Saturday, 16 November 2019

Carnival partners with Uplift to offer cruisers an instalment-plan alternative

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Carnival Cruise Line said it will offer instalment financing of its cruise vacations through Uplift, a relatively new third-party finance company.
Uplift will offer Carnival customers an alternative to its in-house incremental payment program, EasyPay.
Uplift Pay Monthly offers to finance of up to 24 months with no downpayment.
In an example, Uplift said consumers booking a cruise priced at $2,000 on a 24-month plan would make 24 payments of $96.97, yielding a finance charge on the purchase of 15% APR, or $327.28 above the price of the cruise.
The minimum ticket price to receive Uplift financing is $605. There are no prepayment penalties.
EasyPay splits the ticket price into monthly payments but does not levy a finance charge. Customers must put down a deposit, and billing is through a credit card. If the customer pays the balance on the credit card each month there is no extra charge.
EasyPay must be picked as the payment plan 120 to 150 days from sailing, depending on the itinerary. Monthly payments begin 30 days after the initial deposit.
Ken Tate, the chief commercial officer for Carnival Cruise Line, said Carnival agreed to partner with Uplift because of its unique zero down payment, 24-month format and because it is focused only on the travel sector.
Uplift said Uplift Pay Monthly can be offered by travel advisors, and that its systems will seamlessly integrate with Carnival's existing booking and payment processes.
Norwegian Cruise Line also offers an Uplift option.

RCCL presidents tackle over-tourism, luxury, female leadership

RCCL presidents tackle over-tourism, luxury, female leadership

Editor in chief Arnie Weissmann, far left, and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. CEO Richard Fain, far right, moderated a panel of RCCL presidents, seated: Mark Conroy of Silversea, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo of Celebrity and Larry PImentel of Azamara.
Editor in chief Arnie Weissmann, far left, and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. CEO Richard Fain, far right, moderated a panel of RCCL presidents, seated: Mark Conroy of Silversea, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo of Celebrity and Larry PImentel of Azamara.

FORT LAUDERDALE -- Cruise line presidents from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. brands took on the subject of over-tourism, the evolution of luxury cruising and female leadership during a panel at CruiseWorld.
Regarding over-tourism, they said that in the general travel industry, cruise lines are a small part of the phenomenon -- but a highly visible one.
"Our reality is, perception rules," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president of Celebrity Cruises. "There are these big white ships pulling in and it's a lot of people at once."
Larry Pimentel, president of Azamara, said that 25 years ago there were only 1.4 million outbound travellers from China; today there are 150 million. "India is also coming," he said. "By no means is this only a cruise issue; it is an industry issue."
And Mark Conroy, managing director of the Americas, for Silversea Cruises, said that overreacting to over-tourism could be overly damaging to some local residents in destinations such as Venice.
"Tourism is the largest employer in the world overall," Conroy said. You can't just shut it down. If you banned all tourism into Venice, there'd be a big unemployment problem there."
Silversea redefining expedition cruising
Conroy said that 10 years ago when he was working for a rival company he thought that Silversea chairman Manfredi Lefebvre was crazy to bolt an expedition arm onto a luxury brand.
"I thought he'd lost his mind until I saw the per diems from the expedition business," Conroy said.
Silversea, as a top-tier luxury brand, also brought a different concept to what was then more of a rustic product. At that time, Conroy recalled, "You had to sacrifice your lifestyle to go on an expedition."
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But when Silversea renovated its two oldest ships, the Silver Cloud and Silver Wind, it decided to transform them into expedition vessels but with the space and amenities of a luxury ship.
Conroy said that one of the unintended consequences was that the larger ship had faster speeds than most expedition ships.
"We can cross the Drake Passage [to Antarctica] in 28 hours instead of two days," Conroy said
In defining the "luxury" appeal of his Azamara brand, Pimentel said that value plays a bigger part than in traditional luxury brands. As a department store, Azamara would compare to Nordstrom, he said.
"We're not Saks Fifth Avenue." As a car, we would be more like a Lexus."
A woman in charge
The panel followed the CEO Conversation between Royal Caribbean Chairman Ltd. chairman and CEO Richard Fain and editor in chief Arnie Weissmann, and Fain returned to the stage to co-moderate the panel of presidents.
Lutoff-Perlo, who was named the president of Celebrity five years ago, and Fain asked her what was is like to be one of the few women to run a cruise line. She said at first, she took it for granted.
"When I was appointed I didn't think about my gender at all," she said. "But then when I was appointed, to the rest of the world apparently it is a really big deal.
"The great part is the part I can do to pay it forward" to other females in the industry, she said. 

