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Thomson Cruises starts to operate the TUI Discovery 2

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Thomson Cruises has today revealed that it has seen an almost 40 per cent increase in passengers on cruise holidays in the last five years, with numbers in the last year alone rise by nearly 20 per cent. This follows information released in a recent CLIA report that revealed that one in nine package holidays booked in 2015 was a cruise.

With demand for cruise holidays high, Thomson Cruises has invested significantly in its fleet, adding All Inclusive ship TUI Discovery last year, announcing TUI Explorer for summer 2018 and preparing to launch its latest ship, TUI Discovery 2, this weekend (14 May) in Malaga, Spain.

This new ship, which boasts 915 cabins, 40% of which offer balconies, offers All Inclusive drinks as standard with customers able to enjoy the wide range of restaurants and bars onboard alongside a selection of premium drinks and pour-yourself beer and wine taps in Islands, all included in the price of their holiday. From gourmet cuisine to laid-back street food, families and couples alike will all be able to get the most from their holiday whilst enjoying activities and entertainment including an outdoor poolside movie screen, a rock-climbing wall, a mini-golf course and an indoor swimming pool and spa.

In addition to the wide range of facilities, TUI Discovery 2 is introducing innovative new technologies onboard to further enhance customer experience. Launching on TUI Discovery 2’s maiden voyage, new onboard app ‘Navigate’ will enable customers to view their onboard account, information about facilities and entertainment schedules, and book onboard extras such as spa treatments, excursions and tables in the stunning a la carte restaurants. The app, which is free to use, will be hosted on the ship’s network and will open on any browser, meaning passengers aren’t required to download it or purchase wi-fi packages.

Also brand new for TUI Discovery 2 is Virtual Reality Experience, where guests can use HTC Vive headsets to transport themselves into a virtual reality experience where they can play games, make 3D paintings or explore universes; and Green Screen Room, an onboard photobooth that allows passengers to take a picture with a background of their choice. New shows as part of the onboard entertainment include Brexfactor, Chaplin, Festival Live and Steel City.

Based in Malaga this summer, TUI Discovery 2 will visit some of the Mediterranean’s most iconic destinations such as Barcelona, Valencia, Ibiza, Porto, Lisbon and Marseille before repositioning to Tenerife in September, visiting ports in the Canaries, Morocco and Madeira. Come December, TUI Discovery 2 will make its way to Montego Bay, Jamaica where it will begin its winter season in the vibrant Caribbean visiting Central American highlights such as Cuba, Belize, Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia on itineraries such as Cuban Fusion and Pride of Panama.

Managing Director of Thomson Cruises, Richard Sofer, said: “We’re delighted to be launching TUI Discovery 2, the second in our pipeline of four new additions to our fleet. At Thomson Cruises we’re committed to delivering unforgettable holidays that are personalised for each of our customers and TUI Discovery 2 will play a key role in that for us. There is so much for our guests to do onboard and our brand new app ‘Navigate’ makes it all even easier, whilst they spend their time sailing between some of the world’s most exciting and exotic destinations.”

TUI Discovery 2 is the second ship to join the Thomson Cruises fleet in the last twelve months, following the arrival of TUI Discovery in June 2016. The move to name this latest addition to the fleet TUI Discovery 2 is part of the re-brand which will see the whole of Thomson transition to TUI later this year. Also joining the fleet from May 2018 is the newly announced TUI Explorer.

TUI Discovery 2 and its crew members will set sail on its maiden customer voyage on 14th May, sailing the Continental Coasts itinerary, visiting ports including Barcelona, Valencia and Marseille.

Currency woes drag Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines deeper to red in first quarter

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, the UK based destinational operator of four ships, has reported a significant deepening of first quarter net loss on currency woes that offset higher ticket prices and a rise in the number of passenger days, its Oslo based parent company Bonheur ASA said in a statement..

The company reported a pre tax loss of NOK55 million compared to a loss of NOK4 million in the first quarter of last year on wakening of the British pound against the krone, the company’s accounting currency and the US dollar, the currency in which most of its expenses are calculated.

