Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Carnival Triumph getting a $200M redo and a new name

Carnival Triumph getting a $200M redo and a new name

Carnival Triumph is to become the Carnival Sunrise.

Carnival Cruise Line will budget $200 million for an overhaul of the Carnival Triumph so sweeping that the ship will get a new name, the Carnival Sunrise.
It is only the second time that Carnival has renamed a ship of its own design. In 2013, it rechristened the former Carnival Destiny as the Carnival Sunshine. 
Carnival said the two ships will form the new Sunshine class. The $200 million sum is the largest ever spent by a cruise line in a ship renovation.
By the time the work begins next March, the Triumph will be 20 years old. It is perhaps best known for an engine-room fire in 2013 that left it disabled off the coast of Mexico without power for most hotel services. The ship had to be towed back to the United States, on a four-day odyssey that was memorialized as "the poop cruise" because toilets didn't work for most of the trip.
In the two-month renovation, to be done at the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain, a laundry list of Fun Ship 2.0 features will be added to the ship, including seven restaurants, two bars, two lounges, three new pool deck attractions, a newly designed spa, two new children's play areas and new retail spaces, including a candy store. 
Gus Antocha, Carnival's chief operating officer, said the additions complement certain upgrades that had already been made to the Triumph, such as Guy's Burger Joint.
Unique to the Sunrise will be what Antocha called "bridge wing suites," encompassing two junior suites and two larger Captain's Suites adjacent to the bridge, which will be redesigned with floor-to-ceiling windows. That means the ship's capacity, listed as 2,758 passengers at double occupancy, will remain relatively unchanged.
"We're adding a handful of different spaces," Antocha said. When the Carnival Sunshine was created, an extra 182 cabins were added to the Carnival Destiny.
The first sailing of the Carnival Sunrise, following a renaming ceremony, will be from Norfolk, Va., where the ship will begin a series of five- to seven-day cruises on April 29, 2019. It will then move to New York for the summer for a series of four- to 14-day cruises, starting May 23. It will move to Fort Lauderdale for four- and five-day cruises in October.

Sky Princess to have Princess Cruises' largest balconies

Sky Princess to have Princess Cruises' largest balconies

On the Sky Princess, the Sky Suites will be centrally located on the top decks and feature the largest private balconies ever offered by Princess Cruises.
On the Sky Princess, the Sky Suites will be centrally located on the top decks and feature the largest private balconies ever offered by Princess Cruises.

Princess Cruises unveiled renderings of areas of the Sky Princess, a ship due in October 2019, including suites with the largest balconies ever offered on Princess.
The 700 square foot verandas will give suite guests a private vantage of the ship's Movie Under the Stars screen. Two of the suites will have 270-degree panoramic views and have a sleeping capacity for five guests.
The 143,000-gross-ton ship will be the fourth in the line's Royal class, accommodating 3,560 guests. It will have double the number of private cabanas as on its sister ships.
Sky Princess guests will enjoy two deep-tank top deck pools and more Jacuzzis than previous Royal class ships.
Sky Princess guests will enjoy two deep-tank top deck pools and more Jacuzzis than previous Royal class ships.
New for Sky Princess will be the addition of a Wakeview pool on its aft decks. In addition to the Wakeview pool, Sky Princess will have two deep-tank top-deck pools, a restorative Retreat Pool, and more Jacuzzis than previous Royal class ships including two Jacuzzis cantilevered over the deep-tank pools.
The ship's Vista Lounge will get a new look complete with a full bar offering, an evolution of the popular lounge on other Princess ships. Guests can take advantage of a new cafe in the Princess Live venue, serving barista-made coffee, tea and quick bites.

Norwegian Cruise Line eliminating plastic straws

Norwegian Cruise Line eliminating plastic straws

Norwegian Bliss in Southampton, photo credit Dave R Jones.

Norwegian Cruise Line said it is getting rid of single-use plastic straws on its 26 ships.
The ban also applies to its two private islands, Great Stirrup Cay and Harvest Caye.
With the changes, Norwegian said it expects to eliminate over 50 million plastic straws from use annually.
In announcing the ban, Norwegian did not specify when the ban would be implemented or what it would use as a substitute for plastic straws.
Various cruise lines have announced initiatives to reduce or eliminate single-use plastics onboard as a contribution to marine conservation. Norwegian initiated its plastics-reduction approach by banning plastic straws in the inauguration of its latest ship, the Norwegian Bliss.

Monday, 30 July 2018

AIDA Offers Abu Dhabi F1 Package

AIDA Offers Abu Dhabi F1 Package

Abu Dhabi F1 Race
AIDA Cruises is offering a seven-day cruise from Dubai Nov. 23 to 30 aboard the AIDAprima that includes the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix with pricing starting at 2,698 euro including flights and the race.
The race package features tickets for two days for the last FI race of the season, Nov. 24 and 25 (2018), including support races, qualifying and the F1 race.
Concerts are also part of the program, with performers Sam Smith and Guns N’Roses.
AIDA said the total package – cruise, flights and race – can be booked with travel agents or directly from AIDA online or by phone.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Lerwick’s Cruise Business is Skyrocketing

