Monday, 29 June 2015

UK consumer spend abroad rises to £35.5 billion in 2014

UK consumer spend abroad rises to £35.5 billion in 2014

Spending by UK consumers abroad rose by £3.7 billion to £35.5 billion last year over 2010, according to latest calculations.
This represented an 11.7% increase in the four-year period with Spain being the major benefactor.
British travellers spent £6.14 billion in Spain in 2014 – the most for any country in the world � and £3.91 billion on visits to the US.
Some £3.51 billion was spent across in France, whilst Italy was fourth with £1.68 billion.
The research by the travel money business Centtrip also showed that Romania had seen a 114% increase in spending by UK residents between 2010 and 2014. This equated to an extra £102 million.
Lithuania and the UAE saw increases of 74% while Norway and Mexico saw increases of 69%, 60% respectively.
Analysis by the company found that Britons took more than 60 million trips abroad, with an outlay of £35.5 billion in spending money.
Centtrip co-founder and managing director, Brian Jamieson, said: “Overseas travel is increasing, but as people visit more countries, they need to make sure they are getting a fair deal when buying foreign currency, and keep charges down to a minimum.”

Piggybacking on the river boom

Piggybacking on the river boom

By Michelle Baran

Do you ever find yourself, as I often do, reflecting about a seemingly simple concept that has become incredibly successful (like Craigslist, the beyond basic classifieds website now worth hundreds of millions of dollars), and say to yourself, “Drats! Now why didn’t I think of that?!”

As the river cruise market continues to boom, some in the travel industry might be feeling that very sentiment about river cruising. They might have a little case of river cruise envy as it were — “If only I had thought to start building riverboats several years ago,” the regretful might muse.
Michelle Baran
Michelle Baran
But rather than bemoan the fact that they aren’t among the pioneering companies that built up the river cruising market, several factions of the travel industry have instead been working to benefit from the myriad of business opportunities that have arisen in light of the the river cruise industry’s success, and their piggybacking strategy is working.

For instance, the wholesale tour operator Avanti Destinations has been promoting its customizable FIT offerings as pre- and post-cruise city-stays that agents can tack onto a river cruise to increase their earnings.

“We encourage agents to ask their cruise clients about adding extra days — or even a week — to their itinerary,” said Harry Dalgaard, president and founder of Avanti. 

“We’ve had clients, for example, who start with a Danube cruise, add a few nights in Vienna, continue on to Salzburg and then head to Florence, the Tuscan countryside and Rome before returning home,” he added.

The result is that Avanti is seeing big booking windfalls in destinations linked to river cruising. In the past year, the company has seen bookings for Bordeaux and Lyon in France increase 85% and 100%, respectively; bookings for Budapest, Hungary, have grown 30%; and for Nuremberg, Germany, bookings have jumped a whopping 175%.
Consequently, Avanti has developed new pre- and post-cruise suggested itineraries geared specifically toward river cruisers, including a three-day Bordeaux package (from $725 per person), a three-day Amsterdam itinerary (from $595 per person), a three-day Nuremberg package (from $329 per person), and a three-day Vienna package (from $515 per person).

Travel agents too are getting in on the action. Several years ago, it was difficult to find any agents that were dedicated solely to the river cruise market or who knew very much about it. But today, there is a growing roster of river cruise specialists, including several that have been featured in Travel Weekly, that have built up an entire agency business and/or website focused only on river cruising.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter whether you had the good idea in the first place. What matters is whether you can make someone else’s good idea work in your favor. The river cruise industry isn’t just one business, it is a ripple effect of businesses and opportunities for those who choose to ride the wake.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Holidaymakers forced to abandon their cruise ship after it collides with oil tanker off the coast of Turkey leaving huge dent in hull.

Holidaymakers forced to abandon their cruise ship after it collides with oil tanker off the coast of Turkey leaving huge dent in hull.

  • Celestyal Crystal cruise liner collided with tanker STI Pimlico on Saturday 
  • More than 850 passengers on board evacuated by sea boat to Gallipoli
  • Two crew members and a passenger suffered minor injuries in incident
  • Emergency services moved quickly to stop a fire from the oil tanker 
More than 850 passengers had to be evacuated after their collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Turkey, leaving a huge dent in its hull.
Authorities said a huge disaster was averted after emergency service quickly responded to reports that the Celestyal Crystal and the tanker STI Pimlico had crashed at 1.30am on Saturday morning in the Dardanelles Strait.