Net ticket income rose to GBP116 per passenger day from GBP108 a year earlier and the number of passenger days rose by 4.8% to 271,634. Revenues fell to NOK480 million in the first three months of the year from NOK497 million in the same period last year, while operating profit (EBITDA) narrowed to NOK19 million from NOK30 million.


Fincantieri enjoyed positive development in first quarter

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

The board of Fincantieri, the world’s biggest builder of cruise ships, has approved the company’s first quarter 2017 accounts that are in line with a four year business plan to 2020.

In addition, the company said progress has been made in its attempt to acquire the STX France shipyard in France.

Revenues rose 5.3% compared to the same period of 2016, while EBITDA margin at 6.0% marks a major improvement from 4.9% a year earlier.

Order backlog of €26.6 billion covers about six years’ workand marks an increase from €15.4 billion at the end of march last year.

“Commercial success continues with orders and agreements signed in the first few months of the year for a total of 19 cruise ships (including options), to be built by the Italian shipyards, VARD's shipyards and through the joint venture in China,” the company said in a statement

“Heads of Terms signed with the French government in April represents a key step for the finalization of the final agreements among future shareholders and also includes guidelines of the business plan prepared by Fincantieri for STX France. Fincantieri is working with the Court of Seoul to finalize the acquisition as soon as possible,” Fincantieri said.

AmaWaterways' Kristin Karst christens namesake ship, AmaKristina

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

AmaWaterways yesterday officially welcomed the company’s newest vessel, AmaKristina, to its fleet with a christening ceremony in Lahnstein, Germany. The namesake of AmaWaterways’ Co-Owner and Executive Vice President Kristin Karst, AmaKristina represents AmaWaterways’ award-winning commitment to innovative ship design and exceptional guest comfort and service. The special ceremony celebrates the arrival of the company’s 20th ship and marks the 15th year anniversary.

“When Kristin Karst, Jimmy Murphy and I sat down to dream up the perfect river cruise company, we shared a vision of inviting guests to discover the spectacular scenery and enchanting towns along the world’s most iconic rivers in a style that was luxurious yet warm and friendly. Having our guests, our employees and our business partners feel a part of our family venture has been at the center of all our decisions since that day,” said Schreiner. “As we celebrate the beautiful AmaKristina and her equally remarkable Godmother, I look around and am so very proud that our dream has become a reality.”

The christening event itself was part of a weeklong celebration, during which guests onboard were joined by Karst, AmaWaterways’ President and Co-Owner Rudi Schreiner, AmaWaterways’ Vice President, Sales and Co-Owner Gary Murphy, past Godmothers, travel industry friends and international media. Presiding over his tenth AmaWaterways christening ceremony, Captain Jan de Bruijn welcomed Karst and over 200 international and local guests to the special afternoon event, which featured a dockside cocktail reception, traditional religious blessing, local entertainment and warm welcome by Mayor, Peter Labonte on behalf of the town of Lahnstein. Celebrations continued into the evening with a gala dinner and were culminated with a surprise fireworks display.

“I am overjoyed and blessed to share this occasion with my parents, close friends and respected industry partners,” said Karst. “It’s such an incredible honor to be the Godmother and namesake of this newest addition to the Ama family.”

In celebration of this momentous occasion, Karst was accompanied by several AmaWaterways’ Godmothers that have been instrumental to AmaWaterways’ success over the past 15 years including: Jackie Friedman, President, Nexion; Godmother AmaViola, 2016; Michelle Fee, CEO, Cruise Planners; Godmother AmaSerena, 2015 and Brenda Kyllo, Vice President, Strategic Alliances, AmaWaterways; Godmother AmaSonata, 2014.

Sister-ship to AmaViola and AmaStella, AmaKristina accommodates 156 guests and will be sailing the Rhine River between Amsterdam and Basel. Travelers will enjoy spacious staterooms with signature twin-balconies and three dining venues including The Chef’s Table – an intimate dining experience with an exquisite, multi-course tasting menu paired with hand-selected regional wines all at no additional cost. Other features include the comfortable sundeck with running track; heated pool and swim-up bar; convenient elevator with enhanced access to the lower deck and expanded fitness center; hair salon and spa; free Wi-Fi throughout the ship; in-room Entertainment-On-Demand system and complimentary beer and fine wine with lunch and dinner.

