Friday, 15 November 2019

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines unveils new patchwork livery on flagship 'Balmoral' to raise awareness of Suffolk Hospice campaign

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines unveils new patchwork livery on flagship 'Balmoral' to raise awareness of Suffolk Hospice campaign

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has unveiled a bright new patchwork livery on its flagship, Balmoral, to help to raise awareness of a fundraising campaign in aid of Suffolk-based St Elizabeth Hospice – ‘Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk’.
In line with the Fred. Olsen ethos of continual improvement and upgrading of its fleet, Balmoral has been adorned with an eye-catching new patchwork livery. The vibrant pattern was chosen by Peter Deer, Commercial Director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, to reflect the cruise line’s support of the ‘Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk’ campaign, based around the children’s picture book character, ‘Elmer the Patchwork Elephant’, created by David McKee.
The ‘Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk’ art project – to raise funds for Ipswich’s St Elizabeth Hospice – will be bringing 55 large Elmer sculptures and 85 ‘young Elmers’ to the county town in Summer 2019, and follows on from the hugely successful ‘Pigs Gone Wild’ trail in 2016. The Parade is once again being run in conjunction with public art event specialists, Wild in Art, and new partner, Andersen Press, who have published ‘Elmer’ for 30 years.
Starting with its flagship, Balmoral, the unique patchwork design will be rolled out across Fred. Olsen’s three other ocean ships – Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch – over the coming months.
Fred. Olsen has commissioned its own ‘top secret’ sculpture for the campaign, designed by talented Trimley artist, Angela Ashford. The ‘big reveal’ of Fred. Olsen’s design will take place when the ‘Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk’ art trail gets underway officially on 15th June 2019.
Peter Deer, Commercial Director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines said:
“St Elizabeth Hospice provides a vital service within our community, and has provided invaluable support to many of our colleagues and their families over the years, so we are so proud to be supporting ‘Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk’ as our major local charity campaign in 2019.
“The Hospice needs to generate £10.5 million to run every year, less than a quarter of which comes from the NHS. While we are already sponsoring and commissioning our very own Elmer sculpture for this Summer’s ‘Big Parade’, we wanted to go one step further and do more to promote the work of the Hospice and just how important this campaign is – and what better way to catch everyone’s attention than by showcasing the bold, bright patchwork colours of Elmer on our beautiful flagship, Balmoral, and across the rest of our cruise fleet?”

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines to revamp three ships

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines to revamp three ships

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Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is sending Braemar, Balmoral and Black Watch into dry dock this winter in preparation for the 2020-21 season.

All three will receive new public areas and cabin improvements during their revamps, taking place from now until December 21 at Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany.

In addition, a number of cabins on 804-passenger Black Watch will receive bathroom upgrades.

On Balmoral, an Oriental Room will be added on deck six, where teas and Far Eastern-themed cocktails and drinks will be served.

A photo gallery and flower shop will also be installed on to the 1,325-passenger ship.

More: Fred Olsen Cruise Lines targets ‘exploration’ cruise growth

 Fred Olsen Cruise Lines targets new audience with Channel 4 ads

Engineering works, general maintenance and other refurbishments will also be carried out.

Braemar entered dry dock on Thursday and will return to service on November 24 when it sales a nine-night French, Belgian & Spanish City Overnights cruise from Southampton.

Balmoral will enter the yard on December 10 before emerging 10 days later, while Black Watch will go in on December 11 and come out on December 21.

The line’s fourth ship – 880-passenger Boudicca – will go into dry dock in autumn next year.

Peter Deer, managing director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines said: “We are very proud of our smaller, classic cruise ships and we recognise the importance of investing in ongoing upgrades to ensure that our guests can continue to enjoy them at their very best.

“Our refreshed and the renewed fleet has been very well-received by both new and existing guests following the last round of improvements at Blohm+Voss in 2017 and 2018, and we are keen to showcase the latest enhancements to our guests before Christmas.”

Royal Caribbean and Azamara ‘considering’ moving UK teams to the US

Royal Caribbean and Azamara ‘considering’ moving UK teams to the US

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Royal Caribbean Cruises is “considering” moving some of Royal Caribbean International and Azamara’s UK non-sales departments to the US.

The company is proposing splitting some staff into separate teams for those two brands so they can “laser focus” on their passengers and destinations.

The proposed shake-up focuses predominantly on markets where Royal Caribbean, Azamara and Celebrity Cruises operate collectively on a “tri-branded basis”.

Royal said this will have “no impact” on sales teams in the UK and Ireland, which are already “single-branded”.

A Royal Caribbean Cruises spokesperson said: “Under the proposal, we are considering relocating some non-sales UK departments from Royal Caribbean International and Azamara to Miami.”

