Monday, 31 October 2016

River Cruising Grows Up

River Cruising Grows Up

Baby Boomers Are Jumping On BoardAvalon new head
It’s no coincidence that river cruising continues to boom as Baby Boomers expand on their collective purchasing power. The last of the Baby Boomer generation reached 50 in 2014, and today, this generation comprises the most powerful consumers in the marketplace. Baby Boomers are 77 million people strong—and they outspend other generations by an estimated $400 billion each year on consumer goods and services, according to the U.S. Government Consumer Expenditure Survey.

And while some of their priorities might vary, if there’s one thing Boomers do agree on, it’s the importance of spending money on travel. AARP’s 2016 Top Travel Trends found that an astounding 99 percent of the Baby Boomers they surveyed intended to travel this year, with 45 percent expecting to take an international trip. Reinforcing this finding, British Airways recently surveyed over 2,000 U.S. Baby Boomers (55 and over) and discovered that not traveling enough is one of the biggest regrets for one-fifth of the respondents when thinking back on their life so far. 

“Generational values tend to be persistent through time, and the desire for adventure and learning have been in existence since this generation was in its formative years,” says Brent Green, a writer, speaker and trainer about marketing to the Baby Boomer generation.

“I started my own international journeys at age 50 with the intention of getting my most active travel done before I hit my 80s,” says Green. “That’s the way my wife and I proceeded to do it, and we’re not atypical—that’s reflective of the overall Boomer propensity for adventure and active travel.”

The Rise of River Cruising

The journey itself is the experience on a river cruise, with cities and towns strung like pearls along the waterways. Europe is usually the first destination people choose, but as Patrick Clark, the managing director for Avalon Waterways calls it, the “river cruising travel style” is available around the world. That makes river cruising a great repeat option for travelers, with an ever-growing array of possibilities. 
Image result for yellow river cruise
Kakadu & East Alligator River Tour
“Once they’ve experienced it, people come back and choose river cruises in other destinations,” says Clark. “They want to enjoy that familiar experience of cruising on the river, whether it’s in Vietnam, Cambodia, China or the Amazon. For some of these more exotic destinations, it’s even more comforting for them to know they have the familiar ship, crew and food waiting for them at the end of the day.”

That’s one of the reasons river cruising has become the travel industry’s fastest-growing segment, with double-digit growth last year. Overall, it’s now one of the top three international travel destinations, up from #4 in 2015, according to a Travel Leaders Group survey this summer. The trend is even stronger among well-heeled travelers, with river cruising cited as the top travel trend (along with multigenerational travel) in the 2016 Virtuoso Luxe Report, sponsored by the international network of luxury travel agencies. 

Trish Mercer, a home-based Virtuoso travel agent in Columbus, Georgia, touts the ease of the travel experience as one reason that river cruising is “absolutely, positively going up” in popularity. “There’s almost always something interesting to see while you’re sailing, and then you pull up to shore and have the opportunity to be involved in things right away,” she says.

Mercer’s experience is echoed by travel agents who participated in the third Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report of 2016 by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)—more than six out of 10 (64 percent) expected to sell more river cruises this year. 

“River cruising is a great option for travelers who are looking to explore multiple memorable destinations in one vacation,” says Lorri Christou, SVP of strategic communications and marketing for CLIA. “River cruises offer an intimate and immersive experience for people to explore new and different cultures.” 

A Perfect Fit for Boomers

“When you look at river cruising, Baby Boomers represent the core of all the travelers on cruise ships,” says Clark. “That segment is living longer and they have a greater desire for travel than their parents.”

And as river cruising continues to develop and mature, increasingly sophisticated amenities are being offered that appeal to Boomers and differentiate the river cruise experience from a land tour or an ocean cruise.  “There’s more interest now in what’s happening with the cruise’s themes rather than just the destination, including a focus on things such as wine, heritage and biking,” says Daniela Harrison, a river cruise specialist with Flagstaff, Arizona-based Avenues of the World Travel. “Cruisers want a unique focus on the sightseeing portion.”

Baby Boomers are looking for all that and more. Here’s a look at five major trends in river cruising that Boomers are seeking out in their travel. 
The Joy of Discovery 
First and foremost, travelers crave the unknown, and that makes discovering unique places the No. 1 must-have experience among Virtuoso’s Top Travel Trends for 2016.  
Harrison hears that “more so with river cruising than anything else,” because it allows Boomers to explore a variety of places. “They want itineraries with multiple ports in a country that are close to each other so they get to know the region in depth, like sailing the northern part of the Rhine,” she says. “Plus, the excursions are more hand-crafted on a river cruise, and there’s more free time to stroll through the city afterwards to take it all in.”

It’s not hard to see the appeal for explorers when simply sailing down a river is such an ongoing sensory treat. “They’re interested in the scenery and what’s passing before their eyes constantly,” says Mercer.
Meaningful Experiences
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Another must-have reported by Virtuoso’s travel advisors is the quest for experiential travel in order to create the unforgettable memories travelers are looking for from a vacation. “Baby Boomers want to take a much deeper dive into a destination,” says Green. 

