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Genting Cruise Lines christens World Dream in Hong Kong

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Genting Hong Kong celebrated the arrival of Dream Cruises’ second new ship, World Dream, today at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal with a special blessing and christening ceremony to impart good fortune and luck to the vessel. Puan Sri Cecilia Lim, World Dream’s official Godmother and the wife of Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Genting Hong Kong, delivered her inspirational message and activated the traditional breaking of the champagne on the hull of the new ship in the presence of more than 1,000 guests including government dignitaries, business and trade partners and media.

World Dream is the sister ship to Genting Dream which debuted last November to great acclaim receiving a Star Performer Top Ten rating in the Large Resort category of the highly-revered Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Guide 2018 along with ‘Best New Ship’ and ‘Best Cruise Line – Entertainment’ recognitions at the Travel Weekly Asia Reader’s Choice Awards 2017, and will double the capacity for Dream Cruises, Asia’s up-market cruise line, in the region.

Notable attendees at the debut and christening included Guest of Honour The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Honourable Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Mr Edward Yau, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Ms Cathy Chu, JP, Commissioner for Tourism and Dr Peter Lam, GBS, Chairman of Hong Kong Tourism Board.

“We are truly excited to christen World Dream in Hong Kong – and to be the first-ever cruise ship to have this honour in a city that holds such significance to Genting Hong Kong and Dream Cruises. As the pioneer of the Asian cruise industry 24 years ago, Genting Hong Kong developed the Asian cruise industry with the founding of Star Cruises, with its headquarters in Hong Kong,” said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Genting Hong Kong. “Now, with Genting Dreams’ arrival in the Pearl River Delta a year ago, she has delivered over 300,000 international passenger trips from across the region. Hundreds of jobs have been created and tourism receipts in hotels, airlines and destination management industries for the Pearl River Delta have grown significantly.”

During the event, Tan Sri Lim also expressed the importance of Hong Kong to both Genting Hong Kong and the overall cruise industry in the Asia Pacific and reiterated the company’s commitment to showcase the city and grow the Pearl River Delta region into a world-class, cruise destination hub. He noted that, as a well-developed port city, Hong Kong is strategically located to promote China’s "Greater Bay Area" initiative to link the major cities in the Pearl River Delta into an integrated economic and business centre.

During the event, Guest of Honour, The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Honourable Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, and Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Genting Hong Kong delivered their messages to the audience followed by the customary exchange of gifts and souvenirs to the various VIPs in attendance. Guests were also treated to a dazzling sneak preview performance of World Dream’s brand new signature stage production, Sonio, a picturesque production inspired by the dawn of a new dream, and the much anticipated blessing by the God mother and the smashing of the bottle of champagne activated by the simple touch of a spectacular full moon to symbolize the attainment of one’s dreams.

Complimenting World Dream’s on board attractions, diverse itineraries featuring new, authentic destination experiences will take guests on tropical and cultural journeys in Asia. Specially designed voyages taking in sun-drenched, popular destinations for the winter feature 6-day/5-night cruises to Manila and Boracay in the Philippines alternating with 6-day/5-night journeys to Ho Chi Minh and Nha Trang in Vietnam.

Carnival Cruise Line to increase capacity on short cruise programs from Galveston, New Orleans in 2019

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Building upon its position as the leader in Gulf Coast cruising, Carnival Cruise Line has announced it will expand capacity on its short cruise offerings from Galveston and New Orleans beginning in 2019.

Carnival Dream will launch4- and 5-night cruises to Mexico year-round from Galveston beginning in May 2019, becoming the newest and largest Carnival ship to operate a short cruise program from that port and providing Texans with an exciting and convenient new vacation option.

In turn, Carnival Valor, currently based in Galveston, will shift to New Orleans to begin year-round 4- and 5-night cruises from the Big Easy beginning May 2019. It will be the largest ship to offer a year-round short cruise schedule from New Orleans.

Four-day long weekend cruises depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel, while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays calling at Cozumel and Progreso. Some five-day itineraries from Galveston feature Cozumel and Costa Maya.

Each of these stunning Mexican destinations offer world-class beaches, excellent shopping and dining experiences, and opportunities to visit historical attractions and landmarks, including centuries-old Mayan ruins. A wide variety of “fun in the sun” shore excursion choices, from paddle-boarding and ziplining to ATV adventures and watersports like scuba diving and snorkeling, is also available.

