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Signature Travel Network head Michelle Morgan to name Celebrity Silhouette

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News
Celebrity Cruises has confirmed the appointment of Michelle Morgan, the highly regarded president and CEO of Signature Travel Network, a cooperative of North American and Canadian travel agents, to serve as Godmother of Celebrity Silhouette. The first travel industry executive to serve as Godmother of a Celebrity Cruises ship, Morgan will preside over the line’s first naming ceremony to be held in Hamburg , Germany , on 21 July.
“We are thrilled and honoured to have a woman of Michelle’s calibre serve as Godmother of this exceptional ship,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman of Celebrity Cruises and Chairman and CEO of parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “Her achievements in business are remarkable, and her personal life is as inspiring as her professional life.”
With a career spanning 33-years as a travel marketing executive, Morgan joined Signature Travel in 1991, when the company had 30 locations in Southern California . Today, its membership has grown to 350 locations in 38 states and two providences in Canada , with sales exceeding $5billion.
The member-owned co-operative has enjoyed explosive growth over the past 20 years.  As president and CEO, Morgan maintains day-to-day operating responsibility and has been instrumental in framing the organisation's strategic direction, partnership development, marketing, technology and member services programmes. 
Morgan has received a host of industry honours, including recognition as Luxury Travel Advisor’s Retail Travel Partner of the Year, and one of Forbes “25 Most Influential Women in Travel.” This year, Michelle also was inducted into Cruise Line International Association’s (CLIA) Hall of Fame. 

Oceania Cruises second newbuilding launched

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News
Oceania Cruises says the company celebrated a major milestone on Saturday, July 16, as the line’s new 1,250-guest Riviera was afloat for the first time and moved from the construction dock to her fitting-out berth.  
“The float out of a ship is a beautiful occasion which marks the beginning of her life and we are eagerly anticipating the day next spring that we can unveil her to the world,” stated Frank Del Rio, Chairman and CEO of Prestige Cruise Holdings, parent company of Oceania Cruises.
The shipyard will now focus on fitting out and finishing Riviera’s exquisite interiors which were designed in concert with the renowned team from Y&S of Oslo, Norway.
Riviera will offer 625 elegantly appointed and custom-crafted accommodations that are among the largest at sea, ranging from 174 to a palatial 2,000+ square feet. Her top suites will be a study in chic, residential elegance and feature furnishings from Ralph Lauren Home and designs by Dakota Jackson of New York City and S.B. Long Interiors of Greenwich, CT. The ship will also feature a Lalique-designed grand lobby, 10 dining venues and numerous bars and lounges. Facilities will include a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness center, innovative Bon Appétit Culinary Center, swimming pool and hot tubs.
In her inaugural year, Riviera will cruise the Mediterranean and then cross the Atlantic where she will spend the winter cruising the yacht harbors of the Caribbean.

First British cadets sponsored by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines graduate

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Ipswich-based Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has announced the graduation of its first British Officer Cadets. Cadet Tim Cummins and Cadet Ian Meacham were sponsored by Fred. Olsen throughout their three years’ of study at Warsash Maritime Academy, in Southampton, and celebrated their graduation with a formal ‘Passing Out’ ceremony at the Academy in June 2011.


Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Managing Director, Mike Rodwell, said: “We are extremely proud of our two new Officer Cadets, and I am sure that they will both be valuable members of our onboard crew. It is very satisfying to sponsor two such ambitious young men and to see them progress and develop into fully fledged Officer Cadets. We wish them every success for the future."


“It is important, as a British company, that we do all that we can to support the excellent work undertaken by Warsash Maritime Academy and others in promoting and encouraging maritime skills amongst young people in the UK. This nation has a proud seafaring heritage, and Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is delighted to play its part in training the mariners of the future.”


Cadet Tim Cummins was first attracted to a life at sea after hearing stories from a work colleague married to a Master Mariner. Tim spent three years training to be a Deck Officer, dividing his time between the Academy and the Fred. Olsen cruise ships, gaining valuable practical experience.