Lerwick’s Cruise Business is Skyrocketing

Business is up in Lerwick
A 34 per cent increase in calls, an 85 per cent increase in estimated passengers and an 83 per cent increase in overall tonnage is the news for 2018 in Lerwick.
That’s not bad, and it will continue to go up in 2019, with a 20 per cent increase expected in passenger arrivals.
Among the notable calls for 2018 was the MSC Meraviglia, which was scheduled to dock on July 31, breaking all previous records and becoming the largest ship to berth in Lerwick, according to Victor Sandison, the senior commercial executive at Lerwick Harbour.
“At 60 degrees north, Lerwick Harbour is Britain’s ‘top’ port, strategically located at the crossroads of the North Sea and Northeast Atlantic, providing a uniquely blended visitor experience of Scottish hospitality and Nordic culture,” said Sandison.
The port has three dedicated cruise berths and can take ships alongside up to 232 meters. In addition, large ships can anchor in sheltered anchorages with a short tender ride to the town centre.
“Lerwick Port Authority has future plans to deepen the approach channel and the berth at Mair’s Pier to provide alongside-berthing for a number of larger vessels which currently need to anchor and transfer passengers by tender,” Sandison noted. “Going forward, this will reduce any possible weather disruption for these cruise calls. A timeline for this work will be decided once financing is available.”
With traffic moving up, challenges include making sure there are “sufficient” resources available to offer a high-quality passenger experience shoreside.
Tour providers are adding new experiences to their programs, among which is a “Sound of Shetland” excursion treating visitors to a showcase of Shetland’s fantastic musical heritage in Lerwick’s Mareel waterfront auditorium.
Lerwick Port Authority has also provided support for extra coaches to be brought into the islands for the cruise season to add additional capacity for shore excursions, Sandison said.

Celebrity Edge Sea Trials Underway

Celebrity Edge Sea Trials Underway

Celebrity Edge
The first set of sea trials for the new Celebrity Edge started last week as the prototype ship left the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard on a pre-determined sailing program.
The 117,000-ton ship is due to be delivered from the yard later this year, and is the first of a four-ship order from the Miami-based brand, representing a new and highly innovative class of ship.
Celebrity Edge
Sea trials are generally a test-drive of sorts for ships, where the shipyard, class society, key suppliers and the shipowner observe key performance and safety data. Most prototype ships see multiple sets of sea trials, are their performance criteria are confirmed. 
During sea trials, a ship is tested to its limits, from top speed to manoeuvrability, stopping distance and more.  
Photos: Christophe Dedieu 

Friday, 27 July 2018

Istanbul: Cruise Calls Scheduled Again

Istanbul: Cruise Calls Scheduled Again

Iconic sights in Istanbul, Turkey
In 2015 Istanbul saw some 300 calls and 600,000 cruise guests. Most Black Sea itineraries used the port for turnaround operations with a well-linked international airport nearby.
Geopolitical issues sent traffic into a nosedive, with cruise calls falling off dramatically, with just 42 calls in 2016.
“It killed the port,” said Figen Ayan, vice president of cruise operations. “The traffic dropped to zero calls for 2017 and this year.”
But things are slowly coming back for 2019, she said.
The cruise port in Istanbul was privatized in 2014 and now falls under the Global Ports Holding banner.
Among scheduled calls for 2019 are the Seven Seas Voyager, and the Celestial Crystal, which has October and November berth bookings.
Coming by cruise ship to Istanbul is a journey in itself, as passengers enjoy an amazing view sailing into the harbour with world-famous monuments such as the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace.
“In Istanbul, there’s so much to offer already in the city – even if guests don’t go out beyond the old city. Most of the shore excursions stay downtown for city tours and highlights visits,” said Ayan.
At the port, a massive investment program is underway to upgrade the waterfront area, including a new cruise terminal set to be ready by 2020.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

New Cruise Terminal at PortMiami for MSC Cruises

New Cruise Terminal at PortMiami for MSC Cruises

Image result for MSC seaside in Miami Port
MSC Divina in her Homeport of Miami.

MSC Cruises has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the construction of a new Cruise Terminal AAA at PortMiami. The expected completion date is 2022.
The new terminal will accommodate the line’s World Class of ships, which will carry up to 7,000 passengers. MSC Cruises will operate four ships in total from Miami, including MSC Seaside. That ship debuted in late 2017. It currently sails year-round from Miami to the Caribbean.
MSC Armonia will begin homeporting in Miami in December 2018. She’ll offer the line’s first cruises to Cuba from the US. Additionally, MSC Divina will return seasonally to PortMiami. She sails to the Caribbean from October through March. And, MSC Meraviglia will make her North American debut at PortMiami in November 2019. The line’s largest ship, Meraviglia carries 5,714 passengers.
“The new agreement and expanded partnership with PortMiami and Miami-Dade County is another key step forward in the business growth of MSC Cruises, as we continue to strengthen our global footprint, with a strategic focus on North America,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises.
Rick Sasso, chairman of MSC Cruises USA emphasized the mutual economic benefit of the new terminal.
“PortMiami is committed to providing a world-class experience to its guests and thanks to a long-standing collaborative relationship with Miami-Dade County we are thrilled that in less than 18 months MSC Cruises will have four ships sailing from the Port. This will also allow us to make a significant additional contribution to the economy of Miami and the county in its role as the Capital of the Cruise World, especially thanks to the large percentage of international guests travelling to Miami and South Florida to embark and disembark from MSC Cruises ships calling PortMiami,” said Sasso.
MSC Cruises currently operates 15 ships. The line plans to expand to expand to 25 mega-cruise ships by 2026.

