Friday, 6 December 2019

Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady Has Completed her Sea Trials and She’s Looking Pretty Epic

Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady Has Completed her Sea Trials and She’s Looking Pretty Epic
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Get a first-look of the new ship, along with behind-the-scenes action with Sir Richard Branson himself h
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She’s set to be one of the most exciting ship launches of 2020 (if not ever), and now finally, Scarlet Lady has completed her sea trials.
The debut ship from Virgin Voyages, Scarlet Lady, is set to launch in April next year but found her sea legs last month sailing from Genoa to Marseille, and then back again.
Setting sail on 15 November, Scarlet Lady sailed from Genoa to Marseille, before sailing back to Genoa on 27 November, arriving three days later.
Virgin Voyages: Richard Branson with Virgin Voyages team
Richard Branson joined the Virgin Voyages senior management, team

The man himself, Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson boarded the ship in Marseille, touring the ship with his wife Joan and children Sam and Holly.
CEO Tom McAlpin was also on board, along with Chief Commercial Officer Nirmal Saverimuttu, SVP of Design Dee Cooper and CEO of Virgin Atlantic, Shai Weiss.
During the excitement, Branson ceremoniously painted the outline of the Virgin flag on the hull of the ship where the Virgin Voyages logo will appear.
Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady sea trials
Sir Richard Branson looks delighted at his new ship

Sea trials show whether a new ship is smooth, stable and quiet, and will provide a comfortable sailing experience to those on board.
“We’re thrilled to have completed such a significant milestone with our Sea Trials and have our amazing crew to thank for their passion and tenacity in this achievement,” said McAlpin.
“We’re one step closer to getting our Sailors on the Scarlet Lady and are grateful for all that have chosen to join us on this adventure.”
Virgin Voyages Richard Branson painting Scarlet Lady hull
Sir Richard even had a go at painting the outline of the Virgin Voyages flag…

Setting sail on her maiden voyage on 1 April 2020, Scarlet Lady is set to change the way non-cruisers view cruising, hoping to attract a younger, new-to-cruise audience.
The first sailing will have special celebrity guest appearances, events and surprises, as she sails around the Caribbean and Bahamian islands.
Virgin Voyages’ second cruise ship was also recently announced, with the line revealing Valiant Lady will sail around the Mediterranean in 2021…
Visit virginvoyages.com for more information.

First Guests Arrive at MSC's New Ocean Cay

First Guests Arrive at MSC's New Ocean Cay

MSC Ocean Cay Opens (AP Images for MSC Cruises)
MSC Cruises today welcomed the very first guests to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, its new private island destination in The Bahamas, according to a press release. 
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, said: “Ocean Cay is founded on a deep commitment to ecological principles – beliefs that shape everything from how venues are built, to how the island is run, to the kinds of activities featured on the island. Having the first guests arrive on the island is a moment of great pride for all of us at MSC Cruises. We wanted to create for our guests something sustainable, with a higher purpose. Ocean Cay is not just a vacation island, it is a unique marine reserve where people and nature thrive in harmony.”
MSC Ocean Cay Opens (AP Images for MSC Cruises)
The island’s opening is a major milestone for MSC as it builds its North American operation, which has four ships sailing from Miami this winter. 
MSC has turned the island from what was once an industrial sand excavation site into a stunning tropical destination, while working with environmental engineers and other experts to revitalize the surrounding ocean beds, marine life and endangered coral, according to a company press release.
MSC Ocean Cay Opens (AP Images for MSC Cruises)
The project took nearly three years to complete. 7,500 tons of scrap metal was removed and, throughout the clean-up process, a team of expert divers and marine biologists carefully removed individual hard coral colonies from debris on the ocean bed and relocated them to an approved location outside the construction area. More than 75,000 plants and shrubs planted across the island to create a biodiverse and sustainable environment.
In the coming months, MSC Cruises will also introduce a Conservation Center on the island, which will serve as an active base for coral education and research. 

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth returns home

Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth returns home

A proud moment for the UK.