CEO Conversations: Carnival Corp.'s Donald on stability and innovation

CEO Conversations: Carnival Corp.'s Donald on stability and innovation

Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald, far right, was joined onstage during the CEO Conversation panel by John Chernesky-the-puppet of Princess Cruises. The session was moderated by editor in chief Arnie Weissmann, seated, left.
Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald, far right, was joined onstage during the CEO Conversation panel by John Chernesky-the-puppet of Princess Cruises. The session was moderated by editor in chief Arnie Weissmann, seated, left. Photo Credit: Jamie Biesiada

FORT LAUDERDALE -- Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald told an audience at CruiseWorld that being the largest cruise company in the world comes with two key advantages -- stability and innovation -- that help Carnival's brands deliver industry-leading results.
The company has more than 100 ships, and it operates in every segment and several global source markets. "One of every two people who cruise go with one of our nine brands," Donald said, which include Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Cunard Line, in addition to the namesake Carnival Cruise Line.
"Because we have such a large portfolio, it's difficult for anyone thing happening somewhere in the world to take the company down," Donald said.
Size matters in innovation too. "We have the scale and the capability to take on projects that others can't," he said.
A prime example of that is the costly OceanMedallion personalization technology that Carnival developed and rolled out initially on Princess Cruises.
"We invented it," Donald said. "It's not off-the-shelf apps."
Donald ran down a list of developments at various Carnival brands, such as the roller coaster on next year's Carnival Cruise Line newbuild, the Mardi Gras.
But when he forgot to mention Princess Cruises, a surprise guest made an appearance.
From behind the couch where Arnold was seated, up popped a Muppets-style character designed to look like Princess' senior vice president of sales and trade marketing, John Chernesky. The puppet ribbed Donald and amused the crowd until the real John Chernesky bounded on stage to complain that the puppet has been impersonating him all over town.
The larger message to the puppet tomfoolery was to billboard the Jim Henson Creature Shop show, called "Inspired Silliness," that will debut next month on the newest Princess ship, the Sky Princess.
When Donald finally regained the spotlight, he took some time to outline Carnival's sustainability initiatives and defend the industry's record.
He said that very little of the estimated 8 million tons of plastics in the ocean comes from ships, much less from cruise ships. "It comes from land; it comes through the rivers and gets into the ocean," he said, adding, "Having said that, we don't want anything going in the ocean. He said that Carnival has accelerated existing recycling efforts and processes to eliminate plastics from its waste stream.
Likewise, when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, a Carnival brand was the first to use liquified natural gas (LNG) to provide power in port, and Carnival Corp. will be the first to bring an LNG-powered ship to North America, with the Mardi Gras.
"Ultimately we want to get to zero-emission," Donald said. But he said cruise emissions are a tiny fraction of the global equation. "The reality is if the cruise industry didn't exist, you wouldn't be able to measure the difference in emissions," he said.

MSC and Hurtigruten detail their green initiatives

MSC and Hurtigruten detail their green initiatives

Hurtigruten's Roald Amundsen is the world's first hybrid-electric cruise ship.

FORT LAUDERDALE -- Cruise lines are cutting carbon emissions, reducing single-use plastics and campaigning to restore endangered coral reefs around the world, an audience at Cruise World learned on Friday.
Two cruise lines with different solutions to environmental preservation led to a discussion of how they’re making progress.
Hurtigruten's unique solution comes in the form of batteries, which on its newest ships store energy produced by the engines and cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20%.
Hurtigruten president of the Americas John Downey said the 630-passenger ships can sail for several hours at slow speeds by battery power alone, and for a little less than an hour at normal cruising speed.
That could be important as soon as 2026 when Norway has mandated that ships sailing in two of its most historic fjords be 100% emission-free. Few ships in the current cruise fleet could qualify, Downey said.
"We can do it today. If we go 100% batteries, we can sail in there emissions-free," Downey said.
At MSC Cruises, executives just announced that it will become the first large cruise line to become carbon neutral by countering its engine emissions through purchased carbon offsets. By investing in companies that plant trees and purchase wetlands, the line will absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere equal to the greenhouse gasses it produces.
"This is super exciting for us," said Bonnie Levengood, MSC Cruises USA's senior vice president for marketing. "As we’re investing in new technology to be more eco-friendly, we’re also looking at what is our current carbon footprint and how can we reduce that now."
MSC is also developing a coral education and restoration program on the new MSC Ocean Cay Marine Reserve, its private island near Bimini scheduled to open Dec. 5.
The line is working with universities and researchers to develop a strain of super coral that will be more resistant to coral bleaching, a byproduct of warmer water temperatures. If the research is fruitful, it could help not only the Bahamas but other areas with coral reefs.
"Coral is a big attraction for tourists all over the world," Levengood said.
Both companies are reducing sulfur emissions from their exhaust as required by International Maritime Organization rules that have been phased in over the past decade, but they differ on methodology.
Hurtigruten switched to low-sulfur fuel 10 years ago for its fleet of small ships, which prevents the sulfur from getting into the exhaust, while MSC mainly uses exhaust stack "scrubbers" that use seawater to capture the sulfur before it leaves the funnel.
Downey said the captured sulfur must still be disposed of somehow. "Our approach is you start at the root cause instead of band-aiding," he said, adding that MSC prefers scrubbers because low-sulfur fuel is expensive.
Levengood responded that every environmental technology has its positives and negatives. She pointed out, for example, that Hurtigurten's batteries use metals that have to be mined, and that the mining process produces greenhouse gases, even if the end product may not.