Cruise operators said two crew members and a passenger suffered minor injuries in the accident as the vessel, registered to Malta, made its way from Greece to Istanbul.

All of its 853 passengers and 382 staff were taken to safety by a sea bus to Gallipoli, and the rest of their journey was cancelled while structural damage to the front of the ship is being fixed.

Damage: The hull of the Celestyal Crystal was badly damaged after the incident at 1.30am on Saturday
Emergency services moved quickly to douse the tanker in water to prevent a fire or explosion after fuel spilled out of the 182-metre long tanker, which had been travelling from Russia to Malta carrying flammable naptha fuel.

It has not yet been established how the collision took place.

A statement from the cruise line published on travel website said Celestyal Cruises, which operates the ship, will arrange for passengers to continue their holidays on other boats.

It has also offered full refunds for holidaymakers' cruise fares as well as second, complimentary seven-night cruises 

Spill: Emergency services working quickly to stop a fire or explosion when oil poured out of the tanker 
Spill: Emergency services working quickly to stop a fire or explosion when oil poured out of the tanker 
'With the safety and care of our passengers as our utmost priority, we will ensure the smoothest possible disembarkation for those on board since the current cruise will have to be cancelled', it said.

'We apologize for the inconvenience and would like to assure that we will spare no effort in ensuring that our passengers are provided with the best hospitality under the circumstances.'

Mayor of Çanakkale, Ahmet Çınar, told Turkish television channel NTV a huge disaster was prevented just in time and potential danger has been minimized thanks to 'intensive' work by emergency crews, the Daily Sabah reported.
Ferry services along the Strait were cancelled for several hours during the clean-up operation. 

Friday, 26 June 2015

Celebrity Cruises and MGM establish cross-marketing venture

Celebrity Cruises and MGM establish cross-marketing venture

Celebrity Cruises and MGM Resorts International announced an agreement to give loyalty club members at each company access to some of the other company’s products.
Celebrity Captain’s Club members will gain benefits and special access to MGM concerts, events, entertainment venues and restaurants. MGM’s M Life Platinum and NOIR members will be eligible for complimentary cruises. 
Celebrity CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said the cross promotion would add another incentive to the package of benefits comprising Captain’s Club membership and serve as an introduction to the brand for MGM Resorts loyalists.
Captain’s Club members will get quarterly offers and M Life benefits for each tier, including room discounts, pre-sale access to tickets for concerts and championship fights, exclusive seating at shows and events, priority reservations, special hotel check-in areas and VIP services.
As part of the arrangement, M Life members can earn M Life Tier Credits for onboard slot play on Celebrity ships.
In Las Vegas, MGM operates several resorts, including the Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, the Mirage, MGM Grand and Circus Circus.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

MS Koningsdam Cruise Ship, United States of America

MS Koningsdam Cruise Ship, United States of America

MS Koningsdam is a new cruise ship being constructed by Fincantieri at its Marghera shipyard, Italy, for Holland America Line. It will be the first Pinnacle-class vessel to join Holland America's cruise ship fleet.
The first steel for MS Koningsdam was cut in February 2014, and a keel laying ceremony was held in August 2014. Delivery is expected in February 2016.

MS Koningsdam design

Koningsdam is designed in a contemporary style to create a perfect harmony with classic elegance. It will feature luxurious interiors that blend fresh air, fluid curves, elegant lines and illuminated spaces. The public spaces are designed to reflect tradition, whereas the architectural elements are inspired by music.
The central atrium with a ceiling skylight will be three decks high and adorned by an airy stainless steel sculpture. The interiors are designed by Adam D Tihany and Bjørn Storbraaten.
The 99,500 gross register tonnage (grt) cruise ship will have a capacity to accommodate 2,650 passengers and 1,025 crew members.