He points out that immersive travel engages people in the “flow experience,” a phenomenon where travelers become intensely focused on the activity itself. “The flow experience increases mindfulness and overall contentment with what you’re doing and you become more productive. It’s not enough to just see the sights, you have to dive deep and engage in it. That’s the direction all smart travel is going for Boomers.” 

Theresa Mullen with Enchanted Waterways agrees that river cruising gives people a story to take back home. “In addition to the included excursions, the optional excursions offer river cruisers the opportunity to enjoy cultural activities such as a Viennese evening concert or being welcomed into the homes of locals to enjoy home-made refreshments and conversations about their lives; visiting local schools and engaging in activities with students; and enjoying cultural presentations. On board, cruisers will enjoy dining on wonderfully prepared local cuisine, local guest lecturers and entertainers sharing their lives through history and local song and dance.”

Traveling with Family
An important part of creating meaningful memories comes from sharing those experiences with the people you’re closest to. Though river cruising has been traditionally considered a couples’ vacation, there’s been a recent rise in multigen travel on river vessels. 

“Multigenerational travel is an indication of our times,” says Clark. “Everyone has busy lives and they don’t always have the time they want to spend together as a family. It’s often on a vacation that families reconnect. Where we see it the most is the Christmas Markets in Europe in December, and we also see it around theme cruises that focus on food, wine and music.”
Image result for Christmas markets cruise
Not only does this include younger Boomers and their parents, it also means Boomers are traveling with their young-adult children. “I see more of the older millennials taking their Boomer parents and treating them to the cruise,” says Harrison. “They usually tend to do the more active itineraries.”

Healthy Activities
An emphasis on health and well-being is another key element for Boomers, who are living more active lifestyles and looking to maintain those lifestyles even while traveling. “In how they’re leading their lives in terms of diet and exercise, they’re much more conscious of taking care of themselves than perhaps the focus was of the previous generation,” says Clark. “River cruising is appealing to the Boomers who are attracted to a more active life.”

To meet the demand from cruisers, more adventure excursions are being offered as part of the experience, whether it’s going for a horseback ride over the hills or canoeing down the river. 

“One thing that is really nice about a number of river cruises is they bring along bicycles, either traditional or electronically enhanced bikes that are very easy to ride,” says Mercer. “On some ships, you can ride 10 or 20 miles to the next stop and the people who don’t want to bike that day can stay on board. It’s something for everyone at every level.”

Hassle-Free Travel
The ease and convenience of sailing to multiple destinations along a river, without having to pack and unpack or deal with different hotels and transportation, is very appealing to Boomers. They want something new and exotic without a lot of the stress and inconvenience associated with traveling. River cruising suits that desire—it’s like staying in an intimate boutique hotel that floats from one destination to the next, making it an independent but controlled experience.

“You have some Boomers who are completely self-propelled, like two couples traveling together,” says Green. “On the other hand, there are other people who want the fully catered vacation where they show up and everything is handled from that point on and they don’t have to do a thing. Then there are those who want the hassles removed, but they want to be able to plan their own details.”

River cruising offers that flexibility, with the added benefit of all-inclusive pricing. “Now almost all river cruises are all-inclusive, so that peace of mind is very nice,” says Harrison. “Travelers have a wide selection of excursions they can choose from as part of the cruise, or they can walk off, do their own thing and add a little adventure of their own. It empowers the traveler to know they can’t make the wrong choice.”

Royal Caribbean loosens restraints on Empress cabins

Royal Caribbean loosens restraints on Empress cabins

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Empress of the Seas

Inventory for Empress of the Seas will not be released a few months at a time in 2017 as it has been in 2016, Royal Caribbean International president Michael Bayley said on Friday.
The Empress has been sailing short itineraries to the Bahamas and the Caribbean since it returned to Royal Caribbean's fleet in June. It had been at a cost of $50 million with the intent to use it on itineraries to Cuba.
However, Royal Caribbean has yet to gain approval from Cuban authorities to begin those cruises.
"We really were holding it late and hoping for the itinerary change," Bayley said during Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s third-quarter earnings call.
With cabins available only a few months ahead of time, travel agents have difficulty making group bookings that typically require longer to organize than individual ones.
Empress cruises are currently available through April 2017.
Royal Caribbean was also delayed in launching the Empress into Caribbean service by unexpected construction obstacles after the ship was returned from Royal's Spanish subsidiary Pullmantur.
During the call, Royal Caribbean said projected earnings in the current fourth quarter have been pared by an estimated $13 to $15 million by the delay in getting Empress sailing again and the resulting lost sales momentum.
For the third quarter, RCCL reported net income of $693.3 million on revenue of $2.56 billion. Results are not directly comparable with last year's third quarter because of a huge write-down on Pullmantur.
Executives said the company is in a better booked position for next year than it was last year at this time, with both loads and pricing ahead of pace. North American demand for Europe is returning in the absence of recent terrorism incidents, they said, although Europe will account for 15% of Royal's overall capacity in 2017, down from 20% this year.
The Caribbean will rise to 50% of overall capacity with the addition of Harmony of the Seas, which will not sail in Europe next summer as it did this year, and the shift of Celebrity Equinox from Europe to the Caribbean year-round.
After a pause in bookings following Hurricane Matthew, Royal Caribbean began some promotions to restart consumer demand. 