More: Anthem of the Seas to return to Southampton in 2021

 Royal Caribbean names new Oasis-class vessel

Celebrity Cruises’ non-sales staff in the UK and Ireland are not affected by the proposal.

“The relationships we hold with our trade partners in the UK and Ireland are critical for our present and future success and the proposed changes will bring consumer insights benefits to the market going forward,” the spokesperson added.

80s Cruise Aboard Royal Caribbean’s Explorer.
Image result for 80s cruise royal caribbean 2020"

Growing up as a teenager in the 80s was a lot of fun, so who wouldn’t jump at the chance to re-live it all over again on a cruise?
The clever people at Floating Festivals realised there was a big demand from all those who were missing the big hair, outrageous fashion and brilliant music of that iconic decade – and to help us celebrate it, they created a Throwback 80s cruise.
80s cruise: Royal Caribbean
On a Throwback cruise, you can dress up in full 80s style with your mates

When you’re rocking your favourite look from that era, pretty much anything goes. I went back to my mod days with a two-tone outfit on night one, while my friend channelled her Club Tropicana past in a loud Hawaiian shirt and suitably 80s garish make-up.
Too much? No, not nearly enough. As we stepped out into the atrium of Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas, we were surprised and delighted to see whole gangs of people dressed in matching 80s outfits that looked absolutely fantastic.
Our favourites included burly men doing their finest Freddie Mercury, complete with high heels and Hoovers, a gang of Richard Geres from An Officer and a Gentlemen, half a dozen Pac Men and a posse of mums and daughters dressed to the nines as Robert Palmer’s backing band (how they managed not to smile, just pouting when anyone walked by, is still a mystery to me).
80s Cruise: Royal Caribbean, Explorer of the Seas
Party at sea on an 80s cruise

The whole scene felt like a friendly fancy dress party, with everyone stopping off to admire each others’ outfits. The atmosphere was electric with hairspray, cheap jewellery and enough make-up to put Boots out of business. And that was just the men.
But a retro fashion show at sea was only the beginning. We were all there to see the bands from our youth, and Friday night kicked off in style with UB40. Yes, we might be in our 50s and 60s, but we haven’t forgotten our 80s dance moves, we still remember
all the words, and soon the crowd was yelling along to Red, Red Wine. Happy days indeed.
The night was still young, and Club Tropicana beckoned. Decade revivalists Coyote’s 80s Mixtape were on stage blasting out some classic tunes from Toto, Tina Turner and Prince, swiftly followed by a great DJ set from mullet legend Pat Sharpe (sadly, without his signature haircut these days).
80s cruise: Royal Caribbean
Your outfit can’t be too bright for neon night

Everyone went a bit bananas, singing at the top of their voices, necking Pina Coladas and bottles of Corona and remembering the sheer joy of their 80s youth.
The following morning there were more than a few sore heads on board, but having left the dance floor at a relatively sensible 1am, my friend and I decided to step off the ship and look around Le Havre.
There’s always one port call on the Throwback cruise – last year it was Bruges – and although the destination isn’t really the point, this was my first visit to Le Havre, and I was impressed.
I loved the amazing Brutalist concrete cathedral (not to mention some melt-in-the-mouth croissants and excellent coffee), though quite what the well-dressed locals thought of the sudden influx of Brits in pink legwarmers is anyone’s guess.
80s cruise: Royal Caribbean
These ladies had the 80s look down to a T

Back on board, there was real excitement in the air as everyone headed off to get ready for the neon night and a chance to see the legendary Sister Sledge live. The crowd glowed brightly in the dark and the band played a killer set with disco favourites including We Are Family and Lost In Music getting everyone to their feet.
Running these cruises over the weekend is a great idea, as everyone really goes back in time, remembering what it was like to live (and dress up for) the weekend.
80s cruise: Tony Hadley
Tony Hadley struts his stuff on stage

By Sunday night, everyone on board couldn’t wait to see Tony Hadley play live. During the day we’d been kept entertained by the brilliant Bootleg Blondie (complete with real Blondie drummer Clem Burke) and 80s comedian Bobby Davro hosting a crazy round of bingo. But make no mistake, Tony was a big attraction here.
And boy, did he play a great set. Opening with Spandau Ballet’s first single, To Cut A Long Story Short, he had the crowd in raptures with spine-tingling renditions of Through the BarricadesTrue and Gold. His voice is still amazing and he’s a great raconteur, too, even stopping to congratulate one couple who had got engaged on the ship.
Channelling our 80s New Romantic selves, my friend and I were up and dancing from the very first song – as were the Oompa Loompas behind us.
80s cruise: Bootleg Blondie
Bootleg Blondie wowed the crowds on board

