Facebook twitter followgram pinterest

Archive for March, 2015


Carnival Corporation to add 9 new ships by 2019

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 26 - 2015

Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest travel and leisure company, today signed two strategic memorandums of agreement that will add a total of nine new cruise ships to the company’s industry-leading fleet over a four-year period from 2019 – 2022. The shipbuilding agreements, which include options for additional ship builds in the coming years, are subject to several conditions, including satisfactory financing.

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A and German shipbuilder Meyer Werft will each build new ships based on Carnival Corporation’s next-generation ship designs, which will produce the most efficient ships in the company’s history. The new ships are expected to serve established cruise markets in North America and Europe, as well as newer markets, including China. Each new ship will be specifically designed and developed for the brand and guests it will serve, and support the company’s overall goal of exceeding guest expectations and further elevating every aspect of the guest experience.

“We’re excited to take this next step in our fleet enhancement plan with these two new agreements that are consistent with our long-term strategy of measured capacity growth over time,” said Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation. “Our goal as a company is to exceed the expectations of every guest on every ship every day, and these new ships will further enable us to do just that. These will be the most efficient ships we have ever built and the great guest experience will create even more excitement around cruising – helping new cruisers realize the superior vacation experience and value that cruising offers versus land-based vacations.”

Fincantieri, the world’s largest cruise ship building company, will develop and construct five ships at its shipyards in Monfalcone and Marghera, Italy.

“I am extremely proud on this truly memorable day for us. Today’s announcement provides us with a long-term strategic prospective, and reinforces the extraordinary partnership between us and Carnival Corporation, developed over time thanks to the confidence the group has always shown in us, which we assure will be once again well placed,” said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri. “This agreement reflects the exceptional business vision of the world’s most important cruise operator, and our readiness and flexibility in interpreting its demands.”

Bono added: “This agreement is the best reward for our hard work over all these years, and in fact, our organizational, design and production skills have allowed us to consolidate our market leadership, confirming us at the top of such an exclusive and complex industry.”

Meyer Werft, a leading global shipbuilder founded in Germany in 1795, will build its four ships at its shipyards in Papenburg, Germany, and Turku, Finland. Now in its seventh generation of family ownership, Meyer Werft has become well known for constructing large, modern and sophisticated cruise ships, including 39 luxury ships the company has built for its customers around the world.

Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft, said: “We are very happy and honored that Carnival Corporation trusts our strength to bring this ambitious newbuilding program to life in Turku and Papenburg.”

As part of each company’s long-term strategic partnership with Carnival Corporation, additional new ship orders are being explored over the coming decade.

Additional information on Carnival Corporation’s cruise ship design, and which of the company’s nine leading global brands will add these next-generation vessels to their fleets will be made available at a later date.

Carnival Corporation’s fleet enhancement strategy will add two new ships to its fleet in 2015 and remove four ships from the fleet. P&O Cruises UK officially launched Britannia, the largest ship ever designed exclusively for Britain, in a majestic naming ceremony earlier this month. Later this year, the AIDA Cruises fleet will welcome AIDAprima, which is expected to be one of the most technically advanced and sustainable cruise ships ever built.

In addition to these new ships, Carnival Corporation continues to enhance its guest experience on existing ships. The overall fleet enhancement strategy combines new ship builds with an ongoing program to further elevate guest experience across the company’s existing fleet and nine brands.

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


Royal Caribbean sending Ovation of the Seas to China

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 25 - 2015

Furthering the cruise line’s commitment to growing the China vacation market, Royal Caribbean International today announced that Tianjin, China, will be the new home for its third Quantum-class ship, Ovation of the Seas. The news was given today by Royal Caribbean’s President and CEO, Michael Bayley, in a Beijing press conference of media, travel agents and officials. Launching in April 2016, Ovation of the Seas will be the cruise line’s fifth cruise ship based in the region.

“Cruising has become very popular for Chinese consumers and Royal Caribbean is already capturing their imaginations with our industry-leading cruise ships,” said Bayley. “We are furthering our commitment by bringing two of the world’s newest and most advanced Quantum-class cruise ships to the region. In addition, we are significantly expanding our investment in the training and employment of Chinese talent so they can join us in delivering our amazing and distinctive vacations to Chinese travelers.”