Portsmouth is now home to two aircraft carriers for the first time in a long time.
HMS Northumberland and RFA Tideforce also returned to warm welcomes in Devonport, say the Royal Navy. The ships’ flights made their way to their respective homes at RNAS Culdrose and Yeovilton.
It’s been a busy three months away for the Portsmouth-based HMS Queen Elizabeth which hosted British F-35 Lightning jets for the first time at sea as part of the WESTLANT19 deployment. Her sister, HMS Prince of Wales, is expected to be formally commissioned into the Royal Navy in the coming days.
Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth Commodore Steve Moorhouse said:
“Homecomings are always a special occasion, but to be returning to Portsmouth, with HMS Prince of Wales welcoming us home makes this a particularly special occasion. Two of her escorts, frigate HMS Northumberland and tanker RFA Tideforce, returned to Devonport today.”

Image Crown Copyright 2019.

The ships flights also made their way to their respective homes at RNAS Culdrose and Yeovilton.

Image Crown Copyright 2019.

Commander of the Air Group, Captain James Blackmore, added:
“The five-week period of operational tests with UK F-35s from the UK Lightning Force was significant and historic. As the last pilot to fly Harrier from the deck of HMS Ark Royal in 2010, it filled me with tremendous pride to see UK fixed-wing aircraft operate once more from a British carrier.”

An update on new tall-ship options

An update on new tall-ship options

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For agents with clients who are looking for an alternative to the megaship experience, there is no shortage of small-ship choices.
But to be really radical, why not look at ships that are not only small but wind-powered, too?
There are two lines, Star Clippers and Sea Cloud Cruises, where guests feel the thrill of watching sails set by hand and listen to nothing but the breeze while underway. Both are in the process of building new ships.
(Windstar is another tall-ship line, but it sets its sails mechanically and also can operate under engine power.)
But while Star Clippers' new Flying Clipper seems hung up for the time being in a shipyard dispute, Sea Cloud's newbuild, the Sea Cloud Spirit, is on schedule to be delivered at the end of August.
That's according to Sea Cloud CEO Daniel Schaefer. In an interview, Schaefer said the 136-passenger ship has recently been floated out and interior work is proceeding. He said the yard on its current pace will deliver the ship a bit ahead of when Sea Cloud actually needs it to make its schedule.
Building a new ship isn't as routine for Sea Cloud as for the big lines, which crank them out every year. Its last ship, the Sea Cloud II, was delivered in 2001. The flagship Sea Cloud was built as a yacht in 1931 and converted to cruise use in 1979.
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The designs have been evolving more towards cruise ships, away from the yacht-like attributes of the original ship, Schaefer said. The Sea Cloud Spirit will have 25 balcony cabins, for example, a first for a sailing ship. It will also have an elevator, another first.
Dining tables will be round, rather than the long, rectangular ones on the Sea Cloud, he said. There will be a larger wellness area, a sauna and a second, more casual restaurant.
A third ship should really increase Sea Cloud's availability for FIT passengers. Currently up to 50% of Sea Cloud's capacity is devoted to charters. The Spirit will be chartered, too, but overall there should be more opportunities and itineraries for individual passengers.
In Europe, Sea Cloud will no longer have to shuttle one of its two ships back and forth between the Med and the Baltic, the line's second most popular summer region.  It will be able to keep two ships full time in the Med, he said, and still offer Baltic itineraries with the third.

Carnival Panorama to have SkyZone trampoline park

Carnival Panorama to have SkyZone trampoline park


The new Carnival Panorama will be the line's first ship to have a SkyZone trampoline park.
The 3,000-square-foot Cruise X SkyZone will occupy space on Decks 7 and 8. It will have a "challenge zone" equipped with a climbing wall, balance/jousting beam, Sky Ladder climbing apparatus, dodge ball games and SkyHoops (an above-the-rim basketball experience).
Developed in partnership with trampoline park chain SkyZone, the indoor park will be open all day on sea days and in the late afternoon and evenings on port days.  
Sessions will be offered for toddlers, youths and adults. During "toddler time," cruisers ages 6 months to 5 years can participate in the bouncy fun, accompanied by an adult. The fee is $5 per child and $5 per adult. 
Kids ages 6 to 15 can book 1-hour sessions for $12, which includes a pair of keepsake socks.
At night, an all-ages blacklight glow party will cost $18 and include a T-shirt. 
The Panorama is the last of three Vista-class Carnival ships and the only one that doesn’t feature a two-deck Imax theatre.
Regular year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach to Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas begin Dec. 14.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Latest MSC Cruises ship floated out at the shipyard

Latest MSC Cruises ship floated out at the shipyard

Latest MSC Cruises ship floated out at shipyard

The latest in a series of new MSC Cruises ships have been floated out at its shipyard in France.

