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United Shipbuilding Corporation will sell the Arctech Helsinki shipyard by the end of the year

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

 

Kalle Id reports

Several Russian news sources have reported this week that Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation (Obedinënnaya Sudostroitelnaya Korporatsija, OSK) will sell 100% of its shareholding in the Finland-based Arctech Helsinki Shipyard, instead of the 55% previously reported, by the end of 2018.

Speaking at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Wednesday, OSK President Alexei Rakhmanov told media representatives that the previous negotiations to sell 55% of Arctech Helsinki Shipyard to the Croatia-based Kermas Group have failed. Instead, OSK are looking now to sell Arctech in its entirety before the end of the current year. According to Rakhmanov, “great difficulties” will follow if a buyer is not found.

Rakhmanov stated that negotiations are ongoing with three parties: the aforementioned Kermas, with whom talk have restarted from a clean slate, an unnamed Russian businessman, and an equally unnamed group of Norwegian companies. The schedule of the planned sale is tight, and Rakhmanov did not elaborate on what the “great difficulties” he mentioned would be.

Arctech currently has only one ship in its orderbook, an Arctic LNG tanker due for delivery later this year. While the Helsinki shipyard is one of most notable builders of modern cruise and ferry tonnage, it last delivered a passenger vessel in 2009, having since specialised in icebreakers, especially for the Arctic areas. The yard’s recent attempts of re-entering passenger shipbuilding have so far been unsuccessful, in large part due to Arctech suffering from the sanctions placed on its owner United Shipbuilding Corporation by the United States following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Genting to transfer SuperStar Virgo to Dream Cruises, announces home-porting in Australia and New Zealand

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Genting Cruise Lines announced the latest addition to the Dream Cruises family with Explorer Dream, a 75,338 gross ton, 1,870 passenger cruise ship that will join the fleet in spring 2019 in the role of pathfinder for the brand’s global aspirations. Formerly the SuperStar Virgo of sister brand Star Cruises, Explorer Dream will undergo a US 30 million dollar transformation in March 2019 that will incorporate exquisite new facilities including The Palace, Dream Cruises’ signature, luxury private enclave featuring 50 suites and butler service. An integral part of the brand, Dream Cruises was the first cruise line to offer this concept to discerning, high-end travellers in Asia. Additionally, guests will be able to enjoy all new food and beverage options combining the best of “East meets West” and a new Crystal Life Spa for the ultimate in pampering and relaxation.


“Dream Cruises will be extending its brand recognition to 300 million Chinese in Shanghai and Tianjin/Beijing next summer as well as offering cruises in Australia and New Zealand to its Asian-sourced passengers during winter 2019 – the first time Dream Cruises will be sailing outside Asia,” said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Executive Chairman of Genting Hong Kong. “Explorer Dream will offer another option for our Asia based guests to expand their travel horizons with new rail/cruise and fly/cruise opportunities to see the world.”

Explorer Dream will strengthen the Dream Cruises’ brand in North China with homeports in Shanghai and Tianjin during Spring/Summer 2019 with a selection of voyages of various durations from Shanghai or Tianjin to Japan, Russia, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Taking the first step to evolve Dream Cruises into “Asia’s Global Cruise Line” by sailing outside Asian waters, in Autumn/Winter of 2019, Explorer Dream will homeport in Sydney and Auckland where she will embark on 21 seven-night weekly itineraries.

“We will be accelerating this vision to develop Dream Cruises into Asia’s Global Cruise Line by utilizing one of Asia’s favourite ships, SuperStar Virgo, and converting her into a brand new sibling alongside Genting Dream and World Dream,” added Tan Sri Lim. “With her strong heritage in the Asian cruise landscape and history in the region along with her world-renowned German engineering, SuperStar Virgo’s transformation into Explorer Dream will combine the best-in-class design and construction of her sister ships with acclaimed service that is Asian at heart and international in spirit.”

