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Celebrity Cruises to introduce first purpose-built vessel to Galapagos

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Celebrity Cruises unveils another stunning revolution in ship design: Celebrity Flora is an elevated and inspired approach to marine exploration, meticulously designed expressly for the awe-inspiring Galapagos Islands.

One of the most energy-efficient ships of its size in the diverse archipelago, the 100-guest Celebrity Flora will offer seamless sea-to-shore transportation, and includes anchorless technology that maintains the ship’s position while protecting the sensitive sea floor. Innovative outward-facing design gives guests 360-degree views of the islands, while personal suite attendants, new dining venues, an open-air stargazing platform, and expert-lead ecological seminars will round out the modern luxury vacation experience.

“Celebrity Flora marks another example of our revolutionary ship design by allowing the destination and its environment to influence every decision we’ve made,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “From the luxurious all-suite accommodations to industry-first, eco-friendly innovations, we created a ship that brings a new level of luxury, sustainability and natural exploration to the region. Guests will feel as though they’re boarding a high-end yacht for a week of unparalleled adventures, and they are!”

“We are very pleased with the announcement of Celebrity Cruises’ decision to build a cruise vessel with cutting-edge technology, designed specifically to operate around our wonderful islands,” said Enrique Ponce de León, Ecuador's Minister of Tourism. “Celebrity Flora will undoubtedly mark a very important milestone in the tourism development of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, offering high quality and sustainable tourism.”

Designed with the destination in mind

The natural beauty of the islands, the diversity and uniqueness of the species that it harbors earned this archipelago the reputation of being a living laboratory of evolutionary processes still in progress. The region made room for the development of a large number of flora and fauna that do not exist anywhere else in the world, making the Galapagos a very unique place of global importance for the common heritage of humanity.

Featuring Celebrity’s signature outward-facing design, Celebrity Flora virtually erases boundaries and brings this typically remote destination closer to guests. Educational, research-based programming gives travelers an opportunity to continue learning about the wildlife-rich Galapagos Islands.

The Marina is the primary point of access to the ship and can accommodate up to three Zodiacs at once, reducing transport time to and from land and allowing more time for guests to explore the practically untouched islands. While onboard guests will unwind in the Sunset Lounge, find solace in The Vista, an open-air hideaway with 360-degree views, cocoon-style loungers and private cabanas, and enjoy the breathtaking surrounds in the floor-to-ceiling glass-wrapped Observatory.

Darwin’s Cove and the Naturalist Center provide a bounty of information on the destination, wildlife and environmental efforts, while the Discovery Lounge will be home to Naturalist presentations and excursion information. Guests can participate in a guided astronomy tour or enjoy star-lit skies on their own from the Stargazing Platform.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily in the Seaside Restaurant. The Ocean Grill offers a casual dining space, panoramic views and Dinner Under the Stars, or guests can choose from an indulgent in-room dining experience.

Sophisticated accommodations

Celebrity Flora transports travelers in all-suite accommodations featuring oversized bathrooms perfect for post-adventure refreshing. These modern retreats bring the outside in through Celebrity’s signature outward-facing layouts and heralded Infinite Verandas, and come complete with sustainable, natural, regionally inspired materials. Personal suite attendants cater to guests’ every need.

Celebrity Flora’s two Penthouse Suites are the largest in the Galapagos with separate indoor and outdoor living areas, customizable lighting and shades, and a telescope for stargazing or sea lion-peeping. Guests can also find relaxation in Royal Suites, Ultimate Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda, Premium Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda and Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda.

Environmental stewardship and innovation

Celebrity Flora is one of the most energy-efficient ships in its class, with a 15 percent reduction of fuel consumption and equivalently fewer air emissions, thanks to the introduction of an advanced propulsion system, hull configuration and specially designed diesel engines. Two more firsts in the Galapagos, Celebrity Flora’s dynamic positioning system allows the ship to stay in position without physically anchoring and damaging the sea floor, with zero speed stabilizers promising smooth sailing throughout.

Celebrity will reduce the need for plastics onboard by introducing in-room water filtration stations and by converting sea water and air conditioning condensation into pure, fresh water. Any materials that can be recycled, reused or donated will be as part of a strict waste management system.

"I think this is a clear example of an intelligent investment, not only because the boat design was thought with the characteristics of the Galapagos, but because it is based on the best technology available to protect a Natural Heritage of Humanity,” said Walter Bustos, Director of Galapagos National Park. “This proposal is a mix of experiences and education so that each visitor returns to their country with a different mindset, more committed to the conservation of the environment, which is one of the objectives of the Galapagos National Park "

Celebrity Flora will sail from Baltra year-round, making her first sailing on May 26, 2019.

MSC Cruises celebrates key milestones at STX France, names new ship as MSC Grandiosa

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately owned cruise line and market leader in Europe and South America, celebrated today a key advancement in its industry-unprecedented ten-year investment plan. Under the nearly $10 billion plan, six out of 11 new ships total will have come into service between June 2017 and November 2020, doubling MSC Cruises’ fleet capacity in just three and a half years.

Today at STX France, MSC Cruises held the traditional coin ceremony for MSC Bellissima as well as the cutting of the first steel for its first Meraviglia-Plus class ship, representing key building milestones for two of the four new MSC Cruises ships currently and simultaneously under construction. The other two ships, MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview, are currently under construction at FINCANTIERI, Italy.

“Today we are celebrating a truly unique moment, as it is the first time that key shipbuilding milestones for two different ships are celebrated on the same day,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises. “This is a testimony of the strength and ambition of our investment plan.”

