Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Carnival Releases 2016 Sustainability Report

Carnival Releases 2016 Sustainability Report

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Sustainability Report
Carnival Corporation has released its 2016 sustainability report as part of the launch of its new dedicated sustainability website.
The report and complementary site detail the company's sustainability efforts and the progress made in 2016 toward its 2020 sustainability performance goals. The report was prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 "core" level, and a full copy can be downloaded from Carnival Corporation's new site, according to a prepared statement. 
"We take our commitment to sustainability and the environment very seriously and take proactive measures to ensure that sustainability is ingrained in the core of our business practices," said Bill Burke, chief maritime officer for Carnival Corporation, whose industry-leading cruise lines sail to more than 760 ports around the world. "Our top priority is to consistently exceed our guests' expectations for a great cruise vacation – and that includes providing an exceptionally safe, comfortable and enjoyable environment for our guests and crew members, while at the same time maintaining our deep commitment to protecting the oceans, seas and destinations we visit."
Added Burke: "We have a great team of employees, most of whom work and live at sea, and we all understand a healthy environment is not just an operating necessity, but it is also the right thing to do. We want our guests to be confident that when they book a cruise vacation with one of our brands, they are doing so with a responsible global corporate citizen."
Among the highlights, according to Carnival:
Being ahead of schedule in achieving a nearly 25 percent reduction in CO2e (equivalent carbon dioxide) relative to the 2005 baseline.
Pioneering the use of LNG (liquefied natural gas), the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel, and introducing the first cruise ship ever fueled with LNG from trucks while in port.
Continuing to make progress in installing Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems, which significantly improve air emissions by reducing sulfur compounds and particulate matter from engine exhaust – by the end of 2016, 59 percent of the fleet was equipped with the systems (and a larger percentage is equipped with the systems as of today).
40 percent of the fleet was equipped with cold ironing capabilities by the end of 2016, which allows ships to use an alternative power source while in port.
Expanding its partnership with Wärtsilä to include a long-term diesel engine maintenance agreement with an energy-efficiency component.
Continuing installation of Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS), which significantly reduce sulfur compounds and particulate matter from ship engine exhaust.
Making a significant commitment to its employees in terms of high-quality training by establishing the new Arison Maritime Center, home of the Center for Simulator Maritime Training Academy, also known as the CSMART Academy.
Opening the second of three planned state-of-the-art Fleet Operations Centers (FOC) in Seattle with the most advanced ship-to-shore communications technologies available to assist captains, chief engineers and deck and engineering officers with digital support, control and planning of all nautical and technical operations.

Construction Starts for Spectrum of the Seas

Construction Starts for Spectrum of the Seas

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Spectrum of the Sea steel cutting.


Royal Caribbean International cut steel to mark the start of construction for the Spectrum of the Seas (Quantum Ultra), which will be delivered from Meyer Werft in 2019 and head for the Asia market.
"Set to debut in 2019, Spectrum will be the next evolution of the cruise line’s groundbreaking and high-tech Quantum class of ships placing the ship in a new class of her own. The revolutionary Quantum Ultra ship will specifically be designed for guests in China and the Asia-Pacific region, and will feature cutting-edge and unprecedented experiences and amenities," the company said. 
“Today is a very special day in the development of our new Quantum Ultra ship, Spectrum of the Seas. We are now one step closer to delighting our guests in Asia Pacific with this remarkable ship,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Spectrum will be another giant leap forward in vessel design and guest experiences that will provide travelers with ample opportunities to create unforgettable memories.” 

Puerto Vallarta On Track For Another Strong Year

Puerto Vallarta On Track For Another Strong Year

Puerto Vallarta
Fantastic photo of Puerto Vallarta.

The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board announced that the city has reported an increase of over 6% in hotel occupancy for the first 6 months of the year, with an average occupancy rate for January to June of close to 90% compared to 73% in 2016 and 70% in 2015.
Similarly, the Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR) handled 1,843,600 international passenger arrivals, in the first half of the year, 12.1% more than the same period in 2016. In addition, 189,324 passengers visited the destination while on cruise calls to the Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port, a 2% increase compared to 2016.
The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board credits the success of its consistent and proactive promotional and communication campaign in its primary markets including as Mexico, the US and Canada as well as emerging markets in South America and Europe for the continued increase in visitor arrivals. In addition, the tourism board’s strategic PR efforts targeting specific niche markets have played a role.
Puerto Vallarta is home to the most hotels with Diamond Awards in Mexico and is also described as Mexico’s leading culinary beach destination, with more than 350 restaurants.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Royal Caribbean offers to give Parliament the horn

Royal Caribbean offers to give Parliament the horn

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The Queen Elizabeth Tower holds the Big Ben Bell.

