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Carnival Corp signs letter of intent for new ship for P&O Cruises
Carnival Corporation & plc has signed a letter of intent for a new 116,000-ton ship for its P&O Cruises brand. The new vessel, which will have 3,076 lower passenger berths, will be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri at its Monfalcone yard, at an estimated all-in cost of EUR 535 million. The ship is scheduled for delivery in spring 2010. Externally, the vessel will be similar to P&O Cruises Ventura, which is scheduled to enter service in spring 2008, but the new product features and interior design will be announced at a future date. This latest ship order will bring the total number of vessels in the P&O Cruises fleet to seven, including five existing ships, as well as the new Ventura, which will be Britain's largest cruise ship when it enters service in April 2008. The new ship will further enhance P&O Cruises reputation as the only company building cruise ships specifically for Britain. P&O Cruises Managing Director David Dingle stated, ”This latest order results from the strong continuing growth of the cruise market in the UK. Each of the new ships which we have built for Britain has increased the demand for cruising through a reputation for innovation, style and customer service. Our projections indicate that we will require further new capacity to meet this additional demand by 2010.” With today's announcement, Carnival Corporation & plc has 20 new ships on order, 14 of which are being constructed by Fincantieri. Commenting on the agreement Fincantieri's Chief Executive Officer Giuseppe Bono said: ”Our relationship with Carnival, the world's leading cruise operator, continues to grow at an incredible pace. In 2006 Fincantieri and Carnival signed contracts for eight ships for a total value of nearly 3.5 billion euros. The new year has started out with the allocation of this ship which is a clear signal that cooperation between our two companies will get stronger in the future too, thereby enabling both of us to consolidate our positions as market leaders.” The building slot at Fincantieri being utilized for this new P&O Cruises vessel will result in a modification to the delivery date of the 130,000-ton newbuild for Carnival Cruise Lines announced in mid-December 2006. The Carnival vessel will now enter service in spring 2011 instead of summer 2010 as previously announced. Explained Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc, ”It had been our intention all along to schedule delivery of the P&O Cruises ship for 2010 and the Carnival Cruise Lines vessel for 2011. However, because we completed the agreement for the Carnival newbuild first, we temporarily placed it in the first available shipyard slot pending finalization of the P&O Cruises agreement.” THE NEW VENTURA UNDER CONSTRUCTION WAS PREVIEWED AT THE DECEMBER ISSUE OF CRUISE BUSINESS REVIEW.

No trans fats on Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean International will become the first cruise line to make the move toward removing trans fat from its
menus beginning March 1, 2007, culminating in a fully trans-fat-free menu fleetwide by the end of this year. Effective immediately, trans-fat-free frying oil will replace the old pour-and-fry oil originally used in food preparation, and entirely-new, trans-fat-free menu options will be introduced to Royal Caribbean's menus. ”Vegetable oils that have undergone hydrogenation result in a type of fat that doctors have linked to serious health risks including diabetes, high blood pressure and increased cholesterol levels,” said Michael Bayley, Senior Vice President, Total Guest Satisfaction. ”If we can offer guests a healthier serving of the foods they love by switching to trans-fat-free oils, while maintaining the same level of satisfaction, why wouldn't we make the switch?? The trans-fat-free oil was put to the test onboard Navigator of the Seas last November. The conclusion was that, not only is the trans-fat-free oil healthier for guests, but it provides a better tasting product. Royal Caribbean is working jointly with all onboard food and beverage partners as well as suppliers to ensure that a full transition to a trans-fat-free menu will take place fleetwide by the end of this year.

Celebrity and master chef Michel Roux part ways
Celebrity Cruises, which is part of royal Caribbean cruises Ltd (RCCL), has announced plans to evolve its fleetwide culinary programme, ending its affiliation with Master Chef Michel Roux. The mutual agreement coincides with the end of Roux's current contract with Celebrity, the company said in a statement. ”Chef Roux has offered valuable culinary consultation and direction since the Celebrity brand was founded, and played an integral role in helping our brand achieve the recognition it maintains today for offering fresh, gourmet cuisine,” said Celebrity's President Dan Hanrahan. ”We are very grateful to Chef Roux for the foundation he helped us establish, and are confident in our ability to continue to deliver an extraordinary dining experience for our guests across the fleet.” Every Celebrity ship has a Food and Beverage team, headed by executive chefs and food and beverage managers who honed their skills in some of Europe's finest restaurants and hotels. They completed intensive training led by Chef Roux both during Chef Roux's onboard visits totaling well over 100 during the 15-year partnership and also, in the case of a few of Celebrity's most promising chefs, training at his Waterside Inn restaurant in England. Similarly, the Food and Beverage Operations team based at Celebrity's headquarters bring extensive land-based and shipboard culinary experience enabling them to effectively direct and complement the shipboard colleagues, Celebrity Cruises said.

Marioff to supply Hi-Fog system to Genesis
Hi-Fog, the high pressure water mist system supplied by Marioff, the Finnish company, will be delivered to the 220,000 gross ton Project Genesis cruise liner of Rotal Caribbean Cruises Ltd ((RCCL) being built by Aker Yards, Turku, Finland. The Hi-Fog 2000 sprinkler system, with more than 13,000 sprinklers,  will cover all accommodation, public and service spaces. In the machinery spaces the system will ñ in accordance with the high safety standards of RCCL ñ offer a significantly higher level of fire protection than required by the regulations of the International Maritime Organisation. In addition, Hi-Fog nozzles will be installed to protect the laundry and galley ducts as well as the deep fat fryers. As a special feature, the system will be commissioned into use as the ship is being built. As soon as a section has been completed, it will be connected to the active Hi-Fog system. Thus the system will provide fire protection for the ship already during construction.

Viking Line and Tallink stage leap in profit
Viking Line and Tallink, two cruise ferry operators in northern Europe, have unveiled a marked improvement in their latest full year results.Viking Line, based in Mariehamn in Finland, Line made a net profit of Ä10.5 million in 12 months to 31 October 2006, a sharp rise from Ä2.9 million in the previous year.  The board forecasts a result ìat least in lineî with that of the previous financial year to the current 12 month period The board says new business from customers in the Baltic countries, Russia and China, from where Finnair has several direct flights to Helsinki , performed very well. Tallink Group in Estonia group made a net profit of Ä94.9 million in12 months to 31 August, more than three times the Ä30.3 million figure reached in the previous financial year. The fresh figure was boosted by a bigger fleet that grew thanks to organic expansion and acquisitions, higher volumes and higher yields on some routes.

Three companies appoint fleet commodores
Three companies in the Carnival Corp & PLC group have appointed commodores of their fleets. P&O Cruises has appointed Captain Stephen Burgoine to the position of Commodore. Effective 8 January 2007, he will become the Senior Master of the P&O Cruises fleet. Managing director David Dingle said: ìI am delighted to appoint Steve Burgoine to the position of Commodore of the fleet. His appointment is in recognition of a long and successful career with P&O Cruises and reflects his outstanding dedication and commitment over the past 40 years.î Meanwhile, Captain Michael Fatchen, a 40-year veteran of Princess and P&O, has been named Commodore of Princess Cruisesí 15-ship fleet, of which he will become the senior master. ìWeíre delighted that Mike Fatchen will serve as commodore of the Princess fleet,î said Peter Ratcliffe, Princessí chief executive officer.  ìThis honour is a well-deserved recognition of his long career of service and contributions to Princess over the years.î Finally, Captain Bernard Warner has been appointed Commodore of the Cunard fleet - Queen Mary 2, QE2 and, from December 2007, Queen Victoria. Captain Warner assumes the title until recently held by Commodore Ronald Warwick who retired from the company in 2006. Captain Warner has been Master of the lineís flagship Queen Mary 2 since June 2005 He has been at sea for 40 years and in command for the past 12 years.

Celebrity names third Solstice-class ship
Celebrity Cruises has revealed the name of the third ship in its 118,000 gross ton Solstice-class fleet. Celebrity Eclipse will make its maiden voyage in 2010, following sister ships Celebrity Solstice in 2008
and Celebrity Equinox in 2009, bringing the Celebrity fleet to 13 ships. Like its sister ships, Celebrity Eclipse will have larger standard staterooms, 90 percent of which will be outside, and 85 percent of those will have verandas. The 2,850-guest ships will have an exceptional range of guest-inspired services and amenities, and will measure 1,033 feet in length and 121 feet in width. German shipbuilder Meyer Werft will build the new tonnage.

Almaco wins refrigeration system order for Genesis
Almaco, the Finnish company, has recently been awarded contract for the design, supply, and commissioning of the refrigeration systems for Royal Caribbean Internationalís new generation Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltdís (RCCL) 220,000 gross ton, 5,400-passenger project Genesis vessel currently under construction at Aker Yards in Turku, Finland. The contract is Almacoís largest order so far for refrigeration machinery, exceeding the one delivered for Queen Mary 2 three years ago. Almacoís contract includes design and supply of all the secondary equipment, such as pumps, air-coolers, tanks, valves, and instrumentation for the systems and the refrigerant recovery unit. All networks are fed off fully redundant and standalone pack units. Three separate systems will be installed on board: one for frozen spaces, another one for chilled rooms and catering equipment, and a third one for the ice rink. A total of 97 air coolers will cool the 77 cold rooms on the worldís largest cruise ship.

Copenhagen invests Ä30 million to expand cruise port
Copenhagen Malmo Port (CMP), the Danish-Swedish port company, will invest ¢30 million to expand the facilities catering for cruise ships in the Danish capital. ìIn 2009, Copenhagen  will have the biggest cruise facilities in North Europe. This in order to maintain and build out the port's leading position in the region, ìCMP said in a statement. A new port section will be created in the North Harbour, and the well known and popular Langelinie Pier and the Nordre Toldbod Pier, closest to City Centre will both remain. The Freeport Terminal which today allows two to three turn around ships to dock at the same time will also remain in business. The new pier, which will be constructed mainly for turn around ships, will be 2.4 km long when finalised. It will be located outside the main entrance to the harbour ñ still close to city centre.It will be introduced in two steps: Firstly 800m - accommodating 2-3 turn around ships - to be further extended by 1.600m - both with a depth of 10.5m - allowing the 220,000gt Project Genesis ship of Royal Caribbean International to call. During the 2006 season Copenhagen served 280 cruise calls of which 104 were turn around ships. The throughput of passengers reached 428.000

AIDAdiva to leave Meyer Werft 10 March
AIDAdiva, the first in a series of 68,500 gross ton Sphinx class newbuildings of Aida Cruises, will leave the Joseph L. Meyer Werft in Papenburg in Germany on 10 March. The ship will sail down the River Ems and dock at Emden at the mouth of the river in the following day and it will be handed over to the owner on 16 April. The ship will be named in Hamburg on 20 April in a ceremony that Aida Cruises describes as ìa spectacular light show.î It will also call at Kiel and in Rostock-Warnemunde. Aida Cruises is part of the Carnival Corp & PLC owned Costa Crociere and it is the leading cruise shipping company in Germany.

Cunard renaissance gains momentum with lionís roar
The renaissance of Cunard Line has taken a major step forward as the third vessel of the company was named at Fincantieri in Italy , according to Carol Marlow, president and managing director of the line. The 90,000 gross ton Queen Victoria was named at the Marghera shipyard in Venice, although the float out had to be postponed as a yard official said some work needed to be done with the hull that would actually take to the water next week. However, this did not dampen the mood of Marlow, who said that the third ship of the company, which was founded in 1840, means that ìthe Cunard lion roars again.î She referred to the companyís logo that features a golden lion rampant holding a globe in its front paws. Queen Victoria will enter service in December this year.

Silver Shadow sets off on first World Cruise
At 7:00 p.m. (local time) yesterday, Silversea's ultra-luxury Silver Shadow departed Port Everglades on her first World Cruise amid much fanfare and cheering well-wishers. The 382-guest, all-suite ship embarked on an epic 126-day voyage that will cross three oceans, seven seas and six continents, visiting 60 ports of call, before concluding in New York City
on May 22. Festivities to mark the occasion started the prior evening when guests sailing the full voyage were feted with a gala dinner party at the Boca Raton Resort. A surprise appearance by Silversea's Ambassador, actress Isabella Rossellini, who joined the celebration to mingle and personally extend her best wishes, delighted guests. At 11:00 a.m. the next day, guests boarded the Lady Windridge yacht for a sumptuous lunch and a leisurely sail along the Intracoastal Waterway to Port Everglades, where they embarked Silver Shadow. ”A voyage around the world is the event of a lifetime,” said Joseph Proto, Silversea's director of World Cruise and Business Development. ”So we pulled out all the stops to give Silver Shadow and her guests a truly memorable send-off. We are especially grateful that Isabella Rossellini was able to personally join our guests at their gala dinner to wish each of them a wonderful journey on the eve of their departure.” On January 16, 2008, Silver Shadow is set to embark on her second World Cruise, a 110-day voyage encircling the world and embracing the cultures of more than 25 countries and over 50 ports of call. Fares for World Cruise 2008 start at $58,210 per person, based on double occupancy.

Star fails to shine in India
Star Cruises, which introduced a series of cruises from Mumbai in India in the autumn of 2005,  has reportedly made a loss in the operation. The company blames high taxes for the loss, but a media report also says that the SuperStar Libra that has 1,480 lower berths has only achieved a 50% load factor. ìThe domestic cruise season is between October and May. Though Star Cruises is trying for a turnaround, the operator is likely to post losses in the current season too. The current season is between October 2006 and May 2007,î unnamed sources said on the Business website. Jean Teo, senior vice-president, sales and marketing, Star Cruises, confirmed the losses made by the carrier adding, ìWe still believe in the domestic tourism potential in this country The main reason for the losses is the various taxes imposed by the government. We have requested the government to waive excise duties and other taxes imposed on cruise tour operators as is done in Singapore,î Teo said on the sidelines of a tourism seminar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). 