As you’d expect from a Royal Caribbean ship, our cabin aboard Explorer of the Seas was great and the food was plentiful and tasty, but this cruise is more about the sheer joy of getting dressed up with your mates, having fun and celebrating one of history’s best decades for fashion and music.
Beg, borrow or steal a ticket for next year’s Throwback, and I’ll see you on the dancefloor…


Viking Sky report says stricken ship nearly ran aground

Viking Sky report says stricken ship nearly ran aground

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The Viking Sky cruise ship came within a ship's length of running aground on shoals off the coast of Norway during a violent storm last March, according to an interim report on the incident from an investigative board.
The 750-foot Viking Cruises ship was trying to sail from Tromso to Stavanger when all three of its operating engines shut down and a blackout ensued, leaving the ship adrift.
The report from Norway's Accident Investigation Board found that lubricating oil levels in the engines were far below the levels recommended by the engine manufacturer.
It said the levels were maintained at 28% to 40% capacity, while the recommended level was 68% to 70%.
"The diesel generators shut down as a result of the loss of lubricating oil suction due to low sump tank levels, combined with pitching and rolling," investigators concluded.
The shutdown occurred in an offshore area called Hustadvika, which pilot manuals describe as "extraordinarily dangerous."
With no propulsion, Viking Sky drifted toward the rocky shore. The captain issued a mayday call, which led to a helicopter rescue operation that evacuated 479 passengers from the 930-passenger ship.
The captain concluded the seas were too dangerous to order passengers into lifeboats. He lowered both anchors to stop the drift, but the anchors failed to hold. The report said the ship "passed over or in immediate proximity to 10-meter (33-foot) shoals before propulsion could be reestablished."
The ship has a draft of 6.65 meters (nearly 22 feet).
After 24 minutes of the blackout, engineers added oil to the engines and eventually restarted them but had to manage the electrical load manually, a difficult challenge, the report said. The ship was manoeuvred toward open waters, with both anchors still lowered.
The interim report recommends that ship owners and operators ensure that engine lubricating oil tank levels are maintained in accordance with the engine manufacturer’s instructions and "topped up in the event of poor weather being forecast."

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Two cruise lines regroup after Caribbean setbacks

Two cruise lines regroup after Caribbean setbacks

The Norwegian Sky in Havana in a 2017 photo.
Norwegian Sky outside Havana Port, Cuba.
Two cruise companies affected by sudden upsets in the Caribbean and Bahamas region are slowly regaining their footing.
For Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), the big blow was the abrupt end to U.S. cruises to Cuba in June. NCLH had bet heavily on Cuba's reopening, scheduling not only short cruises on its contemporary Norwegian Cruise Line brand but longer visits by its two premium brands, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
As detailed in a conference call with investors, the U.S. government decision to shutter Cuba with no advance warning hit NCLH third-quarter earnings big-time.
"Given the suddenness of the termination and the lack of lead time we had to make any meaningful fleet redeployment changes, the third quarter bears the largest negative earnings impact from the Cuba travel ban," said Frank Del Rio, the company's CEO.
The hit was more than $47 million.
Overnight, high yielding routes to Cuba for the Norwegian brand turned into low-yielding routes to the Bahamas. And several months later came Hurricane Dorian, which made its own dent in NCLH's earnings through cancelled sailings and reworked itineraries.
Del Rio said Norwegian plans to redeploy half of its Bahamas capacity to higher-yielding areas such as Alaska, the eastern Mediterranean and Asia, and will slowly get out from under the Cuba aftermath.
Even more impacted by Dorian than Norwegian was Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, whose only destination is the Bahamas.
It suspended its two-day sailings to Grand Bahama for most of September, filling in the time by providing much-need relief and evacuation services.
The silver lining, of sorts, is that Dorian forced Bahamas Paradise into a new market, Nassau, which was not much affected by the storm. It now runs one of its ships from West Palm Beach to Grand Bahama and the other to Nassau.
Bookings for Nassau started slow, said Francis Riley, senior vice president of sales and marketing, but are now on par with those to Grand Bahama. Part of the attraction is the Cruise & Stay program where guest can vacation for two or four nights at one of four Nassau hotels:  Atlantis, The Melia, the Comfort Suites Nassau or the SLS Baha Mar.
Bahamas Paradise has a similar program in place on Grand Bahama with the Lucayan, which has reopened, and the Viva Wyndham, which plans to reopen Dec. 10.
Unlike Norwegian, Bahamas Paradise doesn't have plans to go elsewhere, and it is busy selling the Bahamas to Canadians and New Yorkers, who have just started getting the frosty temperatures they can look forward to until next spring.

