Friday, 31 August 2018

Zen Cruises to Start in India with Pacific Jewel

Zen Cruises to Start in India with Pacific Jewel

Pacific Jewel
Another new cruise line is entering the fold as Zen Cruises announced today it had purchased the 1990-built P&O Pacific Jewel and intends to start service in 2019 out of India.
The cruise brand is owned by Essel Group, which describes itself as a "multi-faceted business conglomerate, with a legacy of over 90 years."
The company today announced the appointment of industry veteran Jurgen Bailom as President and CEO of the Group’s upcoming cruise line business, Zen Cruises Private Limited.
"Bailom will steer the company on a course to captivate Indian cruise passengers with an offering par excellence," the company said.
The Pacific Jewel entered service in 1990 as the Crown Princess after being built by Fincantieri. It also served as the A'Rosa Blu, AIDAblu and Ocean Village Two before moving to P&O Australia as the Pacific Jewel in 2009. It will wrap up its service career with P&O in March.
Bailom was previously at the head of Grupo Vidanta Cruises prior to Essel Group. He has also held senior corporate director positions within several of Royal Caribbean’s brands.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of the Essel Group which has done pioneering work across sectors and consider it a great opportunity to be at the helm of India’s first cruise company. India has a 6,632 km long coastline along nine states and two union territories which presents the tremendous potential to promote and grow cruise tourism in India. We intend to take the cruise liner experience to a new level for people in India, and I look forward to unveiling our plans soon," Bailom said.
No further information was released. 

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Nieuw Statendam Completes Sea Trials

Nieuw Statendam Completes Sea Trials

Nieuw Statendam

Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam returned to Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy Wednesday, Aug. 22, after successfully completing two sets of sea trials off the coast, the company said, in a statement.
Nieuw Statendam left Marghera Aug. 10 and performed the first set of sea trials over two days before going into drydock at Fincantieri’s Trieste shipyard, where the trial’s data was reviewed and standard hull maintenance was performed.
The ship sailed its second sea trials Aug. 18, making its way back to Marghera Aug. 22 where the finishing touches will be completed.
“The sea trials are a highly anticipated milestone for any newbuild because it takes us one step closer to delivery, and we’re thrilled that Nieuw Statendam gave a strong performance out in open water,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Nieuw Statendam and the innovations we’re introducing on board. The ship is going to have an exciting debut in early December.”
During the sea trials, Nieuw Statendam underwent a series of performance tests on the ship’s systems, machinery and engines. The shipyard’s team of nautical officers, naval architects and builders tested the ship’s manoeuvring characteristics and safety systems.

Monday, 27 August 2018

No clear solution for disposing of sludge produced by scrubbers

No clear solution for disposing of sludge produced by scrubbers

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating whether this black material was the result of improper cruise ship discharges.
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating whether this black material was the result of improper cruise ship discharges. Source: Provided by the City of Ketchikan

The cruise industry might have tamed an air pollution problem only to create the potential for new contamination of the waters in which its vessels sail.
With the growing use of exhaust gas cleaners, known informally as scrubbers, cruise lines have successfully cleansed the plumes from the stacks of their ships of harmful sulphur dioxide emissions.
Since 2015, vessels sailing in North American waters within an internationally adopted Emission Control Area have had to cut sulfur emissions to 0.1%, removing 920,000 tons of sulfur and 90,000 tons of soot from the air each year.
Using scrubbers has saved cruise lines tens of millions of dollars that they otherwise would have had to spend on low-sulfur fuel.
But now questions are being raised about where all the pollution that's being removed from cruise ship exhaust is ending up.
In at least one case, officials in Ketchikan, Alaska, have sought to learn if the sulfur sludge ended up being piped overboard in their port.
On July 27, port employees saw a discharge coming from the Star Princess, which was docked at one of the Ketchikan berths. Photos show darkened splotches in the water. One shows a patch of lumpy black material floating near a piling.
Port authorities notified the ship of the discharges, and the scrubber system was turned off, according to a city memo. At a city commission meeting, residents complained about the pollution of the harbour.
The city referred the photos and the information it had collected to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) and said the department would be investigating the incident.
A program officer at the agency, which is in charge of monitoring cruise ship discharges statewide, said he couldn't comment on any preliminary findings or potential investigations.
"The department's cruise ship program has a goal to respond to all complaints or concerns we receive," officer Edward White said. "This often includes following up with the ship operator to request and review records and obtain additional information."
The most crucial question is: What was in those discharges?
Exhaust gas is "scrubbed" with water, either salt or fresh, which when sprayed through the rising exhaust, causes the sulfur to dissolve in the water. The scrubbing also removes particles such as soot, incompletely burned oil, traces of heavy metals and ash.
It is permissible for ships to discharge wash water that contains sulfates, once the water has been treated for acidity, turbidity and other factors. But the sludge separated from the water cannot be discharged or incinerated at sea. It has to be kept onboard for land disposal in a port.
Princess Cruises, in a statement, asserted that the discharges from the Star Princess on July 23 were "within the regulatory guidelines relative to the acceptable discharge from exhaust-gas cleaning systems."
It said that onboard monitoring systems confirmed that no waste water containing oil or other residue had been discharged.
"Our experts believe what was viewed and photographed is most likely sea foam discoloured by natural microorganisms such as algae in the seawater, which is commonly experienced in northern climates in the summer season," Princess said.
The issue of what to do with scrubber residue, or sludge, is set to grow in importance as tighter restrictions on sulfur are set to kick in worldwide in 2020. The maximum sulfur content of marine fuel will be cut from 3.5% to 0.5%, setting the stage for thousands of ships to install scrubbers to save costs.
This year in Alaska, 23 cruise ships are using scrubbers on 401 cruises, according to the ADEC. They produce a surprising amount of waste: An average seven-day cruise on a big ship can yield two to five tons of scrubber sludge, said Brian Salerno, senior vice president for maritime policy at CLIA.
For now, at least, that weight has to be carried until the end of the cruise.
"I'm not aware of any reception facilities in Alaska," Salerno said. "They tend to be smaller ports, more remote ports. My understanding is [a ship's crew] would retain the sludge onboard until they get to a larger port," such as Vancouver, Seattle or Los Angeles, he said.
Princess has been cited in the past for improper disposal of other kinds of waste. Last year, Princess paid a $40 million penalty and pleaded guilty to seven felony counts for illegally dumping oil-contaminated waste overboard, then falsifying official logs to conceal the discharges, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Princess remains on probation for five years as part of its sentence. As for that incident, Princess senior executives blamed shipboard engineers who ran clean water through sensors meant to measure oily waste discharge levels at sea.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Meyer Werft Floats AIDAnova, the World’s First LNG-Powered Cruise Ship

Meyer Werft Floats AIDAnova, the World’s First LNG-Powered Cruise Ship

AIDANova pictured Tuesday, August 21, 2018, after its float-out from Meyer Werft’s covered building dock. Photo: Meyer Werft

German shipbuilder Meyer Werft has floated out the world’s first LNG-powered cruise ship from its covered construction dock in Papenburg.
The float-out of AIDAnova took place Tuesday evening from the shipbuilder’s 504-meter building dock II. The vessel was then berthed at the outfitting pier, where its mast and funnel cladding will be fitted.
AIDAnova is scheduled to make the trip down the river Ems to Bremerhaven in late September. There, the cruise ship will undergo final outfitting and interior fittings, while further testing will be performed on the ship’s LNG-powered engines followed by sea trials. 
AIDAnova is the first of three LNG-powered ships planned for Carnival Corp.’s AIDA brand. The ship is scheduled to join AIDA Cruises’ fleet this Fall as the first-ever cruise ship in the world to be fully powered by LNG. The AIDAnova will have over 2,600 passenger cabins, a gross tonnage of over 180,000, a length of 337 meters and a width of 42 meters.
The second ship in the series will be christened in the spring of 2021, followed by the third in 2023.
As of earlier this year, Carnival had agreements in place with Meyer Werft and its Finish sister yard Meyer Turku to build nine LNG-powered cruise ships across four of Carnival’s nine global cruise brands with delivery dates between 2018 and 2023
A video of the float-out is below:

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Carnival line's largest ship going to Port Canaveral

Carnival line's largest ship going to Port Canaveral

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Carnival Cruise Line said it reached an agreement with the Canaveral Port Authority to build a new terminal for the 5,286-passenger ship Carnival plans to deploy in 2020.
The 180,000-gross ton ship is 34% larger than Carnival's most recent vessel, the 134,000-ton Carnival Horizon.
Carnival noted that the vessel will offer "an array of groundbreaking, never-before-seen features and attractions," while also being the first North American-based cruise ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas.
Further ship details, along with itineraries from Port Canaveral, are expected to be announced in 2019.
The ship is the second recent newbuild set to debut outside of Miami, where Carnival's newest ships are typically based. Next year, the Carnival Panorama will debut in Long Beach, Calif., which will be its year-round homeport.
Carnival said it currently has three year-round ships based in Port Canaveral carrying upwards of 650,000 passengers a year. In October, the six-year-old Carnival Breeze will be repositioned from Galveston to homeport at Port Canaveral as well.

Royal goes big with Mariner of the Seas' makeover

Royal goes big with Mariner of the Seas' makeover

The Skypad is a new bungee/trampoline/virtual reality attraction on the top deck of the renovated Mariner of the Seas.
The Skypad is a new bungee/trampoline/virtual reality attraction on the top deck of the renovated Mariner of the Seas. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst

Royal Caribbean International is raising the bar on short cruises from South Florida, starting this summer with the Mariner of the Seas, fresh off of a $120 million Royal Amplified refurbishment.
The upgrades mean that not only will the 3,114-passenger Mariner be the largest ship in the three- and four-day market, it will be one of the most full-featured.
Previously, Royal Caribbean devoted ships such as the Majesty of the Seas to the short-cruise product. These ships were generally among the smallest and least modern in its fleet. Although guests rated the Majesty well, it wasn't because of its hardware.
"Majesty was older, and it didn't have the chills and the thrills this one does," said Christina Pinto of Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Boca Raton, Fla., after a tour and ice show on the Mariner for travel agents last month.
The package of improvements had already been in the market for several weeks by the time the launch took place. 
"I've had good feedback from people who have sailed already," said Roberta Schwartz, a Cruise Planners franchisee in Plantation, Fla.
Among the new features, one of the most visible is the Skypad trampoline/bungee/virtual reality combination on the top deck that figures to be Royal's rock climbing wall for the coming decade.
Housed in a 30-foot, perforated sphere made of marine-grade aluminium, the brightly painted Skypad is an intriguing structure to anyone seeing the ship from a distance, especially lit up at night.
Within the Skypad are four bungee harnesses fastened to the sphere and suspended over one-person trampolines. Riders can bound up and down on the trampolines safely guided by the harnesses, either with or without a set of virtual reality goggles that add a fourth dimension to the already rich experience.
The Skypad is part of a makeover of the rear of the sports deck that also includes the addition of waterslides and a FlowRider surfing simulator.
Another attraction at the top of the ship is the Observatorium, an escape room game in the former chapel that gives groups a limited amount of time to decipher clues and get out of a locked room. 
Farther down, the Mariner has gained two new bars. One, Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade, is a version of a feature first added to the Symphony of the Seas, a newer, larger ship. The other, unique to the Mariner for the moment, is the Polynesian-themed Bamboo Room, a tiki bar on the Royal Promenade. It's a retro hangout with umbrella drinks to spare and certainly an upgrade over the retail space previously there.
The Mariner of the Seas features a new ice show, “Ice Under the Big Top,” in Studio B.
The Mariner of the Seas features a new ice show, “Ice Under the Big Top,” in Studio B. Photo Credit: TW photo by Tom Stieghorst
And in the depths of the ship, in Studio B, Royal has developed Escape From Planet Z, a laser tag game. That's in addition to a terrific new ice show, "Ice Under the Big Top," excerpts of which were previewed for agents.
Before the show, Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales, trade support and service, said the Mariner is positioned to draw more new-to-cruise guests. "We need to get people who have never thought about a cruise vacation to kind of take a test drive with us, and we thought to put this magnificent hardware in the short-cruise market would do exactly that," she said.
After three weeks in service, Royal was sourcing a higher percentage of first-time cruisers on the Mariner than on any other ship, she said.
Part of that might have to do with pricing and perceived value. "It's almost like having a brand new ship but at old prices," said Kyle DeDomenico of Cruise Planners in Boca Raton.
Beyond attracting those new to cruise, another function of the Mariner is to serve as a delivery vehicle for Royal's vastly improved CocoCay private island, which is being upgraded with a waterpark, a pier, a wave pool and several other attractions.
Freed warned that the prices won't last.
"Right now the prices are very low for all of the ships that are calling at CocoCay, but once we start to ramp up, the prices will go higher because it's such a great attraction," Freed said. "So if you have clients that are thinking about 2019, book them now because they won't find prices like you currently see."
The Mariner will be the short cruise offering from Miami through May when the next ship to receive Royal Amplified upgrades, the Navigator of the Seas will take its place. The Mariner will then be redeployed on short cruises from Port Canaveral.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Princess Cruises reveals the name of fifth Royal-class ship

Princess Cruises reveals the name of fifth Royal-class ship

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Princess Cruises has revealed its fifth Royal-class ship will be named Enchanted Princess.

Due to launch on June 15 2020, Enchanted Princess will operate European voyages and will be a sister ship to Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Majestic Princess and Sky Princess.

Enchanted Princess’ maiden season sailings will be available to book from November 8 this year.

Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises’ president, said: “The name Enchanted Princess is captivating and conveys the elegance and grace of our new ship which will introduce more travellers to the pleasures and value of cruising.

“We are certain Enchanted Princess will exceed the expectations of our guests, ensuring they have the most memorable cruise.”

Enchanted Princess will be followed by the debut of the sixth Royal-Class ship for Princess Cruises in 2021.

The cruise line also has two new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) powered ships on order to be delivered in late 2023 and spring 2025, bringing its new ship order to five ships in six years.

Construction of the 143,700-tonne, 3,660-guest Enchanted Princess will take place in the Fincantieri Monfalcone shipyard with the ship set to feature an evolution of the design platform used for the cruise line’s existing Royal-Class ships.

Princess Cruises currently operates a fleet of 17 modern cruise ships, sailing to more than 380 destinations across every continent.

P&O Cruises to scrap daily service charge across the fleet

P&O Cruises to scrap daily service charge across the fleet

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P&O Cruises will scrap the daily service charge onboard its entire fleet next year.

The move, which will come into effect from May 2019, means passengers’ bills will not include a discretionary charge – currently, £7 – for service received onboard.

If passengers want to pay a service charge they can visit reception during their cruise.

P&O Cruises senior vice president Paul Ludlow said: “We take huge pride in giving guests a holiday experience that’s truly memorable and special.

“By removing the daily discretionary service charge, P&O Cruises will make enjoying a cruise holiday an effortless experience, knowing that great service comes as standard.”

Crew pay will not be affected by the decision, the line has confirmed.

The news comes after the line raised its recommended daily gratuity from £6 to £7 earlier this year.

The increase came just 12 months after P&O Cruises had upped gratuities from £5 to £6.

Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises increased gratuities rates in January and now charge between $14.50 and $18, depending on the cabin grade.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Norwegian Transforms Three Ships

Norwegian Transforms Three Ships

Norwegian Breakaway Bermuda
Norwegian Breakaway Bermuda. (Photo via andykazie / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus)

A trio of Broadway Songstresses to Perform Aboard Norwegian Escape

A trio of Broadway Songstresses to Perform Aboard Norwegian Escape

After Midnight aboard Norwegian Escape
After Midnight aboard Norwegian Escape (photo courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line)

Monday, 13 August 2018

Norwegian Breakaway gets a new rock-themed bar

Norwegian Breakaway gets a new rock-themed bar

Norwegian Cruise Line installed a new bar concept, Syd Norman's Pour House, on the Norwegian Breakaway during its latest drydock.
Replacing Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club, Syd Norman's is a tribute to the grandfather of "Rock of Ages" playwright Chris D'Arenso and modelled after influential rock houses such as CBGB's, the Rainbow and the Fillmore, Norwegian said.
Three times a week, cast members from "Rock of Ages" will treat guests to speciality cocktails named after rock 'n' roll classics such as "" among others in the interactive Syd Norman's Experience. A five-person band will play rock classics six nights a week.
Additional upgrades to the Breakaway include enhancements to the Bliss Ultra Lounge with new furniture; new carpet in all 2,014 staterooms and suites; a transformation of the gift shop; and new carpet installations in the staircases, elevators and lobbies.
Norwegian also detailed renovations on two other ships.
The Norwegian Sun gained three new venues. Los Lobos Cantina, a Mexican restaurant offering a modern take on traditional favourites, replaces Las Ramblas Bar and Restaurant. The Spinnaker Lounge replaces the Observation Lounge. And the Bliss Ultra Lounge takes the place of the former Dazzles.
The Norwegian Star also received a Bliss Ultra Lounge, which takes the place of the Spinnaker Lounge on that ship.
Other installations include a Sky High Bar (replacing Bier Garten) and Spice H2O, the adults-only enclave that is a sunning area by day and an open-air lounge with live entertainment at night. Other features include a private pool, hot tubs and a full bar.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Red All Over: See the Red Arrows perform onboard with Cunard

Red All Over: See the Red Arrows perform onboard with Cunard

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The Red Arrows fly over the Queens in Liverpool

The Red Arrows will fly over Cunard’s three flagships to commemorate their passage to the Isle of Wight 

Cunard guests will witness a fabulous formation flying display from the Red Arrows tomorrow (10 August) to mark the three Cunard Queens departing from Southampton.
This will be the first time in Cunard’s history that guests have had such an opportunity.
Guests on board Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria will also be treated to a special commentary while the jets perform.
The Cunard fleet will set sail from Southampton at 5.30pm, heading for the Isle of Wight. They will receive a memorable and unique send-off from the yachtsmen and spectators at Cowes and The Royal Yacht Squadron.
Live in the area and want to see it for yourself? Then shoreside viewing is recommended from Lee-on-the-Solent, East Cowes Esplanade, West Cowes, Stokes Bay and Sea View, Ryde Esplanade (as well as the pier) or Southsea.
The Red Arrows display will start at 7.30pm and will be followed by a smoke fly over the Three Queens at approximately 7.52pm.
In addition to the display, Cunard is hosting five lucky children who won a competition to visit the Three Queens and enjoy a ‘Captain for the Day’ experience.
The children will have a tour of Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth, spending time with Captain and a visit to the Bridge.
They will enjoy lunch on board and finish their day with a trip around all three Queens in a speedboat.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

TUI Poised to Be Biggest Premium European Cruise Line

TUI Poised to Be Biggest Premium European Cruise Line

TUI Cruises' Mein Schiff 6
Mein Schiff 6

The runaway growth from TUI Cruises targeting German cruise passengers will have an unintended effect for the cruise line: it will become the biggest operator in Europe offering a premium level product experience in the near future.
Come 2019, the brand will have a fleet of six modern large Mein Schiff ships, plus the existing Mein Schiff 2, for a total of seven vessels and over 17,500 berths, with a projected capacity of over 650,000 guests.
This will move them past P&O UK, which has been the largest premium European brand for some time, which has a projected 2019 capacity of around 550,000 cruise passengers with seven ships and 17,311 berths.
Other premium lines in Europe include Cunard Line, Fred. Olsen and Saga Cruises.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Royal Caribbean Introduces SoundSeeker

Royal Caribbean Introduces SoundSeeker

Sound SeekerRoyal Caribbean International has designed and built a first-of-its-kind tool that transforms photos into an original, shareable soundtrack with a video to match. More than a year in the making, SoundSeeker is powered by artificial intelligence.
The tool is specifically designed to use machine learning to seamlessly create original soundtracks based on the content of each photograph, the company said. 
By simply visiting, users can upload three photos of their choice, and the AI analyzes them based on colour, landscape, backdrop, emotion, body language and facial expression. SoundSeeker then turns them into a shareable and soundtrack – virtually DJing life’s most brag-worthy moments, Royal Caribbean said. 
“SoundSeeker is the latest proof point of Royal Caribbean innovation and how we focus it on delivering unexpected, memorable experiences; whether that is the SkyPad, which uniquely combines bungee jumping with virtual reality or live streaming your favorite shows from the middle of the ocean using VOOM, the fastest internet at sea,” said Jim Berra, chief marketing officer, Royal Caribbean International. “People of all ages crave new ways to share their best experiences on social media. This unprecedented tool allows you to put a completely unique, multisensory spin on sharing those memories – now friends and followers can see and hear your life’s adventures.” 
Royal Caribbean teamed up with experts from Berklee College of Music, and technologists from around the world, to create the unique song generator.
“We were excited to work with Royal Caribbean International on this new technological innovation, and in the process, redefine what creative collaboration means," said Panos A. Panay, Berklee vice president for Innovation and Strategy and managing director of BerkleeICE. “The work of BerkleeICE expands our students’ definition of what can be accomplished with music education by pushing the boundaries of creative expression utilizing technology. By harnessing AI to develop customized soundtracks for treasured memories, together, we have created a new way for people to share their experiences with one another.”
SoundSeeker uses machine learning, an artificial intelligence technique that enables computers to simulate human intelligence and make decisions on their own without explicit instructions. The learning process entailed more than 600 hours in which Royal Caribbean and a team of musicians and technologists reviewed hundreds of music tracks along with 10,000 photos, matching each of the 2.5 million combinations to one of 10 moods.
The AI in SoundSeeker uses Google Cloud Vision to identify objects, facial expressions and colours in a user’s photo by referencing the roadmap developed by the leaders in music theory at Berklee. SoundSeeker then finds the musical elements corresponding to each mood in the photo to compose a genuinely distinct audio and visual photo album. The Royal Caribbean tool is equipped to generate over one million unique tracks, based on custom base tracks, composed exclusively for the cruise line. The customized tracks take inspiration from a wide variety of music, including 90s hip-hop, rock, modern and electronic dance music.

Le Havre Planning More Cruise Terminals

Le Havre Planning More Cruise Terminals

MSC named its new Meraviglia last year in Le Havre
Le Havre is expecting 140 cruise calls this year and 420,000 cruise passengers, said Jean-Baptiste Gastinne, president of Le Havre Cruise Club.
Those numbers are up from last year and include 40 turnarounds, made up of 22 calls by the MSC Magnifica, 12 from the Royal Princess, as well as turns from Costa Cruises and Rivages du Monde.
The 2017 season was closed out by the Artania, which was on a Christmas cruise, becoming the 129th vessel to visit and rounding the passenger number for 2017 off to 397,522
The port facilities can easily handle three large cruise ships at once, said Gastinne, with virtually no size limits and a generous water depth of 10.5 meters.
There is no shortage of shore excursions for passengers, with both Normandy and Paris nearby.
Terminal 12 will get an upgrade in time for the 2019 season, enhancing its footprint for turnaround operations for big cruise ships.
“Thanks to the strong relationships with other cruise destinations in Northern Europe, we have driven visibility to the region and we now benefit from regular calls from cruise lines, which used to stop only for seasonal repositioning in the past,” noted Gastinne.
As the industry grows, Le Havre hopes to add three additional cruise terminals with the aim of welcoming up to four mega-ships at once and hosting two simultaneous turnarounds. 800,000 passengers annually by 2023 is not unrealistic, Gastinne noted.

Virgin will optimise maintenance through remote monitoring

Virgin will optimise maintenance through remote monitoring
Virgin will optimise maintenance through remote monitoring

A new cruise ship owner has appointed Wärtsilä to provide remote operational support for a fleet of new builds, which involves real-time performance monitoring.
Virgin Voyages has assigned responsibility for the maintenance of three cruise ships to propulsion supplier, Wärtsilä. Under a 10-year optimised maintenance agreement, Wärtsilä will maintain the vessels through dynamic planning and remote monitoring in real-time.
To achieve this, Wärtsilä will monitor engine room systems to decide on maintenance schedules, aiming to extend service intervals when the equipment does not require maintenance.
Overhauls can be scheduled to fit the operations of the vessel, improving availability and minimising unnecessary downtime.
This agreement covers remote operational support services, specific fuel oil consumption meters and calibration, spare parts and technical advisory services for the engines. It also includes technical support and training for Virgin Voyages' personnel.
Virgin Voyages' three new buildings are scheduled to begin operations in 2020, 2021 and 2022. All three will be equipped with Wärtsilä 46F engines, Wärtsilä’s hybrid scrubber system and selective catalytic reduction systems for exhaust gas cleaning. They will also be outfitted with Wärtsilä’s Nacos Platinum integrated bridge systems.
Virgin Voyages is a joint venture between Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Bain Capital.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

With long waits for new builds, current ships get new cabins

With long waits for newbuilds, current ships get new cabins

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MS Enchantment of the Seas refurbishment/lengthening in 2005
By Tom Stieghorst |Jul 30, 2018.
Ship renovations are big business and getting bigger as cruise lines face long waits at shipyards to build new vessels.

