Canada Effectively Cancels Its Cruise Season, Expanding Ban Through October
Halifax in Nova Scotia.
Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian authorities have effectively cancelled the rest of the 2020 cruise season in Canadian waters by banning any ships with overnight accommodations allowed to carry more than 100 persons from operating in Canadian waters until October 31, 2020.
The order came down via the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau.
The news cancels the Alaska season except for U.S.-flagged vessels and will put a stop to the late summer and early autumn fall foliage sailings in Canada/New England. It will also impact expedition operators in the Arctic.
"Our Government is committed to protecting Canadians, particularly during these challenging times. It is for that reason I am announcing updated measures for cruise ships and other passenger vessels in Canada, which includes prohibiting larger cruise ships from operating in Canadian waters until October 31, 2020. Our Government continues to work with other levels of government, transportation industry stakeholders, and Indigenous peoples to re-examine measures and to ensure Canada's transportation system remains safe and secure during this time. We are all in this together," said Garneau.
As of July 1, 2020, all other passenger vessels must follow provincial, territorial, local and regional health authority requirements for timelines and processes to resume operations, the government said.
Passenger vessels with the capacity to carry more than 12 persons continue to be prohibited from entering Arctic coastal waters (including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik and the Labrador Coast) until October 31, 2020.
Beginning July 1, 2020, passenger vessels will be allowed to operate in inland rivers and lakes in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon.
Oil and Gas Refugees Are Being Courted By Clean Energy in Texas
By Brian Eckhouse and David Wethe (Bloomberg) –Jeff Bishop’s LinkedIn post gets right to the point: “Houston Oil & Gas Folks — we’re hiring in Texas” for jobs in cleantech.
His company, battery developer Key Capture Energy, is making the pitch even as tens of thousands of renewable-energy jobs have dried up amid the coronavirus pandemic. That’s because Bishop and a handful of other clean-power executives see an opportunity to recruit talent from the oil and gas industries, which have been even harder hit.
While there are plenty of overlapping skills, it wasn’t always easy for clean-power companies to lure top talent from oil and gas. Wind and solar were young and niche industries that tended to attract environmentalists. Now they’re big energy, and they appeal to a wider class of workers. Since publishing the post two months ago, Bishop has received about 200 applications.
“We’ve always wanted oil and gas folks,” said Bishop, Key Capture’s chief executive officer.
When boiled down, much of oil, gas, wind and solar is about building projects and selling the output. That requires workers with backgrounds in geology, land acquisition, engineering, finance, asset management and energy contracts.
“We are hiring oil and gas refugees for sure,” said Christian Fong, CEO at Spruce Finance Inc. The solar company moved its headquarters from San Francisco to Houston two years ago to recruit more energy veterans. It plans to boost its staff by 30%, or 20 people, during the second and third quarters.
Clean power already has momentum in Texas. It’s long been the top wind-power state in the U.S. Solar has been booming. Houston plans to power all of its city-owned properties — from fire stations to airports — with renewable energy. And now the city’s mayor is trying to bring two Elon Musk companies to the city — Tesla Inc. and SpaceX — in his push to broaden the city’s economic base beyond oil.
“We’re having to make certain adjustments,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “It’s about the energy transition.”
To be clear, clean-power companies aren’t even close to being in a position to absorb the nearly 90,000 fossil-fuel jobs shed in March and April, including drillers, frackers and refiners. Renewables companies shed nearly 96,000 of their own jobs during that period as lockdowns put rooftop solar installations and other larger projects on ice.
But while some furloughed clean-power workers are already being called back to work, the pain in the oil patch continues as the industry suffers its worst downturn ever as the pandemic cripples demand.
On Wednesday, Chevron Corp. said it’s planning a 10% to 15% reduction in its global workforce this year, the biggest recent cut to headcount yet among global oil majors. It comes after oil-services giants Halliburton Co. and Schlumberger Ltd. have already made steep jobs cuts, including in Texas.
In the end, clean-power executives say they’re confident they’re better-positioned to bounce back and ultimately prevail in the struggle for the future of energy.
“We clearly see renewable energy coming out as a relative winner from this COVID crisis,” analysts from Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. including Deepa Venkateswaran wrote Friday in a note to investors. “The COVID crisis will result in an acceleration of decarbonisation initiatives.”
In some instances, the pay is even better in clean power. The median hourly wage for a mid-career wind-industry worker is now $29.79, above the $26.67 for oil, according to the U.S. Energy & Employment Report from the Energy Futures Initiative and the National Association of State Energy Officials.
