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Vard to build hybrid powered icebreaker expedition vessel to Ponant

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Vard, the Norwegian shipbuilder that is controlled by Fincantieri, will build an icebreaker expedition cruise ship that will employ the Double Acting Ship technology of Aker Arctic in finland, the cruise line said in a statement.

The technology means that the ship will sail stern first in extreme ice conditions, whereby its ABB Azipod propulsors will help it to break the ice. The 140 metre ship will be powered by hybrid electric power plant that uses LNG and packs of batteries, which means that it will incur zero emissions in electric mode and a sharp reduction of pollutants to the air when using LNG compared to oil fuel. The ship’s LNG tanks will have a capacity of 4,500 cubic metres and the ship will be built to the Polar Ice class PC2.

The ship will have a beam of 28 metres and a draught of 10 metres, which is far more than ships of this size usually have and which compares with the figure of Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 that is much larger.

There will be 138 cabins and suites in all and passenger amenities will include two panoramic restaurants, a grill restaurant, spa & wellness area, 16 Zodiacs for use on excursions plus two helicopters.

The ship’s technical design is by Aker Arctic in Finland, while the exterior design is by Stirling Design International in France. The as yet unnamed ship will fly the French flag and it is due to enter service in 2021, Ponant said.


Viking Ocean Cruises says seventh and eight ships contracts effective, takes up option for ships nine and 10

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Following the agreement signed last April between Fincantieri and Viking Ocean Cruises, the contracts for the construction of the seventh and eighth ships have become effective and, furthermore, the company has exercised the option for the ninth and the 10th unit, the cruise line said in a statement.

The new units will be sister ships of the ones already ordered, four of which have been delivered and currently operate successfully in the company’s fleet. The ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons and accommodate 930 guests in 465 all-veranda cabins, built according to the latest navigation regulations and equipped with the most modern safety systems, including the “Safe return to port” system.

The first of the series, Viking Star, built at the shipyard in Marghera, took to sea in March 2015; the second, the third, and the fourth, Viking Sea, Viking Sky and Viking Sun, built at the shipyard in Ancona, were delivered respectively in March 2016, January and September 2017. The other six sister ships, including those related to the exercised option, will be delivered in 2018, 2019, 2021, two in 2022 and 2023.


TUI AG cruise operations stage 34% rise in operating profit

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

The cruise operations of TUI AG, the Hannover based tourism group that is listed in London, staged a 33/9% rise in operating profit in the 12 months to 30 September, the company said in a statement.

Operating profit (EBITDA) reached €255.6 million compared to €190.9 million in the previous financial year, while revenues rose to €815.0 million from €703.1 million, lifted by higher capacity and firmer rates.

TUI owns in full Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten in Germany and Marella cruises in the UK plus has a 50% stake in TUI Cruises in Germany. In all, these operate 16 ships.

TUI Cruises recorded a 1.2% rise in average daily rate, which reached €173 per passenger and day. Marella Cruises recorded a 8.3% increase to €131, while the figure for Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten increased by 2.6% to €594.

Marella Cruises’ passenger days increased by 30.7% to 2.27 million, the figure for TUI Cruises increased by 30.7% to 4.48 million, but Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten recorded a fall of 1.7% to 349,000, TUI AG said.

Color Group considers returning to Oslo bourse

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Color Group, the privately owned Norwegian company that owns the cruise and ropax ferry operator Color Line, may return to the Oslo stock exchange after a break of almost two decades.

"We believe investors will appreciate the opportunity for exposure towards the travel and leisure industry in an attractive geographic market,” Trond Kleivdal, Group President in Color Line AS, said in a statement.

“Following significant investments and streamlining of operations, Color Line is today a well-run company that combines growth, profitability and dividend capacity with innovative environmental initiatives. The company has a modern fleet of vessels and is building the world's largest plug-in hybrid ferry," he said.

A listing will increase Color Group's ability to fund further growth projects, the company said, but added that no decision has been regarding whether or not an IPO would take place. In the past, the company has aired plans about entering the deep sea cruise sector.

Presently fully owned by O.N. Sunde AS, an investment company, Color Group could be worth NOK11 billion to 12 billion, according to a report in the Finansavisen business daily. Sunde could reduce his stake to below 50% of the shares in the company, the report said.


MSC Cruises plans to double UK market share, MSC Preziosa to Southampton 2019

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

MSC Cruises, the rapidly expanding Geneva based cruise shipping company, plans to double its share of the UK market and will bring the 139,072 gross ton MSC Preziosa to Southampton in 2019, Travel Weekly reports in a newsletter.

 The 2013 built ship carries 4,345 passengers, which is 740 more than the 95,128-tonne MSC Magnifica which is the line’s present ship in the UK and which began operations in 2010.

“MSC represents 10% of the (global) cruise market worldwide and we need to reach 10% in the UK. We are currently just under 5% but with Magnifica next summer and Prezioza the summer after, we will do,” MSC Cruises’ CEO Gianni Onorato was quoted as saying. The company’s aim is to become the leading international player on the British markrt within five years, he added.

Onorato also said the fact that MSC Preziosa has both and indoor and outdoor pool would make it perfect for ex-Southampton sailings when the weather isn’t always favourable. MSC would also make it easier for British and Irish‎ guests to get to its fly-cruises in future to help achieve his desired growth.

“We need to have more and more programmes that appeal to UK and Irish guests, so that means more itineraries to the Caribbean and Med in particular – and more regional flights from the UK and charters to get them there,” he was quoted as saying.