Macau casino magnate said to seek 10% Star Cruises stake
Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho is set to buy a stake in Star Cruises, the third largest cruise shipping group in the world,  according to media reports in Singapore and Malaysia. Star is controlled by Genting Group with a stake in a massive casino resort project in Singapore. Ho will be invited to buy up to 10% of Star Cruises, which in turn is expected to secure rights from the gaming magnate to build and operate a casino in Macau, the report said, quoting unidentified financial executives close to the deal. Pricing details for Ho's investment in Star Cruises have yet to be finalised. The report said the transaction would be announced this week, maybe as early as Jan 16, the Straits Times newspaper was quoted as reporting. Star Cruises' brands comprise of Star Cruises in the Far East, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and NCL America in the US and Orient Lines, which operates both in North America and in Europe.

Tallink almost trebles interim profit
Tallink, had a strong start for its current financial year, with net profit in three months to 30 November 2006 rising to Ä7.3 million from Ä2.8 million a year earlier. ìThe result was affected by several non-recurring one off expenses in relation to integration of Silja and Tallink,î the company said. Tallink acquired Silja, the Finnish ferry company that operates cruise ferries under the Silja Line brand name and ropaxes using the Seawind Line brand last year. It also  bought three fast ropax ferries from the Attica group in Greece that trades as Superfast ferries. Tallinkís organic growth benefited from the delivery of a 48,300 gross ton cruise ferry, the Galaxy, last spring.

RCCL prices 1.0 billion euro notes at 99.638%
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) has announced that it has priced an offering of Ä1.0 billion of its 5.625% Senior Notes due 2014 at a price of 99.638%. The net proceeds of the offering are intended to be used to refinance short-term debt incurred in connection with the acquisition of Pullmantur S.A., and the balance for general corporate purposes. The Senior Notes will not be registered under the Securities Act of 1933 and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption from registration requirements.

Disney Cruise Line returns to U.S. West Coast for 2008
Disney Cruise Line's Disney Magic will return to the West Coast for the summer of 2008 to once again offer its highly popular 7-night Mexican Riviera sailings. Disney Cruise Line developed this special itinerary in response to overwhelmingly positive feedback about its original 2005 West Coast sailings and requests from guests who want to see the ship once again departing from the Port of Los Angeles. ”Through Disney Cruise Line, we are able to offer people a different way to vacation with Disney outside of our theme parks, and we can take our ships to various parts of the world, providing new audiences with immersive Disney experiences,” said Jay Rasulo, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Beginning May 25, 2008, the Disney Magic is scheduled to sail 12 consecutive seven-night cruise vacations from the Port of Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatl·n and Puerto Vallarta. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, ”The Disney Magic experience is unique, and it is only fitting that it return to the port of such a unique city, Los Angeles. The West Coast experience that Disney will offer exclusively out of the Port of Los Angeles will generate much business and tourism revenue that will bolster our local economy.”

NEWBUILDING UPDATE: Emerald Princess sails through sea trials
The upcoming Emerald Princess recently sailed through her sea trials, marking a key construction milestone on the way to the ship's April 2007 debut. Emerald Princess departed recently the building dock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, and sailed for several days as the vessel's technical systems were successfully tested. The ship will debut on her maiden voyage on April 11 this year, launching a summer season of 12-night Greek Isles and Mediterranean sailings featuring the highlights of the region. The ship will be named in a dual christening ceremony in tandem with Royal Princess, in Santorini, Greece on May 12, 2007 - the first double ship launch for Princess. EMERALD PRINCESS WILL BE REVIEWED IN THE SUMMER ISSUE OF CRUISE BUSINESS REVIEW.

NEWBUILDING UPDATE: Orchestra joins MSC fleet in May 2007
MSC Cruises is preparing to welcome another newbuilding of its rapidly expanding modern fleet. MSC Orchestra will arrive from the shipyard in May. This new addition to the fleet replicates the high standards of construction already utilized by MSC Cruises and sets the benchmark for the larger ships in the fleet. MSC Orchestra will be christened in the port of Civitavecchia, Italy in May and will depart from Venice June 2, 2007 with an itinerary between Greece, Turkey and Croatia. MSC Orchestraís size ñ 90,000 gross tons ñ allows her to host 2,550 passengers double occupancy (3,013 in total). As the sister ship to MSC Musica (which debuted in 2006) and MSC Poesia (scheduled to debut in 2008), MSC Orchestra is a second unit of new class of cruise ships. MSC Cruises says, that on board, space and location of the various public areas have been optimized in order to provide an excellent ratio between passenger capacity and onboard facilities. In order to satisfy passenger demand, 80% of the outside staterooms have balconies. The more than 236,800 square feet of public space, offer a large choice of facilities for all activities: 5 restaurants (LíIbiscus, Villa Borghese, La Piazzetta, Four Seasons, Shanghai Chinese Restaurant), 10 bars (two of which are open-air), 3 meeting and conference rooms, plus lots more.

Kronprins Harald sold to Ireland for 44 million euro
Color Line, the Norwegian cruise ferry company, has sold the 20 year old cruise ferry Kronprins Harald to the Irish Continental Group (ICG) for Ä43.6M. The contract includes a charter back until September/October this year when a newbuilding to be called Color Magic will enter service.  The 31,314gt Kronpris Harald was one of the last vessels to feature first and tourist class when built and it continues to operate on its original service between Oslo and Kiel. However, it will be replaced by the 75,000 gross ton Color Magic later this year. The new vessel is a sister ship of Color Fantasy that was introduced three years. Kronprins Harald was built by Wartsila Marine industries (now Aker Yards Finland) in 1987. The same yard is building Color Magic.

Star Cruisesí casino deal and share placement send stock sharply higher
Star Cruises, the third largest cruise shipping company in the world, has raised HK$655.3 million in a share placement deal and through a subsidiary company taken a  stake in a property development venture. Four investors ñ Profit Boom Investment, Win Ever Investment, Ms Leon Angela on Kei and Mr Chua Ma Yu ñ have bought a total of 215 million new shares in Star Cruises in a private placement of stock. The shares were bought at HK$2.29 each and they also have an option to acquire their respective number of shares at a premium of HK$0.28 per share. If exercised, the scheme will raise a further total of HK$ 765 million at most. Star Cruisesí subsidiary company New Orison Investment, in which Star has a 75% stake, acquired an equal holding in Macau Land Investment Company that is involved in a major resort and casino project in Macau. The news sent Star Cruisesí shares 48% higher to HK$3.74 after trading had resumed in them in Hong Kong following a suspension last week.

Costa starts marketing Costa Allegra outside China and Asia
Costa Crociere will start marketing its programme of cruises on Costa Allegra, which has been based in Shanghai,  outside China and Asia starting 23 March. The company launched the programme in July last year and targeted the local and Asian markers only. ìIn response to requests from travel agencies and customers, and to the enormous success of Costaís cruises in Asia, the Italian company has now decided to extend its reservations on the Costa Allegra beyond the borders of China and Asia,î the company said in a statement. Costa remains the only cruise line that has a licenxse from the c hinese government to operate cruises from Chinese ports. The ship will offer a 16-day itinerary (including flights) with departure from Hong Kong and stopovers in Manila (Philippines), Kotakinabalu (Borneo-Malaysia), Brunei, Singapore, Ho Chi Min City and Da Nang (Vietnam), and Sanya (China); an 18-day itinerary (including flights) with departure from Hong Kong and stopovers in Manila (Philippines), Kotakinabalu (Borneo-Malaysia), Brunei, Singapore, Ho Chi Min City, Da Nang and Halong Bay (Vietnam), and Sanya (China) plus five different 5-day itineraries, with departures from Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tianjin, so that passengers will be able to visit Vietnam, South Korea and Japan

UK cruise market could generate 2.0 million passengers in 2010
A strong economy combined with the introduction of new vessels in the near future bode well for the British cruise industry, summarises a survey made by Carnival UK. Figures of industry ceiling organisation Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) show that the UK source market grew by 17% last year to 1.25 million passengers and it is forecast to rise to 1.35 million in 2007. Carnival UK managing director David Dingle expects it to increase further in the 1.75 million to 2.0 million range in 2010 as new ships continue to boost interest in cruising. The share of recreation and culture has increased to 7.9% of the gross domestic product (gdp) last year from 6.5% in 1991, which has fuelled the growth of cruising and cheap air travel as both are seen by the public to offer value for money, Carnival UKís Cruise Report 2007 concludes. At the same time, 62% of households say they have all the material things they need compared with 48% just five years ago. Discretionary income that refers to what is left from disposable income after necessities, such as food, clothing and housing, has increased by a fifth since 2000.

Iles du Ponant reported to plan two small luxury ships
Compagnie des Iles du Ponant , which is part of the French container shipping giant CMA CGM, is to launch a tender for the construction of two luxury cruise vessels able to accomodate 100-150 passengers, Fairplay Newbuilding News reports. The vessels, which could be delivered as early as 2008, will be operated in the Far East, South America, North America and Canada, the report says. The company currently has three vessels, the 1,443 gross ton Le Ponant, the 3,504 gross ton Le Levant and the 8,282 gross ton Le Diamant. All three fly the French flag.

RCCL to publish fourth quarter results 5 February
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) has scheduled a conference call with analysts for 10 a.m. Eastern time, Monday, 5 February  2007, to discuss the company's fourth quarter financial results. The call can be listened to by all interested parties at the company's investor relations web site, Analysts forecast on average full year earnings per share of $2.94 for 2006, down from $2.96 in the previous year, while the fourth quarter figure should improve to earnings of $0.20 from a loss of $0.02 in the final quarter of 2005.

SeaDream drops South America after host of problems
SeaDream Yacht Club, which operates two small top end of the range vessels, has decided not to return to South America next winter after experiencing a host of issues  that have hampered operations there. Instead, SeaDream II, one of its two vessels, will be deployed in the Caribbean in the winter 2007/08. ”In light of many factors we have encountered in the region---the strict cabotage laws, which forced continuous retooling of itineraries, the recessive regulatory environment, the challenges with provisioning and the current internationally-publicized crime problems in Brazil---we have
determined that we are unable to consistently deliver our quality product and service,î said ceo and co-owner Larry Pimentel in a statement

SuperStar Aquarius to make Hong Kong debut in June
Star Cruisesí newest addition to the Asian fleet, SuperStar Aquarius is set to make her debut in Hong Kong on 22 June 2007. Her itineraries in Asia begin with a series of 1-night cruises out of Singapore between 11 and 16 June prior to departing for Hong Kong on 17 June. The repositioning cruise will call at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Sanya, China on 19 and 21 June respectively before arriving in Hong Kong on 22 June where she will commence daily cruises. Her arrival also coincides with the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The 2007 season will also see SuperStar Aquarius offer a series of destination cruises to China.  These include eight 2-night cruises to Xiamen on 6 and 20 July, 3 and 17 August, 7 and 21 September and 5 and 19 October. Four 2- night cruises to Haikou are scheduled on 2 and 16 November and 7 and 21 December 2007 with six more calls on 4 and 18 January, 1 and 15 February and 7 and 21 March 2008. Currently sailing as the Norwegian Wind, the 50,760 gross tonne luxury ship with her stylish design will appeal to a wide spectrum of cruisers in Hong Kong and other Asian markets.

SuperStar Libra arrested in India
SuperStar Libra of Star Cruises was Tuesday held at the Kadamat island on court orders following a petition by a Mumbai-based couple seeking compensation for the  accidental drowning of their baby in November, the India News agency reports. The Lakshadweep Iceland Administration Tuesday arrested the vessel on the orders of the Kerala High Court. Later, it was released and allowed to proceed to Mumbai after its officials furnished a Rs.1 million bank guarantee to the court. Under the international maritime laws, a ship is regarded as a person and could be arrested on court orders, said experts. The couple, Mehul Shah and Natasha Shah, had moved a Malaysian court, seeking $10-million compensation from the vessel's firm Star Cruises. Their 14-month-old baby, Neuna, had drowned off the Kadamat Island near Lakshadweep after a vessel transporting her to island from the luxury liner capsized.

Nordkapp runs briefly aground in Antarctic
A Norwegian passenger vessel that operates a series of cruises in the Antarctic ran briefly aground there last night. The Nordkapp, which is owned by the Hurtigruten Group, hit rocks at 1830 local time. The ship that has 294 passengers and a crew of 76, was however able to free itself by its own power.  Nobody was hurt in the accident. The ship suffered only minor damage to the hull, but remains at anchor at Whalersí Bay near the Deception Island, according to a report on the website of the Norwegian newspaper Bergens Tidende.

Hurtigruten cancels three Nordkapp cruises after grounding incident
Hurtigruten has decided to cancel the remaining three cruises in the Antarctica by its 11,386 gross ton Nordkapp after the vessel ran aground there yesterday. The 294 passengers on board the ship that was built in 1996 are being transferred to Nordnorge, another ship of the same company that currently operates in the region. Nordkapp was able to come off the rocks by its own power, but it remains at anchor to allow disembarkation of the passengers. A British naval vessel is on its way to Deception Island, where Nordkapp is currently at anchor. Divers from the naval ship will investigate the extent of the damage, Hurtigruten says in a statement.