Around 13 million visitors currently visit Australia and New Zealand annually with about 5 million of this number from Asia. Explorer Dream will offer Asian guests an alternative travel option for visiting multiple cities and attractions without having to check in and out of hotels or transiting between airports as commonly associated with a land vacation. Dream Cruises will offer Asian guests the convenience and comfort of cruising in Australia and New Zealand ensconced in a familiar environment highlighted by: A multi-lingual crew conversant in English, Putonghua and other Asian languages; Cuisine customized to the award-winning international standards offered on Dream Cruises; Entertainment options reimagined to appeal to Asian passengers.

With pre and post stays available in Sydney and Auckland, Dream Cruises’ 7-night itineraries in Australia and New Zealand will be an important cornerstone for Asian travelers who typically enjoy 9 to 14 day vacations when visiting “down under.'

“Dream Cruises would like to thank all of our travel and business partners and our guests for making this new cruise brand such a success in only two years,” said Thatcher Brown, President of Dream Cruises. “We have received very positive feedback from the Chinese travel community to bring the Dream Cruises brand to the more populous North China market with the repositioning of Explorer Dream and we have also experienced overwhelming support from the Asian travel community with news of the ship’s homeport in Australia and New Zealand this winter. With Explorer Dream as our pathfinder vessel, this truly marks the first giant step for Dream Cruises to become Asia’s Global Cruise Line.”

MV Werften lays keel for the first 'Global Class' ship for Dream Cruises

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

The keel laying ceremony for Dream Cruises’ Global-Class flagship took place at MV Werften’s Rostock shipyard today. The first section measuring 22 meters long, 26 meters wide and weighing 410 tons, about half of the full keel, marks the start of construction of the largest cruise ship ever built in Germany.

Approximately one thousand shipyard employees, partners, and guests from the worlds of business and politics accepted the invitation to the event. Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig, Minister of Economic Affairs Harry Glawe, Genting Hong Kong's Executive Chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Group President Colin Au, Dream Cruises President Thatcher Brown and MV Werften's CEO Peter Fetten placed the traditional lucky coins before the 95-meter high gantry crane lowered the section into place.

"The construction of cruise ships is challenging, but above all it offers great opportunity for MV Werften and opens up new opportunities for many suppliers in our state as well. I am delighted that all three locations – Wismar, Stralsund and Warnemünde – are benefiting from the shipyards' new path," said Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig.

"The Global Class is designed from the keel upwards for the Asian sourced market, which requires more exciting public areas and larger cabins than traditional cruise ships and, supported by the world's leading technology and digital systems for Asians, who are more used to digital technology,” says Tan Sri KT Lim.. “Owning the shipyard means greater flexibility in incorporating the latest technical advancements for MV Werften to build the best cruise ship in the world.”, he added.

Peter Fetten, Managing Director at MV Werften added: "We are creating something truly great. After an intensive engineering and design phase, today's keel laying marks the next stage of the manufacturing process of MV's first giant, its dock assembly. We would like to thank all of our employees and partners for the work already completed on this ambitious project and look forward to the continued successful collaboration with Genting and Dream Cruises."

Production of this 204,000 gross ton ship, which will be 342 meters long and over 46 meters wide, will take place in parallel in Wismar and Rostock. The 220-meter-long midship will be manufactured in Rostock. It will be moved to Wismar in 2019, where the bow and stern, as well as the superstructures, will be mounted. The 2,500 passenger cabins produced by MV Werften Fertigmodule in Wismar will also be installed in Wismar. A total of around 600 companies will be involved in the construction process.

The Global Class ships were designed for the rapidly growing Asian cruise market and will join the Dream Cruises award-winning fleet, allowing Dream Cruises to offer cruises all over the world and become “Asia’s Global Cruise Line”. Amenities will include a theme park, including a roller coaster with virtual reality, a Cineplex, Asian spa in addition to a Western spa, ample shopping facilities as well as authentic Asian and international dining experiences and fast food restaurants. The 2,500 cabins accommodate up to 5,000 passengers on a twin share basis and can cater up to 9,500 passengers, during peak holiday periods, with sufficient life-saving facilities and width of fire stairs.