Accommodation aboard the new Pinnacle-class cruise ship

The new Pinnacle-class cruise ship will offer single and family staterooms. The staterooms will be classified into three categories, namely Neptune, Signature and Vista.
The ship will also feature 32 family ocean-view staterooms that occupy between 222ft2 and 231ft2, with two bathrooms and accommodation for five people, and 12 single ocean-view cabins measuring between 127ft2 and 172ft2. The staterooms and suites will be furnished with custom casework, USB ports and frameless glass shower doors.
A grand Pinnacle Suite of 1,290ft2 will comprise a living area, dining area, dressing area, bedroom and personal verandah with whirlpool. The cruise ship will also feature two Neptune Spa Suites and 43 Neptune Suites. The guests of Neptune and Pinnacle suites will have access to the Neptune Lounge, with the personalised service of a concierge.
The fleet-wide lounges offer worktables, a big-screen television, a library, sofas and chairs, complimentary refreshments and wi-fi at a nominal charge in the ship.
Koningsdam will also offer affordable accommodation, including 266 standard or large interior rooms of up to 225ftsq. Most of the rooms will feature verandas. The verandah spa accommodations, which will be located near the Greenhouse Spa & Salon, will offer health and wellness services during the journey.

Dining aboard the Koningsdam

The guests on-board Koningsdam can enjoy dining at six restaurants, namely the Pinnacle Grill, the main dining room, the Lido, Tamarind Asian fusion restaurant, In-Cabin and Balcony Dining, and Canaletto Italian restaurant.
The central bar area will allow the guests to check-in for an alternative-dining reservation at the central podium, and enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail before being seated at the restaurant.
The Culinary Arts Centre will offer activities such as hands-on classes and cooking demonstrations during the day, while it will transform into a dining area and the Grand Dutch Café to provide snacks or beverages in the evening.

MS Koningsdam entertainment venues

The Music Walk complex on the ship will encompass the Lincoln Centre Stage, Billboard Onboard and BB King's Blues Club.
The World Stage, with multiple stage configurations, will feature high-definition 270° LED screen of two stories high and 250ft-long. It will be equipped with state-of-the-art sound systems and lighting for showcasing performances and productions.
Additional facilities will include Digital Workshop, Explorations Café, Fitness Centre, Merabella luxury shop, Signature Shops, Promenade, Casino and Explorer's Lounge.

MS Koningsdam itineraries

MS Koningsdam will enter service with a seven-day round-trip voyage from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Naples, followed by a series of six 12-day sailings across the Mediterranean.

Newbuild underscores MSC's increased North America focus

Newbuild underscores MSC's increased North America focus

MSC Seaside.
MIAMI BEACH — MSC Cruises is putting more of its growing capacity in North America starting in 2017 by sending a newbuild directly from the shipyard to Miami to sail the Caribbean year-round.

MSC unveils details of Miami-based ship

MSC unveils details of Miami-based ship

A rendering of the MSC Seaside.

A bowling alley and nine restaurants will be among the amenities aboard the MSC Seaside, the first vessel that MSC Cruises will move directly from the shipyard to the U.S.

MSC CEO Gianni Onorato revealed new details about the 154,000-gross-ton, 4,140-passenger ship during the steel-cutting ceremony on Monday at the Monfalcone, Italy-headquarters of shipbuilder Fincantieri. The Seaside is scheduled to arrive at PortMiami in December 2017.

Among the ship's nine restaurants will be a pizzeria, a seafood house, a steakhouse and a Japanese teppanyaki eatery. The restaurants will be accompanied by 20 bars. The bowling alley will join numerous other entertainment options on the Seaside, including a previously announced elaborate water park with five distinct slides and water features.
The vessel will also be equipped with a variety of eco-friendly features, including an advanced wastewater treatment system and a heat recovery plant that will warm onboard swimming pools, laundry machines and faucets. Passengers, meanwhile, will be able to use cruise cards, RFID bracelets or smartphones to access staterooms, book excursions and shows, geolocate their children and make onboard payments.
The Seaside is one of seven vessels that MSC Cruises either has in production or in the planning stages. The cruise line currently sails 12 ships. One of the vessels under construction is the MSC Meraviglia, for which sales opened on June 22. Holding up to 4,500 passengers, it will sail the Mediterranean beginning in the summer of 2017, embarking from Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona.
Bookings on the Meraviglia are open only to MSC Club members until July 5, when they will open to the general public. 