“Before 2020, I had never heard of any firm specifically hiring from oil and gas into advanced-energy companies,” said Nat Kreamer, CEO of the trade group Advanced Energy Economy and a founder of the solar giant Sunrun Inc. “Now you look at a place like Texas with so much work to be done in renewables and so little work to be done in oil & gas — it’s obvious.”
Houston-based Sunnova Energy International Inc. has hired oil and gas workers before, and CEO John Berger expects to hire more. 8minute Solar Energy is looking for oil and gas people with experience in power trading, greenfield development, land acquisition and mineral rights, according to CEO Tom Buttgenbach.
“Ten years ago, the idealistic change-the-world folks were attracted to clean energy,” said Bishop, whose company has installed three 10-megawatt storage projects in Texas. “Today, we still get some of the change-the-world folks, but it’s an increasing number of team members wanting stable jobs in a growth industry.”
Storylines Pick Up Project Manager, Names Newbuild
Storylines, which is poised to build a new residence cruise ship, has announced Dr Paul Read as the newbuild project manager.
Read is CEO of Gelen Marine Ltd and has over 25 years of experience in shipbuilding and conversions, according to a press release.
He is a chartered Naval Architect and Marine Engineer with comprehensive experience in project management, engineering design and ship construction. Read will project manage and oversee the engineering, design and construction of the Storylines newbuilds.
The company said Read has been aboard for over three months, working closely with the designers, classification, shipyards and engineers to assist in the timely delivery of the company's first ship, now named the Narrative.
"I’m excited to be heading up this unique project with all the challenges it brings at this current time and looking forward to seeing this fantastic ship take shape." Read said.
CMV Has Booking Momentum for Baltic and St. Petersburg for 2021
Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) is seeing growing interest in cruise holidays sailing to the Baltic cities and St. Petersburg in 2021, according to a press release.
CMV’s fleet of smaller to medium-sized cruise ships sail from a range of UK ports including London Tilbury, Newcastle, Portsmouth and Harwich to Baltic destinations, according to the company, with a nine-night cruise departing October 17, 2021, from Portsmouth is available from just £699 per person, included in the buy one, get one free offer the company is pushing.
The Baltic cruises include "Hidden Baltic Treasures" sailing from London Tilbury April 11 for 12 nights onboard CMV’s Marco Polo visiting Holland, Denmark, Germany with an option to see Berlin, Lithuania and Poland.
A number of CMV cruises to the Baltic include an overnight stop in St. Petersburg. The Columbus sails June 5, 2021, from London Tilbury on a 14-night Baltic Cities and St. Petersburg itinerary. This itinerary also includes Copenhagen, Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm. Fares are available from £1135pp. The Columbus sails on a similar itinerary on September 16 2021.
Gibraltar Steps Up for Crew Repatriation for Royal Caribbean
The Port of Gibraltar has played a key role as a gathering place for Royal Caribbean Cruises vessels to move crew between ships as the company works on its repatriation efforts for its global fleet.
The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo of Gibraltar has recently exchanged letters with Royal Caribbean’s Director of Port Services EMEA Alessandro Carollo, following the successful repatriation of Royal Caribbean crews from Gibraltar, according to a press release.
In his letter to the Chief Minister, Carollo wrote that "communities like Gibraltar are rare gems of humanity in such difficult and unprecedented times’ and expressed ‘sincerest gratitude for your [Gibraltar’s] cooperation, support and professionalism."
Looking to the future, Carollo noted that "Royal Caribbean has been historically supporting Gibraltar as a destination for its guests, and will continue to do so when regular cruising will restart."
In his reply, the Chief Minister promised that "Gibraltar will be here to welcome you back, and we look forward to doing so for many years to come."
With the global cruise fleet in a temporary and extended service pause, take a look at these top cruise photos from expert photographer Oceanliner Pictures (by Oliver Asmussen), which is the largest cruise ship photo archive for photos of cruise ships, interior photos and maritime travel, currently with over 780,000 photos.
Princess Cruises will be the first U.S. Carnival Corporation brand to integrate with CVC Corp, the largest travel group in Latin America.
This development was designed by Discover Cruises, which is part of Discover the World, which provides sales and marketing support for Princess Cruises in Brazil, Argentina, Hungary, Paraguay, South Africa, Uruguay and West Balkans.
