Cruise lines taking private-island parties into the evening
Perfect Day at CocoCay in the evening, with offshore fireworks and open areas on the private island, illuminated. Photo Credit: Nic Morley/RCCL
Imagine lingering on your own private tropical island as the sun sets, the moon rises and the blazing heat of the day disappears.
Until recently, travellers couldn't do that as part of a cruise experience. But starting in October, that will change when the first of three cruise lines launch late-night stays at its private Bahamian islands.
Beginning Oct. 4, Royal Caribbean International will open CocoCay for a limited number of late-night calls. In November, MSC Cruises will follow, with late-night stays at its Ocean Cay Marine Reserve near Bimini. Then, in April 2020, Virgin Voyages will begin making calls at the Bimini Beach Club that include what it calls "Fire and Sunset Soirees."
The new late-night, private-island trend is being driven by a few factors, not the least of which is competition among the three lines.
Bimini's proximity to Miami makes it feasible to stay after dark and still reach Port Miami early the next morning. Piers at all three islands eliminate the need for chancy nighttime tender operations.
With the new infrastructure in place at all three locations, cruise lines have been able to equip their islands with the electrical power generation and illumination required for post-sunset activities.
And the idea resonates with passengers.
"Late stays and more time in port was something that our research told us was really important to our potential sailors," Virgin spokeswoman Christina Baez said.
MSC was first out of the gate with the concept of late stays on a private island, although its concept has evolved. When it was initially announced in 2015, Ocean Cay was going to have an amphitheatre, envisioned as a 2,000-seat venue that could be used for evening entertainment.
Early this year, MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato said that plan had been scrapped in favour of a movies-under-the-stars concept. The latest iteration, revealed in a video rendering available on YouTube, is a light show that paints the sky with multicoloured searchlights. There will also be bars and other entertainment, such as a traditional Junkanoo parade, on the 95-acre island.
MSC plans to make year-round evening calls with its Miami-based ships, which this season will include the MSC Meraviglia, MSC Armonia, MSC Divina and MSC Seaside.
Virgin's Beach Club at Bimini is the last stop on each of its three planned itineraries, allowing for late-night stays before departing for Miami. On its five-day cruises, the line's Scarlet Lady will remain docked until 10 p.m., while on its four-day itineraries, it will stay as late as midnight, Baez said.
Entertainment will include "a late-night beach bonfire soiree," she said.
Royal Caribbean's plan for CocoCay is more limited, with just three late stays scheduled so far. Rather than returning to Miami, the Navigator of the Seas will head for nearby Nassau after departing CocoCay at 10 p.m.
While there in the evening, guests will be able to visit Captain Jack's and Skipper's Grill; Harbor Beach lagoon; Up, Up & Away; and Splashaway Bay.
"Each of these areas will have sufficient lighting and staffing for our guests to have an incredible evening," Royal spokeswoman Lyan Sierra-Caro said.
Royal will reopen the casino on the Navigator of the Seas at 7 p.m. on evening calls, Sierra-Caro said, preserving that key source of onboard revenue.
Some areas of the island will close at night, including the Thrill Waterpark and the beaches.
"We will have the staff to ensure that our guests are not entering closed areas," Sierra-Caro said.
For entertainment, Royal promises a Junkanoo Jam Up Party, an island barbecue and performances by a calypso band and fire dancers, along with farewell fireworks before setting sail.
Other cruise lines with private islands in the Bahamas said they have no immediate plans to add night calls.
John Chernesky, senior vice president of North American sales and trade marketing at Princess Cruises, said his line recently started a late-night/overnight stay program called More Ashore that is mainly focused on big international cities.
"In the places, we're doing it," Chernesky said, "it makes sense, given the nightlife, dining, museums, unique opportunities that really get you into the culture and make you feel more connected to that culture, versus a beach-going private island."
Eva Jenner, vice president of sales at Seabourn and Holland America Line, said, "Our private island, Half Moon Cay, is really a day destination. The private island is awesome -- don't get me wrong -- but it's a beach with daytime activities."