MSC Virtuosa is the second Meraviglia-Plus vessel following MSC Grandiosa and will now move docks at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint Nazaire for further construction and fitting until delivery in October 2020.

The float out follows the delivery in October of MSC Grandiosa as well as the steel cutting ceremony on the same day of MSC Europa.

MSC Virtuosa will be the second ship in the company’s fleet to have a selective catalytic reduction system and next-generation advanced wastewater treatment system to minimise the environmental footprint and ensure cleaner air emissions.

The catalytic reduction technology aims to help reduce nitrogen oxide by 80% by converting it into harmless nitrogen and water.

MSC Virtuosa will also be fitted with shore-to-ship power which connects it to a port’s local power grid to further reduce air emissions.

The line will soon reveal exact details of the features onboard MSC Virtuosa.

But like MSC Grandiosa, the ship will have a promenade lined with restaurants and shops underneath a 93 metre-long LED Sky Screen, two new shows from Cirque du Soleil at Sea and the Zoe personal cruise assistant in every cabin.

The ship’s maiden voyage will be a seven-night six-port western Mediterranean cruise in November 2020 from Genoa, Italy.

After a winter season in the Mediterranean, MSC Virtuosa will be deployed in summer 2021 to Northern Europe with itineraries to the Norwegian fjords and Baltic capital cities.

The third of three Meraviglia-Plus ships, yet to be named, will enter service in 2023 and be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

MSC Cruises is spending €5 billion to build five LNG-powered ships with the first ‘world class’ type named MSC Europa entering service in May 2022.

The line plans to expand its fleet to 25 ships by 2027 at a cost of €11.6 billion.

Monday, 2 December 2019

CMV Targets French Market with New Brand

CMV Targets French Market with New Brand

Jules Verne
Launching a new French brand, Cruise & Maritime Voyages is targeting 10,000 guests per year aboard the Jules Verne which currently operating as the Astor. Service is set to begin in early 2021 following a recent announcement at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Clement Mousset and Cedric Rivoire-Perrochat are at the helm of the new French brand which will operate under Croisières Maritimes and Voyages banner.
The timing may be ideal, as there is no current mainstream French cruise brand following the demise of Croisières de France.
Mousset has been named general director and was previously heading up Celestyal Cruises’ efforts in the French market. Rivoire-Perrochat has been named marketing and operations director and is the former director of France for CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association).
The brand will build a 10 to 15 person team based in a Marseilles office, according to the company executives.
The plan is to offer a premium product to the French market on a year-round basis on the 550-guest ship.
"On our ship, you will find no shopping complex, no climbing wall, no circus. You will feel like you’re on a ship,” Mousset said.
The French product will also feature select adults-only departures, while six per cent of staterooms will be for the solo traveller market.
Cruises will run an average of 12 nights with a target price of 190 euro per person per day. 
The ship will arrive in Le Havre for a two-night preview cruise next April, while an inaugural cruise will sail from Le Havre to Marseilles with stops in various French ports.
Other itineraries will be far-ranging, including sailings to the Baltic, Black Sea, Mediterranean, and a long world cruise in early 2022. Sales are expected to open in early 2020. The first revenue sailing is scheduled for May 1, 2021

