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UK investor Duke Street buys German river cruise operator A-ROSA

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

 Duke Street, the London based mid-market private equity group, has agreed to acquire A-ROSA, the German upmarket river cruise operator, from Waterland Private Equity, a German company. The consideration has not been disclosed, the buyer said in a statement.

A-ROSA is a market leader in the premium segment for river cruises on Europe’s Danube, Rhine/Main/Moselle, Rhône/Saône and Seine rivers. The company was established in 2001 as a subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises and was originally developed as the river cruise complement to AIDA ocean cruises. Based in the northern German city of Rostock and in Chur, Switzerland, A-ROSA has approximately 600 employees and operates a fleet of 11 high quality vessels. More than 85,000 passengers travelled on board A-ROSA cruises in 2017.

The company has, to date, enjoyed a very strong following in its German home market, as well as growing positions in other consumer markets, including the UK. Benefitting from a growing base of affluent older consumers, the river cruise segment performed strongly in the last economic downturn. The A-ROSA brand is highly regarded, with a modern, innovative river cruise fleet and exclusive agreements with key travel agencies. The high quality of on-board food and drink, cabin design and entertainment has encouraged significant levels of repeat bookings. The river cruise market is expected to benefit further from product development, loyalty-based marketing and a reduction in the average age of cruise holidaymakers.

Commenting on the A-ROSA investment, Charlie Troup, Duke Street Managing Partner, said: “We have identified in A-ROSA an exciting opportunity to back the leader in a growing segment of the European leisure market. The management team, led by CEO Jörg Eichler and COO Markus Zoepke, has built a strong consumer proposition for seasoned cruise passengers and new cruisers alike. Waterland has helped the team since 2009 to develop an excellent platform for further growth and we are delighted to be part of the next phase of A-ROSA’s success.”

Jörg Eichler, CEO of A-ROSA, added: “Duke Street moved very quickly in building a solid understanding of our business in a short space of time and have shown real determination to deliver a transaction that allows us to unlock the growth potential to take A-ROSA to the next level. We look forward to working together with the Duke Street team to develop and grow our business over the next years.”

Given the very strong ongoing consumer demand for the company’s offering, the opportunity exists for Duke Street both to expand A-ROSA’s fleet size and launch its product onto new rivers, while increasing its exposure to source markets outside Germany. Growing awareness of the convenience of visiting iconic European cities from a relaxed floating base is expected to sustain growth in the river cruise market and A-ROSA’s penetration of further key consumer economies on the continent. The transaction is subject to approval by antitrust authorities.


Australia's TT-Line to build new 'Spirits' in Flensburger

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

TT-Line Company Pty Ltd and German shipbuilder Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft GmbH & Co. KG (FSG) have signed a letter of intent for the construction of two new ships to replace the current Spirit of Tasmania vessels.

TT-Line chairman Mike Grainger said the companies would now commence contract negotiations and agree to final design specifications.

“FSG was endorsed by the Board after the company short listed a number of international shipyards to build the new tailor-made vessels,” he said.

“As previously announced, we expect to place an order for the new vessels in the first half of the 2018 calendar year and for them to be delivered in time to commence operations on Bass Strait in 2021.”
FSG is a highly respected and experienced ship builder that has constructed more than 750 vessels since it was established in 1872.

It is currently building cruise ferries for Irish Ferries and Brittany Ferries as well as RoRo vessels for the Siem Group. The company has also recently designed and built RoPax ferries for Canadian BC Ferries and Scottish Caledonian MacBrayne.

Rüdiger Fuchs, CEO of FSG, said: "We are very happy and proud to be appointed as TT- Lines preferred shipbuilder for the build of their two next generation passenger ferries."

The TT-Line Board and the executive team of the company worked closely with the Tasmanian Government on vessel replacement through the Ships Replacement Sub- Committee of Cabinet, chaired by the Minister for Infrastructure, Rene Hidding, and including Premier Will Hodgman and Treasurer Peter Gutwein.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings reorganizes its Asia Pacific operations

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. has announced enhancements to the organizational structure of its Asia Pacific operations that will enable it to further leverage the extensive corporate resources and expertise already in place in the region and continue to strengthen its presence in the Chinese cruise market.

Steve Odell, Senior Vice President & Managing Director Asia Pacific, has expanded his role to include the Company’s China operations along with the greater Asia Pacific region. Alex (Yucheng) Xiang has been promoted to Managing Director of the Company’s China operations, reporting to Odell. David Herrera, previously President of the Company’s China operations and based in Shanghai, will relocate back to Miami as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development.

Since establishing the Company’s offices in Shanghai and Beijing in 2015 and working closely with travel partners and government officials, Herrera has positioned the Company for long-term success in China. Under Herrera¹s leadership, the team successfully launched the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship based in China, Norwegian Joy, in 2017. With an established local team, a ship purpose-built for the Chinese cruise market and a commitment to delivering on Norwegian Cruise Line’s ‘First Class at Sea’ promise, Herrera and his team achieved the fastest growth of any market for the Company in 2017. Carrying this momentum forward, Norwegian Joy will sail its first full year in the market in 2018, essentially doubling the Company’s capacity in the region. As he takes on this new role, Herrera will report directly to Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

“In his expansive new role, David will preside over our global corporate initiatives from our headquarters in Miami,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “Since our announcement to enter the Chinese cruise market, David has led our local efforts and has positioned us for continued growth. We are thrilled with what he and the team have achieved in China and look forward to further success in this market.”