“I never dreamed that as a young girl growing up in Dresden on the banks of the Elbe River that I would one day have a ship named after me,” said Karst. “The last 15 years have been a remarkable journey and today, I am so proud to christen our newest ship and take this moment to thank all our guests, employees, onboard teams, ship builders and travel industry partners that have contributed to our success.”

A ship’s christening is a long-standing tradition within the cruise industry originating more than 4,000 years ago. The momentous ceremony features the blessing of the ship by an appointed Godmother and concludes with a more recent good luck tradition of breaking a bottle of champagne against the ship’s hull.

Disney Cruise Line to sail Bermuda and Saint Lawrence for the first time in fall 2018

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

In fall 2018, Disney Cruise Line will sail on new itineraries and to new ports, including first-time visits to Bermuda and Quebec City, Canada – both with multiple days to experience these captivating destinations. In addition to the new itineraries from New York to Bermuda and Canada, three special sailings from New York will take guests to Walt Disney World and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. Sailings from California, Texas and Florida round out the 2018 fall season.

Bookings open to the public on May 18, 2017.

New sailings to Bermuda from New York

For the first time, Disney Cruise Line guests can sail to the island of Bermuda. Each of the 5-night sailings includes two full days in Bermuda, while one special 6-night sailing includes three days there.

An idyllic setting for outdoor enjoyment, Bermuda offers its famous pink sand beaches, lush forests and a range of water activities. Shopping and sightseeing are plentiful and, at only 21 square miles, the island is easy to navigate and explore. With its own distinctive blend of British and Caribbean culture, Bermuda boasts a rich history in sailing, a passion for cricket and a truly unique national attire – Bermuda shorts.

Disney Magic cruises to Bermuda from New York set sail in October 2018.

New cruises between New York and Quebec City, Canada

Quebec City, Canada, a new port for Disney Cruise Line, will be featured on two new itineraries sailing between New York and Quebec City. Both of these sailings include two full days in Quebec City as well as stops at other Canadian ports new to Disney Cruise Line – Saguenay and Baie-Comeau.

With towering fortresses, lavish castles, cobblestone streets and French-inspired cuisine, Quebec City offers a taste of European charm. Must-see sights include the historic and grand Chateau Frontenac hotel and the impressive Montmorency Falls, which measure 30 meters taller than Niagara Falls. Both Saguenay and Baie-Comeau offer natural beauty, picturesque ports and local cuisine featuring plentiful seafood, wild game and the indigenous and delectable cloudberries.

Two 7-night Disney Magic cruises between New York and Quebec City depart in September 2018.

More magic from New York on sailings to Walt Disney World and Castaway Cay

Fall 2018 Disney Magic sailings from New York also include three 7-night voyages to Walt Disney World. Each cruise includes a stop in Port Canaveral, Florida, located near the Walt Disney World Resort, and a day at Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

Adding to the magic on these special sailings, every guest will receive a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket and round-trip transportation between the ship and the theme parks. During their visit, guests can enjoy experiences like the new Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which will immerse guests in a mystical world of massive floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and breathtaking new experiences.

Back by popular demand: Cruises from California, Texas and Florida

– In September and October 2018, the Disney Wonder will sail from San Diego, California, to Baja and the Mexican Riviera. Baja sailings visit Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada, Mexico, both famous for stunning beaches and exciting water activities. Mexican Riviera sailings feature the snorkeling and scuba diving hot spots Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas.
– In November and December 2018, the Disney Wonder returns to Galveston, Texas, with a variety of Caribbean and Bahamian itineraries. All cruises to the Bahamas include a stop at Castaway Cay.
– In December 2018, the Disney Magic will return to Miami with voyages to the Western Caribbean and Bahamas, including stops at Key West and Castaway Cay.
– During late 2018, the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream will continue to sail a variety of Caribbean and Bahamian cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida, with every sailing including a day at Castaway Cay.