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Carnival plans major refit for Carnival Destiny

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Carnival Destiny, the 1996-built 101,353 gross ton cruise liner of Carnival Cruise Lines, will undergo an extensive refit in early 2013 that will involve both outer decks and indoor spaces on board the ship. The dry docking itself is scheduled to take over a month.

The Lido deck is to be completely refurbished and as part of this the magrodome in the stern of the vessel will be removed. The space here will be occupied by new restaurants, Camp Carnival and the WaterWorks with water slide will be relocated from the front of the ship to the aft. The WaterWorks will be upgraded and it will be an evolution of that on the Fantasy class of the company: a pool with two parts will be built, whikle a third pool will be added as well. On the software side, the youth programme at Camp Carnival will also be upgraded.

Carnival Destiny is now 15 years old and it was the first cruise ship in excess of 100,000 gross tons in size, and it is the "mother" to many ships that have followed – such as the sister ships Carnival Triumph, and Carnival Victory, that followed in 1999 and 2000 respectively. Both of these were built with an additional deck. The Conquest class of Carnival Cruise Lines and the Concordia class vessels of sister company Costa Crociere are developments of Carnival Destiny’s deign.

Indoors, an opening in the middle of the two deck high Galaxy dining room on decks 3 and 4 will be closed and a steak house plus an Italian restaurant will be built in the area on deck 4. There will be a charge for dining in both of these and passengers can have their dinner any time during the opening hours of the restaurants. 

On the lower level of the Galaxy dining room, deck 3 meals will be served on the basis of the Your Time dining concept of the company.

All cabins will receive a facelift and the entire spa area will be modernized as well.

When a ship reaches 15 years of age, it has come to the midpoint of its expected life cycle and in many cases ships will be completely refitted at this point. This is to keep up with requirements of the market that has chaned in that time. Consequently, similar refurbishment will be carried out on all of the Destiny class ships when they reach the age of 15 years: together there are three ships of this type. The refurbishment itself is an evolution of work carried out on board units of the 1990s built Fantasy-class ships.

Cruise Business Review's Christer Gorschelnik recently sailed on the Destiny and will provide his report in the August issue of Cruise Business Review.

St. Peter Line to operate five-city Baltic cruise route – new terminal in Helsinki

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

The passenger ferry operator St. Peter Line and the City of Helsinki have successfully increased cooperation. St. Peter Line will carry cargo, move to a new terminal in central Helsinki and put in traffic the Princess Anastasia ferry every Friday in Helsinki in a creation of a new Five City Baltic Cruise Route connecting the Northern Baltic Capitals. The popular Princess Maria ferry will continue with regular three times a week runs between Helsinki and Saint Petersburg.

St. Peter Line offers year round for all passengers and nationalities up to 72 hours visa free stays in St. Petersburg with these two passenger ferries. St. Peter Line can now offer an attractive new Five City Baltic Cruise Route with visa free stays in the Russian pearl St. Petersburg from one day up to 72 hours (three hotel nights) for passengers from Helsinki, Mariehamn, Stockholm, Tallinn and St. Petersburg travelling with Princess Anastasia or Princess Maria. The leading Finnish hotel chain Sokos Hotels with over 50 hotels in St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Finland is the preferred partner of St. Peter Line.

As a novelty, Princess Anastasia will arrive from St. Petersburg to Helsinki on Friday mornings starting from 5 August 2011. New passengers from Helsinki can start with Princess Anastasia on Friday evening and sail via Mariehamn to Stockholm, Tallinn and St. Petersburg. In St. Petersburg they can stay visa free for two or three nights in a hotel before returning to Helsinki Port either with the other ferry Princess Maria on Thursday morning or the same ferry Princess Anastasia on Friday morning. Passengers from Stockholm can on Saturdays and Wednesdays go for visa free cruises spending from a day up to 72 hours (three hotel nights) in St. Petersburg before sailing directly back to Stockholm or via Helsinki and Mariehamn (in both you can jump off) back to Stockholm.

St. Peter Line is convinced that the above decisions will contribute to further success in improving ferry and cruise communication between St. Petersburg and Helsinki, as well as Mariehamn, Stockholm and Tallinn, and will allow the operator company to increase its fleet.

"We express our sincere gratitude to the Helsinki Port Administration, and personally to Passenger Port Director Heikki Lampinen and to Mayor of Helsinki Jussi Pajunen," say Igor Glukhov, President of St. Peter Line. Glukhov is also grateful to Åland Governor Peter Lindbäck and Mariehamn Port Director Guy Dannström for their help to bring in Princess Anastasia to Mariehamn during the city’s 150 years anniversary celebrations. Glukhov adds that Stockholm and Tallinn authorities and ports have also been most helpful all the time.

St. Peter Line plans in the fall of 2011 to relocate the passenger operations in Helsinki from the Makasiini Terminal to the new West Harbor Terminal, where the facilities are now in the process of complete refitting to provide maximum comfort for the passengers and convenience of cargo handling. This new Terminal is located in central Helsinki in the vicinity of the business and commercial centers. Until completion of the construction works St. Peter Line was granted permission to use the Makasiini Terminal for handling its passenger and cargo traffic which would allow operations with maximum efficiency on round-the-year basis. Starting from August 4, 2011 the ferries of St. Peter Line will be making four regular weekly runs to Helsinki port: as before every Monday, Thursday and Saturday (Princess Maria) and, as a novelty, every Friday (Princess Anastasia). 

