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UK cruise market grew 5% in 2011, first timers number 700,000

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

The UK ocean cruise market grew by 5% to a record of 1.7 passengers in 2011, with nearly 700,000 people taking their first ever cruise, figures of the Passenger shipping Association (PSA) show.  “Passengers cite the key attractions to cruising as value, service and the wide choice of worldwide destinations. More British passengers than ever chose to begin their cruise holiday from a UK port – up 100,000 on the previous year to 753,000.  And if current trends continue, within three years half of British passengers will join their cruise ship in a UK port,” PSA said in a statement.

Cruising continues to grow within the package holiday sector with one in every eight package holidays now being a cruise when it was only one in 25 just nine years ago.  Ultra-luxury cruises saw a surge in winter holidays with a seasonal rise of 33% - over the year, this related to an eight per cent increase. The top destination remains the Mediterranean, which showed a 10% increase in the number of British passengers visiting the region followed by Northern Europe which retained second place.  However, the highest increase in popularity goes to the Atlantic Islands – the Canaries plus Madeira – which recorded a rise of 19%.

An emerging trend for short cruises from UK ports has led to nearly 50% of all cruises booked being of seven nights or less.

PSA Director William Gibbons, said: “It’s clear the exceptional value, high standards and choice of destinations have contributed to a record number of British passengers taking a cruise in 2011.  The increased costs of fly-cruise holidays have led to more people joining their cruise at one of the UK’s 50 ports.  The sheer diversity of the cruise market means there is a holiday for everyone.”

Carnival to invest $155 million for the Destiny refit, rename her Carnival Sunshine

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Representing Carnival Cruise Lines’ most ambitious refit and transformation project ever, Carnival Destiny will undergo a $155 million makeover next year that will incorporate all of the line’s “Fun Ship 2.0” dining, bar and entertainment features, as well as a variety of exciting innovations unique to this vessel. The refit will also include a reconfigured layout, the addition of a partial deck and the expansion of two other decks within the forward section of the ship, providing the opportunity to incorporate a number of new and exciting on-board spaces. One-hundred and eighty-two cabins will be added, as well.

The redesign will be so extensive and wide-ranging that the ship will be renamed Carnival Sunshine following the 49-day dry dock, which will take place from February to April 2013. The refit work will be completed by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri. Following the dry dock, Carnival Sunshine will embark on a schedule of 9- and 12-night Mediterranean voyages from Barcelona and Venice from April to October 2013 then launch year-round 7-night Caribbean departures from New Orleans beginning November 2013.

"This is our most ambitious ship conversion project to date and it will radically transform the Carnival Destiny into essentially an entirely new ship offering a variety of exciting dining and beverage choices, spectacular outdoor spaces and entertainment options, and on-board innovations not available anywhere else," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO.

Royal Caribbean to bring second ship to Southampton as Adventurer of the Seas arrives in 2013

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Royal Caribbean International says it is celebrating an addition to its spring and summer UK deployment - in May 2013 the 3,114-guest Adventure of the Seas will offer cruises from Southampton alongside the 3,634-guest Independence of the Seas, based in Southampton for its fifth season.

 

 Dominic Paul, vice president and group managing director, Royal Caribbean International, EMEA, explains: “The UK cruise market has long been a success story for Royal Caribbean International and doubling the number of ships sailing from Southampton is another great milestone. Royal Caribbean International is fiercely proud to have changed the face of UK cruising with the introduction of activity-packed ships offering rock climbing, ice skating, surfing and much more. Not only does having both Adventure of the Seas and Independence of the Seas sailing from Southampton mean we can offer a greater variety of cruise holidays from the convenience of a UK port, but it also means we continue to demonstrate our commitment to the UK market, and the port of Southampton .”

Royal Caribbean International first based a ship in Southampton in 2005 with the 2,435-guest Legend of the Seas and this has since steadily increased with larger and larger ships calling the cruise city home. 2013 is the first year that two Royal Caribbean International cruise ships will be based from Southampton .

In 2008 the world’s largest cruise ship at the time – Independence of the Seas – launched from Southampton and has remained based from the port during the spring and summer months of the year ever since. The addition of Adventure of the Seas to Royal Caribbean International’s UK deployment sees the cruise line offer more Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Iceland , Baltics and Canary Island cruises than ever before.

When Adventure of the Seas arrives in Southampton on 24 May 2013 the ship will offer a series of seven, 12, 13, 14 and 16-night cruises. An early booking offer allowing savings of up to £500 per stateroom will apply to allAdventure of the Seas cruises booked before 31 May 2012 when the new deployment goes on sale on 20 March 2012. 