MSC Cruises and Etihad sign feeder flights deal

MSC Cruises and Etihad sign feeder flights deal

MSC Cruises has signed a deal with Etihad Airways to supply flights from across Europe to feed its winter sailings in the Arabian Gulf.
The Italian line will use the UAE carrier for fly-cruise packages from the UK as well as Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.
The company is running a series of 16 seven-night cruises on MSC Musica in the region from December 13 featuring Abu Dhabi, Khor al Fakkan, Muscat, Khasab and Dubai.
MSC Cruises has brought more than 100,000 passengers from 115 nationalities to the Emirate between 2011 and 2015.
Abu Dhabi’s overall cruise season last winter attracted a record 200,407 passengers and 94 ship calls.
MSC Cruises chief executive, Gianni Onorato (pictured), said: “Through our partnership and also together with Abu Dhabi Ports Company and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority we will work to develop Abu Dhabi as an ideal winter cruise destination to further strengthen our offer in the region.”
Etihad Airways president and chief executive, James Hogan, said: “Abu Dhabi is being developed into a leading international cruise destination, with record passenger numbers and ship calls reported during the recent 2014/15 season.
“Future projections are even stronger, as the new Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal opens at the end of this year, and world-class cultural attractions such as Abu Dhabi’s Louvre and Guggenheim museums enhance the local tourism offering.
“Our partnership with MSC Cruises, as well as Abu Dhabi Ports Company and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, for ‘fly and cruise’ will expand source markets for cruises in the UAE and regionally, bringing in more travellers from destinations across Europe.”

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Carnival Corp. records $222 million in net income in Q2

Carnival Corp. records $222 million in net income in Q2

Carnival Corp. reported $222 million in net income in the second quarter, up more than 126% from second quarter 2014. Revenue for the quarter, the company said, was $3.6 billion, compared with $3.63 billion in 2014.

Carnival said its net income in the quarter included unrealized gains on fuel derivatives of $34 million and $7 million on restructuring expenses.

Net revenue yields rose 4.1% in the quarter on a constant-dollar basis, beating the company's estimate of increases in the 2% to 3% range; gross revenue yield decreased 3.5% due to changes in currency exchange rates, it said.

Fuel prices declined 37%, to $411 per metric ton; the company spent $333 million on fuel in the quarter, compared with $527 million in Q2 2014. Net cruise costs, excluding fuel, increased 6.1%, which the company primarily attributed to an increase in drydock days. 

Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said in the earnings statement that all company's North American brands "enjoyed strong revenue yield improvement”; he singled out the Carnival Cruise Line brand and said it "performed particularly well again this quarter."

The company said that fleetwide booking volume for the next three quarters was running "well ahead" of last year, at slightly lower prices due to transactional currency impacts. Donald said that the strong booking volume "clearly demonstrates strong consumer demand for our brands," and he added that Carnival Corp. would step up marketing investment for the remainder of the year.
Carnival said its third-quarter net revenue yields were expected to be up 2% to 3% in constant dollars compared with Q3 2014.
This report was updated to clarify a statement from Arnold Donald regarding yield improvement in the company's cruise brands.

Virgin Cruises to launch from Miami with mid-size cruise ship

Virgin Cruises to launch from Miami with mid-size cruise ship

Virgin Cruises has agreed a deal to have three ships built to start sailing from 2020 and “redefine” the cruise experience.
The 2,800-passenger vessels are due to be delivered between 2020 and 2022. Each will be 110,000 tons and also carry 1,150 crew.
The first vessel will be based in Miami offering seven-day Caribbean itineraries.
Virgin Cruises revealed today that it has signed a binding letter of intent with Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri for the trio of new mid-size ships.
Potential customers are being invited to visit the Virgin Cruises website to share their ideas on what the new cruise line can do to deliver an "incredible experience at sea".
Virgin Cruises’ binding letter of intent with Fincantieri is the first part of a two-step process with both companies committed to signing a contract at the end of 2015.
Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson, said: This is a very exciting day for Virgin and travellers around the globe.
“We now have the right partners in place to build a world-class cruise line that will redefine the cruising experience for good.
“The Virgin Cruises approach will appeal to cruisers and non-cruisers alike, and we look forward to being in Miami and delivering an experience for people who want a new way to cruise.”
The line’s chief executive, Tom McAlpine, said: “We are committed to making waves in the cruise industry, and partnering with Fincantieri and PortMiami sets Virgin Cruises up to do just that.
“Today’s announcement brings together important ingredients in our future success – Miami’s vibrant culture paired with the excellent port infrastructure and port team; and Fincantieri’s expertise in prototyping, their creativity and understanding of our vision.”

