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Noble Caledonia acquires a second ship

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Noble Caledonia, the small ship and expedition cruising company announces the acquisition of a sister vessel to their Island Sky. Formerly known as Renaissance VI and more latterly Hebridean Spirit the company is to take delivery of the vessel in May 2012. To be named Caledonian Sky the vessel is ultimately bound for South America, Australasia and the Pacific Rim but will spend much of 2012 in British and Arctic waters before heading to South America and beyond.

The 114 passenger vessel will continue the expansion of the Noble Caledonia’s small ship and expedition cruising programmes, complementing the excellent reputation forged by the Island Sky. Both vessels were originally built as part of the Renaissance Cruises fleet in Italy in the 1990’s and provide all-suite luxurious accommodation. They offer a private yacht style atmosphere which is popular with well-seasoned travellers who are looking for something more engaging than a typical big ship cruise. Both vessels are highly adaptable and can operate in areas that are off limits to larger ships. A fleet of inflatable ‘Zodiac’ landing craft allow them to explore the most remote of regions and an onboard team that includes specially chosen guest speakers adds to the knowledge and enjoyment of all.

During the coming winter months the ‘Caledonian Sky’ will be subject to a significant refit to bring her in line with the style and quality offered aboard Island Sky. Speaking in London, Noble Caledonia’s Managing Director, Andy Cochrane said; “ We are all delighted to have secured another high quality vessel. Demand in the UK for the specialised trips we operate continues to grow at a fast pace, even in these troubled financial times. Having two remarkably similar vessels allows us to keep Island Sky in Europe, Africa and South and Central America, whilst Caledonian Sky can operate in the vast Pacific region from New Zealand to the Russian Far East. Two of the finest small ships in the world that allow us to reach the most remote and interesting corners of earth.”

Itinerary details for ‘Caledonian Sky’ will be available in the autumn.

Nikki Upshaw joins Oceania Cruises as Vice President, Field Sales

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Nikki F. Upshaw, CTC, has been appointed to the newly created position of vice president, field sales for Oceania Cruises and will assume her position on September 6, 2011.

In this role, Upshaw will oversee Oceania Cruises' field sales efforts, particularly as they relate to its travel agent partners. Upshaw will lead a talented team of regional sales directors, who work with more than 3,000 travel agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada in developing strategic and tactical business opportunities. Upshaw will report directly to Bruce J. Himelstein, Oceania Cruises' president.

A 23-year cruise industry veteran, Upshaw joins Oceania Cruises from Residensea, where for 10 years she headed up global sales and marketing efforts for the ultra-luxury residential vessel: The World. Previously, she was vice president of sales for Prior cruise line experience includes sales management posts for Cunard Line, Seabourn Cruise Line and Royal Viking Line.

"With Riviera launching in April 2012, we are very pleased to welcome Nikki to the Oceania Cruises' sales management team," stated Himelstein. "Her expertise in the upper-premium and luxury segments of the marketplace will be invaluable to our continued growth."

Upshaw, named a "Top 100 Rising Star" three consecutive times by Travel Agent magazine, earned her bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of Miami. She and her family live in South Florida.

Norwegian Cruise Line continues Partners First commitment

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

In the four months since the launch of the company's new "Partners First" philosophy, Norwegian Cruise Line has made significant progress in continuing its commitment to put travel partners first. In a recent survey, nearly 75 percent of partners believe Norwegian is making a substantial investment in its initiatives and over 70 percent stated that they are more likely to sell Norwegian Cruise Line than they had been in the past. In addition, Norwegian's post-call survey, given to travel partners interacting with the company's reservations team, showed a more than 90 percent satisfaction rate.

"Travel partners are our top focus and we are continuously looking for new ways to enhance our Partners First commitment," said Andy Stuart, executive vice president, global sales and passenger services. "The feedback from partners has so far been very positive, but we don't want to stop here. We want to continue to find ways to strengthen the communication and relationships."

Norwegian has further committed to their Partners First philosophy by making travel partners the central focus of a recent ad campaign launched in various trade publications. The ads showcase actual travel partners and testimonials. The latest advertisement, launched this week, features real feedback received from partners. One of the featured testimonials from travel partner, Dorothy Pennycooke, of Rance Cruises and Tours in New York, states, "No other cruise line supports travel agents like Norwegian." 

Also new on the Partners First web site ( is the first in a series of videos where Norwegian's executives cover industry-specific topics and company policies relevant to partners. Some of the subjects explored are Sales Support, Trade Engagement, Travel Partner Friendly Group Policies and Service, among others. These videos complement Norwegian's chief executive officer Kevin Sheehan's message of the company's enhanced commitment to travel partners.