“Galveston and New Orleans are two of our most popular and fastest-growing homeports and Carnival Dream and Carnival Valor provide wonderful short cruise options in these markets, offering an exciting array of features which, combined with our convenient and value-packed short cruise itineraries to Mexico, add up to an unbeatable vacation experience,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Carnival Dream from Galveston

The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream will kick off its year-round 4- and 5-night schedule from Galveston beginning May 23, 2019, representing a 22%increase in capacity on this program.

Carnival Dream recently underwent an extensive makeover that added a number of exciting food and beverage options, including Guy’s Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que created by Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic Mexican fare and the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurant. These complement such attractions as a WaterWorks aqua park, luxurious Cloud 9 Spa and more.

Carnival Dream will join Carnival Freedom and Carnival Vista, which repositions to Galveston in fall 2018, and together these three ships are expected to carry nearly 650,000 passengers annually from Galveston – more than any cruise line.

Carnival Valor from New Orleans

The 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor will kick off its new year-round schedule of 4- and 5-night cruises from New Orleans May 16, 2019, replacing Carnival Triumph and representing a nearly 10% increase in capacity on the line’s short cruise program from that port. Carnival Triumph will be deployed to another homeport to be announced at a later date. Also in May 2019, Carnival Glory will take over the New Orleans-based year-round seven-day schedule of Carnival Dream. Together, Carnival Valor and Carnival Glory are expected to carry nearly 400,000 passengers from New Orleans.

Carnival Valor last year underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation that added such popular highlights as Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in tandem with celebrity chef Guy Fieri, the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub, SkyBox sports bar, Alchemy Bar and the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar. Other features on Carnival Valor include an adults-only Serenity retreat, a 214-foot-long water slide and Scarlett’s, a classic American steakhouse.

SkySea Golden Era emerges from drydock and begins Shenzhen deployment

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

SkySea Cruise Line, the first smart contemporary cruise line specifically developed for the Chinese market, has just announced completion of an extensive drydock on its flagship SkySea Golden Era and the start of its new homeport in Shenzhen to round out the 2017 year.

Cosco Shipyard in Zhoushan began its most extensive passenger cruise vessel drydock ever on SkySea Golden Era on October 25th and completed the job on November 11th. The drydock included routine facilities and equipment maintenance as well as a number of hotel projects including the addition of two new conference rooms built specifically for the brands focus on being the MICE leader in the market. The new SkySea Board Room located on Deck 7 can hold up to 50 guests theater style and the new SkySea Conference Room located on Deck 12 can hold up to 100 guests theater style. Both venues can serve as multi-purpose rooms complete with state of the art AV equipment and the ability to provide a variety of meeting room configurations.

In addition, the Grand Restaurant was renovated with a new Chinese look and feel and in partnership with famous international medical beauty brand PhiSkin, a new hair and beauty salon, expanded retail shops and pharmacy were added to provide a more comfortable and leisure shopping experience for guests.

The newly refurbished SkySea Golden Era made her debut on November 15th in Shenzhen, kicking off her 13-cruise season from the South China homeport. The ceremonial welcome of SkySea Golden Era was attended by Government and Port Officials, Travel Agents and Media as the VIP’s pushed the lever to begin a successful season. Golden Era will visit popular cruise destinations such as Miyakojima and Okinawa in Japan and Da Nang and Halong Bay in Vietnam while departing from Shenzhen.

Ken Muskat, CEO of SkySea Cruise Line, said the successful drydock timed with the start of our sailings from Shenzhen shows our commitment to continuing to be an industry leader offering an outstanding cruise experience to Chinese guests from North, South and East China. The “new” SkySea Golden Era will return to Shanghai on January 7th and will deliver cruise vacations from Shanghai, Xiamen, Shenzhen and Taiwan in 2018.

Hurtigruten appoints Harber as President for the Americas region

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Hurtigruten, the world leader in exploration travel, has appointed William Harber as President for the Americas, based in its Seattle regional headquarters. He will relocate from Hong Kong and be responsible for Hurtigruten’s commercial growth strategy in collaboration with the company’s senior leadership team.

