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Royal Caribbean unveils groundbreaking features on new Spectrum of the Seas

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

After a decade of rapid growth and development in China and introducing the world’s most technologically advanced cruise ships to the market, Royal Caribbean International is once again set to redefine vacations in the region with the debut of its newest ship, Spectrum of the Seas. Designed and built to deliver an unforgettable vacation experience for all guests, the first in the Quantum Ultra class of ships will boast the cruise line’s first private enclave for suite guests, new stateroom categories, innovative dining concepts, and stunning features and experiences – many of which have never before been seen at sea. Accommodating 4,246 guests at double occupancy and 1,551 international crew members, Spectrum will be the largest and most expensive ship in Asia when she sails from Shanghai starting in June 2019.

“When Quantum of the Seas made her debut in Shanghai three years ago, it changed the face of cruising in China. Fast forward to today, and we are revealing just how we’ll transform the cruise vacation market, yet again, with the debut of Spectrum of the Seas,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “The introduction of our highly anticipated Quantum Ultra Class will represent a quantum leap forward in ship design and experiences specifically tailored to Chinese guests.”

First-at-sea adventures

Custom built for the Chinese market, Spectrum of the Seas will feature bold and unexpected experiences, including the iconic Sky Pad, a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience located on the aft of the ship. Guests will strap in and don their VR headset to transport them to another time and planet. The out-of-this-world experience is for guests of all ages, and also can be enjoyed without headsets, for those who prefer to look out over the ocean as they leap toward the sky.

Private suite enclave

The first Quantum Ultra ship will debut Royal Caribbean’s first exclusive suites-only area, which will feature the exquisite Golden and Silver suite accommodations in a private enclave at the forward end of the ship on decks 13 through 16. Vacationers booked in these luxury suites will have special keycard access, a private elevator and a dedicated restaurant and lounge. In addition to a range of exclusive amenities, guests will have access to The Balcony – a private outdoor space for sunbathing and relaxing – that offers the best views on board; and The Boutique, a shopping area where travelers can book private shopping experiences.

For families that want to experience more quality time together, Spectrum of the Seas will introduce the two-level, 2,809-square-foot Ultimate Family Suite, accommodating up to 11 guests. The three-bedroom suite, which will include a master bedroom with a bathroom that extends over the side of the ship to provide unparalleled ocean views, along with two additional suites for grandparents and other family members. Kids have their own kid-friendly space on the upper level, complete with an in-suite slide that will transport them to the living area below. Everyone in the family can enjoy time together in the recreation room, featuring surround-sound equipment for a night of karaoke, movies or video games.

New dining

Spectrum of the Seas will feature an awe-inspiring three-level main dining room with 1,844 seats to serve a variety of Chinese and Western a la carte options rotating each day of the sailing. For guests looking for a more casual venue, the Windjammer Marketplace – 20 percent larger than those on Quantum Class ships – will offer a wide buffet selection of Chinese and Western dishes, including noodles, pizza, Japanese teppanyaki and mini hot pot.

Vacationers celebrating a special evening can enjoy a new specialty restaurant. Sichuan Red, located in the Royal Esplanade, will serve authentic cuisine from the Sichuan province of China. Royal Caribbean’s popular signature restaurants, including Wonderland’s Dadong – a new outpost of Chinese chef Dong Zhenxiang, renowned for his much-coveted roast duck dish; Jamie’s Italian by British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver; Izumi Japanese cuisine; and Chops Grille will join the lineup as well. In addition, the new Leaf and Bean traditional tea room and café parlor will debut on the Royal Esplanade. The quaint spot will offer a range of authentic Chinese teas, classic coffee drinks as well as freshly baked Chinese and Western desserts and pastries.

Entertainment experiences

New to Royal Caribbean and first on Spectrum of the Seas is Star Moment, a lively and energetic karaoke venue where family and friends can belt out and sing like stars. The cruise line also will enhance SeaPlex – the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea where families can enjoy bumper cars, roller skating and basketball – with new augmented reality walls and floors, providing guests with thrilling, high-tech interactive experiences.

Additional innovations guests will find on board include the North Star, a glass capsule that takes guests more than 300 feet above the ocean for incomparable panoramic views; RipCord by iFly, a heart-pounding skydiving simulator experience; and the FlowRider surfing simulator. Travelers also will be dazzled with Spectrum’s cutting-edge and transformative venues, such as Two70 with its expansive floor-to-ceiling windows offering breath-taking 270-degree views of the ocean.