MSC Cruises brand campaign to support Wave push

MSC Cruises brand campaign to support Wave push

MSC Cruises brand campaign to support Wave push


MSC Cruises is to launch a new brand campaign designed to support the trade during the peak Wave sales period.

Launching in January, the campaign – The Sea At Its Most – will appear on TV, in newspapers, on the line’s digital platforms and out-of-home displays.

Music to accompany the campaign has been created by Italian composer Ennio Morricone.

The line’s UK and Ireland managing director, Antonio Paradiso (pictured), said the campaign will help agents to “present cruise in a different way” to the customer.

Speaking as new ship MSC Grandiosa called in Southampton, he said: “The new brand campaign is supposed to support your daily business. You are travel agents, so you know the complexities of selling a cruise to customers.

More: MSC Cruises ‘very close’ to fulfilling UK market ambition

 MSC Cruises delays the opening of a private island

“We always have high expectations for Wave and in Q1 we have the opportunities to get the message out and we know that the customers are more willing to buy a holiday.

“Over the years, we have been challenging those misconceptions and stereotypes about the cruise industry. We always focus on the word ‘cruise’ but we forget we are selling a holiday.

“[The campaign] will help present cruise in a different way and reduce all those questions about what it is really all about.”

Earlier, chief executive Gianni Onorato outlined plans for the line to carry three million passengers in 2020 and hit 5.5 million by 2027, by which time 12 more ship is expected to have been added to the fleet.

“We will continue to build ships and be as innovative and creative as we can,” Onorato said.

Anthem of the Seas to return to Southampton in 2021

Anthem of the Seas to return to Southampton in 2021

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Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas will return to Southampton in 2021 as part of the line’s new European programme.

The Quantum-class ship will offer ex-UK itineraries to a range of destinations including Norway, the Canaries and the Western Mediterranean.

Prices for the nine-night sailing, departing from Southampton on June 11, 2021, calling at Stavanger, Kristiansand and Geiranger, all Norway, lead-in from £1,187.

Oasis-class ship Harmony of the Seas will sail seven-night Western Mediterranean itineraries out of Barcelona alongside Vision of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas.

The lead-in price for Harmony’s seven-night Western Mediterranean sailing departing from Barcelona on July 11, 2021, is £1,000. Ports of call include Palma de Mallorca, Marseille and Naples.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

MSC Seaside Set for Starring Role in Season Six of Family Travel

MSC Seaside Set for Starring Role in Season Six of Family Travel

MSC Seaside
MSC Cruises has announced that travel celebrity Colleen Kelly and her family will set sail with the MSC Seaside on a cruise to the Caribbean for Season 6 of the PBS show Family Travel with Colleen Kelly.
The sixth season takes the Kelly family to Caribbean hotspots including Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; and Nassau, Bahamas and will offer tips for family vacations throughout the U.S. and abroad, a company statement said.
“The MSC Seaside is an ideal ship for families seeking a fun and enriching vacation,” said Ken Muskat, EVP and COO of MSC Cruises USA. “With the debut of Family Travel with Colleen Kelly, we’re thrilled that PBS viewers will have the opportunity to get a first-hand look at the varied programming and experiences MSC Cruises, and specifically the MSC Seaside can provide for multi-generational families.”
The MSC Seaside sails year-round from Miami to the Caribbean.

Norwegian Builds Global Sourcing Strategy

Norwegian Builds Global Sourcing Strategy

Double Norwegian Call in the Azores (Photo: Antonio Simas)
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) is pursuing a global passenger sourcing strategy for its European cruises.
Said Frank Del Rio, President and CEO, on NCLH’s Q3 earnings call: “Our sailings in Europe has benefited from our global sourcing model and the go-to-market strategy that allows us to source the best or highest yielding guests regardless of where they come from.
“North American guests comprise the majority of the guests for our European sailings, and the second-largest contingent of passengers on these cruises come from Asia, Australia and South America.
“We know that guests that fly a long way to cruise are higher-yielding guests than those that drive their car or take a bus or a train to the port.”
“But not withstanding issues in Europe, booked ticket revenue for passengers sourced there were up 43 per cent year-over-year,” Del Rio added, who cited the company’s Free at Sea promotion introduced seven months ago. Guests can choose up to five “free” offers, including beverage packages and speciality dining.
For Q3 2019, NCLH’s European capacity was up 13 per cent over the same period last year.

Norwegian Encore will have guests on their feet

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Norwegian Encore outside Meyer Werft where she was built.