“Building on nearly 125 years of Norwegian polar pioneering know-how and history, Hurtigruten is revolutionizing the global adventure travel industry through new state-of-the-art hybrid expedition vessels and trailblazing itineraries. We are strongly committed to offering the Americas the world’s safest, greenest and most adventurous expedition voyages. I am confident William Harber is the right person to establish our premium offering as a first choice of adventure travel for the modern American explorer,” noted Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

For Hurtigruten, Harber is charged with driving sales and profitability across the U.S., Canada, Central and South America. He will broaden and deepen key travel agent relationships and open new channels for growth. He’s also tasked with increasing market share by ensuring effective brand positioning and driving sales, marketing, and communication strategies.

“I’m honored Hurtigruten has tapped me for this position and trust the many experiences I’ve gained in Asia and in my career in the cruise industry will serve me well in the role. It’s an exciting opportunity for growth at such an authentic and storied brand,” added William Harber, Hurtigruten President for the Americas. Harber’s successor in Asia-Pacific will be named after a brief transition period.

William Harber has over 20 years of experience, including 13 in the cruise industry. He was most recently Hurtigruten’s President for China & Asia-Pacific, successfully establishing the company’s regional headquarters and GSA set-up and striking a strategic partnership with Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel brand. He has served as Sr. Vice President & MD Asia for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and as Vice President, Market Development for Carnival Asia. In 2011, Harber was promoted to Vice President, Carnival Corporate Marketing, working globally across their 10 cruise brands. Harber originally joined Carnival’s Miami, FL headquarters in 2004 as a member of the Shared Services team.

Earlier in his career, Harber was a management consultant at A.T. Kearney and Director of Product Marketing for a technology start-up. He earned his MBA in Marketing Strategy from Emory’s Goizueta Business School and graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a bachelor of Industrial & Systems Engineering.

Harber succeeds Gordon Dirker who opened Hurtigruten’s Americas headquarters in Seattle, WA and set the groundwork to further expand the brand.

COP 23: Shipping industry demands a “maritime energy transition”

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

The shipping industry must contribute to global climate transition. The goal of shipbuilders, suppliers and shipping companies must be a “maritime energy transition”, which will make shipping CO2-neutral in the long term and completely emission-free beyond that. The participants of a podium discussion initiated by VDMA on the decarbonization of the shipping industry agreed on this point at the World Climate Change Conference (COP 23) in Bonn.

Midway through the conference, the mechanical engineering industry voiced its strong support of the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. “Delaying international climate protection efforts would only result in greater investment costs in clean technologies at a later date,” says Peter Müller-Baum, Managing Director of VDMA Engines and Systems. “That would be a huge disadvantage for the industry,” he emphasized. Müller-Baum supported the demand for a “maritime energy transition” which was initiated by VDMA, amongst others.

All participants were in agreement that the maritime industry will only be able to achieve the ambitious goals of the Paris Climate Agreement with the corresponding stipulations from the International Maritime Organization (IMO). “The artificial taxation of CO2 would most likely be the quickest way to generate momentum,” said Axel Kettman, who represents ABB Group as Vice President of the International Council on Combustion Engines (CIMAC). A charge on greenhouse gases would provide the chance to invest in emission-reducing technologies and also in synthetic, CO2-neutral fuels, he explained.

“The industry needs planning certainty in order to ensure the necessary investments”

“The industry needs planning certainty in order to ensure the necessary investments,” added Dr. Andreas Lingens, Managing Director of L’Orange, an MTU subsidiary. “The path to CO2-neutral and emission-free shipping is very complicated. The technical solutions must be developed further, and this cannot be done without a clear, legal framework,” he added.

Hermann-Josef Mammes, Head of the Research and Development Department at Meyer Werft, explains that a lot more can be done today than the law requires. His company, like many VDMA members, is a pioneer for clean technologies, however: “We can only sell what people want.” Mammes highlighted the cruise ship industry as a positive example, as many customers are increasingly opting to use clean LNG as a fuel for their ships. “However, a completely internationalized sector like the shipping industry requires internationally aligned laws,” says Mammes.

The mechanical engineering industry views itself as a key industry in terms of climate policy, as companies in this sector equip other sectors with efficient and emission-reducing technologies. The mechanical engineering industry can therefore provide an important contribution towards achieving the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement of restricting global warming to 1.5° C. It is vital in this regard that the respective requirements are expressed in a transparent and technology-neutral manner so that companies can reliably invest in climate protection.