This new agreement allows agents and customers in the entire Latin American region access to all of Princess inventory. It includes 18 ships with more than 170 itineraries around the world and pricing in Brazilian Reais and an instalment program. Agents and customers will have 24/7 access to CVC Corp.
"We are so excited about the new partnership with CVC Corp, which allows travel agents and our customers to see the rich, real-time content we will be able to share with them," said Trey Hickey, Senior Vice President International of Princess Cruises. "With over 5,000 unique points of sale locations, this end-to-end connection will represent the single largest integrated network of travel agents anywhere in the non-English speaking world for Princess Cruises. The CVC Corp integration is the first of many more steps planned to improve our share, not just in Brazil, but across the entire LATAM region. We truly believe LATAM will become Princess Cruises largest fly-cruise source market in the world."
Headquartered in Brazil, CVC Corp is comprised of seven different companies: CVC (the leader in the vacation and leisure travel segment), Sumarino Viagens (online leisure and business travel agency), Rextur Advance (corporate travel in the B2B segment), Trend (corporate and leisure travel distributed through independent agencies), Experimento Intercambio Cultural (courses and cultural exchange programs abroad) Esferatur (corporate travel in the B2B segment) and Visual Turismo (leisure travel focusing on ecotourism, honeymoon travel, resorts and charming and luxury accommodations. In 2009 CVC Corp acquired two of the most important travel companies in Argentina, the BIBAM Group and Ola Turismo. Last year, they acquire another company in Argentina, the Almundo Group.
Sticking to lockdown washing routines could cut Britain’s long-term carbon footprint
Changes to our daily routines as a result of lockdown could shrink the nation’s carbon footprint by reducing pressure on energy demand at peak times
EDF estimates that if a third of households continue to use their dishwasher and washing machines at non-peak times, annual CO2 emissions could reduce by half a million tonnes - equivalent to more than 750,000 cars switching to electric vehicles
8 in 10 Brits keen to see lifestyle changes that have had a positive impact on the planet continue post-lockdown
Changes to our daily household routines could have a long-term positive impact on our carbon footprint – as data from EDF reveals households continuing to take care of chores throughout the day could reduce the need for fossil-fuelled generation at peak times once industries power up again.
Historically, households created additional demand for energy at peak times, typically between 4 and 7pm, as people returned home from work and started to tackle these day-to-day chores at the same time. However, since lockdown began, demand for energy throughout the day has smoothed.
The data, released as part of work by the low carbon electricity supplier to assess the impact of lockdown routines on energy efficiency, estimates that if just over a third of households continue to use their dishwasher and washing machines at non-peak times in the future, as they have been doing during the lockdown, annual CO2 emissions could reduce by half a million tonnes – the equivalent to more than 750,000 cars switching to electric vehicles (EVs)*.
The announcement comes as consumer research** undertaken by EDF reveals 8 in 10 of us are keen to see environmentally-friendly lifestyle changes continue after restrictions are lifted.
The study of 2,000 UK residents found that lockdown restrictions have caused the nation to reassess the impact of their daily habits on the environment, with 40% planning to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint post-lockdown, rising to 51% of those under the age of 34. The most popular steps were:
Walking more (67%)
Recycling more (52%)
Purchasing more locally produced products (47%)
Using the car less (46%)
Unplugging electronic devices when not in use (37%)
The reduced pollution levels resulting from dramatically fewer vehicles on the road have also sparked an increased interest in EVs, with 1 in 5 (19%) more likely to consider switching to a low emission EV in the future.
78% of people believe we can all do more to reduce our carbon footprint once restrictions are lifted. However, despite the potential impact on CO2 emissions, less than a third (31%) are aware that the time of day they do household chores, such as washing dishes and laundry, impacts their carbon footprint.
There is a strong demand for more advice on living greener, with nearly two thirds (62%) wanting information about how to reduce their carbon footprint.
In Doral, the company said as part of its Carnival Cruise Line division, 181 individuals will be laid off and 379 will be furloughed.
Among The Lay Off Position Titles (181 In Total)
5 Administrative Assistants
5 Executive Administrative Assistants
10 Senior Analysts
Over 20 Manager Titles
19 Director Titles
14 Vice President titles
Senior Vice President, Nautical and Port Operations
On a corporate level, the company said it will layoff 96 workers and furlough 56 starting on June 1, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the titles are nine senior analysts, various administrators, three senior directors, eight directors, three senior managers, 14 managers, the senior vice president of retail, and six vice president positions.
Shearings Holidays owner Specialist Leisure Group has entered into administration after failing to secure a rescue deal.
