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Silversea and Rocco Forte Hotels enter partnership

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Silversea Cruises, the Monaco based luxury cruise line and Rocco Forte Hotels, the London based company headed by Sir Rocco Forte that operates a portfolio of luxury hotels, announced a partnership that brings the two privately owned Italian heritage hospitality companies together for the first time, giving guests an ultra-luxury experience, both by land and by sea. 

Silversea’s ships are small enough to sail up narrow waterways, right into the heart of a city, to the very doorsteps of Rocco Forte Hotels. There will be regular opportunities for guests of both companies to take advantage of this special alliance with sensational benefits. Silversea are offering exclusive benefits to guests of Rocco Forte Hotels including savings on rates, VIP treats at embarkation, a private culinary event for two and a dinner invitation at the Captain or Senior Officers table. Silversea guests staying at any Rocco Forte hotel will enjoy upgrades, transfers and unpacking services at the hotel as well as VIP amenities.

Sir Rocco Forte, Chairman of Rocco Forte Hotels says, ‘Having known Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio for many years it is a particular pleasure to enter into a partnership with a company with such similar roots to our own. Together, we will share the best of land and sea whilst providing our guests with the exceptional personalised service that is common to both our brands.’

‘I am extremely happy to welcome Rocco Forte Hotels as a partner of Silversea,’ comments Mr Lefebvre, the cruise company’s chairman. ‘Sir Rocco Forte and I share a personal friendship that was formed long ago. Now, it is with shared values that we cooperate to bring extraordinary service to our guests.’


American Constitution completes sea trials 

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

American Cruise Lines said that its first new ship of 2018, American Constitution, successfully passed Sea Trials last week in Chesapeake Bay.

With the US Coast Guard aboard, the 175 passenger capacity American Constitution underwent speed trials, an endurance run, and was thoroughly tested in all areas of safety and maneuverability. “The American Constitution passed with flying colors,” said Paul Taiclet, Vice President of Hotel Operations, who was aboard for the SeaTrials.

“The ship performed exceptionally well and has a number of enhancements that further American’s tradition of innovation in small ship cruising.” One of the new advanced features noted by Taiclet are new acoustical treatments and vibration dampening systems throughout the ship, which make it extremely quiet even when running at full speed.

Now that American Constitution’s sea trials are completed, the Line looks forward to the ship’s inaugural cruise from Baltimore on April 18th. The first cruise will also be the Line’s first American Revolution Cruise—a new 10-night cruise around Chesapeake Bay that features ports central to our nation’s history.

For the remainder of 2018, the new ship will stay on the East Coast, where it will run a series of trips in summer and fall from Boston, MA and New York, NY.

Genting to serve local Okinawa products on summer cruises to Okinawa

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Genting Cruise Lines has announced its collaboration with Okinawa Agricultural Cooperatives Association (JA Okinawa), and Leospo Incorporated, introducing a gastronomic experience at sea with Okinawa’s finest selection of home-grown and locally produced premium delicacies, such as the world-famous Okinawa Wagyu beef and Okinawa Agu pork for its summer cruise itineraries to Okinawa on selected ships. Travellers can now experience and savour many of Okinawa’s fresh produce and offerings across the Genting Cruise Lines fleet, including signature and non-export delicacies that are only available in Japan. These Okinawan specialties will be served on Dream Cruises’ World Dream, as well as Star Cruises, which include SuperStar Virgo, SuperStar Aquarius and SuperStar Gemini.

Upon arrival of World Dream in Naha, Okinawa, Thatcher Brown, President of Dream Cruises signed the agreement of intent on behalf of Genting Cruise Lines. He said, “The long history of Genting Cruise Lines with Okinawa dates back to 1997, when we first called upon Naha; today Okinawa is one of our most popular summer destinations. We are honoured to be the first cruise line to partner with JA Okinawa and Leospo Inc. on all of our 160 summer cruises to the picturesque islands of Ryukyu this year, where guests of Dream Cruises and Star Cruises will have the privilege to indulge in seasonal local produce and delicacies from Okinawa throughout their journeys from ship to shore.”

Tsutomu Oshiro, President of JA Okinawa said, “This agreement of intent will reinforce our working relationship with Genting Cruise Lines to promote Okinawa’s agricultural and livestock products. From now until the end of November, JA Okinawa will offer a wide variety of local produce, starting with Okinawa Wagyu beef and Okinawa Agu pork, both of which are bred in Okinawa’s warm climate and representative of Okinawa’s Safe and Trusted brand. Guests will also enjoy our fruits and vegetables, such as Goya (bitter gourd) and pumpkins, as well as signature Okinawan food such as Sheikwasha (flat lemon) juice and brown sugar. We are confident that our collaboration with Genting Cruise Lines will help promote our products to inbound cruise guests f and lead to the next surge in exports.