The venue returns with its signature Vistarama technology, which transforms the panoramic windows into a projection surface more than 100 feet wide and over 20 feet tall showcasing spectacular digital shows. The innovative Vistarama is complemented by six agile Roboscreens, measuring over 7 feet tall and controlled by powerful, yet nimble robotic arms that create scenes as they soar and twist solo or as one. This unique state-of-the-art venue serves as a great room for relaxing by day and an immersive, multimedia entertainment spectacular by night.

Immersive itineraries in Asia

Royal Caribbean will deliver a more diversified lineup of cruises in the Asia region for 2019, which include new longer sailings with exciting first-time destinations, weekend sailings for quick getaways, warm winter sailings to tropical destinations – to escape the cold weather, and special holiday and festival sailings to discover new cultures and traditions. Guests can choose from 27 unique itineraries, featuring 23 destinations across three countries, departing from ports such as Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China.

When Spectrum of the Seas debuts in April 2019, she will sail a 51-night Global Odyssey from Barcelona, Spain to Shanghai, taking vacationers to 13 countries. Guests with limited time also can choose to sail one or more of the five separate segments of the Global Odyssey. When Spectrum arrives at her new home in Shanghai in June 2019, she will introduce new itineraries with visits to new ports, such as Hakodate and Niigita, Japan; Ilocos, Philippines; and Vladivostok, Russia. In winter 2019, the ship will reposition to Hong Kong to offer special holiday cruises.

Meanwhile, the iconic and widely popular Quantum of the Seas will sail her farewell season from Shanghai before moving to Tianjin in summer 2019. Voyager of the Seas is set to return to Hong Kong and Shenzhen for the summer, and will sail a variety of itineraries calling on Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines.

These new itineraries and more are now open for sale.

Brodosplit to construct a new polar expedition ship for Quark Expeditions

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Brodosplit has entered into an agreement to construct a groundbreaking new polar expedition ship for Quark Expeditions, a member of the Travelopia group and the Leader in polar adventures.

Built to Polar Class 6 standard, the ship is designed to be the most versatile expedition ship operating in the polar regions. The Government of the Republic of Croatia decided in its 96th Session to issue a warranty for a refund of the buyer’s advanced payment, which secured construction financing and fulfilled one of the conditions of the agreement with the buyer.

The ship, which will be built specifically for the high latitudes of the Arctic and Antarctica, will accommodate 200 passengers in 103 luxuriously equipped cabins and will be staffed with116 crew members. The ship will be 128 meters long and 21.5 meters wide, with four main engines with diesel-electric gensets producing a total power of 4400 kW and a 16-knot top speed. Vessel design and project documentation is made by LMG Marin As from Norway. The project is scheduled for completion in time for the 2020/2021 Antarctic sailing season.

“Securing this agreement proves, among other things, that the most important international clients have recognized us as a shipyard capable of building and delivering highly complex ships. This agreement is the result of our innovative approach, and our ability to deliver on our clients needs. By building this ship, Brodosplit will continue to build our already strong reputation as one of the best shipbuilders in the market. In addition, we are pleased to share that The Government of the Republic of Croatia has recognized that this contract will have a significant, positive effect on the Croatian economy, and that the HBOR stands firmly behind this great export deal that incorporates75% domestic production," said Tomislav Debeljak, CEO of Brodosplit.

Brodosplit understands that every vessel is different, designed with very specific requirements to meet individual customer’s demands. Brodosplit respects these unique design and performance requirements, and builds ships to match every detail and consideration put forth by the buyer, applying the best available technologies to ensure longevity of service, environmental protection, safe operation and low maintenance costs.

Attention to detail is paid at every step, from original design and contracting, through financing and construction, to final delivery.

Significant and innovative projects, like this one, are a wonderful opportunity for Croatian equipment manufacturers to demonstrate their world class quality. And the fact that more than 75% of the products utilized in the ship’s construction will be sourced domestically, is particularly gratifying. This project is another example of Brodosplit’s successful turnaround post-privatization and the realization of its visionary business plans and will strengthen Brodosplit’s position as an indispensable European shipyard, capable of highly complex and custom-designed ships for the world’s most challenging environments.

Among the many features of the new ship will be two simultaneously operable helidecks, allowing for the exploration of some of the most remote and stunning areas of the world, and an internal Zodiac hangar designed to facilitate quicker and safer disembarkation. The ship will also offer an exceptional hotel standard with spacious cabins, multiple restaurants, and ample indoor and outdoor observation space.