Deltamarin and V.Ships form joint venture to target conversions
Deltamarin, the Finnish naval architecture and marine engineering group and V.Ships Leisure, a leading provider of third party ship management and related services to the passenger shipping industry, have formed a joint venture company, V.Delta. ”The new company will provide safe, efficient, cost and time effective conversion solutions to cruise ships, ferries and mega-yachts. V.Delta will be a one-stop-shop in ship conversions. Its portfolio will range from feasibility studies to turn-key projects whereby clients are provided with a full range of services including project management, engineering, procurement, construction supervision, logistics and other related services,” Deltamarin said in a statement. This spectrum is based on the combined ship lifecycle experience of its founding shareholders. The two shareholders have already worked together and have a number of bids for projects currently out in the market. Initially, Jarmo Valtonen from Deltamarin and Matteo Di Maio from V.Ships Leisure will be dedicated to develop V.Delta to serve the clients with customized solutions.

RCCL excels in final quarter, full year profit falls and wave season starts weak
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) has announced record net income for the the final quarter of last year, but the figure for the full year fell from 2005. the wave period has started weaker than the company had hoped for. Fourth quarter 2006 net profit rose to $46.6 million, or $0.22 per share, compared to a net loss of $3.6 million, or $0.02 per share, for the fourth quarter 2005. Revenues for the fourth quarter 2006 increased to $1.2 billion from revenues of $1.0 billion in the fourth quarter 2005.Net income for the full year 2006 was $633.9 million, or $2.94 per share, compared to income before the cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle of $663.5 million, or $3.03 per share, for the full year 2005. Revenues for the full year 2006 increased to $5.2 billion from revenues of $4.9 billion for the full year 2005. Net Yields grew 3.4% to a record $178. Compared to the same period last year, fourth quarter 2006 Net Yields increased 3.3%, consistent with previous guidance, driven by strong cruise pricing. Net Cruise Costs, on a per APCD basis, decreased 3.3%, driven by the timing of drydocking and marketing expenses. Fuel costs, on a per APCD basis, were flat, with an average ”at-the-pump” price of $395 for the quarter.”It is very gratifying to achieve such strong performance, especially in our traditionally softest quarter,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. ”This certainly tops off another excellent year. We are particularly pleased with the solid yield performance of our brands, and healthy earnings despite significantly higher fuel costs.” Higher fuel prices increased operating costs by $112 million in 2006, which reduced earnings per share by $0.51. Looking ahead, RCCL,  will have a 12.2% increase in capacity in 2007, driven by Pullmantur, the April delivery of Liberty of the Seas, and a full year of Freedom of the Seas. ”The early indications from the 'wave period' are less encouraging than we had hoped,” Fain said. We have seen the usual uptick in volume, while pricing appears to have leveled off from the healthy appreciation we have seen over the last few years. The beginning of the year is down slightly, but the revenue picture for the balance of the year is stronger.”For the full year 2007, the company currently forecasts that Net Yields will increase in a range around 3% compared to 2006. Pullmantur accounts for two percentage points of this change. Net Cruise Costs per APCD are expected to increase in a range around 3% compared to the prior year. Pullmantur, because of its non-cruise division, will have a negative impact of approximately four percentage points on Net Cruise Costs.

Silversea announces restructuring
Ultra-luxury cruise line Silversea announced Friday a major internal restructuring initiative designed to support the continued growth and expansion of the company. Albert Peter, who has served as CEO since 2001, is transitioning to Deputy Chairman of Silversea Leisure and Travel, an affiliate company based in Monaco and led by Silversea Cruises Holding Ltd. Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre. The unit's focus is the pursuit of investment opportunities in the travel and leisure markets. Lefebvre will continue as Silversea Cruises Holding Ltd. Chairman, overseeing the group's strategy, based in the Monaco headquarters. Amerigo Perasso has been promoted to become Silversea's President, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company and will also be based in Monaco. The sales and marketing, revenue management, vessel operations, finance, information technology, human resources and legal departments will report to him. Perasso, 41, was appointed as Chief Financial and Revenue Officer in 2004 and joined the Silversea group of companies in 1997, working on the project that led to the construction of Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper. David Morris has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Marketing. Morris joined the Silversea executive team in 2003 as Senior Vice President of Sales for North America and was promoted in 2006 to Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for North America.

Cruising generates direct impact of Ä8.3 bilion in Europe
The cruise industry's direct impact on the economis ofthe European Union's 25 member states plus Norway, Switzerland and Iceland, was Ä8.3 billion in 2005, according to a survey the European Cruise Council unveiled in Brussels on Tuesday. The figure was probably, which much higher last year, as shipbuilding accounts for more than 50% of the total and 2005 was a year with exceptionally few deliveries. The total impact of the industry, which includes indirect and induced effects, amounted to Ä19.1 billion, the report says. This was the first time such a report ahad been commissioned on the effects of the cruise industry in Europe, although similar works have been published before on the Caribbean and US economies.

Executives bullish on growth of cruising in Europe
The European cruise industry is poised to grow at a brik rate in the near future, was the message from top executives at the European Cruise Council's meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, where the organisation published a report on the economic impacts of the industry. David Dingle, managing director of Carnival UK, said that the indirect impact of he industry that amounted to Ä19.1 billion in 2005 could grow to Ä30 billion in a few years' time. Michael Thamm, president of Aida Cruises in Germany, forecast that the German cruisemarket that generated 639,000 passenges in 2005 will exceed the 1.0 milion mark in 2010, five years after the UK. Susan Hooper, head of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd's two brands in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, pointed out that the decline of the package tour market in britain and the rapid growth of independent travel is the big story of the business in recent years. The cruise industry has good chances to continue its good growth performance, but it needs to innovate and diversify in order to do this and to retain good developments of yields.

Former Royal Caribbean President returns airline industry
Jack Williams, who served as a President of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises between 1997 and 2005, has returned to the airline industry. Eos Airlines named Williams as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Williams, whose career spans more than 30 years as a senior executive with American Airlines and Royal Caribbean Cruises, will assume the CEO title from David Pottruck. Eos Airlines provides scheduled premium service between London and New York with 48-seat Boeing 757s.

Mona Lisa becomes The Scholar Ship
The Scholar Ship, an international organisation entailing universities from several countries, has leased the 29,000 gross ton former Mona Lisa for use as ìthe first oceangoing education programme developed specifically for an international student body.î  The ship, which will be re-named The
Scholar Ship,  can accommodate 778 students and faculty, as well as 416 crew members.  Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. provides funding and operational support for The Scholar Ship. The Scholar Ship will make its maiden voyage in September 2007 from Piraeus (Athens), Greece and sail westward on an itinerary that includes stops in Lisbon, Portugal; Panama City, Panama; Guayaquil,
Ecuador; Papeete, Tahiti; Suva, Fiji; Sydney, Australia; Shanghai, China; and Okinawa and Kobe, Japan.  In addition to the programmeís onboard curriculum, each port of call provides a distinct educational platform from which students engage in academic field study, shore excursions, and independent travel. Seven universities have collaborated on the development of The Scholar Shipís rigorous onboard and port programmes.  These include the University of California, Berkeley (United States), Macquarie University (Australia), Fudan University (China), TecnolÛgico de Monterrey (Mexico), Al Akhawayn University (Morocco), University of Ghana (Sub-Saharan Africa), and
Cardiff University (United Kingdom).

Carnival and Iberojet sign loi on joint venture
Carnival Corporation & plc the largest cruise vacation company in the world, and Orizonia Corporacion, Spain's largest travel company which operates its own cruise fleet under its Iberojet division, today announced the signing of a letter of intent to form a joint venture to operate and expand the existing Iberojet Cruceros brand in Spain. Iberojet Cruceros operates two modern cruise ships, the 834-passenger Grand Voyager, built in 2000, and the 1,196-passenger Grand Mistral, constructed in 1999, which represent the newest ships in the contemporary Spanish cruise market. The new joint venture would eventually be comprised of a multi-ship fleet serving the rapidly expanding Spanish vacation sector.Under the proposed agreement, the two existing vessels would be transferred to the joint venture company. The intention is to grow that fleet over the next several years through the acquisition of existing tonnage from Carnival Corporation & plc's current fleet.

Brazilian cruise market doubles to rival France
The Brazilian cruise market is likely to hit 263,000 passengers this season (2006-07), more than double the 108,000 passengers in 2003-04, according to Island Cruises managing director Patrick Ryan. The company has benefited from occupancy levels of more than 100% at a time of strength for the Brazilian currency - the Real- has climbed steadily against the US dollar over the past year, Fairplay Daily News reports. The company has taken a 25% share of the Brazilian market and expects to have carried 67,000 passengers when the summer season ends in mid-March. ”Brazil has been a success for us,” Ryan told Fairplay. ”Our cruise product there has been dedicated to the Brazilian consumer, relaxed, informal and friendly and it has worked.” The company, a joint venture of Royal Caribbean and First Choice Holidays, deploys its 40,000 gross ton Island Escape and 47,000 gross ton Island Star In Brazil, using Santos as a home port for three-five- night cruises. The Brighton, UK, based company operates its two ships in the Mediterranean in the austral winter season by providing fly cruises of 7 and 14 nights from Britain. Meanwhile, the Brazilian market is roughly equal in size to that of France that generated 233,000 passengers in 2005, according to a report published by the European Cruise Council.

Carnival names 130,000 gross ton ships Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic
Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic are the names Carnival Cruise Lines has chosen for its two 130,000-ton SuperLiners scheduled to enter service in October 2009 and June 2011, respectively. Representing a new class of vessel for the line, the 3,652-passenger ”Fun Ships” will be the largest in Carnival CruiseLines' fleet and offer a host of innovative on-board amenities and facilities.

MyTravel and Thomas Cook to merge
The boards of MyTravel, the listed UK based tour operator, and KarstadtQuelle, the German retail giant that owns tour operator Thomas Cook, have agreed the terms of a recommended merger of MyTravel and Thomas Cook. The parent company of the enlarged group will be named Thomas Cook Group plc, headquartered in the UK and listed in London. The Merger is expected to create significant value for shareholders. ìThe enlarged group will have leading positions in the UK & Ireland, Germany, Scandinavia, Benelux, France and Canada. The enlarged group will also benefit from a portfolio of excellent brands, an experienced management team with a proven track record and a diverse geographic spread, which together will provide a strong platform for growth,î MyTravel said in a statement. ìMyTravel and Thomas Cook believe that the annualised pre-tax cost benefits arising from a combination of the businesses will be at least £75 million per annum once the full benefits of the merger are realized,î it continued. The terms of the Merger will result in the enlarged group being 52% owned by KarstadtQuelle and 48 % owned by the shareholders of MyTravel (calculated on a fully diluted basis). MyTravel started its own cruise operations in 1994 and acquired 50% of Costa Crociere two years later. However, financial problems forced it to both sell its stake in Costa and its four strong cruise ship fleet a few years go.

Carnival Corp & PLC cuts 2007 net revenue yield forecast on continued Caribbean weakness
Carnival Corp & PLC has cut its 2007 pricing outlook due to Caribbean weakness, but its earnings forecast remains unchanged on lower fuel, Fairplay Daily News reports. In its annual report filed today, Carnival said net revenue yields (the best indicator of pricing) should be flat for FY 2007, and down 1-2% when adjusted for currency. In its 21 December 2006 guidance, it estimated 2007 yields would be up 1-2%, and flat to slightly down when adjusted for currency. In todayís filing, Carnival said bookings since 1 January were up versus the same period last year, but had not kept pace with 2007 capacity increases. Pricing on recently-booked 2007 sailings is down compared with the same period last year ìprimarily because of continuing pressure on Caribbean sailings,î the report says. Shares in Carnival PLC fell 0.6% in London on a generally softening market, but those in Carnival Corp were 0.8% higher just before midday local time in New York. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd traded virtually unchanged in New York on the news.

Aida Bella name of second Sphinx class newbuilding
Aida Cruises, the German unit of Carnival Corp & PLC, has decided to name the second of four Sphinx class newbuildings Aida Bella. The 68,500 gross ton ship will enter service early next year. The first in the class, Aida Diva, will be delivered from the Meyer shipyard in Germany next month and it will join the Aida Cruisesí operation in April

RCCL gears up for big week in UK
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) is gearing up for ìits busiest and most significant ever week for the UK cruise market when it hosts over 4,000 travel industry professionals onboard ships throughout the fleet. From Sunday 22nd April 2007 three ships across the Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises brands will call into the UK cruise hub of Southampton,î the company says. As well as hosting its Royal Celebrity business partners, other key trade such as Advantage Travel Centres, The Global Travel Group, Worldchoice, the Freedom Travel Group, Travel Counsellors, Hays Travel, Future Travel Group, The Cruise Store, Travelcare, United Co-Op, Thomson, First Choice and Thomas Cook will all have dedicated events taking place onboard Liberty of the Seas.  Kicking off the week will be the newest and most innovative addition to the Royal Caribbean International fleet, Liberty of the Seas.  Making her inaugural voyage, the ground-breaking Liberty of the Seas will make her only European showcase in the UK confirming Royal Caribbean Internationalís commitment to the growing market. Not to be left out of the celebrations, on Thursday 26th April the largest ever Royal Caribbean International ship to be based in the UK will arrive in Southampton. Navigator of the Seas will begin a six-month European season offering the most dynamic cruise product ever to sail from a UK port. Over 100 travel agents will be hosted on board Navigator of the Seasí first ex-UK cruise

Projects for smaller cruise liners complement big ones, Aker yards say as profit jumps
Aker Yards, Europeís largest shipbuilding group, has reported a net profit of NOK1.04 billion in 2007, an increase from NOK777 million in the previous year. The company says the outlook in Cruise and Ferry sector remains good, with various projects to build smaller cruise liners in addition to Panamax and post-Panamax vessels now also being considered. On the other hand, activity on the ferry sector has declined from a year ago. High pressure on sub contractors and suppliers requires close follow-up, Aker Yards notes in a statement. The order backlog increased by NOK 1.90 billion from the previous quarter, and order intake in the fourth quarter was NOK 8.91 billion. Cruise & Ferries contributed a significant part of the order intake, with the order for two ferries for Stena Rederi AB representing approximately NOK 3.30 billion. The order backlog at the close of the fourth quarter was NOK 79.42 billion, compared with NOK 38.89 billion at the end of the fourth quarter 2005.