Cruise1st attracts potential buyers as owner Royal Caribbean puts agency up for sale

Cruise1st attracts potential buyers as owner Royal Caribbean puts agency up for sale
Image result for cruise 1st

Royal Caribbean-owned cruise agency Cruise1st has been put up for sale and is understood to have attracted at least three potential trade buyers.
It is known that at least one of the cruise specialist agencies interested in buying the business has submitted an offer for Cruise1st, which is a trading division of Sunshine Cruise Holidays and employs more than 100 staff in the UK, Australia and Singapore.
In a statement, Manchester-based Cruise1st said it was “exploring the possibility” of an external sale and also strongly considering a management buyout.
Royal Caribbean declined to comment.
A source told Travel Weekly that a deal could be struck within the next couple of weeks.
Dan Townsley, chief executive of Cruise1st, said he was eager to weigh up options for the business, adding: “We’re in a position to explore our options and make the right choice for the business that will support our ambitious growth plans.”
The agency launched in 2000 and was acquired by Island Cruises three years later. Following the merger of First Choice and Tui UK, Cruise1st became wholly owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises in 2008.
In the past four years the agency’s booking numbers are claimed to have grown by 83%, and Townsley said the business had “aggressive expansion plans”.
The cruise sector has witnessed several acquisitions in recent years, including Iglu Cruise’s purchase of Planet Cruise in 2013 and dnata taking a stake in Imagine Cruising last month.
Private equity firms have also shown interest in cruise businesses, with both and Iglu Cruise receiving backing.
The latter received further investment last week in a deal, believed to be worth £60 million, with private equity backer LDC. This prompted Iglu founder Richard Downs to say he was looking at acquisitions.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015




Monfalcone, Italy, 22 June – Geneva-based MSC Cruises S.A., the world’s largest privately-owned global cruise line and market leader in the Mediterranean, and industry-leading shipyard Fincantieri, today cut the first steel for its new generation of ship, MSC Seaside. 

In a ceremony held at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago and Chief Executive Officer, Gianni Onorato, along with Fincantieri’s Chief Executive Officer Giuseppe Bono launched the cutting of the first steel of MSC Seaside. 

MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “Today, we have witnessed the beginning of the work on an extraordinary new ship, MSC Seaside. It is a ship that revolutionizes industry standards, with an audacious and innovative design that brings guests and sea closer. It is also testament to MSC Cruises’ constant focus on innovation, as it is the fifth prototype ship we designed.” 

Moreover, MSC Seaside represents a key pillar in a €5.1 billion euro, seven-ship investment plan that will double our capacity by 2022. It also steps up our investment in Italy and marks our return to partnership with Fincantieri, which is something that makes me particularly proud. In fact, the building of the new Seaside ships as well as our other current project with Fincantieri – the €200 million Renaissance Programme – are just one example of how a global organization like MSC, of which MSC Cruises is part, plays a key role in the Italian economy.” 

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, said: “This ceremony is unique for our Group and the Monfalcone shipyard. MSC Seaside will be the biggest ship ever built in our shipyards, as well as the first we have ever constructed for MSC Cruises, whose strength - like ours - lies in being a truly global player in its industry. In MSC Seaside we have developed a brand new and highly ambitious project, and we look forward to building it. In two years we will celebrate with MSC Cruises a magnificent ship of which we will all be deeply proud.” 

MSC Seaside will be based year-round in Miami to sail a wide range of Caribbean itineraries. In addition, MSC Cruises’ Miami-based cruise operations – which include from autumn 2015 the stunning 139.072 GRT MSC Divina - will benefit from a newly renovated and expanded dedicated berth and terminal at PortMiami, signifying the Company’s strong ambitions in the North American market and to providing guests with a best-in-class quality of services. 

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises CEO said: “For MSC Seaside, we chose a name that speaks of our vision for cruising in warm oceans and hot weathers, the proximity with the sea, the joy of travelling, discovering the wonders of sunny climates in a unique setting. We also call it “the ship that follows the sun” and it will offer a truly remarkable experience for families, sun worshippers and adventurers.” 