Friday, 15 November 2019

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines unveils new patchwork livery on flagship 'Balmoral' to raise awareness of Suffolk Hospice campaign

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines unveils new patchwork livery on flagship 'Balmoral' to raise awareness of Suffolk Hospice campaign

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has unveiled a bright new patchwork livery on its flagship, Balmoral, to help to raise awareness of a fundraising campaign in aid of Suffolk-based St Elizabeth Hospice – ‘Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk’.
In line with the Fred. Olsen ethos of continual improvement and upgrading of its fleet, Balmoral has been adorned with an eye-catching new patchwork livery. The vibrant pattern was chosen by Peter Deer, Commercial Director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, to reflect the cruise line’s support of the ‘Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk’ campaign, based around the children’s picture book character, ‘Elmer the Patchwork Elephant’, created by David McKee.
The ‘Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk’ art project – to raise funds for Ipswich’s St Elizabeth Hospice – will be bringing 55 large Elmer sculptures and 85 ‘young Elmers’ to the county town in Summer 2019, and follows on from the hugely successful ‘Pigs Gone Wild’ trail in 2016. The Parade is once again being run in conjunction with public art event specialists, Wild in Art, and new partner, Andersen Press, who have published ‘Elmer’ for 30 years.
Starting with its flagship, Balmoral, the unique patchwork design will be rolled out across Fred. Olsen’s three other ocean ships – Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch – over the coming months.
Fred. Olsen has commissioned its own ‘top secret’ sculpture for the campaign, designed by talented Trimley artist, Angela Ashford. The ‘big reveal’ of Fred. Olsen’s design will take place when the ‘Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk’ art trail gets underway officially on 15th June 2019.
Peter Deer, Commercial Director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines said:
“St Elizabeth Hospice provides a vital service within our community, and has provided invaluable support to many of our colleagues and their families over the years, so we are so proud to be supporting ‘Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk’ as our major local charity campaign in 2019.
“The Hospice needs to generate £10.5 million to run every year, less than a quarter of which comes from the NHS. While we are already sponsoring and commissioning our very own Elmer sculpture for this Summer’s ‘Big Parade’, we wanted to go one step further and do more to promote the work of the Hospice and just how important this campaign is – and what better way to catch everyone’s attention than by showcasing the bold, bright patchwork colours of Elmer on our beautiful flagship, Balmoral, and across the rest of our cruise fleet?”

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines to revamp three ships

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines to revamp three ships

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Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is sending Braemar, Balmoral and Black Watch into dry dock this winter in preparation for the 2020-21 season.

All three will receive new public areas and cabin improvements during their revamps, taking place from now until December 21 at Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany.

In addition, a number of cabins on 804-passenger Black Watch will receive bathroom upgrades.

On Balmoral, an Oriental Room will be added on deck six, where teas and Far Eastern-themed cocktails and drinks will be served.

A photo gallery and flower shop will also be installed on to the 1,325-passenger ship.

More: Fred Olsen Cruise Lines targets ‘exploration’ cruise growth

 Fred Olsen Cruise Lines targets new audience with Channel 4 ads

Engineering works, general maintenance and other refurbishments will also be carried out.

Braemar entered dry dock on Thursday and will return to service on November 24 when it sales a nine-night French, Belgian & Spanish City Overnights cruise from Southampton.

Balmoral will enter the yard on December 10 before emerging 10 days later, while Black Watch will go in on December 11 and come out on December 21.

The line’s fourth ship – 880-passenger Boudicca – will go into dry dock in autumn next year.

Peter Deer, managing director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines said: “We are very proud of our smaller, classic cruise ships and we recognise the importance of investing in ongoing upgrades to ensure that our guests can continue to enjoy them at their very best.

“Our refreshed and the renewed fleet has been very well-received by both new and existing guests following the last round of improvements at Blohm+Voss in 2017 and 2018, and we are keen to showcase the latest enhancements to our guests before Christmas.”