NEW YORK -- The Norwegian Encore arrived here Monday to make its debut as the newest Norwegian Cruise Line ship and take a bow as the last in the Breakaway Plus class.
Travel sellers who have seen any of the Encore's sisters -- the Escape, Bliss or Joy -- will be familiar with the basic layout of the ship. But there are always modifications to each ship in a class, and so it is with the Encore. Norwegian has added a chic new restaurant, Ondo by Scarpetta, and brought on new evening entertainment. 
The ship is also notable for being the last to be delivered to president and CEO Andy Stuart, who is leaving the company and will be replaced in 2020 by Harry Sommer.
In an interview on board the Encore, Sommer said the Norwegian brand was "in a great place," and a priority would be to "spend more time on that marketing message to really have guests understand what a fascinating experience, a fantastic vacation a ship like this represents.
A popular feature of the Norwegian Bliss is the Speedway race track, where passengers can drive go-karts. Photo Credit: Dave Jones
"I credit Andy for creating experiences -- a combination of ships, restaurant choices and activities onboard -- that really provide a wonderful vacation for our guests," Sommer said. "We're not changing that."
A two-day, pierside preview of the Encore was conducted for travel partners, VIPs and media ahead of the ship's repositioning to South Florida. 
The experiences on the Encore appear at first glance to be tilted toward active ones. The aft sections of the top decks are devoted to activities like the Speedway, a fast-paced, go-kart ride that got its start on the Norwegian Joy. Waterslide options include the Ocean Loops, which, as its name suggests, drops riders down a tube that twists up and down and beyond the edge of the ship. 
Norwegian describes the laser-tag section as "laser tag meets augmented reality" set in Atlantis. 
On Deck 17 are the Galaxy Pavilion, a room with multiple virtual-reality games, simulator rides and an escape room.
Even the evening performance in the Encore Theater was active in a sense. "Choir of Man" features about a dozen young men singing and playing contemporary and classic hits in unique and fun ways under the pretence of hanging out in an Irish pub. In the hour-long show, the performers sing (occasionally in beautiful a capella harmony), dance and play live instruments. As I said, it was active: The show brought the audience to its feet for two standing ovations.
A view of the Norwegian Encore's midship pools.

A view of the Norwegian Encore's midship pools. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin
However, the Encore isn't all about heart-racing activity. The ship also has a large observation lounge that wraps around the forward section of Deck 15, where there are couches, loungers and nooks galore for relaxing with a Kindle and a coffee (a Starbucks shop is located on Deck 6). Or if the sun is what passengers desire, there is the Vibe Beach Club, which occupies the topmost Deck 20 of the Encore. Additional relaxation options are offered to Haven passengers in an exclusive zone of the ship. 
As far as dining options, the Encore introduces Onda by Scarpetta, an a la carte Italian restaurant. There are about 20 eateries on the Encore, from old favourites like Le Bistro, Cagney's Steakhouse and Teppanyaki to relatively newer entrants such as Ocean Blue and the Food Republic.
#ncl #NorwegianCruise #NorwegianEncore #MeyerWerft #cruise #cruiseship #tappanyaki #nclbliss #nclescape

MSC Cruises delays the opening of the private island

MSC Cruises delays the opening of the private island

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MSC Cruises has delayed the opening of its private island Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve over concerns the destination is not ready to host passengers.

The line will now welcome passengers to the island in the Bahamas on November 20 after scrapping four calls.

MSC had planned calls on November 9 on MSC Meraviglia, November 15 on MSC Seaside, November 16 on MSC Meraviglia and November 17 on MSC Armonia – all with paying passengers on board.

Speaking on board MSC Grandiosa on Tuesday, Antonio Paradiso, the line’s the UK and Ireland managing director, said: “The launch has been pushed back because the experiences were not quite up to the standard that we wanted it.

“We have given ourselves an extra 10 days to make sure that the guest experience is in line with what an MSC product is. It is a brand new island so it will take time.”

More:  MSC Cruises reveals details of a private island

MSC Cruises set to open Bahamas ‘Marine Reserve’

Paradiso said Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve – which is 65 miles off the coast of Miami – showed how MSC Cruises was taking sustainability “seriously”.

“We have had hundreds of people planting the trees on the island and a coral keeper who is in charge of restoring the coral to help bring the fish back,” he said. “We are bringing back nature.

“The idea is to show our customers the natural beauty of a bohemian island.”

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will feature eight beaches, including the main beach where water sports will take place.

Lectures on the work the line has done on the former sand excavation site will be available on the island for visiting passengers.

Every MSC ship sailing from Miami on a Caribbean itinerary will call at Ocean Cay.