Itinerary highlights from the new Adventure of the Seas UK-based 2013 season include:

Seven-night France and Spain cruise departing Southampton and calling at Vigo, Gijon and Bilbao in Spain, and Le Havre for Paris in France available from £599 based on 24 May 2013 departure

 

A 12-night Baltic cruise featuring destinations such as Oslo , Copenhagen , Tallinn , Helsinki and an overnight stay in St Petersburg departing Southampton from just £999 based on a 31 May 2013 departure

 

A 14-night Mediterranean Cities cruise departing Southampton on 7 July and 13 October 2013 with ports of call in Malaga, Cannes, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Cartegena, Lisbon and Vigo from £1,199

 

The early booking offer allows for savings of up to £500 per stateroom on cruises of 15 nights or more, save £400 on cruises of 11-14 nights, and save £200 per stateroom on all cruises between six and ten nights in duration. A deposit of just £150 per person secures the early booking price, and protects from any future price increases.

 

Plus, Royal Caribbean International is also offering a number of value added options for guests including free car parking in Southampton, free coach travel to UK departure ports, and low prices on regional flights to UK departure ports on all cruises booked of ten nights or more as part of the early booking deal. 

 

All prices quoted are based on the savings allowed by early booking offers. Price offers only apply for bookings made before 31 May 2012. Adventure of the Seas features an in-line skating track, an ice skating rink, a rock climbing wall, a street of shops and restaurants running through the center of the ship, extensive family facilities, and a host of restaurants from fine Italian dining to casual burger bars.

 

On 2 May 2013 Independence of the Seas will arrive in Southampton following a dry dock enhancement and will offer a series of new itineraries including more shorter cruises such as two-night cruises le Havre for Paris and three night cruises to Le Havre for Paris and Zeebrugge for Bruges. Independence of the Seas will also offer eight night cruises to Norway , 14-night Norway and Cork cruises, various 14-night Mediterranean cruises, and 12 night Canary Islands cruises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Peter Line says new EU border checks may force closure of circle route

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

St Peter Line, which operates two cruise ferries in the Baltic out of St Petersburg, has sent a letter to the prime ministers of Sweden, Finland Estonia, Malta and Cyprus to express its concerns about the imopact of new border checks in the EU.

The new rules affect the St Petersburg-Helsinki-Stockholm-Tallinn-Srt Petrsburg service of the compabny’s 38,000 gross ton Princess Anastasia, which flies the flag of Malta.

"The Finnish Border Guards have sent us a letter on 17.2.2012 saying  that as from 1.3.2011 and as of 1.5.2012 some new rigorous border  procedures will take place,” the company that is domiciled in Cyprus but managed from St Petersburg in Russia said in the letter.

“Earlier, external  border checks were carried out only when the vessel was coming in to  EU and Helsinki, as well as when the vessel was leaving EU and going  out from Tallinn. However, these new procedures will force all  passengers (whether EU citizens or not) to external border checks in and  out in all EU ports Helsinki, Stockholm and Tallinn, even if the  ferry is in traffic within EU.”

“This will be so time consuming and  unnecessary within the EU borders that it will in practice destroy  the idea of free movement within Schengen area. We truly fear that  the passengers will not because of the time consuming procedures  have enough time ashore and therefore abandon the possibility to  travel with us. This would certainly mean the closure of the line,” the company said.

Disney raises the curtain on Fantasy

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Brightly lit in neon red and electric blue, and with searchlights crisscrossing in the night sky, the Disney Fantasy made its official debut on New York’s Hudson River waterfront in showbiz style. The ship had arrived at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on February 28 – the line’s first ever call in New York City – and after two days of media previews was christened on the evening of March 1.

The pre-christening entertainment in the ship’s 1,340-seat Walt Disney Theatre featured big-name entertainment worthy of the ship’s berth just a few blocks from Broadway: Actor Neil Patrick Harris hosted the song-and-dance extravaganza highlighting performances from the ship’s regular production numbers, and comedian Jerry Seinfeld made a very funny special-guest appearance. Other celebrities on hand were Alan Cummings, Tim Gunn, and Ty Pennington. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg even made an unexpected cameo. Also in the audience were company officials, including Disney President and CEO Robert Iger and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Thomas Staggs.

And for the main event, singer Mariah Carey – godmother of the Fantasy – made the traditional maritime blessing of the ship as it was christened by Minnie Mouse. The Disney Fantasy begins a schedule of 7-day Caribbean cruises on March 31 from its homeport in Port Canaveral, Florida.

By M.T. Schwartzman

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