Royal Caribbean and Azamara ‘considering’ moving UK teams to the US

Royal Caribbean and Azamara ‘considering’ moving UK teams to the US

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Royal Caribbean Cruises is “considering” moving some of Royal Caribbean International and Azamara’s UK non-sales departments to the US.

The company is proposing splitting some staff into separate teams for those two brands so they can “laser focus” on their passengers and destinations.

The proposed shake-up focuses predominantly on markets where Royal Caribbean, Azamara and Celebrity Cruises operate collectively on a “tri-branded basis”.

Royal said this will have “no impact” on sales teams in the UK and Ireland, which are already “single-branded”.

A Royal Caribbean Cruises spokesperson said: “Under the proposal, we are considering relocating some non-sales UK departments from Royal Caribbean International and Azamara to Miami.”

More: Anthem of the Seas to return to Southampton in 2021

 Royal Caribbean names new Oasis-class vessel

Celebrity Cruises’ non-sales staff in the UK and Ireland are not affected by the proposal.

“The relationships we hold with our trade partners in the UK and Ireland are critical for our present and future success and the proposed changes will bring consumer insights benefits to the market going forward,” the spokesperson added.

80s Cruise Aboard Royal Caribbean’s Explorer.
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Growing up as a teenager in the 80s was a lot of fun, so who wouldn’t jump at the chance to re-live it all over again on a cruise?
The clever people at Floating Festivals realised there was a big demand from all those who were missing the big hair, outrageous fashion and brilliant music of that iconic decade – and to help us celebrate it, they created a Throwback 80s cruise.
80s cruise: Royal Caribbean
On a Throwback cruise, you can dress up in full 80s style with your mates

When you’re rocking your favourite look from that era, pretty much anything goes. I went back to my mod days with a two-tone outfit on night one, while my friend channelled her Club Tropicana past in a loud Hawaiian shirt and suitably 80s garish make-up.
Too much? No, not nearly enough. As we stepped out into the atrium of Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas, we were surprised and delighted to see whole gangs of people dressed in matching 80s outfits that looked absolutely fantastic.
Our favourites included burly men doing their finest Freddie Mercury, complete with high heels and Hoovers, a gang of Richard Geres from An Officer and a Gentlemen, half a dozen Pac Men and a posse of mums and daughters dressed to the nines as Robert Palmer’s backing band (how they managed not to smile, just pouting when anyone walked by, is still a mystery to me).
80s Cruise: Royal Caribbean, Explorer of the Seas
Party at sea on an 80s cruise

The whole scene felt like a friendly fancy dress party, with everyone stopping off to admire each others’ outfits. The atmosphere was electric with hairspray, cheap jewellery and enough make-up to put Boots out of business. And that was just the men.
But a retro fashion show at sea was only the beginning. We were all there to see the bands from our youth, and Friday night kicked off in style with UB40. Yes, we might be in our 50s and 60s, but we haven’t forgotten our 80s dance moves, we still remember
all the words, and soon the crowd was yelling along to Red, Red Wine. Happy days indeed.
The night was still young, and Club Tropicana beckoned. Decade revivalists Coyote’s 80s Mixtape were on stage blasting out some classic tunes from Toto, Tina Turner and Prince, swiftly followed by a great DJ set from mullet legend Pat Sharpe (sadly, without his signature haircut these days).
80s cruise: Royal Caribbean
Your outfit can’t be too bright for neon night

Everyone went a bit bananas, singing at the top of their voices, necking Pina Coladas and bottles of Corona and remembering the sheer joy of their 80s youth.
The following morning there were more than a few sore heads on board, but having left the dance floor at a relatively sensible 1am, my friend and I decided to step off the ship and look around Le Havre.
There’s always one port call on the Throwback cruise – last year it was Bruges – and although the destination isn’t really the point, this was my first visit to Le Havre, and I was impressed.
I loved the amazing Brutalist concrete cathedral (not to mention some melt-in-the-mouth croissants and excellent coffee), though quite what the well-dressed locals thought of the sudden influx of Brits in pink legwarmers is anyone’s guess.
80s cruise: Royal Caribbean
These ladies had the 80s look down to a T

Back on board, there was real excitement in the air as everyone headed off to get ready for the neon night and a chance to see the legendary Sister Sledge live. The crowd glowed brightly in the dark and the band played a killer set with disco favourites including We Are Family and Lost In Music getting everyone to their feet.
Running these cruises over the weekend is a great idea, as everyone really goes back in time, remembering what it was like to live (and dress up for) the weekend.
80s cruise: Tony Hadley
Tony Hadley struts his stuff on stage