Mainly European operators look at small and medium-sized newbuildings
Several medium and small sized cruise liner newbuildings are on the drawing board at the moment, according to Aker Yards, which is the biggest shipbuilder in Europe and a major builder of passenger vessels. New entrants to the newbuilding market with mainly European background are now investigating the possibilities to contract ships as smaller ships offer a more attractive entry level to them than the large panamax and post-panamax vessels that major operators prefer, Karl Erik Kjellstad, ceo of Aker Yards, told a teleconference on Friday.  He added that so far there has been limited success with these projects. On 6 February, John Richardson, head of the European Commission's maritime policy task force, encouraged cruise lines to investigate the possibilities to build smaller ships to ease overcrowding in popular cruise ports by introducing itineraries that embrace ports new to the cruise industry. He spoke at an event of the European Cruise Council in Brussels

Converteam wins NCL electric propulsion order
Converteam, the French propulsion system supplier, has won an order to supply high torque density induction motors, converters and digital controls to the two 150,000 gross ton newbuildings Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has on order at Aker Yards France. Each vessel will be supplied by six generators totalling at 80MW and two shaft lines with a 24MW electric motor. The first of the 4,200 passenger ships is due to enter service in 2009 and the second a year later. This is the first major supplier contract unveiled for these vessels.

Obituary: Brook Hill Snow, long-time cruise writer, dies at 85
Brook Hill Snow, whose free lance travel stories for cruise and travel publications spanned more than 30 years, died at his home in St. Simons Island, Ga., Feb. 8 after a short illness. He was 85. Born June 26, 1921, in Chicago, Snow began an advertising career in California following his graduation from University of Michigan. After retiring, his love of travel led him to Majorca, Spain, where he lived for seven years before turning to travel writing. Carnival Cruise Lines President and CEO Bob Dickinson called Snow's passing and earlier retirement a loss to the industry. ”He was one of the first consumer cruise writers who really understood our industry and his passion for cruising was reflected in his ability to articulate it for the average reader,” Dickinson noted. The majority of his travel writing reflected his experiences on more than 187 cruises over three decades. Snow often commented that one of his greatest delights was taking family members on cruise trips. Brook Hill Snow was also the first U.S. correspondent for Cruise Business Review. In 2001 he moved to St. Simons Island to be closer to his daughter and grandchildren. He is survived by two daughters, Brooke Thompson and Robynne Snow, two sons Dale Snow and Fielding Snow, 10 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Carnival Corp & PLC sells Windstar to Ambassadors International
Carnival Corp & PLC has signed a definitive agreement to sell its Windstar Cruises brand to Ambassadors International Inc. Windstar Cruises, which operates three sailing vessels, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Holland America Line, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc. Under the terms of the agreement, Windstar will be sold for $100 million, $40 million of which is payable in cash and assumption of liabilities, and Carnival will provide mortgage financing for $60 million.  The loan will be payable over 10 years at 7.0% interest, collateralized by the three Windstar ships. Windstar Cruises' three ship fleet comprises of the 312-passenger Wind Surf and the 148-passenger Wind Star and Wind Spirit. Industry observers have noted that Carnival Corp & PLC focuses increasingly on big ships and small ships as those of Windstar fit poorly in its portfolio. Recently, Seabour Cruise Lines ordered two 32,000 gross ton ships ñ it today operates three vessels in the 10,000 gross ton size range.

Star Cruises posts deep final quarter and full year loss
Star Cruises, the third largest cruise shipping group in the world, has unveiled a deep loss in the final quarter of 2006, with rise in expenses and fall in net revenue yield. Net loss for the quarter increased to $147.5 million from a loss of 425.7 million the same period last year. Capacity increased by 14.5% to 2.8 million passenger days, while net revenue rose 6.9% but net revenue yield fell 6.6% Ship operating expenses rose 5.5%, while sale and administration expenses jumped 14.0%. For the full year, the group posted a net loss of 4156.2 million compared with a profit of $17.9 million in 2005. Capacity increased by 17.9% to 10.4 million passenger days and net revenue rose by 15.1%. However, net revenue yield declined by 2.4%. Sales and administration expenses fell by 7.6% while ship operating costs rose by 5.0

NCL Group brandsí bookings ahead of last year but Hawaii woes continue
Bookings for cruises of the brands of NCL Group that comprise Norwegian cruise Line (NCL), NCL America and Orient Lines have picked up ìsignificantlyî following a slow final quarter of 2006, but pricing continues to suffer at Hawaii. NCL Group recorded a 9.2% rise in net revenue in the final quarter of 2006, with 17.6% capacity increase, but net yield revenue fell 7.2%. For the full year, Net revenue rose 17.7%, capacity rose 16.9% and net yield revenue increased 0.7%. Adjusted to capacity, bookings are ìsignificantly aheadî of last year in the wave period, with European programmes selling well and a modest recovery taking place in the Caribbean. However, ìstrong downward pricing pressureî continues to plague operations in the Hawaii, which mainly involves the NCL America brand, whose ships fly the US flag.

Super Star Libra operations hit Star in the east
A weak initial season in India and slow bookings on a series of Mediterranean cruises on Super Star Libra, the 1,576 passenger capacity transfer to Star Cruises from subsidiary company Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), hit the performance of Star Cruisesí eastern operations. In the final quarter, capacity increased 2.4% year-on, while net revenue was flat and net revenue yield fell 2.4%. Occupancy ratio rose to 87.5% from87.1%. However, for the full year 2006 the operation recorded a 22.5% capacity rise, a 4.4% increase in net revenue but a 13.8% fall in net revenue yield. Occupancy ration plunged to 83.6% from 93.5% in 2005.

Star Cruises books $30.6 million impairment loss on Orient Lines
Star Cruises, the third largest cruise shipping group in the world, has booked a $30.6 million impairment loss in respect of its Orient Lines brand and its single ship in the groupís 2006 final quarter accounts. In the same period a year earlier, a reversal of a $1.3 million took place. Orient Lines is a destinational brand that operates the 22,080 gross ton Marco Polo, built in 1965 but extensively rebuilt in 1993. Officials at NCL Group, which is the parent company of Orient Lines in the Star Cruises group, have indicated that Orient Lines could be sold in the future.

Scanship wins waste management system contract for NCL newbuildings
Scanship has been awarded the total waste treatment contracts from Aker Yards for Norwegian Cruise Lineís (NCL) F3-class ships. The contracts include wet and dry waste handling, including wastewater purification. With 150 000 gross tons carrying 6 430 people will these be the largest ships ever built for NCL. ìNCL, the environmental cruise industry leader, has Scanship systems fleet wide. The contracts verify Aker Yardsí and NCLís continuous trust in Scanship,î the Norwegian waste management system supplier said in a statement..

Cruise Baltic Project wins major Danish marketing award
Cruise Baltic Project (CBP) has won Denmarkís biggest marketing award. It has just been announced that CBP has been given the HBH Marketing award 2007 for its combined branding, marketing and development of the Baltic region as a single cruise destination.Three years ago Wonderful Copenhagen and Cruise Copenhagen Network took the initiative to start the Cruise Baltic Project, which today includes 19 destinations and 35 partners around the Baltic Sea. The goal was to create continuing growth for the Baltic region. ìThe prerequisite for growth is to think globally. It is not enough for a harbour to offer a good product if the other harbours that make up the rest of the cruise product donít do likewise. It is the combined experience that counts. Based on the principle of helping destinations to help themselves, the countries around the Baltic joined in partnership to develop all the destinations around the Baltic,î says the chairman of Cruise Baltic Project and Sales- and Marketing Director of Wonderful Copenhagen, Ole Andersen.

NEWBUILDING UPDATE - Carnival Freedom handed over
Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL), part of the Anglo American cruise shipping group Carnival Corp & PLC, has taken delivery of Carnival Freedom from the Marghera shipyard of Fincantieri. It is the fifth sister ship of the Carnival Conquest that evolved from the highly successful design of the Carnival Destiny - delivered in 1996 -  from which a further 15 vessels were developed. The original Destiny design was first extended by adding half a deck of cabins at the fore, then the ship was lengthened by 15 metres, and, finally she was specifically tailored to the different brands of Carnival Corporation & PLC. The 110,200 gross ton, 18-deck ship, which is 295 metres long, 38 metres wide and 64 metres high, will have a cruising speed of almost 20 knots and a passenger capacity of 4,914 (3,734 guests and 1,182 crew) accommodated in 2,121 cabins. On board there is a 1,500-seat theatre, 5 swimming pools  (one with a retractable roof), 4 restaurants, 22 bars, a casinÚ, a discotheque, an internet cafÈ, a childrenís play area, shops, a fitness area, a jogging track and a volley and basketball court.

RCI to unveil ìmajor expansion in Europeî today
Royal Caribbean International (RCI), the contemporary market unit of the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) group, will make an announcement regarding ìmajor expansion of its European programmeî this evening in London, a spokewoman for RCCL said. The announcement will be made at 1900 local time, she added.

Independence of the Seas to cruise first season from Southampton
Royal Caribbean International (RCI) plans to deploy the 158,000 gross ton Independence of the Seas - the third in its new Freedom class of ships - in Southampton when it debuts in May 2008. It will take over from the 137,000 gross ton Navigator of the Seas in the British port that again will replace in April the 70,400 gross ton Legend of the Seas that spent two seasons in the UK. ìThis significant step is part of the companyís strategy of international business development and expansion into emerging and high-growth cruise markets,î said Richard Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited. ìWe have already seen tremendous growth of the cruise industry in Europe. This year, 21% of the capacity of our three brands combined - Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Pullmantur - will be in this region. Following a series of preview sailings in Oslo, Norway ; Hamburg, Germany and Southampton; UK. Independence of the Seas will embark on her maiden voyage in mid-May 2008, alternating 14-night ëMediterranean Treasuresí and ëItalian Mediterraneaní itineraries. Ports of call for the ëMediterranean Treasuresí itinerary include Gibraltar, UK; Barcelona, Spain; Nice, France; Florence/Pisa, Italy; Sardinia, Italy; Lisbon, Portugal; and Malaga and Vigo, Spain. Guests on the ëItalian Mediterraneaní cruises will experience the destinations of Gibraltar; Cannes/Monte Carlo, France; Florence/Pisa, Rome and Sardinia in Italy; Seville and Vigo, Spain; and Lisbon, Portugal.  Guests can also enjoy two four-night getaways from Southampton to Cork, Ireland and St. Peter Port in the Channel Islands. Three 11-night Canary Islands itineraries, also roundtrip from Southampton, will round out the autumn season, calling in Madeira, Portugal; Tenerife, Canary Islands; Las Palmas, Gran Canaria; Lanzarote, Canary Islands; and Vigo, Spain.

Private equity firm Apollo and Oceania tie knot in $850 million deal
Oceania Cruises and the private equity investor Apollo Management  have forged ìa strategic partnershipî and agreed to a transaction, valued at approximately $850 million including the assumption of debt, which is expected to be completed in the second quarter and is subject to normal conditions for a transaction of this type, including regulatory approval, Oceania said in a statement. Lehman Brothers Inc. and UBS Securities acted as financial advisors to Oceania Cruises on the transaction. Oceania Cruises will remain a wholly independent brand, operating with the support of Apollo's $12 billion private equity fund. Oceania Cruises' founding management team, including Chairman and CEO Frank Del Rio, along with a syndicate of the line's founding investors, remain stake holders in the new venture and are committed to the line's continued growth and success. Apollo, founded in 1990, is a recognized leader in private equity, debt and capital markets investing. Since its inception, Apollo has invested more than $16 billion through six funds. Based in New York with offices in Los Angeles and London, Apollo is currently investing in its sixth private equity fund, Apollo Investment Fund VI, L.P., which along with related co-investment entities, represents approximately $12 billion of new capital, Oceania says.

V.Ships Leisure to manage Windstar fleet
Ambassadors International, Inc subsidiary Ambassadors International Cruise Group has selected V.Ships Leisure to manage the vessel operations of Windstar Cruises following its acquisition which is anticipated to be completed in April 2007. David Giersdorf, President of Ambassadors International Cruise Group, stated, ”We are looking forward to utilizing the services and resources of V.Ships to support our effort to deliver the iconic Windstar experience to our guests and enhancing the ability of our officers and crew to achieve that goal. With the support of V.Ships, we will continue to operate Windstar as the award winning, luxury cruise line that everyone knows it to be” Lorenzo Malvarosa, CEO of V.Ships Leisure, added, ”We are happy to support the operation of this exceptional fleet. Ambassadors International and V.Ships Leisure share the same commitment to quality, service and excellence vital to this particular segment of the market.” Under the agreement, V.Ships Leisure will provide services which include insurance, deck, engine and hotel crew management, port operations, procurement and technical and hotel operations.

