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MV Werften hands over second luxury river cruise ship for Crystal

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Today, just a few short weeks after delivery of the Crystal Bach, MV Werften handed over the Crystal Mahler, the second of four Rhine Class ships, to the client, Crystal River Cruises. After the ceremonial change of flags, the ship was christened at the outfitting quay of MV Werften in Wismar.

Like its sister vessel, the 135-metre long and 11.4-metre wide river cruise ship was specifically designed for exploring Europe’s beautiful rivers. It complies with the highest safety and navigation standards, including a permanently staffed, state-of-the-art navigation system as well as Azimuth thrusters for optimum maneuverability. The elegant design of this luxury ship resembles that of private yachts. The interior of the Crystal Mahler boasts light and airy public areas with floor-to-ceiling glass walls as well as spacious suites with horizontal sliding windows. Other on-board facilities include three gourmet restaurants, a spacious spa and fitness area and a swimming pool with a glass roof.

The ship carries just 110 guests in 55 all-balcony suites along the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers through Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Hungary, amongst other countries. Sixty-eight crew members guarantee the award-winning Crystal Cruises service as found on other ships in the fleet.

“A new milestone has been reached with the handing over of the Crystal Mahler to Crystal River Cruises: half of the Rhine Class river cruisers have now been delivered," said Jarmo Laakso, CEO of MV Werften, during the handover. “I would like to thank all of the employees and project partners for their commitment and this tremendous achievement and most especially our parent company Genting Hong Kong for this trust in us.”

“We are incredibly pleased to be collaborating with the experts at MV Werften, and thank them for their attention to detail and delivering the kind of innovative and stylish vessels that embody Crystal’s vision of offering travelers an unmatched experience along Europe’s rivers,” said Crystal President and CEO Tom Wolber.

The celebration continued with a traditional christening at the shipyard. Lauren Barfield, a U.S. citizen who plays for SSC Palmberg Schwerin, the reigning German volleyball champions, served as Godmother to the ship. MV Werften has sponsored her team since March 2017.

After delivery of Crystal Mahler, a further seven ships, to be delivered by 2021, are on order from the shipbuilding group. Numbers three and four of the Rhine-Class ships, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel have been under construction since January and will be delivered in 2018. In the spring of 2018, production will begin on the first of three Endeavor Class mega yachts as well as the first of two ships of the Global Class for Star Cruises.

Norwegian refinances Senior Notes due 2020

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

NCL Corporation Ltd, a subsidiary of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH)., launched an amendment for its existing credit facilities.

This includes repricing of the existing $750 million revolving credit facility and the existing $1,431 million term A loan facility and increase the size of the existing revolving facility and plus add a new $375 million term B loan facility due 2021,  NCLH said in a statement.

“NCLC intends to use the proceeds of the new term B loan, together with borrowings under the revolving credit facility and cash on hand, to redeem its 4.625% Senior Notes due 2020. JP Morgan is acting as lead arranger for the amendment,” NCLH stated.

Carnival Cruise Line signs a new multi-year preferred partnership with Signature Travel Network

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Carnival Cruise Line today announced a new multi-year preferred supplier partnership with Signature Travel Network.

Carnival joins its North American sister brands Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Cunard, and Seabourn as part of the World’s Leading Cruise Lines preferred supplier team with Signature. The news was shared with Signature agency owners at their annual meeting by Signature Travel Network President/CEO Alex Sharpe recently in Phoenix, Arizona.

Partnership benefits for Signature agencies begin October 1, kicking off with a “Signature Welcome” program led by Carnival and offering tailored training and support to its agency community.

“Our executive leadership and sales team are fully dedicated to growing our relationship with Signature Travel Network and leveraging the strength of both organizations to deliver an incredible experience for tens of thousands of travelers each year,” said Adolfo Perez, vice president of sales and trade marketing for Carnival Cruise Line. “Signature Travel Network is known for providing its members with outstanding marketing support and technology that drives business to its members and incremental demand for their preferred suppliers’ products. Signature’s owners and agents are widely respected for being highly skilled and knowledgeable travel experts and we’re thrilled to begin this preferred relationship so that we can work together on growing their overall business and increasing their Carnival sales.”