As well as 117-year-old Shearings, Specialist Leisure Group was behind agency Wallace Arnold Travel, National Holidays, UKBreakaways, Caledonian Travel, Sportingbreaks.com, Bay Hotels, Coast & Country Hotels and Country Living Hotels.
With the current travel restrictions in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, there were only a “small number” of customers overseas on package holidays, the Civil Aviation Authority said.
However, the company had more than 64,000 bookings – the majority coach package holidays – Abta said, confirming they would be financially protected with customers due to a full refund.
‘It’s crucial to save summer’, says industry coalition
A statement posted on the company’s website this evening said: “The Specialist Leisure Group entered administration on May 22, 2020.
“All tours, cruises, holidays and hotel breaks booked with the Specialist Leisure Group have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.”
Chief executive Richard Calvert said: “This is a terribly sad day for employees, customers and commercial partners of the Specialist Leisure Group (SLG) and its subsidiaries which have entered into Administration.
“The effects of Covid-19 on our 117-year old company and the wider travel industry have been devastating.
“In the most trying of circumstances, over these past few months, we have fought tooth and nail to save the Group and the jobs of our 2,400 loyal employees serving over 1.1m customers annually.
“It is heart-breaking that the required funding or investment could not be secured to get us through this unprecedented crisis in order to save SLG to and our amazing travel brands.”
SLG confirmed last month that it was in discussions with stakeholders, advisors and the government “to weather the storm of Covid-19”.
Reports at the time said the majority of Shearings’ employees were currently furloughed and said 2,600 jobs would be at risk should the company fall into administration. It had put a pause on new bookings before entering administration.
Shearings Holidays was the UK’s largest escorted tour operator and traced its roots to 1903 when Smiths Happiways was established in Wigan.
It offered holidays to 170 destinations in the UK, Europe and Worldwide, including coach tours, rail holidays and river cruises.
Main stakeholder Lone Star Funds took control of Shearings in 2016, and the company rebranded as Specialist Leisure Group in 2018.
Shearings and Wallace Arnold were both members of Abta. Bookings with Wallace Arnold Travel, which acted as an agent for other suppliers, will go ahead as normal except where bookings have been made with other companies within the Specialist Leisure Group.
John de Vial, director of membership and financial services at Abta, said: “The Specialist Leisure Group included two of the UK’s best-known coach holiday brands, Shearings and National Holidays, two much loved holiday companies who for many years have provided holidays both at home and overseas to a very loyal group of customers.
“Today is a very sad day for these customers and the thousands of staff who will have lost their jobs.
“The fact that two such well-known brands with a loyal customer base have had to call in administrators is a stark indication of the pressure that the holiday industry is under as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Abta has repeatedly highlighted to the government the urgency of the situation and the need to set out a coordinated strategy with clearer communication if it wants to help avoid significant job losses and support companies to weather the storm.”
Atol spokesman Andrew McConnell said: “This is a particularly sad day for customers and employees of Shearings Holidays Ltd, longstanding business and well known UK travel company.
“The company specialised in coach packages and other types of holiday bookings, however, there are a small number of consumers with flight-inclusive packages, which will be ATOL protected. For these bookings, we will be contacting consumers directly or via their agent to provide guidance and support.”
National Holidays and UK Breakaways were members of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, which confirmed affected customers would be due a full refund.
Chief executive Graham Vidler said: “This is a sad day for all those involved with Shearings and the wider coach tourism industry, our immediate thoughts are with those employees who now face an uncertain future. Today’s events show the need for the government to urgently step in and provide support to the wider coach tourism industry, during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been lacking to date.”
Shearings: Advice for customers
Customers with forward bookings for Shearings Holidays, National Holidays trading as Caledonian and Travel Style, UK Breakaways and Shearings Hotels trading as Bay Hotels and Coach and Country Hotels should click here and follow the instructions on how to progress a claim.
For customers with an ATOL certificate, customers should click here to start the refund process.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd has reported a net loss of US$1.4 billion for the first quarter of 2020.
The parent company of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea paused all operations amid the global Covid-19 pandemic on March 13.
In a trading update today, the company said the pandemic was expected to have hit production at shipyards, meaning delays to new-build Royal ships.
RCCL said the pandemic had led to the cancellation of 130 sailings, which equated to a 20% reduction on its planned sailings and was 17% down on last year’s programme.
The company posted a profit of $249.7 million in the first quarter of 2019 and said it expects to report an overall net loss in 2020.
