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Viking launches seven new river ships

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Viking yesterday welcomed the latest additions to its river fleet, with the naming of seven new river ships during a celebration on the Rhine River in Basel, Switzerland. Of the seven ships, six are Viking Longships – Viking Einar, Viking Sigrun, Viking Sigyn, Viking Tir, Viking Ullur and Viking Vali – which will be deployed on Viking’s most popular itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers. The seventh new ship – Viking Helgrim – was inspired by the Longships design and built specifically for the Douro River, bringing the company’s total number of sister ships in Portugal to four.

This launch of new river ships is Viking’s latest milestone as the company continues to expand and dominate industry awards. Just two weeks ago, Viking swept Cruise Critic’s 2019 Cruisers’ Choice Awards with 11 First Place Wins – including the new “Best for River Cruises” category – and just last month the company took delivery of its sixth ocean ship, Viking Jupiter, which will be named in Oslo on June 6. In addition, Viking was again named the #1 River Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler in the publication’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards, and Travel + Leisure readers named Viking a #1 Ocean Cruise Line and one of the World’s Best River Cruise Lines in the 2018 World’s Best Awards.

“We began hosting guests on the rivers of Russia 22 years ago, and we have always done things differently. We focus on the destination, and we provide travel experiences that allow our guests to learn, to enrich their lives and to explore the world in comfort. It is ‘The Viking Difference’ that has made us the leading river cruise line in the world – and has helped river cruising become one of the fastest-growing segments of travel,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. “As the leader, it is also important that we recognize those who have helped us achieve success. This year I am especially proud to honor members of the Viking family as godmothers of our newest river ships.”

Viking naming ceremony

In keeping with a maritime tradition that dates back thousands of years, Viking invited seven long-serving employees and important members of the company’s family to serve as honorary godmothers of the new ships.

– Leah Talactac, Godmother of Viking Einar
– Natalia Hofmann, Godmother of Viking Helgrim
– Wendy Atkin-Smith, Godmother of Viking Sigrun
– Rikke Semb Pertile, Godmother of Viking Sigyn
– Gisela Rückert, Godmother of Viking Tir
– Linh Banh, Godmother of Viking Ullur
– Minxuan Zhao, Godmother of Viking Vali

The naming event was executed by connecting the new ships via satellite across four European cities. Viking Einar and Viking Sigrun were docked in Basel and named by in-person by their godmothers. The other five ships were “virtually” named by their godmothers: Viking Sigyn and Viking Ullur in Rostock, Germany; Viking Tir and Viking Vali in Brunsbüttel, Germany; and Viking Helgrim in Porto, Portugal. In keeping with another maritime tradition, a bottle of Gammel Opland aquavit was broken on the bow of each new ship. Gammel Opland hails from the same county in Norway where Chairman Hagen’s mother, Ragnhild – also lovingly known as “Mamsen” – was born and was her favorite brand of aquavit. Following the naming event, guests enjoyed dinner at Basel’s Fondation Beyeler museum, set amidst the museum’s newest and most ambitious exhibition: The Young Picasso. Blue and Rose Periods. Guests were also treated to a performance by Alma Deutscher, the 14-year-old English composer, pianist, violinist, and child prodigy – who is a favorite of Chairman Hagen’s.

SeaDream Yacht Club to expand its fleet with a newbuild

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

SeaDream Yacht Club is pleased to announce a new era in luxury yachting. For the first time since its founding in 2001, SeaDream is expanding its fleet with SeaDream Innovation, a new, revolutionary yacht, which will introduce the concept of “Global Yachting.” Commencing sailing in September 2021, the ultra-luxury yacht will sail to all seven continents in its first year, visiting over 200 ports in 49 countries. Guests will explore the world’s most remote and unique destinations, including Svalbard, the Northwest Passage, Antarctica, the fjords of Norway, Japan, New Zealand, the Fiji Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.

SeaDream is now accepting reservations from Club Members, guests who have previously sailed aboard SeaDream’s classic yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II. Reservations will open to the public on April 17.

“This project has been a dream of mine for many years,” said Atle Brynestad, Owner, Chairman and CEO of SeaDream. “It has been a true labor of love to meticulously design every aspect of this yacht, from the interiors and facilities to the itineraries.”

