Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Freedom of Cruise Ship Redeployment

The Freedom of Cruise Ship Redeployment

The Freedom of Cruise Ship Redeployment
PHOTO: The wake behind Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Vista. (photo by Mark Leppert)
When it was uncertain that Cuba would remain open to roundtrip cruises from the United States, it was never a worry that the ships on the route would be incapable of redeployment.
Executives like Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., repeat that in troubled times, cruise ships can go anywhere.
It’s true. A ship originally slated for the Caribbean can easily end up in Alaska or Europe seasonally, but often that’s the plan all along.
What may not be anticipated are geopolitical tensions or fears of terrorism that warrant ships go elsewhere. The latter has been the reason cruise lines have shied away from Turkey in the Mediterranean, for example.
More recently, cruise itineraries from China have stayed clear of South Korea due to heated relations between the two countries.
It was looking for awhile like the Trump administration would cease permissions for cruises to Cuba, but thankfully Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International were allowed to continue and Carnival Cruise Line has since been able to make its inaugural run as well.
If not, the Norwegian Sky, Empress of the Seas and Carnival Paradise, respectively, would just have had to cruise to lands beyond, likely still in the Caribbean.

Photo Credit Dave Jones~Norwegian Sky leaving Miami
In the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, there are plenty of alternative ports to go to when some become off limits, but such is not always the case. For the Chinese cruise market, the loss of South Korea as a destination has limited where local ships can head, particularly on itineraries with short durations.
In those cases, Japan is an option, but port capacity saturation is then a concern.
Once a booming market, cruise lines may have to rethink their long-term Chinese potential. Princess Cruises’ Majestic Princess—partially for this reason, as well as consideration of other growth markets—has opted to no longer dedicate itself to China year-round as originally planned. It also now has intentions for Australia-based cruising in 2018 and 2019.
When a cruise ship is built generically for any market, it is easy to deploy anywhere in the world, but when it is purpose-built like the Majestic, it is more challenging to take away.
Whether or not the ship will see any sort of redesign prior to its Australian deployment is still to be determined.
Still, the vast majority of cruise ships are geared towards the American market and can go pretty much anywhere in the world, catering to our sensibilities just fine.
As ships have aged out of their original brands, they have often gone on to later service international clients for different companies. However, now foreign markets are demanding new-builds as much as the American one, leaving older ships somewhat in limbo.
It’s easiest for the most popular fleets to deploy wherever they need to and still have a following, but mature vessels have a harder time of either competing in high-traffic regions or being handed down to other markets.
That’s why it’s always crucial for the cruise industry to be developing new port and destination options for the wide variety of international vessels to service. As long as they exist, there are plenty of places to go around for them all.
Having movable assets is a freedom that most shoreside industries don’t have. Even with its occasional challenges, including tracking complex global conditions, the international cruise fleet has it good compared to, say, a fixed retail shop with poor sales in a failing regional neighborhood.

Doing more onshore

Doing more onshore

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The Palace at Versailles

For all the fuss river cruise lines make about their pretty ships (and don't get me wrong, most are a visual delight), the truth is that many of the most memorable river cruising moments don't take place on the water - they take place on land.

Yes, images of boats sell cruises. And yes, we all love to get a sneak peak of and visually approve of our sleek vacation accommodations before we journey out into the world. But in theory, those accommodations are just a means to an end, a literal vessel to bring us to the places we battle through long flights and jetlag to get to: the destination itself.

In recognizing that, river cruise lines are steadily highlighting and enhancing experiences that go beyond the hardware with ever more intriguing onshore programs. For instance, Crystal River Cruises has said that in addition to its onboard culinary program, its guests will have access to dining experiences at Michelin-starred restaurants. In fact, each 2017 Crystal river itinerary will feature at least one Michelin-starred dining opportunity, the first of which will be complimentary, the company has promised.

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Tauck, a tour operator first and foremost, has repeatedly touted its emphasis on and investment in onshore experiences. The company recently announced that it would continue along that path by adding more and enhanced shore excursions for 2018.

Along those lines, Tauck has secured exclusive pre-opening visits to Versailles and after-hours tours of the Louvre (both of which have been piloted on select departures in 2017 and will be expanded for next year). In 2018, some river cruise passengers will also be invited to a private Tauck dinner inside the German Parliament building, and there will be an included lunch at Alain Ducasse's newest restaurant, Ore, in Versailles.

