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UK consumers combine holidays to save money - Royal Caribbean poll

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

UK consumers are getting around the financial reality of having to scale back on the number of holidays they take by choosing a break that combines many different elements, according to new research commissioned by Royal Caribbean International.

For 2011, one sixth of people combined at least two different holiday types into their main break in an effort to save money with over half of these people pairing a city break with a beach escape. Looking forward to 2012 and 20 per cent of holidaymakers are looking to have ‘two holidays in one’. the company said in a statement.

The research, conducted by One Poll, revealed respondents opting for combination-holidays stated that the biggest reasons were to save money (55 per cent) or get the best value from their holiday spend (23 per cent). When looking at the differing opinions of various age groups, two thirds of those over 45 want a combination holiday to save them money, compared to just 18 per cent of those under 24. Holidaymakers in the age bracket 25-34 also place importance on a combination break to make better use of time.

With three sports mad children, a culture-vulture husband and a love of the sunshine, sports star Sally Gunnell is a big advocate of ‘combination holidays’. “As a busy mum not only do I have to meet everyone’s wish list with my family holiday choices, but I also need to juggle the reality of spending less and taking fewer holidays whilst still making sure everyone is happy” explained Sally Gunnell. 

“Royal Caribbean International recently challenged me that I could pack more into a holiday by taking a cruise. Not only did the whole family relax and have great fun, but we saw the sights of Rome , dozed on the beach in Nice and went running, rock climbing, surfing and ice skating and I got to spend some time with my husband! As a combination holiday that really takes some beating, it was truly the first time that the dream of having a city break, a beach holiday and some sports action all in one came true. We’ve already booked our next one for 2012.”

Research findings also suggest that men and women are destined to argue over what makes the perfect break. Compared to women, double the amount of men want to add a sports or fitness element to their holiday, and the modern man’s metrosexual lifestyle is also influencing holiday component factors. More men than women want to add an additional spa element to the nation’s favourite city and beach combination.

For 2012 holiday planning, combination holidays are most popular with women and Londoners, with 23 per cent of those in the capital looking for at least two different holiday types within their break. East Midlanders are looking to cram the most into their holiday – 60 per cent want one holiday to encompass a city, beach and sports or fitness element all within one break.

Whilst the research shows the combination holiday habits of savvy consumers looking to save money, it also highlights that just over half the respondents have no more holiday plans for 2011, despite the up coming October school half term and Christmas break left. Of those who have scaled back their holiday plans, over half state that the decision is related to uncertainty over jobs and the economic climate, with men more concerned than women. Optimism is highest in the West Midlands with 11% of people expecting to have taken four or more holidays by the end of 2011. Plus, 28 per cent of young people under 24 are planning to enjoy more holidays in 2012 than managed in 2011.

The One Poll research into combination-holidays was commissioned by cruise line Royal Caribbean International as part of National Cruise Week (18-25 September 2011), and to support a drive to encourage holidaymakers to pack more into their annual leave and choose to cruise.

 

Norwegian Spirit and Norwegian Jade will enter drydock this fall

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that both Norwegian Spirit and Norwegian Jade will enter dry docks this fall for multi-million dollar enhancements. Norwegian Spirit enters a 13-day dry dock on September 25, 2011 in Mobile, Alabama. The 2,018-passenger ship is receiving renovations including outfitting the entire ship for WiFi; laying new carpet; installing flat screen televisions; and upgrading the Stardust Theater and the ship's action station restaurant Raffles. Norwegian Jade will undergo enhancements, including the addition of Norwegian's signature restaurant Moderno Churrascaria; new carpet and tile throughout the ship; painting the hull; among other maintenance updates during an 11-day dry dock in Marseille, France. 

"While we have the youngest fleet in the industry, we still want to continuously enhance our ships," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "With the dry docks of Norwegian Spirit and Norwegian Jade, we will have completed enhancements on four ships this year, a major investment for the company." 

Norwegian Spirit's refurbishment includes:

* Installing wireless internet access throughout the entire ship including crew areas;

* New flat screen televisions in guest and crew staterooms;

* Upgrades to accessible guest staterooms and the addition of ramps in various areas of the ship;

* Replacement of 64,000 square feet of carpet throughout the ship;

* Addition of new silk plants throughout the ship;

* Enhancements to the Stardust Theater;

* Addition of an aerobics room in the Roman Spa and Fitness Center for spinning, yoga and various fitness classes;

* Updates to Raffles Court, the ship's buffet restaurant.

When the ship returns to New Orleans on October 9, 2011, she will sail a series of seven-day Western Caribbean itineraries departing every Sunday calling on Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras and Belize City, Belize; along with two relaxing days at sea through April 8, 2012. The ship will then set off on a 13-day transatlantic cruise to Barcelona on April 15, 2012. She will arrive in Barcelona on April 28, 2012 where she will begin sailing 12-day Grand Mediterranean cruises alternating from Barcelona and Venice through October 13, 2012. Beginning on November 6, 2012, Norwegian Spirit will sail nine-day Canary Islands cruises from Barcelona through April 8, 2013.

Norwegian Jade enters dry dock in Marseille, France on November 26, 2011 to December 8, 2011. During this time, the 2,402-passenger ship will receive the line's signature Brazilian steakhouse, Moderno Churrascia, replacing Paniolo's Tapas and Salsa restaurant on Deck 8. The ship will also receive technical enhancements including new propeller and thrust bearings; seals on the Azipod propulsion systems; as well as a new coat of hull paint. After dry dock, Norwegian Jade, which sails year-round from Europe, will cruise a nine-day itinerary departing Barcelona, Spain, calling on Funchal, Madeira; Santa Cruz, Tenerife; Arrecife, Canary Islands and Malaga, Spain. 

