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Carnival Corporation to operate Santa Cruz de Tenerife Cruise Terminal in Canary Islands

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Carnival Corporation & plc today announced an agreement with the Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife following a Board of Directors meeting presided by Pedro Suárez López de Vergara to be the first concession-holder to operate the Canary Islands' and Mid Atlantic's newest cruise terminal.

Opened in 2016 during the Seatrade Cruise Med conference that took place in Tenerife, the terminal offers passengers a comfortable experience and modern conveniences. It can also accommodate next-generation "green" cruise ships powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel, and will welcome AIDAnova, from the corporation's Germany-based AIDA Cruises brand, on its maiden voyage in December as the world's first cruise ship that can be powered by LNG both in port and at sea.

Welcoming 617,987 cruise passengers in 2017, Santa Cruz de Tenerife is one of the busiest cruise ports in the Canary Islands, the seven-island Spanish archipelago off the coast of Africa and Spain, and the first to attract an investment by a major cruise company. The Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) member, is a very active member of MedCruise, the leading cruise port association worldwide, and it has been a Cruises Atlantic Islands founding member since 1994.

Carnival Corporation also manages two other cruise terminals in Spain – the Helix and Palacruceros facilities in Barcelona.

Seven brands from Carnival Corporation – AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn and P&O Cruises UK – make port calls to Tenerife during the course of the year. Carnival Corporation expects to bring more than 300,000 passenger visits to the port in 2018 – half of all cruise passenger visits – with 130 calls by 31 different ships from the company's cruise line brands.

"Carnival Corporation has long been a valued partner with the Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the Canary Islands, and we are confident that they will be a wonderful steward of our recently built cruise port," said Pedro Suárez López de Vergara, president of the Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. "Thanks in large part to Carnival Corporation ships, the cruise market generated an economic impact to the Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the city of Santa Cruz of €24 million ($27.1 million) in the 2018 cruise season, an increase of €6m from the 2017 cruise season, and we look forward to continuing to share our beautiful island with visiting cruise passengers coming through this cruise terminal."

The Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife celebrates this long-term agreement with the aim of extending the benefits to its other ports – Santa Cruz de La Palma, San Sebastián de La Gomera, La Estaca in El Hierro and Los Cristianos in Tenerife.

The president continued: "Our ports are performing very well in the cruise business – last year we received nearly 1 million cruise passengers and we are confident to increase this figure close to 2 percent in 2018. We expect the new partnership will boost the cruise business in the region."

Carnival Corporation guests who visit Tenerife can take advantage of a variety of popular shore excursions, including whale and dolphin watching, visiting the historic district of La Laguna – the only UNESCO World Heritage City in the Canary Islands – and exploring natural attractions such as the Gardens of La Orotava Valley, the Anaga Biosphere Reserve or the Mount El Teide in the National Park, home to Spain's highest peak and the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

"This concession and our ongoing investment is part of Carnival Corporation's long-term strategy to continue to develop the cruise industry in the Canary Islands," said Giora Israel, senior vice president of global port and destination development for Carnival Corporation. "Our passion is to always provide the best possible experiences for our guests, and Tenerife is an extremely popular destination that offers something for everyone – including a storied history, beautiful beaches, exotic gardens, unique crafts and memorable cuisine. We look forward to ensuring that our cruise guests coming through the Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife have a great experience, and we also look forward to expanding relationships with our friends in Tenerife."

The Santa Cruz de Tenerife terminal will be the first port in the Canaries able to accommodate Carnival Corporation's new class of next-generation "green" cruise ships able to be operated by LNG, both in port and at sea. The company currently has 11 LNG-powered ships on order for five of its nine cruise line brands, with the first ship, AIDAnova, scheduled to make its maiden call on Tenerife on December 18, 2018.

In addition to its ships that will pioneer the use of LNG, the company has been an industry leader with another environmental technology breakthrough, making Advanced Air Quality Systems (AAQS) highly functional in the small confines of a cruise ship. Carnival Corporation has already outfitted 70 ships in its fleet with the systems, which significantly improve air emissions by reducing sulfur compounds and particulate matter in ships' exhaust.

