Sunday, 31 December 2017

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas Friends, Followers, and Readers

Heres to a Great Year of Cruising
with
Fair Winds and Good Company.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Carnival Corporation expects revenue to rise by 2.5% in 2018

Carnival Corporation expects revenue to rise by 2.5% in 2018

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Carnival Horizon being constructed and due next year.

Carnival Corporation has announced a $2.6billion net income for the full year of 2017.

Revenues for 2017 were $17.5billion – $1.1billion higher than the $16.4billion in 2016.

Carnival said in its annual report that it expects 2018 revenue yield to be up 2.5% compared to this year.

Bookings across the world’s largest travel company for 2018 have been running well ahead of the prior year at higher prices, Carnival said.

Carnival’s president and chief executive officer Arnold Donald said that despite booking disruptions from this year’s hurricanes, the company was heading into 2018 with a stronger base of business and higher prices than last year.

Donald said: “We have numerous efforts underway to keep the momentum going in 2018 and beyond, from our innovative approaches to increased consideration for cruising, to the further roll-out of our state-of-the-art revenue management system.

“In 2018 we also look forward to the delivery of four new cutting-edge ships, Carnival Horizon, Seabourn Ovation, AIDAnova, and Nieuw Statendam to further our strategic fleet enhancement program.”

Disruptions to voyages caused by hurricanes reduced fourth quarter earnings by approximately $0.11 per share.

Ports of Auckland Challenged on Shore Power Plan

Ports of Auckland Challenged on Shore Power Plan

The Carnival Spirit is based year-round in Australia (photo: Clyde Dickens)

Ports of Auckland (POAL) has announced that it has decided to adopt the recommendation of a recent study to plan for shore power, which it said will have an estimated cost of some $18.3 million and the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 31 percent.
Commenting on POAL’s decision, however, CLIA Australasia’s managing director Joel Katz stated that a key strategy of the major cruise lines in meeting the IMO requirements is the adoption of exhaust gas cleaning system technology to achieve emission reductions. But, with the advancements in cleaner fuels and emissions abatement systems, he said, the usefulness of shore power will likely decline over time, and it should not be assumed that the next generation of cruise ships will be designed and built as shore power enabled, he said.
Katz added that it was worth noting that the Ports of Auckland said it will carry out further work on shore power, including a detailed cost estimate, a cost-benefit analysis and an investigation of funding options so there is still a lot discussion to be had with industry.
According to the POAL, cruise ships were selected for the study as the cruise industry has been proactive at addressing environmental issues over the past decade and these vessels are more frequently fitted with the onboard infrastructure required. This, combined with high individual electricity demand while at berth (compared to other vessel types), is expected to increase utilization and deliver the highest emission reduction return.
The study looked at the feasibility of a wide range of emission reduction technologies, including shore power (grid supplied, local generation including renewables, hybrid); fuel switching (methanol, LNG, low sulfur diesel); land/barge based exhaust capture systems; and ship based scrubbers.
Viable solutions were assessed against a range of social and environmental attributes in addition to the whole of life cost. This holistic approach was adopted to provide a balanced assessment of the alternatives, with consideration of the stakeholder values.
The report recommended two options: To implement shore power at one cruise berth in the next five years; and/or fuel switching to 0.1% sulfur fuel.
The report or the recommendation did not address the issue, however, that very few of the ships currently sailing year-round or seasonally from Australia are equipped to plug in.
The Carnival Spirit and Legend, for example, are not shore power enabled, according to Carnival Australia.