28.2.2007 voted top site in CruiseCritic survey is the cruise industry's top-rated web site according to a recent survey by, the leading on-line cruise community. Among the thousands of members who participated, the overwhelming majority cited as their cruise line Web site of choice. ”We've made a significant investment to create the most comprehensive, user-friendly Web site in the cruise industry and toreceive this acknowledgement from the members of -comprised of knowledgeable and experienced cruise enthusiasts - is agratifying endorsement of these efforts,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. Added Editor Carolyn Brown, ”Cruise line Web sites are very important to members who are experienced, tech-savvy travelers and rely heavily on the Internet toresearch their cruise vacation options.  Our members find not only visually appealing but also extremely easy to navigate, offering helpful resources to plan their cruise and interactive tools that enable them to purchase shore excursions, bon voyage gifts and other items before departure.” Carnival's top ranking in the CruiseCritic on-line poll follows last week's announcement that was the most visited cruiseline site on the Internet, according to statistics from Hitwise, a leading Internet tracking organization, Carnival said in a statement.

MSC Orchestra to be named 14 May in Civitavecchia
MSC Orchestra, the second 93,000 gross ton newbuilding of MSC Cruises,  will be named in the port of Civitavecchia on May 14. Following her inaugural May 16 sailing, MSC Orchestra will embark on a mini-cruise to Venice, where she will be positioned all summer season. She will depart Venice on roundtrip 7-night itineraries every Saturday from June 2 till Oct. 27. The ship will call at Bari, Katakolon (where passengers can visit the archaeological site of Olympia or relax on the beautiful beaches), Izmir, Istanbul, Dubrovnik in Croatia and back to Venice. In winter 2007-2008, MSC Orchestra will be positioned in the Mediterranean, joining sister ship MSC Musica. The new flagship will depart Nov. 3 for 11- and 12-day cruises, departing Venice and calling at Dubrovnik, Athens, Rhodes, Iraklion, Tunis, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona and Marseille before arriving in Genoa on Nov. 14 to begin its winter itineraries.

Star Cruises returns to Taiwan with Superstar Libra in June 2007
Star Cruises will reposition SuperStar Libra to Keelung, Taiwan for a seasonal deployment between June and October 2007. After two years, Star Cruises will return to Taiwan. SuperStar Libra ends her current season in India on 25 May 2007. Thereafter, she will undergo renovations to especially cater to the Taiwan market in areas like dining with the addition of an International buffet and a Chinese family style restaurant. SuperStar Libra is scheduled to arrive in Keelung on 29 June 2007 where she will commence offering a combination of 2- and 3-night cruises to destinations in Taiwan and Japan. The 2-night cruises will call at the new and popular destination of Penghu, located off the southeast coast of Taiwan and Ishigaki in Japan while the three night itineraries will call at Ishigaki and Naha, Okinawa in Japan.

Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention opens Tuesday, March 13
Nearly a thousand exhibiting companies from 100 countries are gathering in Miami Beach for the 23rd annual Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention March 12-15. The trade show, which occupies three halls of the Miami Beach Convention Center, opens Tuesday, March 13, at 9 am. The largest annual cruise-related trade show in the world, the Seatrade exhibition features national pavilions including the Caribbean, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Other sections highlight cruise destinations, ship services and hotel operations, food and beverage, information technology, design, ship services, hotel operations and ship equipment. For the first time, a Superyacht Pavilion for exhibitors that serve the megayacht industry has been organized. For the second consecutive year, the show features a pavilion for entertainment technology products and services for shipboard applications. PLEASE VISIT AT CRUISE BUSINESS REVIEW BOOTH, #1837! YOU CAN FOLLOW OUR COVERAGE DURING AN ENTIRE WEEK FROM OUR WEBSITE!

Oceania to hold news conference Wednesday
Oceania Cruises, the Miami based premium market cruise line, will hold a news conference at the Seatrade Cruise Convention in Miami on Wednesday at 08.30 am local time. Apollo, a US based priovate equity group, recently acquired controlling intrerest in Oceania in a deal worth $850 million. Oceania is understood to be looking for expansion of its business that currently comprises of three 650 passenger ships

Silversea and Oceania order at Fincantieri
Two high end of the market operators have ordered newebuildings from Fincantieri in Italy. Silversea has signed a contract for a 36,000 gross ton, 540 passenger vessel that will be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2009. The order has an option for a second ship. Oceania Cruises has contracted two 65,000 gross ton ships with 1,260 beds each that will cost $500 million per ship. This contract too includes an option for a further vessel.

Oceania unveils details of $1Bn newbuilding programme
Oceania Cruises, the top end of the premium segment operator, has unveiled details regarding its agreement to build two 65,000 gross ton cruise liners at Fincantieri. The ships will cost $500 million each and they will be delivered in 2010 and 2011 respectively. There is an option for a third 1,260 passenger vessel that would be delivered in 2012 if Oceania exercised the option. Apollo Management, an American private equity company, acquired controling interest in Oceania earlier this spring in a deal that valued the company with a fleet of three 650 passenger vessels at $850 million.

Lord Sterling buys Swan Hellenic, seeks replacement ship
Carnival  plc , the UK constituent of the world's largest cruise shipping group Carnival Corp & PLC, has reached agreement with Lord Sterling, former chairman of The  Peninsular  &  Oriental  Steam  Navigation  Company  (P&O)and LifePresident  of  P&O  Cruises,  for  the  sale of the assets of Swan
Hellenic including  its  trademarks, and marketing database. Carnival will cease its operation  of  Swan  Hellenic,  its British discovery cruise division, on 7 April  2007,  when  it  will  transfer  the  current  Swan Hellenic ship to Princess Cruises. Lord  Sterling  said: ”Through P&O I have been involved with Swan Hellenic for some 25 years and it will give me great pleasure to enable this famous and unique brand of some 50 years to continue. We  are  actively  seeking  a  replacement  ship  and  it is our
desire to continue  our  voyages  throughout the same regions of past years, together with  new  areas  of interest.  We are keenly aware of and grateful for the long-standing  loyalty  of  so  many  Swan  passengers  and  renowned guest speakers,  and  we  look  forward  to renewing acquaintances in the not too distant future.”

Queen Victoria to cruise from UK in 2008
Queen Victoria, the new Cunard ship that will enter service in December, will cruise next year from the UK after its first world cruise that also departs from Southampton. ”For the first time in history, three Cunard Queens will be in service simultaneously and the newest, Queen Victoria, will embark on 21 captivating voyages that will include dozens of celebratory maiden calls around the world. Queen Victoria's 2008 programme is highlighted by Cunard's exciting return to Scandinavia and Russia, as well as eight different Mediterranean itineraries affording guests' an in-depth exploration into the renowned cities and ports of the region. The schedule also features visits to Norway, the Canary Islands and the Caribbean on itineraries of four to 22 days,@ the company said in a statement. Among the highlights are three 14-day Russian Rendezvous itineraries circling the Baltic Sea and featuring two full days in St. Petersburg, Russia; a full range of Mediterranean ports featuring Egypt and the Greek Isles, and the best ports of the Eastern and Western Mediterranean including Monte Carlo, Florence and Instanbul; and a 22-day Caribbean Holiday voyage. These voyages follow Queen Victoria's 106-night Maiden World Cruise and will be detailed in Cunard's 2008 Voyages brochure to be published in mid-April, Cunard says.

Carnival Corp & PLC first quarter net profit rises to $283 million on strong Europe
Carnival Corporation & plc  reported net income of $283 million, or $0.35 diluted EPS, on revenues of $2.69 billion for its first quarter ended February 28, 2007. Net income for the first quarter of 2006 was $251 million, or $0.31 diluted EPS, on revenues of $2.46 billion. First quarter revenues increased by 9.1 percent driven by a 7.4 percent increase in cruise capacity and a 1.7 percent increase in gross cruise revenue yields (revenue per available lower berth day). Net revenue yields for the first quarter of 2007 increased 0.3 percent compared to the prior year. Adjusting for the effect of movement in currency exchange rates, net revenue yields as measured on a local currency basis (”constant dollar basis”) decreased 2.1 percent compared to the same period last year.Net cruise costs per available lower berth day (”ALBD”) for the first quarter of 2007 increased 1.3 percent compared to costs for the same period last year. On a constant dollar basis, net cruise costs per ALBD decreased 1.3 percent from the same period last year. Gross cruise costs per ALBD increased 2.9 percent compared to the prior year.
Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison noted the first quarter continued the trend seen in recent quarters of strong growth in cruise revenue yields from the company's European cruise brands offsetting pricing weakness in the Caribbean.”The Caribbean remains the world's top cruising region, with excellent year-round weather, beautiful beaches, great shopping and a welcome hospitality -- all within easy reach of millions of North American vacationers,” Arison noted. ”Despite a soft pricing environment in this segment, we'll carry a record number of guests to the Caribbean this year,” he added.Arison further noted, ”Booking trends for the Caribbean over the past few weeks indicate that consumers are recognizing the extraordinary value of warm water cruises.” In mid-February, the company indicated that bookings since the beginning of January through February 4 were up over last year but less than its 2007 capacity increase. Since that time, the company has noted a significant increase in booking volumes over the prior year with the increase well above the 2007 capacity increase, especially for Carnival Cruise Lines' Caribbean programs, although pricing is below last year's levels. Outlook for 2007 On a cumulative basis, occupancy on a capacity adjusted basis for advance bookings taken for the last nine months of 2007 is slightly ahead of last year. Pricing on a cumulative basis is down slightly compared to last year (down 2 percent in constant dollars).
Tour operators TUI and First Choice to merge, both deeply involved in cruising
The consolidation of the European tour operating business continues, with TUI in Germany and First Choice Holidays in the UK having unveiled a merger plan just a few weeks after the German owned Thomas Cook and My Travel, another British firm, agreed to merge. A new company to be called TUI Travel PLC will be established in the UK and listed on the London Stock Exchange. Shareholders of TUI will control 51% and those of First Choice 49% of the equity in the new company, whose board will be chaired by TUIís Michael Frenzel. First Choice ceo Peter Long will assume that position in the new company. TUI Travel PLC will have pro forma revenues of £12 billion and EBITDA of £554 million. Its cruise operations comprise of Hapag-Lloyd in Germany, Thomson Cruises and Island Cruises in the UK plus a planned German joint venture company with Carnival Corp & PLC to be known as TUI Cruises. A newbuilding is planned or TUI Cruises to start its operations and Aida Cruises, the market leader in Germany, should also become part of the Carnival-controlled venture.

First block of Solstice laid
The first of 72 blocks of the new 122,000 gross ton cruise vessel Celebrity Solstice for Celebrity Cruises was laid in the roofed-over building dock II at Meyer Werft in Papenburg last week. Dan Hanrahan (President), Harri Kulovaara (Executive Vice President Maritime & Newbuilding) and Project Director Jarmo Laakso of Celebrity Cruises put the ”lucky coins” on the keel blocks before the first block of the new ship was put in position by the yard's 800-ton crane. The first block weighs more than 430 tons, is 16 m long, 36.8 m wide and approx. 8 m high. Meyer Werft was represented by its Managing Directors, Bernard Meyer and Lambert Kruse, and by Project Manager Uwe Wulff. The vessel will have a length overall of 315 m and a breadth of 36.8 m. The speed will be more than 24 knots and she will be able to accommodate more than 2,850 passengers in 1,425 cabins. The new ship will have another two sister ships, the Celebrity Equinox and the Celebrity Eclipse. The Celebrity Solstice will feature plenty of technical innovations especially in the field of new energy saving solutions and will be built in compliance with the latest stability rules which will take effect in 2009. The newbuilding is scheduled for delivery to Celebrity Cruises in October 2008

Caterpillar wins engine orders for NCL newbuildings
The Caterpillar group has won an order from Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) to supply the main engines for the two 150,000 gross ton newbuildings on order at Aker Yards France. Both ships will be fitted with three MaK 12M 43 C and three MaK 16M 43 C diesel engines that will deliver a total output of 79.8MW. The ships will be delivered in 2009 and 2010 respectively and NCL has an option for a third unit of the same class.

TUI-First Choice deal could jeopardise TUI Cruises venture with Carnival
The planned joint venture between TUI, the German tour operator and container shipping group, and Carnival Corp & PLC, the world's largest cruise shipping group, could be in jeopardy after TUI agreed to merge its tour operating business with First Choice in the UK. TUI spokesman Kuzey Esener stressed to Fairplay Daily News that there was only a letter of intent and would not commit himself to saying whether plans continue as per the statement of December 2006. The two companies then agreed to explore the possibility of setting up a joint venture called TUI Cruises that would order a newbuilding to that brand plus assume operations of Aida Cruises, the market leader in Germany. Aida is part of the Carnival group Esener did confirm, however, that the four Hapag-Lloyd shipswill remain with Hapag-Lloyd and not become part of TUI Travel PLC, the new UK based company to be formed through the merger of TUI's tour operations and First Choice, Fairplay Daily News reports.

Celebrity to move UK port to Harwich from Dover 2008
Celebrity Cruises, the premium market unit in the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) group, will move its UK based ship to Harwich from Dover next year. Crossing the Atlantic on 11th April 2008, Constellation departs Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on a 13-night voyage to Harwich, England, a new port of embarkation for Celebrity Cruises. There, Constellation will present a round-trip, 9-night Scotland and Ireland cruise before launching a series of 14-night, round-trip Scandinavia and Russia cruises. Constellationís 2008 season in Europe concludes with a transatlantic voyage departing Barcelona 8th September, featuring visits to Morocco, Spain, Portugal, the Azores and Newfoundland, and concluding in Cape Liberty, New Jersey, where the ship resumes Canada and New England sailings,  RCCL said in a statement.