RCCL withdrew its full-year trading guidance in March, and the update noted: “The magnitude, duration and speed of Covid-19 remain uncertain. As a consequence, the company cannot estimate the impact of Covid-19 on its business, financial condition or near or longer-term financial or operational results with reasonable certainty.”
It expects non-operating expenses of between $590 million and $610 million for the remainder of the year.
Bookings for the remainder of 2020 are “meaningfully lower” than 2019 with lower prices, RCCL reported but noted that before the pandemic took hold it was in “a strong booked position and at higher prices” than 2019.
Looking ahead, it said “the booked position for 2021 is within historical ranges when compared to the same time last year” with 2021 prices “up mid-single digits compared to 2020”. The company stressed it was “still early in the booking cycle”.
RCCL brands had offered customers booked on cancelled cruises either a cash refund or future cruise credit note and said that, as of April 30, 2020, approximately 45% of guests had requested cash refunds.
As of March 31, 2020, the company had $2.4 billion of cash in customer deposits.
RCCL estimates its cash burn to be, on average, in the range of approximately $250 million to $275 million per month while operations are suspended but noted it had “taken significant actions to enhance its liquidity, preserve cash and secure additional financing”. These included securing a $4 billion increase in financing and knocking $3 billion off its 2020 capital expenditure.
“We have taken swift and substantial actions to bolster our financial position by significantly reducing our operating and capital spend and leveraging our strong balance sheet to raise additional capital,” said Jason Liberty, executive vice president and chief financial officer.
As of April 30, 2020, the company had liquidity of approximately $2.3 billion all in the form of cash and cash equivalents, RCCL reported. And on May 19, 2020, it completed a $3.3 billion senior secured notes offering, improving its liquidity position by approximately $1 billion.
RCCL noted that as of May 19, 2020, the expected debt maturities for the remainder of 2020 and 2021, are $0.4 billion and $0.9 billion, respectively.
“Responding to the dramatic change in business conditions caused by COVID-19 has required focus, dedication, ingenuity and improvisation from all our people, and their efforts have been nonstop,” said chairman and chief executive Richard Fain. “We understand that when our ships return to service, they will be sailing in a changing world. How well we anticipate and solve for this new environment will play a critical role in keeping our guests and crew safe and healthy, as well as position our business and that of our travel agent partners to return to growth.”
RCCL is due to complete its repatriation of crew members to their home countries, and said the company’s future focus now turns to four key principles:
Battle Over World’s Biggest Wind Turbine Is Heating Up
An illustration of GE’s Haliade-X 12 MW wind turbine. Image courtesy GE
By William Mathis (Bloomberg) — Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA, the Spanish wind turbine manufacturer, is to build what will be the world’s biggest windmill, by the thinnest of margins.
The 14-megawatt machine with a rotor diameter of 222 meters (728 feet) will be just two meters bigger than General Electric Co’s own massive turbine. It’s another sign that size matters when it comes to the rapidly growing market for green power from offshore wind farms.
Since GE debuted its own 12-megawatt Haliade-X turbine in March 2018, the machine has racked up numerous orders, including for the world’s biggest offshore wind farm that will be built off the coast of England, and cut into the business that’s been dominated by Siemens Gamesa and to a lesser extent by MHI Vestas Offshore Wind A/S.
The Siemens Gamesa turbine, which the company’s calling SG 14-222 DD, will be ready for a prototype in 2021 and commercially available in 2024. With the new machine cutting off GE’s claim on the world’s biggest windmill, Siemens Gamesa will be well-positioned to solidify its position as the market leader.
“My ambition and the ambition of Siemens Gamesa is to stay above 50% of world market share,” Andreas Nauen, chief executive officer of Siemens Gamesa’s offshore business, said by phone. “That requires winning at least half of all projects in the world, winning more than everyone else together.”
The company is already in advanced talks with a number of potential customers for the first orders of the new machine, with announcements expected later this year, Nauen said.
Competition among manufacturers is intense because each wind farm is so large and there are relatively few of them compared to wind farms on land. For developers competing to win government contracts to build the wind parks, the turbine they choose is one of the most important decisions.
The new turbine from Siemens Gamesa will increase annual energy production by 25% compared to their largest machine today, the company said.
Still, while the new Siemens Gamesa turbine will be slightly bigger than GE’s machine, whether or not it’s ultimately the most powerful is still unknown because adjustments can be made to turbines to enhance their output.