Currently under construction, Ovation of the Seas will join Quantum of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Legend of the Seas in the China seas. The five ships will comprise the largest fleet deployment for any cruise brand in China, homeporting in four metropolitan Chinese cities – Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Xiamen – and primarily sailing three- to 12-night itineraries to destinations in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. Royal Caribbean’s summer 2016 Asia adventures will open for booking in August 2015.

In addition to committing ships to the region, Royal Caribbean is investing in people shoreside. The cruise line created a curriculum with the Tianjin Maritime College in August 2014 in order to attract, train and employ more Chinese talent. In the 13,000 sq. ft. school, students are instructed in the skills needed for a successful culinary or restaurant service career with Royal Caribbean. The cruise line has already hired more than 3,000 graduates and hopes to expand the program to accept more students and work with colleges in other Chinese cities.

Royal Caribbean also is exploring new ways to engage the Chinese economy and help create more Chinese jobs. The cruise line is investigating potential Chinese drydock facilities to revitalize Legend of the Seas as early as 2018; logistics centers in China to supply its ships deployed in the region; and an inbound-tourism business model to bring thousands of North American vacationers to experience China.

Once launched, Ovation of the Seas’ maiden sailings will include a 52-night Global Odyssey from Southampton, U.K. to Tianjin. Vacationers can be among the first to experience the new ship on the 2016 Ovation Global Odyssey, which will open for sale on Thursday, March 26, 2015. Five itineraries will take guests to some of the world’s most iconic cities:

  • A seven-night England to Barcelona cruise, departing May 3, 2016 from Southampton
  • 16-night Barcelona to Dubai cruise, via the Suez Canal, departing May 10
  • 14-night India and Southeast Asia cruise, departing May 26 from Dubai to Singapore
  • Three-night Malaysia cruise, departing June 9 on a roundtrip sailing from Singapore
  • And 12-night Exotic Asia cruise, from Singapore to Tianjin.

Royal Caribbean is the leading and the most successful cruise line in China, shown by business growth, consumer and trade preference, and industry and consumer recognitions and awards. For its inaugural season, Ovation of the Seas will homeport in Tianjin – approximately 70 miles southeast of Beijing, while Quantum of the Seas will complete a full year of sailings from Shanghai. Mariner of the Seas will join Quantum of the Seas in Shanghai, while Voyager of the Seas will sail regularly from Hong Kong’s new Kai Tak Cruise Port. In addition to Japan and Korea itineraries, Voyager of the Seas will offer four- and five-night Taiwan and Vietnam cruises. For its part, Legend of the Seas will offer a set of sailings from Tianjin and then reposition to its new homeport of Xiamen for the remainder of the season.

“While China gets the newest Quantum Class, North America is getting the newest Oasis Class, Harmony of the Seas. There will be three Oasis-class ships sailing from two Florida ports starting in 2016, in addition to Anthem of the Seas from Cape Liberty, giving vacationers plenty of options for a truly memorable Royal Caribbean cruise.” added Bayley.

Ovation of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas are among the Quantum Class, the world’s most advanced cruise ships. While Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Sea will sail the China seas, Anthem of the Seas will make Cape Liberty in Bayonne, N.J. its long-term home, and offer New York metropolitan vacationers a range of Bermuda, Caribbean, and Canada and New England adventures.

The Quantum Class features Royal Caribbean’s unmatched innovations in onboard attractions, including the North Star aerial observatory, a glass capsule that takes guests more than 300 feet above the ocean for incomparable panoramic views, and the RipCord by iFLY skydiving and FlowRider surfing simulators. Guests will be dazzled with the ships’ transformative venues, such as the Two70 lounge, a great room by day and an immersive, multimedia entertainment spectacular at night, and SeaPlex, where guests can challenge each other at bumper cars, disco roller skating, circus school, and basketball and other sports. Guests enjoy a choice of 18 onboard restaurants, each serving a distinctive menu of delectable fare, and rollicking live entertainment in Music Hall, the Royal Theater, and Royal Esplanade.  

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


Avalon Tapestry II christened by Godmother Diana Gabaldon

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 24 - 2015

On a rainy, good-luck-kind-of-day in Les Andelys, Avalon Waterways christened its ninth Suite Ship, the Avalon Tapestry II.  Acting as the ship’s godmother, Diana Gabaldon – author of the award-winning, No. 1 New York Times-bestselling OUTLANDER novelsled the christening ceremony.

“God bless this bonny ship and all who sail in her!  Rivers are the lifeblood of a country, carrying the commerce and history of its people,” said Ms. Gabaldon.  “We who are chosen to join this great adventure are blessed to be part of the flood of life.  Bless the builders and makers of this ship, the captain and crew, and all who may sail in her, today and all her tomorrows.  I christen thee Avalon Tapestry II!”

Avalon Waterways Tapestry 2 Godmother Diana Grabaldon

After reciting her blessing, Ms. Gabaldon cut a rope tethered to Moet, causing the bottle to break against the newly named ship’s bow.  Onlookers included Captains Laurent Taupe and Rudy Villard; Avalon Waterways’ Patrick Clark and Burghart Lell; the ship builder Jacque Den Breejen; the Tapestry II crew as well as 150 charming townspeople of Les Andelys and their Mayor Fredric Duchet.

Of her godmother duties, Ms. Gabaldon said, “I’ve been invited to do everything from leading parades to being installed as a Lady of the Quebec Garrison of the 78th Highlanders—but being godmother to a lovely ship has been a new and fabulous experience!   I’m looking forward to sailing this new ship while embarking on new adventures – and doubtless good food – exploring the history-lined rivers of Europe!” 

“Ms. Gabaldon has added to the storytelling tapestry of our lives while also inspiring travel with her literature.  In her OUTLANDER books – now a popular television series on STARZ – she has brought to life the historic, 18th century backdrops of Scotland as well as dozens of other destinations, including the river ports of France.  She is an inspiring storyteller and inspired choice as godmother for this Suite Ship that will soon deliver travelers to the heart of Europe, encouraging them to explore all that France has to offer while enjoying panoramic views day and night, along the way.”

After the christening ceremony, the 361-foot, 128-passenger Avalon Tapestry II will welcome travelers aboard for such popular itineraries as Paris to Normandy’s Landing Beaches and Grand France (northbound and southbound).

About Avalon’s Suite Ships:

“With two full decks of suites, nothing showcases the best of river cruising like our Suite Ships,” said Patrick Clark managing director of Avalon Waterways.    “Each suite has been thoughtfully designed to enhance the European cruise experience.  From bed and bathroom positioning to storage and sound-proof insulation, we provide cruisers a renewed feeling of freedom, space and comfort not found with other cruise lines.”

The suites on the Avalon Tapestry II feature a large seating area adjacent to a Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Window.  When opened, this 10’ x 7’ floor-to-ceiling window transforms the entire suite into the category’s only Open-Air BalconySM. With a focus on bringing the beauty of Europe inside, Avalon’s Open-Air Balconies can be enjoyed any hour of the day, all year, adding comfort to the overall guest experience.  Mirroring the on board cruise experience found on all of Avalon’s ships, the Suite Ships also feature a club, main lounge and dining room with sweeping views, hair salon, Sky Deck whirlpool and Open-Air Bistro for outdoor, grilled lunches.  In addition, the fitness rooms aboard the Suite Ships of Avalon, feature additional equipment and room to renew.

 About Diana Gabaldon:

Diana Gabaldon is the author of the award-winning, No. 1 New York Times-bestselling OUTLANDER novels and is described by Salon magazine as “the smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting ’Scrooge McDuck‘ comics.”

A scientist with a Ph.D. in Quantitative Behavioral Ecology and a specialty in scientific computation, Ms. Gabaldon jumped the academic rails in 1991, when the adventure began with the classic OUTLANDER, and has continued through seven more New York Times-bestselling novels, with 26 million copies in print worldwide, in 40 countries and 36 languages.

In 2014, STARZ created a popular television series (also called “OUTLANDER”) based on Ms. Gabaldon’s books.  The series is filmed in Scotland and is [presently] distributed in 87 countries.

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


Live updates from Avalon Waterways new Suite Ship, Avalon Tapestry II

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 22 - 2015

Avalon Waterways is launching their newest ‘Suite Ship” today in Paris, France, the Avalon Tapestry II.  Follow ExpertCruiser.com as we sail aboard Avalon’s newest Suite Ship on the Seine River from Paris to Normandy. Like Avalon’s other Suite Ships, Tapestry II offers two full decks of suites that offer the line’s signature sliding glass door that opens seven feet wide creating an open-air balcony.