MSC Names Seaside in Miami Ceremony, Announces More News

MSC Names Seaside in Miami Ceremony, Announces More News

MSC Seaside

The MSC Seaside was named in a Miami ceremony by international screen legend and Godmother for all MSC Cruises’ ships, Sophia Loren. Mario Lopez hosted the evening that saw performances by Ricky Martin and Andrea Bocelli, and special guest Dan Marino, a retired NFL quarterback from the Miami Dolphins (MSC is the team's official cruise company).
MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “MSC Seaside’s naming embodies a pivotal moment for MSC Cruises and the industry overall. She is the first ship of the fifth new prototype that we have developed since we entered this industry only in 2003 and she introduces a wholly-innovative concept that has already set a new standard for the industry to follow. The distinctive and unique Seaside Class is designed to bring guests closer to the sea to enjoy cruising in warm weather whilst pushing the boundaries of maritime and guest-centric technology – the way only a cruise line with over 300 years of maritime tradition could have done.”
MSC Cruises also announced today two new partnerships.
The first is with the Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF), where MSC Cruises’ guest donations will support ABF’s valuable work in Haiti.
Every dollar donated onboard by a guest will go directly to the Foundation to make a real difference, MSC said.
Vago said: “MSC Seaside will sail year around in the Caribbean and with this partnership we wish to express our commitment to giving something back to the places where we operate. This charitable activity is in fact focused on helping the children of Haiti. They are the future and deserve the best and, as a family-owned company this is a cause close to our hearts.”
To mark the launch of the partnership with ABF, the world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli took to the stage during the naming ceremony with 30 children from the Voices of Haiti, a talented choir of Haitian school students aged between 6 and 14 that brings music into the schools of the ABF and St. Luke Foundation for Haiti.
Bocelli commented: “The sea is a place of freedom; it is the guardian of fascinating wonders, of answers that help us grow. Being an artist means being an explorer. It is, therefore, a particularly joyful opportunity for me to bring on board my singing and most importantly the voices, joy and enthusiasm of the children’s choir the ‘Voices of Haiti”. This choir is the result of one of the educational projects carried out, in Haiti and beyond, by the Foundation bearing my name.”
MSC also announced a new partnership with Joe Bastianich the restaurateur, author and TV personality with thirty restaurants worldwide including New York City-based Babbo and Del Posto and Carnevino in Las Vegas. Bastianich will become the newest addition to the impressive line-up of internationally renowned chefs and restaurateurs partnering with MSC Cruises across its global fleet and will create a signature dish exclusively for MSC Seaside that will feature on the Elegant Night menu.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Carnival puts scents in a can for Caribbean promotion

Carnival puts scents in a can for Caribbean promotion

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Carnival Cruise Line on Wednesday set up a vending machine in New York's Greeley Square Park that dispensed cans filled with the scents of Caribbean destinations.
The novel promotion featured cans of Wild Banana Orchid from Grand Cayman, Puerto Rican Coffee from San Juan, Sugarcane Rum from St. Kitts and Island Coconut from Cozumel. The aluminium cans contained nothing but air and fragrance but could be "popped" like a traditional soft drink.
The vending machine, which also dispensed chances to win a free Carnival cruise, was set up in a heated tent. The promotion also featured a steel drum band and scents from the islands piped throughout the air.
Carnival said it developed the idea from research showing that that 95% of Americans agree that scent can trigger vacation memories and 56% agree that a scent motivated them to plan a vacation.
"Our #OpenFun campaign is designed to promote travel to the Caribbean by encouraging consumers to stop and smell the tropics, get a 'scents' of what a cruise experience might be like, and maybe win a cruise vacation," said Stephanie Esposito, director of digital marketing for Carnival Cruise Line.
The concept is part of the participatory and interactive marketing strategy pursued by Carnival chief marketing officer Kathy Mayor.
Winter is prime time for tropical tourism promotions in cold climates. Fort Lauderdale for several years advertised its beaches with a glass-enclosed flatbed truck that featured a real sand beach with a lifeguard stand and lifeguard.  The Florida Keys in 2014 dispatched a lime-green food truck to Toronto to hand out slices of key lime pie.

Bahamas Paradise: Ship Upgrades and New Vessel Named Grand Classica

Bahamas Paradise: Ship Upgrades and New Vessel Named Grand Classica

Grand Celebration

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line announced today that Grand Celebration will set sail with several new guest-focused enhancements later this month, including a new adult-only area, a revitalized casino, and speciality coffee and juice bar.
The ship will return to its regularly scheduled two-night sailings on December 23, 2017, from its homeport in West Palm Beach, Florida. 
The company also announced that its new vessel, set to arrive in April, will be named Grand Classica and will also sail two-night cruises to Grand Bahama Island. The ship is currently sailing as the Costa neoClassica. 
The company has recently signed a three-year agreement with the Bahamas to bring both of its ships to Grand Bahama Island for two-night cruises.
“We are pleased to have been able to assist those in need in the Caribbean. Now we are ready to return to offering memorable cruises to our guests. We are excited to welcome an even better Grand Celebration back to Palm Beach, just in time for the holidays, with several new spaces for our guests to enjoy,” said Oneil Khosa, chief executive officer of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. “We are also looking forward to the arrival of our new ship, Grand Classica, in April, and have strengthened our relationship with The Bahamas by signing a three-year agreement to bring both ships to Grand Bahama Island, thus offering daily arrivals to Grand Bahama Island and giving our guests added convenience to fit their schedules.
“Grand Classica will be a wonderful addition and complement to Grand Celebration,” said Khosa. “Having two ships sailing to Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line will be the largest provider of tourism to the island, carrying more than 500,000 passengers annually. It will also give our guests more flexibility and choice.”