Celebrity Marks Steel Cutting for New Celebrity Apex

Celebrity Marks Steel Cutting for New Celebrity Apex

Celebrity Cruises has marked the steel cutting for its new Celebrity Apex. The second in the Edge series of ships will debut in 2020. (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)
Celebrity Cruises has marked the steel cutting for its new Celebrity Apex. The second in the Edge series of ships will debut in 2020. (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Princess ordering its largest ships

Princess ordering its largest ships

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The new class will be 20% larger than the Royal Princess pictured above

Princess Cruises has signed a memorandum of understanding for two ships that will carry 20% more passengers than the Royal class of Princess ships that began with the Royal Princess.

The ships will be 175,000 gross tons and are designed for 4,300 passengers, compared to 3,560 for the Royal Princess.

Set for delivery in 2023 and 2025, the ships will be equipped with the dual-fuel capability and are intended to operate primarily using liquefied natural gas.

The cost of the ships, to be built by Fincantieri, was not disclosed.

Princess has three Royal-class ships on order with Fincantieri, including its next new ship, Sky Princess, which is currently under construction and scheduled for delivery in October 2019. The two other Royal-class ships are planned for delivery in 2020 and 2022.

Tiki culture takes a cruise on Mariner of the Seas

Tiki culture takes a cruise on Mariner of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International's latest bar concept, the Bamboo Room, is a throw-back to the tiki bars that were popular after WWII. The bar, which seats 49 and has a Polynesian theme, was added to the Mariner of the Seas and will be retrofitted to most of the ships getting the Royal Amplified upgrade package, including the Navigator, Oasis and Allure of the Seas.

Tiki culture takes cruise Mariner of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International's latest bar concept, the Bamboo Room, is a throw-back to the tiki bars that were popular after WWII. The bar, which seats 49 and has a Polynesian theme, was added to the Mariner of the Seas and will be retrofitted to most of the ships getting the Royal Amplified upgrade package, including the Navigator, Oasis and Allure of the Seas. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst

Royal Caribbean International's latest bar concept, the Bamboo Room, is a throw-back to the tiki bars that were popular after WWII. The bar, which seats 49 and has a Polynesian theme, was added to the Mariner of the Seas and will be retrofitted to most of the ships getting the Royal Amplified upgrade package, including the Navigator, Oasis and Allure of the Seas.

Fiscal realities now tempering cruise lines' China infatuation

Fiscal realities now tempering cruise lines' China infatuation

The Norwegian Joy, built for the Chinese market, will move to Alaska next spring.

The Norwegian Joy, built for the Chinese market, will move to Alaska next spring.

Wall Street has long questioned whether the international cruise industry's romance with China is the beginning of a lifelong affair or just one of those things. While it is still too soon to call, that relationship in recent months has shown signs of cooling.

The latest evidence is the decision by Norwegian Cruise Line to pull its year-old Norwegian Joy out of China, where it was sent in 2017 to cruise year-round.

The Joy, which was custom-built for the China market, will move to Alaska in April, then remain on the West Coast through the winter of 2020.

In its place, Norwegian will send the 20-year-old Norwegian Spirit to cruise from Shanghai seasonally starting in summer 2020. That would leave a gap of more than a year when the cruise line will be altogether absent from China.

While the move is welcome news for U.S. travel agents and will put Norwegian's two newest ships in Alaska next summer, it seems to write off much of the investment that Norwegian made to enter China.

Norwegian president Andy Stuart said the switch is more a reflection of hot demand for Alaska than it is discouragement with China.

"We're still optimistic about China," Stuart said. "China's a good market. We introduced Bliss in Alaska, and we've seen a tremendous strength and a lot of excitement around the introduction of a new ship to the Alaska market."

He added: "We're seeing such strength in Alaska, good strength in Europe, and the beauty of our industry is that assets are flexible. So it's really right-sizing the market as we're seeing demand today."

Stuart said the recent tension in Sino-U.S. relations, with each side imposing new tariffs on goods imported from the other, had no bearing on the decision to move the Joy out of Asia.

But even before that, cruise lines were not enjoying the smooth sailing they had once hoped for in the world's most populous country.

The Norwegian Joy arrived in June 2017 in the wake of the installation of a U.S.-provided defensive missile system in South Korea. The system gave Chinese military officials heartburn, and they moved to punish South Korea economically, in part by ending permission for China-sourced cruises to visit Korea.

That left cruise lines cutting the prices on their charter contracts with Chinese travel wholesalers.

Still, officials at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), parent of Norwegian Cruise Line, remained upbeat. Asked in a February conference call which world markets were the least robust, CEO Frank Del Rio said that all were good enough.

"It's one of those few times in my tenure, in the 25 years I've been in the industry, that I wouldn't move any of my ships. I like where they are," Del Rio said.

But he went on to add he wouldn't necessarily put the second ship in China.

"There are still challenges in China," Del Rio said. "I don't think China's hitting on all cylinders like it can."

He went on to reel off the names of a half-dozen unserved or underserved markets in North America, among them Los Angeles and Alaska.

The Joy news cheered Wall Street. NCLH shares rose 5.4% on the day of the announcement, with other cruise companies seeing smaller increases. In an investor note, Citigroup analyst Greg Badishkanian said Norwegian's move "should help right-size capacity in China."

Analyst Robin Farley of UBS Group said in May that yields for the Joy in China this year were likely to be 25% below the other Breakaway-class ships, such as the Norwegian Escape. She said it would boost Norwegian's earnings to move the ship to North America.

The news was also greeted warmly by travel agents.