Avalon Creativity in Paris, France photo by Avalon Waterways for use by ExpertCruiser.com

Additionally each Suite Ship has a hair salon, Sky Deck whirlpool and Open-Air Bistro for outdoor grilled lunches.  Fitness rooms on Suite Ships have been expanded to provide more floor space and additional equipment.  Follow on Twitter @ExpertCruiser and @AvalonWaterways hashtags #AvalonTapestry2 #AvalonWaterways #SuiteShip  Also, follow ExpertCruiser on Facebook, and Instagram.

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


Wendy Perrin is named godmother of Windstar Cruises Star Breeze

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 18 - 2015

Windstar Cruises is pleased to announce the appointment of travel influencer Wendy Perrin as Godmother of the fleet’s newest yacht, the Star Breeze. 

The company is adding two yachts to its fleet in May of 2015, including the 212-passenger Star Breeze and Star Legend. The addition of these two ships make the company the market leader in small ship cruising with 300 or fewer passengers, with a total of 1,242 berths. Star Breeze will set sail from Nice to Rome, May 6-10, 2015, with stops in Monte Carlo, Portofino, and Portoferraio. 

Wendy Perrin is the founder of WendyPerrin.com, a groundbreaking site focused on travel solutions and travel planning. Prior to founding WendyPerrin.com, Perrin spent two decades at Condé Nast Traveler as its Director of Consumer News and Digital Community. During her time at Condé Nast Traveler, Perrin amassed a wealth of travel knowledge and recommendations, thus positioning herself as one of the travel industry’s most influential women. In addition to creating her travel website, Perrin is currently serving as TripAdvisor’s first-ever Travel Advocate.

“I am so pleased to sail on the inaugural voyage of Star Breeze as Godmother,” says Perrin. “I can’t wait to experience the yacht, as well as those charming harbors that only small ships can sail into, and I look forward to exploring even more of the world’s hidden-gem places aboard the Star Breeze in future.”

Perrin has sailed on Windstar twice as a guest lecturer, including on her honeymoon. She fell in love with the company’s devotion to bringing guests closer to the world through small ship cruising, coupled with the personalized service for which Windstar is known.

Perrin’s Godmother duties include hosting the Star Breeze Christening Ceremony on May 6, which involves a pier-side celebration and ceremonial champagne bottle breaking across the yacht’s bow. In addition to the ceremony and interacting with guests, Perrin will participate in the onboard press conference and attend the Lifestyles of the Glitterati Private Event in Monaco.

“We are thrilled to name Wendy Perrin Godmother of the Star Breeze,” says Hans Birkholz, CEO of Windstar Cruises. “She is one of the most respected and influential women in the travel industry, and has made it her life’s work to provide accurate and inspiring travel experiences to her readers. At Windstar, we strive to deliver a vacation experience 180 degrees from ordinary. We are proud to have a Godmother whose career of telling stories about the most magical moments in travel matches our philosophy.”

Perrin’s appointment to Godmother of the Star Breeze comes after an $8.5 million, three-week renovation in Genoa, Italy. Windstar receives delivery of the ship on April 15, 2015, and re-launches Star Breeze on May 6, 2015, after a full stem to stern transformation, including overhauls of the public spaces, dining venues, and suites.

About Wendy Perrin

Wendy Perrin is the founder of WendyPerrin.com, where she shares her encyclopedic knowledge of travel solutions and travel planners. As TripAdvisor’s first-ever Travel Advocate, Wendy advises its 315 million monthly visitors – the world’s largest travel community.

Wendy was formerly Director of Consumer News and Digital Community at Condé Nast Traveler, where she wrote her practical advice column, The Perrin Report, for 17 years. She started out long ago as the magazine’s Ombudsman (consumer advocate), investigating reader complaints about travel companies and helping wronged travelers get compensation, and that led to her book Wendy Perrin’s Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know.

Wendy has been a keynote speaker at conferences worldwide, on cruise ships, at Harvard University, and at the United Nations. Television appearances include The Today Show, Good Morning America, and many programs on CNN. She has won the Travel Journalist of the Year award, earned a Lowell Thomas award for investigative journalism, and been a finalist for a National Magazine Award—the magazine industry’s most prestigious editorial honor. She graduated cum laude from Harvard, where she majored in History and Literature.

Follow her on Facebook and @wendyperrin for all her best tips.

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

Filled Under Blog, cruisenews, gallery, new ships, News

MSC Cruises bringing newest ship MSC Seaside to Miami in 2017

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On March - 17 - 2015

MSC Cruises, the largest privately-owned cruise company in the world, announced today that the first of its next generation “Seaside” class of ships — set to debut in November 2017 — will be named MSC Seaside and sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean.