By Sunday night, everyone on board couldn’t wait to see Tony Hadley play live. During the day we’d been kept entertained by the brilliant Bootleg Blondie (complete with real Blondie drummer Clem Burke) and 80s comedian Bobby Davro hosting a crazy round of bingo. But make no mistake, Tony was a big attraction here.
And boy, did he play a great set. Opening with Spandau Ballet’s first single, To Cut A Long Story Short, he had the crowd in raptures with spine-tingling renditions of Through the BarricadesTrue and Gold. His voice is still amazing and he’s a great raconteur, too, even stopping to congratulate one couple who had got engaged on the ship.
Channelling our 80s New Romantic selves, my friend and I were up and dancing from the very first song – as were the Oompa Loompas behind us.
80s cruise: Bootleg Blondie
Bootleg Blondie wowed the crowds on board

As you’d expect from a Royal Caribbean ship, our cabin aboard Explorer of the Seas was great and the food was plentiful and tasty, but this cruise is more about the sheer joy of getting dressed up with your mates, having fun and celebrating one of history’s best decades for fashion and music.
Beg, borrow or steal a ticket for next year’s Throwback, and I’ll see you on the dancefloor…

Viking Sky report says stricken ship nearly ran aground

Viking Sky report says stricken ship nearly ran aground

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The Viking Sky cruise ship came within a ship's length of running aground on shoals off the coast of Norway during a violent storm last March, according to an interim report on the incident from an investigative board.
The 750-foot Viking Cruises ship was trying to sail from Tromso to Stavanger when all three of its operating engines shut down and a blackout ensued, leaving the ship adrift.
The report from Norway's Accident Investigation Board found that lubricating oil levels in the engines were far below the levels recommended by the engine manufacturer.
It said the levels were maintained at 28% to 40% capacity, while the recommended level was 68% to 70%.
"The diesel generators shut down as a result of the loss of lubricating oil suction due to low sump tank levels, combined with pitching and rolling," investigators concluded.
The shutdown occurred in an offshore area called Hustadvika, which pilot manuals describe as "extraordinarily dangerous."
With no propulsion, Viking Sky drifted toward the rocky shore. The captain issued a mayday call, which led to a helicopter rescue operation that evacuated 479 passengers from the 930-passenger ship.
The captain concluded the seas were too dangerous to order passengers into lifeboats. He lowered both anchors to stop the drift, but the anchors failed to hold. The report said the ship "passed over or in immediate proximity to 10-meter (33-foot) shoals before propulsion could be reestablished."
The ship has a draft of 6.65 meters (nearly 22 feet).
After 24 minutes of the blackout, engineers added oil to the engines and eventually restarted them but had to manage the electrical load manually, a difficult challenge, the report said. The ship was manoeuvred toward open waters, with both anchors still lowered.
The interim report recommends that ship owners and operators ensure that engine lubricating oil tank levels are maintained in accordance with the engine manufacturer’s instructions and "topped up in the event of poor weather being forecast."

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Two cruise lines regroup after Caribbean setbacks

Two cruise lines regroup after Caribbean setbacks

The Norwegian Sky in Havana in a 2017 photo.
Norwegian Sky outside Havana Port, Cuba.
Two cruise companies affected by sudden upsets in the Caribbean and Bahamas region are slowly regaining their footing.
For Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), the big blow was the abrupt end to U.S. cruises to Cuba in June. NCLH had bet heavily on Cuba's reopening, scheduling not only short cruises on its contemporary Norwegian Cruise Line brand but longer visits by its two premium brands, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
As detailed in a conference call with investors, the U.S. government decision to shutter Cuba with no advance warning hit NCLH third-quarter earnings big-time.
"Given the suddenness of the termination and the lack of lead time we had to make any meaningful fleet redeployment changes, the third quarter bears the largest negative earnings impact from the Cuba travel ban," said Frank Del Rio, the company's CEO.
The hit was more than $47 million.
Overnight, high yielding routes to Cuba for the Norwegian brand turned into low-yielding routes to the Bahamas. And several months later came Hurricane Dorian, which made its own dent in NCLH's earnings through cancelled sailings and reworked itineraries.
Del Rio said Norwegian plans to redeploy half of its Bahamas capacity to higher-yielding areas such as Alaska, the eastern Mediterranean and Asia, and will slowly get out from under the Cuba aftermath.
Even more impacted by Dorian than Norwegian was Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, whose only destination is the Bahamas.
It suspended its two-day sailings to Grand Bahama for most of September, filling in the time by providing much-need relief and evacuation services.
The silver lining, of sorts, is that Dorian forced Bahamas Paradise into a new market, Nassau, which was not much affected by the storm. It now runs one of its ships from West Palm Beach to Grand Bahama and the other to Nassau.
Bookings for Nassau started slow, said Francis Riley, senior vice president of sales and marketing, but are now on par with those to Grand Bahama. Part of the attraction is the Cruise & Stay program where guest can vacation for two or four nights at one of four Nassau hotels:  Atlantis, The Melia, the Comfort Suites Nassau or the SLS Baha Mar.
Bahamas Paradise has a similar program in place on Grand Bahama with the Lucayan, which has reopened, and the Viva Wyndham, which plans to reopen Dec. 10.
Unlike Norwegian, Bahamas Paradise doesn't have plans to go elsewhere, and it is busy selling the Bahamas to Canadians and New Yorkers, who have just started getting the frosty temperatures they can look forward to until next spring.