Hotel barge company European Waterways said that it has also noticed that passengers are asking for more immersive and experiential encounters ashore. In response, the company is adding excursions such as an exclusive tour of a castle garden in Scotland led by the head gardener, and the opportunity to try some fresh oysters after a private tour of an oyster farm. 

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Castle at Loch Ness, Scotland

In recent years, European Waterways said that it has also worked to better curate its wine tastings excursions to passengers' tastes and to enhance the culinary experience by including more private cooking demonstrations with regional chefs.

You see, while it's definitely a close cousin of ocean cruising, river cruising is by nature of the restricted size of the vessels never going to be able to bank on the "ship as the destination" appeal that many blue-water behemoths benefit from. Thus, while the promise of a fetching ship and a comfortable mode of travel may lure many travelers to river cruising, it will ultimately be the "wow" moments onshore that are likely keep them hooked.

Safety board: Loose engine bolts led to Carnival Liberty fire

Safety board: Loose engine bolts led to Carnival Liberty fire

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Carnival Liberty

The National Transportation Safety Board issued a final report on the September 2015 fire aboard the Carnival Liberty, pinning the blame on engine bolts that had been insufficiently tightened.
The fire occurred while the Carnival Cruise Line ship was docked in Charlotte Amalie in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Sept. 7. It led to a precautionary evacuation of the ship.
In its report, the board said it found loose bolts on a flange that held a fuel intake line to one of the diesel generators, probably because of improper tightening during maintenance and pipe vibration over time. That triggered an uncontrolled fuel spray from the connection onto a hot part of the engine.
Because the ship was in port and many passengers were ashore, there was confusion in tracking how many people were evacuated.
The report recommends that Carnival better train the crew in the use of the water-based fire extinguishing gear in the engine room. It also said Carnival should establish or improve its procedures for accounting for persons aboard in a mass evacuation in port.

Scenic Eclipse: Scenes from the Shipyard

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Click the above image to watch the Luxury Yacht Video. 
The Scenic Eclipse is well on her way to a 2018 debut, and is currently under construction at a shipyard in Croatia. Scenic recently released new photos of the newbuild process. 
Advanced retractable zero speed stabilizers arriving at the shipyard."Currently, 60% of the ship's steel construction is complete and soon she will be taking shape on the slipway. Here we can see the retractable zero speed stabilizers being delivered to the shipyard. These stabilizers are a major innovation on Scenic Eclipse, which not only stabilize the ship but also allow safer entry and exit in isolated locations," the company said.
Azipod Thrusters ready for mounting to hull.
Ice Class 1A Super Hull.


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

SPOTD – Larger Than Life DC Superheroes At Sea

SPOTD – Larger Than Life DC Superheroes At Sea

 Tirrenia Nuraghes super-hero cruise ship ferries
Tirrenia Nuraghes’s Superhero themed Ferries. Image via Palumbo Shipyard, Italy.

Super Heroes take-over the high seas after Palumbo shipyards in Messina Italy began decorating the sides of themed Tirrenia ships.  The M/V  is the first of Tirrenia’s ferries to put on a “new look:” that of the iconic DC Super Hero Batman! The new DC Themed ships arise from a partnership between Onorato Armatori Group, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment.  

Each side of the Sharden was painted different images. One side of the ship will display the Dynamic Duo, Batman and Robin. The other side, features Batman with his famous archenemy The Joker.
As part of the refresh, the DC Super Heroes images also decorate the walkways and lounge areas on the ships… all for the enjoyment of young passengers and their families.
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Hat tip to Joe Flatley for sharing.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Princess Cruises reveals next three ships to get Ocean Medallion

Princess Cruises reveals next three ships to get Ocean Medallion

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The next three Princess Cruises ships to feature wearable Ocean Medallion technology for passengers have been revealed.

Golden Princess (November 2018), Crown Princess (November 2018) and Ruby Princess (January 2019) join four other Princess ships scheduled to use the system.

Regal Princess will be the first from November 13, followed by Royal Princess on January 19, 2018, Caribbean Princess on March 18, 2018 and Island Princess on May 16, 2018.

Golden Princess returns to Melbourne from October 2018 to April 2019 with departures to South Pacific, Tasmania, South Australia and New Zealand.

Crown Princess will feature Ocean Medallion for the autumn 2018 Caribbean season. With this news, all Princess Cruises Caribbean cruisers will experience Ocean Medallion.

Ruby Princess will be sailing from Los Angeles for a season of West Coast cruising in early 2019.

