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Archive for May, 2014

Cunard Line is offering guests interested in exploring the beautiful Mediterranean aboard one of Cunard Line’s magnificent Queens – flagship Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth – can receive a Free Balcony Upgrade, Free Gratuities and a Free Bottle of Wine on select voyages if they book now through 30 June 2014.

Passengers can choose from over 60 Mediterranean voyages on sale that visit Italy, Monaco, Spain, Southern France, the Greek Isles, Iberia and Canary Islands, all while enjoying the distinct tradition and luxury of Cunard.

Promotion details include:

  • Sail in a Balcony Stateroom for the same fare as an Oceanview Stateroom
  • Free gratuities for two people
  • Free bottle of house wine per stateroom

Destination

Princess Grill fares from

Balcony fares from

Oceanview fares from

Inside fares from

Mediterranean

$2,999

$1,299

$1,299

$899

Greek Isles

$6,299

$2,599

$2,599

$2,199

Iberia & Canary Islands

$5,799

$2,099

$2,099

$1,699

WHEN: 29 May – 30 June 2014

NOTE: Promotion offers apply to new bookings only and are capacity-controlled, subject to change, and may not be combined with any other public, group or past passenger discount.  Taxes, Fees & Port Expenses ranging from $65 to $250 per person are additional and subject to change. Reference promo code RD6.  Click here for offer details. Offer expires 30 June 2014.

For more information about Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth or to book a voyage, contact your Travel Agent, call Cunard Line at 1-800-728-6273 or visit www.cunard.com.

Reported by © www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Filled Under cruise sales, gallery

MSC orders two new ships from Fincantieri

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On May - 22 - 2014

Today MSC Cruises signed a contract with Fincantieri for the construction of two new cruise ships with an option for one more. The two ships will join MSC Cruises’ fleet, currently counting 12 ships. The signature took place at the Palazzo Chigi in Rome between MSC Cruises and Fincantieri in the presence of the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago and CEO Gianni Onorato, and Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono.

The new prototype will be named “Seaside” and will be the largest cruise ship ever built by Fincantieri. Its innovative features will make it unique in the shipbuilding industry. The two ships will lead the way for a new generation of cruise ships that will be completely different from an architectural point of view.

“From the moment we started talking with Fincantieri, we had in mind to design and build two completely new ships, revolutionary in their structure, unlike anything that exists on the market today,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises. “Seaside is a futuristic prototype because of its structure, shape and versatility. Working closely with Fincantieri we are getting ready for the new and compelling challenge that the construction of these ships represents. It will be a real revolution in the world’s cruise market, an excellent product for its unique and innovative architectural features and cutting-edge technology.”

MSC Cruises new build seaside with Fincantieri

The two new ships will cost €700 million each, and will be funded with the support of the insurance and financial company SACE. The two ships will be delivered to MSC Cruises, owned by Gianluigi Aponte, at different times: the first in November 2017, the second in May 2018. With a length of 1060 feet, a width of 135 feet and a height of 230 feet, the new ships will have a gross tonnage of 154,000 tons and will accommodate up to 5,300 passengers plus 1,413 crew members. The ships will boast 2,070 guest cabins, 759 for crew members, and 468,230 square feet of public areas available. Innovative in design and versatility, the new ships will be able to dock in any port around the world.

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, declared, “This is a special day for us. Today is the start of an ambitious and new adventure with our friends from MSC, a group that prides itself on its quality and Mediterranean style. These ships, which represent a genuine design challenge, will be developed entirely by Fincantieri, confirming our technological supremacy over other shipbuilders globally. Our commitment to innovation covers all high value-added sectors, thanks to the involvement of more than 2,000 technicians and 160 employees dedicated to basic research, as well as a partner network of Italian and European centres of excellence. This core asset is what makes our group unique in its kind in the world, and allows us not only to reaffirm our leadership in a sector as complex as the cruise one, but also to count on a substantial order backlog that bodes well for a full recovery in our business.”

“Today, MSC Cruises adds the last piece to its new industrial plan that will allow us to double the capacity of our fleet by 2022. With the arrival of the new ships we will reach a capacity of about 80,000 passengers a day,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises. “As of today we have launched an investment plan of over €5 billion that includes new builds, ordered in Italy and France, and the conversion of four ships already in the fleet.”

The Seaside prototype presents unique features such as a sea-level promenade that circumnavigates the sides of the ship with outdoor spaces, shops and restaurants. In addition, Seaside will also feature a splendid and spacious theatre, a terraced balcony and panoramic lifts with sea views. Furthermore, the ship will boast numerous technological innovations that will, among other things, further reduce fuel consumption by 25% and advanced safety systems that go beyond what is required by international regulation.  The ships will be built to sail to the most sought-after warm weather destinations in the Mediterranean, South America and Caribbean.

Reported by © www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Filled Under cruisenews, gallery

Holland America Line sending two ships to P&O Cruises in Australia

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On May - 20 - 2014

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest cruise company, today announced plans to significantly expand its market leadership in Australia, one of the fastest growing markets in the cruise industry.

With Australian cruise passenger numbers having increased 130 percent in the past five years and projections of 800,000 cruise passengers in 2013 growing to one million by 2016, P&O Cruises (Australia), one of Carnival Corporation’s 10 brands, will add two ships to its fleet in 2015. With a total of five ships, P&O Cruises will establish Australia’s largest year-round fleet and be well-positioned to continue meeting Australians’ surging demand for cruise vacations.

The expansion leverages Carnival Corporation’s industry-leading scale and underscores its strategy of increased collaboration among its 10 brands, as the two ships will be transferred from the company’s Holland America Line brand to become part of the P&O Cruises fleet. In the meantime, Holland America Line is building its latest and largest ship, to be delivered in February 2016. The new Pinnacle Class ship will be 99,500 tons and carry 2,660 passengers. This new ship will replace the capacity of the two vessels moving to P&O Cruises in Australia.

“Australians know a good thing when they discover it, and that speaks to why taking a cruise has become the most popular vacation experience in the Australian tourism industry,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “By any measure, Australia is one of the top performing cruise markets in the world, with an eye-popping average annual passenger growth rate of 20 percent over the past decade.”

Holland America Ship Sydney courtesy of Carnival Corp Australia for use by ExpertCruiser.com

Added Donald: “We are already firmly entrenched as the market leader, and with today’s move we are poised to continue our leadership. At the same time, our ability to work among our brands to make strategic deployment decisions is a great example of our focus on leveraging our scale and increased collaboration. This is an exciting development on many levels.”

Carnival Corporation is the largest cruise operator in Australia and the only cruise company to have ships based full-time in Australian waters. Over the past 10 years Carnival Corporation has grown rapidly with its local fleet increasing from two full-time ships, both with P&O Cruises, to six full-time ships from three of the company’s brands — three P&O Cruises ships, two Princess Cruises ships and one Carnival Cruise Lines ship. In 2015, with P&O Cruises adding its two ships and the return of Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess full-time, that number will increase to nine.

The company’s ships sail from five Australian cities as well as Auckland in New Zealand. During the past summer cruise season in Australia, the company had a record 20 ships from across seven of its brands sailing in Australian waters.

“The announcement is an emphatic statement of confidence in Australia, one of the most vibrant cruise markets in the world,” said Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia. “Today’s news also underscores how P&O Cruises — which pioneered cruising in the country more than 80 years ago – has been the driving force in making cruising one of the most popular vacation experiences in Australia. We have a great understanding of what Australians are looking for in a vacation, and with cruising more popular than ever among Australians, this is the perfect time to meet demand with increased capacity.”

Today’s announcement follows recent news that Carnival Corporation in 2015 will be the first global cruise company with four ships based in China, also considered one of the world’s fastest-growing cruise markets. Together, the company’s moves highlight its strategy to strengthen its leadership position through the Asia-Pacific region, which includes Australia, and positions the company well to realize the potential market growth.

The two ships being added to P&O Cruises, currently sailing as ms Ryndam and ms Statendam in the Holland America Line fleet, are mid-range in size, similar to the three existing P&O ships in Australia — the Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl. The ships will be completely refurbished to offer a new level of comfort and style and will include onboard features tailored for Australian and New Zealand passengers. Full details will be announced in coming months.

Having a five-ship fleet will give P&O Cruises greater flexibility in its increased offering of short-break cruises, traditional cruises to the South Pacific and cruises to new destinations such as Papua New Guinea and Asia.

The ships will join the P&O Cruises fleet in November 2015 and itineraries are being developed for the expanded fleet.