Travel to the polar regions is uniquely rewarding, but visiting these remote regions requires specialized ships, equipment, and skills this new vessel, coupled with Quark’s experienced expedition team, will allow guests to explore the Arctic and Antarctica in depth, while maintaining high levels of passenger comfort, safety, and security.

Hurtigruten assumes full control of Kleven Verft to ensure delivery of newbuildings

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Hurtigruten, the Norwegian expedition cruise operator, has assumed full control of Kleven Verft and two other companies in the Kleven maritime group to ensure completion of the two delayed high specification expedition cruise ships it has on order at the yard, the shipbuilder said in a statement.

Hurtigruten has established a holding company called KVE Holding AS, wgich has acquired Kleven Verft, Kleven Maritime Contracting and Kleven maritime Technology from the Kleven Maritime group for an undisclosed sum. The Myklebust shipyard of Kleven Maritime is not included in the acquisition.

The arrangement will include a liquidity injection of up to NOK100 million in the acquired businesses, with the buyer, clients of the three companies and banks being involved.

Hurtigruten, together with other investors, become a shareholder in the shipyard last autumn. In the cruise industry, only the Genting Hong Kong group and Hurtigruten currently own the shipyards at which they build their vessels. However, conversions of debt to equity is a common method used in restructuring companies that have run in financial difficulties and it has used before both in shipping and in shipbuilding.



SunStone signs contract for third Infinity-class newbuild

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

SunStone Ships, Inc. has announced an agreement with China Merchants Industry Holdings Co. Ltd. to build a third Infinity-class expedition ship, to be named Ocean Victory. This newbuild will be delivered in March, 2021. SunStone’s President & CEO, Niels-Erik Lund commented, “We are pleased with the rapid adoption of the Infinity-class vessels. It seems our European design and technology, combined with lower overall operating costs ticks all the boxes for the small and expedition-ship market.”

SunStone has signed a long term time charter contract for the Ocean Victory. The vessel will be technically managed by Cruise Management International, Miami. Hotel operations will be handled by CMI Leisure, Miami. The ship building contract was signed at the offices of Stephenson Harwood, SunStone’s legal advisors in connection with the Infinity class vessels. The three day meeting in Paris included a total of 20 representatives from:
– CMIH - contract partner for building the vessel.
– China Merchants Heavy Industry - shipyard building the vessel
– SunStone Ships - contracting party on behalf of the buyer
– SunStone Marine Advisors - company supervising the construction of the vessel
– Ulstein Design and Solution - Norwegian company who has designed the vessel from a technical point of view, and who is responsible for the delivery of the technical equipment package, supervising the technical construction of the vessel
– Makinen, Finland - responsible for the construction of all interior spaces of the vessel
– Tillberg Design USA - interior designer for the vessel
The first Infinity-class ship, named the Greg Mortimer, is scheduled for delivery August 2019 and goes on charter to Aurora Cruises, Australia. 

Morgan Stanley raises pricing, demand and overcapacity concerns, Carnival plc falls more than 6%

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Shares in Carnival plc, the British holding company in the carnival Corporation & plc group, fell more than 6% on 5 June following a reported negative outlook expressed by Morgan Stanley, the US investment bank

“Our channel checks show solid booking volumes but at flat prices, and agents cite concerns about the Caribbean and general Q4 demand,” website quoted Morgan Stanley as saying in a report to clients.

“We cut forecasts for fuel/FX (fuel/ foreign exchange), with FY19e (financial year 2019 estimate) EPS (earnings per share) -11% for CCL, -5% for NCLH and -3% for RCL, and stay cautious on the cruise space due to oversupply risk,” the bank was cited as saying. CCL refers to the Carnival group, whose Carnival Corporation holdimng unit is domiciled in Panama and head quartered in the US, RCL refer to Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. and NCLH to Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

“The double whammy of the recent rally in oil prices, plus the stronger dollar in addition to hurricane threats and a risk of over capacity led the investment bank to slash their earnings forecast for the firm,” a report on said, referring to the Morgan Stanley report.

Shares in Carnival plc closed 6.40% lower at £45.61 in London, while Carnival Corporation was 4.33% lower at $60.63 at lunchtime in New York. Both Royal Caribbean and Norwegian traded more than 4% lower in New York at the same time.