"It's really exciting to have new hardware and new experiences for our customers in Alaska," said Ashley Hunter, vice president of business development at Avoya Travel, which has its operations office near San Diego.

Agents on the West Coast have been starving for up-to-date inventory, and having the Joy for a year, sailing Mexican Riviera cruises from Los Angeles in the winter of 2019-20, will expose more people in Western states to the brand.

Many cruise lines cut back their already small presence on the West Coast after the 2009 swine flu outbreak and unrest in Mexico, Hunter recalled, but she said the trend is starting to reverse.

"I think we're starting to see a movement back over to the West Coast," Hunter said, citing new Carnival Cruise Line capacity in Long Beach and San Diego in addition to the Norwegian Joy announcement.

Conversely, the urge to add capacity in China is ebbing.

In 2015, Princess Cruises said it would devote the new Majestic Princess to year-round cruising in China and customize it to Chinese tastes, even giving it a Chinese-language name. But in September, the 3,560-passenger ship will begin an eight-month deployment in Australia.

The brands with a remaining multi-ship commitment to China are Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Corp.'s Costa Cruises.

Stuart said Norwegian's size relative to the two other big cruise companies gives it more flexibility.

"We're not the largest brand," he said, "and the size of our fleet allows us to be a little more nimble in making sure you capitalize on opportunities where you have overperforming markets."

Norwegian plans to spend $50 million on the Joy before it arrives in Seattle to make it a virtual twin to Bliss, Stuart said. But it plans to keep the hull art by Chinese artist Tan Ping of a large red phoenix, a symbol of beauty and good luck in Chinese culture.

Stuart said that while it might strike a note of discord with some in Alaska, others will view it differently.

"It feels like a beautiful piece of art on the side of the ship," he said.

"I'm not sure if everybody started from scratch and said, 'Look at the art on Norwegian Joy. What country does it represent?' I don't know that everyone would immediately say China," Stuart said.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Princess Cruises orders two low-emission ships

Princess Cruises orders two low-emission ships

Princess Cruises orders two low-emission ships

Princess Cruises is joining UK sister company P&O Cruises in agreeing to build two large new generation ships.

The new 4,300-passenger vessels will be Princess Cruises’ first to be dual-fuel powered – primarily by Liquefied Natural Gas to cut air emissions and marine gas oil.

The 175,000 gross ton new builds are due to be delivered in late 2023 and spring 2025.

The ships will be based on a next-generation platform “designed to further enhance an already world-class holiday experience”.

They will be the largest by capacity in the US line’s fleet and be built at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

The agreement for Princess Cruises’ next-generation ships represents parent company Carnival Corporation’s 10th and 11th LNG-powered vessels.

Specification details for the ship design, along with anticipated features and amenities of this new platform design for Princess Cruises, will be shared in the future, according to the company.

The line’s president, Jan Swartz, said: “This revolutionary platform for next-generation, LNG-powered cruise ships will introduce innovative design and leisure experiences driven by the future holiday and lifestyle trends of our guests – further evolving the already best-in-class Princess Cruises experience we deliver today.

“We look forward to collaborating with Fincantieri to bring our vision for this next-generation premium cruise ship into service.”

Fincantieri chief executive Giuseppe Bono added: “We are proud to extend our long-established partnership with Princess Cruises, a brand we have been tied to since our return to the cruise shipbuilding industry in 1990.

“After so many years, we are ready to enter, together, a new era of this industry, increasingly aimed at reducing even more of our environmental impact.

“We proudly do this with an all-time record project, both in terms of size and technology. We believe that there are no more significant milestones than these to reaffirm our market-leading position.

“This builds upon the solid partnership between our country and Carnival Corporation – the largest foreign investor in Italy – while at the same time building upon our technological strength and increasing employment.”

Princess Cruises has three new Royal-class ships on order with Fincantieri, including its next new build, Sky Princess, which is due for delivery in October 2019. The two other Royal-class ships are planned to enter service in 2020 and 2022.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Liverpool’s Turnaround Business to Grow

Liverpool’s Turnaround Business to Grow

 The Crown Princess in Liverpool
“We see our turnaround business growing from 2021 once the new cruise terminal is fully operational and we have projected an increase in transit calls, but this is down to more vessels in the Irish seas over the next years,” said Peter Murney, head of cruise and maritime operations at the Liverpool Cruise Terminal.
The port is expecting around 57 ships this year, with projections calling for 70 in 2019, he said.
Highlights include inaugural visits from vessels from Viking, Seabourn, AIDA and FTI. Overnight customers include the Celebrity Eclipse and Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa. There is also the return of the Disney Magic.
The new terminal facility is due to be completed sometime in 2020, Murney said and will be able to accommodate turnarounds from vessels with up to 3,600 guests.
“The Port of Liverpool has an area of shallow water which we are working with the port to dredge. With environmental issues we are looking at all green options when building the new terminal; this includes cold ironing and LNG,” he noted.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Norwegian Changes 2019-2020 Itineraries, Pulls Joy From China

