Monday, 30 May 2016
Friday, 27 May 2016
Disney Magic arrives in Liverpool
Royal Caribbean criticised over Harmony construction work
Royal Caribbean International faces accusations from passengers that construction work was still taking place on board the world's largest cruise ship during its first sailing.
Harmony of the Seas left Southampton for Rotterdam on a four-night cruise on Sunday, but the first paying passengers complained about closed attractions and ongoing work, the BBC reported.
One was reported as describing the vessel as a "construction site and a serious risk to all passengers". Passenger Georgina Davie described "queues of complaining guests and distressed families".
"Ninety percent of the kids attractions that it was marketed for have been shut for the whole cruise and are still being worked on," she said. She also claimed drilling went on near cabins through the night.
Royal Caribbean admitted "final finishing touches" were being made after pictures of work being carried out during the sailing were posted on social media.
A spokeswoman told Travel Weekly: “We are excited to welcome our first guests onboard Harmony of the Seas for her pre-inaugural sailings this week, ahead of her official maiden voyage on Sunday, 29th May.
“Whilst the ship is cleared for operations and many of its features are already being enjoyed by thousands of guests, as with any new build, we are still finalising some finishing touches, and thank guests for their patience as we complete these.
“As always, Royal Caribbean's highest priority is to ensure the safety of all its guests and crew members and any final maintenance is being carried out in accordance with strict safety guidelines.
“These early sailings were made possible due to the early delivery of the ship and we hope this has been reflected in the great value offering guests secured for their holiday.”
Harmony of the Seas left Southampton again for a three-night cruise to Cherbourg yesterday, before finally departing for its summer base of Barcelona on Sunday.
The ship can carry 6,780 passengers. It has 20 restaurants, 23 swimming pools and took more than two-and-a-half years to construct.
Thursday, 26 May 2016
Panama Canal Fever Sweeps Globe Again as New Era in Trade Nears
Panamas new locks on the right, the old locks on the left.
The new Third Set of Locks on the Atlantic side of the expanded Panama Canal, pictured right, with the existing locks to the left in May 2016. Credit: Panama Canal Authority
Royal confirms plans for fifth Oasis-class ship
Royal Caribbean Cruises has confirmed plans to build a fifth Oasis-class ship and two more ships for Celebrity Cruises.
The parent company of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises has signed a memorandum of understanding with French shipyard STX France for a fifth Oasis ship, to be delivered in Spring 2021. It comes just days following the launch of the third Oasis-class ship, Harmony of the Seas (pictured). The fourth in class will launch in 2018.
An order has also been placed for two additional Edge-class ships for sister brand Celebrity Cruises, being delivered in autumn 2021 and 2022.
The line already has two Edge vessels on order, the first coming in 2018 and the second in 2020. Each will carry 2,900 passengers.
Royal Caribbean Cruises chairman and chief executive, Richard Fain, said: “The response to the arrival of Harmony of the Seas is staggering, eliciting excitement from eager cruisers from markets on both sides of the Atlantic.
“And Edge-class is one of the most highly anticipated new projects, following the high bar of Modern Luxury design set by its predecessors.”
Royal Caribbean International boss, Michael Bayley, added that the positive response to Harmony was proof that “this class of ship will continue to drive exceptional performance for the brand”.
Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and chief executive of Celebrity, said: “Although our first Edge-class vessel is still over two years away from delivery, there has been a tremendous amount of interest around the new standard of style Edge-class will introduce.”
Final contracts for the ships are set to be complete this financial quarter.
Monday, 23 May 2016
Little-known piece of history: A Cuba cruise from New Orleans
Holland America's next ship to be called Nieuw Statendam
Royal Caribbean, taking its best from two classes, creates a Harmony
Harmony of the Seas Cut out.
Carnival Corporation chief backs UK trade push
The chief executive of Carnival Corporation has backed his UK team to develop relations with the trade, but urged agents to speak out if they were unhappy with the.
Speaking at the 10th annual Clia conference in Southampton, Arnold Donald said he had “every confidence” in the Carnival UK team, who he said would “talk to the trade, listen and learn”.
His comments came after Carnival UK’s vice president for sales Alex White vowed to have “agents at the heart” of the P&O Cruises and Cunard business in the future, following a mixed history with the trade which included a swathe of commission cuts in 2011.
Donald said: “We have increased our team by 30% under the leadership of Alex White, we have our Cunard and P&O Cruises Partnership Team that we’ve implemented and we have our training academy which we are refining and revamping.
“You (the trade) told us that we were on the right track and we absolutely want to keep listening and figuring out how we can continue enhancing.
“I have every confidence in David Noyes, who leads Carnival UK, and Alex and his expanded team to make sure we have enough people contact (with the trade) and make sure we’re talking to you and listening and learning so we can deliver what you need to build your business and in turn build our business and I think we’re on the track.
"You tell us, and if we’re not we’ll correct it and make sure we get on the right track.”
Friday, 20 May 2016
Cruise chief targets 'pirate' shore excursion operators
Photo courtesy of Dave Jones
by Hollie-Rae MerrickCruise lines need to educate agents about the value of selling shore excursions to stop “pirate third-party operators stealing guests”, the boss of the world’s largest cruise company has claimed.
Carnival Corporation chief executive Arnold Donald told the Clia conference in Southampton that there was scope to improve the promotion and sales of both onboard and destination-based experiences.
“There has only been one year since 2006 that onboard revenues didn’t go up,” he said. “Despite any changes in the industry, onboard revenues have continued to grow.
“Those changes include shore excursions where you have a lot of, what we call pirates, but they call themselves independent operators, stealing our guests on shore excursions that they ought to be booking with us.
“It’s a missed opportunity for us.”
Donald said that working with agents would help customers differentiate between shore tours provided through cruise lines and others.
“Some of those tours aren’t the same,” he added. “They may go to the same places but they aren’t the same.
“They may not have the same insurance, they may not have the same quality guides and consumers buying online doesn’t know all that. We have to do a better job at that.
“There are so many opportunities on this.”
Donald went on to praise the performance of the UK market which he described as “robust” and performing well.
He claimed the UK was on a “positive trajectory from a Carnival standpoint”, but admitted that the industry needed to “manage smarter and not panic on price”.
He said it was important to “hang in there a little bit longer on price” to help drive up the average cruise fare.
Carnival Vista wears its innovations well
The patio of a Havana Cabana suite includes a swing chair. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst