STX France SA, a 66.66% owned subsidiary of STX Europe AS, has rescinded the contract with GNMTC (General National Maritime Transport Company) - the state owned Libyan shipping company - for the construction of a 140,000 GT cruise vessel for delivery end-2012. The reason for the rescission is the default of payment from GNMTC.
STX France is confident to be able to find a new buyer for the vessel. Due to insurance cover for such an incident, the rescission is expected to have limited impact on the financial results of STX France.
A broad based demand is feeding the growth of world cruise market, said managing directors of Cunard Line and P&O Cruises in London yesterday. Both companies are adding one ship to their 2013 world cruise programmes, so that P&O Cruises will have four and Cunard Line three ships on these long haul voyages that take between 85 and 110 nights.
“Some people save up for 30 years to make a world cruise and to them it is a once in a lifetime experience. Some others come back year after year,” said Carol Marlow, Managing Director of P&OCruises. “Adult Gap Year,” whereby a person e.g. in his or her fifties decides to have time off in an otherwise busy career is also contributing towards growing demand of these long haul cruises, while some people that have been made redundant decide to use part of their redundancy package to book a world cruise, she said. Contrary to what might seem likely, Marlow pointed out that some of the passengers on world cruises have never been onboard a ship before, a fact that again adds to the diversity of the people that book these voyages.
The 2013 world cruise programme of Cunard Line, which is sending all three ships in its fleet on these long cruises forthe first time then, includes several overnight stays, which means that passengers have two full days and a night to explore the port in question. Peter Shanks, President and Managing Director of the company said that it is just the fact that people will have more time to explore the sights and places of interest in these ports that makes overnight stays popular, not so much thepossibility to explore local nightlife.
Both companies sell also segments of these cruises and in case of Cunard, lots of bookings will come from continental Europe, North America and Australia in addition to the UK. To ensure that potential passengers from all these parts of the world will have an equal opportunity to book, the company will start taking bookings in the afternoon UKtime on 14 July, when the programme goes on sale, Shanks said.
P&O Cruises mainly sources its passengers from the British market, but like those of Cunard, segments of its programme can be bought e.g. as liner voyages and the company expects to sell quite a lot of these on the Australian market. Marlow pointed out that although bookings will open for the programme on 14 July, those for segments will start on the following day. This is to make sure that passengers that want to book the whole voyage can do so and that the company’s reservation department has enough staff at hand to handle the expected surge in activity once the programme goes onsale.
During a webcast broadcast live from the Vacations.com annual conference in Las Vegas, NCL President and CEO Kevin Sheehan revealed the first details of the line’s forthcoming Project Breakaway newbuildings, and explained a little about what the name means.
“It stems from a vacation home that I had in North Carolina many years ago, that my family called ‘breakaway.’ It was an escape from the pressures of work and everyday life. That is what we want these ships to be for our guests—an opportunity for them to break away from the routine of work, school, stress, and find a true respite at sea. Breakaway is also symbolic of Norwegian as a company, as we continue to break away from the company we were just a few short years ago,” he explained, adding, “These ships will take the best of the best from our existing ships.”
Sheehan went on to reveal details of the ships’ cabins, which will be designed by Priestmangoode of the United Kingdom, working in conjunction with Tillberg Design of Sweden; Priestmangoode is the same firm that created the acclaimed Studio staterooms aboard last year’s Norwegian Epic. Each Project Breakaway ship will have 1,024 balcony staterooms and 238 mini-suites, which were the focus of the webcast. Each will be appointed with a king-size bed and pillow-top mattress set against a chestnut leather headboard, sofa bed with storage area, 26-inch flatscreen TV, built-in vanity with shelving, and full-size closet with sliding doors.
“The overall design theme for Project Breakaway’s staterooms is ‘modern boutique hotel meets the sea,’” Sheehan said. “We strongly considered the overall needs of our guests when designing these staterooms and wanted them to be greeted with an ambiance that is warm and inviting and has a very contemporary feel with clean, modern lines,” he continued. “We also wanted to maximize the use of space within the staterooms, so that our guests are as comfortable as possible and storage space is well planned throughout. Ultimately, our goal is to achieve a really good balance of form and function—well designed, beautiful, comfortable and sensible living space.”
Bathrooms will be “fully enclosed,” Sheehan said, with an “easy-to-use faucet,” an apparent reference to the separated bathroom units and splashing problems with the oversized faucets aboard the Norwegian Epic.
The unnamed Project Breakaway ships are scheduled to make their debuts in April 2013 and April 2014. Each registers 144,017 gross tons and carries approximately 4,000 passengers. Bookings for the first ship open in October, Sheehan said, with more details to be revealed during the line’s next webcast scheduled for July.
Cunard Line, which is part of the Carnival Corp & plc group, will send all its three ships to world voyages in 2013.
Queen Mary 2 will sail from Southampton on10 January on a 106 night voyage to Australia, which will include overnight stays in Dubai, Hong Kong and Cape Town. The itinerary includes five port in New Zealand and this part of it can be sold as Around New Zealand cruise, withmain target markets being Australia and the UK. In all, the cruise entails 34 ports in 18 countries.
Queen Elizabeth will offer a line voyage toand from New Zealand, starting from Southampton on 6 January 2013. The ships will sail both ways via the Panama Canal and visit 28 ports in 15 countries.
Queen Victoria will depart from Southampton on 10 January 2013 on a cruise that takes in both the Panama and Suez Canals. It will take 105 nights and call at 34 ports in 24 countries.
P&O Cruises, which is part of Carnival Corp & plc group, says it will send four ships to world voyages in 2013 byadding the 115,031 gross ton Azura to the roster. The ship will spend the winter 2011/12 in the Caribbean, operating fly cruises from the UK.
The 30,277 gross ton Adonia will sail from Southampton on a 85 night cruise around South America on 3 April 2013, thus repeating similar voyage it is scheduled to do next winter. Managing Director Carol Marlow said in a presentation in London that due to strong demand and wishes o fpassengers that the itinerary be repeated, Adonia will thus make the same cruise again.
Prior to this, on 5 January, the 86,799 gross ton Arcadia will sail on a 99 night voyage that takes in South America,the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia and California.
The 76,132 gross ton Aurora will depart Southampton two days later on a westbound cruise around the world that is scheduled to take 106 nights. Azura will follow on 7 January on a 110 night cruise that sails to Australia and the Far East via the Suez Canal and returns home via Cape Town.