Princess Announces 2019 Japan Cruise Program

Princess Announces 2019 Japan Cruise Program

Diamond Princess

Princess Cruises announced its 2019 program in Japan, featuring the Japanese-built Diamond Princess returning for her sixth season, sailing roundtrip from Tokyo (Yokohama) and Kobe.
The March-November 2019 season features 60 departures on 40 unique itineraries, visiting 41 destinations in seven countries, more ports than ever before.
"Japan is a culturally rich country with an abundance of local entertainment, historical sites and culinary experiences for our guests to embrace," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia group president. "Cruising is the best way to explore this island nation and Princess has been recognized the number one international cruise line in Japan."
Deployment includes first-time port calls at Gamagori, Himeji, Matsuyama, Niigata, Miyako and Takamatsu as well as nine departures during the popular Spring Flowers season, visiting many top cherry blossom and spring flowers sites throughout all of Japan.
Seven departures provide access to some of the most popular summer festivals in Japan including the Aomori Nebuta Festival, Kochi Yosakoi Dance Festival and Akita Kanto Festival, Princess said.
Three voyages include viewing of the Kumano Grand Fireworks Festival visible from the decks of the Diamond Princess, a display of over 10,000 fireworks
There are five voyages with late-night stays in Aomori during the Aomori Nebuta Festival, which features Nebuta float figures, traditional music, and many vibrant dancers, easily accessible on foot from the port.
And their voyages provide access to many August festivals including Akita Kanto Festival, Kochi Yosakoi Dance Festival and Tokushima Awa Dance Festival.
Variety of Southern Islands cruises allowing guests to experience a different climate and culture, with calls to the isles of Okinawa and Ishigaki or Miyakojima, and to Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan.
There are multiple circles Hokkaido cruises including late-night stays in Hakodate, home to the Mt. Hakodate cable car.
There is also a nine-day circle Japan or Sea of Japan voyages circumnavigating the country.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Carnival's Sending Sunshine to Charleston

Carnival's Sending Sunshine to Charleston

A sunlit Carnival Sunshine steaming to her next port-of-call
PHOTO: A sunlit Carnival Sunshine steaming to her next port-of-call. (photo courtesy of Carnival Corporation & plc)