Jan Swartz, group president of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia, said: “With the addition of Golden Princess to the fleet of Medallion Class ships, we will make available a more personalised holiday to guests sailing in and around Australia.

“And, as we continue to enhance our ships with the Ocean Medallion, we do so to further our commitment in providing our guests the most memorable and relaxing holiday.”

Ocean Medallion goes beyond the growing number of wearables used by theme parks and other holiday companies by leaving behind the required action of ‘tap’ and “ushering in a new paradigm for guest interactions,” Carnival Corporation claims.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s first ship for China christened

Norwegian Cruise Line’s first ship for China Christened

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Norwegian Cruise Line’s first ship purpose built for Chinese passengers was officially named in Shanghai yesterday.

The 3,883-passenger Norwegian Joy is the first cruise ship to feature a two-level go-kart track.

Other elements of the ship include an open-air laser tag course, the Galaxy Pavilion featuring simulator rides, Oculus virtual reality technology, interactive video walls and two multi-story waterslides.

Norwegian Joy has 28 dining options ranging from traditional Chinese cuisine to French, Italian and steakhouse fine dining restaurants, an open space park, as well as the line’s largest shopping area.

The christening marked the end of a month-long grand inaugural tour where the 167,725–gross-ton ship was showcased in Singapore, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, as well as VIP partner cruises from Norwegian Joy’s homeports of Shanghai and Tianjin.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings president and chief executive Frank Del Rio said: “After years spent carefully designing this amazing vessel, my team and I are both proud and thrilled to finally christen the world’s first cruise ship custom-designed for the wonderful people of China.

“This is truly a special moment for the entire Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings family, our valued travel partners, honoured guests and dedicated officers and crew across our fleet.”

The naming ceremony featured a performance by the ship’s godfather, Chinese singer songwriter, music producer, actor and film director, Wang Leehom.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Flying Clipper Delivery Pushed Back to 2018

Flyer Clipper Under Construction in Croatia
The Flying Clipper will be delivered in the first quarter of 2018, as the delivery of the newest Star Clippers’ ship has been pushed back from August 2017.
A spokesperson from Brodosplit, the shipyard in Croatia building the unique 300-passenger sailing vessel, confirmed the updated delivery date in an email to Cruise Industry News.
“Brodosplit has been recognized as one of the few shipyards that are capable for building such unique ship, from the design phase, building and fitting it with complex equipment and luxury interiors. Estimated time of delivery is the first quarter of 2018,” said the spokesperson.
Brodosplit is one of a number of shipyards that have recently entered the cruise ship market

New Shipyards Entering Cruise Business Face Uphill Challenge

Two new shipyards have entered the cruise ship building business recently, while an additional yard with a surprise cruise order has some passenger vessel history, but all will be facing a set of staggering challenges when it comes to building customized ships for picky clients and pulling off a flawless hotel build.
The major players in the cruise-ship building business have been going at it for decades, and most specialize in passenger vessels.
Meanwhile, major cargo-ship building yards in South Korea have tried again and again to land orders without success.
In Japan, Mitsubishi has built for local companies along with Princess Cruises and AIDA Cruises, but late deliveries and cost overruns on the recent AIDA ships have not helped the cause.
Kleven
New Hurtigruten Ship Rendering
The last time a cruise ship was built in Norway, the shipyard went bankrupt. That was just over a decade ago with the ship being The World and the shipyard Fosen Mekaniske Verksted against a backdrop of an extremely expensive labor environment.
Earlier this year, Kleven entered into a contract with Hurtigruten to build a set of expedition cruise ships earlier this year, with an option for two more. The ship’s are being built on a Rolls-Royce technical platform.
Shipyard executives declined to speak on the record, but the yard’s website said Kleven was a family-owned operation dating back many decades.
The yard’s recent deliveries show no shortage of supply and platform vessels for the offshore industry, in addition to Coast Guard ships.
A log of ship deliveries back to 1961 shows everything from fish vessels to tug boats, with the last passenger vessel being the Finnmarken, which was built in 2002 for coastal service. The yard has only built three (coastal) passenger ships.
Uljanik Group
Scenic Elipse
In Croatia, Uljanik Group will build its first cruise ship for a new entry to the cruise ship market in Scenic.
The agreement calls for a five-star level expedition ship to be delivered in August of 2018, with an option for a second vessel. The ship is 16,500 tons with capacity for 228 guests.
In 2015 the yard delivered a 3,311-ton ro/ro ferry, the second in a two-ship order. However, the yard mainly builds barges and other supply vessels, but did deliver a series of car carriers as recently as 2008.
The Croatian builder can trade its history back to 1856, when it started out building ships for the Austro-Hungarian Navy.
In 2013, the yard added another facility and building site, 3.Maj, to its portfolio, which has upped its capacity.
The group also owns an engine factory, ULJANIK Diesel Engines Factory Ltd, and has recently delivered a number of large tanker vessels.
Brodosplit
New Star Clippers vessel
Another Croatian yard, Brodosplit, landed an order from Star Clippers for a sailing ship, and is believed to be working toward a separate order for smaller niche vessels.
Of note, the yard has built new motor vessel ships for Grand Circle Cruise Line over the years.
The shipyard is located in Split, Croatia, and was formed when several smaller ship repair facilities combined forces in 1922. The yard builds various types of ships including commercial, container and passenger vessels.
The new Royal Flyer for Star Clippers will be 162 meters long and 18.5 meters wide, and feature five masts and sails.
While it is a sailing ship, the vessel will have two fully independent electric propulsion engines and be compliant with Safe Return to Port rules with two engine rooms.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Carnival Corp ups full year revenue forecast on back of higher prices