Royal Caribbean has offered up one of its ship’s horns to be played from Parliament Square after it was announced Big Ben would be silenced for four years.

Royal Caribbean Cruises has written to Speaker of The House of Commons, John Bercow MP, offering to adapt one of its horns to strike every hour to the note of E – accompanied by four quarter blasts every 15 minutes.

Yesterday, the House of Commons said it would look again at the length of time Big Ben will be silenced during renovation work after “concerns” were raised.

The bell is to be put out of use – except for special occasions – for four years on Monday to allow repairs to the surrounding Elizabeth Tower.

But Prime Minister Theresa May said “it can’t be right” that the famous bongs will not be heard again until 2021.

The letter from Royal Caribbean reads: “Having chimed – almost – unbroken for the past 157 years, we’ve heard The Great Bell will be out of action for four years and were compelled to try and help.

“Rather than leave the capital in silence, the Royal Caribbean team have put in a word with our UK and Ireland managing director, Ben Bouldin (the other Big Ben), and he would be more than happy to lend you one of our ship’s horns until 2021 to play from Parliament Square. To keep as close as possible to our great traditions, we could specially adapt our horn to strike every hour to the note of E – accompanied by four quarter blasts every 15 minutes.

“Let us know if this floats your boat (ship)…”

Carnival adds five more Cuba cruises for 2018

Carnival adds five more Cuba cruises for 2018

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Carnival Cruise Line has tacked on five more voyages featuring extended calls in Havana in 2018.

Like the previously scheduled ones, the cruises are on the Carnival Paradise sailing from Tampa.

They include three five-day cruises to Havana and Cozumel or Key West departing Feb. 17, July 2 and Sept. 5, 2018; a six-day sailing featuring Havana and Grand Cayman departing Aug. 26, 2018; and an eight-day voyage with stops at Havana, Grand Cayman and Cozumel departing Aug. 18, 2018.  

All of the cruises include a day-long call and overnight in Havana and the eight-day cruise offers two full days at the Cuban capital.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line to use Costa ship

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line to use Costa ship

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Costa Neoclassica

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has received approval to add a second vessel cruising to Grand Bahama from the Port of Palm Beach.
Bahamas Paradise said that next year it will add the Costa Cruises ship neoClassica. The neoClassica will leave Costa's fleet in March.
The port commission voted 5-0 to approve the line's plan, which will result in daily cruises to Grand Bahama starting in April 2018. The line currently sails to Grand Bahama every other day.
Bahamas Paradise operates the 1,500-passenger MV Grand Celebration on a schedule that departs the Port of Palm Beach in the evening, spends all day docked in Freeport the following day, and returns overnight to the Port of Palm Beach. The ship sailed for Carnival Cruise Line as the Celebration from 1986 to 2008.
The ship will do the same itinerary to Grand Bahama as the Grand Celebration.
The port projects that with two ships offering two-day cruises at 60% occupancy, it will attract 765,000 passengers.

Royal Caribbean lands Bonnie Tyler to perform on eclipse cruise

Royal Caribbean lands Bonnie Tyler to perform on eclipse cruise

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Bonnie Tyler will perform Total Eclipse of my Heart.

Google "Eclipse song" and you'll find the lyrics to Bonnie Tyler's 1983 pop hit "Total Eclipse of the Heart."
So it's appropriate that Tyler sing the song on a cruise celebrating the upcoming total eclipse on Aug. 21.
Tyler, 66, will roll out her biggest hit before a performance by the considerably more youthful Joe Jonas-led pop band DNCE, best known for "Cake By the Ocean," recorded 32 years later.
DNCE was previously announced as entertainment on the Royal Caribbean International's "Total Eclipse Cruise" aboard the Oasis of the Seas. The addition of Tyler was a surprise.
The Oasis will be cruising in the path of the total eclipse a few hundred miles off the coast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean on Aug. 21, giving guests an early look before the sun in eclipse reaches the coast of South Carolina.
The seven-night Total Eclipse Cruise sets sail on Aug. 20 from Port Canaveral, visiting St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Nassau in the Bahamas.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line cancels ‘neo-Nazi’ cruise booking

Norwegian Cruise Line cancels ‘neo-Nazi’ cruise booking

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Norwegian Cruise Line has cancelled a Caribbean cruise booking for a far right group’s conference.

Rebel Media – which has been dubbed a “neo-Nazi” organisation – is advertising its planned week-long sailing on an NCL ship out of Miami in November on its website as a “great way to meet like-minded Rebels”.

The Canadian-based group has members including Gavin McInnes, who has taken to Twitter to write “10 things I hate about Jews”, and Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) – the former leader of the English Defence League (EDL).

Race-fuelled riots took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the United States, last week which sparked violent clashes.

The event has drawn the attention of campaign group Hope not Hate, which is calling on NCL to cancel the booking.

The cruise line issued a statement which said: “We recently became aware that one of several affinity groups that booked space on an upcoming sailing was associated with and espoused views that are inconsistent with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings core values.

The company has therefore exercised its right to cancel this group’s reservation and provide a full refund. As a matter of policy, the company neither discusses nor discloses the identities of our individual guests or groups.”

More:

Norwegian Cruise Line forecasts record earnings

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Colombian Emeralds International, A Warning!

Colombian Emeralds International, A Warning!

Colombian Emeralds International

Ever been on a cruise, and browsed the Jewelry shop on board; then Stop and Think. On a recent Norwegian Jade cruise to Norway, Iceland and Scotland we went into the Colombian Emeralds International shop, full of tempting jewelry, from rings, watches, and necklaces.

My Son and I are interested in watches and between us we have a good collection, I'd see an advert in the Atrium for a Citizen Atomic Timekeeper, with a Titanium strap, the price on the label was over $1100 but with their discount became $560; Wow. Great sales pitch and with the guarantee of 'You Can't Buy This Cheaper At Home'; they were right. The Watch is not available in the UK or US markets; but thanks to the internet and a bit of hunting i found it, with a surprise only $65 cheaper; Not to bad.

Another story which prompted me to blog this topic was from a fellow guest. This lady and her friend looked at a Sapphire ring with diamonds around it, total  of 4.6 carats. Price before the discount was $460k after the discount she was offered a price; came down by a whopping $241k to a attractive $219k. The ladies in question decided to go away and ponder on the price. The following day and a different sails person offered the same ring to her Husband for $485k after discount!!!! the ladies went there 20 minutes later and yes you have guessed it, she was given a price of $179k a price drop of $40k in 12 hours of their own price but $306k difference from her husband.

How can there be so many prices, for the same ring, nether mind a different price for a male. Needless to say they didn't buy the ring, and told me the story knowing i'm a cruise blogger. I've since researched Colombian Emeralds International quite deeply and found that on the Guarantee it states 

In the guarantee, it specifically says that there is no guarantee that the purchase will appraise for the purchase price, because "appraisals are subjective"'.
and on cruise website with forums there a lot of complaints about the value of their goods.

So whats the answer, if you like what you see and how it feels, and reminds you for a great cruise then is the price any concern, after all how many of us are willing to buy a photo we don't want for $15 to $20 each, when the average website photo print price is about $0.40 per photo. What price can you put on good memories, but do beware if they can knock off 70% straight away then red flags should be waved.

Private islands 2.0: More than a day at the beach

Private islands 2.0: More than a day at the beach

A rendering of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, a 95-acre outcrop about 65 miles east of Miami.

Thirty years ago, the idea of going to a private island in the Bahamas was enough to get cruise passengers excited. A piece of rock with a strip of beach, a barbecue for lunch and some basic watersports was the formula, and it worked fine at the time.

But now, cruise lines are launching a new set of islands or upgrading old ones, adding luxury amenities and enhancements large and small, all meant to turbocharge the guest experience.

These 2.0 versions of private islands have better bars, acres of lounge chairs, more shade, improved landscaping and easier accessibility. Many have features such as ziplines, spas and deluxe beach pavilions. Even an entertainment amphitheater is in the works at MSC Cruises' project.

"They're definitely trying to make it more of an upscale experience," said Roger Blum, principal at Cruise & Port Advisors, a Miami consulting firm.

For cruise lines, private islands have become another front in the competitive battle that already includes ship design and construction, advertising and marketing strategies, field sales forces and travel agent relations.