Carnival Cruise Line is staying put in South Carolina.
The cruise liner is gearing up to homeport the Carnival Sunshine in Charleston. The newer and larger ship will replace the Carnival Ecstasy and depart from South Carolina year-round on four- and five-day voyages.
“With its convenient location and strong tourism appeal, Charleston is one of our most popular homeports and we’re delighted to build upon this success with the deployment of Carnival Sunshine,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, in a press release.
“Carnival Sunshine not only provides guests sailing from Charleston with a newer, larger ship with so much to see and do but also underscores our commitment to our year-round operations from this port.”
The 3,002-guest vessel boasts more elaborate amenities, including more than 550 staterooms with private balconies. Other grand features include a sizable WaterWorks aqua park and SportSquare recreation area, plus triple decker adults-only retreat complete with waterfall and pool.
“The decision by Carnival Cruise Line to homeport the Carnival Sunshine in Charleston is an important affirmation of their success and commitment to operations in Charleston,” added Jim Newsome, South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) president and CEO, in the release.
“SCPA’s cruise business is an important part of our maritime commerce mission and diversification of business segments. The Port succeeds through having world-class brands, such as Carnival Cruise Line, as its direct customers and looks forward to continuing this productive relationship.”
Approximately 220,000 passengers are expected to be carried onboard annually from the cruise port with each having a wide array of attractions to enjoy. The ship was dramatically converted from the Carnival Destiny in 2013 and now includes tons of dining and entertainment options ranging from the Havana Bar and Ji Ji Asian Kitchen to “Hasbro, The Game Show” and The Punchliner Comedy Club.
The ship’s new Charleston cruises will begin to set sail May 18, 2019. Four-day cruises will depart for Nassau. Five-day itineraries will head for Nassau and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay.
Terry Thornton, Carnival’s SVP of Itinerary Planning told TravelPulse:
“We’ve been working on this for at least a couple of years. We knew that Charleston market was a fabulous market. We’ve known it for a very long time, and we knew that there was plenty of demand to support a newer and larger ship. Between 2016 and 2017, we actually operated 11 different cruises on the Carnival Sunshine from Charleston and we learned so many things about improving the guest experience and making all of the logistics work well. But also what we learned was they were really really popular."
"They were very successful. The guest satisfaction ratings were very high, and so we knew we were onto a winner. So, it was time then to go ahead and bring the Carnival Sunshine to Charleston in May of ’19 and it brings so many things to the market that we haven’t had before.”
Of course, there’s still love for the older Fantasy-class vessel too.
“The Carnival Ecstasy that’s operating there now is a great ship," said Thornton, "and it’s doing very very well. But this will allow us to evolve in Charleston so it will bring a whole host of new features to the Charleston market: Everything from the dining which will now have a fully-functioning Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, Ji Ji Asian Kitchen, the BlueIguana Cantina and—a feature that people love across our fleet now—the Guy’s Burger Joint. Those are all going to be available on the Sunshine.
“It has a spectacular three-level Serenity adults-only section of the outdoor decks which people love. Families are really important to us in the Charleston market as they are across our fleet, and there’s so many things for the kids to do now: Everything from our really popular Dr. Seuss program to things we’re doing on all the outdoor decks now.
"But this has a really great water park. It has two large racing slides and the fully-functioning kids water park, and then we’ve just done a great job in terms of our children’s programming and so forth. So, it’s going to be really great for families.
“And one thing that the Carnival Ecstasy lacked that we really wanted to bring to the market were staterooms with private balconies," continued Thornton. "We have a hundred of them on the Carnival Ecstasy, but we’re going to have over 500 of them on the Carnival Sunshine. So, it’s going to just provide that feature that people love today—you know the fact that having a private balcony is very popular today and people want to be in their stateroom with the great views of the sea while the ship’s at sea.”
Besides the regular sailings, there will also be a special 11-day Carnival Journeys cruise available onboard during December 3-14, 2019.
“It goes to these kinds of great places: St. Thomas, Aruba, Bonaire—so we’re all the way down in the really deep part of the southern Caribbean—Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay, which is our private island in the Bahamas. So, it’s just a very unique thing," continued Thornton.
“We bring onboard a lot of the onboard programming and features that we used to do on our cruises back in time. We have the grand midnight buffet. We have the waiters with the white glove service at certain times. We call the daily program today the Fun Times. (Back in the day it was called Carnival Capers.) We’ve gone back to Carnival Capers. So, we bring back some of the features that we used to do a long time ago that our guests love and that still resonate with guests today, but it kind of has a throwback feel to it if you want to think about it that way.”

Norwegian Hits the NY$E

Norwegian Hits the NY$E

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A big change is coming to Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
Pending a shift from the Nasdaq Global Select Market to the New York Stock Exchange, ordinary shares of the parent corporation to Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises are anticipated to make the switch on December 19, 2017, while remaining under the existing “NCLH” ticker symbol.
“We are pleased to partner with the New York Stock Exchange as the new home for our stock listing and look forward to joining the collection of preeminent companies listed on the exchange,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, in a press release.
“This move marks the latest initiative in our continuous drive to increase our Company’s profile in the marketplace and enhance shareholder value by drawing on the NYSE’s unique competencies and capabilities which make it the ideal listing platform for our Company. We are grateful for the support Nasdaq has provided us over the last five years since our successful IPO and our inclusion in the prestigious Nasdaq-100.”
Until the transfer is finalized, Norwegian will continue to be traded on Nasdaq.
“We are delighted to welcome Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings to the NYSE community,” said NYSE President, Tom Farley, in the release.
“As the operator of three award-winning cruise brands — Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises — Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has been creating treasured vacation memories for its guests for over 50 years. We are committed to a long-term partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and its shareholders and look forward to being a valued partner in the company’s future growth by providing the highest quality markets and services.”