Carnival Corp ups full year revenue forecast on back of higher prices

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Carnival Corporation’s cumulative bookings for the next three quarters are at higher prices than last year and concentrated in the core cruise markets in North America and Europe.

Adjusted net profits for the last quarter edged up by $8 million year-on-year to $370 million as revenues grew from $3.7 billion to $3.9 billion on the back of a 4% increase in capacity.

The figures for the three months to May 31 were boosted by a 5% improvement in overall cruise ticket prices for the parent company of brands such as P&O Cruises, Cunard and Princess Cruises.

The improved rates affirmed efforts to increase demand “by building positive word of mouth through the delivery of exceptional guest experiences as well as our and public relations programmes,” said president and chief executive Arnold Donald.

The company expects full year 2017 net revenue yields in constant currency to be up approximately 3.5%, better than guidance given in March of up by around 3%.

Chief finance officer David Bernstein said: “Since the end of February, booking volumes for the next three quarters have been running in line with the prior year at nicely higher prices.

“At this point in time, cumulative bookings for the next three quarters are ahead of the prior year, again, at nicely higher prices.”

Looking forward, Donald said: “We are realising sustained strength in booking trends across all core products.

“We are delivering on our strategy to grow demand in excess of measured capacity growth while leveraging our industry-leading scale resulting in increased return on invested capital.”

The world’s largest cruise conglomerate saw the delivery of Princess Cruises’ Majestic Princess, the first ship tailored for Chinese passengers, as well as the addition of AIDAperla to German brand, AIDA Cruises.

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AIDAperla.

Two additional Princess Cruises ships, Caribbean Princess and Royal Princess, were fitted with the technical requirements to switch them early next year to the Ocean Platform featuring Ocean Medallion, the interactive technology for passengers which will debut on Regal Princess in November.

Donald told analysts in a conference call: “We have and we’ll continue to create carefully engineered high-quality destination experiences that are uniquely tailored to our guest references from our private islands like Princess Cays and Half Moon Cay to the planned expansion of our cruise terminal in Barcelona to our most recently completed port destination Amber Cove, in the Dominican Republic.

“We’re providing exceptional guest experiences that enable our brands to capture a price premium. We have many more innovations planned in port development that we expect to rollout in the coming years.”

He identified “new destination opportunities” in Cuba, the Bahamas and China.

The company expects to benefit from growing populations, increasing wealth and developing countries in addition to increased spending by consumers on “experience versus products”, all of which are contributing to 4% annual growth expected in travel globally.