As part of this new organizational structure, Alex (Yucheng) Xiang, has been promoted to Managing Director of the Company’s China operations and will serve as the first senior officer in the region. Xiang has been with the China team since day one as Vice President of Sales and has played a critical role in the region’s success to date. His promotion is effective February 2, when he will assume leadership of the dedicated teams in Shanghai and Beijing. Prior to joining the Company, he held a number of senior executive roles in sales, marketing and business development, including Deputy General Manager, Sales & Marketing in China for Royal Caribbean Cruise Service (China) Co. Ltd.

“We are thrilled to have someone of Alex’s caliber to lead our operations in China,” said Harry Sommer, Executive Vice President, International Business Development for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “I have worked closely with Alex since he joined the team, and he has been an integral part of every success we have achieved. I have full confidence that Alex will continue the great work David started in the region and continue to lead our China team from one success to the next.”

Steve Odell will take on an expanded role overseeing the greater Asia Pacific region, including China. Odell joined the Company in October 2015 to spearhead the launch of the Company’s Asia Pacific headquarters in Sydney, bringing with him 30 years of cruise industry experience, 17 of those in Asia. In his expanded role, he is responsible for the strategic expansion, vision and continued growth of the Company’s presence in the fast growing Asia Pacific market. He is currently Chairman of CLIA Australasia and a founding board member of the Asia Cruise Association. Odell will continue to report to Harry Sommer.

Celebrity Edge to be delivered ahead of schedule

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Celebrity Cruises has announced that the inaugural season of Celebrity Edge has expanded, as the transformational new ship will be completed ahead of schedule and enter service earlier than planned.

The schedule change will now allow Celebrity to offer not one, but two distinct 7-night maiden voyages on Celebrity Edge’s alternating eastern and western Caribbean itineraries. Travelers also have the option to book back-to-back sailings for a 14-night journey:

Maiden Voyage West: A seven-night western Caribbean cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale, FL., on December 9, 2018, and visiting Key West, FL.; Costa Maya, Mexico; Cozumel, Mexico; and George Town, Grand Cayman

Maiden Voyage East: The previously announced seven-night eastern Caribbean cruise departing from Ft. Lauderdale on December 16, 2018, and visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten

“Thanks to the amazing work of the STX France shipyard team, the industry-changing Celebrity Edge is now scheduled to arrive much earlier than anticipated, which gave us the opportunity to offer not one, but two maiden voyages,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Both of these maiden voyages, plus the taste of luxury preview sailings, will have all of the festivities one would expect from the launch of such a revolutionary new ship, and now even more guests will have the chance to experience these one-of-a-kind inaugural sailings.”

In addition to the alternating maiden voyages, Celebrity will also be offering four new Edge Preview Sailings, perfect for eager guests who simply can’t wait to get a taste of luxury. These three-night Bahamas cruises will also sail round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, FL., departing on November 21, November 24, December 3, and December 6.

Celebrity Edge will homeport in Fort Lauderdale, FL., now making her first sailing November 21, 2018. Celebrity Edge will be joined by three sister ships in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Irish Continental Group orders a new €165.2 million ferry for Dublin-Holyhead route

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Irish Continental Group plc has entered into an agreement, with the German company Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft & Co.KG, whereby FSG has agreed to build a cruise ferry for ICG at a contract price of €165.2 million. Upon completion, it will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity.

The cruise ferry will accommodate 1,800 passengers and crew, with capacity for 5,610 freight lane metres, which provides the capability to carry 330 freight units per sailing. Overall, it will effectively be a 50% increase in peak freight capacity compared to the Ulysses.

The Agreement between ICG and FSG provides that the cruise ferry is scheduled for delivery before Mid-2020. Twenty percent of the contract price will be paid in instalments during the construction period. The balance of 80% will be paid on delivery. ICG intend to utilise credit facilities to finance the cruise ferry.  The pre-delivery instalment payments to FSG will be protected by means of bank guarantees.

This cruise ferry will be designed and built to the highest standards of cruise shipping, and equipped with efficiency, comfort and capacity in mind. Emissions scrubber technology (included in the above price) and ballast water systems will meet current and known future environmental regulations and will deliver optimal fuel consumption while minimising related costs. The cruise ferry will be powered by four main engines delivering 33,600 KW of power which will ensure a high degree of service reliability equal to the Ulysses which is currently the most reliable ship to ever operate on the Irish Sea.

The cruise ferry is being built specifically for Irish Ferries Dublin-Holyhead services.  It is expected to replace the schedule of the MV Ulysses, which in turn will replace the currently chartered vessel MV Epsilon in the fleet.  This will allow for the deployment of the W.B. Yeats (arriving Mid 2018) full-time on the direct Ireland-France route alongside the Oscar Wilde.  The cruise ferry will also adhere to Ice Class specification which allows for a wide geographic area of operation.

Freight capacity will be provided over five decks.  Uniquely, the vessel has been designed for three tier freight bow loading to allow for efficient loading/unloading and quick turnaround times.  Passenger facilities will be spread over three decks.  In addition to a superb choice of bars, restaurants (to include both á la carte and self-service options), special provision has been made for premium Club Class passengers, with a dedicated lounge featuring private access direct from the vehicle decks.  A choice of state-of -the-art entertainment options and cinemas, dedicated facilities for freight drivers, as well as many retail outlets will ensure that all passengers will be comfortable and engaged throughout their journey.

This new cruise ferry provides Irish Ferries with a significant increase in both its freight & tourism carrying capacity on the fast-growing Dublin-Holyhead route.