Both Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Sun received major enhancements earlier this year.

P&O Cruises rolls out pre-Christmas cruise guest entertainer list

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

P&O Cruises, the main UK brand of Carnival Corp & plc group, says it has confirmed several special guest entertainers for three highlight cruises this winter. Legendary pop group, The Searchers; Drifters lead singer, Ray Lewis, with his act Still Drifting, and the ultimate Abba tribute band, Voulez Vous, will entertain passengers on board Oceana in November and December.

Family friendly ship Oceana will cruise year round from the UK for the first time this winter, visiting destinations with guaranteed warm weather and winter sunshine, such as the Canary Islands, Egypt and Greece. "Legendary pop group, The Searchers, will perform on a 24-night Eastern Mediterranean cruise departing on November 21. The band will perform as part of a wider 60’s and 70’s theme for the cruise, also launching a new production show by the onboard headliners theatre company."

Departing from and returning to Southampton, ports of call are Cadiz, Alexandria, Cairo / Giza (from Port Said), Limassol, Haifa, Ashdod, Athens (from Piraeus), Katakolon, Messina, Valencia and Lisbon. Prices are from £1,944 per person based on two sharing. 

Ex-Drifters lead singer, Ray Lewis, will perform with his act Still Drifting on a 12 night Canary Islands Christmas cruise, departing December 15. This cruise will take all the effort out of Christmas, with carol-singing at sailaway, festive decorations throughout the ship, Santa's Grotto for children, a pantomime performance, parties for all ages, gift and of course, Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Departing from and returning to Southampton, ports of call are Madeira, La Palma, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lisbon. Christmas Eve is spent in Lisbon and Christmas Day is at sea. Prices are from £1,319 per person based on two sharing. 

Ultimate Abba tribute band, Voulez Vouz, will perform on board a 12 night Canary Islands New Year cruise departing December 27. The band will perform on New Year’s Eve providing a real highlight, alongside the spectacular Tenerife fireworks display. New Year’s Eve is celebrated on board with a black tie ball and countdowns in all bars. Departing from and returning to Southampton, ports of call are Oporto, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Madeira and Lisbon. Prices are from £1,359 per person based on two sharing. 

P&O Cruises managing director, Carol Marlow, said: “These cruises are an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy some winter sun but still want to benefit from all the conveniences of sailing from the UK – no flights, no airports and the holiday starts as soon as you get on board. Our cruises are a home away from home and with a unique party atmosphere on board, are the perfect choices for the festive season.”

Moody’s raises RCCL speculative grade liquidity rating

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Moody's Investors Service raised Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s (RCCL) speculative grade liquidity rating on Wednesday, citing improved free cash flow and an extension given to an $875 million revolving credit line, Moneywatch said on its website.

"The ratings agency raised the rating to "SGL-2" from "SGL-3," saying that the cruise operator should have good level of financial liquidity over the next year. The Miami company's free cash flow is expected to rise thanks to less spending on new ships. Royal Caribbean does not have a new ship delivery until the fourth quarter, when it will add the Reflection vessel to its fleet. Moody's also based the rating upgrade on an extension until July 16 on its revolving credit line, which was set to expire in June 2012," Moneywatch said.

The ratings agency maintained Royal Caribbean's other ratings and stable outlook, the report noted.

First steel cut for Norwegian Breakaway

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

The first piece of steel was cut today at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany for the construction of Norwegian Breakaway, the first of two new Freestyle Cruising ships for Norwegian Cruise Line, set for delivery in April 2013. The first plate of steel took four minutes to cut by a plasma torch in the yard's state of the art facility. This plate will become a supporting part of the double bottom in the middle of the new ship.

"Today's steel cutting marks the start of construction for Norwegian Breakaway, our next generation Freestyle Cruising ship, that will captivate and amaze our guests," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's chief executive officer. "We are extremely pleased with the progress we have made so far in planning this incredible vessel. We now look to the capable and talented team at Meyer Werft to bring this ship to life."

The Breakaway class ships, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, will each be 144,017 gross tons and will have approximately 4,000 passenger berths. These ships represent an opportunity for the Norwegian guest to "break away" from the routine of work, school, and daily stress, and find a true respite at sea. The new ships will take the best of the best from all of Norwegian's existing ships, drawing on the line's experience of having launched 10 ships in the past 10 years - starting with Norwegian Star and Sun in 2001 and culminating with the launch of Norwegian Epic in 2010. The ships' names were chosen from 230,000 entries received in "Norwegian's Cruising for Names" contest held in conjunction with national newspaper USA Today.

The shipyard's managing directors Bernard Meyer and Lambert Kruse, as well as Aloys Meemann, project manager, attended the steel cutting ceremony in the laser center. "We are very happy to build these innovative ships for Norwegian and to continue our long lasting relationship," said Meyer. "We can guarantee to deliver a cruise vessel with an exceptional interior design, extremely comfortable staterooms and the highest technical standards." 

To date, the company has revealed details on all of the ships' staterooms which combine the form and function of the line's Jewel class ships' staterooms with the modern and contemporary design touches of Norwegian Epic. A rich mix of stateroom options will be available including the innovative Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers, the re-introduction of Oceanview staterooms, Balcony and Mini-Suites, along with Spa Balcony, Mini-Suites and Suites in close proximity to the spa. The ship also features The Haven by Norwegian, comprised of 42 suites at the top of the ship and 18 additional suites located throughout the ship.

The company expects to release details on Norwegian Breakaway's inaugural itinerary in the near future. Further information on Norwegian Breakaway can be found at www.ncl.com/breakaway.

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