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St Peter Line to offer year-round Baltic cruises with full day in four ports

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

St Peter Line, the Russian cruise ferry company that operates two ships in the Baltic, says it will increase sailings on Helsinki service and introduce cruises with day in Helsinki, Stockholm, Tallinn and St Petersburg on year-round itinerary with no need for Russian visa.

The 38,000 gross ton Princess Anastasia, will start a new kind of Baltic cruise from Helsinki via Stockholm and Tallinn to St. Petersburg in the beginning of February 2012. “Passengers are able to spend the whole day in each city and Princess Anastasia will take the passenger to a new city conveniently during the night. As the whole cruise is done with the same vessel no inconvenient ship changes are required. Departures will be twice a week from Helsinki,” the company said in a statement. Previously the ship only spent a couple of hours in most ports to allow disembarkation and embarkation of passengers and vehicles.

The Finnish capital has extensive connections by air, which link the Nordic country to various parts of the Far East in addition to European and North American cities In another development. St Peter Line will increase departures on Helsinki - St. Petersburg visa free cruises from February 2012 from eight to fourteen a month. “The number of hotel packages will also increase significantly. The new schedule makes it possible to travel to St. Petersburg also on Fridays every two weeks. By increasing the capacity, St Peter Line aims to reply to the increasing demand in Finnish market and to provide even more interesting departure dates and products specifically for Finnish and international markets, “said Igor Glukhov general director of St Peter Line.

The company operates the 34,000 gross ton Princess Maria on this service. 

Star Cruises invests US$25 million to refurbish SuperStar Virgo

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Star Cruises has earmarked US$25 million to refurbish SuperStar Virgo, further strengthening its cruise holiday products for regional and international passengers.

During the three-week dry-dock renovation (Jan, 2012), the 76,800 gross ton and 1,870-passenger SuperStar Virgo will have a facelift with new hull design as well as a makeover in its cabin, restaurants, entertainment, bodycare, shopping, sports and recreation venues.

It will return to homeport in Singapore to offer world-class cruising experience on 23 Jan 2012, the first day of the Year of the Dragon. The vessel will ply the straits of Singapore and Malacca in various itineraries including 2N, 3N and 5N destination cruises calling at popular locations such as Phuket, Langkawi, Port Klang, Malacca, Redang, and Penang; and 1N and 2N high seas cruises.

"This US$25-million investment underpins Star Cruises continuous drive to grow Asias cruise industry," said William Ng, Chief Operating Officer, Star Cruises. The Asia-Pacific cruise industry is expected to grow in leaps and bounds, and Star Cruises is well-positioned to take the lead in further developing and expanding the industry.

This rejuvenation programme follows the refurbishments of Star Pisces (homeport in Hong Kong) and SuperStar Aquarius (current season's homeport in Sanya), in February and April 2011 respectively, with a combined cost of US$13.6 million.

Viking River Cruises expands to oceans – orders two newbuildings from STX France

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

STX France SA has received an order to build two luxury cruise ships from Viking Ocean Cruises, an affiliate of Viking River Cruises. The vessels will be delivered in spring 2014 and spring 2015, respectively, and will be part of Viking's new Ocean Cruise brand. An option for a third ship is being considered.

The vessels will be operated primarily on the Mediterranean seas and be dedicated mainly to Viking's US, British and Australian customers.

The vessels will have a length of 230 meters and a width of 26.5 meters. They will each include 888 passengers in 444 cabins with a complement of 444 crew members.

The contract will represent about 2.5 million man-hours. Construction is expected to start in mid-September 2012 for the first vessel and in mid-September 2013 for the second vessel. The contract is subject to financing.

Well known as the world's leading river cruise company Viking ranks as an upscale owner. Viking River Cruise currently operates a fleet of 23 river vessels, and has 8 river cruise vessels under construction. River cruising is destination oriented and the two ocean going vessels will similarly be designed with destination cruising in mind.

"We are proud to have been selected by Viking to build their new series of ships and delighted to contribute to their expansion into a new market" says Jacques Hardelay, General Manager of STX France.

Carnival repeats strategic growth will add 2-3 ships to fleet per year

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Carnival Corp & plc, the world’s largest cruise shipping group, says it will pursue strategic growth as stated earlier in spite of weak global economy.

“We remain focused on strategic growth through the addition of two to three new ships per year and expect to continue to return excess cash to shareholders. Based on the above guidance, we estimate our cash from operations will approach $4 billion in 2012, while our capital investment commitment will be $2.6 billion. We expect to generate significant free cash flow in 2012 and beyond, which should provide further opportunities to return cash to shareholders,” said Chhairman and CEO Micky Arison in a statement.

During 2012, the company will introduce three new ships. Costa Fascinosa is scheduled for delivery in April, while AIDAmar and Carnival Breeze are scheduled for delivery in May. Recently, P&O Cruises (Australia) sold Pacific Sun which will leave the fleet in July 2012.

Carnival Corp & plc forecasts lower 2011/12 profit, net yield rise

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Carnival Corp & plc, the world’s largest cruise shipping group, expects its net income for the current financial year fall short of the $1.91 billion reported for 12 months to 30 November 2011, while net revenue yields should increase slightly.

At the present time, cumulative advance bookings for 2012 are at slightly higher prices with slightly lower occupancies compared to the prior year. For the last six weeks, booking volumes for the first three quarters of 2012 are running well ahead of the prior year at lower prices.

Based on current booking trends, the company forecasts full year 2012 net revenue yields, on a constant dollar basis, to be up 1.0 to 2.0 percent. The company expects net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD for the full year 2012 to be in line with the prior year on a constant dollar basis. At current exchange rates, full year 2012 net income is expected to be reduced by $135 million or $0.17 per share compared to 2011 due to changes in currency exchange rates.

Taking all the above factors into consideration, the company forecasts full year 2012 non- GAAP diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $2.55 to $2.85, compared to 2011 non- GAAP diluted earnings of $2.42 per share.

Looking forward, Chairman and CEO Micky Arison stated, “Our base of business for 2012 is solid and we are experiencing strong booking volumes leading into wave season, our heaviest booking period which begins in early January. Despite the uncertain economic environment, we anticipate a continued slow recovery in yields in 2012 driven by ongoing consumer recognition that our cruises provide an exceptional value.”

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