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Princess Cruises to name new China-based ship Majestic Princess

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Princess Cruises has announced that its ship now under construction, a sister ship to Royal Princess and Regal Princess, will be named Majestic Princess. The new ship will be based in China year-round beginning in summer 2017 and become the first vessel built specifically for Chinese guests incorporating a unique blend of international and Chinese features.

“Royal Princess and Regal Princess were named after iconic previous vessels, while Majestic Princess will carry a name that was chosen by our global employees,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “The name Majestic Princess is well suited to the Princess Cruises experience in China, and she will offer a truly magnificent experience to our Chinese guests,” added Swartz.

Befitting her dedication to the Chinese market, Majestic Princess will also carry a Chinese name on the hull, 盛世公主号 (Shèng Shì Gōng Zhǔ Haò) – an interpretation selected by Carnival plc’s China employees, which has the suggestive meaning of “Grand World” or “Grand Spirit.”

The 143,000-ton vessel, Majestic Princess, is being built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy. She will be home-ported in Shanghai, carrying 3,560 guests for cruises to Japan and Korea, and will offer many of the special features that have made Royal Princess and Regal Princess so popular and distinctive. These include a dramatic multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship; the unique over-the-ocean SeaWalk - a glass-floor walkway extending 8 meters (28 feet) beyond the edge of the ship; the Princess Live! interactive studio; and the special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds guests in a curtain of light.

“We’re excited that Shanghai will be welcoming this newest, most advanced addition to the Princess fleet, as it represents our brand’s long-term commitment to the continuing growth of the China market,” said Swartz.

Majestic Princess will offer the international flavor of cruising with Princess, drawn from the brand’s award-winning expertise as the world’s leader in premium destination cruising. The cruise ship’s cuisine will span the globe, serving authentic dishes from Italy, France, North and South America, Southeast Asia, Japan and China – all freshly prepared onboard. Guests will enjoy a festival celebrating dance, music and crafts of exotic cultures; an array of international guest entertainers; and Las Vegas-style production shows starring a cast of singers and dancers from around the world.

“Every day, around the world, our guests create lifelong memories from authentic experiences while enjoying freshly made cuisine designed to bring each destination to life,” added Swartz. “Majestic Princess will allow us to bring the best the world has to offer to more Chinese guests, for an unparalleled premium and international vacation, inspired by our passion for the many places we sail.”

Like all Princess cruises in China, Majestic Princess will showcase the brand’s exclusive Princess Class experience, designed specifically for the Chinese market. Delivered by the ship’s extensively trained international crew, these Princess Class enhancements enrich the travel experience of each cruise guest: authentic, classic events like the World Leaders Dinner and Traditional English Afternoon Tea; special culinary experiences such as the Lobster Grill, Ultimate Balcony Dining, and an ocean-view hot pot dinner option; and an unparalleled duty-free shopping experience, featuring leading designer brands.

The cruise ship will also offer Princess’ signature Movies Under the Stars, with the largest outdoor screen at sea, and the exciting Princess WaterColor Fantasy fountain and light show. Accommodations will be configured to appeal to families and multi-generational travelers; all outside staterooms will have private balconies. Additional details about the new ship’s features and deployment schedule will be announced over the coming months.

Carnival Corporation adds third berth to Cozumel pier

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest travel and leisure company, today officially opened an all-new, highly anticipated expansion of its operations in Cozumel, Mexico, adding a third berth to the company’s pier at Puerta Maya, the most popular cruise destination in the Caribbean.

With an investment of more than $20 million, the all-new “arm” was added to the company’s existing pier to allow three ships to be moored at the terminal at the same time. To mark the occasion, three of the company’s ships – Carnival Breeze, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Triumph – arrived today and became the first trio of ships to use the new three-berth pier. The pier will accommodate any ship across Carnival Corporation’s 10 brands, including its next-generation ships.

With 3.3 million cruise guests annually, Cozumel is the busiest cruise destination in the Caribbean, the world’s largest global cruise market. Carnival Corporation’s extra capacity with the expanded pier will allow more ships to call on Cozumel, increasing the number of guests who can visit the destination while also providing a significant economic boost to the local economy. In 2014, about 1.5 million Carnival Corporation guests visited Puerta Maya on 25 different ships originating from eight homeports and two countries across six of the company’s brands, and the company expects this to grow over the years with the added capacity at the port.