Disney Cruise Line's fifth ship will be called the Disney Wish. At its D23 Expo on Sunday, Disney revealed the name of the ship as well as renderings of its stern design and atrium.
Disney described the three-story atrium as "bright and airy, inspired by the beauty of an enchanted fairytale."
The stern design features Rapunzel with a paintbrush in hand, suspended by her enchanted blond hair. Her sidekick chameleon, Pascal, holds the easel while Rapunzel paints.
"Spirited, smart, curious and -- above all -- adventurous, Rapunzel embodies the wish and desire to see and experience the world," Disney said.
The Disney Wish is scheduled to enter service in January 2022.
The Disney Wish's three-story atrium will be inspired by an enchanted fairytale.
"There couldn't be a better name for our incredible new ship because making wishes come true is part of the Disney DNA and is at the heart of so many of our cherished stories," said Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.
The Wish will be powered by liquefied natural gas. At approximately 144,000 gross tons and 1,250 guest staterooms, it will be slightly larger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.
Also at D23, Disney revealed new information about Lighthouse Point, its second private destination in the Bahamas, located on the island of Eleuthera.
Disney said Joe Rohde, whose work includes the design of Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando and the Aulani resort Hawaii, has taken a cultural tour of the Bahamas to meet with local artists and cultural experts.
"The Lighthouse Point site is so beautiful and so full of nature that we want to preserve this and use our designs to call attention to the extraordinary quality of the place itself -- a place of natural beauty with a rich and fascinating cultural tradition," Rohde said. "We will be directly involved in conservation efforts to preserve and protect the environment that creates this beauty, and we will be working with artists of every kind, much like we did with Aulani in Hawaii, to create a unique destination that is rooted in Bahamian culture and imbued with Disney magic."
Disney said Lighthouse Point guests can look forward to an island experience that celebrates nature and the spirit and culture of the Bahamas.
Disney Cruise Line completed its purchase of Lighthouse Point earlier this year, committing to develop less than 20% of the property and build an open-trestle pier that eliminates the need to dredge a ship channel.
Construction at Lighthouse Point will begin after an environmental impact assessment and environmental management plan are reviewed and accepted by the government of the Bahamas, Disney said. The company said construction could begin in 2020 with completion in late 2022 or 2023.
Cruise traffic is up 40 percent in Liverpool this year, and looks to be up at least 20 percent again in 2020, according to Peter Murney, head of cruise and marine operations.
2019 will see 86 calls, according to the port’s schedule. Visiting vessels can look forward to berthing in the heart of the city, steps from Liverpool’s notable UNESCO World Heritage waterfront.
“We strive to exceed passenger expectations at every stage of their journey. We change perceptions by ensuring guests experience Liverpool as the modern, thriving, dynamic, cosmopolitan destination we know it to be,” Murney said.
“One of our challenges is that the berth is on a floating pontoon with a 10 meter tidal range so at times pedestrian access bridges can be very steep,” Murney explained. “We overcome this by providing mobility buses that transport guests direct from gangway to passenger lounge and back.”
Berth bookings open two years out, he added.
Among the goals is to build the port’s turnaround business, as a new cruise terminal will be open and operational for the 2022 season.
WHY IT RATES: The newly amplified Freedom of the Seas will feature guest-favorites amenities to change island-hopping in the Southern Caribbean. – Mackenzie Cullen, Editorial Associate
A bolder and reimagined Freedom of the Seas will redefine island hopping in the Southern Caribbean, following a $116 million amplification. Royal Caribbean International has announced the high-energy features and guest favorites that will come aboard, including The Perfect Storm duo of waterslides, a redesigned Caribbean poolscape, a new take on a signature venue with Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and completely transformed kids and teens spaces. Starting March 2020, the newly amplified Freedom will set sail from San Juan, Puerto Rico on 7-night Southern Caribbean cruises to idyllic destinations, from Saint Lucia and Antigua to the ABC islands – Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.
All-day Thrills on Deck
Vacationers can up the ante with more ways to play joining fan favorites like the FlowRider surf simulator, mini-golf, and the rock-climbing wall.
The Perfect Storm, the heart-pumping duo of racer waterslides, is three stories of adventure that will take excitement off the charts. On Cyclone and Typhoon, guests are in for the ultimate race as they go head to head through twists and turns for bragging rights
A reimagined poolscape comes to life with all-day Caribbean vibes, a larger variety of seating and shade with casitas, daybeds, and hammocks, and the Splashaway Bay aquapark for the youngest travelers. For downtime, guests can escape to the renewed, adults-only Solarium
The Lime & Coconut, Royal Caribbean’s new, poolside signature bar, is at the center of it all. The three-level spot serves up live music, a lineup of cocktails and a rooftop deck for a bird’s eye view of the action
Next-level Culinary Delights
Freedom’s amplification will also introduce more dining venues, spanning Italian, Asian and Mexican cuisine, tantalizing guests’ taste buds more than ever.
Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen is a fresh, new twist on a guest favorite. Vacationers can have their pick from authentic Italian dishes with a contemporary flair, including made-to-order pizzas hand-tossed front and center, and baked in the new, in-house pizza oven. With a wide selection of wines and limoncellos on the reimagined menu, it’s “Sunday supper” Royal Caribbean style
Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, the Asian-inspired restaurant with teppanyaki tables and a sushi bar, features a variety of hot and cold appetizers, entrees, desserts and more
Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, where everybody wins. Guests can catch their home team on more than 80 TV screens, hit “play” on any one of the arcade games, and refuel with a menu of classic bar bites and ice-cold brews on tap
El Loco Fresh will sit poolside and offer fresh grab-and-go Mexican fare, from tacos and burritos to quesadillas, along with an array of salsas for an extra kick. For the first time, the venue will include a full-service bar with a selection of tequilas on offer
Adding to the roster of activities onboard, Royal Caribbean will offer glow-in-the-dark laser tag adventure Clash for the Crystal City, and the debut of a floor-to-ceiling redesign of Freedom’s dedicated teen's spaces and award-winning Adventure Ocean.
Adventure Ocean takes on a whole new look after a makeover that will touch every inch of the spaces specially designed for babies and kids. The imaginative layout encourages young vacationers to venture into a world of interactive experiences, from thought-provoking exploration at Play Place to art, science, and tech activities at Workshop, and friendly challenges at Arena. Kicking back is just as fun with gaming consoles and places to chill at Hangout. Babies and 3- to 5-year-olds will each have personalized areas with AO Babies and AO Junior
Teens will rejoice at their exclusive hangout, entirely transformed to feature the latest in movies, gaming, and music, plus a new, private outdoor deck
Beginning March 8, 2020, the reimagined Freedom will sail 7-night, roundtrip Southern Caribbean cruises from San Juan. The year-round itineraries are set to visit tropical locales in the region, including Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao; Castries, Saint Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; Saint Johns, Antigua; and Kralendijk, Bonaire.
Freedom joins her sister, Independence of the Seas, as part of the Royal Amplified fleet modernization effort. An investment of more than $1 billion across 10 ships in four years, Royal Caribbean’s program touches every facet of the guest experience and introduces a wide range of new adventures spanning one-of-a-kind attractions and experiential dining and nightlife.
The new Norwegian Encore has left the building hall in Germany and is now at Meyer Werft's outfitting dock ahead of an October delivery.
Following her delivery, the 4,200-guest ship will cross to New York for preview events, before ending up in her winter homeport of Miami in late November.
A representation of his modern and abstract style, the ship’s hull features a "labyrinth of color" inspired by Arranz-Bravo’s life by the sea in Barcelona and pays tribute to the vibrant guest experience for which the Norwegian brand is recognized, according to company statements.