The Magellan selects Aker Yards
The Residential Cruise Line Ltd. announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Aker Yards to start building the ms Magellan, according to Helium Report. This is the first step in building their residential cruise ship. However, the finalization of the project is still subject to the completion of financing the project. Designed by the Norwegian firm of Petter Yran and Bjorn Storbraaten Architects A.S., the Magellan will be the largest residential cruise ship in the world. The Residential Cruise Line willl offer fractional and full ownership of luxury, high end residences and penthouses. The ship will feature a full-service retractable marina, on-call private Bell 429 helicopters, a 450-seat satellite broadcast capable theater, and 24-hour on-call concierge. Private residences on the Magellan range in price from $1.875 million to $8 million for penthouses and from $156,250 for fractional ownership residences.

Tate Modern to sail with Ventura
Tate Modern, the London based museum of modern art, has teamed up with P&O Cruises so that respresentatives of the museum will give talks on selected cruises on the line's newcomer, Ventura,  that will debut in April 2008. The ship will have a dedicated art gallery of its and literature pubished by P&O Cruises says the museum's staff that will sail on the ship will give lectures on modern art and host workshops. At 115,000 gross tons, Ventura will be the largest cruise liner dedicated to the British market. A sister ship will be introduced two years later. Both vessels are on order from Fincantieri in Italy, while P&O Cruises is part of Carnival Corp & PLC

RCI's Empress of the Seas to join Pullmantur fleet
Royal Caribbean International plans to transfer Empress of the Seas to Pullmantur, the Madrid-based cruise and tour operator that parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. purchased in November 2006. ”Empress of the Seas is a wonderful ship that has served our brand well,” said Adam Goldstein, president, Royal Caribbean International. ”This
transfer will help to increase Pullmantur's capacity and meet demand for its distinctive style of cruise holidays in the European market.” The last voyage of Empress as part of the Royal Caribbean International fleet will be March 7, 2008. Guests booked on all sailings after this date will be contacted by Royal Caribbean International representatives to transfer existing reservations to similar accommodations onboard other Royal Caribbean ships. Empress of the Seas joined the Royal Caribbean fleet in June 1990 and was built by Chantiers de l'Atlantique in St. Nazaire, France. She was refurbished in May 2004. The 48,563 gross ton ship has a double-occupancy guest capacity of 2,020.

Keel-laying marks milestone in construction of Eurodam
Construction of Holland America Line's new Signature-class premium cruise ship ms Eurodam reached a milestone with the recent keel-laying ceremony at the Fincantieri Marghera shipyard in Italy. The 2,044-passenger ship is scheduled for delivery in June 2008. The ceremonial keel laying involves lowering the first modular section of the ship onto the construction dock. Subsequently, other modules are put into place, much like fitting together a giant, multi-layered jigsaw puzzle. The $450-million Eurodam, with 11 passenger decks, features a new class of staterooms with floor-to-ceiling windows on the top two decks, as well as many traditional Holland America Line amenities.

Carnival returns to the Baltic, Princess deploys a bigger ship
Carnival Cruise Lines will return to the Baltic after a several year absence in Summer 2008. The largest cruise brand in the world will deploy its new Carnival Splendor, currently under construction at Fincantieri. The 112,000 gross ton and 3,004-passenger Splendor will be derived from the Conquest-class and will offer similar features as do the Costa Concordia and Costa Serena. Meanwhile, Princess Cruises, another Carnival Corporation brand, will replace its 2,600-passenger Star Princess in summer 2008 with the 3,080-passenger Crown Princess, which was delivered last year. Crown Princess will continue to be based in Copenhagen while Splendor will operate out of the U.K.

MSC contracts fourth Panamax newbuilding from Aker Yards
Aker Yards has signed a contract with MSC Cruises to build a 4th MSC Musica class cruise ship. The MSC Magnifica will be built at Aker Yards, Saint-Nazaire and delivered in 2010. The value of the contract is approximately 410 million euro. The contract is subject to financing. The now ordered ship will be of 89,600 gross tons, 294 metres long and just over 32 metres wide, and complies with the Panama Canal Standard. MSC Magnifica will carry up to 4,000 people on board (including crew) and have 1275 passenger cabins, 80% of which being outside. Mr. Yrjˆ Julin, President of Aker Yards, Cruise & Ferries comments: ”We are very proud to be able to continue to contribute to the dynamic expansion of MSC's fleet. The already strong relationship between MSC and Aker Yards has been further strengthened by this contract and we look forward to continue our innovative cooperation with MSC targeting to offer unique cruise experiences to MSC passengers”. Aker Yards is presently completing the construction of MSC Orchestra, which will be delivered in May. The order book also includes the third sister ship, MSC Poesia (delivery: 2008) and two 1650 cabins cruise ships - MSC Fantasia (delivery: 2008) and MSC Serenate (delivery: 2009). By 2009, MSC Cruises' fleet will include ten modern cruise ships, all built by Aker Yards.

Ambassadors places $85 million 3.75% convertible notes due 2027
Ambassadors International, Inc. has agreed to sell $85 million of 3.75% Convertible Senior Notes due 2027 in a private offering, which is related to the acquisition of Windstar Cruises from Carnival Corp & PLC. In connection with the offering, the company has granted the initial purchaser a 13-day option to purchase an additional $15 million aggregate principal amount of notes solely to cover over-allotments. The notes will be convertible into shares of Ambassadors International, Inc.'s common stock at an initial conversion rate of 17.8763 shares per $1,000 principal amount of the notes (which is equivalent to an initial conversion price of approximately $55.94 per share and represents a 25% premium to the closing share price on March 28, 2007), subject to adjustment upon the occurrence of certain events. The company may redeem the notes in whole or in part after April 15, 2012. After April 20, 2010 and prior to April 15, 2012, the Company may redeem all or a portion of the notes value only if the price of the Company's common stock reaches certain thresholds for a specified period of time. Holders of the notes may require the Company to purchase all or a portion of the notes, in cash, on April 15, 2012, April 15, 2017 and April 15, 2022 or upon the occurrence of certain fundamental changes. The company intends to use the proceeds from the sale to retire the $60 million in seller financing expected to be incurred in connection with its pending acquisition of Windstar Cruises. The remaining proceeds are expected to be used for general corporate purposes and future growth of thecompany, Ambassadors said in a statement.

Fantasy class ships to undergo $250 million ”Evolutions of Fun” upgrade
The eight Fanstasy class cruise liners of Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) will receive a facelift costing a total of $250 million and which will include expansive children's water parks, a new design style and features for the pool areas, and the creation of the Serenity adults only deck area will be part of a dramatic transformation of the ships. The $250 million figure puts this project in the same class in terns of cost as the Signature of Excellence project of sister company Holland America Line. These ”extreme makeovers” are part of an overall initiative to upgrade all of the unique guest-pleasing features and design style of the Fantasy-class vessels in addition to providing guests with new and exciting shipboard amenities. ”The Fantasy-class vessels are the most successful series of cruise ships ever introduced, as well as the industry leader in three-to five-day vacations, carrying nearly 1.6 million guests annually,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO.  ”'Evolutions of Fun' represents a multi-million-dollar investment designed to build upon these vessels' tremendous appeal with vacationers by incorporating a host of new and exciting facilities and features,” he added.  The expanded outdoor recreation areas will initially be incorporated onto the 2,052-passenger Inspiration and Imagination during upcoming month-long dry docks this autumn and added to other ships in 2008 and 2009 during scheduled dry dock periods. With Carnival expected to carry a record 575,000 kids this year, particular emphasis is being placed on family friendly amenities, with new and expanded play areas, part of the line's top-rated ”Camp Carnival” programme, and new facilities for the ”Club O2” teen programme. Custom-designed spaces geared toward 12- to 14-year olds are also planned and more than 50 interconnecting staterooms are being added to several Fantasy-class ships - perfect for large families or family gatherings. The ”Evolutions of Fun” initiative is also responding to thechanging needs of health-conscious consumers with a complete overhaul of 12,000-square-foot spa facilities.  The spa makeovers include new private treatment rooms, state-of-the art exercise equipment and a host of cosmetic enhancements.

Evac acquires Norsk Inova and expands to dry waste management
Evac, which is part of the Zodiac group in France, has acquired Norsk Inova AS,  a leading supplier of total dry waste and garbage handling systems for the cruise industry. Its headquarters are located in Notodden, Norway with a sales and service office in Miami, USA. Norsk Inova AS was previously part of Von Roll Inova Holding AG in Switzerland. The merger with Norsk Inova AS means that Evac will be able to offer integrated solutions for dry and wet waste systems for cruise liners and ferries. Evac is very pleased with this development, which will allow the company to continuously improve its product range and meet its customersí needs even better. The system is type approved by IMO-MARPOL and takes into account growing environmental concerns, Evac said in a statement

Norwegian Dawn sailings being canceled
Norwegian Cruise Line announced that Norwegian Dawn will be entering a previously unscheduled dry dock on May 29 to conduct necessary repairs on a thrust bearing in the ship's ABB-manufactured azipod propulsion system. During routine inspections, Norwegian Dawn's engineers identified localized wear in the thrust bearing and in the last few weeks, Norwegian Dawn's itinerary has been changed to reduce speed to limit further wear on the bearing until NCL could schedule the dry dock. This issue has affected only the speed of the vessel and has no impact on the safe operation of the ship. As a result of the unexpected dry dock, NCL is cancelling two upcoming Norwegian Dawn sailings on May 26 and June 2, 2007. Based on the early scheduling of the dry dock, NCL does not anticipate any further itinerary changes to the ship's itineraries between April 11 and May 26 prior to the dry dock.

Weak dollar and high bunker costs to eat into Carnival's eps
A weak US dollar combined with high bunker prices will reduce earnings per share (eps) of Carnival Corp & PLC, the Anglo-American cruise shipping giant, both in the second quarter and the full year, the company says.  As of March 16, 2007 Carnival said that we expected our diluted earnings per share for the second quarter and full year of 2007 would be in the range of $0.45 to $0.47 and $2.90 to $3.10, respectively.  ìOur guidance was based on the then current forward fuel price curve of $318 per metric ton for the last nine months of fiscal 2007.  In addition, this guidance was also based on currency exchange rates of $1.32 to the euro and $1.94 to sterling. We are not updating our March 16, 2007 guidance as we have not received new internal forecasts from our business units.  However, since our last guidance, the forward fuel price curve has moved up to $339 per metric ton (as of March 28, 2007) for the last nine months of fiscal 2007,î the company said in a statement.  Based on this forward fuel price and current currency exchange rates of $1.33 to the euro and $1.96 to sterling, Carnivalís earnings per share for the second quarter and full year of 2007 would decrease by $0.01 and $0.05, respectively.  Excluding any future ship orders, acquisitions or retirements, the year-over-year percentage increase in ALBD capacity for the second, third and fourth quarters of 2007, resulting substantially all from new ships entering service, is currently expected to be 9.4%, 9.6% and 5.9%, respectively, Carnival notes

Royal Caribbean orders another Genesis-class vessel from Aker Yards
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. orders another Genesis-class cruise vessel from Aker Yards. The contract price is approximately EUR 900 million. The contract is subject to final confirmation of buyers financing. The second 220,000 gross ton Project Genesis vessel will be delivered from Aker Yards, Finland in August 2010. The order means 5,800 man years of work for the yard.

Costa sets new record with three ships under construction in Italy
Costa Crociere, the biggest cruise company in Europe and South America has set a new record:  for the first time the company has three new buildings under construction in Italy all at once.  The record was set today with the cutting of the first plate for a new 92,700-tonner at Fincantieriís shipyard in Marghera (Venice).  The occasion was also marked by the announcement of the name of the new liner, which will be called the Costa Luminosa.  The other two Costa ships taking shape in Italy ñ both in Genoa Sestri Ponente ñ are the Costa Serena (112,000 gross tonnage and total Guest capacity of 3780), which is in the final stages of fitting-out and will be delivered on May 15, 2007, and a sister ship due for completion in spring 2009. The Costa Luminosa will be 92,700 gross tonnage and 292 meters in length, and have accommodation for 2260 passengers in dual occupancy cabins.

Royal Caribbean brands award 15 marine conservation grants totaling $796,000
The Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises Ocean Fund awarded $796,000 on March 30 in 15 new grants to marine conservation and environmental organizations, including a $100,000 grant to The Conservation Fund for its Alaska land preservation program and a $100,000 grant to Conservation International for its campaign to conserve Caribbean biodiversity. Almost $9 million has been awarded to 64 non-profit organizations working to protect the marine environment since the fund's inception in 1996. The mission of the Ocean Fund is to support efforts to restore and maintain a healthy marine environment, minimize the impact of human activity on this environment, and promote awareness of ocean and coastal issues and respect for marine life.

Fincantieri 2006 net profit rose 21% to 58.7 million
Fincantieri, the state owned Italian shipbuilding group, has reported a 21% rise in net profit to Ä58.7 million last year. Value of production rose 9.6% to Ä2.43 billion euro, while operating profit rose 16.7% to Ä128.4 million. ìInvestments in Research and Development, equal to Ä43.7 million, are in line with the previous two years, confirming that the company considers research, industrial development and product innovation key drivers to maintain its leadership in both product and market,î Fincantieri said in a statement.

Saga mulls going public
Saga∏ the British travel and financial services company that has three cruise ships, could be floated on the London Stock Exchange in the second half of the year, the BBC reports. The company was founded in 1951 and some three years ago the private equity firm Charterhouse and the management acquired it from the son of the founder, Sidney de Haan, in a deal valued at £1.35 billion. Saga Cruises, the companyís cruise shipping unit, owns and operated the 24,000 gross ton Saga Ruby and the similar sized Saga Rose, built in 1973 and 1965 respectively. The 10,000 gross ton Spirit of Adventure that operates fly cruises is the third ship in the Saga Cruises fleet. The group only sells its wide range of products to customers over the age of 50.