As part of the steel-cutting ceremony, Vago revealed that the name of the first Meraviglia-Plus ship, will be MSC Grandiosa.

“The Meraviglia generation of ships is already setting a new standard for the cruise industry and is just one of the three brand new prototypes that we have designed to bring the cruise guest experience to the next level. MSC Grandiosa is named to signify magnificence and grandeur, a fitting name for this even richer, ultra-modern mega-ship,” added Vago.

“Additionally, with MSC Grandiosa we also continue to innovate in product. Just as MSC Cruises “democratized” the luxury cruise experience when we were the first cruise brand to introduce a ship-in-ship luxury concept, the MSC Yacht Club, we are now doing the same for art and culture with the very first fine art museum at sea. Similarly,” Vago continued. “MSC Grandiosa will be the third of only four MSC Cruises ships to feature Cirque du Soleil at Sea, hosted in the uniquely complex, custom-built Carousel Lounge.”

“Of course, over and above everything else, these ships will be once again at the forefront of environmental technology at sea. In fact, amongst other innovations, they will feature the latest hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems, SCR-Catalysts, state-of-the-art waste management and recycling capabilities, emission-reducing energy and heat recovery systems, and highly advanced wastewater treatment,” Vago concluded.

The second part of the proceedings was the traditional coin ceremony for MSC Bellissima, where two commemorative coins were placed into one of the ship’s blocks as a sign of blessing and good fortune for the ship and her crew. The two mega-ships – MSC Bellissima and MSC Grandiosa – are due to enter into service in March 2019 and November 2019, respectively.

"Today as we celebrate a cutting of the first steel and then a keel laying in the same day, we are living an unprecedented experience that marks the beginning of a new era, both for our client and for our yard,” said Laurent Castaing, general manager of STX France. “For MSC Cruises, it is the realization of an extraordinary investment plan, which will elevate the Company to become one of the three largest players in the global cruise industry; for us, it is the illustration of our very healthy order book, which leads us to deliver two ships a year until 2022. We are partners in the same virtuous circle, where boldness and the performance of each is a benefit to the other."

The Meraviglia-Plus ships are a further evolution and enrichment of the highly successful Meraviglia prototype, which includes MSC Meraviglia, launched in June 2017, as well as MSC Bellissima. They feature 181,000 gross tons, 1,086 ft. in length and maximum capacity of 6,334 guests. The fact that this highly successful prototype can be extended is further proof of the engineering capabilities of the partnership between STX France and MSC Cruises that will bring guests an even more connected and rich cruise experience. In fact, the Meraviglia-Plus ships will feature the very first fine art museum at sea, with a collection of classic and contemporary art, elevating the entertainment experience on board to an entirely new level and providing guests access to some of the world’s most beautiful works of art.

Another key highlight on board both MSC Bellissima and MSC Grandiosa will be Cirque du Soleil at Sea. The long-term, exclusive partnership between MSC Cruises and Cirque du Soleil is setting new standards in live entertainment at sea. The extensive partnership will see the world’s leader in artistic entertainment create a total of eight original shows that will be exclusively available on MSC Cruises’ Meraviglia and Meraviglia-plus generation ships. Each of the four ships will feature two brand new contrasting shows, with the first two debuted on MSC Meraviglia in June this year. Creative work is underway on two more shows for MSC Bellissima.

The two ships celebrated today are part of MSC Cruises’ existing investment plan, which includes the development of new prototypes for each of the three new classes of ships – the Meraviglia class, Seaside Class and World Class. In June 2017, MSC Cruises launched the first of these new ships, MSC Meraviglia in Le Havre France, and will welcome MSC Seaside to Miami in December. In June 2018, MSC Seaview will join the ultra-modern fleet. MSC Cruises is the first global cruise line brand to develop an investment plan of this length and magnitude, a testament to the Company’s ambition.

Sales are already open for MSC Bellissima’s inaugural summer season in the Mediterranean. The highly anticipated opening of sales for MSC Grandiosa will soon be announced.

Regent Seven Seas names new ship to launch in 2020

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Regent Seven Seas Cruises today announced the name of its new ship, scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2020. The second Explorer-class ship will embody and enhance the elegance, style and luxury that brought forth the high-end features and amenities that have made sister-ship Seven Seas Explorer renowned as the most luxurious ship ever built with her launch in 2016.

“The naming of a ship is an important milestone in maritime tradition and it is my pleasure to announce that the name of Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new ship to launch in 2020 is Seven Seas Splendor,” said Jason Montague, President and Chief Executive Officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “The extraordinary demand for Seven Seas Explorer has reinforced our decision to expand our fleet and Seven Seas Splendor will offer guests a fifth option that will provide unforgettable experiences in the world’s most compelling destinations, with the incredibly high standards of luxury and service that lure guests back again and again.”

As part of the naming process, Regent Seven Seas Cruises sought suggestions from its valued travel agents, loyal guests and employees for the ship’s name in a sweepstakes held in September. Seven Seas Splendor was chosen among nearly 2,600 unique names from more than 14,000 submissions.

The new all-suite, all-balcony ship will have a gross tonnage of 55,254 and capacity of 750 guests.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the world's most inclusive luxury experience with a four-ship fleet that visits more than 450 destinations around the world. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is currently undergoing a $125 million fleetwide refurbishment that will elevate the level of elegance found throughout the fleet to the standard set by Seven Seas Explorer.

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