After her debut in Miami, the Encore will move to Seattle in 2021, sailing seven-day cruises to Alaska.
Also new will be a partnership with LDV Hospitality to bring the Scarpetta concept to the Norwegian Encore with Onda by Scarpetta. The new restaurant is the first of its kind and will join the Scarpetta portfolio’s locations in New York, the Hamptons, N.Y., Miami, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Newport, R.I., and London.
The name Scarpetta is derived from the Italian expression, 'fare la Scarpetta,' which means to savor a meal to the last bite, according to a statement.
Damage to Bahamas shipyard leaves cruise lines scrambling
The aft end of the Carnival Vista on the Boka Vanguard at the Grand Bahama Shipyard.
Damage to a drydock facility at the Grand Bahama Shipyard in the Bahamas is proving inconvenient and expensive for the cruise industry, and it demonstrates how few drydock options exist on the U.S. East Coast.
The damaged drydock, the largest of three at Grand Bahama, was put out of commission on April 1 when a crane collapsed while raising the stern of the Oasis of the Seas to repair its propulsion pods.
The accident forced Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) to take the Oasis to a yard in Europe to finish repairing it.
The repairs, plus the cost of three canceled Oasis cruises, will pare an estimated $52 million from RCCL's 2019 earnings.
But Royal is not the only line affected by the loss of the Bahamas drydock.
In June, Carnival Cruise Line's 4,000-passenger Carnival Vista also developed a problem with its Azipod motors that required immediate replacement of their bearings. Normally, the work would have been done in drydock at Grand Bahama, a facility jointly owned by RCCL and Carnival Corp.
But on June 20, Carnival Cruise Line disclosed to investors that because it was not possible to use Grand Bahama, the ship would go out of service for 17 days, and three July cruises from Galveston, Texas, would be canceled.
The cost was projected at between $50 million and $62 million, partly because it will take more time to complete than it would have if the ship had been drydocked in the Bahamas.
Carnival turned to what it said was a "first of its kind" solution, loading the entire ship onto a semi-submersible, heavy-lift transport vessel, the Boka Vanguard, built to haul offshore oil and gas drilling rigs.
The loading and lifting operation was scheduled for the weekend of July 12 to 14, after which the Vista was to head for the Grand Bahama yard for the repair work.
Both situations underscore how dependent cruise lines are on Grand Bahama Shipyard for drydock space that is within a quick sailing distance from their headquarters in Florida and from ports on the Eastern Seaboard.
Walter Nadolny, assistant professor of marine transportation, ship construction and stability at the State University of New York's Maritime College, said there are several reasons for the infrastructure deficit.
One is that costs are low in the Bahamas.
"The United States is the most expensive place in the world to build and repair a ship," Nadolny said. Most U.S. shipyards of the size needed to work on late-model cruise ships are accustomed to cost-plus contracts from the U.S. Navy and are too expensive, he said.
The Carnival Vista arrives at night in Grand Bahama after being picked up by the Boka Vanguard.
Second, the specialized gear and materials have been concentrated in Grand Bahamas and are not easily duplicated.
"If they brought [the Carnival Vista] into Jacksonville Yard, in Jacksonville, Fla., right now by bringing in all the stuff they need to do the repair, they'd be incurring duties," Nadolny said. "The logistics they need are probably sitting in the Bahamas, which means we've got to bring people in, we've got to bring equipment in, [and] it could be stuck in customs."
Cruise lines have grown to rely heavily on Grand Bahama because most of what they do there is routine refurbishments that are predictable and can be scheduled well in advance, he said.
But unforeseen situations are posing more of a challenge. "The intricacies of changing out Azipods make it a little more difficult," Nadolny said.
Carnival had the option of sending the Vista to Europe, where cruise ship drydocks are more numerous, Nadolny said, but that would have meant extra transit time.
"Now, instead of a three-week downtime, it's going to be a seven-week downtime or a 10-week downtime," he said about the European alternative.