Royal Caribbean to invest $300 million to revitalise five ships

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Royal Caribbean International has announced that it will invest approximately $300 million to bring the latest innovations to the cruise line's ships across the fleet and introduce the highest guest-rated programs from its award-winning Oasis-class ships.

"The revitalizations will offer guests a greater variety of new onboard dining and entertainment options, pervasive Wi-Fi, iPod docking stations, and many more amenities, to deliver even more of the "WOW" aboard all Royal Caribbean ships sailing worldwide. Planned through 2014, the revitalizations are yet another example of why Royal Caribbean has been voted Best Cruise Line Overall for eight consecutive years in Travel Weekly's Readers' Choice Awards. These fleetwide enhancements build on Royal Caribbean's best-in-class global vacation offering and deliver to guests the Royal Advantage - the industry's most innovative cruise ships, combined with exciting itineraries and destinations, and world-renowned friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service," the company said in a statement.

"The Royal Advantage revitalizations takes many of the best features that we have created in recent years and introduces them across our fleet, offering our guests enhanced vacation choices around the world," said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. "We never stop trying to make the experience even better, and no other cruise line can offer the same high quality vacation experience with such an array of choices that cater to every guest."

The Royal Advantage revitalizations began with Radiance of the Seas in May 2011, and will be followed by Splendour of the Seas in November.  In 2012, revitalizations are scheduled for Vision-class ships including Rhapsody of the Seas (March 2012) and Grandeur of the Seas (May 2012), as well as Radiance-class Serenade of the Seas (November 2012).  Each ship will enter dry dock for approximately a month and re-emerge as even better versions of the ships that guests love, complete with new dining venues, entertainment options, technology enhancements and more. 

 "We are thrilled that the ongoing Royal Advantage revitalizations will result in a virtually brand-new fleet that offers the most contemporary experience, no matter which ship or itinerary vacationers choose," said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president of Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International.  "From new dining concepts to cutting-edge entertainment to technological advancements, we are raising the bar across the fleet to offer guests our signature Gold Anchor Service and the world's most innovative cruise ships that sail to exciting destinations worldwide."

With the cruise line's recently announced 2012-13 deployments, vacationers have the opportunity to enjoy new and unparalleled onboard experiences and itineraries. Revitalized Grandeur of the Seas will offer vacationers seven-night Western Mediterranean or 10- and 11-night Greece and Turkey itineraries from Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and Venice, respectively, in summer 2012. Moreover, the newly revitalized Rhapsody of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas will offer vacationers additional dining and entertainment options for a cruise or cruisetour in awe-inspiring Alaska in summer 2012 or rugged Australia and New Zealand in winter 2012-13.

Among the revitalizations and enhancements to the Vision-, Voyager- and Radiance-class ships throughout the next three years, will be:

New Technology:  Guests will enjoy pervasive Wi-Fi, interactive flat-panel televisions in staterooms, and electronic mustering. 

Digital Wayfinding Systems:  Onboard activities, real time updates, customized directions and routing, as well as ship factoids will all be at guests' fingertips with new plasma and LCD touch screen signs prominently placed throughout each of the ships.

Outdoor LED Video Walls:  Oversized video screens will be installed on the pool decks to liven up outdoor entertainment and programming, day and night.  

Royal Babies and Tots Nursery:  Safe, fun and interactive vacation environments will be available in nurseries designed for babies and tots ages six through 36 months. 

New Staterooms:  New levels of accommodations, including staterooms ideal for families, will be added to suit a variety of guest needs and requirements.

Additional Dining Options:

 Chef's Table:  An exclusive experience co-hosted by the Executive Chef and Sommelier for an intimate wine pairing dinner of five courses.

 Izumi:  A pan-Asian cuisine restaurant featuring mouthwatering flavors and a sushi bar with hot-rock cooking.

Chops Grille: Royal Caribbean's signature steakhouse featuring a menu of prime cuts prepared a la minute.

Park Café:  A casual dining venue featuring gourmet salads, sandwiches, soups and pastries.

Rita's Cantina:  A casual yet vibrant restaurant offering traditional Mexican fare, comprehensive selection of margaritas and live evening entertainment.

Boardwalk Doghouse: A casual eatery for guest to enjoy a range of brats, links, wieners and dogs.

In 2013 and 2014, additional Royal Advantage revitalizations will take place on Vision-class ships, including Legend of the Seas and Vision of the Seas, four Voyager-class ships - Navigator of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas - and the Radiance-class Brilliance of the Seas. Royal Caribbean also will deliver the Royal Advantage through less extensive enhancements planned for Freedom-class Independence of the Seas, Voyager-class Mariner of the Seas, and Vision-class Enchantment of the Seas.

Radiance of the Seas' recent revitalization doubled the ship's onboard dining options among other enhancements, and is now alternating seven-night South- and North-bound Alaska itineraries this summer before repositioning for its first winter season in Australia and New Zealand. The final and most extensive revitalization this year will be Splendour of the Seas in November, which afterwards will offer two-, three- and four-night Brazil cruises, as well as seven- and eight-night Argentina & Uruguay Cruises from Sao Paulo, Brazil. In early 2011, Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, and Liberty of the Seas had received popular enhancements and programs that were introduced aboard the newly launched Allure of the Seas, such as the DreamWorks Experience. Having previously undergone extensive revitalizations in recent years, both Sovereign-class Majesty of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas are currently delivering the Royal Advantage to guests on short Bahamas cruises from Miami and Port Canaveral, Fla., respectively.