All hope that cruise passengers will want to spend time on their islands, enjoying the white sands, leafy pathways, swimming pools, bars and recreation gear. None can afford to be left behind.
MSC's Ocean Cay

One of the most ambitious projects underway is the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, a 95-acre outcrop about 65 miles east of Miami, near the Bahamian island of Bimini. The property had previously been used to mine sand and has very little in the way of natural vegetation or tourism infrastructure.

MSC has budgeted $200 million to transform the island into an attraction that its ships can use day and night.

"Our aim is to turn an industrial wasteland into a thriving environment for man and nature alike, bringing the island and its surrounding waters back to their original state," MSC executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said in a January ceremony to mark the start of construction.

Until recently, MSC lacked the deployment in the Caribbean to justify the expense of a private island. But with the arrival of the MSC Seaside in November, the cruise line will have two big new ships sailing from Miami, plus two ships serving European winter fly-cruise passengers from Havana.

Together, the ships could send nearly 700,000 passengers a year to the island. Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is scheduled to open in November 2018.
Carnival Cruise Line, which plans to build a beach destination on Grand Bahama island, already has a custom-built port at the island of Roatan in Honduras. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst
Carnival Cruise Line, which plans to build a beach destination on Grand Bahama island, already has a custom-built port at the island of Roatan in Honduras. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst
Carnival's private Bahamian beach

Also putting together an outpost for its flotilla sailing in the Caribbean and the Bahamas is Carnival Cruise Line, which is the largest operator without a dedicated private island in the Bahamas.

In May, Carnival signed a long-awaited agreement to build a 226-acre private beach attraction on the eastern part of Grand Bahama Island. The northerly location is convenient to Carnival ships up and down the East Coast, cruising from cities such as Baltimore; Norfolk, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and even New York.

Carnival's year-round deployment in the Caribbean and Bahamas means it can justify the investment, estimated by the Nassau Tribune at $100 million.

At a signing ceremony, Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said Carnival had been working for the better part of 15 years to establish a "new and authentic" Bahamian port experience. 

"I am very pleased that this port is now on track to become a reality," he said.

The as-yet-unnamed Carnival port will rank as "the largest purpose-built cruise facility ever constructed in the Bahamas," Donald said. It is eventually expected to host up to 1 million passengers a year.
Royal Caribbean International is planning to add a permanent pier to its private island CocoCay, timed to the debut of the Symphony of the Seas next spring.
Royal Caribbean International is planning to add a permanent pier to its private island CocoCay, timed to the debut of the Symphony of the Seas next spring.
Bigger ships, bigger private islands

One reason that private beach attractions are getting bigger is that the ships going to them are getting bigger.

When Eastern Steamship Lines opened a private Bahamian island on Little Stirrup Cay in 1983, it was sailing the 962-passenger Emerald Seas there on three- and four-night cruises.

Today the successor to Eastern, Royal Caribbean International, has three ships that carry 5,400 passengers each at double occupancy. To accommodate them, Royal is upgrading the island, now called CocoCay.

The first step is to add a permanent pier, so guests don't have to take tenders from the ship to get ashore. When Disney Cruise Line opened its Castaway Cay island in 1998 with its own pier, it became the new standard for passenger convenience, as guests could easily come and go from the ship during a daylong stay.

"The installation of the fixed pier will allow for the additional safety of the cruise passengers and employees on the cay where they will be able to have direct access to the Island instead of tendering boats," Bahamas prime minister Perry Christie said in announcing the $40 million project.

On Grand Bahama, Carnival's plan includes a pier that can dock two 3,000-passenger ships at once. MSC is also planning to dredge a channel and build a pier for its large ships, making them easier to offload.
Cabanas on Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay.
Cabanas on Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay.
At CocoCay, after building the pier, a second phase of Royal's improvements will include a new craft marketplace, a shore excursion building, a bike and equipment rentals structure and a transportation center. Plans also call for a building for suite guests, a new active aquatic zone, additional food and beverage venues and more infrastructure and landscaping, Christie said.

A third phase is expected to add a ropes course, zipline, water park, lagoon cabanas and pools, Christie said. The $150 million project is targeted for completion by 2019, with the dock opening timed to the debut of the Symphony of the Seas next spring.

In making its improvements, Royal is keeping up with rival Norwegian Cruise Line, which opened a new island port of call in Belize with many similar features in 2016 and is in the process of upgrading its resort at Great Stirrup Cay, just a stone's throw from the smaller CocoCay.
Norwegian Cruise Line has built jetties to help reduce beach erosion at Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst
Norwegian Cruise Line has built jetties to help reduce beach erosion at Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst
Norwegian re-engineers its island

By most accounts, Great Stirrup Cay was the cruise industry's original private island, purchased by Norwegian in 1977. Guests go ashore in 300-person tenders with ramps that drop from the bow.

Norwegian has made improvements over the years but nothing as dramatic as those it made in 2016-17.

The line has learned from 40 years of operations what works and what doesn't. On a recent visit, Carlos J. Gonzalez, director of out-island projects at Norwegian, explained some of the new enhancements.

For one thing, Norwegian has re-engineered the beach, which drew complaints that it was too rocky. It built a jetty to block sand from eroding and found a sand mine on the island so it doesn't have to rely on dredged sand full of shell bits.

Norwegian has installed more irrigation to keep vegetation green and growing. It has focused on four or five trees that thrive in the Bahamas to introduce more of a canopy on the 72-acre property.

"One of the things we're trying to do is have a lot more shade," Gonzalez said. "So we're buying trees that are much more mature and things that will cast a lot more shade."
A cabana at Great Stirrup Cay. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst
A cabana at Great Stirrup Cay. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst
There's also more pavement in place, making it easier to move between the shops, bars, recreation centers and cabanas.

Seating areas at the bars have been upgraded, and table servers will be available for some ships. There's more live music planned at the bars, some of which will have added table umbrellas.

"So we're trying to create these spaces where people can come and hang out," Gonzalez said. "What's happening now is they'll come, eat and then run back to the beach, and you don't get that experience where maybe you'd meet a new friend or something."

When it comes to service, Norwegian has learned that speed counts. At the bars, machines have been added to make frozen and mixed drinks, cutting wait times in half. 

The same goes for food. At the main restaurant, two small bars were demolished and rebuilt as larger outbuildings connected with pathways, to ease congestion. The grill has been streamlined from four lines to two.

"The food is fresher, turns over faster," Gonzalez said.
Ziplining at Norwegian Cruise Line’s Harvest Cay in Belize. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst
Ziplining at Norwegian Cruise Line’s Harvest Cay in Belize. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst
Nearby covered seating areas have also been decked, so that people aren't eating in the sand. That has the side benefit of making the area easier to clean. More landscaping suppresses windblown sand and dust.

"We wanted to make it seem like you're not just having a picnic on the beach," Gonzalez said. "You're on vacation. You're in a wonderful place."

Another small improvement: Norwegian is now making ice on site, which means better quality.

"These aren't terribly exciting things for the guest," said Gonzalez, "but they're things that make the guest experience much better, so the quality of the food, the freshness is much better."

On a bigger scale, Norwegian has built an infirmary with eight patient rooms, so that multiple cases of sunburn, sprained ankles, heat exhaustion or insect bites can be treated. More serious injuries don't necessarily have to be sent back to the ship or evacuated by helicopter to Nassau anymore.

Thirty custom-made underwater sculptures have been added to the snorkel garden. There are more and bigger bathrooms, including two family ones that are ADA-compliant.

Norwegian has rebuilt the private cabanas, making them larger with better amenities, such as refrigerators, and with more vista-like views of the beach. They have ramps to improve accessibility.
A bar at Norwegian’s Great Stirrup Cay. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst
A bar at Norwegian’s Great Stirrup Cay. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst
After Hurricane Matthew raked Great Stirrup Cay in September 2016, Norwegian did a redesign to reduce erosion through a combination of more concrete foundations and more local plantings.

The really fancy side of Great Stirrup Cay is still under construction. It will initially include 16 air-conditioned, oceanfront cabanas for use by guests of the Haven, Norwegian's secluded onboard luxury enclave. The cabanas will have locking doors, restrooms, covered patios and, in some, even bedrooms.

Adjacent will be a new five-bay spa, also air-conditioned, with a nice lobby, a deck and its own private beach. 

"It brings exclusivity and just a higher level of service, and of course luxury," Gonzalez said.

On its island, MSC plans something similar for its exclusive Yacht Club guests.
Disney Cruise Line’s private island Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst
Disney Cruise Line’s private island Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst
Evolution of islands parallels ships

Blum, of Cruise & Port Advisors, recalls visiting Great Stirrup Cay in 1977 on a preinaugural voyage of the 756-passenger Sunward II, operated by Norwegian Caribbean Line, as it was then known.

"The original concept was pretty cool," he recalled. "Pull up to the beach and have this beach barbecue, and you were the only people there. That concept is still really cool, but it's not quite as intimate with thousands of people as it was on a 500- [to] 600-passenger ship."

Blum said the evolution of private islands has mirrored the evolution in cruise ships, which are almost nothing like the 1977 versions. "They're still ships, but the amenities and expectations have totally changed."

There are several reasons why cruise lines continue to increase their level of investment in private destination development.

One is that it gives them greater control over the entire experience. They can design the docks, the shopping and the excursion staging to what is ideal for cruise lines, or even to their specific brand and ships.
When Disney opened Castaway Cay in 1998 with its own pier, it became the new standard for passenger convenience. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst
When Disney opened Castaway Cay in 1998 with its own pier, it became the new standard for passenger convenience. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst
Another reason, Blum said, is that lines have greater say over who comes and goes. As a recent flare-up of concern over passenger harassment at the port of Falmouth in Jamaica shows, there are different levels of control, depending on whether a private port is connected to the mainland, or completely isolated, as at Great Stirrup Cay.

There are also financial reasons. At private islands, any ancillary spending the passengers might do on food and beverage, excursions, shopping or equipment rental flows to the cruise line rather than the destination.

However, Blum said the profit motive tends to be overstated. "On the one hand, yes, they're controlling the revenue flows, but they're paying a lot of expenses. It's not cheap to run a private island. That's not to say that at the end of the day it's not a profit center. But I think the real advantage to the cruise lines is driving demand for the cruise."

Passenger demand for private islands is strong. Blum said the cruise lines freely admit that their custom-built destinations are consistently the best-rated ports of call on their Bahamas/Caribbean itineraries. They're able to tailor the experience to what guests say they desire, he said.

"It's a really fun, cool experience on these islands," Blum said. "The waters are great. It's really a great day. If you're sitting at home visualizing what a Caribbean-Bahamian beach should look like, these islands are beautiful places."

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Agents enthused about Norwegian Bliss

Agents enthused about Norwegian Bliss

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The Haven is one of agents' favorite features on Norwegian Cruise Line ships. Pictured, a rendering of The Haven's restaurant on Norwegian Bliss.

LAS VEGAS -- Agents praised Norwegian Cruise Line's history of innovation after seeing the new features planned for the Norwegian Bliss, unveiled at Virtuoso Travel Week here.
Among the Bliss' attractions are a go-cart course longer than the one that first debuted aboard the Norwegian Joy, an enclosed water slide that projects riders out over the side of the ship and an outdoor laser-tag course.
It will feature some new restaurants -- like upscale barbecue eatery Q and a sweets emporium dedicated to chocolate called Coco -- as well as some old favorites like Cagney's.
Andy Stuart, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, said the mix of new and old is all about balance.
"We're trying to bring a lot of new innovations, things our guests have never seen, and combine them with the things our guests absolutely love," he said.
The agents in attendance for Norwegian's announcement took notice of that, and said the cruise line has always been a leader in innovation.
"The Bliss just kind of ups the entertainment part. Norwegian Cruise Line has always been really excellent, and really the best, on their entertainment -- that shines for them," said Nancy K. Yale, president of Cruise and World Travel in Fairfield, Conn.
She said the go-carts in particular are a feature that will attract all ages, and called them an "interesting concept."
John Maguire, CEO and president of Morristown, N.J.-based CruiseDirect.com, also pointed to the innovative features on the Bliss as a highlight.
"They're always first in innovation," Maguire said of Norwegian. "They're always out there doing things other people aren't doing."
Lea Nielsen, CruiseDirect.com's vice president of sales, said she was excited about the dining venues, especially the new additions.
According to Stuart, The Haven on the Bliss will be the largest ever built, something Virtuoso agents will find attractive. The Haven features the line's largest and most well-appointed accommodations and exclusive venues for guests staying there.
Yale called The Haven "the thing I like most" about Norwegian Cruise Line ships.
"The Haven is an upscale, ship-within-a-ship, and the service and everything up there is as good as any of the luxury cruise lines. It is great for family vacations and multigenerational groups."
In addition to showing agents renderings of the Bliss and its features, Norwegian also enabled them to experience it live using virtual reality. They could don headsets and virtually ride a go-cart or slide down the water slide, among other experiences.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Norwegian Bliss going big with go-cart track, other features

Norwegian Bliss going big with go-cart track, other features

Norwegian Bliss Go-Cart track

The thrill of electric go-cart racing at sea is coming to North America next year on the Norwegian Bliss, which will take the concept that debuted on the Norwegian Joy in Shanghai to another level.
The widely anticipated adoption of the amusement-park staple on a ship sailing in the U.S. should give the Bliss something to brag about when it sails from the Port of Seattle on its first Alaska voyage next June.
Andy Stuart, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, said the Bliss' track will be 40% larger than its predecessor.
"We think it's going to be even a little better than what we've delivered so far on Joy," Stuart said.
At nearly 1,000 feet, the track will be the longest at sea and will occupy the space that is claimed by a ropes course and the Plank on the Norwegian Escape, the most recent delivery to the North American market.

The cars can be geared to advanced, intermediate or beginning-level drivers. Stuart said that because the cars are electric, they are also noiseless, but that a pair of speakers with racing sounds inside the headrest provides audio for the driver.

An outdoor laser tag course will be themed as an abandoned space station.
An outdoor laser tag course will be themed as an abandoned space station.
The new ship will also have an outdoor laser tag course, first offered on the Joy as well, that will be themed as an abandoned space station, and a free-fall slide with a translucent loop that extends 11 feet over the side of the ship.
Norwegian executives revealed many of the public areas of the Bliss at a news conference at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, where Virtuoso is holding its annual Travel Week conference.
Virtuoso members heard firsthand not only about the track, but about the dining and beverage options that will be installed on the Bliss, several of them for the first time on any Norwegian ship.
The Bliss will get Norwegian's first try at a Texas smokehouse-style venue, to be called Q, which will serve brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage and more, freshly smoked over hickory, oak and pecan woods.
Q will be Norwegian Cruise Line's first try at a Texas smokehouse-style venue.
Texas smokehouse-style venue
Q won't be decked out with stereotypical country-and-western decor, but rather will sport an edgier, urban design along the lines of the District Brewhouse on the Escape. Q will offer sides such as fresh-cheddar and breadcrumb-crusted mac and cheese and baked sweet potatoes smothered in pecan honey butter and cinnamon.
The restaurant will take the large space occupied by the Supper Club on the Norwegian Escape. Pricing will be a la carte.
Another new flavor on the Bliss will be chocolate, the theme of a Deck 6 a la carte sweets emporium that will feature an entry with an enclosed oversized chocolate fountain gushing with liquid chocolate.
A water thrill ride loops over the side of the ship.
A water thrill ride loops over the side of the ship.
Called Coco's, it will sell handmade pralines, truffles, crepes and other desserts paired with select teas and coffees.
Also in the coffee category, the Norwegian Bliss will also have the brand's first full-service Starbucks as it sails weekly from Seattle during the summer.
The upscale Mexican concept that was installed in drydock on the Norwegian Dawn last summer as Los Lobos Cantina will be featured on the Bliss, the first Breakaway-class ship to have one. It will be located on Deck 8 next to Cagney's, and feature indoor/outdoor seating.
In a tip to the changing of the guard in Norwegian's corporate suites, the 24-hour casual pub named for former Norwegian CEO Kevin Sheehan, who departed in 2015, will be called the Local on the Bliss, instead of O'Sheehan's.
At the same time, the circular Prime Meridian bar that sits on Deck 8 between two complimentary dining rooms will be restyled as the A-List Bar in tribute to Stuart, who has worked for the company since 1988.
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The Aqua Park will feature a splash area and water slides.
The Aqua Park will feature a splash area and water slides.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Carnival lands Nick Jonas for shipboard concert

Carnival lands Nick Jonas for shipboard concert

Image result for Nick Jonas and carnival Cruise

Pop singer Nick Jonas will perform two shows on Carnival ships.
Jonas will play the Carnival Liberty on Nov. 17 and the Carnival Victory on Nov. 18 while the ships are docked in Nassau, Bahamas.
A solo artist since 2010, Jonas was part of the Jonas Brothers off and on from 2007 to 2013.
Tickets are $75 for general admission.  VIP tickets are available for $250 and include seating in the first few rows, a photo opportunity with the artist and a commemorative concert pass.

