Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Flying Clipper Delivery Pushed Back to 2018

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

New Shipyards Entering Cruise Business Face Uphill Challenge

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

Monday, 26 June 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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AIDAperla.

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

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

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

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

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

The Shopping Mall and Its Premium Brands at Sea

The Shopping Mall and Its Premium Brands at Sea

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

New 'Walking Dead' Cruise Departs in 2018

New 'Walking Dead' Cruise Departs in 2018

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

Enhanced Pacific Princess Emerges from Refurbishment

Enhanced Pacific Princess Emerges from Refurbishment

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

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Ritz-Carlton to enter luxury cruise market with three yachts

Ritz-Carlton to enter luxury cruise market with three yachts

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

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

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

Itineraries will go on sale in May 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Yao Ming and Ye Li to Name Majestic Princess

Yao Ming and Ye Li to Name Majestic Princess

Majestic Princess in Singapore
Majestic Princess in Singapore

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

Royal Caribbean to use Snapchat for underwater tour

Royal Caribbean to use Snapchat for underwater tour

Specially designed scuba mask to stream three underwater adventure tours.

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

Monday, 19 June 2017

Carnival, Holland America will sail to Cuba as planned

Carnival, Holland America will sail to Cuba as planned

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Carnival Fathom in Havana

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

Bar Harbor getting new cruise pier

Bar Harbor getting new cruise pier

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

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

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Norwegian Joy Welcomed to New Shanghai Home Port

Norwegian Joy Welcomed to New Shanghai Home Port

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

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

Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Challenge of Developing Unique Cruise Itineraries

The Challenge of Developing Unique Cruise Itineraries


The Challenge of Developing Unique Cruise Itineraries

Can I Finance the Cost of a Cruise?

Can I Finance the Cost of a Cruise?

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Carnival Cruise Line just introduced its new Carnival EasyPay program to more evenly spread out the cost of a cruise over time.
Though it’s not quite a traditional financing model, there are some other options to consider.
For those who define financing as a means of buying a product now and paying for it in periodic installments—with or without interest—after the fact, then Carnival EasyPay would not be included. Cruise lines expect to be paid in full prior to the cruise, and Carnival is no exception.
That makes Carnival EasyPay more of a layaway situation (like financing prior to receiving the product) in which you make a deposit at least 90 days before final payment is due. That is then followed by equal payments across three months automatically charged to the credit card on file.
The entire process is completed prior to sailing.
Of course, you could also budget yourself early on, effectively putting aside the necessary cash on your own while making a modicum of positive interest. Carnival just makes it simpler.
Choices for typical consumer financing are unfortunately less common. Some travel agencies offer cruise-now-pay-later plans in the 12-month range, and PayPal Credit permits zero-percent financing for up to six months. Perhaps more desirable might be zero-percent interest credit cards with an intro APR for upwards of 18 months.
A lot of these can get you quickly trapped beyond, however. So, choose wisely and use sparingly.
Otherwise, it seems the only in-house option is Disney Cruise Line.
Thanks to the Disney Premiere Visa Card, guests can receive zero-percent, six-month financing on all Disney cruises as well as select other Disney vacations. The reservation must be charged to the credit card before the trip, at which time the six months begin counting down, but that could still occur closer to the actual departure date, leaving a bulk of the cost to be paid afterward.
Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruises used to offer financing plans of their own but no longer do. However, many cruise lines—Carnival and Princess included—still offer branded credit cards. They mostly exist to accrue points that can be redeemed towards voyages and don’t serve any sailing cost financing purposes, unfortunately.
Other brands with such credit cards are Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International among others.
As Travel Pulse's Holly Johnson pointed out, there are also a number of credit cards unaffiliated with any particular line that rack up points for cruise redemption.
So why Disney is the only cruise line to offer any form of financing of its own now, especially if Carnival and Princess once did?
Either the programs were not popular or they proved too challenging for the cruise lines to keep up with. As consumers generally appreciate the opportunity to offset due dates for paying back big expenses, it’s hard to imagine it was the former.
Perhaps dealing with banks was a costlier ordeal for the cruise lines in the long run than originally anticipated. Back in 1997, financing from Princess was being offered for as far out as 48 months in conjunction with MBNA AMERICA BANK, according to Cruise Industry News.
Then Princess Senior Vice President of Sales and Corporate Relations Richard James was quoted as saying, “We know that the key barrier to cruising today is that people think they cannot afford it.”
He also added, “We must go beyond traditional ways of marketing and begin positioning cruises as being affordable, and this program addresses affordability head on.”
Affordability is sometimes still viewed as a stumbling block—albeit an often false one given the incredible value of cruising—and it stands to reason that financing programs would be a good tool for cruise lines to again offer.
In 1997, boomers were the primary demographic of cruisers. With millennials now heavily in the mix, it might be the perfect time to bring financing back to appeal to younger generations more inclined to charge a reservation.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

ITT 2017: MSC Cruises chief raises fears over Brexit and shipping regulation

ITT 2017: MSC Cruises chief raises fears over Brexit and shipping regulation

ITT 2017: MSC Cruises chief raises fears over Brexit and shipping regulation


MSC Cruises boss Pierfrancesco Vago says the operator is working closely with the UK government on Brexit amid fears over implications for global maritime regulation.