MSC Cruises brand campaign to support Wave push

MSC Cruises brand campaign to support Wave push

MSC Cruises brand campaign to support Wave push

MSC Cruises is to launch a new brand campaign designed to support the trade during the peak Wave sales period.

Launching in January, the campaign – The Sea At Its Most – will appear on TV, in newspapers, on the line’s digital platforms and out-of-home displays.

Music to accompany the campaign has been created by Italian composer Ennio Morricone.

The line’s UK and Ireland managing director, Antonio Paradiso (pictured), said the campaign will help agents to “present cruise in a different way” to the customer.

Speaking as new ship MSC Grandiosa called in Southampton, he said: “The new brand campaign is supposed to support your daily business. You are travel agents, so you know the complexities of selling a cruise to customers.

More: MSC Cruises ‘very close’ to fulfilling UK market ambition

 MSC Cruises delays the opening of a private island

“We always have high expectations for Wave and in Q1 we have the opportunities to get the message out and we know that the customers are more willing to buy a holiday.

“Over the years, we have been challenging those misconceptions and stereotypes about the cruise industry. We always focus on the word ‘cruise’ but we forget we are selling a holiday.

“[The campaign] will help present cruise in a different way and reduce all those questions about what it is really all about.”

Earlier, chief executive Gianni Onorato outlined plans for the line to carry three million passengers in 2020 and hit 5.5 million by 2027, by which time 12 more ship is expected to have been added to the fleet.

“We will continue to build ships and be as innovative and creative as we can,” Onorato said.

Anthem of the Seas to return to Southampton in 2021

Anthem of the Seas to return to Southampton in 2021

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Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas will return to Southampton in 2021 as part of the line’s new European programme.

The Quantum-class ship will offer ex-UK itineraries to a range of destinations including Norway, the Canaries and the Western Mediterranean.

Prices for the nine-night sailing, departing from Southampton on June 11, 2021, calling at Stavanger, Kristiansand and Geiranger, all Norway, lead-in from £1,187.

Oasis-class ship Harmony of the Seas will sail seven-night Western Mediterranean itineraries out of Barcelona alongside Vision of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas.

The lead-in price for Harmony’s seven-night Western Mediterranean sailing departing from Barcelona on July 11, 2021, is £1,000. Ports of call include Palma de Mallorca, Marseille and Naples.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

MSC Seaside Set for Starring Role in Season Six of Family Travel

MSC Seaside Set for Starring Role in Season Six of Family Travel

MSC Seaside
MSC Cruises has announced that travel celebrity Colleen Kelly and her family will set sail with the MSC Seaside on a cruise to the Caribbean for Season 6 of the PBS show Family Travel with Colleen Kelly.
The sixth season takes the Kelly family to Caribbean hotspots including Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; and Nassau, Bahamas and will offer tips for family vacations throughout the U.S. and abroad, a company statement said.
“The MSC Seaside is an ideal ship for families seeking a fun and enriching vacation,” said Ken Muskat, EVP and COO of MSC Cruises USA. “With the debut of Family Travel with Colleen Kelly, we’re thrilled that PBS viewers will have the opportunity to get a first-hand look at the varied programming and experiences MSC Cruises, and specifically the MSC Seaside can provide for multi-generational families.”
The MSC Seaside sails year-round from Miami to the Caribbean.

Norwegian Builds Global Sourcing Strategy

Norwegian Builds Global Sourcing Strategy

Double Norwegian Call in the Azores (Photo: Antonio Simas)
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) is pursuing a global passenger sourcing strategy for its European cruises.
Said Frank Del Rio, President and CEO, on NCLH’s Q3 earnings call: “Our sailings in Europe has benefited from our global sourcing model and the go-to-market strategy that allows us to source the best or highest yielding guests regardless of where they come from.
“North American guests comprise the majority of the guests for our European sailings, and the second-largest contingent of passengers on these cruises come from Asia, Australia and South America.
“We know that guests that fly a long way to cruise are higher-yielding guests than those that drive their car or take a bus or a train to the port.”
“But not withstanding issues in Europe, booked ticket revenue for passengers sourced there were up 43 per cent year-over-year,” Del Rio added, who cited the company’s Free at Sea promotion introduced seven months ago. Guests can choose up to five “free” offers, including beverage packages and speciality dining.
For Q3 2019, NCLH’s European capacity was up 13 per cent over the same period last year.

