed for expedition operations in both remote polar and tropical regions. “The vessel’s Polar Class 6 compliance and 30 days autonomous cruising capability ensure she is globally capable and able to tackle challenging, far-reaching itineraries,” highlights Grunstra. “Furthermore, the vessel’s design is prepared to comply with SOLAS’ Safe Return to Port requirements.”

Because the capabilities of an expedition ship directly impact the quality of experience its passengers have, Damen concentrated not just on the onboard comforts but also the onboard logistics. This was furthered with the significant practical input from Expedition Voyage Consultants. “Passengers will be able to see that this vessel was not only designed for the expedition industry, but also by the expedition industry.”

A core philosophy of the design was to connect its passengers to the pristine environments in which the vessel will sail. Whether sailing adjacent to remote Pacific atolls or sliding past towering Antarctic icebergs, passengers will take in the views on multiple viewing platforms that extend over the side or past the bow, providing the most spectacular vantage point of any expedition ship. Perched on the ship’s mast, a specially developed crow’s nest will aide visibility during ice navigation as well as give passengers a panoramic view over the surrounding landscape.


“With approximately 1,100 sqm of public space and 2,500 sqm of outside deck, there will be sufficient space for 115 passengers and a +200 pax design will be developed soon,” Damen said.

Finland raised export credit, guarantee authorisations to help Icon order

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

The Finnish government increased the export credit and guarantee authorisations of Finnvera plc, the country’s state owned export credit finance provider, to help Meyer Turku shipyard to win the two ship Icon class order of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd (RCCL) that was unveiled yesterday, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment said in a statement.

Olli Rehn, Minister of Economic Affairs and Employment, emphasised that financing is a key factor in projects of this kind.

“The Government has raised the Finnvera export guarantee authorisations by €10 billion, to €27 billion, which is important for cruise ship exports, and the export credit financing authorisations have been tripled to €22 billion. These increases have been a significant factor in obtaining the orders for Finland,” he said in the statement.

The 200,000 gross ton Icon class vessels will use LNG as fuel and they will be fitted with advanced fuel cell technology, which is a very energy efficient and clean way of making electricity. The price of the ships has not been disclosed.

Royal Caribbean Cruises to order its first LNG-powered cruise ships from Meyer Turku

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

The newest class of ships from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and introduce the use of fuel cell technology, ushering in a new era of shipbuilding that will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The ships will join the fleet of Royal Caribbean International, an industry leader in innovation and breakthrough ship design.

RCL said that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with shipbuilder Meyer Turku for the new class of vessel under the project name "Icon." The vessels will be delivered in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024. In the meantime, the company said, it will begin testing fuel cell technology on an existing Oasis-class ship in 2017, and will also run progressively larger fuel cell projects on new Quantum class vessels being built in the next several years.

Royal Caribbean is already known for making steady progress on energy efficiency and reduced emissions through such technologies as air lubrication, which sends billions of microscopic bubbles along the hull of a ship to reduce friction, and AEP scrubbers, which clean exhaust gases before they leave the ship. Use of the new technologies will result in much cleaner emissions, as they produce no sulfur and significantly reduce the production of nitrogen oxides and particulates.

"With Icon class, we move further in the journey to take the smoke out of our smokestacks," said Richard Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. "We are dedicated to innovation, continuous improvement, and environmental responsibility, and Icon gives us the opportunity to deliver against all three of these pillars."

"Our guests expect us to push every envelope we can," said Michael Bayley, president and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean International. "And on this new class of ship, we began by challenging ourselves to find a new approach to power and propulsion that is safe, reliable, and more energy-efficient than ever before." Bayley added that exciting and innovative new guest experience elements of the Icon class design will be revealed later in the development process.

"Our partnership with RCL has created a number of groundbreaking ship classes, such as Oasis, Celebrity Solstice, Quantum, and Mein Schiff, and we are grateful that Royal Caribbean is again giving us the opportunity to partner with them on a new class of ships," said Jan Meyer, the CEO of Meyer Turku.

The switch to LNG provides further momentum for the technology, which has begun making significant inroads in the maritime industry. "Increasing the commitment to LNG makes it easier for suppliers to make their own infrastructure commitments," said Fain. "As more ships are built for LNG, the number of ports that support it will grow." The Icon ships are expected to run primarily on LNG but will also be able to run on distillate fuel, to accommodate occasional itineraries that call on ports without LNG infrastructure.

The introduction of fuel cells represents another dramatic step forward for the maritime industry, which has only made limited experiments using the technology. "We believe fuel cells offer very interesting design possibilities," said Harri Kulovaara, RCL's chief of ship design. "As the technology becomes smaller and more efficient, fuel cells become more viable in a significant way to power the ship's hotel functions. We will begin testing those possibilities as soon as we can, and look to maximize their use when Icon class debuts."

Kulovaara said RCL had been eyeing fuel cells for nearly a decade, and believes the technology is now at a stage of development that justifies investment. "There is a long lead time for Icon class, and we will use that time to work with Meyer Turku to adapt fuel cell technology for maritime use." Kulovaara said that additional regulatory standards would also need to be developed for the technology.

Because of the long lead time, Kulovaara said that many Icon design elements are in early stages. The Icon ships would likely accommodate approximately 5,000 passengers, he said, but details are still being worked out.

Icon is the first new ship class announced by RCL since Celebrity Cruises' new Edge class, which debuts in 2018. The company is also expanding its fleet with new Oasis- and Quantum-class ships for Royal Caribbean International. Fain said the new ships are in line with RCL's strategy of moderate capacity growth.

This order is contingent upon the completion of contractual conditions, including documentation and financing. Final contracts are expected to be completed by year end. Based upon current ship orders, projected capital expenditures for full year 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 are $2.4 billion, $0.5 billion, $2.6 billion, $1.5 billion and $2.0 billion, respectively. Capacity increases for 2016 through 2020 remain unchanged and do not include potential ship sales or additions that the company may elect to make in the future.


CBR 1/2016 contents

CBR 3/2015 contents