Majesty of the Seas to sail Cuba cruise in 2019

Majesty of the Seas to sail Cuba cruise in 2019

Image result for majesty of the seas
Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International's Majesty of the Seas will become its second ship to visit Cuba in 2019.
The line plans a four-day voyage from Port Canaveral departing March 25, 2019. The cruise will include a full day in Havana. Prices will start at $549 plus taxes and port fees, Royal Caribbean said.
Thus far, Royal Caribbean has only offered Havana on Empress of the Seas itineraries from Tampa, Miami and Port Everglades.

Cruise Fleet to Reach 315 Ships and $35.5 Billion in Revenue in 2016

The cruise industry will reach 315 ships this year, generating an estimated $35.5 billion in ticket and onboard revenue worldwide, up from $33.2 billion last year according to the 2016-2017 Cruise Industry News Annual Report.
The North American market will represent approximately 56 percent of the global industry in terms of passenger sourcing and revenue; Europe 27 percent, and the Asia/Pacific region 17 percent.
Year-over-year, the market shares for North America and Europe have contracted from 59 and 29 percent respectively in 2015, while the Asia/Pacific region has grown from 12 to 17 percent.
The global passenger capacity is estimated at 23.6 million this year, up from 22 million last year.
About the Annual Report:
The Cruise Industry News Annual Report is the only book of its kind, presenting the worldwide cruise industry through 2025 in 350+ pages. Statistics are independently researched. Learn more by clicking here.
The report covers everything from new ships on order to supply-and-demand scenarios from 1987 through 2021+. Plus there is a future outlook, complete growth projections for each cruise line, regional market reports, and detailed ship deployment by region and market, covering all the cruise lines. New for 2016-2017 based on customer feedback are detailed Chinese market statistics and projections.

Majestic Princess Set to Sail from Taiwan in 2018 Deployment Change

Majestic Princess Set to Sail from Taiwan in 2018 Deployment Change

The Majestic Princess makes a call to Keelung in June.
Majestic Princess

The new Majestic Princess is poised to move into the Taiwanese market from April to July 2018, after which the 2017-built ship will head to Australia for winter 2018-2019.
According to sources with knowledge of the ship’s deployment, the Majestic will sail three- and four-night voyages from Keelung in all of April and May. A spokesperson for Princess Cruises told Cruise Industry News in a written statement that 2018 itineraries have yet to be confirmed.
Following her Taiwan-based short cruise program, the ship will offer longer cruises to Japan in May, June and July from Keelung. It is not known, however, if they will be mixed in with China-based sailings, or if Princess is continuing to cut capacity in China.
Announced in 2015, the Majestic Princess was built and developed for year-round China operations.
Earlier this year, Princess announced she would re-position seasonally to Australia for 2018-2019.
In addition, the Sapphire Princess, which has been dedicated to the Asia and China markets, will be re-deployed to Europe in 2018.

Friday, 11 August 2017

NCLH: Tickets and Onboard Drive Q2; Food Spend Down

Norwegian Joy at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong
Increased ticket and onboard revenue drove Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) record second quarter (Q2) earnings.
Despite carrying fewer passengers than last year, 569,857 down from 574,838, NCLH posted more passenger cruise days, 4,517,788 up from 4,237,020, and higher gross and net ticket and onboard revenue per passenger day.
The passenger number was down due to longer cruises, according to NCLH.
Operating costs were also up, except food costs that were down for Q2 and for first six months of the year, despite an increase in passenger cruise days.
The reduction in food costs were primarily due to a series of purchasing initiatives undertaken over the past year. In a prepared statement to Cruise Industry News, NCLH said: “We have been successful in finding significant efficiencies across our food distribution through a concerted effort to improve processes in delivering consumables to our vessels around the world. In addition, we have leveraged our buying power to deliver substantial hard savings across our food purchasing without compromising quality.
“For example, on a number of key proteins that represent the highest cost items across our food costs, we have been able to cut costs significantly simply by purchasing directly from the suppliers and cutting out middlemen. These initiatives have resulted in savings while providing the same, or in many cases, better quality protein.
“During this period we have also been refining the dining experience across our fleet, and with the benefit of guest research and feedback, we have refined our menus to better meet the preferences of our guests and, as a result, we have seen our guest experience scores improve year over year.”
NCLH spent $47.3 million on food in the second quarter of this year and $95.5 million for the six-month period, compared to $49.8 million and $100.8 million, respectively, last year.
Gross revenue per passenger day was $297.52 this year, up from $280.11 last year. Net revenue per passenger day was $229.63 this year, up from $216.55.