MSC Cruises ‘very close’ to fulfilling UK market ambition

MSC Cruises ‘very close’ to fulfilling UK market ambition

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MSC Cruises’ UK boss says the line is “very close” to fulfilling a long-term ambition to have a 10% share of the UK cruise market.

In late 2017, the line pledged to one-day sell one in every ten cruises taken by the UK and become “a leading international player” within five years.

Antonio Paradiso, the line’s the UK and Ireland managing director said MSC currently has 7.9% of the market but believes a lengthened MSC Magnifica would add a further 90,000 berths to the market in 2021.

Speaking on new Meraviglia-Plus class ship MSC Grandiosa in Southampton, Paradiso said: “I am really confident that by 2022, MSC will be the number one international cruise line in this country. We are getting very close to that.

“We’re are at about 7.9%, so we’re getting there. A big boost will be when MSC Magnifica will sail out of Southampton [in summer 2021].”

Southampton will be MSC Magnifica’s only embarkation port when it is based in the UK in summer 2021.

Paradiso said: “It is a great opportunity for the travel agents. [Magnifica] alone will boost our production by 90,000 passengers.”

The line also has plans to further bolster its growing sales team in 2020. Paradiso said he would recruit for a strategic account manager – a new role – early next year.

“The strategic account manager will help [head of retail] Andrea Stafford strengthen the relationship with all the head offices in the UK and some important key accounts,” he said.

Paradiso said the sales team expansion goes “hand in hand” with the growth the line was experiencing in the UK.

MSC launched MSC Bellissima earlier this year. MSC Grandiosa is 16 metres longer than the Meraviglia-class ship.

On Grandiosa, the line has exhibited an art collection on a ship for the first time, expanded its French Bistrot L’Atelier Bistrot and launched two exclusive Cirque du Soleil shows onboard.

The line has welcomed around 4,200 UK agents across its fleet since the launch of MSC Bellissima in Southampton in March this year.

Ship visits would be arranged when MSC ships called in the UK and Ireland, said Paradiso, who added: “One thing we do very successfully is fam trips every year which are normally fly-and-cruise out of Barcelona or Rome which allow agents to spend time onboard.

“The ex-UK sailings represent a good portion of our business. However, the Mediterranean is still the number one destination for the UK market.

“It is important that agents get to experience the ships that we have in the Med.”

From 2023, the line will launch four 64,000-ton luxury vessels which have yet to be named. Paradiso said the name would be announced between March and April next year.

“The first step would be to announce the brand,” he said. “We will disclose a bit more information about the luxury ships that we are building. The UK will be one of the first countries in the world to go on sale.”

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Watch the Norwegian Joy Transit the Panama Canal

Watch the Norwegian Joy Transit the Panama Canal

Joy Canal Transit

The Norwegian Joy has made her inaugural transit of the famed Panama Canal as the 2017-built ship was in the Canal on October 22.
It is the first of six transits for the ship this season, including two partial transits, part of 29 transits from neo-Panamax vessels scheduled for the 2019-2020 season, according to a statement.
The season kicked off earlier this month as the Island Princess was the first cruise ship through the Panama Canal to mark the start of the 2019-2020 season.
The Norwegian Joy is a sister ship to the 2018-built Norwegian Bliss, and both vessels are the largest cruise ships to have sailed through the Panama Canal at 333 meters long and with a beam of over 41 meters.
Following her debut in Alaska this summer, the Joy is offering Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages during the winter 2019-2020. 
Ten more vessels will make their first Panama Canal transits this season, including the Norwegian Dawn, Ponant’s Le Dumont D’uwille, P&O's Ventura, the Carnival Glory, Scenic Eclipse, Flying Clipper, Seven Seas Splendor, Hanseatic Inspiration, Hanseatic Nature and the Greg Mortimer.

Video:

El Norwegian Joy de @CruiseNorwegian cuenta con circuito de carreras, simulador de realidad de virtual que incluye la famosa película Star Wars y muchas otras amenidades.
Para esta temporada, se espera un total de 29 tránsitos de cruceros neopanamax por el Canal de .
See Canal de Panamá's other Tweets

Steel Cut for Carnival's First China-Built Ship

Steel Cut for Carnival's First China-Built Ship

Carnival's China Newbuild?Aida Cruise.