Royal Caribbean Announces Three Ships For 2021 Alaska Program

Royal Caribbean Announces Three Ships For 2021 Alaska Program

Ovation of the Seas Alaska
Royal Caribbean International has announced that it will have three ships in Alaska in 2021.
The Ovation, Radiance and Serenade of the Seas are returning to the Pacific Northwest
For the second consecutive year, Royal Caribbean will bring three ships to the region, offering a variety of seven-night itineraries sailing from Seattle, Vancouver, and Seward.
The Ovation will be the largest ship in the market. The Quantum-class ship’s series of seven-night cruises are roundtrip from Seattle. The Radiance is set to embark on seven-night, open-jaw itineraries between Seward and Vancouver, and the Serenade will be sailing seven days roundtrip from Vancouver.
Before and after the Alaska season, the Serenade and Radiance will sail 10-night itineraries between Honolulu and Vancouver.
All three ships will debut Royal Caribbean’s spa staterooms. According to the cruise line, the brand-new lineup of balcony accommodations “will allow guests to relax in between adventures with an array of amenities and perks, including priority spa reservations, lush bedding and bath products, tranquil décor, daily delivery of tea, water and coffee; and priority boarding at embarkation.”
For the Ovation, the seven-night itineraries roundtrip from Seattle promises to visit “the best of the region,” including Skagway, where vacationers can retrace the steps of the historic Klondike Gold Rush and visit a restored 19th-century railroad depot; and Juneau, to go dogsledding over the Mendenhall Glacier or explore centuries-old mining trails.
The Radiance will offer alternating southbound and northbound seven-night itineraries between Vancouver and Seward. Guests will have the opportunity to visit Icy Strait Point, Sitka and Skagway, and sail through the Inside Passage and by the Hubbard Glacier.
The Serenade, returning for a second Alaska summer season, will offer seven-night roundtrip sailings from Vancouver and visit Ketchikan, Skagway, Sitka and Juneau.
Royal Caribbean also offers overnight stays before or after the cruise with three- to seven-night Cruisetour packages. Travellers will be able to visit the Denali National Park and Preserve with local experts, hike the Exit Glacier, kayak and bike by Eklutna Lake, and more.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Marella Discovery to Sail From Port Canaveral in 2021

Marella Discovery to Sail From Port Canaveral in 2021

Marella Discovery
For the first time ever, Marella Cruises will base a ship in the United States as the Marella Discovery will sail from Port Canaveral in 2021.
The TUI-owned brand targeted at the British market will sail the Marella Discovery from the port beginning in Summer 2021, offering four new itineraries with 11 port-of-call visits.
“We’re excited that Marella Cruises has selected Port Canaveral as the homeport for its first-ever cruises from the United States,” Port CEO Captain John Murray said. “Today’s announcement is another endorsement that our ongoing investments in state-of-the-art terminals and commitment to excellence in cruise operations continue to earn the confidence of some of the world’s most successful cruise brands.”
Cruise bookings go on sale Thursday, Nov. 7, for 26 seasonal voyages from May 2, 2021, through Oct. 24, 2021.
The ship will sail from Port Canaveral’s Cruise Terminal 5.
“We’re really excited to be setting sail from the USA,” said Chris Hackney, Managing Director at Marella Cruises. “Expanding our program provides an opportunity for cruisers to sample the American Dream, and we’ve ensured there really is something for everyone, whether that’s a visit to Walt Disney World in Florida, an evening in New York, authentic jazz music in New Orleans or a rollercoaster in Busch Gardens. Offering our customers more choice and flexibility is at the heart of what we do.”
Customers sailing on Marella’s American Dream and Big Apple Adventure itineraries will enjoy an overnight stop in New York City. The Discovery will also visit Miami and Turks and Caicos on its Sunshine States and Sands itinerary. And customers can select seven- or 14-night options with an overnight stay in Tampa on the ship’s Floridian Favorites itinerary. Guests choosing one of the four itineraries also have the flexibility to extend their cruise ashore with available cruise-and-stay packages available in Orlando.
The Marella Discovery will make port-of-call visits to the Ports of Charleston, S.C., New York City, Freeport and Nassau, Bahamas, Norfolk, Va., Key West, Miami, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and New Orleans.