Sunday, 30 October 2016



Image result for msc meraviglia

The latest marvel of the MSC fleet, MSC MERAVIGLIA, just floated off the coast of Saint-Nazaire as this mega ship reaches the final stages of construction before she sets sail for exotic locations. 

The float out ceremony was the perfect occasion to reveal the name of the next MSC Cruises sensation, MSC BELLISSIMA. 

Announcing MSC BELLISSIMA, the latest jewel in the MSC fleet, was not only cause for celebrations, it demonstrated MSC’s commitment towards its business expansion plan, which includes the building of 11 more luxury liners as well as a constant and extensive modernization of its current fleet.   

On September 3rd, STX France and MSC Cruises focused their energies on the floating out of the newest ship, the MSC Meraviglia. This fantastic event was further enhanced when MSC Cruises’ CEO, Mr Onorato announced the name and launch date of the next ship, MSC Bellissima, coming into service in 2019.  

The name, Bellissima, which means "beautiful" in Italian, says it all. But Gianni Onorato, , commented that the ship’s new features and amenities have all been specially designed to meet the needs of guests of all ages from toddlers through to adventurous grownups.   

As well as Bellissima it is also “grandissima” (very large indeed)! An impressive 315 meters long and 43 meters wide, with a gross tonnage of about 167,600 tons. It boasts 2,250 cabins for guests, and nearly 820 crew cabins, accommodating 5,700 passengers and 1,536 crew members. 

MSC Bellissima will be the fourth cruise ship to be built in the STX France shipyards since the 2014 expansion plan began with a total planned commitment of €9 billion. 
For the remaining ships, delivery is planned between 2019 and 2026. This expansion, which began two years ago, will not only triple MSC Cruises’ fleet but will introduce a whole new category of next-generation ships into the world of cruising.  

MSC Cruises’ dedication to providing their guests with the best possible cruising experience is reaffirmed both by the grandeur and elegance of the ships themselves as well as the attention to every last detail. 

All MSC Cruises ships offer infinite possibilities of entertainment. Infinite dining options, both in terms of location and choice of cuisine, panoramic spaces, amusement parks, colossal theatres, aqua parks, arcades, enclosed promenades and all around sun decks are just come of the amazing features that make these ships a destination in their own right. 
Not forgetting special family cabins and the “extended” MSC Yacht Club, the entirely self-contained ship within a ship on the prestigious foredecks that will now offer its guests a vast solarium, a private lounge and restaurant as well as duplex suites.  

MSC is also breaking new ground in technological implementation to enable guests to make the most of their cruise by being constantly informed of events and special offers, all in real time. Thanks to a strategic partnership with Samsung, all ships will be equipped with new generation technology, from interactive displays to mobile solutions to augmented reality. Furthermore, near Field Communication (NFC) and iBeacon technology will allow one to one communications using cruise cards, bracelets or smartphones.   

With such exciting new. modern ships, cruising will never be the same again! 

Friday, 28 October 2016

Humpback whales to adorn Norwegian Bliss hull

Humpback whales to adorn Norwegian Bliss hull

Image result for norwegian bliss hull art work
Cruising with the Whales by Nature artist Wyland

Norwegian Cruise Line unveiled a hull design for the Norwegian Bliss that prominently features humpback whales on the bow.
The Bliss, scheduled for delivery in spring 2018, will sail Alaska cruises from Seattle.
Nature artist Wyland executed the project entitled "Cruising with the Whales." The mural also will have manta rays, dolphins, seals and sea lions.
"As a marine artist who has painted the largest murals in the world, it is an honor to have the opportunity to collaborate with Norwegian and present my art on such a grand scale," said Wyland.
Norwegian recently announced that Bliss will be themed to Alaska and based in Seattle for the summer months.
"Humpback whales are an iconic part of the Alaska landscape and one of the most compelling sights visitors can see while cruising the Last Frontier," Norwegian Cruise Line president and CEO Andy Stuart said.
Wyland has painted more than 100 ocean murals worldwide. His design for the Bliss was revealed at the Wyland Galleries in Fort Lauderdale.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Norwegian Cruise Line taking the wraps off Harvest Caye

Norwegian Cruise Line taking the wraps off Harvest Caye

The Landshark Bar & Grill at Harvest Caye. 

Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line's destination island in Belize, is set to open on Nov. 17, with the first call being made by the Norwegian Dawn.
The project has been at least three years in the making and will be the most elaborate island destination Norwegian Cruise Line has developed to date.
About seven acres have been groomed for guests who can choose between a long white-sand beach, a water sports lagoon or a 300,000 gallon tropical pool to start their recreation ashore.
The venue serves as the first landside outpost of Norwegian's partnership with Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville franchise, with the debut a Landshark Bar & Grill in Belize. (There are Margaritaville restaurants on three Norwegian Cruise Line ships.)
The "Flighthouse" will serve as the anchor for a pair of ziplines and a freefall jump.
The "Flighthouse" will serve as the anchor for a pair of ziplines and a freefall jump. 
There is a shopping village with Belizean products, art, food and drinks. Guests wanting to explore more of Belize can board two 275-person catamarans or 60-seat motorboats for the short ride to the mainland.
Towering above the action is the 130-foot tall "Flighthouse" that serves as the anchor for a pair of ziplines and an apparatus that drops guest from heights of 40, 60 or 100 feet before easing them gently to the sand at the end of the drop.
Unlike some private cruise destinations, Harvest Caye has a built-in dock so tenders aren't needed. Guests walk through a ceremonial set of gates with the Harvest Caye name displayed in a wrought-iron arch.
The island's buildings are made of rustic stone trimmed with mahogany and other native hardwoods. Landscaping includes 15,000 newly planted mangroves.
Eleven air-conditioned beach villas are available for rent, at $475 per villa. They accommodate six adults and feature a bathroom with a shower, a deck and Bluetooth connections for concierge services and music.
Also, there are 15 pool cabanas for rent at $199 for the day. The cabanas accommodate two adults. A beach clamshell with a pair of loungers is priced at $29.
Norwegian will offer a variety of watersports and toys. Mini speedboats are available for $69 for adults, $49 for children, and eco-friendly electric boats rent for $40. Kayaks rent for $25 and stand-up paddleboards for $20. The zipline attraction has packages starting at $59 for adults and $49 for children. There is a river float feature for $79/$59.
Air-conditioned beach villas will rent for $475 per day.
Air-conditioned beach villas will rent for $475 per day. 
In the lagoon, Norwegian runs a wildlife boat tour for spotting manatees that costs $49/$39.  Tours to see Mayan ruins run $89/69, or $109/$79 with an add-on visit to a spice plantation.
While the name Harvest Caye doesn't sound particularly indigenous, Norwegian said it was the name used by Belize for the island before Norwegian arrived. "We choose not to change it," a spokeswoman said.
After the initial call by the Norwegian Dawn sailing from New Orleans, Harvest Caye is scheduled to host the Norwegian Jade on Nov. 18, and then the Norwegian Getaway on Nov. 23.  A call by Regent Seven Seas Cruises, a cruise line owned by Norwegian Cruise Line's parent company, is slated for January.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Disney cruises to have Marvel Day at Sea

Disney cruises to have Marvel Day at Sea

Disney cruise passengers will be able to meet Thor, Spider-Man and Captain America. Photo Credit: Disney Enterprises/Chloe Rice

Walt Disney Co. will leverage its ownership of the Marvel Comics brand by creating a Marvel Day at Sea on seven sailings of the Disney Magic in the fall of 2017.
Marvel Day at Sea will involve a deck party, Marvel-themed youth activities, superhero meet-and-greets, merchandise and unique food and beverage offerings, according to Disney Cruise Line.
Also featured will be at-sea screenings of fan-favorite Marvel films, including the newest theatrical releases, as well as viewings of the Disney XD shows "Marvel's Avengers Assemble", "Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man" and "Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy."
In addition to Spider-Man, Marvel's stable of comic superhero characters includes Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk and the Avengers. Disney acquired the comic book publisher in 2009.
The sailings offering Marvel Day at Sea will cruise round trip from New York to Port Canaveral and the Bahamas with a day at Walt Disney World. The dates are Oct. 6, 14, 28; Nov. 4, 11 and 18, 2017.
There will also be an Oct. 21 departure on a Canada/New England itinerary featuring Marvel Day at Sea.

5 Reasons To Cruise Out Of Your Comfort Zone

5 Reasons To Cruise Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Norwegian Jade photo credit Dave Jones

Cruising tends to evoke images of sandy Caribbean beaches, catamarans, and zip lining through a lush rainforest. For many who haven’t cruised before, a Caribbean or Bahamas cruise may seem like the pinnacle of cruise vacations. For those who’ve cruised enough, we know there are plenty of other cruising destinations, from as close as the Mexican Riviera and northeast Canada to as far away as the Greek Isles or the South Pacific. However, many cruisers may not even consider a cruise away from the standard Caribbean or Bahamas – simply because they are happy with a cruise in the sun. For many, a cruise outside of sand and sun is daunting, outside of one’s cruise comfort zone. They shouldn’t be. Cruising outside of your comfort zone may be the best thing you could ever do for your next cruise vacation.


Let’s be honest, as excited as you may be to travel somewhere new, there’s a little part of you that is nervous about the unknown. New places are weird for human beings and that’s alright. But let me tell you, the more new places you go, the more new places will seem familiar. Booking that exotic or foreign cruise may be the best decision you’ll ever make for your travel state of mind. Actually traveling somewhere new or far away will help build your travel personality, build up your sense of adventure, allow you to experience new places, cultures, and languages. All this exposure to new things will build you up as a person and as a traveler. For me, I’ll forever be changed for the better by my decision to cruise from Istanbul with Viking Cruises. Which cruise will change you?


Sure, it’s great to go back to places you love! Who doesn’t love going back to their favorite beach or staying at their favorite pre cruise hotel? But, as much as we may love those places, they won’t do anything significant for our sense of adventure. Routine can be devastating and we can quickly lose excitement or interest in something if we do it too often. So, by picking a cruise out of our comfort zone, we allow ourselves to go venture to new places, to explore new cities, to find a new favorite beach, fortress, or park. I love choosing a cruise based on how many places I haven’t seen. Because, honestly, who wants to keep seeing the same things over and over again? What’s cooler – seeing the same beach for the tenth time or seeing amazing ruins for the first time? I know which one I’d pick.


