The Ovation of the Seas is in Zhoushan, China, for an unscheduled drydock at a COSCO-run facility, prompting the cancellation of the ship's the Sept. 21 and Sept. 26 cruises from Tianjin, China.
"We must conduct unscheduled maintenance on Ovation of the Seas," Royal Caribbean said in a statement released to Cruise Industry News.
"Unfortunately, this means our September 21 and September 26 cruises from Beijing, China must be cancelled," the company said. "Our booked guests will have the option to choose another sailing date on Quantum of the Seas or request a full refund of their cruise fare. The unscheduled work will help ensure guests continue to enjoy their time on board Ovation; there is no issue or concern with the seaworthiness of the ship. The decision was not taken lightly, and Royal Caribbean apologizes for the effect this adjustment will have on our guests’ vacation plans."
In April of 2017, Royal Caribbean was also forced to cancel sailings on the ship for “maintenance on components of the ship's propulsion system."
The UK’s cruise market is going from strength-to-strength with bargain-hungry Brits boosting the all-inclusive package concept.
Phil Evans, the founder and owner of Cruise Nation, said there is also a trend in the overall marketplace for long-haul products, which are “massively up over last year".
Evans told Cruise Industry News: “Consumers want great value for money, and while free drinks packages represent the best value in most cases, customers who do not drink are often left at a disadvantage, therefore it is important to give customers choices.”
Online agency Iglu’s commercial product director, Dave Mills, is upbeat about the fortunes for the UK market and explained that the market has moved away from a purely price-driven sector with cruise lines now increasingly offering a more all-inclusive product and having a lot more to do onboard which is, more often than not, included in the price.
“These all-inclusive packages are so popular right now. The more you have included and the more time you have to explain the experiences, the more interest we see,” Mills said. “Outside the cruising market, all-inclusive holidays are very popular and the cruise market looks like it’s joining this sector in some way.”
He added that the cruise lines have committed to offering ever better value in recent years and packages are effectively close to the final holiday costs outside the sector with guests not having to spend much once they are onboard.
All-inclusive packages can include shore excursions and, even if they are not included, Mills said that cruise lines are working hard to offer immersive, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, which can still be very good value for money.
Like Cruise Nation, Iglu is also seeing distinct trends appearing in the UK’s cruise market.
“There are some broader trends and we are seeing huge growth in the area of expedition cruises, where people are generally going on smaller ships but heading off the beaten track to destinations such as the Galapagos and Antarctica,” Mills said. “Perhaps this is down to people seeing programs such as Blue Planet on TV and then want to see the locations for themselves.
Another trend appearing for travel agencies is for Brits to book their cruise holidays further ahead than in recent years.
Evans noted: “There has been a significant shift so far this year to winter 2018-2019 and summer 2019. This is mainly down to the many early booking offers available; in some cases, it is cheaper to book a 2019 cruise over a 2018 cruise.
“We have also seen our customers book further ahead than they were this time last year; our average booking window is now nine months in advance.
“Overall cruise prices are increasing. Cruise lines are rewarding customers for booking early with the best prices and incentives. Whereas two years ago, customers were waiting until the last minute knowing that prices would be reduced and they would get a better deal.”
MSC Cruises Hosts Global Environmental Officers Conference in London
MSC Cruises yesterday kicked off its Global Environmental Officers Conference held at its Technical Maritime Centre in London.
This four-day recurring appointment brings together the company’s talent in the environmental space and aims at fostering even stronger environmental practices, MSC said.
Hosted in the offices of MSC Cruise Management UK, Environmental Officers from 15 MSC Cruises ships will share best practices, receive the latest updates on international and local regulations, and get fully familiarized with the latest environmental company policies and vision.
Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, who kicked off the Conference said: “Environmental stewardship has been a key focus for us since day one and we feel a great responsibility to conserve and protect the seas and the oceans. They are our most precious resource and together with other industry players, we are committed to protecting them. While our environmental policies are clear and precise, it is also important we have an empowered team of dedicated professionals who make sure our policies are effectively implemented and help us meet our environmental objectives.”
Emilio La Scala, President and Managing Director MSC Cruise Management UK added: “In light of the ever-evolving environmental framework, we want to make sure our officers are always abreast of our company practices and environmental policies. However, compliance is only a starting point for us and we are committed to always raise the bar along this journey, meeting or exceeding regulations. Our Company's success is dependent on the success of our officers and as our Company is expanding so rapidly, we also focus on attracting more top-notch talent in this space.”
During the Conference, the officers focused on subjects including MARPOL environmental requirements, and national and local requirements in specific geographic areas. In addition, the team further deepens their knowledge of wastewater treatment, emissions reduction, ballast water management, anti-fouling, and solid waste management.
The Global Environmental Officers Conference is part of a greater program to continuously elevate the importance of environmental matters across all company practices, MSC said.
In addition to this conference, the company hosts a series of environmental management training sessions for Deck and Engine Officers in its state-of-the-art training centre in Sorrento, Italy.
Carnival Horizon's arrival to PortMiami, its new year-round homeport, was marked today by a fun basketball-themed event featuring the company's Chief Fun Officer – NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal – along with Miami HEAT legends Alonzo Mourning, Shane Battier and Glen Rice, according to a press release.