The company has continued to take more steps to make it easier for travel partners to do business with the line. In addition to the millions invested to enhance booking technology, rate quotes are guaranteed so partners can book with confidence. Norwegian also has the most competitive group booking policy, with more flexibility and the longest lead time, making it easier for partners to find the right package and offer the most compelling prices to their clients. This coupled with the fact that there is no price advantage for guests to book directly with the cruise line, means that travel partners have a competitive advantage over all other channels. 

SeaDream Yacht Club celebrates 10 years of yachting

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Since 2001, SeaDream has been providing unique, intimate yachting holidays with an emphasis on highly personalized service. When the company was founded they brought a refreshing change to the world of ultra-luxury holidays at sea - with the intention of being completely different from any and every other cruise product. "We started out 10 years ago right after the September 11th attack. Travel came to a halt but our team's energy and dedication wouldn't be deterred," said Bob Lepisto, President. "We are all very proud of our accomplishment and grateful to our guests, devoted employees and travel agent partners who collectively drive our success."

SeaDream Yacht Club was founded in 2001 by Norwegian entrepreneur, Atle Brynestad who is the company's Owner and Chairman. Atle Brynestad founded Seabourn Cruise Line in 1987 and was its Chairman for ten years as well as CEO during the initial years. In 1999 two Cunard ships named Sea Goddess I and Sea Goddess II were transferred into the Seabourn Cruise Line fleet and renamed Seabourn Goddess I and Seabourn Goddess II. It was in 2001 that Atle Brynestad purchased these twin vessels from Carnival (Seabourn Cruise Line's parent company). Brynestad then named the two twins, SeaDream I & SeaDream II and put them through an extensive dry dock and refit. Since then, SeaDream has received numerous awards, honors and accolades. The Berlitz Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships Guide has recognized SeaDream annually and the 2011 Berlitz Guide rated the 112-guest mega yachts, SeaDream I & II as the top two Boutique Ships (50-200 passengers) in the world.

"During September we'll be celebrating onboard with 10th anniversary themed parties and decadent dessert extravaganzas" said Erling Frydenberg, SeaDream's Vice President of Hotel Operations. "We also have a few other surprises in store for our guests, all in the spirit of our 10th anniversary."

Added Bob Lepisto, President, "During our 10-years, our focus on exceptional service and cuisine has never wavered. Our past is the strongest criterion people have to judge our future." Continued Lepisto, "By understanding and responding to our guest's needs, we have been able to exceed their expectations. Our success, to a great extent, has been driven by word of mouth marketing by highly satisfied guests sharing their yachting experience with friends, relatives and their travel agents. I very much look forward to the next 10 years."

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines appoints new Sales and Marketing Director

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has appointed Nathan Philpot to the role of Sales and Marketing Director. Nathan will succeed Fred. Olsen’s long-standing and popular Sales and Marketing Director, Nigel Lingard, who retires at the end of November 2011.

Nathan brings a wealth of relevant travel experience to the role. His previous positions include Managing Director of Elegant Resorts, Head of Marketing for long haul specialists, Kuoni, and, most recently, Group Sales & Marketing Director of Page & Moy. Nathan will join Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines with effect from 3rd October 2011, allowing a two-month handover period.

Mike Rodwell, Managing Director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “We are delighted to have found such a worthy candidate to fill this crucial role, which has been held for so long, and with such expertise and panache, by Nigel Lingard. Nathan’s extensive experience in senior sales and marketing roles, within prestigious areas of the travel industry, means he is ideally qualified to take on this key position. This is a time of growth, but also of great challenges for the cruise industry, and I am confident that Nathan will make a significant contribution to the development of our company.”

Nathan Philpot said, “I am delighted to be joining the fastest growing sector of the travel industry, working with a family-managed company that has such a strong nautical heritage and an incredibly trade-friendly reputation. I hope to have as much success with this position as I have had in my previous roles and that, working closely with our agent partners, we will continue to attract thousands of new customers to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

Aged 40, Nathan recently married and lives close to Fred. Olsen’s Ipswich offices at East Bergholt in Suffolk, where he also went to school. A keen cricketer and footballer who still plays every weekend, he is also a supporter of Ipswich Town FC. His career has taken him to all parts of the UK and beyond, initially with P&O and later Eurotunnel. He spent four years with Kuoni heading up its Sales & Marketing department, during which time he created many trade-friendly initiatives and oversaw the company’s two most profitable years in 2002 and 2003.

He also worked on the agency side for four years as a director of WEXAS in Knightsbridge (where he was selling FOCL) and set up a new online cruise business – White Star Cruises, recently renamed the Luxury Cruise Company. He was Managing Director of Elegant Resorts, the UK's leading luxury tour operator, where he oversaw the transition from an independently owned company to one owned by Thomas Cook.

Nathan's most recent role was as company board director at the Page & Moy Travel Group, where he successfully repositioned and relaunched the Page & Moy brand, as well as making Travelsphere available to the trade and saw trade sales increase by well over 100%.