Siemens Gamesa said it’ll be able to make its new turbine have a capacity of 15 megawatts with something it calls a Power Boost feature. While GE’s Haliade-X is marketed as having a 12-megawatt capacity, the platform could be easily adjusted to have a 14-megawatt capacity or even more, according to BloombergNEF wind analyst Tom Harries.
While turbines have grown rapidly in recent years, it’s not clear how much bigger they will get. Technically, it would be easy to scale-up further, but the supply chain wouldn’t be able to keep up, said Jeppe Funk Kirkegaard, head of structural blade design for offshore at Siemens Gamesa. There’s also the issue of having enough vessels big enough to install the giant machines.
NCL Holdings says cruisers eager for exotic sailings
Oceania Cruises' Marina.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) said that consumers are booking cruises to far-flung destinations in 2021, with Japan and Dubai among the top itineraries, along with several world cruise segments.
NCLH CEO Frank Del Rio said during the company's earnings call that for its Oceania and Regent brands, demand for those itineraries in the first and second quarters of next year indicates that people will be willing to take long-haul flights.
"And so, this notion that people aren't going to want to cruise to faraway places or exotic destinations, what we're seeing is defying that," he said. "So we're not seeing any particular area of strength other than these Japanese itineraries, these world cruise segments that are sold out, literally."
Del Rio also said during the call that he anticipates it would take about six months to resume service across its entire, three-brand fleet.
"The return to service of a phased approach of roughly five vessels per month is what we believe we operationally could handle in terms of bringing back the ships from cold lay-up, including re-crewing the vessels etc.," Del Rio said. "Given that we have 28 vessels if you bring back an average of five vessels a month, it's going to take about six months to get all ships back operating."
During the earnings call, Del Rio said that timeline assumes that the itineraries those ships would operate are available.
"So the six-month ramp-up assumes more than anything else our operational capability to ramp up and that the ports are open," he said.
Del Rio said that consumer demand is not a concern.
"We believe consumer demand and the bookings that follow are based on our ability to market, travel agents being back open again, the whole industry being back in operation as opposed to sitting idle," he said. "There is pent-up demand, let's not forget that. People only talk about the negative, but the fact that the industry has been shut down now over four months, there'll be pent-up demand. People will want to cruise again."
He also acknowledged that it will take time for cruising to come back to where it had been.
"We just have to be patient," he said, adding that "no one is more impatient than me. But I recognize that this is going to be a recovery effort that's going to take multiple quarters, perhaps multiple years to get back to the good old days of 2019."
$211M loss in the first quarter
NCLH reported an expected loss of $211.3 million for the first quarter of 2020, compared with income of $181.8 million one year prior. Revenue decreased 11.2%, to $1.2 billion, compared to $1.4 billion in 2019, for the quarter ended March 31.
NCLH said it had "taken decisive action to significantly strengthen our financial position" in response to the Covid-19 global pandemic, including the company's $2.4 billion capital raise, which Del Rio said positions the line "to weather an unlikely scenario of over 18 months of suspended voyages."
"Our guests continue to demonstrate their desire for cruise vacations," Del Rio said. "And we continue to experience demand for voyages further in the future across our three brands."
NCLH reported "significant softness in near-term demand and an elevated rate of cancellations for existing bookings."
But the company also said there "continues to be demand for cruise vacations, particularly beginning in the fourth quarter 2020 accelerating through 2021."
The company reported that slightly more than half of its guests booked on cancelled sailings had requested cash refunds instead of future cruise credits.
NCLH said that it had begun developing a comprehensive and multifaceted strategy to enhance its health and safety protocols, including "enhanced screenings, upgraded cleaning and disinfection protocols and plans for social distancing."
NCLH said it had furloughed approximately 20% of its shoreside workforce through July 31.
Port Everglades is advancing $1.6 billion in infrastructure improvements that are underway and expected to be completed in the next five years, according to a press release.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is certainly impacting this year’s bottom line, but we are fortunate that Port Everglades’ diversified business sectors of cargo, cruise and petroleum can address a dip in one business sector and be balanced out with stability in other revenue-generating business sectors. As a result, Port Everglades has a history of financial success and has budgeted for several sizeable construction projects that are moving forward at a rapid pace with little disruption from the virus,” said Port Everglades’ Glenn Wiltshire, Acting Chief Executive & Port Director.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in the preconstruction engineering and design phase of deepening the Port’s navigation channels from 42 feet to 48-50 feet and widening narrower sections of the channel for safe vessel passage.
