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ABB’s Azipod propulsion passes 100 cruise ship milestone with Ponant order

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Azipod propulsion, the ABB technology that has become the industry standard in the cruise segment since its launch in 1990, has secured its 100th cruise ship order, winning a contract for powering the world’s first electric hybrid icebreaker.

The luxury polar expedition cruise ship, due delivery for the French cruise company Ponant in 2021, will feature two Azipod VI propulsion units fit for the most challenging ice conditions.

Upon delivery from Norway’s Vard Søviknes, a Fincantieri Company, the cruise ship will take passengers to unexplored destinations in Arctic and Antarctic waters. In the harsh conditions of ice-covered seas, Azipod units with 6-meter propellers and combined power of 34 MW will help the vessel achieve greater maneuverability and efficiency, as well as lower the environmental impact. Due to minimal noise and vibration, Azipod propulsion will also improve passenger and crew comfort.

“We are delighted that Ponant chose to rely on ABB’s leading expertise both in cruise and ice-going vessel propulsion for their pioneering vessel,” said Juha Koskela, Managing Director, ABB Marine & Ports. “Azipod units already power more than 80 vessels navigating in icy seas, and reaching the 100th cruise ship order highlights ABB’s commitment to a technology with superior performance, reliability, safety and environmental profile.”

Propulsion system of choice for cruise vessels around the world

The first Azipod order from a cruise ship customer in 1995 led to installations on board the Carnival Cruise Lines' Fantasy-class newbuildings Elation and Paradise. An order from Royal Caribbean Cruises came in 1997, with three Azipod units installed on the biggest cruise ship of its time – Voyager of the Seas. Other large cruise lines followed, selecting Azipod propulsion for their vessels.

“At the beginning of the 1990s, we entered the cruise market with a technology offering a 10-15% efficiency gain over conventional shaftline systems and a gearless construction that reduces environmental impact,” said Marcus Högblom, Head of the Passenger, Ice & Dry Cargo segment, ABB Marine & Ports. “Since then, the cruise market has been increasingly choosing Azipod propulsion. We estimate that energy savings equivalent to 700,000 tons of fuel have been made in the cruise sector due to the selection of Azipod.”

Options for Azipod propulsion now span 1.5MW to 22MW, and the technology has played a key role in developing ABB Marine & Ports’ strong position for environmentally-friendly electric propulsion.

Utilizing the ABB Ability Collaborative Operation Center infrastructure, ABB experts are able to monitor the operational parameters of the Azipod cruise fleet and coordinate remote equipment analysis, diagnostics, and predictive maintenance services.

Costa Venezia to sail 53-night inaugural cruise from Trieste to Yokohama

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

The inaugural cruise of the new Costa Cruises ship, currently being built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, is now for sale. The 53-night inaugural sailing of Costa Venezia will depart from Trieste, Italy and arrive at Yokohama in Japan. Costa Cruises' new ship is currently being built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone.

The cruise will set off from Trieste on 8 March 2019, on a 53 night, eastbound itinerary in the footsteps of Marco Polo that will end in Yokohama, in Japan, on 29 April 2019. The ship will leave the Mediterranean and cross the Suez Canal and the Red Sea before entering the Persian Gulf, calling at Dubrovnik, Bari (Italy), Greece, Israel, Jordan and Oman on the way. After stops at Dubai and Abu Dhabi the ship will then head towards India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. The last leg of the cruise will be the Far East: Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and finally Japan.

The itinerary can be split into three different legs, Trieste-Dubai, (20 days) Dubai-Singapore (18 days) and Singapore-Yokohama (17 days), or combinations of the three legs.

The inaugural cruise is currently the only cruise holiday option available on the new ship. Costa Venezia is the first Costa ship to be designed and built specifically for the Chinese market, and after its first voyage, it will be dedicated exclusively to the local market. It will be a unique opportunity to try a different cruise experience from the one usually available to European and American guests.

A different cruise experience that starts with its interior design, which will be a veritable "virtual" trip to Venice. The options available in terms of gastronomy, entertainment and shopping will be especially appealing. Guests on the inaugural cruise can take part in a fun "Golden Party", inspired by the colour symbolising fortune and wealth in China, with lots of surprises and gifts to be won every ten minutes. Or you can try the enchanting masked party inspired by the famous Carnival of Venice. The food on board will be very varied: you can enjoy the delicacies of Italian cuisine and discover traditional Chinese and Asian dishes, as well as sample the cuisine of the places that the itinerary calls at. The shopping area will be particularly wide-ranging and well-stocked with Italian and international big name brands.

Costa Venezia will have a gross tonnage of 135,500 tons and will include 2,116 cabins for a total of 5,260 passengers. A second ship designed for the Chinese market, Costa Venezia's sister, will be delivered by Fincantieri in 2020. Besides the two Fincantieri ships, Costa Cruises has two other ships on order by 2021 that will be built by Meyer shipyard in Turku (Finland). The first, Costa Smeralda, will enter service in October 2019.

In 2006 Costa Cruises was the first international cruise company to enter the Chinese market, in which it has become a leader. In China cruises with Costa are known as “Italy at sea”, because they offer local guests an Italian and European-style holiday experience, with top quality cuisine, entertainment and hospitality.

AIDA Cruises orders third cruise ship from Meyer Werft

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

In 2023, the German market leader for cruise vacations will launch another ship of its new generation into service. AIDAnova, the first newbuilt of this ship class, will join AIDA Cruises’ fleet this autumn. She will then be followed by the two sister ships of this series in spring of 2021 and in 2023. Thanks to this substantial expansion of its range of holiday offers over the next five years, AIDA Cruises will give the tourism market new impulses for growth and meet the strong increasing demand for cruise vacations.