Steel was cut last week for Carnival Corporation's first-China built ship, now under construction at Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co Ltd facility., and due for delivery in the second half of 2023, according to Chinese news sources.
At the steel cutting ceremony, a rendering and vessel model was unveiled, which appear to show a Vista-class ship with a dual AIDA/Costa funnel, and sporting an AIDA livery.
Carnival's China newbuild project is part of a joint venture, with the ships set to go to a yet-to-be-named domestic brand in which Carnival is a partner with China State Shipbuilding Corporation. Fincantieri is also involved, having licensed the Vista-class platform.
Further information about the domestic brand has yet to be revealed.
Carnival's China Newbuild?
The joint venture calls for the transfer of existing vessels (two Costa ships) and then the newbuild project, with orders firmed up for a pair of 135,000-ton Vista-class ships, and an option for up to four more.
The contracted price is reported to be $770 million per new vessel.
Steel Cutting

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Carnival and Royal Caribbean join forces to develop St Lucia cruise facilities

Carnival and Royal Caribbean join forces to develop St Lucia cruise facilities

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Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises have signed an agreement to construct a new cruise terminal on the island and manage its existing facility.

The cruise giants signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saint Lucian government on Tuesday to form a joint venture for the project.

The cruise line brands account for 75% of all cruise ship deployment to the island.

The joint venture will manage and operate the current cruise pier and terminal facilities at the Port of Castries and design, finance, build and operate a new cruise port in Vieux Fort on the southern part of the island.

Prime minister of Saint Lucia Allen Chastanet said the agreement marked “a major step towards enhancing” the country’s tourism offering.

He said: “Saint Lucia has had record-breaking cruise arrivals over the past few years and we thank our partners Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean for their continued confidence in our amazing destination.

“It is essential that we continue to diversify what we have to offer, grow our brand and ensure that different sectors in our island’s economy benefit from the growth in cruise tourism and that Saint Lucians can benefit from the opportunities which arise from the increased numbers; which means we have to improve our capacity.

“This signing is historic, as this project will have a major impact on the sustainability of the cruise sector and the reach of cruise tourism to the south of the island. This will also mean employment at several phases of the project, the expansion of existing businesses and the formation of new enterprises.”

Giora Israel, senior vice president of global port and destination development for Carnival Corporation said: “This is an exciting day for our guests who already love the beauty and deep culture of Saint Lucia and an important step in sustaining cruise tourism growth for the island.”

Michael Bayley, president and chief executive of Royal Caribbean International said the cruise market is the fastest-growing sector of tourism and in the next decade cruising in the Caribbean is anticipated to grow by 40%.

Zero Emissions Target: First LNG Cruise Ship to the U.S.

Zero Emissions Target: First LNG Cruise Ship to the U.S.

Mardi Gras
Anticipating the first LNG-fueled cruise ship to sail out of a U.S. port, Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras, Tom Strang, senior vice president of maritime affairs for Carnival Corporation, told Cruise Industry News that the company has worked closely with Port Canaveral, the LNG supplier, the Coast Guard and other stakeholders, paving the way.
“There were little formal rules existing on ship-to-ship bunkering,” he explained, “so together with Shell and Port Canaveral, we have agreed to follow the standardized processes we developed for our bunkering operations in Europe, in Tenerife and Barcelona. Our LNG ships pretty much share the same technical platform enabling us to follow the same processes and procedures.”
Strang noted that crew and officers have been trained in the bunkering operation at CSMART where Carnival built a full-scale mock-up bunkering rig.
In addition, an engineering simulator was built for training purposes, and pilots also travelled to CSMART to learn how the ship will handle.
Explained Strang: “With LNG, the rate of loading of the engines is slightly slower with a gaseous fuel than with conventional fuel, but working with the engine manufacturer, the shipyard and Valmet’s automation engineers, we have been able to negate any major issues.
“Also, if there is an emergency and full power is needed immediately, the engines will switch over to diesel and you get an immediate response.”
In addition, some MGO has to be burnt routinely to keep it moving through the tanks, he added. It is also used as a pilot fuel for the LNG.
Bunkering by barge in Port Canaveral, the process for the Mardi Gras will take about six to eight hours, according to Strang. That is longer than conventional bunkering, and the goal is to find ways to speed up the process, while obviously maintaining safety, he noted.
LNG will take Carnival all the way to IMO’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target as far as the newbuilds are concerned. “We have 21 new ships on order,” Strang said, “and 10 of them are LNG, after the AIDAnova, which entered service late last year.
“The percentage of the fleet with LNG will be high. Later we will also see how we can continue to reduce our carbon emissions by potentially introducing biogas or synthetic gas into the supply chain.”