The Shopping Mall and Its Premium Brands at Sea

The Shopping Mall and Its Premium Brands at Sea

The Shopping Mall and Its Premium Brands at Sea
PHOTO: Kate Spade onboard Royal Caribbean International's Harmony of the Seas. (photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International, Copyright, Simon Brooke-Webb Photography)
Gone are the days where the primary retail experience on a cruise ship consisted solely of logo items, sundries and a small collection of clothes and jewelry.
Now, cruise lines are ramping things up to the level of premium outlets and internationally-recognized brands.
One could argue that things really changed when Royal Caribbean International launched the Voyager of the Seas.
Photo Credit; Dave Jones. Independence of the Seas Royal Promenade.
As the first of its ships with a Royal Promenade, it effectively crafted a shopping mall at sea, one that stretched the better length of the vessel. At the time, the ship was like no other. It was wide enough that a voluminous space could exist between inside staterooms with such cabins now featuring a window that overlooked the internal activities.
The Royal Promenade connected the ship’s forward and aft atriums with lounges and bars, eateries and, most importantly for this discussion, boutiques. Royal Caribbean has only made this feature bigger on newer ships with the grandest example on the Harmony of the Seas.
Of course, corporate cousins, as well as competitors, have copied the model since.
As the current largest ship in the world, the Harmony has managed to attract retail brands like Kate Spade, Hublot, Cartier, Omega and Bulgari with shops onboard. Even Starbucks is a premium purveyor with its own storefront. Although aboard a different class of ship, Hublot and Bulgari have similarly set up shop on the Anthem of the Seas.
In some cases, the premium retail approach does not require scale but cachet.
Also in the Royal Caribbean family, Celebrity Cruises has partnered with Apple for the fleet’s as the first authorized Apple reseller at sea. Here, guests cannot only learn about the company’s digital products with dedicated courses but also buy them and take them home. The Solstice-class, in particular, does still have a bit of a mall atmosphere thanks to its sleek double-decker galleria of boutiques.
MSC Cruises is using technology to enhance the shopping experience in a different way.
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In collaboration with Samsung, its upcoming MSC Seaside will let guests try on clothes digitally with a virtual mirror. It will also recognize them upon entering the photo gallery to automatically display their images without the need to search for them.
Meanwhile, some lines do take it smaller with just a singular standout store.
Disney Cruise Line recently introduced an exclusive Tiffany & Co. luxury jewelry shop on the Disney Fantasy. The signature Tiffany T collection offers special diamond pieces to treat loved ones with an extra helping of pixie dust.
It’s true that diamonds never go out of fashion, and high-end retailers often extend to jewelry these days. International tastes are also headed that way with Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Norwegian Joy, which is dedicated to the Chinese market, being fuller of such vendors than even their North American equivalents. An immense amount of square footage is committed to brands such as Bulgari, Omega and Cartier again, as well as Gucci and even Godiva in the upscale chocolatier category.
Just as a number of the watch and jewelry brands have made inroads with more than one company, Godiva is additionally featured on Cunard Line as well.

New 'Walking Dead' Cruise Departs in 2018

New 'Walking Dead' Cruise Departs in 2018

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Walking Dead cruise will be held on the Norwegian Pearl.
Fans of the hit television series The Walking Dead can rejoice. 
Officials have announced that the third annual Walker Stalker Cruise will return in 2018.
According to the official website of the Walker Stalker Cruise, the four-night voyage on the Norwegian Pearl will depart from New Orleans on Jan. 26, 2018; stop in Cozumel, Mexico; and then return to the United States on Jan. 30.
This year’s Walking Dead-themed cruise will feature several of the top stars from the TV series, including Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Alanna Masterson, Lauren Cohan and more.
In addition, Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and special makeup effects supervisor Greg Nicotero will also be along for the cruise, with more names from the series being added in the coming months.
With around 2,500 Walking Dead fans onboard the Norwegian Pearl, the activities include meet-and-greet sessions with the cast and crew, Q&A panels, zombie-themed activities, live music and access to the ship’s amenities and services.
New 'Walking Dead' Cruise Departs in 2018
Prices for the voyage start at $895 per person (based on double occupancy), before taxes and fees. For more information about the Walker Stalker Cruise, check out the voyage’s official website.