Before 2000, when the predecessor of Grand Bahama Shipyard was founded in Freeport, cruise lines were more dependent on U.S. yards. For example, when the Carnival Ecstasy caught fire leaving Miami in 1998, it was sent to the giant Newport News Shipbuilding yard in Hampton Roads, Va.
But ships have been growing in size.
"The reason why Grand Bahama came about is specifically that there were no large drydocks in the southeast part of the U.S. that could accommodate these mega-cruise ships," said Lawrence Rapp, principal consultant at Seawise Consulting, which focuses on new building and refurbishment management.
After the previous operator of the Freeport yard went bankrupt, Carnival and Royal Caribbean invested in it.
"That's worked reasonably well until this accident," Rapp said. "The only real fallback that exists is Newport News, but they're committed to Navy contracts. If the Navy ship isn't finished, then you don't get the dock, so it's just not reliable enough for the cruise industry."
At the start of the year, Grand Bahama had 25 projects scheduled for 2019. It is not known how the crane accident will impact that total or when the damages from the accident will be repaired. Grand Bahama Shipyard officials have said nothing about the cause or consequences of the accident.
Phone and email efforts to reach the yard for comment were unsuccessful.
Problems with podded propulsion systems continue to dog the industry, making the need for repair facilities acute. The sister ship of the Oasis of the Seas, the Allure of the Seas, is currently operating at less than full speed because of a technical problem with one of its pods.
In May, Royal Caribbean International sent a letter to passengers booked on the Allure saying that the ship would be leaving some ports early and substituting some ports for others through October because it could not sail at full speed.
Nadolny said the only cost-effective drydock alternative to Grand Bahama for ships needing work along the East Coast would be another Caribbean facility.
He said a yard could be built in another offshore location; Haiti, for example. But it would require that country to say "We want to do this" and then devoting the necessary resources.
Rapp said that keeping a drydock operation in the black can be tricky.
"There are a lot of risk factors," he said. "It's hugely capital intensive. There are all sorts of labor issues. It's not something that's easy to make money with. You look at a drydock bill for a big cruise ship and you think 'Look at all that money.' Most of it is going to subcontractors for interior refurbishments and so on."
He added: "The amounts going to the shipyard are substantial, but they're not constant, and they're not reliable."
Royal Caribbean voyages to double the fun at the private island
CocoCay's waterpark opened earlier this year.
Royal Caribbean International has added nearly 40 sailings in the coming year that will feature two stops at its Perfect Day at CocoCay private island.
The four-day cruises on Navigator of the Seas from Port Canaveral and Mariner of the Seas generally sandwich a stop in Nassau between the two visits to nearby CocoCay.
Royal Caribbean will sail three Navigator cruises that stay at CocoCay late into the night.
Entertainment will include traditional Bahamian-inspired activities, including a Junkanoo Jam Up Party, an island barbecue and performances by a calypso band and fire dancers, topped off with fireworks.
Both Virgin Voyages and MSC Cruises are preparing to offer private beach attractions in the Bahamas that provide evening activities.
Norwegian Cruise Line boss nets $1.3m in the share sale
Norwegian Cruise Line boss Andy Stuart netted $1.3 million from the sale of shares.
He sold 25,000 shares in parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings in two tranches last week, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The sale at $50 per share came after the company reported record second-quarter financial results with earnings of $240.2 million for the three months to June 30.
The lift in profits came despite the impact of the abrupt US government ban on cruise ships calling into Cuba and a technical problem with the ship Norwegian Pearl which forced one cruise to be amended and another to be canceled.
Company president and CEO Frank Del Rio said at the time: “The underlying fundamentals of our business remain strong across all core markets, and we continue to expect record financial results in 2019, despite the impact from the change in federal regulations which resulted in the cessation of premium-priced Cuba sailings.”
NCLH has a market capitalization of $10.88 billion and controls NCL alongside Oceania and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Venice to Begin Rerouting Cruise Ships Away From Historic City Centre
Venice has taken a huge step toward banning large cruise ships from entering the crowded grand canal through its historic city centre just months after a cruise liner smashed into a riverboat and dock and a week after city officials asked other European cruise destinations to join in its effort to curb cruise ship visits.
The Italian government announced that it will begin to gradually reroute the ships away from the city centre starting next month.
By next year, at least one-third of the ships visiting Venice are expected to call at ports closer to the Italian mainland but still inside the lagoon, including the Fusina and Lombardia terminals.
Italy's minister of transport Danilo Toninelli said the ultimate goal was "to avoid witnessing more invasions of the Giudecca by these floating palaces, with the scandals and risks that they bring," via the Financial Times.
"Starting now, we will decrease the number of liners passing by Giudecca and San Marco, particularly the bigger ones," he added during a transport committee hearing. "The aim is to reroute about one-third of the cruise ships already booked on Venice towards new berths by 2020. We've been talking about big ships for 15 years and nothing has been done. These floating palaces will start to go elsewhere."
Officials plan to consult the public before determining a new location for cruise ships to dock in the long-term future.
"Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) cruise lines have been actively engaged in discussions for a considerable time about using the Vittoria Emanuele Canal as the preferred alternative solution," said Andy Harmer, CLIA's U.K. and Ireland director, in a statement. "We have been cooperative in simulations and studies that supported the Comitatone recommendation. CLIA urges all parties in Venice to reach a conclusion to start the preparation work to prepare the Vittoria Emanuele Canal so we can begin to reroute the larger ships."
“The cruise industry has worked diligently with the Mayor of Venice, the Veneto Region, the Port Authority and many others to find viable solutions to allow larger cruise ships to access the Marittima berths without transiting the Giudecca Canal and we are in agreement with the solution developed by Comitatone in 2017 to utilize the Vittorio Emanuele Canal as the best and most prudent means to move larger cruise ships away from the Giudecca," he added. "CLIA cruise line members welcome and will support the urgent implementation of this solution."
Venice has been struggling with over-tourism for several years now with as many as 30 million visitors passing through each year.
"The growing size of vessels, their environmental impacts on the areas surrounding the ports and the 'burden' that the increasing number of tourists...are creating a situation of conflict," Pino Musolino, chairman of the northern Adriatic Sea port authority, wrote in a recent letter to eight fellow port authorities.
Desperate officials have even called on UNESCO to add Venice to the World Heritage site blacklist of endangered destinations.
Norwegian Joy’s Onboard Revenue More Than Doubles in Alaska
The decision to move the Norwegian Joy from China to the North American market has been successful for Norwegian Cruise Line.
“The redeployment of Norwegian Joy to Alaska resulted to a profound improvement to her profitability, especially in the top line driven by more than doubling of her onboard revenue generation,” said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO, on the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' second-quarter earnings call.
The decision to pull the ship from China came in 2018, as part of the company’s strategic itinerary optimization initiative which also included its entry into new European homeports.
The North American launch of Norwegian Joy generated over $2.5 billion media impressions and further elevated Norwegian Cruise Line's already the preeminent position in the all-important growing and high-yielding Alaska market, Del Rio said.
“We are extremely pleased to not only see her garnering the high pricing she rightfully deserves but also to see her deliver a customer experience that ranks her first in guest satisfaction for the Norwegian brand, driven by the high-tech and industry-first innovation onboard.”
Next year is shaping up to be even stronger for Joy in North America.
“And I may add that we won't have the challenges of selling Joy, a very large ship, in a very abbreviated eight-, or nine-month booking cycle like we did this year when we announced her departure from China,” Del Rio explained.”We have a regular (18- to 24-month) booking cycle in front of us.”
According to Andy Stuart, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, Joy is ahead in the pricing of the vessel she replaced in the Alaska market.
Bullish on Alaska, the growth will grow with the Norwegian Sun joining the market in 2020, sailing seven- to 15-day cruises from Seattle.
“We believe the Norwegian Sun Alaska deployment will generate yield that will approach, if not be equal to what she was commanding in her Cuba deployment led by strong onboard spending,” Del Rio said.
Norwegian Cruise Line Enhances Award-Winning Entertainment Program With SIX: The Musical
WHY IT RATES: Musical lovers will be able to see the critically acclaimed pop musical before its Broadway debut while also enjoying a vacation at sea. – Mackenzie Cullen, Editorial Associate
Norwegian Cruise Line, the innovator in global cruise travel, today announced that SIX, the critically-acclaimed British pop musical about Henry VIII’s six wives will debut onboard Norwegian Bliss, Breakaway and Getaway beginning next month.
From Tudor queens to pop princesses, SIX is a historical retelling of Henry VIII’s six wives. Each leading lady takes centre stage to share her personal story and reclaim her identity. Remixing 500 years of heartbreak into a celebration of 21st-century girl power, the production features lively performances and music by an all-female band.
“Guests will be mesmerized by the comical and powerful leading ladies who will have them laughing, singing and dancing their way out of the theatre,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “SIX is an excellent example of the exceptional entertainment we feature across our innovative fleet; we are really proud to add this amazing musical to our lineup.”
From the premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017 to its recently announced debut at the Brooks Atkinson on Broadway in spring 2020, the musical was written by aspiring young playwrights Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss and produced by Andy and Wendy Barnes of the Global Musicals theatre company, award-winning songwriter George Stiles, the acclaimed West End producer Kenny Wax and Broadway impresario Kevin McCollum.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Norwegian Cruise Line to showcase this award-winning musical for the first time at sea,” said Kenny Wax, one of the producers of SIX. “Originating from the minds of two senior Cambridge University students in the U.K., the show has surprised and delighted audiences around the globe.”
SIX will appear first on Norwegian Bliss on September 1, 2019, followed by Norwegian Breakaway on November 10, 2019 and Norwegian Getaway on April 23, 2020.
“The Disposal would also reduce the Group’s financial burden in meeting future funding requirements in relation to Dream Cruises’ business,” the company said. “It is intended that the sale proceeds for the Disposal will be used as general working capital and capital expenditure for the Group in relation to the construction of (the Global-class ships) and/or to fund new investments of the Group should suitable opportunities arise.”
According to a Genting statement, the transaction was valued at $488,645,875. Genting also noted that Dream has a current three-ship fleet, the Genting Dream, World Dream and Explorer Dream. In addition, is a contract to build a Global-class ship at MV Werften.
“It also expects to enter into the Global II Shipbuilding Contract in relation to the construction of Global II with MV Werften,” the company said, in a prepared statement.
The agreement also noted options third and fourth Global-class ships.
While Carnival Cruise Line brand will continue to be the dominant brand for Carnival Corporation over the next decade, carrying twice as many passengers as the second-largest brand, Costa Crociere will see the most capacity growth over the same time period, driven partially by its short cruises in China.
AIDA will be third in terms of capacity growth, followed by Princess Cruises.
Altogether the Carnival brands will grow their passenger capacity from an estimated 12 million (double occupancy) in 2019 to some 16 million in 2027, barring any ship withdrawals and deployment changes.
At Royal Caribbean Cruises, the Royal Caribbean brand will also continue to dominate and could be the single largest brand in the world by 2027, growing by an estimated 1.2 million passengers, twice the projected capacity growth for the Carnival brand over the same time period. TUI Cruises, which is 50 per cent owned by Royal Caribbean, will also see significant growth. However, Celebrity, which will see less growth over the same time period, will remain the second-largest brand at Royal Caribbean. The total capacity for the Royal Caribbean brands is forecast to grow to about 9 million.
MSC Cruises will move up to become the third-largest cruise company with the most capacity growth of any brand, from an estimated 2.4 million in 2019 to nearly 5 million by 2027.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings moves to fourth place, however, the Norwegian Cruise Line brand will see the second largest passenger capacity increase. Total capacity for the three Norwegian brands is estimated at 3.7 million in the nine-year forecast.