MSC Marine Ops Goes Carbon Neutral in Industry First

MSC Marine Ops Goes Carbon Neutral in Industry First

MSC Armonia
MSC Cruises today announced its commitment to become the world’s first fully carbon neutral major global cruise line, according to a press release.
MSC said it will offset all direct carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from its fleet marine operations through a blend of carbon offset projects developed according to the highest standards by leading international entities that take immediate action on greenhouse gas emissions. All costs for the offsets as well as any other associated items will be covered directly and in full by MSC, the company said, in a prepared statement. 
Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman said: “Our focus on innovation since we built our first cruise ships only in 2003, ensures that we have one of the most modern fleets at sea as well as one of the highest environmentally performing. And, thanks to our long-term planning, this will allow us to already achieve a fleet-wide 29 per cent reduction in carbon intensity (rate) by 2024 vs. 2008, on our way to meet the 40 per cent reduction target set for 2030.
“Additionally, last week we announced that the LNG-powered fuel cells PACBOAT project will be hosted onboard MSC Europa – the first of five LNG-powered cruise ships that are due to join our fleet. This is not only a world-first for a technology that promises to be most efficient for high-power maritime operations but also yet another concrete example of our firm commitment to partner and support the accelerated development of the next-generation technologies that will lead us and this industry to zero-emissions ship operations.”
“As we recognize that today’s even most advanced maritime environmental technology alone is insufficient to immediately reach carbon neutrality, the further commitment we make today ensures that our fleet makes no negative contribution to climate change, starting January 1, 2020."
Vago added: “We will work with leading providers in carbon credits able to offset CO2 emissions with the highest level of integrity. Our vision is to also invest in projects that provide quantifiable community benefits, protect the environment and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
In particular, MSC said it aims to develop a carbon offset portfolio that incorporates projects which protect and restore ocean and coastal habitats while also absorbing more CO2 than currently occurs. 
Vago concluded: “Blue carbon offsets will be a specific area of focus of our commitment to ensure carbon neutrality with immediate effect. We will put our people and our resources to work to also support the development of the specific type of projects, and the enabling certification processes, that can generate this innovative form of offsets which directly benefit the oceans and communities that live by the sea. As more of these become available, we will steadily increase our reliance on them as an additional area of focus within our overall long-term commitment to achieving zero-emissions operations.”

NCLH Honored in New York for Gender Milestone

NCLH Honored in New York for Gender Milestone

Norwegian Breakaway
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has been honoured by the Women’s Forum of New York at the Breakfast of Corporate Champions in New York City, an event which recognizes the S&P 500/Fortune 1000 companies which have achieved 30 per cent or greater female representation on their corporate boards.
The event gathers more than 600 leaders and change-makers including CEOs, board directors and government officials in support of the shared goal of gender parity in the boardroom by 2025.
"Our board is committed to seeking out directors and management leadership with diverse backgrounds. We have actively recruited women and members of minority groups to where today our board is comprised of 30 per cent women and 60 per cent members with diverse backgrounds," said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands.
Two years ago, Norwegian Cruise Line appointed its first female director to its board: Stella David, former CEO of William Grant and Sons Limited. In 2018, retired U.S. Coast Guard rear admiral Mary Landry, and Pamela Thomas-Graham, founder and CEO of Dandelion Chandelier LLC were appointed as new directors to the company’s board.
“As an organization of top women leaders, the Women’s Forum of New York salutes the 2019 Corporate Champions which are raising the bar for female board representation by actively seeking more women directors,” said Janice Ellig, CEO of the Ellig Group and chair and founder of the Breakfast of Corporate Champions.
Stella David is a Cambridge University graduate with a degree in engineering, who has extensive management experience with companies such as William Grant & Sons, Bacardi, Nationwide Building Society and others.
Mary E. Landry has a 35-year career in maritime operations, including service on the White House National Security Council and Senior Director for Resilience Policy, and active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard.
Pamela Thomas-Graham is the founder and CEO of Dandelion Chandelier LLC, a private digital media enterprise focused on global luxury, who has also worked for Credit Suisse, Angelo, Gordon & Co, and was president at Liz Claiborne and at CNBC. She began her career at McKinsey & Company, in 1989, and became the firm’s first African American female partner in 1995. She is a Doctor of Law from Harvard University.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Norwegian Strategic on Alaska

Norwegian Strategic on Alaska

Norwegian Bliss
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) President and CEO Frank Del Rio underscored his enthusiasm for Alaska on the company's third-quarter earnings call.
He said the company will continue to make investments and cultivate partnerships in the region, noting the new pier NCLH has agreed to build in Ketchikan, its $20 million purchase of 2.9 acres of waterfront property in Juneau, and the construction of a second pier at Icy Point Strait.
“We are investing in port facilities and guest experiences,” he said. “Alaska is destination-centric and you much have the land capabilities in place. We have almost doubled our capacity in Alaska over the past three years and will be even stronger as we finalize our investments.”
NCLH’s Q3 Alaska capacity was up 17 per cent over the same period last year.
In Ketchikan, NCLH has entered into a 30-year preferential berthing agreement with Ward Cove Dock Group, which allows for the construction of a new double ship pier in Ward Cove.
Meanwhile, current zoning laws are said to prevent a pier from being built on the property in Juneau.
The pier will be built to simultaneously accommodate two of Norwegian Cruise Line’s 4,200-passenger Breakaway-Plus class ships and is expected to be ready for the summer 2020 season.
NCLH partnered with the Port of Seattle in 2015 on the renovation and expansion of the Bell Street Terminal at Pier 66 which was ready for the 2018 season and the 4,000-berth Norwegian Bliss.
NCLH and the port entered into a 15-year lease agreement providing its ships priority berth space in Seattle for the full term of the lease in return for passenger volume guarantees. NCLH manages the cruise operations at Pier 66, while the port operates the facilities outside the cruise season.
Next year, the Norwegian brand will have three ships in Alaska, with the Norwegian Bliss, Joy and Sun will be from Seattle. In 2021, the new Encore will take over for the Joy. Oceania and Regent will each have one ship in the Alaska market, with the Regatta and the Seven Seas Mariner from Seattle, Vancouver and Seward.
Del Rio cited what he called “incredibly strong ticket pricing and onboard spend” in the Alaska market and also noted the lengthening of the season, which now runs all the way from April to October.
“In the coming years, we will further bolster our presence and commitment to the region,” Del Rio noted.