Enhanced Pacific Princess Emerges from Refurbishment

Enhanced Pacific Princess Emerges from Refurbishment

Enhanced Pacific Princess Emerges from Refurbishment
PHOTO: Princess Cruises' new livery applied to Pacific Princess. (photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)
Princess Cruises’ sole small ship—the 670-guest Pacific Princess—has emerged from a two-week dry-dock refurbishment with a number of enhancements befitting the larger fleet.
“We carefully considered how to incorporate modern design elements and comfort while keeping the traditional elements of small ship cruising that have always been the hallmark of Pacific Princess,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president, in a press release.
“The results are incredible and Pacific Princess now offers approachable luxury for the world-class traveler to craft an authentic cruising experience.”
The line’s multi-year “Come Back New Promise" enhancement program kicked off the updates, and among the multi-million-dollar improvements made to Pacific are new interior colors, patterns and textures—plus 178,000 square feet of new carpet—as well as the line’s signature new exterior hull livery. The classic “Sea Witch” logo now dons the bow larger than ever before.
Overall, the ship maintains its existing Beaux-Arts aesthetic while also modernizing it, such as at the atrium. Lighter tones and style take inspiration from Central Park hotels in New York City.
The ship’s four dining venues have also been enhanced, beginning with the pair of specialty ones. Sterling Steakhouse takes its cues from Rush Street Steakhouses of Chicago and Hollywood Brown Derby with black-and-white portraits of classic and modern film stars lining the restaurant. For Italian, Sabatini’s Restaurant has been updated with a contemporary look and a new forward lounge.
The Club Restaurant steps across the pond to make the main dining room reminiscent of Central London.
Rich woods are accented by light jewel-tones, modern furniture and updated carpets, drapes and chairs. The Panorama Buffet was similarly updated with new carpets, paint, tile, furnishings, drapes and awnings.
Also, the pool deck outside the buffet was given a garden-style enhancement a la South Beach hotels thanks to new tile and refinished teak. Outdoor furniture here includes double bed loungers, sofas, lounge chairs and pool chaises.
Meanwhile, 336 private staterooms were refreshed. New amenities include 700 Princess Luxury Beds developed in partnership with sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus and HGTV designer Candice Olson. Additionally, all accommodations received new carpet, upholstered headboards, modern drapes, along with lamps and sconces with incorporated USB ports.
Suites also were improved with new modern furniture such as sofa sleepers, dining room table and chairs, lounge chairs and desks.
Club Class Mini-Suites are also a new category available onboard complete with VIP perks. Special amenities encompass the reserved Club Class Dining area with preferred seating and an expanded menu, in addition to priority embarkation and disembarkation.
Through December 2017, the Pacific Princess is scheduled to sail several European itineraries before embarking on its 111-day World Cruise from Los Angeles on January 20, 2018.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Ritz-Carlton to enter luxury cruise market with three yachts

Ritz-Carlton to enter luxury cruise market with three yachts

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The Ritz-Carlton has announced it will become the first hotelier to enter the cruise market with plans to launch three luxury yachts.

The brand, part of Marriott International, has secured financial backing from Oaktree Capital Management to launch The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. The financials around the deal have not been disclosed and Marriott would not comment on rumours that Oaktree had invested $200 million.

The first of the three 292-passenger and 149-suite yachts will launch in quarter four of 2019. Every suite will have a balcony and the ship is being designed in collaboration with design specialist Tillberg Design of Sweden.

Itineraries will go on sale in May 2018.

The second ship is due to follow in quarter one of 2021 and the third ship is expected to set sail in early 2022. The brand has not revealed where the ships are being built.

In a statement, Ritz Carlton said itineraries were being developed with intentions to combine stays at The Ritz-Carlton’s luxury resorts with cruises, which will range in length from seven to 10 days.

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The Ritz-Carlton yachts will feature a restaurant by Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the three Michelin-starred restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton in Wolfsburg. Other features will include a signature Ritz-Carlton Spa; a Panorama Lounge and wine bar.

The first ship will sail the Mediterranean, northern Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America, with a mix of overnight stays in port and daytime calls in destinations such as Portofino and St Barts.

Maritime veterans Douglas Prothero and Lars Clasen have been appointed joint managing directors.

Their team will be made up of Victor Cai, formally chief financial officer at Silversea; Erik Bredhe, who has taken on the role of joint managing director for the yacht brand, alongside Lars Clasen, maritime consultant, and formerly captain of residence at sea The World.

A “world class team from luxury cruise” is currently being recruited, the brand said.

Prothero and Clasen said: “The Ritz-Carlton is known for its legendary service and high standards. We are delighted to collaborate with The Ritz-Carlton as our hospitality operator in offering the most exclusive yachting experience to be found at sea in a venture that will give new meaning to curated luxury travel.”

Herve Humler, president and chief operating officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, said: “The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will have a distinctive personality and the vessels are sure to be true stand outs in some of the most glamorous ports around the world.

