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Color Group considers returning to Oslo bourse

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Color Group, the privately owned Norwegian company that owns the cruise and ropax ferry operator Color Line, may return to the Oslo stock exchange after a break of almost two decades.

"We believe investors will appreciate the opportunity for exposure towards the travel and leisure industry in an attractive geographic market,” Trond Kleivdal, Group President in Color Line AS, said in a statement.

“Following significant investments and streamlining of operations, Color Line is today a well-run company that combines growth, profitability and dividend capacity with innovative environmental initiatives. The company has a modern fleet of vessels and is building the world's largest plug-in hybrid ferry," he said.

A listing will increase Color Group's ability to fund further growth projects, the company said, but added that no decision has been regarding whether or not an IPO would take place. In the past, the company has aired plans about entering the deep sea cruise sector.

Presently fully owned by O.N. Sunde AS, an investment company, Color Group could be worth NOK11 billion to 12 billion, according to a report in the Finansavisen business daily. Sunde could reduce his stake to below 50% of the shares in the company, the report said.


MSC Cruises plans to double UK market share, MSC Preziosa to Southampton 2019

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

MSC Cruises, the rapidly expanding Geneva based cruise shipping company, plans to double its share of the UK market and will bring the 139,072 gross ton MSC Preziosa to Southampton in 2019, Travel Weekly reports in a newsletter.

 The 2013 built ship carries 4,345 passengers, which is 740 more than the 95,128-tonne MSC Magnifica which is the line’s present ship in the UK and which began operations in 2010.

“MSC represents 10% of the (global) cruise market worldwide and we need to reach 10% in the UK. We are currently just under 5% but with Magnifica next summer and Prezioza the summer after, we will do,” MSC Cruises’ CEO Gianni Onorato was quoted as saying. The company’s aim is to become the leading international player on the British markrt within five years, he added.

Onorato also said the fact that MSC Preziosa has both and indoor and outdoor pool would make it perfect for ex-Southampton sailings when the weather isn’t always favourable. MSC would also make it easier for British and Irish‎ guests to get to its fly-cruises in future to help achieve his desired growth.

“We need to have more and more programmes that appeal to UK and Irish guests, so that means more itineraries to the Caribbean and Med in particular – and more regional flights from the UK and charters to get them there,” he was quoted as saying.



MSC Seaside sails from Trieste to Miami

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

On December 1 in the port of Trieste, MSC Cruises celebrated the coming into service of MSC Seaside, the new flagship for MSC Cruises, as she welcomed the first guests and prepared to cross the Atlantic for her new home in Miami. MSC Seaside is the company’s 14th addition to the MSC Cruises fleet and the second MSC Cruises ship to come into service in 2017 under the company’s industry-unprecedented investment plan.

MSC Seaside is a brand new prototype, designed specifically for sun lovers and to bring MSC Cruises guests closer to the sea. The ship boasts generous outdoor public spaces so that guests can make the most of the sunshine and enjoy the outdoors, which are the highlights of a cruise vacation. This is now the fifth new prototype from MSC Cruises, and each and every new ship is designed to further enhance the cruise experience, bringing something unique and different every time.

Unlike anything else at sea, MSC Seaside will be the new star of Miami, truly recognizable and with a distinctive design inspired by a Miami beach condo. But it is not just the design of this ship that sets her apart, but also the on board experience that distinguishes an MSC Cruises getaway. MSC Seaside will offer world-class entertainment, a host of new international dining concepts, outstanding facilities for families, the MSC Yacht Club, which has become MSC Cruises’ signature luxury offering, and much more. These diverse features will differentiate the MSC Cruises brand and cruise experience in the North American market. Some of the main highlights of MSC Seaside include:

MSC Seaside departed Trieste on December 1st, making a 21 day trans-Atlantic crossing, arriving in PortMiami, her new home on December 21st. That evening, the new MSC Cruises flagship will be officially named in a glittering ceremony. And, no MSC Cruises naming ceremony would be complete without the Godmother, Sophia Loren, who has played the leading role in this time-honored tradition since 2003.

MSC Seaside will sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean offering 7-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries starting December 23, 2017.

Cruise Business Review Publisher Teijo Niemelä is currently onboard the first leg from Trieste to Barcelona.

Sture Myrmell to take responsibility for Carnival group brands in Australia

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Carnival plc, the UK domiciled and listed holding company in Carnival Corporation & plc group, has announced that P&O Cruises' Sture Myrmell would expand his role to include regional responsibility for the organisation's shared services group which supports all the global brands in this market.

Currently President of P&O Cruises Australia, Myrmell will broaden his remit to become the regional President of Carnival Australia, which is the umbrella entity that supports the seven brands sailing in Australia and New Zealand.

Myrmell's appointment is effective immediately. He will report to Jan Swartz, Group President Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia. Carnival Australia is overseen by the Carnival plc UK Management Committee.

Carnival Australia is the only cruise organisation to have ships based year round in Australia with P&O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line with an 85-year, 40-year and five-year history respectively in this market. Cunard, Holland America Line, Seabourn and P&O UK also have proud histories sailing in this region.

The role has been open after Ann Sherry, who celebrated 10 years at the helm of Carnival Australia earlier this year, decided to step back from day-to-day operations to take on the part-time Executive Chairman role. She will continue in this role advocating on major industry issues.

"In addition to his responsibilities as the head of P&O Cruises Australia, Sture will lead the local shared services team that provides regional support across a number of internal and external functions for the business," M Swartz said.


ICS 2017 asks if the pendulum has swung in favour of the ports

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Alan Lam reporting from Madrid 

On the occasion of the International Cruise Summit 2017 (ICS 2017), currently underway in the Spanish capital city of Madrid, industry executives, travel agents, and other stakeholders have once again gathered to discuss issues relating to the latest development in global cruise business in general and European cruise market in particular.

In the light of the controversial and much discussed over-tourism problem experienced in Europe recently, the question is now asked as to whether or not the pendulum has swung in favour of smaller size ports and less known destinations, after years of begging cruise lines to call. In fact, some have been so bold as to ask whether or not cruise lines should begin marketing themselves to these ports and destinations.

As the cruise geography shrinks in the Mediterranean and elsewhere owing to geopolitical and climate-related issues, major ports, mainly in Europe, are experiencing congestions and their hinterland destinations suffer over-tourism. Has time now finally come for smaller ports?

In the quest for more destinations, megaships may not be the way forward, as cruise port facility development struggles to keep up with the swelling ship size. A few cruise lines have opted to build smaller ships in order to be able go to more places. Is port development now in some way dictating the sizes of future ships rather than the other way round?

It is an arguable fact that the success in recent years of expedition and upscale cruise business has been at least in part due to the ability of the ships to go to more destinations and offer wider range of guest experiences.

New brands like Virgin Voyages, Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection and Viking Ocean are not mega ship operators. Celebrity and TUI are among the major cruise brands building smaller ships. Does the future of ocean cruise now belong to smaller ship operators?

As in all previous years, Cruise Business Review is a media partner of ICS 2017. Our correspondent is attending the conference. An in-depth report on the issue raised will be published in the spring issue.