“On board our ships, which travel the most beautiful destinations worldwide, we offer the greatest holiday variety on the German market with a complete package of culture, entertainment, sports, wellness and culinary delights. The interest in AIDAnova, the first ship of our new generation, is enormous, even before the commissioning in autumn this year. With today's new building contract, we will ensure the further growth of the cruise market in the long term and will be able to provide exciting offers for this steadily growing holiday segment in the future as well. Thanks to an even wider variety on board, we are opening up completely new possibilities for attracting new target groups across generations for this unique holiday experience," said Felix Eichhorn, President AIDA Cruises.

Starting with AIDAnova, the next generation ship class will combine innovations with further developments of successful product features already offered on board the existing fleet. More than 40 different restaurants and bars on board entice guests to enjoy new worlds of gastronomic experiences and set culinary trends. Versatile entertainment offerings, such as the enhanced theatrium, a ship’s own TV studio or new event restaurants will inspire. Guests have the choice between more than 20 different cabin types – from the Penthouse Suite to generously sized family staterooms or single staterooms with a balcony.

At the same time, the company is affirming its commitment to the environment and relying on “Made in Germany” with the construction of another ship at the yard Meyer Werft in Papenburg, that can be run entirely on liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Tim Meyer, Managing Director of Meyer Werft: “This is the tenth AIDA ship we are building in Papenburg, emphasizing a long-term partnership between AIDA and Meyer Werft. AIDAnova and the following two sister ships are featuring the latest technology focusing on sustainability and energy efficiency.”

Over the course of the coming years, AIDA Cruises will be investing more than three billion euros into the expansion of its fleet. With each new ship, AIDA Cruises generates around 2,000 quality jobs on board and ashore and further provides many thousands of highly-qualified jobs in German and European shipbuilding and in the domestic supply industry.

The new construction, which will have more than 180,000 gross tons and an estimated 2,700 staterooms, is already the ninth LNG cruise ship being built at the shipyards of Meyer Werft in Germany and Finland for four of the nine cruise lines owned by Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest leisure travel corporation and parent company of AIDA Cruises.

AIDA Cruises will take delivery of AIDAnova from Meyer Werft on November 15, 2018 in Bremerhaven. Before the maiden voyage of AIDAnova, which will depart from Hamburg on December 2, 2018 towards the Canary Islands, guests can experience the new flagship at exclusive pre-premieres.

In its debut season, starting mid-December 2018, AIDAnova will be traveling on seven-day cruises to the Canary Islands and Madeira, which, thanks to year-round pleasant temperatures, varied landscapes and short flying times, are among the top holiday destinations for Germans.

NCLH forecasts 2018 EPS to rise to $4.45 to $4.65 bracket 

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH) forecasts 2018 adjusted earnings per share (EPS) to rise to the range of $4.45 to $4.65 from $3.96 it reached in 2017.

The continued strong global demand for NCLH portfolio of brands will enable the group to further grow revenue, resulting in sixth consecutive year of net yield growth. “This, coupled with the benefit of the launch of Norwegian Bliss and a continued focus on costs, will drive 2018 earnings to record highs,” said Wendy Beck, executive vice president and chief financial officer of NCLH in a statement.

Adjusted net yields should rose by 2.75% as reported and by 2.0% on constant currency terms. Net cruise costs should rise between 0.5% and 1.5% as reported and remain flat or rise by 1.0% in constant currency terms.

Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of the company, said: “It has been a remarkable journey for our Company with more major milestones to come and an amazing trajectory of profit growth for 2018 and beyond. Our solid revenue and earnings performance will continue in 2018, having entered the year in the best booked position in our Company’s history with pricing above prior year across all three of our brands."



NCLH stages strong rise in final quarter and full year 2017 profit 

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Ltd (NCLH), the third largest cruise shipping group in the world, has reported a strong increase in net profit for the final quarter and full year 2017.

Net profit for the last three months of 2017 increased to $98.7 million from $72.2 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenues increased to $1.25 billion from $1.13 billion.

For the full year 2017, NCLH reported a net profit of $759.9 million, an increase from $633.0 million in 2016. Revenues increased to 5.23 billion from 4.87 billion.

The company said beat its full year earnings expectations, surpassing the midpoint of its initial February 2017 Adjusted EPS guidance of $3.80 by $0.16.

“The strong, record performance we delivered in 2017 was the perfect end to a historic year as we celebrate the five year anniversary of our initial public offering. Over the last five years we have continued our track record of consistent financial performance with a more than sixfold increase in EPS, a doubling of revenue and the expansion of Adjusted ROIC to double-digit levels," said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of NCLH.

“It has been a remarkable journey for our Company with more major milestones to come and an amazing trajectory of profit growth for 2018 and beyond. Our solid revenue and earnings performance will continue in 2018, having entered the year in the best booked position in our Company’s history with pricing above prior year across all three of our brands."

In the final quarter, Gross Yield increased 2.5% and Adjusted Net Yield increased 3.4% on a Constant Currency basis and 3.9% on an as reported basis. “An increase in Capacity Days along with an increase in marketing, general and administrative expenses increased total cruise operating expense 8.4% in 2017 compared to 2016,” NCLH said.

Gross Cruise Costs per Capacity Day increased 1.2%. Adjusted Net Cruise Cost Excluding Fuel per Capacity Day increased 2.8% on a Constant Currency basis and 3.2% on an as reported basis.