With only 110 elegantly appointed, ocean-view suites, SeaDream Innovation will offer an intimate setting and all-inclusive vacation with a one-to-one guest to crew ratio. Combining innovation with elegant comfort, all spaces and facilities have been designed to elevate the guest experience at sea, including three marinas and outdoor dining.

“We were drawn to Damen Shipyards for their excellent reputation and proven track record as innovators in the shipbuilding industry,” said Atle Brynestad, Owner, Chairman and CEO of SeaDream. “Damen Shipyards understood our vision from the very beginning. Both Damen and SeaDream are family-owned businesses, making Damen a perfect long-term partner for this visionary project. We are looking forward to working closely with the Damen team to bring this dream to reality.”

At 15,600 gross tons and measuring 155m, the mega-yacht will follow in the tradition of excellence set by its predecessors. SeaDream will offer a true yachting lifestyle, featuring anticipatory service, 5-star dining, luxury accommodations, generous outdoor spaces and inspiring itineraries.

In 2001, Brynestad reinvented luxury for the second time when he introduced discerning travelers to the SeaDream yachting experience, where casual elegance and intimate ports replaced tuxedos and formal evenings. Prior to SeaDream, the Norwegian entrepreneur was already recognized as a leader in the industry when he as the sole owner and founder of Seabourn Cruise Line first reinvented luxury cruising with Seabourn Pride in 1988, followed by two more ultra-luxury cruise ships. Since its founding, SeaDream has achieved the industry’s highest accolades, consistently recognized for exceeding guests’ expectations with its casual yachting lifestyle and offering a distinct experience at sea.

Dublin to limit cruise ship calls

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

The number of cruise ships calling to Dublin Port has grown considerably in recent years. In 2018, there were 150 cruise ship calls. This year there will be over 160 and, for 2020, there are 140 bookings already, Dublin Port Company said in a statement.

Because of the huge growth in cargo volumes (36% in the six years to 2018) and the impact of the major programme of capital works in Dublin Port (€1 billion from 2019 to 2028) it is necessary for Dublin Port Company (DPC) to introduce a system to better balance the allocation of berths for essential year-round cargo services and for seasonal cruise ships.

Since the 1980s, Dublin Port has provided considerable financial support from its own resources to develop cruise tourism to the capital.

From 2021, berth allocations for cruise ships in Dublin Port will be managed in accordance with a new Cruise ship berthing policy and pricing from 2019 to 2021. The effect of this new policy will be to restrict the annual number of cruise ships in Dublin Port to about 80 starting in 2021. This is the same level of cruise ship activity in Dublin Port in 2010.

If Dublin Port is to cater for large numbers of cruise ships (in excess of 200) in the future, new berths will have to be constructed at North Wall Quay Extension, adjacent to the Tom Clark Bridge. This will require co-financing and / or long-term financial guarantees from cruise lines.

This requirement for part-funding is set out in Dublin Port’s Masterplan 2040.

DPC has commissioned an economic cost benefit analysis from Indecon / Bermello Ajamil. This is due to be completed by mid-year. Based on this analysis, DPC will engage with stakeholders to determine their willingness to support the required investment.

 

MSC confirms luxury cruise ship order with Fincantieri

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

MSC and Fincantieri announced today the signing of the final contracts for the construction of four luxury cruise ships.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC’s Cruises Division, said: “With this now firm order, MSC is entering a new segment that bears significant potential globally. While we already serve the premium market with the MSC Yacht Club featured on MSC Cruises’ fleet, our new true luxury brand will deliver to this separate and fast-growing segment with super-yacht vessels and an experience to match that. Additionally, we are proud to partner again with Fincantieri for the development and construction of yet again another highly-innovative and exclusive class of ships.”

Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Today’s announcement confirms our Group’s ability and strength to convert the soft backlog into backlog. We are proud to have achieved this important goal in less than five months from the preliminary agreement. Fincantieri’s reputation in a complex market such as the cruise one is at an all-time high. Our leadership in the luxury segment, among the most active ones, grows even stronger with these four ships, alongside our relationship with MSC and its growth plans.”

All four vessels will have gross tonnage of approximately 64,000 GT and will feature the latest maritime and environmental technologies available. Each equipped with 481 guest suites, they will also showcase a highly-innovative design and introduce ground-breaking options for guest comfort and relaxation.

This announcement follows the initial signing of a memorandum of agreement between the two parties in October 2018. The contracts, subject to shipowner financing, have a total value exceeding EUR 2 billion.

As per the terms of the agreement, the first of the four ships will be delivered by Spring 2023. The remaining three will come into service one per year over the following three years through 2026.

MSC is the cruises division of MSC Group, the world’s second largest transportation and logistics business. Under this umbrella will operate the new brand as well as MSC’s contemporary brand MSC Cruises, the leading cruise brand across Europe, South America, the Gulf as well as southern Africa. Fincantieri is the heir to the great tradition of Italian shipbuilding and one of the largest shipbuilding groups in the world.

Since starting to work with Fincantieri, in 2014, MSC has also ordered four ships for its contemporary MSC Cruises brand, for a value of EUR 3.2 billion. The first two of these vessels, MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview, are already in service. The next two vessels will be delivered in 2021 and 2023, with MSC Seashore already under construction at Fincantieri’s yard in Monfalcone.

Seabourn names first new ultra-luxury expedition ship Seabourn Venture

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Seabourn has announced that it will name its first new ultra-luxury purpose-built expedition ship Seabourn Venture, paying tribute to the remote destinations visited by the brand’s highly successful expedition and Ventures by Seabourn excursion programs and the fascinating places yet to be explored in the future.

Seabourn began offering expedition experiences during its first sailing to Antarctica in 2013 led by a highly qualified, world-class expedition team and those itineraries have been offered every season since. The success of the Antarctica program opened the door for similar optional experiences under the name Ventures by Seabourn featuring Zodiacs, kayaks, and guided hikes offered on Seabourn ships in a number of desirable destinations around the world, including Alaska, Australia & New Zealand, South America, and Northern European destinations such as Norway and Greenland.

“The name Seabourn Venture is an exciting step in the process of launching even more immersive voyages designed specifically for the expedition traveler who dares to go beyond the norm in terms of destinations and experiences they seek,” said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. “Combined with the team of 26 experts that will bring the expedition experience to life, we are going to draw on our pedigree to deliver breathtaking experiences and I know Seabourn Venture is going to create lifetime memories for the adventurer that wants to go farther, into more remote destinations than they may have ever seen before, in true Seabourn ultra-luxury.”

Seabourn Venture is scheduled to launch in June 2021, with a second yet-to-be-named sister ship slated to launch in May 2022. Both ships will be designed and built for diverse environments to PC6 Polar Class standards and will include a plethora of modern hardware and technology that will extend the ships global deployment and capabilities. The new ships, which are being built by T. Mariotti, will be a brand new innovative design, created specifically for the ultra-luxury expedition traveler, and will include many features that have made Seabourn ships so successful. A new and exciting offering will be two custom-built submarines carried onboard, providing an unforgettable view of the world beneath the ocean’s surface. The ships will also be designed to carry a complement of kayaks and 24 Zodiacs that can accommodate all onboard guests at once, which will allow for a truly immersive experience. Each ship will feature 132 luxurious oceanfront veranda suites. More details and full-color renderings of the ship and its interior spaces will be released in the months ahead.

Specific details about itineraries and booking availability will be released in Spring 2019. The first ship is currently planned to sail in the Arctic in late summer 2021, with a full summer season in Antarctica to follow.

Both expedition vessels will feature an onboard crew that will include outstanding and well-traveled expedition teams comprised of highly regarded wilderness experts, scientists, historians and naturalists. During each sailing, team members regularly interact with guests, providing keen insight to deliver a rich holistic travel experience. These fascinating, accomplished experts are also part of the Seabourn Conversations program, providing in-depth insights into the history, ecology and culture of the places they visit. Their valuable insights are offered both in formal presentations on a variety of topics and in more casual conversations over meals or at leisure.

Seabourn continues to represent the pinnacle of ultra-luxury travel with intimate ships offering key elements that set the line apart: spacious, thoughtfully appointed suites, many with verandas and all 100% ocean front; superb dining in a choice of venues; complimentary premium spirits and fine wines available on board at all times; award-winning service and a relaxed, sociable atmosphere that makes guests feel right at home on board. The ships travel the globe to many of the world’s most desirable destinations, including marquee cities, more than 170 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and lesser-known ports and hideaways.

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