Costa Atlantica to Homeport in Shenzhen for 2018

Costa Atlantica to Homeport in Shenzhen for 2018

Costa Atlantica

Costa Crociere is making a big deployment move in China and announced earlier this week the Costa Atlantica will now homeport in Shenzhen starting in late January and continuing for the rest of 2018.
The move will help strengthen the company's position in Southern China, according to a press release. 
"The Southern China market is an important part of Costa's strategic plan in China," said Mario Zanetti, president of Carnival China. "In recent years, Costa has opened several routes, including sailing from Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Xiamen"
Starting on Jan. 28, the ship will launch its new program, offering a variety of itineraries, with six-day cruises to Japan, six-day cruises to Vietnam and six-day cruises to the Philippines.
Compared to other companies offering cruises in China, this Costa deployment features slightly longer itineraries. Most cruises offered in the Chinese market are four to five days.
Japan itineraries include two port calls, either Okinawa and the Yaeyama Islands or Okinawa and Miyako Island.
Shenzhen opened its new Prince Bay homeport facility last July and has since seen 118 cruise ships and 159,000 passengers, according to a statement. 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Radio star Elvis Duran named Norwegian Bliss godfather

Radio star Elvis Duran named Norwegian Bliss godfather

Norwegian Bliss godfather Elvis Duran speaking at an event Wednesday. Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Andy Stuart looks on. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin
NEW YORK -- Radio personality Elvis Duran, who hosts the popular "Elvis Duran and the Morning Show," will be the godfather of the upcoming Norwegian Bliss.
Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Andy Stuart presented Duran to a group of trade partners and media at an event here.
Duran said it was an honour to be named the ship's godfather. "We are so excited to partner with Norwegian Cruise Line," he said.
Duran's syndicated show is broadcast on nearly 80 stations, including top 40 station Z100 in New York, where the Elvis Duran team is based. The show also is available digitally on IHeartRadio, and it reaches more than 10 million listeners a month, Norwegian said.
"Over the next year-and-a-half at least, we've made a pledge to our listeners to include them in every aspect of our exploration of the Norwegian Bliss, inviting them to be a part of it," Duran said.  
The Norwegian Bliss, which will spend its summers sailing Alaska cruises from Seattle, enters service in April.

Andy Stuart on naming the Norwegian Bliss' godfather



Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Royal Caribbean deploying second ship to sail Cuba cruises

Royal Caribbean deploying second ship to sail Cuba cruises


Royal Caribbean International will add a second ship that sails a Cuba itinerary, along with two new Cuba destinations, starting in the summer of 2018.
The Empress of the Seas, currently sailing Cuba cruises from Tampa, will be redeployed to Miami. In addition to a five-day trip that visits Key West and overnights in Havana, the Empress will sail a seven-night "Best of Cuba" itinerary that includes Cienfuegos, Havana and Nassau, Bahamas. An eight-night cruise will include Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, Grand Cayman and Labadee, Haiti.
Meanwhile, the Majesty of the Seas will shift from Miami to Tampa next summer to assume the four- and five-day cruises that that Empress had been scheduled to do. It will move to Fort Lauderdale from November 2018 to March 2019.
"Cruising remains the easiest way to visit Cuba, and with both Empress and Majesty sailing there in 2018 and 2019, we hope to make it that much easier for adventure seekers to experience the legendary island," Royal Caribbean president Michael Bayley said.

MSC is betting big on U.S. cruisers

MSC is betting big on U.S. cruisers

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MSC Cruises may be relatively small in North America, so it is easy to overlook the magnitude of the line, which has a much bigger presence in Europe and also claims a large market share in South America.

A presentation by executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago aboard the newly-delivered MSC Seaside offered a broadside of statistics, some of which were eye-opening.

Vago said the 2 million passengers MSC expects in 2017 will take 1.8 million shore excursions, see 8,960 Broadway-style shows while onboard its 12 ships and consume over 50 million meals.

He said MSC has the most international passenger base of any cruise line with 170 nationalities represented. The line visits 86 countries on 194 different itineraries and calls at 199 ports (Carnival Corp. claims over 700).

Founded in Naples, Italy, MSC sells in 67 countries around the world, Vago said, and the average passenger is 45 years old.

Without saying which day it was, Vago also said that MSC's record for a single day of sales was 10,993 bookings.

The company, a subsidiary of Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Co., has 17,778 onboard and shoreside employees and expects to create 25,000 new jobs by 2026 as it proceeds with a $10.2 billion shipbuilding program.

To date, MSC has only had one ship in the North American market at a time, but that is about to change as its new ship, the MSC Seaside, joins the MSC Divina in Miami on Dec. 21. The 4,138-passenger Seaside is the first MSC ship to have an English name, and the first newbuild to be sent to North America directly from the shipyard.

