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Viking Line names cruise ferry newbuilding Viking Grace

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Viking Line, the Finnish cruise ferry company,  has decided to name its 58,000 gross ton newbulding Viking Grace. The ship is currently under construction at the Turku shipyard of STX Finland, which is part of the STX Europe shipbuilding group.

“The vessel, which begins service in January 2013 on the Turku (Finland) – Åland Islands (Finland) – Stockholm (Sweden) route, will officially receive its name during a christening ceremony that will take place at the time it begins service. The planning process has placed great importance on new innovative passenger experiences related to product and service concepts, as well as fresh design thinking and environmentally friendly solutions,” the company y said in a statement.

An interactive naming competition was organised during the period December 1, 2011 to January 15, 2012 on the vessel’s own website, The competition certainly stimulated people’s creativity: more than 23,000 suggested names were sent in, of which more than 9,900 were unique. A large proportion of these names ended with “–lla”, like the names of many of Viking’s earlier-built vessels. Another very popular suggestion was Victoria. After various elimination rounds, three names remained in the final round. From these, the name Viking Grace was then selected.  

Hurtigruten reports deep 2011 loss after Nordlys fire

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Hurtigruten, the Norwegian company that operates coastal express ferry service between Bergen and Kirkenes and expedition type cruises on the 12,647 gross ton Fram, reported a net loss of NOK69.9 million last year compared to a prifit of NOK30.4 million in 2010.

A fire on board Nordlys burdened the results with NOK 20 million. “This vessel is being extensively repaired before returning to service in March 2012, and this work has an accounting effect of NOK 47 million,” the company said in a statement. 

Hurtigruten secured the very important public procurement contract for the Bergen-Kirkenes coastal service. In force from 1 January 2012, this contract with the government gives the company a good basis for profitable operation along the Norwegian coast.

Cruise nights are still progressing for round- trip passengers, with a growth of 7.2 per cent. Despite a very challenging year in operational terms, capacity utilisation has never been higher. It averaged 73.6 per cent for the full year, up from 69.1 per cent in 2010.

Attention was concentrated on increasing volume, and prices were on a par with 2010. The year was disappointing for port-to-port travel, primarily as a result of one-off incidents and extreme weather conditions. Such passengers declined in number by 4.3 per cent during 2011. Accidents, incidents and cancellations cost a total of NOK 105 million for the year.

 The fourth quarter in particular was affected by operational disruption from extreme weather. Port-to-port cruise nights fell by 19 per cent during the period because of weather- related cancellations. However, cruise nights for round-trip passengers rose by more than 10 per cent as a result of the commitment to the Hunting the Light winter programme and more direct charter flights from European markets. 

Fincantieri’s Bono sees deal with unions to improve prospects

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Fincantieri, the Italian state owned shipbuilder, expects an agreement between the company and trade unions lead to better prospects for the future. 

"The company confirms its leading position, also thanks to its strong financial and capital structure. Following the trade union agreement concluded late last year, intended to adjust production capacity to demand, we are more competitive in a still extremely depressed market," said Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri's Chief Executive Officer, said. "Now more than ever before is it essential for the entire company, from management down to every individual employee, to be united in pursuit of those growth objectives that, although tough, can be achieved even at this time of severe crisis.”

During the year Fincantieri pursued a dialogue at every level of the trade unions, that lead to a national agreement being signed on 21 December 2011 by the Ministry of Labour and Welfare, the company and the main trade unions (FIM-CISL, UILM-UIL, UGL, FAILMS and FAILMS CISAL) who also represent the majority of the employees.

The group’s revenues amounted to €2.4 billion last year and it reached EBITDA of €138 million. “The strength of the Group capital and financial structure is demonstrated by the fact that equity amounts to €951 million, of which euro 300 million of retained earnings from prior years. In addition, the financial statements include also €114 million in provisions that are more than adequate in respect of the specific risks and potential charges.”

Capital expenditures of €78 million relate to the completion of projects started in the past years to enhance production efficiency and improve safety and environmental standards. This figure also includes the continuation of the capex programme in the US shipyards,” the company said.

Azamara Club Cruises in special weekend UK promotion

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Azamara Club Cruises, which is part of the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd group, says it is launching a special promotion in the UK that covers a four day period.


"Snap up one of 12 selected cruises aboard its ships Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey between 13 February and 17 February 2012 and you’ll be in line for a host of on-board extras. Additional goodies include $500 of on-board credit to spend how you like, a meal for two in one of the two speciality restaurants on the ship, plus a luxurious box of chocolate-covered strawberries," the company said.


Sailings featured in the promotion include:


·         10-night Adriatic cruise aboard Azamara Quest leading in at £2138 per person. Cruise departs Venice with ports of call including Kotor, Brindisi, Corfu and Capri. Departs August 2012


·         10-night Western Mediterranean cruise aboard Azamara Quest from £2032 per person from Barcelona. Ports of calls include Palma de Mallorca, Bonifacio, Rome (Civitavecchia) and Nice. Departs October 2012

·         16-night transatlantic cruise aboard Azamara Quest from £2131 per person, departing Malaga and calling at destinations including Lanzarote, Cape Verde, Recife and Rio de Janeiro. Departs December 2012.


All offers apply to selected sailings and selected departure points. All bookings must be made during the qualifying period (13 February – 17 February inclusive) and deposit paid by 20 February 2012.





P&O Cruises launches free balcony upgrade promotion weekend

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

For a special Valentines treat this weekend, P&O Cruises is offering free balcony cabin upgrades for new bookings made on a selection of cruises departing between April and September 2012, the company said in a statement.

"The Balcony Giveaway is available for bookings made between February 10 – 13, on a selection of 22 cruise holidays on board Aurora, Azura, Oceana and Ventura.  All cruises in the promotion depart from Southampton and are between three and 17 nights in duration, to a choice of destinations such as the Central Mediterranean, Baltic, Iceland, Greenland, Western Mediterranean and the Canary Islands."

Savings are available of up to £1,267 per person for a 14 night Norway, Greenland and Iceland cruise on Aurora (R207) departing June 19, 2012, and prices start from £349 per person for a three night cruise break on board Ventura, departing July 20 (N217N).