Norwegian Changes 2019-2020 Itineraries, Pulls Joy From China

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Norwegian Joy

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced changes to its 2019 and 2020 itineraries. Among these, the Norwegian Joy is leaving China to join the Norwegian Bliss, sailing seasonally in Alaska in the summer 2019, and will offer Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages during the winter 2019-2020. The Norwegian Spirit will replace the Joy in China in 2020, leaving Norwegian out of the Chinese market for one year, and the Spirit will only sail there on a seasonal basis.
The Pearl, which is in Alaska now, will sail to Europe as the cruise line’s sixth ship in the region in summer 2019, while the Jade and Jewel will expand Norwegian’s presence in Australasia in winter the 2019-2020 winter season.
The Joy repositions to Seattle in April 2019 to offer seven-day voyages to Alaska, replacing the Pearl as Norwegian’s third ship in the region, joining the Bliss and Jewel. Prior to her arrival in Seattle, the Joy will undergo approximately $50 million in work to match her sister ship, the Bliss.
When she goes to Europe in 2019, the Pearl will be sailing from Amsterdam as well as Civitavecchia, Barcelona and Venice.
With the Joy on the West Coast, the Jewel will go to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, sailing from Honolulu, Papeete, Sydney, Auckland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Yokohama.
In addition, the Jade will offer sailings throughout Southeast Asia departing from Singapore and Hong Kong for the 2019-2020 season.
Norwegian Cruise Line said it remains committed to serving the Chinese cruise market. Prior to her 2020 arrival in China, the 1999-built Spirit will undergo a previously scheduled bow-to-stern revitalization as the final ship to undergo enhancements under the Norwegian Edge® fleet refurbishment program.

Norwegian Cruise Line to deploy six ships in Europe in 2019

Norwegian Cruise Line to deploy six ships in Europe in 2019

Norwegian Bliss entering Southampton, photo by Dave Jones

Norwegian Cruise Line will deploy an additional ship in Europe next summer.

The 2,394-passenger Norwegian Pearl will offer ex-Amsterdam itineraries and sailings from Rome, Barcelona and Venice, having spent the 2018 summer season sailing out of the US.

Pearl will join five other NCL vessels in Europe: Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Star and Norwegian Jade.

The sailings will go on sale on July 31, while Norwegian Jade and Spirit’s new 2019 programme will become available to sell on August 6.

NCL will deploy Norwegian Spirit in China from the summer of 2020, but next year it will operate ex-Southampton itineraries.

Nick Wilkinson, NCL’s vice president and managing director of UK & Ireland, said the decision was made in response to customer demand from Europe.

He said: “If you look at the robust demand environment around the world which was demonstrated by Norwegian Bliss – the best selling ship in our history – customers were booking nine, 12 and 18 months in advance.

“The message to the trade is this is our commitment to Europe. There are some great itineraries in the programme which gives agents more choice to offer their clients. The new home port in Amsterdam or Rome, for example.”

The 2,000 passenger-capacity Norwegian Spirit vessel will undergo a bow-to-stern revamp as part of the Norwegian Edge fleet refurbishment.

Spirit’s journey from Europe to Asia will feature sailings which include maiden calls for the line in South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles and the Maldives.

Jade will offer a season of sailings throughout south-east Asia, departing from Singapore and Hong Kong in winter 2019/20.

Ports of call include in-demand locations such as Phuket, Langkawi, Penang, Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Ho Chi Minh City and Ha Long Bay.

Frank Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’s president and chief executive, said: “The booming demand environment in our core markets around the world, coupled with Norwegian Bliss’ record-breaking performance, continue to exceed our expectations.

“As a result, we are leveraging the strategic benefits of our growing fleet to quickly seize sizeable opportunities in overperforming, and unserved markets to meet the demands of our global customer base and drive higher returns for our shareholders.”

Virgin Voyages to name first ship Scarlet Lady

Virgin Voyages to name first ship Scarlet Lady

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Virgin Voyages will name its first ship Scarlet Lady as it plans to launch a programme to recruit more female crew members in male-dominated roles.

Sir Richard Branson revealed the name today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa where it is being built.

The name, which also appeared on one of the earliest Virgin Atlantic planes, “reflects the brand’s iconic mermaid image”, according to the line, which will appear on the hull of the adult-only ship due to launch in 2020.

Virgin Voyages will launch a “Scarlet Squad” initiative aimed at recruiting and mentoring female crew in onboard areas such as marine, technical and hotel management, which statistically show low numbers of female staff and senior management.

Travel Weekly joined Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard and Virgin Voyages president and chief executive Tom McAlpin in Italy where the line was celebrating construction milestones, including the flooding of the ship’s drydock and a ceremony to cut the first pieces of steel for its second ship, due for delivery in 2021. Virgin Voyages will launch the third ship in 2022.

More details of the ship’s onboard features were also revealed.

“Across the maritime industry, we can do better in onboard recruiting and leadership representation for women,” McAlpin said. “I want all future crew to know that Virgin Voyages will create an onboard environment that is fair, inclusive and where everyone has an opportunity to reach their full potential.”

Sir Richard and McAlpin also announced the company will eliminate the use of passenger-facing single-use plastics, including straws, bottled water, other beverage bottles, condiment packets, shopping bags, food packaging, stirrers, and take-away coffee and tea cups.

The company will emphasize the use of recyclable and reusable materials across the ship.

Complimentary filtered still and sparkling water will be available at all bars and restaurants, as well as at Natura filtered water stations on the ship.

“Nothing makes me prouder than seeing companies like Virgin Voyages striving to make a positive impact on the world we live in,” Sir Richard said. “Business is a force for good and can and must be the catalyst for global change.”

“We believe that in order to fulfil our purpose of creating an ‘Epic Sea Change for All,’ we must make a commitment that is bigger than just eliminating straws,” added McAlpin. “We must make a commitment to building ships and experiences that do everything possible to look after the well-being of our precious oceans. We are delighted with what we’ve achieved so far and will continue to push ourselves to look for innovative ways to do things that will make a difference.”