“On behalf of the board of directors, the larger membership and the Signature staff, we look forward to working together to maximize this new partnership with Carnival,” stated Sharpe. “I believe the network’s greatest strengths are: 1) a members first, service-oriented culture; 2) strong and supportive relationships with preferred partners; 3) customizable, turnkey tools that members use in accordance to their unique business needs and goals. Our multi-year agreement with Carnival is specifically designed to build upon these incredible strengths and offer members yet another, and important, way to broaden their reach, connect with more travelers and grow their businesses.”

Reduced speed impacts itineraries in the Saint Lawrence

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Cruise the Saint Lawrence (CSL) wishes to underscore that the association understands and supports the measure recently introduced which requires ships operating in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to reduce their speed in an effort to protect North Atlantic right whales.

This measure, rendered necessary to stem the number of right whale fatalities, is set to impact considerably international cruise industry results across the greater Canada New England region this year. To date, 16 cancellations have been confirmed for three Saint Lawrence ports of call, the one most seriously affected being Gaspe.

In preparation for the upcoming season, Cruise the Saint Lawrence would like to see the measure imposed by Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada subjected to in-depth analysis at the close of the current season to be poised to implement, within a reasonable timeframe, an intervention strategy for 2018.

“Most unfortunately, many cruise lines have been obligated to alter their itineraries to honour their scheduled date of arrival at final destination. They are the first to regret being forced to cut short or delete altogether certain calls and would appreciate more detailed information to be able to organize their itineraries in the best interests of guests and ports of call in the years ahead,” explains Tony Boemi, President of Cruise the Saint Lawrence.

CSL is therefore taking an active part in discussions currently engaged with government authorities and industry partners to find solutions intended to reconcile tourism industry economic interests with species-specific protection measures.

“The presence of North Atlantic right whales is an indication of the rich habitat provided by the waters of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and it is a privilege for tourism industry players such as ourselves to share these waters with them. We believe that the cruise industry can prosper and serve as a model of conservation if all players are consulted and involved,” insists Boemi.

A case in point is Alaska where a simple but effective conservation measure has been introduced. This measure involves posting observers on the prow to spot marine mammals and modify, as required, the speed or course of a ship. In Quebec, the Marine Mammal Observation Network (ROMM), in cooperation with the Green Alliance, could play a key role in drawing up solutions together with marine industry players. A similar whale observation training program intended for the crew of merchant and passengers ships is already in place on the Saint Lawrence.

Carnival plc shares fall sharply after Credit Suisse highlights industry headwinds – report

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Shares in Carnival plc, the UK based holding company in the Carnival Corporation & plc group fell sharply on Friday morning after Credit Suisse reportedly had downgraded the company to ”neutral” from “outperform” and lowered target price.

In early afternoon London time, Carnival plc traded 4.3% lower at 4,888p (prices on the London market are given in pence, hence this translates to £48.88) after hitting a session’s low at 4,824 and a high at 4,997. The FTSE 100 index of leading shares had fallen 1.17% at the same time.

Credit Suisse trimmed the target price for the shares to 5,300p from 5,910p as it knocked the stock off its previous 'outperform' rating, sees threats to demand in the 2018 financial year in each of the top three cruise markets, Digitaloook.com business news website reported .

“In the Caribbean, which represents 39% of global passengers, Hurricane Irma has laid waste to potentially 24% of the region by passenger volume and could be facing a repeat of 2005 when earnings per share were downgraded 10%,” the report said.

“For the Mediterranean, representing 14% of passengers, the Swiss bank pointed to the recent terror attack in Barcelona, which is the number-one cruise port in a region where in the East there has been a 60% decline in volumes seen since 2011 due to issues in Athens and Turkey,” Digitallook continued..

“China, which represents 12% of passengers, the Korea travel ban is still in place and the industry is planning to trim capacity by 5% in 2018,” the report said, adding that in the face of these potential issues, Carnival's 2017-22 estimated capacity growth is 6.1%, the absolute level of capacity growth in 2018-2021 is double that of the past five years.

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