In February 2020, this project received $29.1 million in funding under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers FY 2020 Work Plan. The funding will be used to build a new facility at U.S. Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale so the Intracoastal Waterway can be widened by 250 feet. Currently, this chokepoint in the channel puts operating restriction on large Neo-Panamax cargo ships, which affects their ability to transit past docked cruise ships. The Coast Guard Station reconfiguration is the first phase of the larger dredging project.
Port Everglades is also building a new parking garage to serve Cruise Terminals 2 and 4. The new 1,818-space garage is currently under construction, with a Fall 2020 completion date. It will feature an air-conditioned bridge with moving walkways to deliver guests to Terminal 2, Princess Cruises’ prototype Ocean Medallion terminal. The Northport Garage, where passengers now park, will be dedicated to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center.
One Ocean Expeditions Details Challenges in Court Filing
Andrew Prossin, managing director of One Ocean Expeditions (OOE), has detailed the company’s challenges in a recent affidavit filing for the company’s bankruptcy with the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
Each year, prior to the company’s difficulties it ran about 70 voyages.
“We were considered one of the largest private Canadian vessel companies and had anticipated gross revenues in 2020 to exceed $75 million,” Prossin said. Prior to the company’s financial difficulties, OOE had 30 to 40 full-time land-based employees, 15 to 20 land-based contractors, 300 full-time field contractors and 200 full-time independent crew contractors.
Difficulties started in August 2018, according to the filing, with the grounding of the Akademik loffee (Al), which was on a charter deal with PP Shirshov Institute of Oceanology and its related company Terragelida Ship Management Limited.
The PP Shirshov Charter was originally entered into in 2012 and granted One Ocean the option to renew each year indefinitely. The PP Shirshov Charter had been renewed most recently on June 1, 2018.
One Ocean paid a flat rate for the vessels for a minimum of 195 revenue days per year.
The grounding of the Akademik loffee led to nine cancelled voyages that were mostly sold out, according to the filing.
One Ocean suffered costs and liabilities associated with the grounding of the ship, repairs, and subsequent delay in excess ofS$6.5 million, which primarily represents lost revenue from cancelled trips, but includes other costs associated with last-minute cancellations and handling of passengers, the company said.
Following the running aground, from September 2018 to April 2019, One Ocean entered into negotiations with PP Shirshov to settle its claim for losses due to the grounding. Under the PP Shirshov Charter, according to One Ocean, the PP Shirshov was liable for the losses associated with the nine voyage cancellations and the repairs of Al. However, PP Shirshov contested its liability, Processing said.
In April 2019, after eight months of discussions, the PP Shirshov withdrew from all negotiations regarding the foregoing claim and purported to terminate the PP Shirshov Charter, according to the filing.
In May 2019, PP Shirshov repossessed both ships and sailed them back to Russia. The repossession was said to have happened suddenly and without notice to One Ocean.
At the time of the repossession, there was approximately $400,000 in prepaid charter hire on one vessel and $200,000 in prepaid charter hire on the other, in addition to other One Ocean assets aboard the vessels such as food and drink inventory.
One Ocean was forced to cancel all remaining scheduled voyages on the Russian ships, which resulted in costs and liabilities of approximately $12.5 million, which primarily represents lost revenue from cancelled trips, but also includes other costs associated with last-minute cancellations and handling of passengers.
That, in turn, put an enormous financial strain on One Ocean, according to the affidavit. One Ocean's sales revenues dropped from an excess of $1million a week to less than $100,000 a week.
In the summer of 2019, recognizing the financial difficulties resulting from these events, One Ocean sought operation financing from various sources, and by September 2019 had been negotiating long- term financing commitment to cover short term capital costs associated with replacing the lost vessels, as well as to provide long-term financial stability.
The financing deal fell through, and the company was forced to halt operations on the Resolute.
One Ocean was not able to make the scheduled charter payments owing to Bunnys Adventure, the shipowner, due October 1,2019, and November 1, 2019, and as a result, on or about November 9, 2019, Bunnys Adventure terminated the Bunnys Charter and repossessed the Resolute.
The company had chartered the Resolute in 2018 on a bareboat charter deal for three years with an option to renew for 10 more years.
One Ocean has also initiated arbitration proceedings against PP Shirshov, looking for damages of $6.5 million from the results of the grounding, and an additional $12.5 million for wrongful termination of the charter. The company also is asking for the charter deal to be reinstated.
The company said it still has goods aboard the Resolute with a book value of $1.5 million and goods aboard the Russian vessels with a book value of $1.5 million.