Sunday, 15 July 2018

P&O Cruises’ Iona: Welcome to the Pleasure Dome

P&O Cruises’ Iona: Welcome to the Pleasure Dome

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P&O Iona Impression.

Guests onboard P&O Cruises new ship Iona will head to a new glass ‘pleasure’ dome on the top deck for all the onboard entertainment.

The SkyDome on decks 16 and 17 will have a ‘hidden’ nightclub, the 710 Club, boutique four-screen cinema, and pool with a retractable stage. There will also be nightly aerial performances, immersive shows and deck parties.

The glass dome, which has been designed by award-winning British engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan, the team behind London’s Embassy Gardens Sky Pool and Bulgari’s flagship New York boutique, means the show can always go on whatever the weather.

P&O Cruises senior vice president, Paul Ludlow said: ‘The SkyDome will be a magical venue with views of the ocean by day and starry skies at night. It will be an exciting home to aerial performers who will make the most of the amazing space as well as guest DJs and current performers setting the tone for memorable evenings of music and dancing under the sparkling glass dome.’

There will also be a foodie market, gastropub and cocktail lounge. They are among the 30 venues to eat or drink on Iona, the ship being built exclusively for the British cruise market.

Iona, new ship, the glass house

Iona, new ship, the glass houseP&O favourites The Glass House, Sindhu and Brodie’s are onboard too.

Iona is being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg and will be launched in May 2020. Holidays on Iona will go on sale in September 2018.

Friday, 13 July 2018

New Technology: Carnival LNG Bunkering

New Technology: Carnival LNG Bunkering

Cardissa (Photo credit: Kees Helder, Helderline)
With the AIDAnova slated to start regular service in the Canary Islands in December, Carnival Corporation has been working on the LNG bunkering processes and procedures not only for the new AIDA ship but also for the Costa and Carnival ships that will follow.
Carnival has contracted Shell to supply AIDA and Costa with LNG in Northern and Southern Europe and Carnival in Southern Florida. A bunkering solution for P&O’s new ships, which will also be LNG-fueled, was in the discussion stage, according to Tom Strang, senior vice president of maritime affairs.
“Because of the volume we are going to consume, LNG will be supplied by a bunker vessel,” he continued. “Shell already has a bunker vessel, the Cardissa based out of Rotterdam, and has another vessel under contract that is currently being adapted to bunkering.
“There are only six bunkering vessels for LNG in the world of which two will be dedicated to our trade going forward.”
A barge is under construction for bunkering in South Florida that will be ready by the first quarter of 2021.
The LNG capacity of the new cruise ships will be 3,620 cubic meters in three tanks, Strang said. “The typical maximum bunkering load we can take will be just over 3,000 cubic meters which should take from six to 10 hours, a little bit longer than traditional bunkering, but not significantly so.”
The ships will be dual fuel, meaning that will also carry MGO onboard as a pilot fuel and also to satisfy the safe return to port requirements.
In order to bunker, Shell needs approval permits in every port, Strang explained. He described it as a complex process where Shell has to run risk and hazard assessments together with the ports and authorities, unlike bunkering HFO or MGO that do not require a similar approval process.
“As part of the process we have gone through with Shell we have developed a very specific bunkering protocol,” Strang said.
The cruise line’s class society must also approve the procedures as must the class society for the bunkering vessel along with the port and local authorities before permits are granted.
Strang added: “If we had waited until the infrastructure was there before placing orders we would only now be thinking about possible orders. We took the view that this is the best fuel available for environmental performance and a number of other reasons, and then we entered into partnerships to build the infrastructure when and where we need it.”

TUI Cruises Orders New Ships from Fincantieri

TUI Cruises Orders New Ships from Fincantieri

Mein Schiff 3
TUI Cruises has ordered two new cruise ships from Fincantieri.
The new class of vessel will be powered by LNG and will be built at the Monfalcone shipyard. The ships will be delivered in 2024 and in 2026, respectively.
It marks the third ship order in the last two weeks and pushes the order book to 110 new ships. 
Fincantieri said the ships would be around 161,000 tons, making them the largest in TUI's fleet, which is getting new 110,000-ton ships in 2019 and 2023 as well. 
“With the new class of ships, we are responding to the wishes of our guests and creating offerings that will also inspire new cruise passengers. As with the other ships in the fleet, the passenger/space ratio remains generous," stated Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises. “The decision to run the two additional low-emission new builds is a logical continuation of our environmental strategy.
“With the new class of ship, we are responding to the wishes of our guests and creating offerings that will also inspire new cruise passengers to spend a holiday on board with us. As with the other ships in the fleet, the passenger/space ratio remains generous," she continued. 
TUI Group recently said its cruise brands were benefiting from a "shortage of supply" in a recent investor presentation. 
While commenting the announcement, Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, said: “These will be the largest ships ever built in Italy: we proved once more we can provide the market with the best mix of reliability and innovation, pillars of Made in Italy and distinguishing features of Fincantieri in the global shipbuilding landscape.  The project we developed and offered to the client allowed us to achieve this outstanding commercial record, which is not just about adding a new brand to our client portfolio, but also a confirmation of the absolutely cutting-edge technological content of our products.  All of these factors consolidate our leadership in the field and further extend the workload horizon of our shipyards, which has no comparables in any other industrial sector."