Genting will also see significant relative growth and remains the fifth largest cruise operator.
P&O Cruises pulls Dubai and Arabian Gulf programme
P&O Cruises has scrapped its entire Dubai and Arabian Gulf 2019-20 winter programme amid rising fears for British-flagged vessels sailing in the region.
The cruise line’s president Paul Ludlow said it had sought advice from “external authorities” have been monitoring the friction between the West and Iran before announcing the decision.
Last month, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seized the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz, which lies between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
The majority of the 49 departures between October to next March on Oceana were due to pass through the Strait.
All bookings will be cancelled and guests will be given a full refund.
Ludlow said: “The increased tension in the region highlighted by the attacks on tankers in the strait and the detention of a British-flagged tanker by the Iranian authorities means as a British company flying the Red Ensign it is not advisable for us to maintain our planned Dubai and Arabian Gulf programme this winter season.
“We have therefore taken the unusual step of withdrawing Oceana from the region for the upcoming season.
“Whilst we appreciate our guests will be disappointed, the safety of our guests and crew is absolutely paramount and given our UK status, coupled with the uncertainty in the region, we have had to make this difficult decision.”
Strait of Hormuz
New itineraries for Oceana are currently being put together and will be put on sale from 9am on August 20.
The line added that the new programme will include ex-Southampton departures to Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands, plus a 35-night pre-Christmas sailing to the Caribbean.
Affected passengers have also been given an exclusive offer on 2020-21 Dubai and Arabian Gulf cruises and well as this season’s Caribbean fly-cruises.
P&O launched its first Arabian Gulf programme this year, basing Oceana in Dubai for a series of fly-cruises to destinations such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Oman from January and April.
P&O Cruises launched a new advert in March starring comic Rob Brydon to promote its 2020-21 Arabian Gulf programme.
Actress Helen Mirren named godmother of Scenic ship
Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren has been named godmother of the Scenic Eclipse expedition vessel. The ship will be christened on Sept. 10 in New York City.
"Scenic Eclipse is a unique ship that requires an equally unique person to act in this role," stated Glen Moroney, Scenic's founder and chairman.
Mirren won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2007 for her performance in "The Queen." She was also nominated for Oscars for her roles in 1994's "The Madness of King George," 2001's "Gosford Park" and 2009's "The Last Station."
The Eclipse is Scenic's first oceangoing vessel. It was originally scheduled to debut in 2018 but shipyard problems delayed its completion.
The 200-passenger ship's maiden voyage is slated to depart Iceland on Aug. 15 on a 13-day discovery sailing ending in Quebec on Aug. 27.
The ultra-luxe Eclipse will have two six-guest helicopters and one six-guest submarine capable of depths of nearly 1,000 feet, indoor and outdoor plunge pools, and butler service for all guests. The 114-suite ship will have 10 dining options, including Asian fusion, French fine dining, a chef's table and a poolside buffet. There will be a state-of-the-art theatre for entertainment and lectures.
Scenic operates river cruises in Europe, Southeast Asia, Russia and Egypt on 15 ships.
Venice Asks Other Cities to Join in Effort to Curb Cruise Ships
Venice officials have asked several of Europe's other popular cruise destinations, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dubrovnik and Marseille to join them in working toward the enforcement of new rules that would require cruise lines to adapt their ships to reduce the potential for injury to people as well as environmental impact.
"I have written to all European cities that share our experience with cruise tourism and that find themselves having to balance economic development with environmental sustainability," Pino Musolino, chairman of the northern Adriatic Sea port authority, said in a statement Thursday.
"The growing size of vessels, their environmental impacts on the areas surrounding the ports and the 'burden' that the increasing number of tourists...are creating a situation of conflict," he wrote in a letter to eight fellow port authorities.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and bucket list destination for many, Venice is slowly sinking, with officials blaming cruise ships for contributing to the growing problem.