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Odo – CBR commentary: CMV on right track with Pacific Pearl purchase

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Main points:

- Company has stated growth strategy

- Move to larger tonnage key to implement strategy

Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), the British operator of second hand tonnage, made a good move by acquiring the 1989 built Pacific Pearl from P&O Cruises Australia.

The 63,786 gross ton ship that will enter service as Columbus under the CMV houseflag in June 2017 will be by far the largest vessel in its then five-strong ocean going fleet, taking the title from the 1985 built Magellan of 46,052 gross tons. Interestingly, CMV opted for the P&O Cruises Australia vessel rather than Henna, sister ship of Magellan, which is reported to be up for sale for 35 million after its Chinese owner closed down operations.

The new acquisition is well known on the British market, where it served from 1997 to 2010, first as Arcadia of P&O Cruises and then as Ocean Village of a another Carnival group company of the same name, which is no longer in business.

Many second tier cruise operators in terms of size in Europe say they want to offer a traditional experience using smaller vessels than the large contemporary market newbuildings, which now often carry 4,000 passengers or more.

It is noteworthy that CMV says Columbus will offer 1,400 berths, which is less than the 1,621 berth capacity when the ship entered service as Star Princess way back in 1989. This is because it will offer many cabins for single occupancy. However, Star Princess started life as a premium market vessel, so a decrease in capacity suggests CMV wants to retain capacity growth below gross tonnage growth as its fleet expands.

The company did the same with Magellan, whose current capacity of 1,300 is also below the 1,452 quoted for ship that started life as the Holiday of Carnival Cruise Lines in 1985.

By moving towards larger tonnage CMV can tap a large number of platforms built in about 1985 to 1995 that major groups, such as Carnival Corporation & plc and Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. are likely to offer for sale.

However, should it have retained its focus in its original 800 to 1,000 passenger range, it would have found hardly any even moderately modern units to grow its business.

To sum up: in our view, an operator that wants to grow by using second hand tonnage should accept the fact that vessels of about 1,500 to 2,500 passenger capacity offer a growth opportunity, whereas the choice of purchase candidates is almost non-existent in smaller size ranges.

MedCruise launches website in Chinese

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Alan Lam reporting

In its continuing effort to woo Chinese cruise tourists, MedCruise has just become the first cruise port association to launch a website in Chinese language. is designed to promote Mediterranean and its adjoining region to seaborne Chinese visitors. The website provides useful information about the region, including its customs, attractions and shopping venues, aiming at capturing the attention of the Chinese source market.

It is the latest product of the so-called China Marketing Plan, a project which was started in early 2015 by MedCruise in collaboration with Chinese Friendly. It is a part of a wider strategic marketing plan that "aims to transform the Asian market into a major passenger source market for MedCruise ports."

MedCruise in our view is probably the most ambitious cruise port association in targeting Asian markets. Its effort is relentless. All the year round, its delegations are actively promoting its member ports in several regions of Asia, attending various trade shows and seeking partnership opportunities.

CMV acquires Pacific Pearl for British market

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Alan Lam reporting

Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) has announced that the Pacific Pearl, the ship currently operated by P&O Cruises Australia, will join its fleet to commence operations from 9 June 2017 under the new name Columbus.

The 1,400-pax ship will be dedicated to the British cruise market, homeporting year round in London Tilbury, offering a traditional scenic British cruise experience.

Columbus, with 775 cabins, is the line’s fifth vessel and will become CMV’s new flagship. The company intends to target the adult only market for this ship, but in the 2017 summer season she will operate two sailing for all age groups.

“The successful introduction of Magellan in 2015,” said Christian Verhounig, CEO and Chairman of CMV, “has encouraged our group to accelerate its mid-term growth plans and the addition of Columbus to the fleet in 2017 is another important milestone in achieving our longer term growth objectives.”

This addition will increase CMV’s overall capacity to 125,000 in 2017.

“We are really pleased to welcome this fine ship to our fleet,” said Chris Coates, commercial director, “which we believe will be very well suited to our core British market who appreciate and value the many benefits of cruising on smaller to mid-sized more traditional vessels of this type. The introduction of Columbus, and her past association and popularity with the British cruise market spanning 13 years, will increase 2017 UK bed night capacity by 25% to 95,000 passengers.”

CMV’s 2017 summer itineraries will be on sale from 31 March 2016, following the Easter holidays. A special 2017 launch edition preview brochure will be released on 7April 2016.

Disney plans to order two 135,000 gross ton newbuildings at Meyer

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

The Walt Disney Company said it plans to build two 135,000 gross to cruise ships at Meyer Werft in Germany.

The company has entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany. The schedule calls for the new ships to be completed in 2021 and 2023, the company said in a statement.

“While design plans, ship names and itineraries are still in development, the Walt Disney Imagineering team is already dreaming up exciting new innovations that will be uniquely fun and distinctly Disney,” said Jonathan Frontado, Public Relations Manager, Disney Cruise Line, in his blog.

“Each new ship will be approximately 135,000 gross tons – slightly larger than the newest Disney Cruise Line ships, the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy – and each is currently planned to include about 1,250 guest staterooms,” he continued.

Fincantieri teams up with Huarun Dadong Dockyard in ship repairs

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups, and Huarun Dadong Dockyard (HRDD), one of the largest Chinese shipyards specialized in ship repair and refitting activities, have signed in Shanghai an exclusive cooperation agreement in the field of ship repair and conversions aimed at serving the cruise ships based in China.

The understanding includes the development of technical skills, project management, and logistics procedures. In particular, Fincantieri, through its dedicated Ship Repair and Conversion business unit, will provide, as a worldwide reference operator of the cruise sector, its technical expertise, which, combined with the first class shipyard facilities of HRDD, will offer fundamental support to the emerging Chinese cruise sector and to the main foreign cruise companies which will operate on the local market. HRDD, in fact, is a leading group with modern facilities located at a very strategic geographical position near the new Cruise Terminal of Shanghai. The shipyard which avails of five drydocks, has a rich experience on a broad range of ship types and skilled resources which make it particularly suitable also for the cruise ship sector.

Fincantieri had started an internationalization and rooting strategy in this market with the agreements made in 2014 in the cruise sector for the local market, and subsequently established a branch office in China, headquartered in Shanghai, the Fincantieri (Shanghai) Trading Co. Ltd.

The Chinese Ministry of Transport (MOT) projects China to be the second largest global cruise market after the U.S. in the next several years based on economic growth, increased spending power of Chinese consumers and internal demand in this sector. China could see 4.5 million cruise passengers by 2020, according to the MOT, and exceed 10 million within 20 years. This expansion could require more than 100 passenger ships. The potential collaborations as the ones between Fincantieri and HRDD aim at supporting the MOT’s expansion policies in the cruise sector and the increase of the entire tourism in China, estimated in a double-digit growth each year from 2014.

Between 2013 and 2015 the number of ships deployed in Asia was increased by 10%, reaching 52 units of 26 brands, with an offer of 1,065 cruises. Besides placing latest-generation ships, specifically built for the customers of that area, the main cruise operators, active in this segment, are also pursuing a dedicated brand creation policy and alliances with other local operators.

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