In addition, MSC Cruises announced that its Miami-based cruise operations will benefit from a newly renovated and expanded dedicated berth and terminal at PortMiami — a testament to the company’s growing ambitions in the North American market and to providing guests with the best service possible.

Following the first ship’s delivery from the shipyard, MSC Seaside will make her way to Miami for MSC Cruises’ first ever christening ceremony in the U.S. to take place in late 2017.

MSC Seaside courtesy of MSC Cruises for use by ExpertCruiser.com

“The Seaside class of ships is part of MSC Cruises’ $5.3 billion fleet expansion plan that will allow the company to double its capacity by 2022,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises. “Today is a very exciting day for the company as this is the first major announcement related to the company’s new builds and demonstrates our enthusiasm and long-term commitment to continuing to expand our presence in North America.”

With a gross tonnage of 154,000 tons and the ability to accommodate up to 4,140 guests at double occupancy, MSC Seaside will be the largest cruise ship ever built by Fincantieri shipyards. The ship will offer a vast range of popular itineraries from Miami to the Caribbean.

“MSC Cruises has the unique opportunity to provide North American guests with a ‘Mediterranean Style Cruise’ experience that no other line is able to offer, and guests from around the world a unique setting as it sails to the most sought-after destinations in the Caribbean” added Onorato. “Since bringing MSC Divina to Miami in November 2013, we’ve seen significant demand from consumers in the product, excellent support from our travel agent partners and the growing need for additional MSC Cruises’ ships in the market.”

As part of a first look at what MSC Seaside will offer on board, the company also unveiled that the ship will boast the most interactive and originally-designed aqua park at sea with five water slides and attractions for all ages. The park is being built by WhiteWater West Industries of Canada, the award-winning designer and manufacturer of waterpark attractions globally.

Highlights of the multi-story aqua park will include:

Slideboarding™

In an industry first, MSC Seaside will add to the thrills of traditional waterpark fun by offering guests the chance to participate in “Slideboarding™” – a unique waterslide and interactive video game all-in-one. Guests race down a two-story, 367 foot slide on a sleekly designed raft that includes an embedded game controller with colored buttons. The end goal – match the color of the flashing strobe lights seen on various sections of the slide with the colored buttons on the raft. The slide uses a smart gaming system that knows who riders are and tracks their progress and scores over the run down the waterslide.

Duelling High-Speed AquaTubes™
In a high energy competitive setting, guests race against other guests through a combined 525 feet of twists, turns and drops, on slides that partially extend over the side of the ship and give riders a look a quick look at the sea below.

AquaPlay™& AquaSpray™
To cater to its youngest guests, a portion of MSC Seaside’s aqua park will be designed specifically for tots, featuring an active and colorful water play structure that is an experience all on its own. The AquaPlay™ area will be complete with tipping buckets, various spray cannons, solid stream jets, a raintree and a mini-slide.

In addition, various interactive AquaSpray™ activities, such as jets, falls, forts and more will be found throughout the water park for all ages to enjoy.

Adventure Trail
Directly connected to the aqua park is the Adventure Trail, a ropes course which allows guests to cross-cross between soaring towers, rope bridges, climbs, crawl-throughs and slides as they enjoy an amazing bird’s eye view of the water. Explorers on the trail will need to move quickly though as guests below will be able to use water spray cannons to soak their friends and family.

MSC FLEET AND GROWTH
MSC Cruises operates a fleet of 12 modern ships cruising year-round in the Mediterranean and seasonally in the French Antilles, northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, South Africa, South America, as well as in Dubai, the Emirates and Oman. The company currently sails seasonally in the Caribbean but will sail year-round in the region as of 2017.

The company, which grew by 800 percent since 2004, carried 1.67 million guests in 2014 and reported strong financial results with a turnover of $1.5 billion. In addition, MSC Cruises is forecasting an additional 10 percent growth for 2015.

In 2014, as part of its $5.3 billion expansion plan, MSC Cruises ordered two ultramodern, state-of-the-art ships from Italy’s Fincantieri, world leader in cruise ship construction and one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups, and has an option for one more ship. MSC Seaside has a planned delivery for November 2017 and the second ship in the class will be delivered May 2018.

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

Filled Under Blog, cruisenews, gallery, new ships, News