“This unique combination of yachting and cruising will usher in a new way of luxury travel for guests seeking to discover the world in a relaxed, casually elegant and comfortable atmosphere with the highest level of personalized service.”
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Venice Cruise Traffic Plateaus For Now


Ships docked in Venice
Ongoing vessel tonnage restrictions in Venice have capped cruise traffic for now, with a limit of 96,000 tons. In 2017 the classic Italian port is looking at a forecast of 473 calls and just over 1.4 million passengers, which is down from 2016. Next year looks set to be similar to 2017, according to a port spokesperson.
Meanwhile, government officials are still working to lock down an alternative route for larger ships to reach the port facilities.
New callers in 2017 include the AIDAblue, the Artemis, Norwegian Star, Silver Muse, Seabourn Encore, Arethusa, and both the Viking Sky and Sun.
The board of directors for VTP (the port authority) agreed earlier this year not to adjust berth fees in order to help foster growth.
Future growth will need to depend on the identification and availability of a new alternative route for ships to reach port facilities – thus allowing large ships to use Venice again. The port spokesperson also told Cruise Industry News that they want to increase their week-day call portfolio. VTP offers 10 terminal choices.

Yao Ming and Ye Li to Name Majestic Princess

Yao Ming and Ye Li to Name Majestic Princess

Majestic Princess in Singapore
Majestic Princess in Singapore

Carnival Corporation and Princess Cruises announced today that Yao Ming and his wife, Ye Li, will serve as “Inaugural Cruise Ambassadors” for Princess Cruises in China and officially name the new Majestic Princess during a ceremony in July.
The inaugural festivities will take place aboard Majestic Princess in Shanghai on July 9, as the culmination of weeks of celebrations, upholding maritime traditions, as well as featuring traditional Chinese, contemporary Chinese, and western-inspired cultural performances taking place between Rome and Xiamen, according to a statement from Princess
“It is a great honor that Yao Ming and Ye Li have graciously accepted our invitation to officially name Majestic Princess and serve as the Inaugural Cruise Ambassadors at our celebration welcoming our newest ship to China,” said Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises. “Yao Ming is globally recognized for his success in China and the United States, truly embodying the ‘East meets West’ spirit of our international cruise line.”
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Yao Ming and his wife, Ye Li, were both born in Shanghai and were both team members of China’s national basketball teams.
“We are honored to serve as the Inaugural Cruise Ambassadors for Princess Cruises and officially name the new Majestic Princess,” said Ming. “I’m inspired that Princess Cruises also cares so deeply about youth development in China and appreciate their support of our foundation. We look forward to enjoying a future vacation aboard Majestic Princess, China’s newest cruise ship.”

Royal Caribbean to use Snapchat for underwater tour

Royal Caribbean to use Snapchat for underwater tour

Specially designed scuba mask to stream three underwater adventure tours.

Royal Caribbean International will use a specially designed scuba mask to stream three underwater adventure tours to followers on the social media platform Snapchat.
The Royal Caribbean Snapchat channel will be devoted to the tours from June 21 through June 25.
The tours use Snapchat Spectacles in tandem with a custom-designed underwater mask Royal Caribbean is calling the "SeaSeeker." It allows the wearer to "snap" while underwater.
"The SeaSeeker will enable all adventure-seekers to get a front-row seat to the thrilling adventures found underwater in a way that has never been possible before," said Jim Berra, Royal Caribbean's chief marketing officer.
The underwater adventures will be seen through the eyes of three well-known divers. In Cozumel, Mexico marine wildlife photographer and conservationist Roberto Ochoa will give viewers a rare glimpse into the annual migration of whale sharks.
Marine biologist Gabriela Nava will then take viewers to see a coral reef restoration project where she and her team have been working to restore the local reefs.
In Belize, fans can follow along as free diver Ashleigh Baird visits the Great Blue Hole, an underwater sinkhole that is believed to be the largest of its kind.
                
Fans can hashtag #SeekDeeper while following @RoyalCaribbean on Snapchat.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Carnival, Holland America will sail to Cuba as planned

Carnival, Holland America will sail to Cuba as planned

Image result for Carnival cruise in cuba
Carnival Fathom in Havana

Carnival Corp. said it understands the policy changes on Cuba that President Trump will announce in Miami today do not include any changes for cruises.
In a statement, Carnival said it is "pleased" that its ships will continue to sail to Cuba.
Carnival Cruise Line plans sailings from Tampa to Cuba starting later this month and Holland America Line recently announced plans to visit Cuba in the fall.
Trump is expected to end the ability of travelers to "self-certify" that they comply with rules for traveling to Cuba, which became the practice last year under President Obama.
"We will review the extent of the tightening of the travel rules, but our guests have already been traveling under the 12 approved forms of travel to Cuba since we undertook our historic first cruise to Cuba more than a year ago," a Carnival Corp. statement said.
The first cruise to Cuba from a U.S. port in decades was by Carnival's Fathom brand, which has since returned its single ship to P&O Cruises.
"Our experience in Cuba this past year has been extremely positive," Carnival Corp. said. It also said other Carnival Corp. brands have applied to travel to Cuba.
Costa included Cuba on some itineraries from 1995 to 1998, before it was purchased by Carnival Corp. from its Italian owners.
Other cruise lines chimed in after Trump finished giving his speech in Miami.
"Based on the information shared today, we are very pleased to learn the news that cruises to Cuba will continue under the new guidelines laid out by the administration," a statement from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said.
NCLH operates Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, all of which sail to Cuba.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. also praised the new Cuba policy.
"Royal Caribbean is pleased there is no impact to any of our cruises to Cuba as announced in the new U.S. policy toward Cuba today," said a statement from RCCL, whose Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises brands make stops in Cuba.
Although cruise lines appear to have emerged unscathed from the Cuba policy review, the exact impact will depend on rule revisions forthcoming from the Treasury Department and other U.S. agencies.
"We will continue to review the full and exact scope of the policy changes and any updated regulations during the implementation period which may take several months," RCCL said.
Both cruise companies emphasized that their shore excursion programs were already in compliance with Treasury regulations governing Cuba tourism.
Both also said that their cruises with Cuba in the itinerary are popular. NCLH said it has 70,000 bookings for future cruises that include Cuba. "We are delighted our guests will continue to have the opportunity to experience the wonderful culture and incredible history of Cuba." the statement said. 

Bar Harbor getting new cruise pier

Bar Harbor getting new cruise pier

Most large ships must tender guests to port in Bar Harbor. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

Voters in Bar Harbor, Maine, approved a zoning initiative that allows a larger cruise pier to be built in the quaint New England town.
Bar Harbor has been an increasingly popular stop on Canada/New England itineraries, which some cruise lines have expanded from the traditional autumn season into the summer. It is the gateway to Acadia National Park, one of the only waterside national parks on the U.S. East Coast.
But most large ships can't dock at the existing downtown pier and so must tender guests to port.
Voters by 945-658 approved a plan to redevelop a disused ferry terminal somewhat removed from downtown. Proponents say it will ease congestion and allow for growth of the cruise industry.
Opponents backed an alternate initiative that would have limited ship length at the pier to 300 feet and allowed voters to approve caps on passenger arrivals.
Currently, there are daily limits of 3,500 passengers in July and August and 5,500 passengers at other times. Bar Harbor officials said they expect to keep those limits after the ferry terminal is renovated.
About 180,000 cruise passengers visited Bar Harbor last year.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Norwegian Joy Welcomed to New Shanghai Home Port

Norwegian Joy Welcomed to New Shanghai Home Port

Norwegian Joy Welcomed to New Shanghai Home Port
PHOTO: Norwegian Cruise Line's new Norwegian Joy docked in Bremerhaven, Germany. (photo by Jason Leppert)

Following maiden calls in Singapore, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Norwegian Joy, was welcomed to its new home port of Shanghai, China.
The Norwegian Joy was engineered in Germany and designed specifically for the Chinese market.
During a preview voyage that departed from Shanghai June 10, the new ship welcomed more than 1,700 VIP members and guests of the Alibaba Group for a four-day preview cruise.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s preview voyage aboard the Norwegian Joy called on the Japanese port of Kochi before returning to Shanghai, and the ship’s christening ceremony will take place on June 27 with its Godfather, ‘King of Chinese Pop,’ Wang Leehom.
Year-round voyages on Norwegian Joy from Shanghai begin June 28, with sailings from Tianjin from August 26 to September 15. The vessel was designed with several major attractions, including the first race track at sea, virtual reality experiences, plus 28 local and international dining options.
“Norwegian Cruise Line is extremely proud to welcome the newest addition to our fleet, Norwegian Joy, to her home port of Shanghai, China,” NCLH China president David Herrera said in a statement.
“Norwegian Joy's arrival demonstrates our commitment to the Chinese cruise market.  She was custom-built with Chinese cruise guests in mind.”
The Norwegian Joy will cater to the modern Chinese family, with amenities that include staterooms designed for multi-generational families, Las Vegas-style performances and a variety of luxury shopping options.
The new features, services and amenities found on the Norwegian Joy will help Norwegian Cruise Line make a massive impact in the Chinese market.