The animations and graphics are now becoming reality as one of the most exciting cruise ship attractions are being set up on land for testing purposes in the immediate vicinity of MV Werften, where Global Dream is under construction.
'Among other things, the test setup will be used to test the installation methodology specially designed for ship assembly,' said Marco Hartwig, project manager, Maurer Rides. 'Furthermore, the conductor rail and gear rack along the roller-coaster track, which is necessary for the generation and transmission in the electric motor, can be installed on land in advance. This saves valuable time during the ship assembly.'
Maurer Rides will collect all the 93 support base points coordinates after the roller-coaster has been completed and forward them to the shipyard for preparation and positioning for the deck foundations. 'With the help of this elaborate procedure, we can ensure that the support base points on the deck of the ship are in the correct positions later,' Hartwig explained.
After the installation, three Spike vehicles will be put into operation step by step and the system control will be thoroughly tested. Before the roller-coaster leaves the test site in Güstrow, Germany, the system will be dismantled and transported to the shipyard for final assembly.
Up to 60 km/h (37 mph)
Space Cruiser is touted as the world's longest offshore roller-coaster.
The ride starts with an acceleration section followed by two closely spaced inclined 90-degree curves. Maurer Rides said the following two 'camelbacks' provide a spectacular and breathtaking launch above the railing and the heads of the passengers, with a maximum speed of up to 60 km/h (37 mph.) A 360-degree downward and upward helix form the end of the 303-meter/994-foot-long track before the vehicles reach the starting station again.
'Dream Cruises is extremely excited to be working with Maurer Rides to create this spectacular new attraction at sea onboard Global Dream. We are thrilled with the progress of the construction of the roller-coaster and are excited to unveil this ride to our guests when our ship launches,' said Michael Goh, president of Dream Cruises.
Walt Disney Company Clears Latest Safe Reopening Hurdle
PHOTO: Disney Security team saluting the American flag in Town Square at Magic Kingdom Park. (photo courtesy of Walt Disney World News)
The Walt Disney Company announced Thursday it had reached an agreement with its employee union on a new set of health and safety guidelines to protect workers from coronavirus.
According to Reuters.com, Disney and the Service Trades Council Union (STCU) agreed to a series of new preventative measures designed to safeguard employees, including social distancing practices, increased cleaning and mandatory masks for workers and guests.
The STCU represents around 43,000 workers at Disney World in Orlando.
Company officials recently announced Disney Springs would reopen on May 20 with a limited number of shops and restaurants open and altered hours of operation to control crowd size.
While the agreement with its employee union and the reopening of Disney Springs are positive steps, no date for opening Disney World back up to the public has been revealed. Earlier this week, though, the company’s official website began accepting hotel reservations for July.
Disney started closing theme parks in Asia, France and the United States in late January as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, a move that cost the company more than $1 billion between January and March.
In addition, Disney was forced to furlough around 120,000 employees, but positive signs from the reopening of Shanghai Disneyland this week has the theme park industry cautiously optimistic for the near future.
Disney World is planning a phased reopening with enhanced safety measures, but there is no set date for any official reopening.
“I will do everything humanly possible to be able to look my own family in the eyes and say they will be safe on our cruise ships,” said Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), on the company's first-quarter earnings call.
Del Rio said NCLH is working with experts to develop health protocols that will be robust to gain CDC approval and generate confidence among the public. The same process must be replicated around the world.
When the no-sail order is lifted by the CDC, Del Rio said he expects that the company’s brands will return to service in a phased order of roughly five vessels a month, assuming ports are open and they can sail their designated itineraries.
With 28 vessels, it will take roughly six months to bring the whole fleet back into service. It is also unknown at this point whether they will be allowed to sail at 100 per cent capacity.
Consumer demand is still there, according to Del Rio, despite all the negative press. He noted that bookings are still coming in, despite the suspension of marketing activities, and expects that cash coming in will overtake the net cash outflow (refunds) in the next 60 days.
“There is pent up demand; people want to cruise again,” he added, noting that world cruise segments for the Regent and Oceania brands were sold out, with customers flying to embarkation points in Japan and Dubai.
However, with a booking curve from six to eight months out, it will take time before the pipeline is full or nearly full, he said.
Mark Kempa, CFO and executive vice president, commented that he sees 2021 as a transition year and that NCLH may be able to rebuild in earnest in 2022, bringing the company back on the track it was prior to COVID-19.
Newbuild deliveries may be delayed 12 to 18 months, added Del Rio.