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Crystal says second luxury air plane to be Boeing Business Jet B777-200 LR

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Crystal Cruises, the Los Angeles based luxury cruise company in the Genting Hong Kong group, says it has acquired a Boeing Business Jet B777-200LR, to offer an array of global itineraries for its expanded brand extension Crystal Luxury Air.

Company officials have said that the expansion into air travel plus sea and river yachts transform Crystal from a cruise line to a lifestyle company. It announced the decision to add another plane to the Crystal Luxury Air operation in August, but it did not specify what kind of plane would be in question at that time

“The announcement comes on the heels of Crystal’s groundbreaking news in July of an extensive brand expansion, which will include extravagant air vacations around the world aboard a luxurious Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner,” the company said in a statement

“In addition to doubling the initial air projections with the expanded aircraft fleet, Crystal will work with the Registry of Aruba in developing and securing an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC). This will pave the way for Crystal Luxury Air to launch international operations. The twin-aisle BBJ B777-200LR will be redesigned to accommodate just 88 guests with flat-bed first class seats; a beautifully appointed lounge and bar; and offer 14- and 28-day around-the-world and international itineraries, beginning in 2017,” the company said.

“Our mission is to make Crystal the core of what will become the world’s premier luxury hospitality and lifestyle brand collection, not only for the immediate future, but for years to come,” said Crystal Chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay. “The acquisition of our second luxury aircraft is another profound step toward establishing our goal.”

The twin-aisle Boeing 777-200LR, and the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, which typically seats up to 300 passengers and will be redesigned to accommodate just 52 guests, will boast the premium luxury that discerning global travelers have come to expect from Crystal, including copious amounts of guest space, plush amenities and Crystal’s world-class service and crew.

“Trips will include accommodations at the world’s most luxurious hotels, the finest Michelin star-level cuisine prepared by celebrated chefs and fabulous local cultural entertainment. Additionally, the aircrafts can be arranged for special charters,” the company said.

“Following our expansion announcement, travelers and travel agents expressed a strong interest in all-inclusive luxury air travel with a wider range of itineraries,” says Crystal’s President and CEO Edie Rodriguez. “Based on this enthusiastic feedback, we are growing our fleet to meet the demand from our guests and travel partners in luxury air options.”

Genting to launch premium cruise brand to be called Dream Cruises

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Genting Hong Kong, the holding company of Star Cruises and Crystal Cruises, has launched its third, premium cruise brand, namely Dream Cruises, to target mainly the fast maturing Asia market.

“The major target market for Dream Cruises will be Asia,” said Michael Goh, Senior VP – Sales, Star Cruises. “40-50% would be domestic clientele and the rest would be international, comprising of Indian, European, American markets, among others,”

The planned first sailing date has been set for November 2016. The announcement was made during a recent Chairman’s Cruise event held on board SuperStar Virgo, which was sailing from Nansha (Guangzhou) to Hong Kong and back during 6-8 November.

“Dream Cruises will be Asia’s premium cruise brand,” said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman & CEO of Genting Hong Kong. “The ship will be bigger than SuperStar Virgo and the price point will be higher as well. We will finalise the price point in January next year.”

The proposed itineraries for Dream Cruises will include two-night Pearl River Delta cruise, five-night Vietnam-Sanya voyage, and a seven-night itinerary departing Nansha.

The new brand will employ Genting Dream, the first newbuilding of Genting has on order from Meyer Werft in Germany. It will have 1,700 staterooms, with a capacity of 3,400 lower berths; it will have 35 restaurant and bars, a theatre, sectional meeting spaces, and a bowling alley, etc. As well as outdoor adventures, relaxing and rejuvenating facilities, the ship will boast a Genting Club, which is a boutique hotel within a hotel, containing 142 suites where guests will enjoy exclusive privileges, including priority access and European butler service.

Genting has so far invested US$1 billion for this venture.

The company has sharpened its focus on Guangzhou. It has recently signed a cooperation agreement with Guangzhou Port Group to launch the first regular cruise service from Port of Nansha, using SuperStar Virgo, from January 2016. A new cruise terminal is being built in Nansha; meanwhile the port has upgraded its deep water berth at the container terminal to receive large cruise vessels

Viking Ocean Cruises orders two more newbuildings at Fincantieri

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Viking Ocean Cruises and Fincantieri have signed an agreement for the construction of two additional cruise ships, Fincantieri said in a statement.

"The new units, like the four sister ships which the ship owner has already ordered, will become part of Viking’s fleet respectively in mid-2018 and at the end of 2020. The contract is expected to be operational when the technical and financial conditions will be defined. The first ship was delivered in early 2015; the second and third ships are scheduled for delivery in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Technical and financial conditions are still being defined for the fourth ship option," the Italian shipbuilder said.

"These additional units, too, will be built for ocean cruises: at about 47,800 gross tons, having 465 cabins, and being able to accommodate 930 passengers on board with a total capacity of over 1,400 people, including the crew. The ships will be built according to the latest navigation regulations and equipped with the most modern safety systems, including the Safe return to port," the shipbuilder continued.

The two new units will be designed by Fincantieri, while the interior fittings, as for the previous ships, will be assigned to Rottet Studio of Los Angeles and to SMC Design of London.

CORRECTED: Hurtigruten to refurbish five ships at Fosen Yard

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

A new company has been established to take over the Fosen shipyard and it is this firm, called Fosen Yard AS that will carry out the refurbishment of the Hurtigruten ships.

Noryards Fosen that filed for bankruptcy last month remains insolvent.

It is not party in the Hurtigruten contract and thus it has not been saved from insolvency.

A corrected version of the article follows:

Hurtigruten, the Norwegian company that operates expedition cruises and a coastal express service, will renovate four 1990s built vessels and a recently acquired expedition cruise vessel at Fosen Yard AS, a new company that has been established to take over the yard.

Polarlys, Kong Harald, Nordkapp and Nordnorge will undergo a total transformation of their interiors in the course of next year. The fours ships will assume a contemporary, brighter interiors in the refits. In addition, the Spitsberge  that Hurtigruten acquired from Portugal recently will be converted to a small expedition cruise vessel from ferry. The contract is reportedly worth NOK550 million in total.

The four vessels were all built between 1993 and 1997 and they measure about 11,300 gross tons. They have accommodation for about 600 passengers each. The Spitsbergen has 320 berths and it was built in 2009. It is due to enter service in 2016 with new interiors designed by Tillberg Design of Sweden.

Noryards Fosen that previously owned and operated the Fosen shipyard filed for bankruptcy on 23 September after a Norwegian company had cancelled an order for an offshore services vessel and the board’s efforts to find other work to keep the yard in business had failed. Noryards Fosen was part of the Noryards Group, which is controlled by the Ukrainian shipbuilding group Zaliv.

AIDAbella to spearhead AIDA Cruises’ Chinese expansion

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

AIDA Cruises, the German contemporary market unit in Carnival Corp & plc group, will send AIDAbella as the first ship of the line to Shanghai for year round operations.

The company, which started operations in 1996, with just one ship, has become the largest cruise operator in the German speaking market. “Now we are about to take another important step and export our successful concept – Made in Germany - with AIDAbella to China, the strongest growing cruise market in the world,” said Felix Eichhorn, President of the Rostock based company, in a statement.

The ship was built in 2008 and it can accommodate 2,050 passengers.

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CBR 1/2015 contents

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