Tim explains why he chose Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines as his sponsor: “I applied to a few companies, and it was sponsorship with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines that I accepted. It was an easy choice: what most attracted me was the varied itineraries of all of the ships. This is something that few larger cruise companies are able to offer these days. For now, my training has finished and I have just accepted my first position with Fred. Olsen. Hopefully, this is a start of a promising career, and I could not be happier. And, one day, I hope that I will become a Captain, hopefully within the fleet where I started.”


Cadet Ian Meacham decided that, before leaving school, life as a Cadet appealed more than three years at university and the probability of having to pay off large debts after graduation. Ian attended an open day at Warsash Maritime Academy, which inspired him to apply to be a trainee Cadet.


Ian said: I chose Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines – with its small, friendly ships with mainly British passengers – over the giant vessels of other cruise companies. During my time at sea, the officers and crew onboard all the Fred. Olsen ships I’ve served on have made the three years of training challenging, interesting and, most importantly, fun! In terms of the future, Captain is of course my aim. However, that is a long way away and years of experience are needed first, as well as passing more exams. The most important, aim, of course, is to continue to build upon the excellent reputation that Fred. Olsen Officers have within the maritime industry.”


John Bazley, Head of School of Professional Studies at Warsash Maritime Academy, said: "It is good to see the first UK Fred. OIsen cadets qualify. Both Ian and Tim have performed strongly in their academic course and this, combined with their excellent onboard training, should set them up well for a fulfilling first complement appointment at sea “If young people, like Ian and Tim, are keen to find out more about what a career at sea can offer them, they should visit our next Open Day on Friday 20th January 2012.”


EU should stimulate shipbuilding – Fincantieri’s Antonini

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
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The European shipbuilding industry is in a crisis and the European Union should provide assistance to the industry to prevent further job losses and help owners to replace aged vessels with modern ones, said Corrado Antonini, chairman of the Italian state-owned shipbuilder Fincantieri.
“With regard to passenger ships, there are signs of recovery although industry experts have indicated that in the next few years ship owners are more likely to seek to increase economic return rather than the size of their fleets,” he said at the company’s agm in Rome.
Orders to yards in the medium term are forecast to total no more than 6-8 ships a year, compared to an average of 12 in the period 2004-2007, with a peak of 16 in 2007. In addition, deliveries are being staggered over a longer period of time.
“Effectively it is impossible to saturate the production capacity of shipyards which build for this high profile niche market, yards which to date are all located in Europe: Italy, Germany, France, Finland. Hence the vast majority of EU shipbuilders, who are also penalised by a strong euro, are in crisis,” Antonini said.
“Against this perspective, the European Commission must accept that it is necessary, as was already evident in previous years albeit never effectively translated into measures, to provide stimuli to demand with the aim of ridding European waters of obsolete vessels and to adopt instruments, which favour the construction of ships with an advanced environmental profile.”
“This would help overcome stagnated demand in the ferry sector which has been hit by the difficulty to find financing for newbuildings and by shipowners restructuring,” he concluded.

Oceania Cruises launches inaugural itineraries for new Riviera with free hotel offer

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

The inaugural season itineraries for Oceania Cruises' new Riviera have been announced and travelers who book by Aug. 31 will receive a free hotel stay and bonus savings of up to $3,000 per stateroom. Fares begin at $1,999 per guest and include free round-trip Economy Class air from 22 North American cities.

From April 14 through Nov. 29, 2012, Riviera offers 13 distinctive itineraries on a total of 21 voyages, calling on ports in France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Turkey as well as Israel, Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro, Morocco and Monaco.

Oceania Cruises' 1,250-guest Riviera has been designed for epicureans and features 10 dining venues - six of which are open-seating, gourmet restaurants - including a French bistro by Master Chef Jacques Pépin. Facilities also include a Canyon Ranch SpaClub® and Bon Appétit Culinary Center and Artist Loft enrichment center. Interior design highlights include a Lalique-designed grand staircase, elegant public rooms, spacious accommodations and Owner's Suites furnished exclusively in Ralph Lauren Home.

"We are delighted to introduce Riviera as part of our 2012 European Collection," said Bruce Himelstein, the line's president. "While we are seeing tremendous booking interest from our loyal past guests, there is still an opportunity for savvy consumers to take advantage of the free hotel stay and bonus savings offer."