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings confirms two more Leonardo-class ships

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings confirms two more Leonardo-class ships

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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has confirmed options to build fifth and sixth Project Leonardo-class ships for Norwegian Cruise Line with Fincantieri.

Frank del Rio, NCLH’s president and chief executive officer, said the decision to build two more 3,300 passenger-capacity ships, due for delivery in 2026 and 2027, showed “strong growth trajectory”.

He said: “Our six-ship Leonardo Class fleet will allow us to broaden our deployment into strong performing and mature unserved and underserved markets and offer new experiences to our guests.”

In a statement, the company said the focus of the new ships’ design was energy efficiency and building a size of vessel that would encourage broad deployment opportunities.

Andy Stuart, NCL’s president and chief executive officer, said: “The highly-anticipated Leonardo Class will fuel future growth with exciting and innovative offerings that will meaningfully drive demand from new and loyal returning guests alike.”

With Thursday’s announcement, NCLH has seven ships on order for Norwegian Cruise Line and one for Regent Seven Seas Cruises for delivery through 2027.

The company will take delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, in autumn 2019.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Cruising into the future: the glorious truth about life at sea

Cruising into the future: the glorious truth about life at sea

Today’s luxury ships offer facilities to rival the most glamorous hotels and everyone can find a cruise to suit their needs. So let’s ditch a few myths about holidays afloat…

Carnival Legend – it’s the length of three football pitches – packs in the family fun
Carnival Legend – it’s the length of three football pitches – packs in the family fun
Cruises have changed out of all recognition in recent years and are no longer seen as the preserve of the newlywed, overfed and nearly dead.

As maritime meandering comes of age, fleets of sparkling new ships are offering every facility you can think of – plus many you couldn’t begin to imagine. They have something aboard for everyone, from families and foodies to adventurers and cultural buffs.

For those still on the fence, here we debunk some of the most common cruise misconceptions:

Live it up in Las Vegas then cruise the Californian coast – the ultimate flexible holiday
Live it up in Las Vegas then cruise the Californian coast – the ultimate flexible holiday

Cruises are too rigid – I want more flexibility to explore

Some of the most enjoyable cruise holidays include stays ashore, and there is a fabulous range of combinations on offer. Combine Florida’s theme parks with a Caribbean voyage, or stay in Las Vegas then sail along the Californian coast. Cruise-and-stay can simply mean tagging on a few nights in one of the cruise’s port stops, such as New York, Miami or Hong Kong. Alternatively, step up to a cruise-and-tour option to indulge in a variety of tempting trips. One of the most popular among Britons is Virgin Holidays Cruises’ spectacular Rocky Mountaineer train ride through the Canadian mountains, followed by a cruise to Alaska. The company also offers beach-and-cruise breaks with a stay in Barbados followed by the chance to sail around the Caribbean. Virgin’s cruise-and-stay selection additionally offers: New York breaks with voyages to Bermuda or the Bahamas; Fort Lauderdale and Miami stay with the Caribbean, and Singapore with Vietnam and Thailand.

There’s something for everyone aboard Carnival Sunshine, from a super-splashy waterpark to a Serenity area
There’s something for everyone aboard Carnival Sunshine, from a super-splashy waterpark to a Serenity area

Cruises aren’t family friendly

As long as you pick the right cruise ship, it can be a veritable playground of family-focused activities. Carnival Cruise Lines is among the most kiddie-orientated companies afloat thanks to its fun and friendly atmosphere and host of attractions. In addition to the Camp Ocean kids’ clubs, with activities as diverse as Build-A-Bear workshops, pirate parties and teen karaoke sessions, there’s a stack of deck attractions, such as water play zones and speedy water slides, daredevil ropes courses and Carnival’s SkyRide aerial bike ride. The fun continues ashore with child-friendly excursions encompassing boat trips, kayaking adventures and visits to animal attractions. Family-friendly dining onboard is another plus with a choice of restaurants and the ease of flexible buffets in the Lido Marketplace. Family cabins, some with their own private deck area and pool, complete the all-around generational appeal.

Irresistible dishes created by the celebrity chef Curtis Stone for Princess Cruises
Irresistible dishes created by the celebrity chef Curtis Stone for Princess Cruises

The food won’t be up to scratch

It’s a well-known joke among cruise veterans that passengers can easily put on a pound in weight for each day of their cruise because of the culinary temptations: the range of dining spots covers everything from speciality restaurants to snack bars serving pizzas, burgers and ice creams. Princess Cruises has even teamed up with Australian celebrity chef Curtis Stone to bring passengers the culinary pleasures of his “Share” menu. Travellers can also sample upscale Tuscan-inspired dishes at Sabatini’s, a classic Italian trattoria, and succulent prime cuts at the Crown Grill steakhouses. Cruisers on Majestic Princess can try the Chinese cuisine of Harmony, the restaurant set up with chef Richard Chen, and the La Mer bistro, established with French chef Emmanuel Renaut. Princess has also carved out an impressive reputation for its excellent Chef’s Table dinners, hosted by a ship’s executive chef, and its balcony dining, where breakfast and dinner are served in the privacy of your own balcony.
The whimsical Rooftop Garden is a peaceful haven for guests aboard Celebrity Edge
The whimsical Rooftop Garden is a peaceful haven for guests aboard Celebrity Edge

Cruise ships are claustrophobic

With the world’s largest cruise ships taking nearly 7,000 passengers and boasting different neighbourhoods across 18 decks, the last thing anyone will feel is hemmed in. Even on smaller ships, there are lounges, bars and spacious open-deck areas. Modern ship designs are geared to bringing the outside in, with light and airy interiors, while the decks, too, are becoming increasingly imaginative. One of the best exponents is Celebrity Cruises with some of its ships boasting half-an-acre of real grass where passengers can play bowls or take picnics. Its new ship Celebrity Edge promises to push the boundaries with notable design firsts: the Magic Carpet, a cantilevered moving platform on the side of the ship that transforms into different venues; Eden, a giant glass-fronted entertainment venue with windows stretching up three decks; and the whimsical Rooftop Garden, inspired by children’s playgrounds.