By the fall of 2019, they will be joined by a seasonal deployment of the MSC Meraviglia, giving MSC three ships in Miami for the 2019-20 winter season with a weekly combined capacity of over 12,000 passengers.

And that doesn't count the two ships MSC currently operates for Europeans (and Canadians) from Havana, Cuba, or the ship it deploys seasonally from Martinique and Guadeloupe.

By 2019, MSC plans to have opened a private island near Bimini that will serve all of those vessels. 

At a ceremony to accept delivery of the Seaside from Italian shipbuilding powerhouse Fincantieri, Vago and Mediterranean Shipping Co. owner and chairman Gianluigi Aponte announced a contract would be signed for two more Seaside ships, each with capacity for 350 more passengers than the Seaside.

"We are determined to become one of the most important cruise operators," Aponte said.

Star Wars makeovers coming to Disney Fantasy cruises

Star Wars makeovers coming to Disney Fantasy cruises


Guests on the Disney Fantasy can be made over into their favourite Star Wars characters at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique during Star Wars Day at Sea sailings.
Kids (and adults, too) can get costumes, makeup and hairstyling in a 30-minute makeover to re-create them as Poe Dameron, Princess Leia, Rey and Kylo Ren, among others.
Children ages 3-12 can sign up for a $99.95 package that includes exclusive Star Wars Day at Sea merchandise, such as a personalized name tag, lanyard with medallion and magnet set. They also receive a cinch bag to take home.
Adults get a Star Wars-themed tee and face painting--along with accessories including a name tag, lanyard, medallion and stateroom magnet, for $54.95.
Star Wars Day at Sea returns to the Disney Fantasy from January to April 2018.

St. Maarten welcomes first cruise ship since Hurricane Irma

St. Maarten welcomes first cruise ship since Hurricane Irma

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The Viking Sea in St. Maarten. Photo Credit: RTGH Photography
St. Maarten has reopened as a port of call for cruise ships, three months after Hurricane Irma left the Dutch-French island in shambles. 
The Viking Sea sailed into St. Maarten on Dec. 4, followed by the Marella Discovery on Dec. 5. Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas will call on Dec. 17.
Signs of progress on the French side of St. Martin include the reopening of Tijon Parfumerie and the Spiga restaurant and the debut of Cafe Spiga in Grand Case later this month.
On the Dutch side, hundreds of villas are available for rent. Timeshare resorts Sapphire Beach Resort and Atrium Resort plans to welcome guests early in 2018, according to SXM Weekly News.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line unveils next-generation app

Norwegian Cruise Line unveils next-generation app

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Norwegian Cruise Line said the newest version of its mobile app is now available on the Norwegian Sky.
Called Cruise Norwegian, the app succeeds the current iConcierge app. The new app enables passengers to make reservations for shows, shore excursions and alternative restaurants, and purchase beverage or speciality dining packages. The app is also useful for finding one's way around Norwegian Cruise Line ships.
On embarkation day, the app will save time by allowing for paperless boarding, Norwegian said.
Onboard, passengers connect to the ship's WiFi and can call or send text messages to others in their party for a one-time fee of $9.95. Calls can be made off the ship through the app for 79 cents a minute.
Groups can organize meetups and share their favourite photos with everyone in their party with group messaging through the app. Passengers can also review their onboard account.
The new app will be available on the Norwegian Bliss when it launches next summer and will be available fleetwide by the end of next year.

MSC Meraviglia to sail three cruises from New York

MSC Meraviglia to sail three cruises from New York

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The 4,488-passenger MSC Meraviglia will come to America earlier than scheduled, sailing three cruises from New York in the fall of 2019.
The ship will sail two 10-night round trip Canada/New England cruises as well as a 13-night Caribbean cruise that ends in Miami.
As previously reported, after the Meraviglia arrives in Miami, MSC will have three ships in the Miami market in the winter of 2019-2020: the Seaside, Divina and Meraviglia.