Going along with seeing new places, cruising out of your comfort zone will allow you to experience new things! Languages, food, culture, people, everything! The more we experience in life, the more diverse and thoughtful we become. The more we know, the more we can understand and teach others. Experiencing new things allows us to build up ourselves, but build up others as well. I’ve come back from numerous trips, sharing the amazing things I’ve learned overseas. From something as simple as teaching a friend the proper way to say “thank you” in Turkish, to teaching my pastor the proper way to place down your chopsticks when eating sushi. Experiencing new things allows us to expand our minds and impart wisdom acquired abroad to all our loved ones at home.


Possibly the best part of cruising out of your comfort zone? You’ll still have a comfortable cruise ship. No matter where you sail in the world, you’ll still be able to return to a cozy, comfortable, familiar cruise ship at the end of a long, tiring day exploring a new port of call. It’s one of the greatest benefits of cruising – the ease and convenience of a floating hotel, where you only unpack once, and experience a variety of new ports in only a few days.


Trust me, as scary as a big trip to somewhere far away may seem at the beginning, you’re going to be heartbroken when you return home. I’ve found that my most “daunting” trips have had the most impact on my life and travel personality. Sure, I was pretty freaked about my Grand European Tour with Viking River, only because I was turning 20 during the trip, which freaked me out, and I was worried I’d be very lonely due to the age difference in guests. Turns out, I was completely wrong. My fellow guests from the Viking Lif were my favorite group of passengers I have ever sailed with – far from the stereotypes of river cruising. During that trip, I saw incredible, new places; met amazing people, each with different backgrounds and stories; and experienced so many different cultures and true travel moments. Looking back now – for as worried as I was – that cruise was the definition of meaningful travel – new places, new people, new moments – and I would have never experienced it had I not cruised out of my comfort zone.
So, when you find an amazing deal on someplace far away and new, don’t hesitate to break up with the Caribbean for a summer and head over a new horizon. I promise you that it’ll be worth it. Travel is all about experiencing new things, new people, and making new moments – don’t miss the chance to rediscovering cruising and at the same time, yourself, by cruising out of your comfort zone.

Hurtigruten names new expedition ships

Hurtigruten names new expedition ships

Hurtigruten, the Norwegian coastal and expedition cruise line, said two new ships it is building for 2018 and 2019 will be called the Roald Amundsen and the Fridtjof Nansen.
While they may not exactly trip off the tongue, the names honor the two most influential Norwegian polar pioneers from the era when the company first started offering adventure travel.
The 530-passenger ships will be designed by Rolls Royce and built by Kleven Yards in Norway.
The interior will mirror the exterior waters and landscapes, Hurtigruten said. Materials will be predominantly Norwegian and be inspired by nature using granite, oak, birch and wool, among other materials.
The ships will have large observation platforms on several decks for guests to get close to nature and wildlife. Six out of ten cabins will have balconies; two out of ten will be suites.
The vessels will have three restaurants with menus reflecting local flavors and destinations. A pool deck will include infinity pools, Jacuzzis and bars.
Hurtigruten said itineraries for the new ships will be announced in November.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

MSC Cruises names second Seaside-generation smart ship MSC Seaview

MSC Cruises names second Seaside-generation smart ship MSC Seaview

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MSC Cruises’ second Seaside-generation smart ship, set to launch in June 2018, will be named MSC Seaview.

Spending its inaugural season in the western Mediterranean, MSC Seaview will homeport in Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona.

MSC’s Seaside-generation offers a high ratio of outdoor space per guest, as well as an increased number of balcony cabins and public areas.

Built by Fincantieri, MSC Seaview will feature a 360-degree promenade with glass balustrades that runs around the entire ship.

As well as Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona, MSC Seaview will call at destinations such as Naples and Messina in Italy, and Malta.

The vessel will also include the latest at sea technology, as part of a partnership with Samsung. The technology covers everything from the latest displays and mobile solution to products to help enhance the customer retail experience.

Sales for the ship are now open to MSC Voyagers members, with all other guests able to book from 18 July.

MSC Seaview’s sister ship, MSC Seaside, is entering into service in December 2017, and sailing year round from Miami, US, to a range of Caribbean and Central American destinations.

Japan’s MHI Scuttles Cruise Shipbuilding Plans After Losses on Carnival Ships

Japan’s MHI Scuttles Cruise Shipbuilding Plans After Losses on Carnival Ships

The AIDAPrima was delayed several times at MHI before its delivery in March 2016, more than a year behind schedule. d
The AIDAPrima was delayed several times at MHI before its delivery in March 2016, more than a year behind schedule. 