“Cozumel is the Caribbean’s most visited cruise ship destination and consistently receives high ratings from our guests,” said Giora Israel, senior vice president of global port and destination development for Carnival Corporation. “So the destination is in demand by our guests, and we are excited about officially opening the third berth to our pier, since it gives our brands greater flexibility for visiting Cozumel and more of our guests the opportunity to enjoy the island.”

While the new berth has been in the planning stages since 2005, work started on the new pier in May 2014. The existing two-berth pier was re-opened in October 2008, following an extensive $50 million reconstruction to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Wilma in 2005 which included destruction of the original pier. The rebuilt two-berth pier and the all-new arm providing a third berth at the pier have been constructed to withstand a threshold category 5 hurricane, in addition to being able to accommodate any ship in Carnival Corporation’s fleet.

“While this is a major milestone for our company, it is also a memorable day for our business partners in Mexico,” said Israel. “Without their collaboration, this project would not have been possible, and we extend our appreciation for their openness and cooperation. We are looking forward to how the expansion of our pier will have an important economic impact on jobs and opportunity for locals. Cozumel, one of the jewels of the Caribbean, has come a long way since it was devastated in 2005 by Hurricane Wilma. It is rewarding to see the island flourishing. And now, with today’s opening of our third berth, even more of our guests will be able to make Cozumel part of their vacation experience.”

The Puerta Maya pier and welcome cruise center is located on the southwestern part of Cozumel, approximately five miles south of San Miguel, the island's largest city. The cruise center houses over 50 different outlets offering apparel, fine jewelry, artwork and other merchandise from recognizable retailers such as Milano Jewelers, Del Sol, Piranha Joe's, Dufry and Diamonds International. The facility also features 15 stand-alone carts where local merchants market colorful handmade crafts, costume jewelry and souvenirs.

In April 2015, the expansive cruise center opened the world’s first underwater oxygen bar. Called Clear Lounge, the 13,000-gallon freestanding aquarium provides guests with a unique 20-minute experience underwater. Guests enter the bar wearing a high-tech Sea Trek helmet, a specially designed clear diving helmet, which provides a mixture of oxygen and aromatherapy. Bartenders serve up oxygen-enriched smoothies. The lounge also features the world’s first underwater photo booth, complete with a variety of props, from sunglasses to martini glasses. Guests can play games such as Jenga, write on message boards and target practice with high-powered bubble guns.

On-site dining options within the Puerta Maya complex include the Tres Amigos Bar, a theme restaurant inspired by the 1986 hit movie “Three Amigos” starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short. The waterfront eatery -- the first of its kind in the Caribbean -- offers traditional Mexican fare, along with an extensive beverage menu.

Also featured is Pancho's Backyard, an outpost of the popular downtown Cozumel eatery featuring magnificent ocean views, as well as Fat Tuesday, a waterfront bar offering frozen drinks and light snacks, along with a DJ and dance floor.

The shore excursion pier, separate from the main pier, allows for quick and convenient access to water-bound excursions serving both the mainland of the state of Quintana Roo and island of Cozumel.

Puerta Maya, one of three cruise terminals in Cozumel, is owned by Carnival Corporation. Carnival Corporation operates five additional global ports, including the newly opened Amber Cove in Dominican Republic; Palacruceros in Barcelona, Spain; Grand Turk Cruise Center in Turks and Caicos Islands; Mahogany Bay in Roatan, Honduras; and Long Beach in California. The company also operates two private island destinations in the Caribbean, Princess Cays and Half Moon Cay. In total, Carnival Corporation cruise ships visit over 725 ports of call around the world.

Carnival Australia announces local fleet changes

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Carnival Australia today announced changes to its local cruise line deployments to cater for the growing popularity of cruise holidays from Australian ports.

Under the changes, Princess Cruises’ Australian-based Dawn Princess will move to the P&O Cruises Australia fleet in May 2017. At 77,000 tonnes, the 2000-guest Dawn Princess will be the largest superliner to sail under the P&O Cruises’ flag.

Meanwhile the 108,000-tonne Golden Princess will remain in Australian waters throughout 2017, alongside Sun Princess and Sea Princess.

Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry said the move reflected increased demand for cruise holidays in local waters and continued investment in the P&O Cruises brand.

“Australia is the world’s fastest growing cruise market, so as the biggest cruise operator Down Under we’re delighted to be expanding our local presence even further,” Ms Sherry said.