Reported by © www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Filled Under cruisenews, gallery

Breaking News: Carnival Corp. sending more ships to China

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On May - 12 - 2014

Today Carnival Corporation announced Costa Serena will deploy year-round in China next year, making Carnival Corporation the first global cruise company with four ships based in China, the world’s fastest-growing cruise market. The move will accelerate Carnival Corporation’s leadership in China, capitalizing on growing consumer demand that is expected to make the country the second largest cruise market in the world by 2017.

Costa Cruises, one of Carnival Corporation’s 10 industry-leading brands, announced today it will debut Costa Serena in Shanghai in April 2015, where it will join Costa Victoria and Costa Atlantica, both already deployed in China. The move will increase Costa’s overall capacity in Asia by 74 percent.

The Costa Cruises expansion builds on eight years of successful operations in China and Carnival Corporation’s surging momentum as the largest operator in the country. In addition to Costa Serena, another Carnival Corporation brand, Princess Cruises, will homeport out of Shanghai starting May 21 through Sept. 3, 2014, with Sapphire Princess, providing another unique cruising experience for Chinese travelers. Adding a third ship based in China this year increases Carnival Corporation’s total 2014 capacity in the country by 66 percent. In 2015, with four ships based in China for the first time, Carnival’s industry-leading capacity is expected to jump 140 percent over a two-year period.

“Carnival Corporation has for years recognized that Chinese travelers would love the cruising experience, and that is why Costa Cruises was the first global cruise line to commit to sailing from China back in 2006,” said Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald. “We have never been more committed to China as a market of great strategic importance for our company, and with today’s news we will be the only global cruise company to have four ships operating out of China. More than that, as the world’s largest cruise company with a portfolio of 10 of the world’s most celebrated cruise lines, we are very well positioned to continue working with government officials in China to help the country meet its goal of becoming one of the most important cruise markets in the world.”

Donald added, “Today’s news is another big step in that direction. Chinese travelers love sailing on Costa’s Victoria and Atlantica, and we are confident they will also love sailing on Costa Serena and Sapphire Princess. Our team is passionate about delivering a unique experience designed to exceed the expectations of every guest who boards one of our ships.”

Michael Thamm, CEO of Costa Group, said of today’s expansion announcement: “Costa Serena’s arrival in China is a monumental occasion for our company, and we’re proud to be the first global cruise line to have three ships based in China. As we execute our strategy to accelerate growth in China, which has great market potential, we have the benefit of eight years of experience in China to not only help guide our expansion, but also to find unique ways to surprise and delight our guests as more travelers in China experience ‘Italy at Sea’ with Costa.”

Carnival is investing significantly in China as well as in Asia to take advantage of strong growth opportunities across the region. In addition to investments in China, Carnival is concentrating on growth efforts in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea to maintain and expand its leadership position in Asia. Highlights of Carnival’s strong momentum and leadership in the region include:

  • Capacity: Industry-leading cruise presence in China in 2014 and 2015, including 66 percent increase in total 2014 capacity in China and 140 percent increase over a two-year period.
  • Port Calls: Industry leader with 23 ships across seven brands visiting 90 ports in Asia with an estimated 1,439 port calls planned for 2014, including 220 port calls across five brands in China.
  • Sales offices: Carnival operates 10 offices in Asia, more than any competitor, including five locations in China –Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Chengdu.
  • Industry firsts: Costa was the first global cruise company to sail from China in 2006; Princess was the first global cruise line to offer a full season of sailing with a homeport in Japan, starting in 2013.
  • Brand strength: Carnival Corporation has seven of its 10 brands sailing in Asia: Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises and Seabourn.

Carnival Corporation Introducing Sapphire Princess to China
Adding further to Carnival Corporation’s commitment to China, the company’s Princess Cruises brand will officially introduce Sapphire Princess to China on May 21. Sapphire Princess will bring the brand’s premium cruise experience – Princess Class – to Shanghai for a four-month season during which it is expected to carry 65,000 passengers on roundtrip cruises.

Based on key research insights, the Princess Class premium cruise experience offers customized services and onboard features for Chinese guests to enhance and enrich their travel experience. Guests on the new China-based cruises will be treated to exceptional cultural, culinary and entertainment programs, including the World Leaders’ Dinner, English Afternoon Tea, Ultimate Balcony Dining, the only 24-hour buffet at sea in China, Tai Chi and Zumba at sea, “Princess Night” personal touches and luxury shopping. Princess Class also includes a “Touch of Class” enrichment series designed to appeal to multi-generational groups with offerings such Social Etiquette classes and a Sommelier Wine Excursion.