Sea Diamond runs aground, passengers being evacuated
An operation to evacuate up to 1,600 people from a stricken cruise ship is under way off the coast of the Greek island of Santorini. The 22,000 gross ton Sea Diamond that belongs to Louis Cruise Lines, issued a distress signal after running aground and is taking on water, according to local news reports. Passengers were reported to be boarding lifeboats and abandoning the ship. More than a dozen ships and five navy rescue helicopters are helping with the evacuation effort, the BBC reports. The ship was about one nautical mile (1.8km) off the coast of the island in the eastern Aegean Sea, reports said.
Many of the 1,200 passengers on board are from Germany and the United States, local news reports said. There are also up to 400 crew. The ship was built in 1986 as Birka Princess for Birka Line in Finland, who sold it to Louis last year.

UPDATE: Sea Diamond sinks Friday morning, all but two passengers rescued?
Sea Diamond sank off Santorini Friday morning, after the vessel struck coral reef and nearly 1,600 people on board had to be rescued, USA Today reports. The Sea Diamond sank shortly before 7 a.m. local time, 15 hours after the accident occurred and the ship began listing and taking on water. Authorities said two French passengers ó a 45 year-old man and his 16-year-old daughter ó had still not been accounted for, and lists of rescued passengers were being rechecked.

UPDATE: Louis Hellenic confirms the sinking of Sea Diamond
Louis Hellenic Cruises announces that it has been informed by a French tour leader that so far two members of his group from the Sea Diamond have not yet been in contact with him. Every effort is being made to locate them. Louis Hellenic Cruises has also reported that unfortunately at the early hours of this morning, local time the vessel sank in Santorini. Passengers from Sea Diamond have arrived in Piraeus on the Aegean II and Perla is expected to also arrive there with more passengers at around noon local time.

UPDATE: Master of Sea Diamond faces court, blames currents for grounding
A prosecutor on the Aegean island of Naxos on Saturday launched legal proceedings against the captain of the cruise ship Sea Diamond that sank off the island of Santorini at dawn on Friday 7 April after striking a reef on the previous afternoon. Prosecution concerns causing a shipwreck through negligence, causing pollution to the sea through negligence and failing to apply international regulations on avoiding collisions, media reports say. The Greek captain of ship that was owned by Louis Cruise Lines has spoken to Greek television, denying responsibility for the incident. Instead he blamed strong sea currents for the disaster. Speaking to Greece's NET television he said that the ship was on her proper course when suddenly he felt the ship veer to the right. He gave the command to go to port but said that the ship did not respond in time and they struck the reef. He also said that he and some of his crew took their lives in their hands as they searched for passengers in their cabins as the ship took on a 20 degree list, saying he realised that control of the ship was now impossible as it had taken on water and was already sinking. Meanwhile authorities on Santorini have announced plans to sue the owners of a Greek cruise ship that sank near the island, fearing a serious blow to the booming local tourist economy from oil pollution. ”We feel it is our obligation to take legal action,” said regional governor Chrysanthos Roussos overnight. ”We need to ensure that the ship's owners take responsibility for the clean-up operation,” he told state television Net.

Fred Olsen unveils $80 million project to lengthen Balmoral
Fred Olsen Cruise Line (FOCL) has decided to lengthen the 1988 built Balmoral by 30 m to 217 m at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Germany at a refit that will cost $80 million. The shipís capacity will increase by some 35% to 1,350 lower berths and it will have more cabins with balconies. The company acquired the ship, currently trading at Norwegian Crown of Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), last year. It then said the ship and refit would cost a total of $130 million. Managing director Mike Rodwell says the company ìwill look at various options and there are really three of them. Firstly, to lengthen a vessel, secondly to buy second hand ships and then newbuildings.î  FOCL has underlined the fact that it operates smaller ships than most of its competitors, but Rodwell points out that the perception of what is a small ship changes as more and more large post-panamax newbuildings enter service.

Classification society DNV says Sea Diamond's papers in good order
Sea Diamond, the Louis Cruise Linesí vessel that sank off Santorini last weekend, had its classification documents in good order, says Det Norske Veritas (DNV), its Oslo based classification society. ìThe main class renewal survey was completed 28 April 2006. Last annual survey was carried out less than a month ago ñ 9 March 2007 in Piraeus, Greece,î DNV said in a statement. The ship was built at the now defunct Valmet shipyard in Helsinki in 1986 as Birka Princess for Birka Line, a Finnish owner, who sold the 22,412 gross ton vessel to Louis Cruise Lines last year. ìAt the time of the accident, DNV had issued class certificate, safety management certificate and ship security certificate. Sea Diamond had no overdue surveys and no condition of class. DNV will assist and support the flag administration and the shipowner if an accident investigation is opened,î DNV said.

Hawaii losses send Pride of Hawaii to Europe 2008 - temporarily
NCL Corporation (”NCL”), parent company of NCL America and Norwegian Cruise Line, has announced ìthe temporary withdrawal ìof the 93,500 gross ton US flagged Pride of Hawaii from the Hawaii market effective February 2008. The ship will be deployed to Europe for the summer of 2008 as part of the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet. ìNCL's substantial 2006 losses, reported in February of this year, have been caused by downward pricing pressure in the Hawaii market following the addition of Pride of Hawaii to the fleet last summer, and the steep increase in the amount of foreign flag competition entering the Hawaii market from the west coast,î NCL Corp said in a statement.  ”We take this action with regret, but sure in the knowledge that a temporaryretrenchment is the right thing to do for the good of the business and the good of Hawaii in the long run,” said Colin Veitch, NCL Corporation's president and CEO. ”We remain committed to building a strong U.S. Flag cruise business home ported in Hawaii, and we need to make sure that our other two ships, Pride of Aloha and Pride of America, are able to achieve acceptable profitability before we can confidently re-introduce Pride of
Hawaii.” According to Veitch, NCL America has grown very quickly over three years, and its competitors have also surged, starting in 2006, offering almost  80% additional capacity days on top of NCL America's in 2007. ”Clearly we are victims of our own success,” Veitch continued. ”We have demonstrated that Hawaii is a highly attractive cruise destination and Hawaii now has four times as much capacity serving it in 2007 as it did in2004 when we started NCL America.

Tallink orders Ä180 million cruise ferry from Aker Yards Finland
Aker Yards Finland and Tallink Grupp in Estonia have signed a contract for large cruise ferry that will be development of the 48,300 gross ton Galaxy that was delivered in 2006. The contract price for the now ordered vessel is about Ä180 million and it will be delivered in spring 2009 from the shipyard in Rauma. The ship will have a speed of 24.5 knots and it will have more than 900 cabins and it can accommodate 2,800 passengers. Tallink has a second vessel of the same type on order at Aker Yards Finland. It will be delivered in the spring of 2008.

US consumer confidence slumps, but analyst says focus on moving averages
Confidence among U.S. consumers slumped to an 18-month low in April, but a cruise industry analyst says it is better to focus on moving averages rather than to jump because of data from just one month. The confidence was spooked by fears of a recession along with high gasoline prices and inflation worries, according to a survey released on Tuesday, Reuters reports. Investor's Business Daily and Techno Metrica Market Intelligence said their IBD/TIPP economic optimism index fell to 45.5 from 50.8 in March. April's reading is the lowest since late 2004. The last time the index was below 50, indicating pessimism, was in August 2006, the report said. ìTwo primary measures of consumer confidence that are widely used are the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment number and the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index.  I also generally look at 3-month moving averages as the monthly numbers can be volatile,î said Jake Balzer, senior equity analyst at Guzman & Company in Florida.  ìLooking at the last 18 months, the U of M index peaked in January and dropped off the last two months.  The Conference Board index peaked last month and dropped slightly this month,î he told Cruise Business. ìThe Conference Board also provides a Consumer Confidence - Vacation Intended Index every other month, which measures people's intent to take a vacation in the near future. Similar to the other indices, it has been very strong, but dropped off last month.  Again, I think it's more useful to look at moving averages than solitary data points.  However, as all three of these indicate, consumer sentiment has weakened recently and it may have some impact on the cruise business.  One thing not reflected in these figures is various wealth segments of the consumer population.  As shown by the relative weakness of the less-pricey Caribbean segment versus continued strength in the European and Alaskan cruises, the lower end of the market is feeling somewhat more pinched than the high end and it's difficult to really reconcile that against these indices,î he said.

Steel cutting and coin ceremony of MSC Cruises' two  post-panamaxes in France
MSC Cruises marked two events today Aker Yards France in Saint-Nazaire in the construction of the two 133,000 gross ton cruise liners, to be called MSC Fantasia and MSC Serenata respectively.  Following maritime tradition, two gold coins -- one from the shipowner and the other from the shipyard -- were welded in the keel on MSC Fantasia. ìMSC Cruises is owned by the Aponte family. Mrs Rafaela Aponte is recognized in Geneva as an acclaimed pianist. Since music and tradition are  the cornerstone of MSCës strong company values, a  coin that Mrs. Aponte won as a first prize for her piano playing from the Conservatory in Geneva will be welded in the keel of MSC Fantasia,î the company said in a statement. The first steel to be used in MSC Serenata was cut at the yard today as well.

New Emerald Princess welcomes first passengers at Civitavecchia
Princess Cruisesí latest newbuilding, the 113,000 gross ton Emerald Princess, welcomed its first passengers on board today, as it set sail on its maiden voyage from Rome's seaport, the town of Civitavecchia. The ship's first cruise is a 12-day Greek Isles voyage to Venice that will take passengers to some of the most scenic spots in the Mediterranean and Aegean, including Naples/Capri, Santorini, Rhodes, Kusadasi (for Ephesus), Mykonos, Athens (Piraeus), Katakolon (for Olympia), Corfu and Dubrovnik. Thereafter the ship will offer a series of Greek Isles and Grand Mediterranean cruises before crossing the Atlantic to Ft. Lauderdale in October. ìThe new vessel includes many of the enthusiastically received design elements and amenities that debuted last year on sister ship Crown Princess, including a dramatic piazza-style atrium, a multitude of casual dining venues and an adults-only retreat called The Sanctuary,î Princess said in a statement. ìA number of new culinary enhancements will also debut on the ship, including a special Chef's Table dinner for epicurean aficionados, all new dining room menus, enhanced buffet service, and a number of special touches such as an afternoon ”cookies and milk break” featuring fresh-from-the-oven soft-baked cookies, and in-cabin delivery of Princess' renowned homemade pizza.î

P&O Cruises to offer more 7-night cruise breaks next year
More seven-night cruise breaks to Northern Europe, the Iberian Peninsula, Channel Islands and Ireland are featured, along with in depth explorative itineraries of up to 36 nights in duration in the 2008 programme of P&O Cruises. There are also an increased number of overnight stays in ports of call such as Istanbul, Barbados, Madeira, Acapulco and New Orleans, along with stays of two days in Barcelona, Venice and St. Petersburg. The 44,588 gross ton Artemis will, for the first time since joining the P&O Cruisesí fleet, be offering a fly-cruise season. With departure points from Montego Bay in Jamaica, New Orleans in the USA and Manaus in Brazil, she will offer ìoff the beaten tracksî two-week Caribbean connoisseur itineraries, featuring calls in Mexico, South America and the USA, as well as the Caribbean itself.New destinations in the brochure include Molde in Norway, Puerto Chiapas in Mexico, Qaqortoq in Greenland, Roatan in Honduras, Santa Marta in Colombia, Skjolden in Norway, Santo Tomas de Castilla in Guatemala, Jacksonville in the USA and Lerwick in Scotland. P&O will introduce the 115,000 gross ton Ventura, the first of two similar newbuildings, in April next year.

Pride of Hawaii renamed Norwegian Jade, to join sister ships Gem and Jewel in Europe
Norwegian Cruise Line will place three of its newest Jewel-class ships in Europe beginning in March 2008 in response to increased consumer demand for European cruises. The company will re-flag Pride of Hawaii into the Bahamas registry and re-name her Norwegian Jade after a short wet dock in Honolulu in February 2008. Norwegian Jade will join her sister ships Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Jewel in Europe in 2008 offering NCL's largest and most varied European deployment ever. Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Jewel itineraries will go on sale April 17 and Norwegian Jade's itineraries will go on sale April 24. ”The combination of our new and varied itineraries, the choice of three new sister ships, along with an extended season, will make for an unforgettable Freestyle Cruising experience for guests who explore Europe with us in 2008,” said Colin Veitch, President and CEO of NCL Corporation.

Norwegian Jade to cruise from Southampton as NCL introduces its first-ever programme dedicated to UK market
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) will introduce its first programme of cruises dedicated to the British market next year, when the 93,500 gross ton , Norwegian Jade will offer several sailings out of the UK designed specifically for the local UK market, departing roundtrip from Southampton. These include a pair of two-day sampler cruises andfour 14-day Western Mediterranean cruises roundtrip with stops in Malaga (Cordoba), Spain; an overnight in Barcelona; Nice (Villefranche), France; Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Rome(Civitavecchia), Italy; Gibraltar; Lisbon, Portugal; and Vigo, Spain. Norwegian Jade's 12-day North Cape itinerary roundtrip from Southampton will cruise the North Sea with several stops in Norway, crossthe Arctic Circle and cruise by the Svartisen Glacier.  The ship's 13-dayAround the British Isles and Northern Europe itinerary roundtrip from Southampton will visit France, England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Two 13-day Western Europe itineraries will depart from Southampton to Barcelona or Barcelona Nice (Villefranche), France; Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Rome
(Civitavecchia), Naples, and Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy; Granada (Malaga),Spain; Gibraltar; Seville (Cadiz), Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and Vigo, Spain.