“These fleet changes will help us further increase the range of exciting cruise options on offer to Australians and continue to meet local demand for holidays at sea.”

P&O Cruises Senior Vice President Sture Myrmell said Dawn Princess would be transformed and renamed before her transfer to the P&O Cruises’ fleet.

“This ship is a great addition to P&O Cruises’ fleet, with her larger size opening up opportunities for new onboard product and experiences,” Mr Myrmell said. Princess Cruises Vice President Australia & New Zealand Stuart Allison said the cruise line was pleased to be able to offer its local guests more itineraries on its 2600-guest Golden Princess, with the ship based in Australia throughout 2017.

“One of Golden Princess’ key sailings for the year will be a 75-night Circle Pacific itinerary taking holidaymakers on a roundtrip cruise from Australia to Asia, Alaska and America,” Mr Allison said.

“This will be the first time we’ve offered a world cruise from Australia on a Grand-class Princess ship so we think it will be a winner.”

More details of P&O Cruises’ 2017 itineraries and the ship transfer will be announced at a later date.

Anthony Kaufman promoted to Executive Vice President, International Operations for Princess Cruises

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Carnival plc announced today that Anthony (Tony) Kaufman has been promoted to the new position of executive vice president, international operations for the Princess Cruises brand. In addition to his continued leadership for the line’s Asia operations, he will now oversee the business in Australia, the United Kingdom and Europe.

In his previous role as senior vice president of Asia operations, Kaufman has been accountable for multiple sales and marketing teams throughout Asia that are focused on growing the Princess brand throughout the region and supporting the brand’s itineraries in China, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore. In addition, he developed Princess Cruises’ strong relationships with government authorities, industry associations and business partners in the region. He also facilitated coordination with the many operating departments that support Princess’ growing Asia deployment.

“Tony has been instrumental in guiding our successful expansion into Asia and delivering a customized product that has truly resonated with our guests,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “With the additional oversight of Australia, the United Kingdom and Europe, he will continue advancing the Princess guest experience, growing our business, and meeting our operational objectives in these additional regions as well.”

Prior to his role overseeing Asia operations for Princess Cruises, Kaufman held the position of senior vice president of commercial affairs, which was a broad commercial role that included responsibility for onboard revenue and worldwide shore operations, as well as commercial transactions such as shipbuilding contracts, ship sales, and charters. He has also served as general counsel of the former P&O Princess Cruises plc based in London, and has held various other roles in legal and business affairs since joining the company in 1993.

Kaufman is based in the company’s Santa Clarita, California world headquarters office.

He holds a B.A. degree in communication studies from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and a law degree, cum laude, from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, where he was an editor of the Loyola Law Review.

Pitbull named Norwegian Escape's Godfather

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that international music sensation Pitbull will serve as Godfather for its newest ship, Norwegian Escape.

On Monday, November 9, Armando Christian Perez, aka Pitbull, will be the honorary Godfather and headline performer at Norwegian Escape’s christening ceremony at PortMiami. Norwegian Escape will be the largest ship to homeport year-round in Miami and features a multitude of innovative dining venues and entertainment offerings.

It is a longstanding tradition in the maritime world to name a Godparent of a new sea-going vessel. This honor, dating back to the 1800s, is bestowed upon an individual who officially names and christens a new ship, and remains in their role for the life of the vessel. Pitbull will serve as the honorary Godfather for Norwegian Escape, becoming one of the naming ceremony’s central figures along with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.’s CEO Frank Del Rio and Norwegian President Andy Stuart. This exciting event will take place while the ship is docked in PortMiami on Monday, November 9, where Pitbull will officially christen the ship during a high-energy pier side ceremony. The selection of Pitbull as the ship’s Godfather reinforces Norwegian’s non-traditional cruising that focuses on freedom and flexibility for guests.

“Pitbull has been an excellent partner and great friend to Norwegian Cruise Line,” said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president. “A Miami native, he epitomizes and contributes to the energy, excitement and local flavor that our ships so proudly embody and we’re excited to build upon our relationship and have him serve in this special role as Godfather to Norwegian Escape.”

This new role builds on the superstar’s previous relationship with Norwegian, as the international recording artist thrilled the crowd during the February 2014 christening ceremony for Norwegian Getaway, which also featured the introduction of his signature Voli vodka brand to cruise goers. Voli is available across the Norwegian fleet and featured in several signature cocktails including the Mr. Worldwide and Dale.

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