Norwegian Encore will have guests on their feet

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Norwegian Encore outside Meyer Werft where she was built.

NEW YORK -- The Norwegian Encore arrived here Monday to make its debut as the newest Norwegian Cruise Line ship and take a bow as the last in the Breakaway Plus class.
Travel sellers who have seen any of the Encore's sisters -- the Escape, Bliss or Joy -- will be familiar with the basic layout of the ship. But there are always modifications to each ship in a class, and so it is with the Encore. Norwegian has added a chic new restaurant, Ondo by Scarpetta, and brought on new evening entertainment. 
The ship is also notable for being the last to be delivered to president and CEO Andy Stuart, who is leaving the company and will be replaced in 2020 by Harry Sommer.
In an interview on board the Encore, Sommer said the Norwegian brand was "in a great place," and a priority would be to "spend more time on that marketing message to really have guests understand what a fascinating experience, a fantastic vacation a ship like this represents.
A popular feature of the Norwegian Bliss is the Speedway race track, where passengers can drive go-karts. Photo Credit: Dave Jones
"I credit Andy for creating experiences -- a combination of ships, restaurant choices and activities onboard -- that really provide a wonderful vacation for our guests," Sommer said. "We're not changing that."
A two-day, pierside preview of the Encore was conducted for travel partners, VIPs and media ahead of the ship's repositioning to South Florida. 
The experiences on the Encore appear at first glance to be tilted toward active ones. The aft sections of the top decks are devoted to activities like the Speedway, a fast-paced, go-kart ride that got its start on the Norwegian Joy. Waterslide options include the Ocean Loops, which, as its name suggests, drops riders down a tube that twists up and down and beyond the edge of the ship. 
Norwegian describes the laser-tag section as "laser tag meets augmented reality" set in Atlantis. 
On Deck 17 are the Galaxy Pavilion, a room with multiple virtual-reality games, simulator rides and an escape room.
Even the evening performance in the Encore Theater was active in a sense. "Choir of Man" features about a dozen young men singing and playing contemporary and classic hits in unique and fun ways under the pretence of hanging out in an Irish pub. In the hour-long show, the performers sing (occasionally in beautiful a capella harmony), dance and play live instruments. As I said, it was active: The show brought the audience to its feet for two standing ovations.
A view of the Norwegian Encore's midship pools.

A view of the Norwegian Encore's midship pools. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin
However, the Encore isn't all about heart-racing activity. The ship also has a large observation lounge that wraps around the forward section of Deck 15, where there are couches, loungers and nooks galore for relaxing with a Kindle and a coffee (a Starbucks shop is located on Deck 6). Or if the sun is what passengers desire, there is the Vibe Beach Club, which occupies the topmost Deck 20 of the Encore. Additional relaxation options are offered to Haven passengers in an exclusive zone of the ship. 
As far as dining options, the Encore introduces Onda by Scarpetta, an a la carte Italian restaurant. There are about 20 eateries on the Encore, from old favourites like Le Bistro, Cagney's Steakhouse and Teppanyaki to relatively newer entrants such as Ocean Blue and the Food Republic.
#ncl #NorwegianCruise #NorwegianEncore #MeyerWerft #cruise #cruiseship #tappanyaki #nclbliss #nclescape

MSC Cruises delays the opening of the private island

MSC Cruises delays the opening of the private island

Image result for ocean cay msc marine reserve bahamas"

MSC Cruises has delayed the opening of its private island Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve over concerns the destination is not ready to host passengers.

The line will now welcome passengers to the island in the Bahamas on November 20 after scrapping four calls.

MSC had planned calls on November 9 on MSC Meraviglia, November 15 on MSC Seaside, November 16 on MSC Meraviglia and November 17 on MSC Armonia – all with paying passengers on board.

Speaking on board MSC Grandiosa on Tuesday, Antonio Paradiso, the line’s the UK and Ireland managing director, said: “The launch has been pushed back because the experiences were not quite up to the standard that we wanted it.

“We have given ourselves an extra 10 days to make sure that the guest experience is in line with what an MSC product is. It is a brand new island so it will take time.”

More:  MSC Cruises reveals details of a private island

MSC Cruises set to open Bahamas ‘Marine Reserve’

Paradiso said Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve – which is 65 miles off the coast of Miami – showed how MSC Cruises was taking sustainability “seriously”.

