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Fincantieri's Palermo shipyard to refit Saga Sapphire

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines
Fincantieri has been awarded the multi-million Euro refit and refurbishment project of the newest ship acquired by Saga Cruising, the 37,301-ton Bleu de France. The work planned for this ship will start during November 2011 at the Fincantieri Palermo yard and shall include the refurbishing of all public areas and spaces, the addition of a significant number of new passenger cabins, the complete refurbishment of the existing cabins and a new balcony deck.
 
Other jobs that the yard shall be responsible for during the ships stay at Palermo will include the overhauling and repair work on main machinery and equipment along with some steel and pipework replacement. The ship will be dry-docked for a period of the project during which time the items involving the external hull and all underwater work, such as painting, tailshaft, rudder and propellers maintenance will be undertaken. A very important job shall be the application of the Saga livery which will proudly define the ownership and new identity of the ship.

On completion of the work, expected in February 2012, the ship will be renamed the Saga Sapphire and then shall set sail for the inaugural cruise from Southampton to the Mediterranean, which is due to start on March 26 of next year.
 
Commenting on the contract, Saga Cruising CEO, Robin Shaw said: "The multi-million pound refit will ensure that Saga Sapphire is magnificent throughout, adding a theme of elegant and eclectic nostalgia to our classic cruising experience. Saga Sapphire will be the largest Saga ship to date, but will retain the intimate atmosphere and the quality of service that our passengers have come to expect. We are extremely pleased to have secured Fincantieri's expertise and resources and are looking forward to working together".

Giorgio Rizzo, Fincantieri SVP Shiprepair &Conversion, added: We are very pleased to have been trusted by Saga Cruising to carry out this major refurbishment project on their new ship the Saga Sapphire. We are looking forward to working closely with the SAGA team to ensure a successful outcome. Our expertise and capabilities in this specialist sector shall ensure that when the Sapphire leaves our yard, she will deserve her status as flagship of the SAGA fleet.

The award of the Bleu the France refurbishment project to Fincantieri has continued to ascertain the position of the Palermo shipyard as the leading centre for cruise ship repair and refurbishment in the central Mediterranean region. In addition to the prestigious project announced today, over the next few months Palermo shipyard will be committed on a further five major repair and conversion projects on cruise ships.

Norwegian Breakaway to be homeported in New York year-round

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan have announced that Norwegian Cruise Line's new state-of-the-art 4,000 passenger ship, Norwegian Breakaway, will make New York City its year-round home port. Beginning in May 2013, Norwegian Breakaway - which will be the largest ship ever to home port in the City - will replace Norwegian Star, and embark on a minimum of 88 cruises from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal through March 31, 2015. The ship calls will bring an estimated 140,000 additional embarking passengers into New York City over two years, resulting in an estimated $35 million in additional direct spending. Mayor Bloomberg and Norwegian Cruise Line were joined at the announcement in the Manhattan Cruise Terminal by New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky and NYC & Co CEO George Fertitta.

Out-of-town visitors spent $31 billion last year, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs in our restaurants, shops, hotels, and cultural institutions," said Mayor Bloomberg. "By making New York City home to its newest and largest ship, Norwegian Cruise Line is further confirming our standing as a top cruise destination and a place that tourists from around the world want to visit."

"New York is not only one of our top markets, but also my hometown," said Norwegian Cruise Line Chief Executive Officer Kevin Sheehan. "Therefore, I am thrilled to announce that New York will be the year-round home for our next generation Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Breakaway. In addition, we are offering an exciting inaugural summer itinerary cruising to the beautiful island of Bermuda, a much sought-after summer destination."

"Norwegian Breakaway will be the largest ship ever to homeport in New York City, bringing more passengers, generating more spending, and creating more jobs in our City," said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. "Thank you to Norwegian Cruise Line for their commitment to New York City, and for making Manhattan Cruise Terminal the homeport for this amazing new state-of-the-art ship."

"New York City remains one of the top ten cruise ports in the United States, and we thank Norwegian Cruise Line for making Manhattan Cruise Terminal Norwegian Breakaway's year-round home port," said George Fertitta CEO of NYC & Company, New York City's marketing and tourism arm. "Approximately 583,000 cruise passengers embarked in New York City in 2010 and that number continues to grow helping the City to report record breaking tourism numbers year after year. We hope Norwegian Breakaway and all of the Norwegian Cruise Line passengers will have an opportunity to visit New York City pre- or post-cruise and discover the energy and vibrancy of all five boroughs."

Norwegian Cruise Line was the first cruise line to homeport year-round in New York City beginning in 2003. Since then, the company has been committed to bringing its newest and largest ships to the Big Apple, with two ships calling in New York City since 2005. In 2013 alone, Norwegian Breakaway is expected to make 34 calls at Manhattan Cruise Terminal (MCT). In addition, Norwegian Gem will continue to call year-round at MCT, with an expected 47 calls, and Norwegian Star will make 15 calls in 2013 before being replaced. In total, Norwegian Cruise Line ships will bring approximately 285,000 embarking passengers into New York City in 2013, generating approximately $70 million in direct spending in the City - a $13.5 million increase due to the additional passengers on Norwegian Breakaway.

Currently under construction at Meyer Werft in Germany, Norwegian Breakaway will be 144,017 gross tons and is scheduled for delivery in April 2013. Following inaugural events, the ship will sail a series of 22 seven-day cruises from New York to Bermuda beginning May 12, 2013 through Oct 6, 2013. Departing on Sundays, the ship will spend three full days in Bermuda, along with three days at sea.

"The Government of Bermuda is honored to be the destination of choice for the inaugural sailings of Norwegian Breakaway for 2013. As a long-standing partner with Norwegian Cruise Line, we look forward to the launch of this new and innovative cruise product," said the Hon. Terry Lister, Minister of Transport. "We know their passengers will enjoy the cruise itinerary and the hospitality of the Bermudian people."

Carnival Cruise Lines unveils $500 million Fun Ship 2.0 program

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Carnival Cruise Lines today unveiled Fun Ship 2.0, a program that will dramatically transform its on-board guest experience to deliver even more memorable vacations. The multi-year effort will offer guests mouth-watering new dining choices, more exciting bars and lounges, and captivating entertainment options through innovative partnerships and new branded spaces. In the first phase alone, which extends through the end of 2015, Carnival will invest more than $500 million across its fleet.

At an event today in New York City, Carnival announced partnerships with entertainer George Lopez, who will become Carnival’s creative director for comedy and enhance its fleetwide comedy clubs; Food Network star Guy Fieri, who will develop a burger venue called Guy’s Burger Joint; leading video game manufacturer EA SPORTS to create the first-ever EA SPORTS Bar at sea, and Hasbro for new larger-than-life game shows featuring iconic games and brands. The company also worked with leading production talent to create a high-energy musical showcase and announced that celebrity song master DJ IRIE was named Official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines. Plus, Carnival announced more of its unique branded spaces with the RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar and three other fun themed bars and lounges, as well as a new complimentary BlueIguana Cantina casual dining option. “Fun Ship 2.0 is the largest and most ambitious initiative that our company has ever undertaken and it will serve to significantly transform the Carnival vacation experience for our guests,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines. “Through breakthrough partnerships with some of today’s biggest talents and most popular entertainment brands, plus our very own new branded experiences and on-board destinations, Carnival fans and those new to our cruises are destined for an incredible vacation experience.”

The Carnival Liberty will be the first ship to feature many of the new dining and bar venues when it returns from a scheduled refurbishment later this month. Fourteen ships are scheduled to receive many of the Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements through 2015.

Big Names and Big Brands On Board

Through its partnership with comedian and TV personality George Lopez, Carnival will bring even more laughs to The Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez. As Carnival’s “curator of comedy,” Lopez will act as a consultant on the vetting and hiring of comedic talent in one of the line’s most popular nighttime entertainment options, and advise on décor, lighting, music and more to enhance the overall comedy club experience. Hilarious pre-recorded voice and video messages from Lopez will welcome guests and club patrons, and a new Punchliner Comedy Brunch will keep diners laughing with live comedic entertainment in the line’s main dining rooms. Over the next year, the revamped clubs will roll out fleetwide, creating laughter during multiple shows each voyage.

At Guy’s Burger Joint, Carnival and successful restaurateur, cookbook author and television star Guy Fieri have come together to cook up the best burgers at sea, and best of all, they’re free! Guests have a choice of delicious fresh-off-the-grill burgers designed by Fieri, or they can make their own at a condiment bar by adding a variety of tasty toppings. Burgers are complemented by hand-cut fries. For lunch, a snack or dinner, guests can drop by this laid-back poolside dining venue modeled after a road-side burger joint off an iconic coastal highway. Under license from Hasbro, Inc., Carnival will create Hasbro, The Game Show, a new series of larger-than-life productions and entertainment activities based on the popular Family Game Night television show from The Hub. Hasbro, The Game Show will put guests right in the middle of their favorite Hasbro games. Six main games are to be featured: Sorry Sliders, which involves a giant shuffleboard court; Simon Flash, where two teams of four guests wear giant light-up color boxes and must shuffle themselves quickly to repeat a color sequence; Yahtzee Bowling, with a giant ball and larger-than-life-sized bowling pins; Operation, which is set up like a skee-ball board where contestants try to get the balls into different slots on the “patient’s” body, and Connect 4 Basketball, which uses a basketball setup rather than the traditional checkers to play.

Cheers For The Best New Bars At Sea

Carnival’s new themed bars and lounges fit any occasion, offering guests new destinations in a distinctive environment and signature drink menus to provide unique and unforgettable experiences. These bars will encourage guests to socialize and try interesting drink concoctions formulated by our expert mixologists. Carnival has partnered with EA SPORTS, the leading sports videogame brand in the world, on an exciting new sports bar concept. Designed to be the ultimate hangout for sports fanatics, guests can play their favorite EA SPORTS videogames, watch live sports on a massive video wall comprised of 16 different 46-inch big-screen displays, and keep up with real-time sports scores 24/7 live on the ticker. Whether challenging their sports knowledge during daily trivia contests, competing in EA SPORTS videogame tournaments or just catching the latest sports action, patrons can enjoy a full drink menu and popular sports bar snacks.

Shorts and flip flops are welcome at Carnival’s two new fun and relaxed poolside destinations. RedFrog Rum Bar offers guests the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with a pool-side version of the popular Caribbean themed RedFrog Pub, which debuted on the Carnival Magic. It will specialize in refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s private label draft brew, ThirstyFrog Red. Just across the deck will be BlueIguana Tequila Bar, providing a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and specializing in delicious tequila-based frozen drinks and Mexican beers. Live music will fill the area as performers will entertain patrons at both bars, along with those enjoying fun in the sun by the pool.
To cure what ails you, Alchemy Bar is Carnival’s vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy,” the go-to spot for guests who are seeking a unique experience with interesting drink flavors and ingredients. Carnival’s expert mixologists will “prescribe” concoctions from different fun categories or guests can also try their hand at creating their own custom cocktails. Meanwhile, The Library Bar is a new intimate cocktail lounge featuring bar service and automatic wine dispensers, ideal for guests seeking a more relaxed and quiet venue.

Carnival’s New Cantina

Carnival is expanding on its wide array of dining options with exciting new venues that focus on free favorite foods that are highly popular among guests including burgers at Guy’s Burger Joint and fresh Mexican cuisine at the new BlueIguana Cantina. This complimentary poolside dining destination offers guests freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas they can make their own with a variety of salsas and toppings. Hungry vacationers can also watch the tortilla maker create fresh wheat and jalapeño tortillas, then enjoy three types of tacos with a variety of toppings, and three kinds of burritos with fantastic fillings, plus chips and salsa.

That’s (More) Entertainment!

Carnival is taking shipboard entertainment to an entirely new level. Working with leaders and industry experts from George Lopez and Hasbro to DJ IRIE and top Broadway producers, Carnival will offer not only a larger variety of new high-caliber entertainment but also more interactive shows for guests to enjoy. Playlist Productions is a dramatic retooling of the line’s legendary revues that combine captivating live performances with high-tech LED staging and special effects that set a new standard in seagoing productions. These popular music-driven revues featuring a diversity of musical styles, genres and eras are designed to appeal to a broad cross-section of guests. Playlist Performances will have guests singing along and dancing in their seats during the hit-packed, 30-minute shows created by leading producers, directors and choreographers who have worked on critically acclaimed productions for Broadway, London’s West End and some of the world’s most popular musical acts.

Guests will groove to “Motor City” which celebrates the R&B Motown sound of the 1960s and ‘70s, and “Divas” which combines music, dance and fashion to feature tunes from iconic female entertainers. “Latin Nights” offers a fusion of Latin culture, rhythmic music and hot choreography while “The Brits!” features tunes from the UK’s most famous artists of all time. These exciting new shows will premiere on Carnival Breeze when it enters service next summer, followed by other vessels.

Known for keeping Miami and Las Vegas crowds pumped and on their feet, award-winning DJ IRIE was also named the Official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines. In this new role, he will create and lead “DJ IRIE’s Spin’iversity” to train and develop the musical skills and personalities of on-board DJ talent to boost the overall music experience for guests of all ages. Carnival is further enhancing its night club experience, offering a unique and lively atmosphere and expanded music offerings.

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