The festivities, which took place prior to Carnival Horizon's inaugural two-day cruise, included the unveiling of a large Choose Fun bumper sticker on the ship's stern, as well as a flyover from the Carnival AirShip.
During the event, Carnival presented a $25,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital representing funds from an online promotion in which consumers who posted a photo of the AirShip in social media with the hashtag #ChooseFun triggered a donation to the hospital and entered them in a drawing for free cruises and other prizes.
"With its awesome top-deck attractions and a wide variety of al fresco dining experiences, Carnival Horizon is the ideal ship for the Caribbean and this event was a perfect way to celebrate her Miami arrival while benefiting the special children of St. Jude," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "And we've taken our Choose Fun tagline to the next level by putting a giant a bumper sticker on our newest ship proclaiming our never-ending commitment to FUN!"
Added O'Neal: "In my role as CFO, I get to tell everyone just how much fun you can have on a Carnival cruise and I was absolutely thrilled to be a part of the festivities for the new Carnival Horizon which takes the concept of choosing fun to entirely new level with so much to see and do for guests of all ages."
Following the two-day cruise, Carnival Horizon kicks off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from PortMiami beginning Sept. 22, 2018.
On its new Miami-based schedule, six-day cruises depart Sundays, calling at Ocho Rios; Grand Cayman; and Cozumel. Two different eight-day itineraries will be offered with departures on Saturdays – one featuring Grand Turk; La Romana (Dominican Republic); Curacao; and Aruba; and the other visiting Grand Turk; San Juan; St. Kitts; and St. Maarten.
Silversea has released additional details about its seven-continent World Cruise 2020.
The cruise will visit 62 ports as it travels from Fort Lauderdale to Amsterdam. It will incorporate many ‘soft expedition’ features, including a three-day Antarctic experience. Guests will have the chance to encounter penguins, seals, whales, and other wildlife. A team of nine experts will be on hand for lectures, workshops and Zodiac landings.
In the South Pacific, the cruise will call on the isolated Pitcairn Island, renowned for its connection to HMS Bounty. At Pentecost Island, guests will see a famous land diving ritual performed by locals to celebrate the yam harvest. And, on Champagne Beach in Vanuatu, guests will enjoy a local festival that includes a water dance.
Silversea’s World Cruise 2020 will also include several special events. In the lineup is an evening of tango in Buenos Aires; a performance of the Fremantle Perth Symphony at the Quarry Rocks in Perth, and a farewell dinner at the legendary Mansfield Traquair in Edinburgh.
“Our World Cruise 2020 will be quite unlike any world cruise that has ever set sail,” says Conrad Combrink, Silversea’s senior vice president of strategic development expeditions and experiences. “Our guests will enjoy an enhanced, luxurious onboard experience, which will leave them in want of nothing, as well as a seemingly unending range of unforgettable experiences, as they get closer to the authentic beauty of 62 spectacular destinations around the world.”
In December 2018, Silver Whisper will undergo a refurbishment inspired by the line’s flagship, Silver Muse. She’ll take on a fleet of eight Zodiacs specifically for World Cruise 2020.
“On a refurbished Silver Whisper and with access to a new fleet of Zodiac craft, guests will travel deeper on all seven continents,” says Andrea Zito, Silversea’s Senior vice president of technical operations and crew. “Each aspect of the renovation will be tailored with guests’ enjoyment in mind. From the scents and music that accentuate each space to the choice of films offered in suites, the attention to detail will ensure a truly unique onboard experience.”
Silversea has announced that two new ships will join its fleet. Silver Moon is due in 2020. Silver Dawn is scheduled for delivery in late 2021. Both will be sister ships to Silver Muse.
Hull art for Norwegian Encore (photo courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line) Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed the hull artwork for Norwegian Encore. Award-winning Spanish artist Eduardo Arranz-Bravo has created the design for the ship, which debuts in Miami in November 2019.
The artwork will feature colours inspired by the artist’s life by the sea in Barcelona.
“Norwegian Cruise Line is a dynamic, pioneering company known for its innovative experiences and breathtaking collection of beautifully designed ships,” said Arranz-Bravo. “I am honoured to not only bring that vibrancy to life even more on Norwegian Encore but also showcase my love for the ocean and my hometown of Barcelona.”
The president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Frank Del Rio, has long admired the work of Arranz-Bravo.
“We are well-known for our iconic hull designs and know that Arranz-Bravo’s lively design will complement the colourful destinations in the Caribbean that Norwegian Encore will visit when she debuts next year,” said Del Rio.
Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief executive officer, Andy Stuart, similarly welcomed the artist’s contribution to the ship.
“Eduardo’s design will be a perfect complement to the collection of hull artwork within our fleet and is a testament to the dynamic experience our guests will have on board,” said Stuart. “We are proud to welcome him to our Norwegian Cruise Line family.”
The 4,000-passenger Norwegian Encore will complete the Breakaway-Plus class, the most successful class in the line’s history. The ship is under construction at Meyer Werft, in Papenburg, Germany. The ship will begin operations on November 17, 2019, cruising out of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean.