Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Hong Kong Opening Up Bigger Cruise Source Markets

Hong Kong Opening Up Bigger Cruise Source Markets

World Dream in Hong Kong
Major development projects will help make it easy for cruise guests to get to their ships at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong.
New rail, bridge and road links will better connect Hong Kong with mainland China.
“The high-speed rail will bring 270 million people within a four-hour ride of Hong Kong, and will also allow pre- and post-tours to major attractions like Guilin,” said Jeff Bent, managing director, Worldwide Cruise Terminals, which runs Kai Tak.
In addition, the Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macao Bridge will open up more opportunities in conjunction with a cruise trip.
In June the port celebrated a major milestone as it marked a passenger record with 15,307 guests in a single day as the World Dream and Ovation of the Seas both docked, coinciding with the modern facility’s fifth year anniversary of being in operation.            
That came just after a busy month of March, with six inaugural calls which saw the Viking Sun, Star Legend, Silver Discoverer, Columbus, Norwegian Jewel and Queen Elizabeth tie up at Kai Tak.
Traffic at Kai Tak will be slightly down year-over-year, with headwinds in North Asia, Bent said.
“South China has benefited from both a more diverse and sustainable distribution model, and increased attention to the Philippines’ newly-rediscovered port-of-call destinations for locally-based ships,” he said.
Near the terminal in Hong Kong, more land is set to be developed as road and other infrastructure improvements are expected to be conducted in the next year.
“Hong Kong has already met the government’s goals for passenger throughput in 2023,” Bent said, noting the just under one-million cruise guests the city served in 2017.
“For significant growth to happen, we need to help make the source market pie bigger. China has been the world’s largest outbound travel market for a number of years, but penetration for cruise is still only a fraction of a per cent. The better we grow the Chinese source market, the more the entire world will benefit.”

Virgin Voyages Inks Deal for Fourth Newbuild with Fincantieri

Virgin Voyages Inks Deal for Fourth Newbuild with Fincantieri

Virgin Voyages
Fincantieri and Virgin Voyages have signed a contract valued at approximately 700 million euros for the construction of a fourth cruise ship, which will be delivered at the end of 2023.
The new vessel will be a sister ship of the three ships on order with Fincantieri.
Construction is underway at the Sestri Ponente shipyard (Genoa) and the first three ships will enter Virgin Voyage’s fleet respectively in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
The fourth vessel will be approximately 110,000 gross tons, 278 meters long and 38 meters wide. The ship will feature over 1,400 guest cabins designed to host more than 2,770 passengers, accompanied by 1,100 crew members, the company said.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

AIDAnova Delivery Pushed Back

AIDAnova Delivery Pushed Back

AIDA Cruises has announced the AIDAnova will not be delivered as scheduled, following a notification from Meyer Werft.
As a result, a number of preview cruises will not take place, but the ship is still on schedule to sail its maiden voyage on Dec. 2 from Hamburg to the Canary Islands.
"Our aim is to use AIDAnova for a ship that not only complies with the usual high AIDA quality but also inspires our guests in many product areas with new innovations," AIDA said, in a prepared statement.
Earlier this week, a small fire broke out onboard the ship but was quickly contained, with local media suggesting it may have been arson. As a result, sea trials were also said to be delayed. 

NCL’s Leonardo class to sail out of Southampton

NCL’s Leonardo class to sail out of Southampton

Image result for Norwegian Cruise Line Leonardo class ship

Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Leonardo ship class will sail out of Southampton after the vessels begin to launch in 2022.

Frank Del Rio, chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), said at least one of the six Leonardo ships, which will carry around 3,300 passengers and are 140,000 gross tonnes, will operate from Southampton.

But he would not reveal which Leonardo vessel will sail ex-Southampton sailings.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, he said: “There are a handful of iconic ports of around the world – Port Miami and Barcelona, which caters Europe.

“Southampton is the one for northern Europe. We do seasonal departures from Southampton, but it is not enough.

“Southampton is a port in which we will put our Leonardo Class ships in.”

Del Rio called Southampton a “sophisticated” port that demanded new hardware.

He later said there were always times that a line had to “stimulate” a marketplace by “adding more value to the product” and that there were “dozens” of under-served markets around the world.

Del Rio suggested that older vessels, such as Norwegian Dawn, would operate out of new ports, such as Baltimore, Charleston and Texas, where NCL ships are expected to sail out of from 2022.

Leonardo vessels would then be free to sail itineraries from ports where NCL’s older vessels operated from.

“It is about controlling risk,” he said. “It means we have ships in both new and established ports.”

He dismissed overcapacity fears in the premium market, saying: “Every single one of our ships is packed. We are constrained by capacity.”

Monday, 29 October 2018

Major emergency at sea as Navigator of Seas cruise liner takes on water after leaving UK

Major emergency at sea as Navigator of Seas cruise liner takes on water after leaving UK

Photo of the Navigator of the Seas leaving Southampton, by Dave Jones

PANIC engulfed a cruise liner when staff wearing life jackets rushed to deal with a flood after the ship began taking on the water in the Atlantic Ocean.

Passengers onboard the Navigator of the Seas vessel, part of the Royal Caribbean International company, described hearing a “loud bang” at about 3am on Sunday before the ship began to take on water.

A crew member onboard said a "Bravo code" was used, which many cruise lines use to alert the crew to a fire or other serious incident on board without alarming passengers.

The crew member told site Crew Centre: “Captain announced bravo code at night, the crew bar was full and suddenly everyone started running.

“One of the stabilisers on the Navigator of the Seas broke and made a hole at the hull, they had to close an entire fire zone because it was leaking water like crazy.

“They sounded the alarm and there was crew walking around with life jackets.”

The ship, which had set sail from Southampton on October 26 for a 10-night tour to the Canary Islands, was forced to make an emergency stop at the nearest port.

Crew members had managed to make a temporary repair until it arrived at the port of Vigo, north-west Spain.

Passenger Paul Edwards from Worcestershire said: “We were experiencing rough sea last night, and then in the early hours last night we heard a bang.

“We were told there was a minor technical fault with the stabilisers and we had to dock in the Port of Vigo, Spain for 24 hours while they fixed it.

cruise southampton canary islands Navigator of the Seas floods Royal Caribbean
Passengers onboard described hearing a “loud bang” (Image: Paul Edwards – GETTY

cruise southampton canary islands Navigator of the Seas floods Royal Caribbean
Passengers onboard described hearing a “loud bang” (Image: Paul Edwards – GETTY)
cruise Southampton canary islands Navigator of the Seas floods Royal Caribbean

Crews pump water out of the Navigator of the Seas (Image: Paul Edwards)

“But, it was a major problem and we were on a ship hundreds of miles from land taking on water.

“But what I am really angry about is that they are trying to keep it hush, hush.”

The vessel was due to arrive in Vigo on November 3 as a final port of call before heading back to the UK.

Guests onboard were told the Captain is due to make an announcement about the rest of the scheduled cruise.

cruise Southampton canary islands Navigator of the Seas floods Royal Caribbean

Guests onboard were told the Captain is due to make an announcement about the rest of the scheduled (Image: GETTY)
The ship is still docked in Vigo with passengers offered only a 25 per cent of their fare to spend on board the ship and 25 per cent off any future fare with the company as compensation.

Some fear they could be charged for extra days, with passenger Tina blasting on Twitter: “Currently on Navigator of the Seas, can totally appreciate the ‘technical problems’ but this change of itinerary is a joke!

“Just seems like a money maker for Royal Caribbean to me with the extra days at sea. 25 per cent onboard credit?!”

Mr Edwards added: “It feels like being in prison. Can’t do anything, can’t go anywhere.”

Royal Caribbean said in a statement: “Navigator of the Seas is making repairs to resolve a technical issue. The ship is fully operational with no impact on its manoeuvrability or the safety of our guests and crew. However, because of time needed to make the repair, it was necessary to modify her current itinerary.

“Navigator will now call on Vigo, Spain for an overnight stay on Sunday, October 28. It will then sail on to Gran Canaria, the Canary Islands on Wednesday, Oct 31 and Tenerife, the Canary Islands on Thursday, November 1. The ship will return to Southampton, England on Monday, November 5 as scheduled.”

Celebrity Edge Booking At ‘Significant Premiums’

Celebrity Edge Booking At ‘Significant Premiums’

Celebrity Edge
Just weeks ahead of the Celebrity Edge’s delivery, the new Celebrity Cruises vessel continues to drive earnings growth for Royal Caribbean Cruises.
The first new Celebrity ship in six years following the 2012 introduction of the Celebrity Reflection, the Edge represents the first of four in a new class of Celebrity vessels, at 129,500 tons with capacity for 2,900 guests.
“Demand for cruising is booming, and guests are willing to pay for innovation, quality, and design. The timing of (the Celebrity Edge) could not be better,” said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, speaking on the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Thursday, October 25.
“She's clearly worth the wait. The Edge has been booking at significant premiums for the winter Caribbean season and for our European season next year,” said Jason Liberty, CFO of Royal Caribbean Cruises.
“The demand for our new hardware, especially for Edge, which has really come high on at a premium, has been very strong and encouraging,” Liberty added
The Edge will debut at the state-of-the-art Terminal 25 at Port Everglades later this month. The terminal is just days away from being finished and will be the homeport for the Edge for her inaugural season of seven-day winter Caribbean itineraries from Ft. Lauderdale.
Next summer the ship will transition to the European cruise market, with a crossing to Southampton where she arrives in the middle of May. From there, a repositioning voyage moves the ship to the Mediterranean for the summer season, where the Edge sails out Civitavecchia.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Queen Mary 2 and HMS Queen Elizabeth Meet for Royal Reception in New York

Queen Mary 2 and HMS Queen Elizabeth Meet for Royal Reception in New York

Queen Mary 2 and HMS Queen Elizabeth  Meet for Royal Reception in New York Harbor
The Queen Mary 2 met the  British Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth during the carrier’s first visit to the U.S. on Thursday. 
The rendezvous between these vessels celebrated the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom and their committed alliance, Cunard Line said, in a prepared statement.
Queen Mary 2 and HMS Queen Elizabeth  Meet for Royal Reception in New York Harbor
"Luxury cruise line Cunard is a company known for its rich history and significant role in both World Wars. Having deep roots in both England and the U.S., it’s an honour for the brand to welcome the Royal Navy carrier to its U.S. homeport of Brooklyn, New York. Cunard launched the first royal mail service route across the Atlantic in 1840, connecting people between North America and the United Kingdom,” said Josh Leibowitz, SVP Cunard North America. “We continue to sail regularly-scheduled Crossings between the two countries, which makes meeting the Royal Navy on this side of the pond a particularly significant occasion.”
Queen Mary 2 and HMS Queen Elizabeth  Meet for Royal Reception in New York Harbor
After saluting the aircraft carrier, Queen Mary 2 sailed out to sea to begin a seven-night trans-Atlantic Crossing to England. The HMS Queen Elizabeth spent the preceding weeks conducting its first trials with the F-35B Lightning II fighter jets onboard and when she departs New York, the 65,000-ton ship will head down the East Coast and conduct the second phase of developmental trials.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Princess Cruises unveils biggest ever ex-UK and Europe deployment

Princess Cruises unveils biggest ever ex-UK and Europe deployment

Image result for regal princess

Princess Cruises is to operate its biggest season ever sailing out of the UK and Europe for 2020 – and will name new ship Enchanted Princess in Southampton.

Ex-UK capacity for 2020 will be 30% more than in 2019, with three ships sailing a full season out of Southampton for the first time. It amounts to 1.4 million cruise nights on board.

The 3,080-passenger Crown Princess will sail for more than 150 days out of Southampton between May and November to the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and northern Europe; 2,200-passenger Island Princess will spend June to October sailing from Southampton to northern Europe; and 3,560-passenger Regal Princess will sail out of the UK’s largest cruise port from May to September.

Princess’ European capacity will also increase in 2020 by 15% in 2019, the line revealed last night.

Sky Princess, which launches next year and will carry 3,660 passengers, will spend its first spring and summer season sailing Scandinavia and Russia roundtrip from Copenhagen.

The line’s newest ship Enchanted Princess will hold its naming ceremony in Southampton in late June 2020 and will be the first Princess Cruises vessel to be named in the UK since Royal Princess in 2013. It will sail out of the Mediterranean after its naming ceremony.

Wednesday night’s event was the launch of Princess Cruises’ 2020 programme, which also includes sailings across Asia, the Caribbean, Alaska and Canada & New England. The UK-based ships, Crown Princess and Island Princess, will go on sale 9am on Thursday, November 8, with the rest of Europe, Caribbean and Canada & New England sailings available for agents to sell from 5pm the same day. Alaska and Japan voyages are on sale from Thursday, November 15, at 5pm.

Tony Roberts, vice president Princess Cruises UK and Europe, said: “We have seen great demand for sailings from the UK and it continues to be really strong. We have great support from the trade.

Roberts told Travel Weekly that the ex-UK programme was “bread and butter” for UK agents and that a four-night sampler cruise to Rotterdam and the Channel Islands onboard Crown Princess could help them encourage new-to-cruise customers.

“Once they cruise they want to cruise again,” he said. “Asia has grown largely from people who love cruising and want to go to new destinations in different parts of the world.”

Roberts, who said the UK accounted for around 5%-10% of Princess Cruises’ market, also praised the “successful” introduction of the line’s wearable Ocean Medallion technology, which last month was worn by 100% of guests on board Caribbean Princess – the first time every passenger on a ship has been able to use the technology at once.

Roberts could not reveal dates of when other ships would follow suit but confirmed that the line’s plan is to make the technology available fleet-wide.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Record Year for PortMiami

Record Year for PortMiami

MSC Ship in Miami
PortMiami has announced a record cruise and cargo year. 
The port experienced an increase of 5.8 per cent in containerized cargo movements for its 2018 Fiscal Year with a total of 1,084,000 (twenty-foot equivalent units) and an increase of 4.7 per cent in cruise visitors with a total of 5,592,000 passengers during the 12 month period ending September 30, 2018, according to a press release. 
On the cruise side, PortMiami officials attribute the growth to expanded business opportunities, according to a statement. n 2018, Royal Caribbean International added sailings to the Empress of the Seas and welcomed the newly renovated Mariner of the Seas.  Oceania Cruises and Disney Cruise Line extended their winter seasons. 
The port also welcomed three new cruise lines: Viking Ocean Cruises, Victory Cruise Lines, and Seabourn. Additionally, it welcomed Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Magic and the new Carnival Horizon.  MSC also introduced its new-build, the MSC Seaside, to the port’s line-up.
“I am proud to say that today PortMiami is a full-service global hub handling some of the largest vessels in the industry,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. "We’re starting to see the results of more than $1 billion of completed infrastructure and a port team that gets the job done. I would like to thank the entire PortMiami team for their hard work and dedication. The Port’s continued growth would not be possible without them.”
“I want to thank all of PortMiami’s dedicated partners including the cruise and cargo lines, the International Longshoremen’s Associations’ Locals 1416 and 1922, Miami-Dade Police and Fire Departments, the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Miami, U.S. Coast Guard, the Biscayne Bay Pilots among so many others,” said Chairwoman of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee Rebeca Sosa. “New facilities, berths and terminals are in the works to accommodate the industry’s new generation of vessels.  The future is only getting brighter at our seaport.”

Costa China Set to Introduce ‘Game Changer’ New Ship

Costa China Set to Introduce ‘Game Changer’ New Ship

Mario Zanetti
“It is our first newbuild dedicated to the Chinese market,” said Mario Zanetti, president of Costa Group Asia, referring to the new Costa Venezia, which debuts in Shanghai next May.  “We are creating a strategy for the new ship and it will be a game changer.”
That strategy is offering Italy at Sea to Chinese guests with a flair of local tastes as well, while a dramatic Venetian-themed interior design brings out the best of Italian culture aboard the 4,232-guest ship, as the company has its eye on the current and future needs of the modern Chinese cruise guest.
With the Venezia arriving in Shanghai, it will take the place of the Serena, which will move to Tianjin in place of the Fortuna, which heads back to Europe.
The Atlantica will concentrate on southern homeports, sailing from Shenzhen and Xiamen, said Zanetti, in an interview with Cruise Industry News.
"Those four ports are our backbone and the way to create accessibility, having homeports in the south, east and north,” he said.
Zanetti has helped lead Costa away from full ship charters in the market, helping to diversify risk while working to create value for travel agencies, he said.
Costa Venezia
“At this stage of the industry it’s largely based on the charter, and it’s not adequate for the sustainable development,” he said. “We are shifting models to reduce the risk and reduce the (size of the charters), to create a win-win culture. We are not only talking but working with our agency partners to help them educate the market.”
Earlier this year the company launched various business-to-consumer programs in China, including a roadshow covering the entire country.
 Moving away from full ship charters, he said a good number of agents were now involved in each sailing. Adjusting the model from a supply driven market to a consumer-centric market is key for the long-term development of the industry, Zanetti explained.
With other cruise companies making significant adjustments to their business operations in China, Zanetti said the numbers were promising.
“We are talking about a market where the penetration rate is very low,” he said, noting the growing middle class and their demand for leisure and entertainment options.
“We see our peers reducing deployment, but we are focused on being committed to the market to provide a high-quality and Italian cruise holiday experience. We are confirming this by introducing the Costa Venezia and increasing our capacity next year. That expresses our confidence in the growth and potential of this market.” 

MSC To Be Third Biggest Luxury Player

MSC To Be Third Biggest Luxury Player

2027 Luxury Market Breakdown
With MSC Cruises entering the luxury market with dedicated 1,000-guest ships, the family-owned company will be the third biggest luxury operator by 2027, according to Cruise Industry News estimates.
Viking Ocean will control most of the market pie, with 18 ships and an estimated market share of 35.7 per cent based on passenger capacity.
Silversea, with an aggressive newbuilding program and a new owner in Royal Caribbean Cruises, will be the second largest luxury line, with 12 ships and 13 per cent of the market come 2027, based on the existing cruise ship orderbook.
MSC Funnel
MSC Cruises is next, as the Italian brand will have four 64,000-ton luxury ships, 4,000 berths and just under 10 per cent of the luxury market, not including the company’s Yacht Club berths on its quickly-expanding fleet of megaships.
Crystal and Seabourn round out the top five, as both are expanding into the expedition market with new ships and Crystal has also committed to a new class of larger ocean-going vessels.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Virgin Voyages to Launch Tattoo Studio at Sea

Virgin Voyages to Launch Tattoo Studio at Sea

Squid Ink
Virgin Voyages announced today that the Scarlet Lady will have a tattoo studio aboard, Squid Ink. The venue will also offer body piercing. 
Virgin Voyages teamed up with the ink industry gurus from World Famous Tattoo Ink, according to a statement. 
“Tattooing is a time-honoured seafaring tradition, and we’re continuing that legacy with rock and roll style by bringing some of the best ink artists to sea,” said Tom McAlpin, president and chief executive officer for Virgin Voyages. “Our sailors are looking to make lifelong memories, and we think there's no better way to commemorate their first voyage with us than with a souvenir they'll never lose track of.”
When Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady sets sail in 2020 from Miami, she will have two full-time resident tattoo artists on board, handpicked by ink industry guru Lou Rubino Jr., the company said. 
Squid Ink will also feature a line-up of guest artists including the "tattoo industry’s most sought-after trendsetters and celebrity artists," Virgin said.
All tattoos will be created with original vegan ink, according to Virgin.
In addition to tattoos, Squid Ink will also offer body piercings as well as permanent makeup treatments using vegan-friendly Perma Blend pigments.
“The World Famous Tattoo Ink family has been working with sailors, pirates and rock stars for more than 50 years,” said  Lou Rubino Jr., owner of World Famous Tattoo Ink. “As global acceptance of tattoos and body art continues to grow, partnering with Virgin Voyages gives us the unique opportunity to bring colour to places people might have never thought possible before. We couldn’t be more excited to leave our mark on the sea travel industry.”

Thursday, 18 October 2018

MSC to Build Four 1,000 Guest Luxury Cruise Ships

MSC to Build Four 1,000 Guest Luxury Cruise Ships

MSC Seaview in Valletta, Malta
MSC Cruises is continuing its impressive growth in the cruise industry as the company today announced an agreement to build four ultra-luxury cruise ships at Fincantieri.
The 1,000-guest, 64,000-ton ships will enter service in 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026. The memorandum of agreement is for a total value in excess of two million euro, MSC said and marks the company's first dedicated luxury ships. 
Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, said: “It is off the back of the great success of our ship-within-a-ship luxury concept that our guests asked us to enter into the ultra-luxury segment, as a natural evolution of the MSC Yacht Club. These ships will be able to offer unique itineraries, thanks to their size, and the guest services will be taken to another level, including our personalized MSC Yacht Club butler service, available 24/7."
By 2027, MSC will have 25 mega ships in service, up from 15 today. The additional four ships will put the MSC fleet at 29 ships by 2027 with over 98,000 berths and a market capacity of over 5 million guests annually, according to Cruise Industry News estimates. 
“I am especially pleased to be able to further extend our partnership with Fincantieri through this new order. The award-winning Seaside and Seaside-Evo class have already been recognized as ground-breaking and innovative designs. We are now introducing another new class, which will establish a new standard of ultra-luxury at sea with ships that will showcase the quality and highest standards that are associated with Made in Italy," Vago said. 
Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: “It is with pride that two great brands – an Italian one and one with a strong Italian DNA -, well-known all over the world, today announce an important construction program. We are extremely satisfied that to launch a new class of ships in the luxury segment, MSC Cruises has acknowledged that our project will allow creating a new generation of cutting-edge units from both a technological point of view, safety and with particular attention paid to passenger comfort. With this project Fincantieri can count on 53 cruise ships in its order book, confirming to be an absolute market leader in all the cruise shipbuilding segments."

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Royal Caribbean hikes price for drink packages

Royal Caribbean hikes price for drink packages

Image result for royal caribbean drinks package

The cost of quenching your thirst on Royal Caribbean International is going up in 2019, at least if you buy a bundled package of beverages in one of three plans.

The Deluxe Beverage Package, which includes alcoholic drinks as well as most types of nonalcoholic beverages, is rising to $63-70 a day, up from the 2018 rate of $57-63. The cost varies from ship to ship and sailing to sailing.

The Premium Refreshment Package charge will be $29 a day, up from $26-29 currently. The packages include premium coffees and teas, bottled still and sparkling water, fresh squeezed orange juice, non-alcoholic cocktails and fountain sodas, as well as Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages.

The Soda Package will cost $12.99 a day, up from $8.50-9.50.

Raising the prices amounts to an 11% increase on average for the Deluxe package, an 11.5% maximum increase for the Premium package and a 44% increase on average for the Soda Package.

Inflation in the overall economy in September was reported at an annual rate of 2.3%.

With Kilauea's fireworks finally over, Hawaii and NCL testing tourist incentives

With Kilauea's fireworks finally over, Hawaii and NCL testing tourist incentives

Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America docked in Hilo, Hawaii.

Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America docked in Hilo, Hawaii. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

HILO, Hawaii -- Three months ago, bright orange rivers of lava were gushing from the craters, vents and fissures of the Kilauea volcano on the Island of Hawaii in a spectacular display of nature's awesome might.

Now, the fireworks are over, at least for the moment, and tourism businesses on Hawaii's biggest island are trying to rebound and encourage travellers scared off by the violent eruptions to come see the new landscape.

The 50th state has ponied up an additional $2 million to promote the Island of Hawaii in a bid to bring visitors back. And one of the main engines of interisland tourism, Norwegian Cruise Line, is staging a rare promotion for its typically sold-out cruises.

The incentives include free roundtrip air from five West Coast cities and airfares ranging from $299 to $799 from 33 other cities.

The three-month Kilauea eruptions started in May and produced some of the hottest and fastest-moving lava ever measured. News reports of boulder-size chunks of lava crashing through roofs kept many tourists away, even as some flocked to the island to witness the spectacle.

The eruptions tailed off in August, and lava flows have been dormant for about six weeks, leading to the partial reopening of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Sept. 22.

"We call it a pause because we never know when, if or how it may come back," said Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau. Birch said monthly visitor totals are currently down between 15% and 20% compared with a year ago.

Both Hawaii and Norwegian are angling for a rebound now that the island's geology is more normal and less dangerous.

Image result for Hawaii volcanoes erupting

Norwegian CEO Andy Stuart said of the summer eruptions, "We had a little slowdown during that period. I would say demand is now similar to what it was before all of that news coverage. But we had a period of time where business was a bit below, so that's a gap you want to make up over time."

More than 2 million people visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park last year, making it one of the state's biggest attractions.

In the aftermath of the eruptions, Birch said, the state budgeted the extra $2 million --­ half of it targeting the U.S., the other half Japan -- to market the Island of Hawaii this year.

The May 4 eruption, accompanied by an earthquake, forced the closing of the national park. Tour operators scrambled to modify their offerings to take advantage of the changing conditions while still keeping safe, Birch said.

Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau spoke about efforts to persuade tourists to return to the island following the Kilauea volcano eruptions. Read More

Lava typically inches along, but at one point in July hot lava from Kilauea travelled nine miles in just two days. It closed roads, isolated homes, threatened to overrun a geothermal energy plant and left behind huge patches of freshly cooled black volcanic rock.

When activity subsided in August, the lava lake in the Kilauea Crater had been drained, and for the first time since 1983, there was no active lava flows on the Island of Hawaii. That presents a challenge for tourism since the continuously active volcano was one of the things visitors came to see.

"The lava flow's been in our favour for decades now," Birch said. With its end, at least for now, the new opportunity for visitors is to witness the resulting transformation firsthand. "Today's story is just coming and observing what has happened through this major eruption that we had."

New sights to see

It isn't often that a tourist destination actually adds land to visit, but that's exactly what happened as a result of the eruptions. Lava flowing to the ocean added more than 875 acres to the island.

Tour operators are busy devising tours for both land- and ship-delivered visitors, Birch said. One obstacle is that many of the changed areas are southeast of the park boundary, in residential neighbourhoods.

He said one possibility is a tour of a new black-sand beach that was created adjacent to a park.

Norwegian brings about 110,000 visitors to Hawaii annually and generates about $250,000 in economic activity with each port call.

Related image

"That was pretty significant when the eruption occurred and the [land-based] visitors went away," Birch said.

Except for a week in June, the Pride of America made most of its scheduled calls at Hilo and Kona during the eruptions.

But Sandi Weir, vice president of destination development and government relations at Norwegian, said some travel agents shied away from sending guests or making future bookings while eruptions were still happening.

It didn't help that Hurricane Lane also made landfall in late August.

The combination, Weir said, left the line in the unusual position of having to solicit bookings on a ship that is typically an easy sell.

Since 2004, Norwegian has been the only cruise line offering seven-day, interisland cruising. Because the Pride of America is U.S.-flagged, it is not required under cabotage laws to visit a foreign port in the course of its cruise. Through August, 38 foreign-flagged cruise ships had visited Hawaii since Jan. 1, down from 43 for the same period last year, meaning cruise visitors were down 6.8% for the year.

Stuart said he hopes the offer of free air will get people to pay attention to the fact that Hawaii's circumstances have changed since August.

"We wanted to do something that would really make people lift their heads," he said.

Stuart said Norwegian's itinerary of five calls on four islands showcases Hawaii's striking variety and unique culture.

"It's a domestic destination that doesn't feel like a domestic destination," Stuart said.

Birch said there are new reasons to come to the Island of Hawaii. One is air quality. For the first time in decades, the particles and noxious gases that lava pushes into the atmosphere have disappeared, he said.

Although the lava flows claimed a number of vacation rentals, accommodations are a relative bargain now, Birch said.

And over the past four years, the Island of Hawaii had doubled its airlift, growing from about 615,000 seats in 2014 to some 1.3 million this year.

"Our industry is ready and prepared," Birch said. "We're waiting for everybody to come back."

Shorepower An Ongoing Debate

Shorepower An Ongoing Debate

Connecting to Shorepower in Hamburg
Norway’s Kristiansand was the second European port to offer shorepower to cruise ships when its 16 MW installation came online in September. The only other European port offering shorepower is Hamburg, at its Altona Terminal, while Livorno expects to be operational by the end of the year.
A spokesperson for the Port of Hamburg said that preparations were underway for a feasibility study to install shorepower at all of its the cruise terminals.
In addition, Warnemunde-Rostock and Kiel have announced plans for shorepower installations for cruise ships.
Meanwhile, AIDA Cruises also has a hybrid solution, with the AIDAperla and AIDAprima running on LNG supplied by a truck while in port in Hamburg, Rotterdam, Le Havre, Southampton and Zeebrugge, as well as in Barcelona for the AIDAprima, and in Madeira during the winter. According to AIDA, Marseille, Civitavecchia and Kiel are also preparing to supply LNG for the dual fuel ships, while the line is in the discussion stage with Palma de Mallorca.
The only other shorepower installations for cruise ships are in the United States and Canada – on the West Coast in Juneau, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver and on the East Coast in Montreal, Halifax and New York’s Brooklyn terminal.
Additional shorepower facilities in North America and Europe are dedicated to ferries, container ships, tugboats, fishing vessels and offshore vessels and rigs.
Cruise ports in Europe have so far been reluctant to install shorepower due to the high investment cost combined with relatively low usage in addition to many ships not having the equipment to connect.
Enova, a Norwegian government agency providing public funding for cold-ironing installations, claims that funding shorepower for cruise ships is too costly, considering the power requirement and the limited seasonal use. It has instead thrown the challenge back to the cruise industry, with Enova’s CEO stating that it is the cruise lines’ responsibility to clean up their own business.
The investment for supplying 1 to 2 MW of power is relatively low compared to a system for a cruise ship. The 16 MW Kristiansand installation was made possible by a 4 million euro EU grant.
Meanwhile, some cruise ports are facing negative public reaction on heavy traffic days due to the visible exhaust that can literally “cover” a port, a town or a fjord.
Kjetil Paulsen, a senior adviser on shipping at the Bellona Foundation, an environmental organization based in Norway, and working with Carnival Corporation,  added that it is in the interest of the industry and the ports to reduce emissions. What tourist would pay to visit destinations covered by clouds of exhaust, he asked.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Norway Expected to Step Up Fjord Emissions and Discharge Restrictions Sooner

Norway Expected to Step Up Fjord Emissions and Discharge Restrictions Sooner
While Norwegian authorities have previously announced that they will introduce zero emissions restrictions in their heritage fjords by 2025, the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) is expected to introduce restrictions starting already next year (2019) and gradually step up the requirements.
In its publication, Navigare, the NMA states that its restrictions will cover air emissions as well as grey-and blackwater and scrubber water in the Geirangerfjord, Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord.
It is currently legal to sail in the Geirangefjord with HFO without exhaust gas cleaning systems as the fjord is north of the North Sea Emission Control Area. The other two fjords are within the ECA.
The NMA will require exhaust gas cleaning systems or low-sulfur fuels such as MGO.
Another proposal, which is said to be circulating for review in Norway, is a speed restriction for all ships above 20,000 tons, which will result in reduced fuel consumption and reduced emissions.
The NMA is also proposing that ships of more than 2,500 tons and carrying more than 100 persons will not be allowed to discharge grey- or Blackwater or scrubber water in the fjords. Visible smoke emissions must meet transparency requirements.
The Navigare article states that the number of ships visiting these fjords in the future is expected to go down and that the oldest ships are expected to leave first.

MSC: Countdown Begins for Miami-to-Cuba Cruises

MSC: Countdown Begins for Miami-to-Cuba Cruises

MSC Cruises is getting ready to launch its Cuba service from Miami aboard the MSC Armonia, starting Dec.10, 2018. The Armonia will depart on Mondays sailing seven days, calling at Montego Bay, Georgetown and Cozumel, before arriving in Havana on Saturday and staying overnight to Sunday.
“Not only will we offer our guests a new itinerary, but also a variety of enhancements to make the Armonia experience that much more memorable,” said Roberto Fusaro, president of MSC Cruises USA. “On board, guests will be able to enjoy fresh entertainment and new culinary choices, while on shore, an overnight in Havana will allow guests to fully experience the culturally vibrant city.”
The Armonia will introduce a new speciality restaurant to the culinary line-up. The 38-seat Surf & Turf will serve a menu for $35, where guests can select an appetizer, main course and dessert from an assortment of options.
The White Lion Pub will introduce a new and complimentary menu featuring handhelds like the Cuban sandwich, a Mojo Chicken Quesadilla, an Avocado and Tuna Salad Wrap, and Spinach and Artichoke Dip to share. The pub will also continue serving a wide selection of beers, including four new additions -- Heineken, Newcastle Brown Ale, Murphy’s Irish Stout, and Lagunitas IPA.
The main dining room will serve cold water lobster as part of a special seafood dish at no additional cost. Guests will have the option to dine al fresco, with a reserved outdoor area.
Bringing the Cuban experience on board, one of the bars will be transformed into a “Havana haven,” with a wide range of Mojito cocktails to choose from.
A highlight of the entertainment offering will be the addition of local Cuban music while in port in Havana. Local musicians will join guests on board to play Cuban music during the Saturday evening of the ship’s overnight stay.
The evening theatre entertainment will also undergo a complete review, with a new line-up of performances.