Santa Cruz Terminal joins eight global ports and terminals already operated by Carnival Corporation and its cruise line brands, including:

– Barcelona (Helix & Palacruceros terminals) in Spain
– Savona in Italy
– Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic
– Puerta Maya in Cozumel, Mexico
– Grand Turk Cruise Center in Turks and Caicos Islands
– Mahogany Bay in Roatan, Honduras
– Long Beach in California

Carnival Corporation also operates two private destinations in the Caribbean, Princess Cays and Half Moon Cay, and has a joint venture in Dubai for the future operation of two cruise terminals. Additionally, through a joint venture, Carnival Corporation is a 50/50 operator with MSC Cruises of a terminal in Marseille, France.

Virgin Voyages to have new Palm Grove home terminal at PortMiami

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin were joined today by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Economic Development and Tourism Committee Rebeca Sosa and other local government officials to announce plans to build a new cruise terminal for Virgin Voyages. With this new terminal and a long-term commitment to PortMiami, Virgin Voyages also announced that its first ship, the Scarlet Lady, will continue to sail to the Caribbean from Miami throughout 2021. The company’s second ship will sail from Miami during the fall/winter cruise season of 2021/22.

Sir Richard Branson also proudly announced that bookings for Virgin Voyages’ inaugural season will open for sale on February 14 for the general public and February 5 for those currently holding pre-sale deposits.

The new Virgin Voyages Terminal will be located on the northwest side of the port. Pending the Board of County Commission’s approval of the MOU for construction of a new cruise facility; along with the subsequent berthing agreement, this project will start next year and is slated for completion by November 2021, the beginning of the year’s cruise season. This new terminal will have a significant positive economic impact on the entire region and solidifies a vital homeport for Virgin Voyages as the company continues to grow.

“Miami is an incredible city and one of my favorite places to work and play,” said Branson. “From our headquarters for Hotels, Voyages and now Trains USA, South Florida has quickly become another home for Virgin brands in the leisure travel sector.”

“South Florida is our home, and with our fleet now growing to four ships, we’re humbled and thankful to soon have a gorgeous new terminal overlooking the Miami skyline, an incredible view that will set the stage for the alluring journey that we will take our sailors on,” said McAlpin.

The new 100,000 square foot terminal will be a palm grove inspired design concept developed by the Miami-based designers from Arquitectonica. This new concept encompasses a design that builds on Virgin Voyages’ design ethos of the Modern Romance of Sailing, a thoroughly new take on the formal grandeur and opulence of the ocean liner heyday that heroes ocean views with a thoughtful root in history and tradition.

The palm grove design is inspired by Miami Beach’s iconic palm trees and the island’s historical origins as an area intended for harvesting coconuts. The terminal’s rooftop is designed to resemble a palm tree grove with rooftop pockets that allow natural light to flow into the building by day, and up lighting by night that will light up the company’s iconic Virgin Voyages red logo and allow the facility to shine bright, mirroring the city’s skyline. The two-story storm-proof glass facility will be replete with lush landscaping giving the terminal a plaza-like feel with designated areas for drop-offs of VIP’s, ride-sharing and provisioning, designed to provide a seamless shore to ship experience.

“It’s gratifying to see Virgin Voyages expand its presence in Miami-Dade County," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “By constructing a new cruise terminal at PortMiami, Virgin Voyages is signaling its confidence in our thriving community, which is not only the Cruise Capital of the World but also the Gateway to the Americas.”

As a part of Virgin Voyages’ sustainability efforts, the new Virgin Voyages PortMiami Terminal is targeting a LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Virgin Voyages is committed to creating an epic sea change for all by playing a significant part in securing a healthy future for the ocean and having a positive impact on the communities and ports it visits. Working hand-in-hand with Ocean Unite and Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Voyages is sponsoring Sir Richard Branson and Fabien Cousteau’s Aquatica submarine dive to Belize’s Blue Hole, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, on December 2. Virgin Voyages intends to support ocean research and conservation projects like the Blue Hole Expedition in an effort to raise awareness and gain insight into the issues facing the ocean today. The company aims for these efforts to help guide them in making better business decisions for its oceans and port communities.

Windstar Cruises to stretch and refurbish its three ships in $250 Million Star Plus initiative

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Windstar Cruises today announced the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, a major investment and expansion for the innovative cruise company. The multi-million dollar, multi-year undertaking will impact and enhance all aspects of the guest experience for the highly awarded small ship cruise line's three Star Class vessels.

"We are thrilled to announce the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, a significant investment in the future of Windstar Cruises. This exciting initiative is our 180 degree from ordinary solution to add new capacity and major enhancements to the guest experience in a very time efficient manner," said Windstar President John Delaney. "The initiative not only creates beautiful new suites and public spaces, but we will also take the opportunity to re-engine the ships with a more fuel efficient and environmentally responsible propulsion system. This will be a true game changer for Windstar and our small ship cruise experience."

The initiative will expand guest accommodations on the boutique line's three all-suite vessels increasing capacity from 212 passengers to 312 guests per ship, following the lengthening. The work will be done to Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride in succession between October 2019 and November 2020, and take place at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy. The project represents an overall capacity increase of 24% for the small ship line.

The project is expected to be partially financed through an export credit facility guaranteed by SACE, Italy's export credit agency.

Each Star Class ship will be cut to allow the installation of a new section of ship that will lengthen each vessel approximately 25.6 meters bringing the total length to just over 138 meters, still the right size to access the smaller ports and harbors that Windstar favors on the line's immersive itineraries. The project adds 50 new suites, bringing the total number of suites per ship to 156, and represents an investment of more than $267,000 per passenger berth.

"This major investment is an efficient way to build on a winning brand that shows strong momentum and growth potential. Support for this exciting new initiative demonstrates our commitment to Windstar as an important part of the Xanterra portfolio," said Andrew N. Todd, President and CEO of Xanterra Travel Collection.

Also involved in the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative is the creation of state-of-the-art public spaces including two new dining locations; new shop and retail space; a much enlarged fitness center; and a new world-class spa.

In addition to the impressive scale of work to be done, the renovation includes a comprehensive re-engine project for each ship. This complex undertaking is an uncommon occurrence in the cruise industry and involves the removal of seven current engines and installation of four new, more environmentally friendly engines that will run on cleaner fuel and reduce emissions impact to sailing regions.

"Given our expertise as a leader in major cruise ship renovations and lengthening projects, we are gratified to be chosen by Windstar to undertake this complex and extensive endeavor. We look forward to working with the Windstar team to totally transform these elegant small ships," said Giorgio Rizzo, Executive SVP, Fincantieri Services.

50 new suites, new dining venues, new spa & fitness areas take center stage

Windstar has partnered with acclaimed designer Ray Chung, Director of Design at The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry in New York, to create modern and inviting design aesthetics for the new public spaces and new suites.

Among new guest amenities and accommodations in the planning phase are:

– 50 new suites featuring new suite categories and open floor plan configurations.
– Creation of two brand new, larger Owner's Suites, that combines existing suites to create up to a three-bedroom, two-balcony suite – the first of its kind in the cruise industry.
– Two brand new dining experiences including: an intimate, alternative dining restaurant, and a casual barbecue space adjacent to the top deck Star Bar, perfect for outdoor grilling during Windstar's Signature Onboard Barbecue celebration or enjoying while spending time on deck.
– Expanded Veranda Restaurant to offer significantly more ocean-view seating and upgraded dining area.
– For existing suites, all-new bathrooms and installation of new sliding doors for the Balcony Suites.
– Larger pool and hot tub that will be reconfigured and elevated offering outstanding views, along with more and enhanced outdoor deck area for relaxing and sun-bathing.
– A completely re-imagined and enlarged spa and fitness center to invigorate active guests.
– A new elevator mid-ship, making access to all decks easy from anywhere on board.
– A comfortable, new tender loading area located mid-ship and two new 90-passenger tenders that will ferry guests to port when ships are at anchor.

In addition, ship staff and crew areas and accommodations will be expanded and upgraded. Additional crew will be hired and the increase will maintain the line's impressive 1.5:1 guest to hotel staff ratio.

As planning on the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative progresses, additional details about the extensive work to be done, new onboard experiences, and new partnerships will be revealed and highlighted in news announcements and on a dedicated microsite that will launch in 2019.

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