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Funchal Set To Be Towed to Liverpool

Funchal Set To Be Towed to Liverpool

Funchal
According to industry sources, the classic 1961-built Funchal will soon be towed to Liverpool as new owners Signature Living have made the final payment on the vessel.
“Their plans have changed again and they will not be locating her in Ibiza as previously reported,” said a source familiar with the situation.
Thus, Signature Living plan to tow the ship to Liverpool, refurbish her, and then find a permanent spot for the vessel in the UK as a hotel vessel.
Last December, the vessel was sold at auction for 3.9 million euro to Signature Living, a UK hotel operator.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

In a first, Carnival to base four ships in Galveston

In a first, Carnival to base four ships in Galveston

As the Carnival Radiance, the ship will have 115 additional cabins plus new bars and restaurants.
As the Carnival Radiance, the ship will have 115 additional cabins plus new bars and restaurants.
The Carnival Radiance will be deployed in Galveston in the spring of 2021, putting four Carnival Cruise Line ships in the Texas port year-round for the first time.
The Radiance is the current Carnival Victory, a ship that will undergo a $200 million bow-to-stern renovation and name change.
In Galveston, the Radiance will be joined by the Carnival Breeze, currently sailing from Port Canaveral, as well as the Carnival Dream and Carnival Vista. Together, the ships will carry an estimated 900,000 passengers a year.
In a 38-day drydock, the Radiance will get a Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, a Bonsai Sushi, a RedFrog Pub, and the first Big Chicken restaurant created by Carnival's chief fun officer, Shaquille O'Neal.
Starting May 14, 2021, the Radiance will alternate five-day Galveston cruises to Mexico with three different nine-day itineraries as well as a pair of eight-port 14-day Carnival Journeys cruises.
The 7-year-old, 3,690-passenger Carnival Breeze will become the largest ship to operate a short cruise program from Galveston. The Carnival Dream will shift to six- and eight-day Caribbean voyages while Carnival Vista will continue with seven-day Caribbean cruises.

Report Shows Cruising’s Growing Appeal

Report Shows Cruising’s Growing Appeal

Bahamas, cruise, ship
PHOTO: Cruise ships at a port in The Bahamas. (photo via Brand X Pictures / Stockbyte / Getty Images Plus)
Cruising continues to grow in popularity with the American public.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) estimates that by the end of 2019, approximately 30 million people around the world will have set sail on a cruise, and it’s likely that Americans make up a sizable chunk of those choosing to cruise.
In 2017, CLIA found that nearly 12 million cruisers were from the United States, making it one of the leading markets.
New research from YouGov also revealed a strong appetite for cruising among U.S. travellers.
The survey found that three in 10 (31 per cent) of Americans had been on a cruise and one in six (16 per cent) plan on taking a cruise within the next 12 months.
In addition to knowing how many people have cruised, the YouGov analysis reveals travellers’ intent to cruise.
The survey found that 6 per-cent of Americans say that it will be their first time cruising. Twelve per cent indicated that they have been on a cruise before and plan to take another cruise within the next 12 months—market size of 31 million people. There are 46 million Americans who say that they have been on a cruise but do not plan to take one in the next 12 months, and 64 per-cent (approximately 160 million) Americans have not been on a cruise before and don’t plan on going on one within the next 12 months.
Within the never-cruised segment, there are a few important data points. These non-cruisers are likely not taking a vacation in 2019, but many could be considering travel in the coming year.
Among total cruisers, demographics give insight into who is looking to cruise in the future. Seven per-cent of first-timers were millennials, 8 per-cent were Gen-Xers, 4 per-cent were baby-boomers, and 1 per-cent were silent generation.
When it comes to repeat cruisers, 16 per-cent were millennials. Eleven per-cent were Gen-Xers, 10 per-cent were baby boomers, and 12 per-cent were silent generation.
Those who lapsed a year or more between cruises were most likely to be silent generation cruisers at 32 per-cent. Baby boomers made up 23 per cent of this group, Gen-X was 17 per-cent and millennials were 14 per cent.
The YouGov survey also found that first-time cruisers were more likely to be African American, live in cities and more likely to vacation with their children. Two in five are parents with children under the age of 18 and more than one-third have travelled for business and leisure this year.
When targeting this group, go beyond traditional social media. Ads in podcasts, movie theatres and billboards catch the attention of first-timers.
Couple taking a selfie on a cruise ship
PHOTO: Couple taking a selfie on a cruise ship. (photo via michaeljung/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
Like first-timers, a family is a big consideration for repeat cruisers. Many are parents and many more bring family members with them when they cruise.
YouGov found that repeat cruisers were more likely to look to advertisements when choosing which cruises to take and preferred ads tailored to them. Social media advertising was also more appealing to the repeat cruiser and they most frequently use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Cruising is more popular with East Coast and travellers in southern states, likely because the proximity to homeports simplifies travel. Regardless of location, however, cruising’s ability to act as an intersection between experiential travel and innovation and convenience appeals to a wide variety of Americans.