Shipyard De Hoop scoops Celebrity Cruises expedition ship contract

Shipyard De Hoop scoops Celebrity Cruises expedition ship contract

Shipyard De Hoop scoops Celebrity Cruises expedition ship contract
A rendering of Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Flora, which is being built by Shipyard De Hoop
Celebrity Cruises has struck a contract with Shipyard De Hoop for the design and construction of an expedition cruise ship.
The 5,635 GT 100 passenger-capacity vessel, to be named Celebrity Flora will have a keel laying ceremony later this year and is due to be delivered in May 2019.
De Hoop said the cruise vessel is “optimised for experiencing the land and marine environment of the Galapagos in high comfort”. Celebrity Flora will be the first vessel to be built to two-compartment damage stability regulations and additionally complies with the relevant damage stability requirements planned for implementation during 2020. De Hoop said the vessel also commits to specific Galapagos National Park Directorate Regulations, whereby explicit environmentally low-impact features were applied.
As this vessel is expected to be stationary – in a bay or near one of the islands – for 66% of the operational time, “considerable thought went into the design and selection of equipment, allowing the ship to perform efficiently under dynamic positioning (DP)”. Combined with a zero-speed stabiliser system, the DP system will choose a heading to minimise the roll and heave motions on the vessel, significantly improving passenger comfort.
The power and propulsion plant of Celebrity Flora is duplicated and housed in two separate engine rooms.
De Hoop said the introduction of an advanced propulsion system, its hull configuration (improved with CFD calculations) and specially designed diesel engines, guarantee an average 25% reduction in hull resistance, 15% reduction of overall fuel consumption and equivalently fewer air emissions.
The ship’s bow shape features a straight, wave-piercing stem, with an integrated bulb at the waterline. De Hoop said, “This characteristic bow both reduces resistance in waves when in transit and saves energy when staying in position, due to the highly efficient short bow thruster tunnel.”

Monday, 4 December 2017

MSC and Red Bull Partner for Seaside Crew Appreciation Event

MSC and Red Bull Partner for Seaside Crew Appreciation Event

Shock the Dock

More than 1,600 crew, staff and officers from the MSC Seaside celebrated the upcoming launch of the cruise line’s newest ship with a crew-only event, Shock the Dock, held on November 21.
With panoramic views overlooking the Gulf of Trieste, Magazzino 42 – a renovated warehouse located in the Trieste terminal – provided an ideal location for the occasion.
The night of celebration, hosted by Red Bull, capped off months of hard work preparing the MSC Seaside for its December 2017 launch.
Shock the Dock
Live musicians, dance performances and a trio of international DJs entertained the crowd throughout the evening.
Bernhard Stacher, Vice President of Corporate Hotel Operations at MSC Cruises, commented on the first time partnership with Red Bull: “As this was the first time, our crew did not know what to expect. They 'were simply blown' away! It was an outstanding teambuilding and motivational event for the entire crew.”
Red Bull, the world’s leading energy drink, released the following statement from its global headquarters in Fuschl, Austria. “An event like Shock the Dock is our way of saying thank you to our cruise line partners and the men and women who make it possible for their ships to sail. Red Bull believes in supporting the people who support us and we know that no one works harder in this industry than the crew.”
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Next Vista-class ship to be named Carnival Panorama

Next Vista-class ship to be named Carnival Panorama


Carnival Cruise Line's new Vista-class ship debuting in November 2019 will be named the Carnival Panorama.

Vista-class ships are the largest constructed for the line and hold 3,954 passengers; the Panorama's sister ships are the Carnival Vista and the Carnival Horizon, which is set to make its debut in April.

The Panorama will feature a Havana section, complete with staterooms inspired by the tropics and a Cuban-themed bar and pool. It will have a Family Harbor section, as well, with larger accommodations and dedicated lounge. Also onboard will be a Cloud 9 Spa and the Ocean Plaza, a dining and entertainment venue with seating both indoors and outside.

Dining venues will also be located both inside and outside on the ship. The Panorama will have venues like the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Liberty Bar and Bonsai Sushi.

As far as entertainment, the ship will feature the Skyride, a bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction; a WaterWorks aqua park; and a SportSquare recreation area.

"Carnival Panorama is the perfect name to reflect the design inspiration of our Vista-class ships providing more venues and opportunities to connect with the sea," Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said. "Carnival Panorama will offer a wide variety of fun indoor and outdoor experiences along with exciting one-of-a-kind features that will provide our guests with a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories."

Carnival said the Panorama's homeport, itineraries and new features will be announced at a later date.