TOKYO, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd has abandoned its ambition to build European cruise liners and will stick to making smaller ferries and other medium-sized passenger ships after racking up losses on a venture to build two large vessels.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Japan’s No.4 shipbuilder, booked 238 billion yen ($2.3 billion) in extraordinary losses in the three business years ended March 31 due to cost overruns and delays in the construction of two 100,000-ton class cruise liners for Europe’s Carnival Corp.
“We thought we could somehow manage it, but it showed us that we need a stringent decision making process and risk management, MHI Chief Executive Officer Shinichi Miyanaga said at a press briefing in Tokyo on Tuesday.
The construction of the vessels for Carnival was plagued by faulty engines, late design changes and onboard fires. That delayed delivery by more than a year and increased construction costs for the first of the two liners by almost four times to nearly $2 billion, MHI said in a report.
In the future, MHI’s passenger ship unit will build smaller vessels, such as 40,000-ton cruise ferries, that it can manage with its current workforce and domestic supply chain.
Currently, more than 90 percent of the world’s cruise liners are built in European shipyards.
MHI is more skilled at building merchant vessels, mainly liquefied natural gas carriers.
Earlier this month, a media report said MHI was downsizing its shipbuilding operations due to a slump in orders. Shipyards worldwide, including in Japan, South Korea and China, have been hurt by a slump in demand as a result of oversupply.
Global orders last year fell to 2,197 ships from 2,888 in 2014, according to the Shipbuilders Association of Japan. (Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Himani Sarkar)

Richard Branson's cruise venture named Virgin Voyages

Richard Branson's cruise venture named Virgin Voyages

Richard Branson, accompanied by dancers, makes his entrance during Tuesday's Virgin Voyages event. Photo Credit: Robert Silk

MIAMI BEACH — The Virgin Group cruise line will sail under the name Virgin Voyages, the company said Tuesday.
“I’ve never fancied going on a cruise ship but I do fancy going on a voyage,” said Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, shortly after making his characteristically flamboyant entrance to the press conference at the Faena Hotel Miami Beach.
The line had been going by the name Virgin Cruises since the venture was announced in the summer of 2015.
Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin said that the company remains on track to take delivery of the first of three 110,000-gross-ton ships that it has on order from Fincantieri in 2020, with the next two ships to follow in 2021 and 2022.
Fincantieri will begin cutting steel in February, he said, and keel laying will come toward the end of 2017.
Virgin didn’t reveal many details about the vessels, which are each slated to carry 2,700 guests and 1,150 crew members. But the company is promising a transformative product that will differentiate the Virgin Voyages experience from other cruise lines.
“It’s incredibly exciting. It’s under lock and key,” Branson said of the design specifics and ship offerings, noting that he didn’t want Virgin’s competitors to learn too much too soon.
One thing McAlpin did reveal is that Virgin Voyages is the first cruise line to enter into a partnership with Climeon, a Swedish green energy solutions company.
Together the companies will install a system on the Virgin vessels that will convert the heat the ships produce into clean energy. Each ship will have six Climeon engine units, which will save an estimated 5,400 tons of carbon dioxide annually per vessel.
“It would take 180,000 trees 30 years to absorb this much CO2,” McAlpin said. 
He said that Virgin has all but completed a multibillion-dollar financing deal with lead lending partners CDP and UniCredit, backed by the Italian export agency SACE.
“We just need the final rubber stamp from the Italian government,” McAlpin said.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Royal Caribbean Will Invest $250 Million to Expand Presence in Miami

Royal Caribbean Will Invest $250 Million to Expand Presence in Miami

Image result for oasis of the seas
Oasis Class and Quantum Class to call Miami Home
Big Thank You To David Block for this story.

Check out David's Google+ site;
Royal Caribbean Cruises has plans to open a new cruise terminal in Miami by 2018, increasing its presence in the U.S. market and giving its giant new-build vessels a potential homeport in South Florida.
Earlier this week, the Miami-Dade county Board of Commissioners signed a legislative resolution which will likely lead to a new home for Royal Caribbean’s ships in the region.
The resolution, obtained by Skift from the Miami-Dade county Board of Commissioners, shows that a long-term lease to accommodate Royal Caribbean’s large new vessels will likely be signed in the next four months.
According to deal, Royal Caribbean will invest more than $100 million to build a new cruise terminal in a ten-acre plot on the north side of PortMiami. Its expected investment over the course of the contract is $250 million.
Royal Caribbean Cruises will introduce eight new ships across its six brands by the end of 2020, including four more gigantic Oasis- and Quantum-class ships.
PortMiami says the deal is a good one for them because Royal Caribbean will bear the brunt of all upfront costs for building the new terminal. The port just completed a costly dredging project to let large cargo and cruise ships access its facilities.
Image result for port of miami cruise terminal
Port of Miami.
“Although much work remains to determine the cost ranges for various elements of this program, RCL will bear the full cost for constructing the cruise terminal, parking garage, ancillary facilities, and any bulkhead work,” according to the report.
PortMiami expects to earn $9.5 million annual from leasing the land to Royal Caribbean, an increase from the about $1.2 million it currently earns from cargo companies using the land. The initial lease will run for 20 years and will be renewable in ten year increments once the original terms expire.
Royal Caribbean’s biggest vessels now homeport at Port Everglades due to its infrastructure’s support for larger ships, and PortMiami wants the cruise line’s continued business.
“At the time that PortMiami failed to secure the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas, the Port did not have facilities capable of hosting these vessels nor did it have suitable expansion plans,” reads the document.
Royal Caribbean can bring in other investors to help finance the new terminal, but will be on the hook for at least 20 percent of the venture when the project is completed.