Celebrity Cruises recently announced it will spend $500 million, up from an original target of $400 million, to modernize its fleet and harmonize it with the new class of ships coming, beginning with the Celebrity Edge.

The Edge is coming in November. There are three more copies coming in 2020, 2021 and 2022. So there's no lack of new capacity for Celebrity. But if it is interested in adding more, getting space at a shipyard is increasingly competitive: major slots already being booked into 2027.

Likewise, at sister-brand Royal Caribbean International, there are newbuilds lined up, starting with the Spectrum of the Seas in 2019. But like Celebrity, Royal is also on a renovation tear. It has budgeted $900 million to upgrade 10 ships over the next four years, but it wouldn't be surprising if the end amount of its Royal Amplified program is closer to $1 billion.

The first of those ships, the Independence of the Seas, received a total of 107 new cabins in the process of its renovation, which ended up costing Royal $110 million. In addition to a big block of cabins added above the gym, Royal squeezed a few more cabins here and thereby converting areas from other users.

For example, Royal got rid of a cigar smoking venue, moved the library into the former cigar lounge and then carved four cabins from the old library space.

The Mariner of the Seas, the next ship to get amped up, got a $120 million makeover for the short cruise market out of Florida, raising its capacity from 3,114 to 3,344 at a drydock in The Bahamas.

By adding cabins during drydock, Royal Caribbean is swelling its overall fleet capacity in an under the radar way. It is also taking advantage of the availability of renovation shipyards around the world, which although busy, are not as busy as the European yards where ships get built from scratch.

Some of the new entrants that are clogging the shipyard order books, such as Viking Ocean Cruises and Virgin Voyages, are not much competition for drydock space because their ships are all either under construction or are too new to need much work.

So look for the established cruise lines to do more quiet capacity expansion as they upgrade their ships along the way.

Higher Ticket Prices and Onboard Spend Primary Drivers for Royal Caribbean’s Q2

Higher Ticket Prices and Onboard Spend Primary Drivers for Royal Caribbean’s Q2

Symphony of the Seas
With capacity up 2.6 per cent, higher ticket prices and onboard revenue were the main drivers for Royal Caribbean Cruises reporting record results today in the second quarter.
Royal Caribbean reported net income of (GAAP) $466.3 million, or $2.19 per share, on revenues of $2.3 billion for its second quarter ended June 30, 2018, compared to net income of $369.5 million, or $1.71 per share, on revenues of $2.2 billion last year.
Ticket revenue per passenger day was $163.76 for the second quarter of this year, compared to $158.92 last year and the onboard spend was $65.12 compared to $61.70 per passenger last year.
Operating expenses rose moderately at $128.70 per passenger day with increases in all expense categories, from $126.30 last year.
With operating income of $456.9 million this year, up $37.2 million from $419.7 million, $9.4 million in interest and other income this year, compared to a $50.2 million in interest and other expenses last year, contributed further to boost net income to $466.3 million over $369.5 million.
The increase in per share income was also boosted by fewer outstanding shares, a result of Royal Caribbean’s share buyback program. Outstanding shares numbered 212.5 million, compared to 216.1 million for the same period last year.
Royal Caribbean reported 10,213,067 passenger cruise days this year, up from 9,950,570 passenger cruise days last year, and 1,461,055 passengers, compared to 1,433,339 in 2017.