“Moreover, MSC Seaside will spearhead our campaign to expand our presence in North America. MSC Cruises has the unique opportunity to provide North American guests with an outstanding ‘Mediterranean Style Cruise’ experience, and guests from around the world a unique setting as it will sail to the most sought-after destinations in the Caribbean.” 

With a gross tonnage of 154,000 GRT and the capacity for up to 5,179 guests, this new cruise ship will be the largest ever built by Fincantieri. The ship is set to debut in November 2017, and will be christened the following month in Miami – the first time an MSC Cruises’ ship is christened in the USA. Sales for cruises on MSC Seaside will start in November 2015, two years ahead of its inaugural season, to reflect the high demand for this unique product. 

Large, spacious and designed for the utmost comfort, MSC Seaside will benefit from a bold design and leading-edge technology while boasting a 360° seafront promenade. In addition, the ship will be characterized by the most interactive and originally-designed aqua park at sea with five water slides and attractions for all ages. 

The ship will feature cluster cabins for families and groups, luxury suites with private jacuzzis and hanging gardens. MSC Seaside will also boast an enhanced MSC Yacht Club with private solarium, lounge and pool. The public spaces of the ship will feature breathtaking views with a two-deck glass-walled atrium and panoramic exterior lifts. This ship will set a new standard in cruise holidays by seamlessly blending wide family offerings with distinct elegance, with a wide choice of indoor/outdoor dining and bars and beautifully designed entertainment spaces. 

MSC Seaside will be one of the most technologically-advanced ships on the market and represents the Company’s focused efforts on providing memorable cruising experiences to its guests. In this endeavour, it partners with multiple global brands that also stand for excellence in their fields. Proof of that can be seen in significant partnerships with global brands Lego and Chicco that further exemplify the Company’s commitment to creating unforgettable holidays for children and families. Another noteworthy partnership was struck with Italian restaurant brand Eataly, which adds high-end Italian cuisine based on exceptional ingredients to the fleet’s rich Mediterranean and international dining offering. An additional key partnership with Samsung saw the development of a pioneering virtual cruise ship experience to enable travel agents to use immersive technology to showcase our unique product to would-be clients. 

MSC Seaside is the first of two identical ships on order from Fincantieri, the second of which will be entered in to service in 2018. In addition, MSC Cruises has an option for an additional Seaside generation ship to be delivered by 2021. 

MSC Seaside and her sister ship will set new standards for eco-friendliness, featuring Advanced Water Treatment (AWT) systems to remove pollutants and hazardous substances from waste water, garbage treatment plants for highly efficient solid waste management, scrubbers to reduce emissions, antifouling paints, optimized hull lines, propellers and rudders to reduce drag and fuel consumption, but also LED lighting meaning lower energy demand and significantly lower fuel consumption as well as advanced heat recovery plants to feed fresh water, laundry, swimming pools and hot water. In addition, the ship is fully compliant with the Safe Return to Port requirement. 

The company, which grew by 800% since 2004, carried 1.67 million guests in 2014 and reported strong financial results with a turnover of €1.5 billion. In addition, MSC Cruises is forecasting an additional 10% growth for 2015. 

In other news, also two years ahead of its inaugural cruise, today marks the beginning of sales for cruises on MSC Meraviglia, MSC Cruises other new generation of ship. Set to debut in the summer of 2017, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Cruises’ most agile and innovative ship to-date, will homeport in three cities during its inaugural summer season in the Mediterranean: Barcelona, Genoa and Marseille. 

German cruise line introduces social media access fee

German cruise line introduces social media access fee

German line AIDA Cruises is introducing a flat fee for internet access to social media networks on board its ships.
Passengers will be able to share their experiences on board with friends on social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or WhatsApp for €4 a day or €19 a week.
AIDA claims to be “dramatically increasing” the bandwidth and speed of internet connections in addition to the new social media flat rate.
New internet packages to be introduced soon will allow unlimited access rather than be based on minutes of use.
Three options will be available with packages costing €25 for 250MB, €39 for 500MB and €99 for 3 GB of access.
Thomas Pfitzer, chief technical officer at the Carnival Corporation-owned line, said: “The use of mobile devices is continuously growing. We want to accommodate this trend and are offering our guests an additional service with the flat rate.
“With these package offers, we help keep the costs of satellite-based internet connections at sea reasonable and calculable for our guests.”
Six ships in the fleet will be equipped with enhanced internet access by next month, with completion due by November.
The new internet packages and fees will be part of the standard offering on new flagship AIDAprima (pictured).
Passengers who book internet packages in advance through the MyAIDA portal will receive a 5% discount.