U.S. Navy Commissions Its Biggest and Baddest Destroyer Ever

U.S. Navy Commissions Its Biggest and Baddest Destroyer Ever

The USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) moored to the pier during a commissioning ceremony at North Locust Point in Baltimore. U.S. Navy Photo
The U.S. Navy’s biggest and most technologically advanced warship, USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000),was put into service Saturday during a commissioning ceremony at Baltimore Fleet Week. 
The multi-billion dollar Zumwalt is the lead ship in a class of next-generation destroyers known for their high-tech electric propulsion, wave-piercing tumblehome hull, advanced weapon systems, and super stealth design that reduces the 610-foot warship’s radar profile to that of a small fishing boat. 
The guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Zumwalt (DDG 1000) arrives at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island during its maiden voyage from Bath Iron Works Shipyard in Bath, Maine, Sept. 8, 2016. U.S. Navy Photo
The Zumwalt-class destroyers are built for a range of missions including deterrence, power projection, sea control, and command and control missions, allowing for sustained operations particularly in the close-to-shore littorals and land attack. They are the first Navy warships to use a 78 megawatt integrated power system that not only produces enough power to run current systems, but also provides enough power for the addition of future weapons, computing, and sensor systems as they are delivered to the Navy’s fleet. 
In addition to its advanced propulsion systems, the Zumwalt is much larger than today’s destroyers. At 610 feet long and 80.7 feet wide, its is 100 feet longer and 13 feet wider and its flight deck is 93 percent larger than an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer despite having a much smaller crew.
Photo: Dave Cleaveland/
Photo: Dave Cleaveland/
Construction on USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), the first of three planned ships in the Zumwalt-class, began in February 2009 at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyards in Bath, Maine. Since December 2015, the ship has undergone a series of sea trials before delivery to the U.S. Navy in May. Zumwalt left the shipyard in September and is currently conducting Hull, Mechanical, and Electrical (HM&E) test and trials, with Combat and Mission System Equipment installation, activation and more testing to follow. 
160421-N-YE579-005 ATLANTIC OCEAN (April 21, 2016) The future guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) transits the Atlantic Ocean during acceptance trials April 21, 2016 with the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of DDG 1000, the future guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) May 20, 2016. Following a crew certification period and October commissioning ceremony in Baltimore, Zumwalt will transit to its homeport in San Diego for a Post Delivery Availability and Mission Systems Activation. DDG 1000 is the lead ship of the Zumwalt-class destroyers, next-generation, multi-mission surface combatants, tailored for land attack and littoral dominance. (U.S. Navy/Released)
The guided-missile destroyer DDG 1000 transits the Atlantic Ocean during acceptance trials April 21, 2016. U.S. Navy Photo
Speaking during Saturday’s commissioning ceremony, Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, commented: 
“This ship is an example of a larger initiative to increase operational stability and give the U.S. a strategic advantage. Our Navy and our Marine Corps, uniquely, provide presence – around the globe, around the clock – ensuring stability, reassuring allies, deterring adversaries, and providing the nation’s leaders with options in times of crisis.
“This destroyer, like the others in our fleet, is capable of projecting power, no doubt. The Zumwalt-class is much larger than today’s destroyers with a considerably larger flight deck – enough space to operate host Joint Strike Fighters, MV-22 Ospreys, and unmanned systems and a Vertical Launch System second to none,” added Secretary Mabus.
161015-N-AT895-424 BALTIMORE, (Oct. 15, 2016) Balloons fly and the crowd applauds as the Navy's newest and most technologically advanced warship, USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), is brought to life during a commissioning ceremony at North Locust Point in Baltimore. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Nathan Laird/Released)
Balloons fly and the crowd applauds as the Navy’s newest and most technologically advanced warship, USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), is brought to life during a commissioning ceremony at North Locust Point in Baltimore, October 15, 2016. U.S. Navy Photo
“Today’s ceremony marked the culmination of over three years of dedication and hard work by some of the finest Sailors I have had the pleasure to lead,” said Capt. James A. Kirk, commanding officer of the USS Zumwalt. “The only thing more impressive than the capabilities of the ship are the capabilities of its fine crew.”
161013-N-NW961-011 BALTIMORE (Oct. 13, 2016) Capt. James A. Kirk, commanding officer of future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) answers questions from the media during a media tour of the Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer, which will be commissioned Oct. 15 during Maryland Fleet Week and Air Show Baltimore. Fleet week offers the public an opportunity to meet Sailors, Marines, and members of the Coast Guard and gain a better understanding of how the sea services support the national defense of the United States and freedom of the seas. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Michael O'Day/Released)
Capt. James A. Kirk, commanding officer of future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) answers questions from the media during a media tour of the Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer, October, 13, 2016. U.S. Navy Photo

Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr.