Small ships popular but proving difficult to get built

Small ships popular but proving difficult to get built

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Shipyard problems have delayed Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection's first ship, the Evrima.

The small-ship cruise sector is booming, but getting its ships built on time is proving to be a big challenge.
Expedition and small luxury ships are among the hottest segments when it comes to passenger demand. But unlike the mega-liners churned out like clockwork by the big shipyards, small ships tend to be built at small yards, where inexperience with cruise work is the general rule.
The latest example is the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, a new entrant to the cruise industry that had hoped to make a splash this winter with its 298-passenger Evrima before the Super Bowl in Miami.
Instead, on Oct. 4, three months before scheduled delivery, Ritz-Carlton announced that the much anticipated Evrima (Greek for "discovery") would be delayed until June 2020 because of shipyard issues.
In a statement, Ritz-Carlton blamed "delivery and project cost" problems at the Hijos de J. Barreras shipyard in Vigo, Spain, for the delay. 
"With additional challenges around the former shipyard management, both the new board of Hijos de J. Barreras and the board of the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection are working cooperatively toward a long-term solution for the shipyard," Ritz-Carlton's statement said.
Ritz-Carlton joins Scenic Luxury Tours & Cruises, the German line Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Norway's Hurtigruten in suffering delays, ranging from minor to extensive, in the past two years in attempting to bring their ships to market.
All were building ships of under 600 passengers, and all were being built at smaller, lesser-known yards.
The Scenic Eclipse was delayed several times before making its debut in September 2019.
The Scenic Eclipse was delayed several times before making its debut in September 2019.
The delays make life hard for travel advisors. Many have clients who want to be among the first to experience new vessels. Some agents are themselves booked on inaugural cruises in order to better evaluate new ships for clients.
When ships are delayed and inaugural plans cancelled, it is hard to explain to clients who have blocked out time off and who have high expectations that they will be the first to sample the ships.
"When it hurts the advisors, of course, it hurts us," said Ann Chamberlin, vice president of sales at Scenic, which christened its 200-passenger Scenic Eclipse expedition yacht in New York on Sept. 10. 
The ship, built in Croatia, was delayed not once but several times. All a line can do, Chamberlin said, is protect agent commissions, re-accommodate passengers and beg both groups for understanding. 
The delivery of the Scenic Eclipse was hurt by multiple issues, including worker strikes, financial malfeasance, management turnover and frozen bank accounts. In February, Scenic owner Glen Moroney invested in Uljanik Shipyard in Pula, Croatia, along with Croatia's DIV Group and Italy's Fincantieri to get the ship finished.
Scenic is not the only line to become a shipyard owner. After delays on its 530-passenger Roald Amundsen last year, Hurtigruten bought the Kleven shipyard in Norway to expedite the project.
In March, Hapag-Lloyd cancelled the first two scheduled cruises of the expedition ship Hanseatic Nature because of delayed delivery from the Vard shipyard in Norway. Fincantieri, which owns Vard, said in its most recent financial report that reorganization of Vard is a top priority and that some of its best Italian employees have been assigned to the job.
Lawrence Rapp, a principal at Seawise Consulting, said that many small yards are better prepared to build simpler ships.
In general, Rapp said, "these small yards are not aware of just how complex the projects really are. To get a prototype fully approved by [country] flag and class take much more time than they would anticipate because you have to go through impact-stability calculations, damage-stability calculations. And each time you make adjustments to one of these things, it affects the others and also the functionality of the ship itself."
In addition, small ships are more often designs from prototypes, rather than copies of previous ships.
"When Carnival or Royal Caribbean are building ships, they will build five, six, eight, 10 of the same class," Rapp said. "Once the calculations have been gone through and the design has been accepted, it's a whole lot easier to plan going forward."
In March, Hapag-Lloyd canceled the first two scheduled cruises of the Hanseatic Nature because of delayed delivery from the Vard shipyard.
In March, Hapag-Lloyd cancelled the first two scheduled cruises of the Hanseatic Nature because of delayed delivery from the Vard shipyard.
Moreover, small yards sometimes have to bring in workers who have cruise experience. 
"If you're a small yard and you're undertaking a project that is an order of magnitude bigger than anything you've ever done before, you're probably bringing in a lot of people who are not used to you, and you're not used to them, and relationships can be difficult to maintain," Rapp said.
Daniel Schaefer, CEO of Sea Cloud Cruises, is currently building a 136-passenger ship at Metalships & Docks shipyard in Vigo, Spain. The project has been in the works since 2008 when it was at another shipyard that went bankrupt.
"Most of the time it's that the yards have no experience in what they’re doing," Schaefer said. 
Small-ship owners are forced to work with them because getting a slot at one of the big yards is next to impossible. 
"Going to Meyer Werft in Germany, you get a slot in 10 years," he said. "So you have to go to some inexperienced yards and see if you get a berth there."
One common stumbling block is weight, Schaefer said. And then there's interior craftsmanship. "That creates a lot of problems. They come at the end because interior work is done at the end. And if you find out that it's not the quality you were expecting, you don't have much time to correct it."
Schaefer said Sea Cloud made its mistakes on a ship built in 2001 and is confident that the Sea Cloud Spirit will be ready for its August 2020 debut. He said the ship is already in the water at the proper weight and ready to be finished.
"Looking at the mock-up quality work, we're pretty sure our interior workers will do a good job," Schaefer said.

Friday, 29 November 2019

A subjective list of awards for cruise experiences

A subjective list of awards for cruise experiences

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Seven Seas Explorer
here's no shortage of travel industry awards and accolades. 
Today I'll offer some cruise-only nods -- a mini Academy Awards lineup, if you will --  based on my seven years of cruising for Travel Weekly. Unlike the Oscars, in which categories of longstanding tradition are properly judged, my award categories and winners are completely subjective and based mostly on one moment on one ship, rather than a studious fleetwide evaluation over time.
Plus, mine aren't broadcast on national television. And there's no statuette. But they're fun. See what you think, and offer your own winners in the comment section below.
So, with no further ado:
Best naming ceremony: Princess Cruises. Skies were grey in Southampton, England, on that June day in 2013, but who can beat royal princess Kate Middleton christening the Royal Princess? The British pomp and pageantry and the ladies in their gowns and fascinators made it unforgettable. Runner up: More royals, plus opera great Andrea Bocelli singing "Nessun Dorma" for the Seven Seas Explorer in Monaco.
Meal: Celebrity Cruises. I think it was on the Celebrity Reflection with former Celebrity public relations spokeswoman Liz Jakeway that I had a nearly flawless Italian dinner at the Tuscan Grille. Runner up: Guy Fieri's burgers on Carnival Cruise Line.
Suite:  Viking Ocean Cruises. The Owner's Suite on the Viking Star duplicates owner Tor Hagen's book collection and comes with a (faux) fireplace and a sauna with a floor-to-ceiling glass wall for ocean viewing. Runner up: the duplex suites on Royal Caribbean.
Service: Azamara. I know, not what you're expecting, but I say: try it. The relaxed style really made me feel at home on a 2016 Central America and Mexico cruise on the Azamara Journey. When my time was up, I didn't want to leave. Runner up: Seabourn.
Entertainment: Norwegian Cruise Line. "After Midnight" and "Million Dollar Quartet" on the Norwegian Escape in 2016 was a knockout one-two punch, and Norwegian has kept up the pace with each new ship: "Jersey Boys," "Kinky Boots." Great value for guests. Runner up: Royal Caribbean, where too much is never enough.
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Pool: Seabourn. The cosy aft pool on Seabourn's 450-passenger ships puts sunbathers close to the water in stylish luxury. Runner up: the Solarium Pool on Celebrity, with its dancing waters fountain.
Cruise Director: Star Clippers. The line's longest-serving cruise director, Peter Kissner, hails from Bavaria and is the most personable, knowledgeable, interesting person I've yet encountered in the job.  Runner up: Azamara cruise director Eric de Gray does it all.
Internet: Royal Caribbean gets the nod for its Voom, which not only is fast and simple but was first to market. What a difference in seven years. Runner up: MedallionNet on Princess Cruises is also fast and simple (but was not first).
Children's character: Disney Cruise Line for Cinderella. As played by one of Disney's cast members, the Cinderella I saw could have stepped out of the 1950 animated feature film. The children were enchanted. Runner Up:  Ellie, the towel elephant that prowls the post-turn-down cabins on Carnival ships.
Deck BBQ: Windstar Cruises. A twilight summer deck party anchored off the coast of Portofino. Trust me, it doesn't get any better than that. Runner up: Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Struggling Barreras Cancels Havila Newbuilds

Struggling Barreras Cancels Havila Newbuilds

Havila Newbuild Rendering
According to multiple Spanish media reports, the struggling Barreras shipyard has cancelled both newbuilds for Havila Kystruten, which were set to operate on the Norwegian coast by early 2021.
Meanwhile, a separate bailout plan orchestrated by The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection is moving forward, according to reports.
Work on the Havila ships was suspended in August as the yard hit financial problems.
Since then, the management team has been removed and some 1,300-yard workers have not returned to the job site, according to reports.
Havila CEO Arild Myrvoll confirmed that the company had received a cancellation notice and said he interprets that as a sign Barreras is “preparing to liquidate.”
With two other ships under construction at Tersan in Turkey, Havila is now said to be looking for a new shipyard that can handle building two coastal ships to short notice.
Havila will thus be forced to use “replacement vessels” to meet its government-mandated start update in January 2021, when Havila will serve Norway's coastal route with four vessels.

Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria Bought by CMV

Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria Bought by CMV

Pacific Aria
Pacific Aria in her new livery for CMV, (Ex Holland American Line Ryndam)

Cruise & Maritime Voyages today confirmed it purchased the Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria from Carnival Corporation.
A sales price for the 1994-built Pacific Aria, with capacity for 1,258 guests, and the 1991-built Pacific Dawn, with capacity for 2,020 guests, was not announced.
The ships will join the Pacific Eden, the Aria's sister, at CMV, along with other ex-Carnival Corp. vessels the Columbus and the Magellan. 
CMV will take delivery of P&O Australia’s Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria in Singapore on the March 2 and May 2, 2021, respectively, increasing lower bed fleet capacity to 9,000 berths and passenger capacity by 30 per cent in 2021.
Pacific Dawn
Pacific Dawn in her new livery (Ex Regal Princess - Princess cruise)

The duo will be officially re-named in summer 2021 following a drydocking, some minor upgrade and re-livery works in Singapore before embarking on CMV maiden positioning voyages via the Suez Canal to Northern Europe.
The Pacific Dawn will be deployed for the UK market year-round from Tilbury, while the Pacific Area will sail for the TransOcean brand targeting the German market, cruising alongside the Vasco da Gama (the former Pacific Eden) and replacing the 580 passenger Astor. She is being re-named Jules Verne and will be re-deployed to the French market in May 2021.
Christian Verhounig, CEO commented: “The introduction of two more ships to the global ocean fleet is the next exciting chapter of our strategic growth objectives. This will enable us to service increasing market demand for our traditional brand of cruising generated by our expanding international network of in-house sales offices and developing source markets. We have now acquired five cruise ships in just five years and are firmly on course in carrying 200,000 passengers in 2021."
Chris Coates, Group Commercial Director added, “As the CMV brand continues to evolve, the growing popularity of our traditional product, classic ships and destination-focused cruise programs has encouraged us to accelerate plans to add capacity to the two top European cruise markets in the UK and Germany, which represent 85 per cent of our business.
"These two fine cruise ships perfectly complement our existing fleet providing trade partners and consumers alike with much needed extra capacity. For 2020, we expect close to 70 per cent of capacity to be sold by the year-end, in line with expectations. This provides an ideal platform for the early introduction of new tonnage and opportunities for summer 2021 with the focus very much on higher yield business.