MSC Cruises' return to ex-UK sailings delayed by a year

MSC Cruises' return to ex-UK sailings delayed by a year

MSC Cruises is unlikely to return to offering a full season of ex-UK sailings until 2018, a year later than the line previously predicted.
Speaking at the steel cutting of new ship MSC Meraviglia (pictured), Gianni Onorato, chief executive of the line, said the line would be delayed returning to the UK by a year.
Initially there had been hopes that the brand would make a return in 2017, having pulled out this year.
Next year the line is offering a small number of sailings from Southampton, but Onorato said "internal commitments" had meant the operator would not have a ship sailing a full season from the UK until 2018.
He said: "we are going to look more deeply at the North American and UK markets, and then after that we will look at Asia.
"In the UK we want to be the reference cruise line for the Mediterranean, and we're investing in that. As soon as we have growth in the fleet we will look to have a competitive ship in the UK market.
"I think we will have a one-year delay in coming back to the UK because of other developments internally."
He said over time he would like MSC to rival domestic cruise lines such as P&O Cruises.
Giles Hawke, executive director for the line who is responsible for the UK market, said it was important for the line to grow and build revenues in the UK if it wants to secure a ship ex-UK.
Onorato also made some announcements about new features onboard MSC Seaside, which will sail year-round from Miami when it launches in 2017.
The ships will offer "super family plus" cabin for groups of up to 10 people, as the line looks to capitalise on the growth of multi generational and group cruises.
It will be "extremely kids-friendly" according to Onorato and will also have a kids-only restaurant. Onorato said MSC was a family company which always had families at heart.
He announced that there would be cluster cabins for groups of up to 10 people, with the super family plus option combining two balcony staterooms and an inside cabin.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

No Shuttle Damage: NCL Cruise Ship Wake Causes Minor Drama at Intrepid Museum

No Shuttle Damage: NCL Cruise Ship Wake Causes Minor Drama at Intrepid Museum

Updated at 10:58 AM with comment from the U. S. Coast Guard.
Updated at 10:29 AM with comment from Norwegian Cruise Lines.
The wake from a docking cruise ship in New York’s Hudson River jostled the retired submarine Growler at the Intrepid Museum, knocking its gangway into the water, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Sara Romero.  The Norwegian Star, which can carry 2,348 passengers, was pulling into Pier 88 under the guidance of a New York harbor pilot on the bridge.  Norwegian Cruise Lines Public Relations Vice President AnneMarie Mathews  says propulsion and thrusters were used “which created a wake in surrounding waters.”

Norwegian Jewel pictured Not the Norwegian Star.
Describing it as a “minor incident,” Coast Guard Spokesperson Thomas McKenzie said that there were “no damages, no injuries, no collisions and no pollution released.”
There was no damage to the Space Shuttle recently put on display at the museum.
Earlier today @cbsnews reported that the Intrepid Museum was damaged in a ‘collision’ with a Norwegian Cruise Lines Ship.
Luke Sacks, at the Intrepid Museum, sent me this statement…
The initial finding is that a cruise ship thrusting its engines as it attempted to turn into its berth north of the Intrepid pier generated a strong wave that caused the retired submarine Growler to move. There were no injuries. A gangway to the Growler was damaged.  The Intrepid was not affected.
Anne Marie Mathews, Vice President of Public Relations at Norwegian Cruise Line says…
This morning at Pier 88 in New York City, Norwegian Star docked safely and securely without making contact with any other vessel or pier.
The ship was guided by a New York pilot who was on the bridge.  In the process of maneuvering to its docking position, the ship experienced strong current conditions. To keep the ship in its correct docking approach under these conditions, propulsion and thrusters were utilized which created a wake in the surrounding waters.