Amsterdam Marks Year of Maiden Visits

Amsterdam Marks Year of Maiden Visits

The MSC Magnifica is joined by Holland America’s Prisendam on a double call in Amsterdam.
The Port of Amsterdam has a long list of inaugural cruise ship visitors in 2018 including the Viking Sea, Mein Schiff 1, Star Breeze, Aegean Odyssey, Viking Sun, Berlin, Le Laperouse and Le Champlain.
“And of course, we are excited that some of our existing clients increased the number of calls in Amsterdam. As well, we are happy that Disney Cruise Line is calling in Amsterdam this year,” said Dick de Graaff, commercial director.
The year should total 186 cruise calls for 400,000 passengers as the industry grows and Amsterdam becomes an increasingly popular cruise call. If the current growth rate continues, the city could see around 250 calls annually by 2023.
The port accommodates as many vessels as it can at its passenger terminal, and is transparent about other berth solutions for conflicts, advised de Graaf.
“We want to keep an open dialogue with our clients; we want to be transparent in our policies and find suitable solutions for all parties,” he said. “That means discussing challenges such as over tourism and sustainability; working together is key to profitable business for both ports and cruise companies.”
A potential bridge project in Amsterdam could make things complicated for the turning basin that big ships use. If the bridge were to be built (at the northern part of the city), the port authority is investigating options for building a new terminal for big ships and using its existing terminal and quay for smaller vessels. A decision is expected by the end of the year.
Among other challenges is a potential head tax on both transit passengers, with the port working closely with legal advisors and the Cruise Lines International Association, a non-profit group headquartered in Washington D.C., to combat the issue.
“And there is a challenge about the increasing pressure on over tourism,” continued de Graff. “Cruise ships are very visible, but they only count for less than 1 per cent of the total number of visitors in Amsterdam.”

Branson: ‘Cruise lines will copy Virgin Voyages’

Branson: ‘Cruise lines will copy Virgin Voyages’

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Sir Richard Branson predicted other cruise lines will copy Virgin Voyages in “five to six years” time.

Asked how he thought Virgin would be viewed by competitors, he referenced BA’s “dirty tricks” campaign against Virgin Atlantic in the 1990s when competition between the two airlines was at its most heated.

“Competition is always good in any industry,” he said. “It takes years to build new ships. So I think we will have five to six years then people will start copying us but by then we will have reinvented what we have.”

The first of three adult-only Virgin Voyages ships is due in 2020.

More details about what will be on board were unveiled in Genoa today at the Fincantieri shipyard where it is being built and include outdoor yoga, a wellness pool and sea-facing cabanas.

The ship, to be named Scarlet Lady, will also aim to convert all waste on board into clean re-usable energy.

Chief executive and president Tom McAlpin said: “As the (cruise sector) got bigger it had to appeal to a lot of segments but we have an opportunity to create something different and very special. The power of the Virgin brand is very important and we think we can attract people who have never cruised before.”

Silversea fleet to undergo ‘enhanced’ renovations after Royal acquisition approved

Silversea fleet to undergo ‘enhanced’ renovations after Royal acquisition approved

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Royal Caribbean Cruises has announced a series of renovations to the Silversea fleet after its deal to acquire a majority stake in the luxury line was formally approved this week.

‘Project Invictus’ will see a number of upgrades to specific areas on Silversea ships including an upgraded champagne and caviar ‘offering’.

Work will begin on Silver Muse on August 19 before being rolled out fleet-wide.

The planned renovation of Silver Whisper in December 2018 will be “much more comprehensive” than initially planned and include a partial refit of all guest cabins, according to Royal.

Silver Wind will enter dry dock in December followed by an enhanced dry dock of Silver Shadow.

Regulators formally approved Royal Caribbean Cruises’ acquisition of its majority stake in Silversea Cruises yesterday.

Royal has bought a 66.7% stake in the Italian ultra-luxury line worth $2billion.

Chairman and chief executive Richard Fain said: “We are proud to officially welcome Silversea’s industry-leading team to the RCL family.

“This is a dynamite combination and we can’t wait to work with Manfredi, Roberto and the entire team as together we take Silversea to the next level.”

Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio will remain Executive chairman of Silversea and retain a 33.3% stake.

Lefebvre said: “We’re excited to join the Royal Caribbean family and ready to begin this next chapter as part of an industry leader that is uniquely qualified to support Silversea’s future growth.

“This partnership enables us to realize our vision of being the uncontested leader in ultra-luxury cruising and expedition, taking our guests to more than 1,000 destinations aboard some of the world’s most luxurious vessels.”