Whether you want to learn to scuba dive or salsa, there’s a cruise for you
Whether you want to learn to scuba dive or salsa, there’s a cruise for you

I won’t learn anything new

Cruising is all about new experiences, different destinations and the opportunity to try something fresh. There could be classes on digital film-making, salsa sessions or even scuba diving lessons. With so many new vessels equipped with show kitchens, budding chefs can brush up their culinary skills, too. On the tall ships of Star Clippers, the entire cruise can be a learning process and a refreshing taste of sailing in some of the world’s biggest yachts, powered by Mother Nature. Simply observing the crew shimmying up the masts is fascinating enough, but passengers can help to heave up sails as the ship departs and learn how to tie nautical knots and navigate by the stars. Test your climbing skills by climbing nearly 50ft to the crow’s nest or try kayaking and water-skiing from the ship’s water-sports marina.

Puerto Vallarta Welcomes Return of Carnival Miracle

Puerto Vallarta Welcomes Return of Carnival Miracle

Carnival Miracle
The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board has announced the return of Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Miracle to Puerto Vallarta after a seven-year absence.
Connecting San Diego and Puerto Vallarta, the ship is scheduled to make its first call in December 2019.
For the 2019-2020 winter season, the Carnival Miracle will offer 10 voyages from the Port of San Diego. The schedule kicks off on December 1, 2019, with a seven-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera featuring calls at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas.
Other cruise lines that sail from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta include Holland America Line and Disney Cruise Line.
For 2018, Puerto Vallarta is projecting 154 calls with 404,734 passengers, up from 145 calls in 2017.
According to the tourism board, calls to the destination are expected to increase annually and Puerto Vallarta’s International Port (API) is committing $22 million for an extensive renovation and construction project to the port infrastructure.
In charge of the project is the local company, Puerto Mágico PV. The work will cover La Hacienda, a new passenger centre, a Tequila distillery, an art gallery, artisan shops, a cultural centre; El Nido, a new commercial centre with a food court, a 400-car parking lot; and what is set to be the biggest aquarium in Latin America. The port will also be accessible to non-passenger, open to visitors and local residents. The project is scheduled to be unveiled before the end of 2018.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Damen Completes Breakaway Refurbishment

Damen Completes Breakaway Refurb

Norwegian Breakaway at Damen Shiprepair Brest
Damen Shiprepair Brest completed an 11-day program of scheduled maintenance and refurbishment on the Norwegian Breakaway in April and May as the 146,000-ton ship drydocked.
Laurent Salou, Project Manager at Damen Shiprepair Brest, commented: “I truly believe that all the personnel at Damen Shiprepair Brest really appreciated the opportunity to work on Norwegian Breakaway as the collaboration with the ship’s staff was more than excellent during the entire dry-docking period. I’m personally really proud of the work which has been achieved by my colleagues and honoured to have worked on such a notable project.
“The client chose us for this project not only because we are capable of handling a ship of this size, but also because we are close to the major cruise terminal at Southampton, which was its last port of call. They were also very satisfied with the works that we performed on the Norwegian Epic in 2015 and I am pleased to be able to report that the client was very happy with the performance of the DSBr workers and the yard on this project as well.”
The primary objective of the visit was mechanical workson the ship’s two ABB azipods, Damen said.
The shipyard's team worked alongside ABB service engineers on both azipods to repair the shaft bearings and replace the slewing seals. This work required the removal of both propellers and took place in very close coordination with the other teams working on the vessel to ensure that no dust and other contaminants entered the complex systems within the azipods.
At the same time, technicians worked with personnel from Brunvoll on the ship's bowthrusters, as well as dismantling, maintaining and then refitting the two Fincantieri stabilizers. The hull was also repainted.
While the Norwegian Breakaway was in Damen's 420-meter drydock, large quantities of the carpets inside the cruise ship were removed and replaced by a specialist contractor as part of a rolling program. The yard managed the 24/7 logistical flow, ensuring that old carpets were removed on time and the new rolls available for fitting. 
The Norwegian Breakaway left Damen Shiprepair Brest on May 8 at 12:00 p.m. local time, six hours ahead of schedule.

For $100, Norwegian Bliss guests get unlimited go-kart rides during the cruise

For $100, Norwegian Bliss guests get unlimited go-kart rides during the cruise

Norwegian Cruise Line has introduced a go-kart package on the new Norwegian Bliss.

The go-kart package, which is only available for purchase onboard, allows unlimited riding for a day or week. An unlimited day pass costs $29.95 per guest. An unlimited pass for the week is $99.95 per guest.
Priced individually, an 8-minute ride on the go-kart track costs $9.95 per person.
Guests who buy unlimited passes will wait in a separate line from individual ride purchasers, Norwegian said.
Norwegian Bliss is the only ship in North America that has a go-kart track.