Ling Lin, Vice President of Leospo Inc. said, “We are glad to connect Genting Cruise Lines and JA Okinawa on this collaboration to provide Okinawa specialties to cruise visitors from China. Upon the signing of agreement, we look forward to greet guests of Dream Cruises and Star Cruises with signature Okinawa food and produce, complementing their gastronomic cruise experience.
From April to November 2018, guests embarking on any of the Okinawa summer cruise itineraries with Dream Cruises or Star Cruises will enjoy specially designed thematic menus, using many of Okinawa’s finest delicacies such as the highly-acclaimed Okinawa Wagyu beef, which is primarily reserved for in-land consumption due to its scarce supply, as well as rich and succulent Okinawa Agu pork, a signature ingredient in the region’s cuisine.

The gastronomic journey will begin on World Dream, the latest member of Dream Cruises, where signature Okinawa Wagyu beef and Okinawa Agu pork will be served in traditional Japanese dishes such as Shabu Shabu (hot pot) and Teppanyaki (iron grill); Chinese food lovers will enjoy BBQ Okinawa Agu Pork, as well as two varieties of wok-fried dishes – Okinawa beef with bitter gourd and garlic, as well as Okinawa beef rib eye with preserved sweet plum sauce. The Okinawa prime rib roast will be perfect for those who crave for a good slab of juicy steak on their journey at sea.

Complementing their Okinawan experience at sea, guests of World Dream will also be immersed in Okinawan culture as they enjoy Sanshin music performances, arts & crafts workshops, Awamori appreciations and more.

The Okinawan menus will also be available on three of the Star Cruises ships – namely the flagship SuperStar Virgo, SuperStar Aquarius and SuperStar Gemini, with summer itineraries to idyllic destinations in Okinawa including Naha, Miyakojima, Ishigaki and Nakagusuku.

Viking Grace transforms into a 'sailing' ship

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

The Viking Grace sets sail on her first voyage as the only passenger ship in the world equipped with a Rotor Sail to harness wind power for propulsion. Developed by Finnish clean technology and engineering company Norsepower Oy Ltd., the Rotor Sail Solution will cut fuel consumption and reduce carbon emissions by up to 900 tonnes annually. Viking Line will operate the Viking Grace on wind-assisted voyages between Turku (Finland) and Stockholm (Sweden) from April 12th 2018.

The cylindrical Rotor Sail unit installed on Viking Grace is 24m in height and 4m in diameter, and is a modernised version of the Flettner rotor; a spinning cylinder that uses the Magnus effect to harness wind power to propel a ship. The solution is fully automated and senses whenever the wind is strong enough to deliver fuel savings, at which point the rotors start automatically – optimising crew time and resource.

The use of wind power reflects the green values of Viking Line. The natural environments of the sea and the archipelago are close to the heart of the shipping company based in the Åland Islands. In operation since 2013, the Viking Grace is among the most environmentally friendly passenger ships in the world: it is fuelled with Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and has very low emissions and noise levels. The new Rotor Sail will only boost her already impressive environmental credentials.

Commenting on the partnership, Jan Hanses, CEO, Viking Line, said: “This is a great day for us. As an Åland shipping company, we rely on the sea for our livelihood so it’s of prime importance for us to promote the well-being of the marine environment. We want to pioneer the use of solutions that reduce the environmental load. Based in Finland, Norsepower has developed a world-class mechanical Rotor Sail Solution that will reduce fuel consumption. We are proud of the fact that our Viking Grace will be the first passenger ship in the world to benefit from this innovative solution.”

The basic design and idea of the Flettner rotor has been around for over 90 years. However, with the rise of environmental regulations, the concept of rotor sails has gained much interest in the global maritime community. This is further fuelled by the advancements in manufacturing, material and technological solutions. Norsepower is years ahead of other players in this space and is recognised as the first commercial provider of auxiliary wind propulsion for shipping.

Tuomas Riski, CEO of Norsepower said: “For Norsepower, it’s an honour to contribute to making the Viking Grace even more environmentally-friendly by means of our novel Rotor Sail technology. The last traditional windjammers in the world were owned and operated by shipping companies based in Åland, so it’s only fitting that Åland-based Viking Line should be a forerunner in launching modern auxiliary sail technology. Viking Line and Norsepower have collaborated in an excellent manner in retrofitting the Rotor Sail solution on the Viking Grace, and the completion of this project is a great moment for all those involved.”

