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Hapag-Lloyd Cruises to introduce digital learning concept on expedition newbuilding trio

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, which is part of the TUI AG group, said is introducing a user-friendly concept for digital learning  – the study wall, which will be found on board the new Hanseatic Nature, Hanseatic Inspiration, and Hanseatic Spirit expedition ships.

“With innovative touch technology and an attractive design, the 6 × 1.8 m (19.6 × 5.9 ft) screen allows guests to research complex topics and background information about their cruise destinations. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has been developing this concept for around two and a half years, in partnership with the Hamburg-based companies mgp ErlebnisRaumDesign GmbH and Intermediate Engineering GmbH.

More than 250 topics from the fields of oceanography, ethnography, and geology have been digitised for the study wall, together with regional information. Articles are divided into five categories such as “Seas and Oceans” and “Countries and People”.

The content – provided by the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, as well as scientists, experts and journalists – is displayed on the study wall in the form, for example, of articles, videos and biographies. The new, innovative study wall format allows guests to deepen their knowledge of the expedition cruise, whenever and however they wish.

The study wall is the heart of the Ocean Academy on Deck 8. Here guests can conduct individual studies and research to deepen their knowledge of the natural wonders they encounter on shore excursions and Zodiac rides. In addition to the study wall, the Ocean Academy has four Study Seats with swivel touchscreens where guests can explore for themselves the content of the study wall in more detail. The Ocean Academy also features the Study Poster, which provides clear visual explanations of selected scientific contexts, as well as a microscope area.

Virtuoso signs with Virgin Voyages

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Global luxury travel network Virtuoso has announced a partnership with one of the most dynamic lifestyle brands now entering the cruise marketplace: Virgin Voyages. The alliance will unite two innovative companies that share a strategic cornerstone of putting travel advisors first and will provide advantages only to advisors affiliated with the Virtuoso network and their clients.

“Being selected by Virgin Voyages as a partner is a great tribute to the strength of our travel agency members as a directional sales force,” said Beth Butzlaff, vice president of cruise sales at Virtuoso. “Cruising has been at the core of our network since its earliest days. Our advisors have outstanding knowledge, firsthand experience and professionalism, and they will now be able to offer their highly desirable clients a truly unique experience onboard Virgin Voyages. With the line’s exciting approach to cruising coupled with its advisor-friendly attitude, we are proud to help Virgin Voyages debut on the high seas.”

Virtuoso has a long-standing partnership with several other luxury brands within the Virgin Group as the exclusive seller for Virgin Galactic in North America and a preferred partner with Virgin Limited Edition. Virgin Voyages and its Rebellious Luxe experience was a natural fit to include in its portfolio of preferred partners.

Virgin Voyages is prioritizing relationships with travel advisors, and specifically Virtuoso advisors, affectionately referring to them as First Mates. Aiming to abolish a traditional pain point, Virgin Voyages is eliminating non-commissionable fares so advisors will earn across the client’s entire booking. This includes all add-ons like flights, hotel stays, voyage protection, shore excursions, spa treatments, onboard credits and even taxes and fees. With a more inclusive experience, advisors can sell voyages based on the total value proposition rather than price and reach a new client base, which results in more commissions.

Virgin Voyages will offer a fresh, modern approach to cruising for passengers, whom it refers to as “sailors.” Featuring a distinctive new twist on luxury, the Rebellious Luxe experience will offer a sanctuary at sea for the 18+ traveler looking for Virgin’s world-famous rock-star service, made-to-order dining, and added value through an inclusive pricing model and no nickel-and-diming.

Designed to reflect a yacht’s sleek luxury, the first ship of four from Virgin Voyages, The Scarlet Lady, will make its maiden voyage in 2020, with sales launched February 14. The Scarlet Lady will sail from Miami to the Caribbean, hosting more than 2,770 sailors and 1,160 crew from around the world. The ship will feature more than 20 intimate dining and drinking options, all included in the fare, with no buffets, large dining rooms, assigned meal times or formal nights. Also included in the fare are group fitness classes, soft drinks and gratuities.

Virgin Voyages joins Virtuoso’s preferred cruise portfolio, now encompassing 32 lines offering a variety of sailing options. Travelers can choose among ocean, river, yacht and expedition ships with thousands of itineraries calling on ports all over the globe. Virtuoso also offers advisors the opportunity to hone their specialization in the Virtuoso Voyages Community, which brings together cruise-centric advisors with a desire to increase knowledge, collaborate with like-minded advisors and be rewarded for their efforts.

Ponant announces new nature-themed expedition featuring Costa Rica & The Panama Canal

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Ponant has announced An Exploration In Nature In Costa Rica & The Panama Canal, a 10-night nature experience aboard the new luxury Explorer ship, Le Dumont-d’Urville, scheduled for January 6 -16, 2020. Rates start at $5,570 per guest based on double occupancy.

The new itinerary is part of Ponant’s Quintessential Collection, a series of themed immersion cruises designed to inspire travelers to dig deeper into their destinations. The program will feature speaker Paul Donahue who has worked with birds and mammals in nature reserves throughout Central America since 1972 and has explored virtually all of the sites on the itinerary.

The expedition highlights Costa Rica’s outstanding efforts to preserve its natural treasures, more than any other Central American country. It will explore the luxuriant vegetation and fascinating fauna of three national parks, including Corcovado National Park, described by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity.”

Guests will board the ship at Puerto Caldera in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, followed by a visit to Curù National Park where more than ten thousand species of plants, three hundred species of birds and two hundred species of butterflies are present and where the less dense undergrowth makes spotting wildlife easier than in the deeper forest. Howler monkeys, spider monkeys, sloths, two- and three-finger hooded vultures, brown pelicans, Scarlet Macaw, and toucans call this area their home.

The itinerary continues with visits to Manuel Antonio National Park, before moving on to Osa Peninsula; Cebaco, Panama; and Punta Alegre/Darien Jungle, a UNESCO World Heritage site. On day eight, the ship will transit the Panama Canal for a visit to the San Blas Islands to learn about the culture and craftsmanship of the indigenous Kuna people. A visit to Holandes Cayes follows before disembarkation in Colon on day eleven.

Adding to the fascination will be talks by Paul Donahue who has extensive experience leading birding and natural history tours all over Central and South America. He has divided his time between research and ecotourism, and with his wife Teresa Wood, has constructed rain forest canopy walkways in Peru and Costa Rica. From 1991-94 they co-directed the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research in northeastern Peru.

Black Watch to sail around the world from Liverpool in 2021

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, the UK based destinational cruise line, will offer its first around the world cruise from Liverpool in 2021, the company said in a statement.

The 880 passenger Black Watch will sail from Liverpool on 6 January and from Southampton on 8 January. The cruise will terminate in Liverpool on 29 April.

Ports of call of the cruise are: Southampton, UK – Oporto (from Leixões), Portugal – Funchal, Madeira – Santa Cruz, Tenerife – Santa Cruz, La Palma – Bridgetown, Barbados – St John's, Antigua – Road Town, Tortola – Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos – Havana, Cuba – Colón, Panama – Cruising Panama Canal – Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica – Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia – Fakarava, French Polynesia – Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia – Raiatea, French Polynesia – Bora Bora, Society Islands, French Polynesia – Crossing the International Date Line – Nuku'alofa, Tonga – Savusavu, Fiji – Mystery Island (Inyeug), Vanuatu – Noumea, New Caledonia – Sydney, Australia (two-night stay) – Burnie, Tasmania, Australia – Melbourne, Australia – Albany, Australia – Perth (from Fremantle), Australia – Surabaya, Java, Indonesia (overnight stay) – Singapore (overnight stay) – Sabang (Weh Island), Sumatra, Indonesia – Colombo, Sri Lanka – Kochi, Kerala, India – Mormugao, Goa, India – Mumbai, Maharashtra, India (overnight stay) – Aqaba, Jordan – Cruising Suez Canal – Haifa, Israel (overnight stay) – Limassol, Cyprus – Valletta, Malta – Malaga, Spain – Southampton, UK.

MJM Marine secures its largest ever contract

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Global marine outfitter, MJM Marine has been appointed as the main outfitting contractor by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) to undertake a complete refurbishment of Norwegian Joy as the company repositions the ship to the West Coast of the United States.

In a multi-million dollar project, MJM Marine will play the lead role in the design, manufacture, installation and project management of the interior refit of the cruise liner.

Speaking three weeks before the contract commences, Gary Annett, CEO MJM Marine commented,

“Norwegian Joy is MJM Marine’s largest contract to date and will involve a team of 1400 people completing works in over 40 spaces throughout the ship.

Planning, design and manufacturing has been underway for many months in preparation for installation start date. We are exceptionally proud to be awarded this contract, which we see as a reflection of the strength of the partnership which we have built with NCL.

It is confirmation that MJM Marine is respected as a world leading global marine outfitter who can and will deliver on projects of this size and scale.”

Work will begin onboard Norwegian Joy on 11th March in China with completion on 21st April in Seattle.

“This is a truly global project which will take MJM Marine around the world in 42 days,” continued Mr Annett.

“The design, planning, manufacturing and logistics for the project started at our headquarters in Newry, Northern Ireland. Our team will join the ship in China and sail to Singapore where the drydock will take place before making its way to Japan. Works will continue at sea as the ship makes its way to Seattle in the Unites States, where we will hand over the new look vessel before our team returns to Northern Ireland.

The global footprint on this project is particularly unique but is an indication of the global nature of our business.”

Following the refit, Norwegian Joy will embark on a series of cruises to Alaska before repositioning to Los Angeles.

“Norwegian Joy will be very similar to sister ships Norwegian Bliss, which launched just last year, and Norwegian Encore, which will make her debut this November,” added Mr. Colin Gant, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Vice President of Vessel Refurbishment.

“It is a challenging and complex project which is large in scale and short in time, requiring meticulous planning and execution by a top tier outfitter to see it through. We are delighted to join forces with MJM Marine who has been a reliable partner of ours since 2015.

MJM Marine bring scale, experience, skill and ability to think outside the box to pull off a project of this magnitude. We are looking towards an exceptionally busy few weeks, at the end of which we will deliver a stunning ship of new build quality to our cruise guests.”

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