Additionally, itineraries will range from three to seven days, which is the ideal range of vacation days for the Chinese market, according to research.

Reported by © www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Filled Under cruisenews

Royal Caribbean orders fourth Oasis-class ship

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On May - 9 - 2014

Royal Caribbean announced today that it has agreed with STX France to move forward on the order of a fourth Oasis-class ship for delivery in 2018. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard D. Fain and President and Chief Operating Officer Adam Goldstein, along with STX France Chief Executive Officer Laurent Castaing, announced the planned ship order at the keel-laying ceremony for the third Oasis-class ship at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

“The Oasis Class was a revolution in maritime design when it was launched in 2009. Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas continue to be in a class by themselves both in terms of guest satisfaction and financial returns. Today’s announcement is a reflection of their success,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We are thrilled to announce the order of a fourth Oasis-class ship during the keel-laying milestone of the third. This announcement is also a testament to the men and women of STX France who have worked so hard and so cooperatively on Oasis III.”

Oasis_of_the_Seas1The order is subject to documentation and satisfaction of financing and other customary conditions. Projected capital expenditures for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are $1.4 billion, $1.4 billion, $2.2 billion, $0.3 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively, taking into account this order and existing ship orders.

Known for pushing the boundaries and as part of the cruise line’s continuous improvement mantra, Oasis III will be approximately 20 percent more energy efficient than Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas,  which already are the most energy efficient cruise ships in the world. The fourth Oasis-class ship will further build on that efficiency.

“We are very excited that Royal Caribbean has agreed to move forward with a fourth Oasis-class ship demonstrating their confidence in STX France to construct the most superior cruise ships in the world,” said Laurent Castaing, Chief Executive Officer, STX France. “We look forward to advancing the efficiencies of our ship building process to produce the most innovative ships that vacationers have come to expect from Royal Caribbean.”

The keel laying of the third Oasis-class ship marks an important milestone in the development of the ship, as it signifies the beginning of its physical construction. During the ceremony, a 1,000-ton block measuring 32-ft by 154-ft (10 x 47 meters) was lifted by crane into the building dock. Newly minted coins were placed under the keel and will stay in place there until the end of the ship’s construction. Once the ship is near to completion, the coins are retrieved and presented to the ship’s Captain and crew to be placed onboard the ship. According to maritime tradition, the coins are said to bring luck to the ship during its construction process and then to its Captain and crew when she is sailing out at sea. Still to be named, the third Oasis-class ship will be delivered in spring 2016.

The third and fourth Oasis-class ships will join Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas – which took the cruise industry by storm with their launch in 2009 and 2010, respectively – and share the title of the largest ships in the world. They feature a revolutionary design with a split superstructure and the cruise line’s neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas. At 225,282 gross registered tons and spanning 16 decks with 2,700 staterooms, the Oasis-class ships also introduced extraordinary “firsts” at sea such as an 82 foot-long zip line, a handcrafted carousel, the Rising Tide elevating bar, the AquaTheater high-diving performance venue, and the Central Park with more than 12,000 live trees and plants. The Oasis Class also offers amenities that can only be found on Royal Caribbean, such as twin FlowRider surf simulators, cantilevered whirlpools, an ice-skating rink, the H2O Zone kids aquapark, and the Royal Promenade, an interior boulevard that stretches nearly the length of the ship and flanked by restaurants, lounges and boutiques, among many others.

Reported by © www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Filled Under cruisenews, gallery, new ships

Be a part of history and sail with Queen Mary 2 during her 10th anniversary year!  Cunard Line is offering fares starting from $899 plus Free Gratuities and $100 On Board Credit per stateroom on select Transatlantic Crossings in 2014.  The Queen Mary 2 10th Anniversary Special offer applies to new bookings only, is capacity-controlled, subject to change, and may not be combined with any other public, group or past passenger discount.  Reference promo code RD5. Offer expires 19 May 2014. For more information about Queen Mary 2 or to book a voyage, contact your Travel Agent, call Cunard Line at 1-800-728-6273 or visit www.cunard.com.

Reported by © www.expertcruiser.com – Your online consumer guide for cruise travel and information.

Filled Under cruise sales