In addition to the installation onboard the M/S Viking Grace, Viking Line will also install two Norsepower Rotor Sails onboard a newbuild cruise ferry which is currently being built in China and due to be operational in 2020.

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection announces itineraries and shore excursions

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. has announced itineraries and shore excursion categories for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, unveiling routes and programming that will deliver one-of-a-kind experiences. Whether visiting a celebrated destination or one that is off the beaten path, guests will benefit from a dedicated Concierge Ashore in addition to five distinct categories of shore excursions, including Iconic Sights; Stirring the Senses; Cultural Connections; Active Explorations; and Epicurean Experiences.

“The itineraries and intimate shore experiences are not only unique and forward-thinking in their design, but illustrate our commitment to providing rare opportunities to today’s luxury traveler,” said Lisa Holladay, Global Brand Leader for The Ritz-Carlton. “Combining The Ritz-Carlton’s unparalleled service with journeys created specifically to offer immersion into the culture of the destination, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will set a new standard in sea travel and redefine the yachting experience.”
Designed to combine the lifestyle of The Ritz-Carlton’s luxury resorts and the casual freedom of a yachting vacation, no two itinerary routes are alike. Stopping at both intimate and signature destinations, voyages will range from seven to ten days. The first ship will cruise a wide variety of destinations depending on the season, including the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, Canada and Northeastern United States. Ports along the way range from Barbados, Cartagena, Bordeaux and Copenhagen, as well as ports that deliver a yacht-style sailing experience including Carriacou, Falmouth Harbour, Gustavia, the Balearic Islands, Mykonos, Portofino and more. Guests will have the opportunity to combine back-to-back voyages without repeating ports, allowing them to enjoy true exploration across a broad range of destinations.

“The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection itineraries and programs on land were created with the yachting lifestyle in mind and will offer a relaxed pace and intimate, highly personalized experiences on shore,” said Douglas Prothero, Managing Director, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. “We are thrilled to share the curated voyages and look forward to introducing guests to the local cultures of each destination through our Shore Collection while offering the best luxury accommodations at sea.”

As a complement to these unique itineraries, shore excursion tracks have been thematically crafted so guests can easily pick a category that fits their interests and activity levels. All shore excursions take advantage of local guides who have been handpicked for their insider knowledge, ensuring a highly personalized, relevant experience while exploring a destination. With a relaxed pace that includes both overnight and daytime ports of call and an intimate ship size that allows the yachts to sail right into city harbors while others must anchor offshore, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection gives guests more flexibility and options when it comes to their time on land.

The Shore Collection excursion categories include Iconic Sights, which will offer guests the opportunity to discover the cultural, historical, and architectural marvels of a destination, perhaps by browsing a museum in Montenegro on an exclusive tour with its curator. Stirring the Senses is ideal for those wishing to focus on wellness and wellbeing and may include sunrise and sunset yoga in the Grenadines or an encounter with a spiritual shaman. For guests who wish to give back, Cultural Connections will offer the opportunity to spend a day helping protect wildlife or the natural environment, among other philanthropic activities. Active Explorations caters to travelers looking for outdoor adventure such as swimming with turtles in Tobago Cays or a private sea kayak tour off the coast of Reykjavik, Iceland. Guests can also sail into a world of culinary exploration through Epicurean Experiences by visiting a renowned winery in Bordeaux with The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection sommelier or learning to grow baby oysters in a private farm in Sete, France.

Meanwhile, for the discerning traveler seeking the most personalized way to explore a destination, a Concierge Ashore will be available to help craft a bespoke experience on land which will be meaningful and authentic. This may include insider access to a popular attraction or exploring a local community with a private guide.

The first of three lavish cruising yachts is scheduled to take to the sea in February 2020 and distinguishes Marriott International as the only provider of luxury accommodations both on land and at sea. The specially designed yacht will measure 190-meters, accommodate up to 298 passengers and feature 149 suites, each with its own private terrace. The yacht will also feature two 158 square-meter lavish penthouse suites, each with its own private whirlpool, modern craftsmanship and interior finishes jointly designed by The Ritz-Carlton and leading design firm Tillberg Design of Sweden. The onboard experience will reflect the sublime comfort and unparalleled level of individualized guest service for which the iconic Ritz-Carlton brand is recognized, with one of the highest staff to guest service ratios in the cruise industry.

Reservations for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will open to the public in June 2018, following priority access booking in May 2018 for Ritz-Carlton and Marriott Rewards loyalty members.

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection guests will enjoy an all-inclusive luxury sailing experience including spacious accommodations, onboard activities and entertainment, multiple dining venues, onboard gratuities and WiFi. Voyage prices will vary based upon the itinerary and season.