Norwegian Bliss Calls in San Francisco

Norwegian Bliss Calls in San Francisco

Norwegian Bliss Plaque Exchange
The Norwegian Bliss made history in San Francisco as it became the biggest cruise ship to visit the port when it called on Oct. 3.
The 4,200-guest, 164,600-ton ship docked at the James R. Herman Cruise Terminal at Pier 27.
Port of San Francisco Maritime Director Peter Dailey presents a plaque to Captain Steffan Bengtsson of Norwegian Bliss.
While docked, the port and local officials boarded the ship and participated in a traditional plaque ceremony onboard.
Pictured above, Port of San Francisco Maritime Director Peter Dailey presents a plaque to Captain Staffan Bengtsson of the Norwegian Bliss.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

MSC to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics

MSC to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics

MSC Meraviglia
MSC Cruises today announced a commitment to eliminate single-use plastics from its entire fleet globally and introduce sustainable alternatives if available, the company said. 
Under its Plastics Reduction Program, by the end of March 2019 MSC Cruises will effectively phase out an extensive number of plastic items from all its ship operations and ashore, and will replace them with environmentally-friendly solutions, the company said. 
MSC has already taken action to replace by all plastic straws with 100 per cent compostable and biodegradable substitutes by the end of 2018. 
Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, said: “At MSC Cruises, it is our mission to provide guests with the best holiday experiences at sea and we are fully committed to doing so in a sustainable way. For this reason, we are on an ongoing journey to reduce the environmental impact of our ships in operation. The imminent elimination of single-use plastic items from across our entire fleet globally is an additional step that we are taking in that direction. More importantly, under our global environmental stewardship program, it represents yet another step in our overall commitment to conserve and protect our planet’s most precious resource: the seas and the oceans.”
All MSC ships have been readied for this program and are equipped with state-of-the-art recycling facilities and efficient waste management systems, MSC said.
All crew are engaged in the MSC effort to separate and handle waste in accordance with regulatory MARPOL requirements and CLIA’s sound environmental principles to prevent marine pollution. Their efforts are closely monitored by a comprehensive and coherent system to manage and control all environmental aspects on board and ashore. A team of Environmental Officers across the fleet makes sure the company’s policies and vision is effectively implemented. 
By March 2019, all single-use plastic shopping bags, spoons, glasses, stirrers, and other single-use plastic items for which substitution is available will be permanently phased out and replaced by environmentally-friendly alternatives. Packaging from single-portion items such as buttercups, jams or yoghurts will be removed and processes will be optimized to provide guest-friendly and convenient solutions.

Photo credit Dave Jones
MSC Cruises will be working with a range of international and local suppliers in areas where the ships are deployed and will be providing eco-friendly alternatives made of 100% biodegradable resins, consisting of renewable resources including corn- or sugar-based polylactic acid, bamboo, paper or other organic materials.
The company is also actively working with suppliers at all levels in the supply chain to effectively remove single-use plastics in products and packaging wherever possible, the company said. 
Vago added: “At MSC Cruises we are now exploring working with a leading global certification company to assure any remaining plastic items, for which there currently are no viable substitutes yet, are effectively recycled. This will ensure end-to-end – no matter where our ships are deployed – that these remaining items from across all our ship operations not only do not have an impact on the sea but also on land for the benefit of the populations that we touch with our operations globally.”

Holland America Line raises daily gratuity

Holland America Line raises daily gratuity

Holland America Line guests will be asked to pay $1 more per day in gratuities.
The current rates are $13.50 for standard accommodations and $15 for suites. Those figures jump to $14.50 and $16, respectively, for all sailings departing Dec. 1 and afterwards, except the 2019 Grand World Voyage and the 2019 Grand South America Antarctica Voyage.
The gratuity is automatically added to a guest's shipboard account but can be adjusted up or down. 
The rate was last adjusted 18 months ago. Prior to April 2017, it was $12.50 for standard cabins and $13.50 for suites.

Carnival Corp chairman’s foundation pledges $5m towards global disaster relief

Carnival Corp chairman’s foundation pledges $5m towards global disaster relief

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The family foundation of Carnival Corporation chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine is donating $5 million towards global disaster relief efforts.

The money will go to help communities affected by Hurricane Florence in North and South Carolina, Super Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines and the recent earthquake and resulting tsunami in Indonesia.

The $5 million donation from the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation is going to Save the Children and humanitarian organisation Direct Relief to support urgent relief needs, as well as the long-term recovery strategy across the globe in the wake of recent natural disasters.

Additional grants are underway from Carnival Foundation, the cruise conglomerate’s philanthropic arm, and brands including Carnival Cruise Line, Holland
America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises Australia and P&O Cruises UK.

Carnival Corporation’s collective donations will go toward supporting global aid agency Mercy Corps in Indonesia, International Medical Corps in the Philippines, and Save the Children in North and South Carolina and the Philippines.

Carnival Foundation executive director Linda Coll said: “Our hearts go out to those who are dealing with great hardship and loss following these major natural disasters, and our sincere hope is that these additional resources will help our partner organizations execute response plans for both immediate relief needs and longer-term recovery efforts.

“The Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation have helped so many people and communities over the years through its generous donations, and with this new pledge, it continues to provide critical support resources around the globe that will make a difference for those in need.”

She added: “We want to do all we can to help those with the most urgent needs, and also build a foundation for the future health and well-being of these affected communities for years to come.”