Speaking in the line’s spiritual home of Sorrento in Italy at this week’s annual ITT conference, the operator’s executive chairman said the entire sector is regulated according to British maritime law.

Vago questioned whether there would be time for bilateral deals to be done with every other country in the world and said Brexit could make the current British-based regulatory system invalid.

MSC and other cruise lines are working through the UK Chamber of Shipping with the UK government on what Brexit means for shipping.

“We are all very much engaged, we are very much part of the process,” he said.

“It’s very complex. Sometimes there are questions that can’t be answered so it’s very important we are part of the process.

“The common denominator for shipping in general is the British law, that’s what regulates shipping. Britain from the legal side may have to enter bilateral agreements with everyone else, that makes the shipping law system invalid.

“If we have all the lawyers in the world working to make bilateral agreements to make British law available to the world, two years will not be enough.”

Vago said Brexit could also be a challenge to travel in general due to visa restrictions and border control. “The freedom of movement is everything,” he said. “It’s how everything should work.”

Vago said he was very proud that the growth seen in the cruise sector in recent years has created so many jobs for people from around the world. Globally the sectors sustains nearly one million employees including 360,000 in Europe and 73,000 in the UK. MSC has switched its technical base to the UK to take advantage of British expertise where today it directly employs 250 people.

“This is an industry that creates jobs. That makes me very proud. That’s what Europe needs, that’s what the world needs,” Vago said.

He added the ultimate aim for the next generation of cruise ships was to for them to have zero impact on the environment. The lines recently announced next class of ship, which will be the world’s largest, will be powered by LNG.

Monday, 12 June 2017

The Ultimate In A Private Destination

The Ultimate In A Private Destination

The Ultimate In A Private Destination

Carnival Introduces EasyPay Installment Feature

Carnival Introduces EasyPay Installment Feature

Carnival Introduces EasyPay Installment Feature
PHOTO: Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Liberty. (photo via Flickr/Roderick Eime)
Carnival Cruise Line has introduced a more convenient way to pay for your next cruise, rolling out Carnival EasyPay.
The industry-first feature will allow travelers to pay for their cruise over a three-month period interest-free.
Payments will be automatically deducted from the credit card guests have on file on the same designated day over three consecutive months.
Carnival EasyPay users' remaining balance will be split into three equal amounts after they make their deposit.
To be eligible for Carnival EasyPay guests must book early. They must make an initial deposit and the deposit due date must be at least 90 days before the final payment date.
The new feature comes at no extra cost and guests can sign up online, over the phone or through their travel agent.
Guests booking at Carnival.com can select the EasyPay option in the "How Would You Like to Pay" section. They can sign up or cancel Carnival EasyPay after the initial deposit is made at the "Manage My Booking" tab on Carnival's website.
"Rather than having to remember to pay for their cruise, Carnival EasyPay provides guests with peace of mind knowing that their payment is being processed automatically," said Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy in a statement accompanying Thursday's announcement.
Carnival said the feature is available on most but not all sailings when guests book early enough.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Queen Victoria has updated look but the same grand library

Queen Victoria has updated look but the same grand library

The Queen Victoria's two-deck library is unified by a spiral staircase, complete with standing globe at the base. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

ABOARD THE QUEEN VICTORIA -- One of the splendors of this ship is the wood-paneled two-deck library, among the best at sea.
During a recent month-long renovation in which Cunard Line made a number of changes to the ship, it could have taken the opportunity to cut back the size of the library, add a bar or rebrand it as a learning center.
Cunard did none of those things, leaving intact the 7,000-volume collection for guests to peruse.
There's something extravagant about a two-story library on a ship. The space is unified by a spiral staircase, complete with a standing globe at the base. Upstairs is devoted to fiction, from Aaronson to Zander, while the lower level is for nonfiction.
"Cunard has a proper library," said Svetlana Minic, one of two librarians who staff the book vault. The only library bigger than the one on Queen Victoria is the one on the larger Queen Mary 2, which has 10,000 volumes, Minic said.
The marvel of such a library is that there's something for everybody. Not only does Queen Victoria have a fiction section, but it has a separate case for short stories only. There's a section for young adult fiction as well as one for science fiction. The Everyman Library of classics spans authors from Jane Austin to Virginia Woolf.
The nonfiction collection is even more impressive and superbly organized. There are labeled shelves for everything from Animals, Gardening, Fitness and Science to Arts & Crafts, Food and Drink, Sport, Dance and Digital Photography.
Besides English, there are volumes in Italian, French, German, Japanese and a small number in Chinese.
Reference books include a complete set of the Encyclopedia Britannica. There are five floor-to-ceiling cases of travel books, and two of books on marine themes such as Maritime History, Merchant Shipping, Warships, Yachts and Passenger Shipping.
There are about a dozen books on Cunard Line or its individual ships. Minic said there used to be more but guests have taken them home as souvenirs, even though Queen Victoria has a bookshop stocked with new commemorative Cunard books for sale.
For guests who want to take a book home, Minic operates a paperback exchange. She said the library is very popular on world cruises. There's often not a seat to spare on either level.
Two or three times a year, the collection is freshened with 400 new books. The next change-out is set for the start of Queen Victoria's June 8 cruise from Southampton.
Minic said she then picks 400 older volumes to be donated at one of the ship's ports of call.