Penang Port and Royal Caribbean Cruises sign joint venture agreement to develop Swettenham Cruise Terminal in Penang

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) has signed a joint venture agreement today with RCL Development Holdings (Penang) Sdn Bhd, an indirect wholly owned-subsidiary of one of the world’s leading cruise companies Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL), to redevelop its cruise terminal to accommodate larger ships. Dato’ Syed Mohamad Syed Murtaza, Chairman of PPSB and Gavin Smith, Senior Vice President of International, RCL inked the agreement, witnessed by YAB Chow Kon Yeow, Chief Minister of Penang and YB Loke Siew Fook, Minister of Transport in a ceremony held today at Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang, Malaysia. The two parties had previously signed a Heads of Agreement in March 2017.

In the redevelopment plans for Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT), the existing 400m berth will be extended by 220m with an additional 118m-long dolphin. It is designed with a view for future expansion in line with anticipated demand. With the current expansion plan, SPCT will be able to handle two mega sized cruise ships simultaneously on the outer berths along with one small and one medium sized ships on the inner berths by end 2019. The expansion will enable Oasis-class ships, the largest in the world, to berth at the terminal.

Sasedharan Vasudevan, PPSB’s CEO said “Detailed design and site investigations are already midway, with construction to begin before the end of 2018. The expansion will see a significant increase in international transit calls at Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal along with an increase in appeal for the homeport segment in Penang.

With the State Government’s full support in managing tourism activities, logistics and transport staging around the terminal, we are confident in strong future growth of the cruise industry in Penang.”

Royal Caribbean’s Gavin Smith in thanking the Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and Transport Minister Anthony Loke said, “Royal Caribbean’s engagement with Penang and PPSB marks a significant step in our company’s efforts in encouraging port development in Asia. With the strong support of Penang State and the Malaysian Government, we are confident that the improved cruise terminal facilities will be a boost for the smooth berthing of the larger ships coming to Asia, including Quantum of the Seas next year, and usher in a new era of cruise tourism for Penang.”

Swettenham Pier is unique in Southeast Asia as being the only cruise terminal with a 200m walking distance to a city. This is further enhanced by the fact that the city in question, George Town, is a UNESCO world heritage site with a wealth of history and culture, and a renowned foodie-haven.

Penang is sunny all year round and thus Swettenham Pier is not subject to seasonal conditions, with ships able to call throughout the year. The value of the terminal’s location together with the port and State’s mutual goal to enhance the warehouse areas in the vicinity as a touristic waterfront city will further boost Penang’s tourism offering and push it to be a world-class cruise destination.

Have patience with China -  CCYIA general secretary

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

The cruise industry has cut capacity in China in the recent past as the it  has faced some challenges and headwinds, but no industry can triumph all the time and hence patience is needed, said Zheng Weihang, vice chairman and general secretary of China Cruise & Yacht Industry Association (CCYIA).

“I call on the capital market to be more patient with the cruise industry in China. Since last year, the international cruise companies have adjusted their transport capacity; the after effect of the ship-chartering mode has appeared; the tourism on shore has developed in an abnormal way; the cruise ports have been successively put into operation, but the ports at Asian destinations have shown little growth momentum,” he said in a statement.

“All the reasons in many aspects have caused the cruise industry in China to enter the period of market adjustment. I think that it is by no means out of expectation. No industry can triumph all the way, and it requires more patience to foster an emerging industry. There is no doubt that, after the adjustment period, China will still be the only market with the largest growth and development space in the world,” he continued.

"It is August 28, 2018, today. With so many “8” (indicating good fortune in China), China’s cruise industry will definitely flourish. However, from the perspectives of the whole world and history, the cruise industry has never obtained sudden huge profits in a very short period of time.  For China’s local cruise economy, it requires more cultivation, without seeking quick success and instant benefits. In future, more capital will be invested in the cruise industry. Please be more patient with your expected return,” he said in connection of the closure of SkySea Cruise Line in Shanghai.

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