MSC Seaside offers sights, experiences unlike any other

MSC Seaside offers sights, experiences unlike any other

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MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato in the two-story Top Sail Lounge, part of the MSC Yacht Club luxury enclave on MSC Seaside. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
ONBOARD THE MSC SEASIDE -- When executives at MSC Cruises went looking for a design completely different from any other in the industry, they found it gathering dust in a desk drawer at the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri.
The line's newest ship, the MSC Seaside, was conceived 12 years ago by a visionary Fincantieri engineer, but it languished because no cruise line wanted it, according to MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato.
To start with, the ship's funnel was in the middle, not the back. That alone spooked buyers worried that soot would rain down on sunbathers gathered around the Deck 16 swimming pool behind it.
MSC likens the aft design to a Miami Beach condo. The suites there overlook a broad pool area on Deck 8. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
MSC likens the aft design to a Miami Beach condo. The suites there overlook a broad pool area on Deck 8. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
The design had an oddly narrowed tower of cabins in the back, opening space for a broad, uncovered promenade on Deck 8 and an expansive platform at the very aft where another pool was placed. A pair of glass-walled elevators connected the two pool decks.
When Onorato saw the plans, he knew he'd found something that wouldn't be mistaken for any other cruise ship afloat.
"This is what we wanted," Onorato said.
I had a chance to experience the nearly completed Seaside on a short cruise from Fincantieri's yard in Monfalcone, Italy, to Trieste, about 20 minutes away. I came away thinking that passengers are going to want to try this ship, which is just the response MSC is seeking in its ongoing bid for recognition in North America.
Start with that rear profile, which MSC likens to a Miami Beach condo. It wastes space extravagantly, but it looks very cool. And from my cabin on Deck 15, I could descend to poolside in about 30 seconds.
MSC intends to sail the Seaside in the Caribbean from Miami year-round starting on Dec. 23. The ship has what seems like acres of open space on the top deck, ideal for sun-searchers from cold climates.
Onorato said new exhaust scrubber technologies solve the soot problem. There's a giant LED screen for videos. And the pool on Deck 16 can be covered at night, creating a dance space beneath the tropical stars.
The midship funnel on the Seaside is the starting point for one of the ship's neatest features, a 344-foot zip line that threads riders through two sets of giant hoops before ending on an aft platform.
The four-story atrium features stairs with transparent steps embedded with Swarovski crystals and tiny lights. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
The four-story atrium features stairs with transparent steps embedded with Swarovski crystals and tiny lights. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
Several waterslides also start on the funnel structure, including one in which passengers ride a board that transmits electronic data, turning it into an interactive video game.
Inside, the design of the Seaside carries on some of the themes of MSC's first year-round North American ship, the MSC Divina. The Seaside has lots of shiny, sparkly metallic surfaces and an assertively neutral colour palette consisting mainly of white, black, grey and beige, with maroon in the carpets.
The levels of a four-story open atrium are linked by stairs that feature transparent steps embedded with tiny white lights and Swarovski crystals. Large LED screens with changing displays adorn the main wall of the atrium.
But the Seaside differs from the Divina, too.
The Seaside's MSC Yacht Club luxury enclave is larger and, unlike on Divina, it includes a restaurant. The two-story Top Sail Lounge has magnificent forward views. (If you're not staying in the Yacht Club, the Seaside has no public views from the bow).
The Deck 16 pool can be covered at night to turn it into a dance floor. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
The Deck 16 pool can be covered at night to turn it into a dance floor. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
There's a trio of speciality restaurants (seafood, steak and Asian) on Deck 16, which creates a foodie destination, according to Onorato. The theatre is smaller, but there will be more frequent shows, giving diners the flexibility to eat when they want and still catch the entertainment.
And then there's that promenade, which brings cruisers as close to the water as they're likely to get on a 4,138-passenger vessel.
Inside the ship, one sure-to-be-talked-about feature is the wall of liquid chocolate in the Venchi 1878 Chocolate Bar, which sends a sweet fragrance of chocolate wafting through several decks around it.
Although it is not entirely original, I liked the two-lane, full-size bowling alley in the arcade on Deck 7. I also enjoyed the Garage Club, a '50s car-themed room that is a teen club by day and a bar at night.
One thing yet to be determined on the Seaside is whether MSC has tailored the food and service to American sensibilities. Onorato said it has. He said past perceptions of indifferent service and Euro-centric foods are the legacy of a time when the North American market was an afterthought for Geneva-based MSC.
That changed several years ago, Onorato said, and the Seaside will reflect all that MSC has learned about appealing to North American passengers. The reality, he said, is that improvements have been made and should be evident onboard the Seaside.
"Obviously, it takes time for those improvements to be fully acknowledged by everyone," he said.