DDG-1000 and the Zumwalt-class is named after Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., the nineteenth Chief of Naval Operations and a veteran of World War II and the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam during his 32 years of service, the U.S. Navy says. 
“I witnessed as he [Zumwalt] transformed our Navy, one Z-gram at a time… removing demeaning and abrasive regulations and moving to eliminate the scourge of racism and sexism from within our Navy,” said Mabus. “Among many initiatives, he opened flight training to women and increased recruiting of under-represented Americans. And, as has always been the case when we open opportunities in our Navy and Marine Corps, we got stronger.”
Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson, who also spoke during Saturday’s ceremony, commenting on the significance of the ship’s namesake.
“Admiral Zumwalt, especially during his time as CNO, ensured that our institution lived by its values,” said Richardson. “He was the ‘The Sailor’s Admiral,’ looking at new ideas, acting to the limit of his authorities, and adjusting along the way to make his Navy ready for combat – but also with full cognizance of the impact on the Sailors that made up that Navy.”
Perhaps most importantly, Adm. Zumwalt was a social reformer who recognized the primary force-multiplier of the U.S. Navy continued to be its Sailors, and as such began quality of life improvements throughout the Fleet. He was considered a “thinking officer” who was devoted to Sailors and creating an environment where everyone was treated equally – a legacy that can that can be seen today in the diversity of the fleet. His “one Navy” mentality reminds today’s Sailors that taking care of our warfighters ensures the Navy remains tough, bold and ready.
he Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer DDG 1000 is floated out of dry dock at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard in October 2013. U.S. Navy Photo
The Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer DDG 1000 is floated out of dry dock at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard in October 2013. U.S. Navy Photo
USS Zumwalt is scheduled to begin her transit to San Diego, making several port visits along the way. Upon arrival in San Diego, USS Zumwalt will begin installation of her combat systems, testing and evaluation, and operational integration with the fleet.  
The future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) is underway for the first time conducting at-sea tests and trials in the Atlantic Ocean Dec. 7, 2015. U.S. Navy Photo
The future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) is underway for the first time conducting at-sea tests and trials in the Atlantic Ocean Dec. 7, 2015. U.S. Navy Photo
The second ship in the Zumwalt class, DDG 1001, was named Michael Monsoor in October 2008 by then-Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter, honoring Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, a Navy SEAL who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Ramadi, Iraq, Sept. 29, 2006. DDG 1001 start of fabrication took place in October 2009. In July 2014, Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) delivered the DDG 1001 composite deckhouse to the Navy.
In April 2012, DDG 1002 was named Lyndon B. Johnson by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. DDG 1002 start of fabrication took place April 4, 2012.
Navy illustration

Zumwalt Key Features

  • DDG 1000 is the first U.S. Navy surface combatant to employ an innovative and highly survivable Integrated Power System (IPS). Key design features that make the DDG 1000 IPS architecture unique include the ability to provide power to propulsion, ship’s service, and combat system loads from the same gas turbine prime movers. DDG 1000’s power allocation flexibility allows for potentially significant energy savings and is well-suited to enable future high energy weapons and sensors.
  • The wave-piercing tumblehome hull design has provided a wide array of advancements. The composite superstructure significantly reduces cross section and acoustic output making the ship harder to detect by enemies at sea. The design also allows for optimal manning with a standard crew size of 175 sailors, with an air detachment of 28 thereby decreasing lifecycle operations and support costs.
  • Multi-function radar (MFR): DDG 1000 will employ active and passive sensors and a Multi-Function Radar (MFR) capable of conducting area air surveillance, including over-land, throughout the extremely difficult and cluttered sea-land interface.
  • Advanced Gun Systems: Each ship features a battery of two Advanced Gun Systems (AGS) firing Long-Range Land Attack Projectiles (LRLAP) that reach up to 63 nautical miles, providing a three-fold range improvement in naval surface fires coverage.
  • General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine is responsible for design, construction, integration, testing and delivery of the DDG 1000 class, and DDG 1002 steel deckhouse, hangar and aft Peripheral Vertical Launch System (PVLS). Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) is responsible for the fabrication of the composite deckhouse, helo hangar and aft PVLS for DDG 1000 and DDG 1001. Raytheon is responsible for software development and integration with BAE providing the AGS and LRLAP.
Photo: Dave Cleaveland/

ZUMWALT CLASS (DDG 1000) Specifications

  • Builder: General Dynamics Bath Iron Works
  • Electronics: SPY-3 Radar and Combat System Integrator: Raytheon is the prime contractor responsible for the Design and Development of the ZUMWALT Mission System, including software, Mission System Equipment (MSE) and many of the sensors for the DDG 1000 Class.
  • Propulsion: (2) Main Turbine Generators (MTG); (2) Auxiliary Turbine Generators (ATG); (2) 34.6 MW Advanced Induction Motors (AIM)
  • Length: 610 ft
  • Beam: 80.7 ft
  • Displacement: 15,656 L tons
  • Speed: 30 knots
  • Crew: 158 (including air det)
  • Armament: (80) Advanced Vertical Launch (AVLS) cells for Tomahawk, ESSM, Standard Missile; (2) Advanced Gun System (AGS) 155 mm guns; Long-Range Land Attack Projectiles (LRLAP) 155 mm rounds; (2) MK 46 Close In Guns (CIGS)
  • Aircraft: (2)MH60R or (1) MH60R and (3) VTUAVs