“We have had hundreds of people planting the trees on the island and a coral keeper who is in charge of restoring the coral to help bring the fish back,” he said. “We are bringing back nature.

“The idea is to show our customers the natural beauty of a bohemian island.”

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will feature eight beaches, including the main beach where water sports will take place.

Lectures on the work the line has done on the former sand excavation site will be available on the island for visiting passengers.

Every MSC ship sailing from Miami on a Caribbean itinerary will call at Ocean Cay.

MSC Cruises ‘very close’ to fulfilling UK market ambition

MSC Cruises ‘very close’ to fulfilling UK market ambition

Image result for MSC grandiosa"

MSC Cruises’ UK boss says the line is “very close” to fulfilling a long-term ambition to have a 10% share of the UK cruise market.

In late 2017, the line pledged to one-day sell one in every ten cruises taken by the UK and become “a leading international player” within five years.

Antonio Paradiso, the line’s the UK and Ireland managing director said MSC currently has 7.9% of the market but believes a lengthened MSC Magnifica would add a further 90,000 berths to the market in 2021.

Speaking on new Meraviglia-Plus class ship MSC Grandiosa in Southampton, Paradiso said: “I am really confident that by 2022, MSC will be the number one international cruise line in this country. We are getting very close to that.

“We’re are at about 7.9%, so we’re getting there. A big boost will be when MSC Magnifica will sail out of Southampton [in summer 2021].”

Southampton will be MSC Magnifica’s only embarkation port when it is based in the UK in summer 2021.

Paradiso said: “It is a great opportunity for the travel agents. [Magnifica] alone will boost our production by 90,000 passengers.”

The line also has plans to further bolster its growing sales team in 2020. Paradiso said he would recruit for a strategic account manager – a new role – early next year.

“The strategic account manager will help [head of retail] Andrea Stafford strengthen the relationship with all the head offices in the UK and some important key accounts,” he said.

Paradiso said the sales team expansion goes “hand in hand” with the growth the line was experiencing in the UK.

MSC launched MSC Bellissima earlier this year. MSC Grandiosa is 16 metres longer than the Meraviglia-class ship.

On Grandiosa, the line has exhibited an art collection on a ship for the first time, expanded its French Bistrot L’Atelier Bistrot and launched two exclusive Cirque du Soleil shows onboard.

The line has welcomed around 4,200 UK agents across its fleet since the launch of MSC Bellissima in Southampton in March this year.

Ship visits would be arranged when MSC ships called in the UK and Ireland, said Paradiso, who added: “One thing we do very successfully is fam trips every year which are normally fly-and-cruise out of Barcelona or Rome which allow agents to spend time onboard.

“The ex-UK sailings represent a good portion of our business. However, the Mediterranean is still the number one destination for the UK market.

“It is important that agents get to experience the ships that we have in the Med.”

From 2023, the line will launch four 64,000-ton luxury vessels which have yet to be named. Paradiso said the name would be announced between March and April next year.

“The first step would be to announce the brand,” he said. “We will disclose a bit more information about the luxury ships that we are building. The UK will be one of the first countries in the world to go on sale.”

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Watch the Norwegian Joy Transit the Panama Canal

Watch the Norwegian Joy Transit the Panama Canal

Joy Canal Transit

The Norwegian Joy has made her inaugural transit of the famed Panama Canal as the 2017-built ship was in the Canal on October 22.
It is the first of six transits for the ship this season, including two partial transits, part of 29 transits from neo-Panamax vessels scheduled for the 2019-2020 season, according to a statement.
The season kicked off earlier this month as the Island Princess was the first cruise ship through the Panama Canal to mark the start of the 2019-2020 season.
The Norwegian Joy is a sister ship to the 2018-built Norwegian Bliss, and both vessels are the largest cruise ships to have sailed through the Panama Canal at 333 meters long and with a beam of over 41 meters.
Following her debut in Alaska this summer, the Joy is offering Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages during the winter 2019-2020. 
Ten more vessels will make their first Panama Canal transits this season, including the Norwegian Dawn, Ponant’s Le Dumont D’uwille, P&O's Ventura, the Carnival Glory, Scenic Eclipse, Flying Clipper, Seven Seas Splendor, Hanseatic Inspiration, Hanseatic Nature and the Greg Mortimer.


El Norwegian Joy de @CruiseNorwegian cuenta con circuito de carreras, simulador de realidad de virtual que incluye la famosa película Star Wars y muchas otras amenidades.
Para esta temporada, se espera un total de 29 tránsitos de cruceros neopanamax por el Canal de .
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