Supply growth in Europe accelerates but analyst confident market can absorb it
The growth of tonnage supply in Europe will accelerate next year as Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced the transfer of three 93,500 gross ton panamax ships from the US in the spring of 2008. However, a cruise industry analyst believes that the European market should absorb the increase without damage to yields. The increase in the supply of berths in Europe  is a result of a couple of things, said Jake Balzer, senior equity analyst at Guzman & Company in Florida. ìFirst, it's a less-mature market and if the cruise operators want to continue to grow at attractive rates, they have to expand outside the more mature North American market.  Second, the weakness in the Caribbean is driving cruise lines to relocate ships elsewhere both for more attractive returns and to help ease supply in the region,î he told Cruise Business. Obviously the first reason is a long-term strategic shift, whereas the second is more tactical.  It's possible Europe will see some pricing pressure with the capacity increases, but I don't really think it's an issue.  The market is still young and can grow fast enough to fill the ships.  Even if pricing is a little weak near-term, I think demand will catch up pretty quickly. Moving on to the decision of NCL to reflag the Pride of Hawaii to the Bahamas from the US, Balzer said: ìI don't think the moving and reflagging of Pride of Hawaii should be a big surprise to anyone.  It was always highly uncertain at best as to whether the ship would be a financial success.  Personally I never thought it made a lot of sense.î

Naming ceremony plans change for new Princess ships next month due for Sea Diamond sinking
Out of respect for the tragic sinking of the Greek cruise ship [Sea Diamond] off the coast in Santorini last week, the naming ceremonies of the new Emerald Princess and Royal Princess ñ previously scheduled to take place in the same location ñ have been changed to different dates and ports. Princess had been planning to simultaneously name both ships in a historic dual ceremony in Santorini on May 12.  Emerald Princess will now be christened on Mother's Day in Athens on May 13, and the new date and location for the Royal Princess festivities will be announced shortly.

Royal Caribbean takes delivery of Liberty of the Seas
Royal Caribbean International took delivery of its newest Freedom-class ship, Liberty of the Seas, from Aker Yards during a ceremony yesterday in Turku, Finland. Just weeks away from making her U.S. debut on May 3, 2007, the ship will be the first in Royal Caribbeanís fleet to showcase new and distinctive wellness, family and wedding programming, which will be rolled out fleet-wide. The 154,000 gross ton and 3,634-passenger Liberty shares the title of worldís largest cruise ship with sister ship, Freedom of the Seas, which launched in May 2006.

Costa teams up with Air France in long haul airlift
Costa Crociere, the Italian unit in the Carnival Corp & PLC group, has teamed up with Air France, which is part of the Air France-KLM group, in arranging long haul flights of cruise passengers. Costa will channel its passengers that will join cruise ships in base ports in the Americas, the Far East and the Middle East, via Paris. In the coming winter season, 28,000 passengers are anticipated to use the French carrierís services, the two companies say in a joint statement.

P&O Cruises add capacity to late season cruises from Southampton in 2008
P&O Cruises will have three ships sailing from Southampton up to Christmas and New Year in 2008 compared with just two in the autumn of 2007, the companyís fresh cruise programme shows. The 83,000 gross ton Arcadia will join 76,000 gross ton Aurora and 69,000 gross ton Oriana in an expanded autumn programme of cruises from the British port. Next autumn, Aurora and Oriana will be accompanies by the 45,000 gross ton Artemis on autumn sailings from the UK, but these are mainly 14-night-plus voyages. The three ships that will be based in Southampton in the final months of in late 2008 will offer some long voyages of up to 30 nights, but most of the programme comprises fortnightís cruises. Artemis will operate fly cruises from the US in the 2008/09 winter and the 115,000 gross ton newbuilding Ventura will spend its first winter based in Barbados.

Australian market maintains 18% growth rate
The Australian source market for cruises grew by 18% to 221,033 passengers in 2006, the second year in a row when it maintained such a strong growth, figures from the International Cruise Council Australiasia (ICCA) show. The South Pacific was the mnost popular destination, with 63% of the passengers cruising there, while Asia came  second with a 15% share of the destination market and Alaska/ Canada third with 9%. Australians preferred cruises of 8 to 14 nights in duration that accounted for 55% of the total. Cruises of 5 to 7 nights had a share of 37% of the market, but they had increased their popularity markedly in just a year, ICCA said.

First passengers board Royal Princess in Barcelona
Royal Princess, the latest ship to join the Princess fleet, welcomed its first passengers today as it set sail on its maiden voyage from Barcelona, Spain under the command of the line's senior master, the recently appointed Commodore Michael Fatchen. The 710-passenger vessel, which is one of the eight R-class vessels built for the now defunct Renaissance cruises at the turn of the millennium, takes the name of a much-beloved former Princess ship, debuts with a series of ” Elite Mediterranean” cruises that feature a variety of new itineraries and unique ports.  Royal Princess' first ”Mediterranean Interlude” voyage features calls in Marseille, Florence/Pisa, Elba, Palermo, and Mallorca. ìA sister ship to the line's popular Tahitian Princess and Pacific Princess, the 30,200 gross ton ton Royal Princess offers passengers a boutique version of Princess' acclaimed onboard options -- including a variety of dining and entertainment choices and a large number of cabins with private balconies - all offered in intimate surroundingsî, Princess said in a statement. The ship traded until recently as Minerva II of Swan Hellenic.

Fram delivered today
Fram has been delivered Hurtigruten Group from the Italian shipyard Fincantieri today. The delivery took place in Monfalcone, Trieste in Italy. Fram represents a new direction for new ships of Hurtigruten. Somewhat smaller than the other recently built Hurtigruten vessels, it is specially designed to give passengers real experiences in unique destinations. The architect, Arne Johansen, has delivered his mission by creating a different Hurtigruten vessel with inspiration from Greenland and Fridtjof Nansenís original Fram, adapted to the future demands of quality and comfort. Despite a few days delay in the final phase, the time plan with 18 months building period for Fram, has been kept. The contract price for the Fram is EUR 68,6 million.

Disney Cruise Line finalises contract with Meyer Werft to build two new ships
Disney Cruise Line has finalized a contract with Meyer Werft shipyard to build two new ships. Disney Cruise Line President Tom McAlpin and Bernard Meyer, Managing Partner of Meyer Werft shipyard of Papenburg, Germany, signed the contract in front of several hundred cheering cast members at a Disney Cruise Line cast gathering this morning. ”This is an exciting time at Disney Cruise Line, and we are looking forward to working with Meyer Werft to build two new innovative ships that will take our immersive family-focused cruise experience to an entirely new level,” McAlpin said. Plans to add two 124,000-ton ships to the fleet were announced in February when executives signed a letter of intent to negotiate a construction contract with Meyer Werft. Scheduled to launch in 2011 and 2012, the ships will more than double the passenger capacity for Disney Cruise Line to meet the sustained demand for Disney's family cruise vacations.

KONE wins major order for NCL newbuildings
KONE has signed its largest ever single contract for cruise ships. The contract was signed with Aker Yards for the supply of all elevators and escalators in two 4,200-passenger cruise ships to be built for Norwegian Cruise Line. The two ships will be delivered in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The contract also includes an option for delivery to additional identical ships. KONE will design, supply and install altogether 60 custom designed elevators and 12 escalators tailored for passenger and service use. The value of the contract is approximately EUR 15 million. ”We are very pleased to work alongside Aker Yards once again. This is an excellent example that a first-rate product offering and good customer service continuously increases customer loyalty,” says Heikki Leppänen, EVP, New Elevators and Escalators, KONE.
Norwegian Cruise Line is one of three major global cruise vacation companies, and the new series of ships will continue NCL's concept of Freestyle Cruising. The new ships will be of 150,000 gross tons post-Panamax size, 325 meters long and 40 meters wide.

SeaMobile launches wireless service aboard AIDAdiva
SeaMobile Enterprises has successfully launched wireless service aboard AIDAdiva, the newest vessel in the AIDA Cruises fleet. Geolink, a Paris based company acquired by SeaMobile earlier this year, already provides its OceanCell wireless service on the other four AIDA cruise ships. After the acquisition, SeaMobile upgraded the OceanCell wireless technology
platform on the existing AIDA ships and has now added service to the AIDAdiva.

Zaandam testbed for project to use sea water to cut engine emissions
Holland America Line (HAL) and several US and Canadian authorities have launched a project tested on HALís  Zaandam, designed to demonstrate the feasibility of using sea water to ”scrub,” or reduce, engine emissions on oceangoing vessels. ”This is a ship like no other in the cruise industry,' said Stein Kruse, president and chief executive officer, Holland America Line,” and after studies and modifications of the ship's new test emissions technology, it could dramatically change not only the cruise industry but the entire maritime industry by reducing ship engine emissions.”  The sea water scrubber system, developed by Krystallon, a subsidiary of BP, uses the natural chemistry of seawater to remove virtually all sulfur oxide (SOx) as well as significantly reduce particulate matter emissions.  The sea water is then treated to remove harmful components while the calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in seawater renders the sulfur oxides harmless by conversions to sulfates and neutral salts.  The price tag tops more than $1.5 million and includes assistance of $300,000 from an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)/West Coast Collaborative grant and a $100,000 contribution from Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.   Additional support for the project comes from the Port of Seattle , the Port of Vancouver , Environment Canada , British Columbia Ministry of the Environment and the B. C. Clean Air Research Fund, as well as Krystallon.

Eurodam suites and staterooms to have ”calmer, mono-chromatic design”
Passengers occupying staterooms and suites on Holland America Lineís Eurodam will find a dÈcor distinctly different from that on the lineís other ships when the  2,044 passenger ship debuts in June next year. The staterooms and suites will offer a calming, more mono-chromatic design, accented with bursts of color, will replace the floral schemes used in the past. ìThe elegantly simple design is enhanced with rich wood tones and the use of burnished nickel fixtures. Passenger corridors leading to the guest staterooms also will be decorated in the same contemporary theme,î the company said in a statement. ”Holland America Line chose NB Design Group of Seattle to create this stylish new dÈcor,” said Stein Kruse, president and chief executive  officer. ”We sought a design firm capable of providing a fresh look while retaining a tailored, Euro-classic aesthetic. NB Design Group has succeeded wonderfully by introducing different woods and textures and fresh colour combinations.”

Two godmothers for Ocean Village Two
Ocean Village Two, the 70,000gross ton cruise liner to be introduced by casual cruise company Ocean Village, became the UKís first ship to boast two godmothers when sisters Jodie and Jemma Kidd smashed the bottle on Tuesday 24 April, 2007 in Southampton. Supermodel Jodie and celebrity make up artist Jemma made a dramatic entrance on stage after a hi-energy deck show to officially name the ship ìOcean Village Twoî and set off a storm of flutterfetti and synchronised waterjets. The sisters join a very select band of godmothers including members of the Royal family and Dames of the realm, the company said in a statement. With the addition of its sister ship, the holiday company will double in size in the fast-growing UK cruise market. Ocean Village Two was built in 1990 as Crown Princess of Princess Cruises and it was transferred from Aida Cruises, for which it traded as Aida Blu.

Princess to deploy five ships across Gulf of Alaska in 2008
Princess Cruises announces that its 2008 Gulf of Alaska program will feature five vessels, including one which will offer the most destination-intensive itinerary in Alaska. Sailing in Alaska for the first time, the 670-passenger Tahitian Princess will debut a new longer ”Connoisseur” route that features a number of unique destinations not usually included on most Alaskan cruises. Princess ships will offer 73 signature Gulf of Alaska sailings and eight departures of the new Connoisseur voyages throughout the May to September season. Ranging in size from 670 to 2,670 passengers, ships include Diamond Princess, Sapphire Princess, Coral Princess and Island Princess, each returning for another season of the 7-night ”Voyage of the Glaciers” cruises between Vancouver and Whittier, and Tahitian Princess, which for the first time joins the lineup with its 14-day Connoisseur cruise sailing roundtrip from Vancouver. After its first Alaska season, Tahitian Princess will return to French Polynesia.

New terminals to Kiel, Barcelona and Stockholm as cruise industry continues to expand
Three European ports have recently either commissioned a new cruise terminal or decided to build one in order to meet the demands of the growing cruise industry. In Barcelona, Costa Crociere has commissioned Palacruceros Barcelona, a terminal with a total surface area of 10,000sqm and with 27 check in counters, a 300 m long and 20 m wide pier and state of the art security systems. In Kiel in Germany, the premier of the State of Schlesvig-Holstein, Harry Carstensen, inaugurated the Ostseekai Cruise Terminal that has two berths, of 360 m and 285 m respectively. The project cost Ä28.5M and the terminal has a total area of 40,000sqm. In Stockholm, cruise ships will be relocated next year to use a new terminal in the Freeport area, north of the current cruise berth in the Tegelvik harbour. ìPlans to build a state-of-the-art cruise terminal for Stockholm, Sweden have been approved by the Ports of Stockholm board of directors who announced an expected completion for the beginning of the 2008 cruise season,î the municipally owned company Ports of Stockholm said in a statement.. The terminal is the Stockholm's first purpose-built cruise facility with 3,000 sqm in area. Magazine 9 on the Frihamnen pier is to undergo a complete interior and exterior renovation in a modern Swedish design style. The terminal will include a cafÈ, Internet access, shops, a departures hall, customs and luggage handling facilities. 

Swan Hellenic unlikely to recommence operations before 2009
Swan Hellenic, the destinational cruise operator that Carnival PLC sold to Lord Sterling in March, is unlikely to commence operations before 2009, he told Fairplay Daily News. The company is looking for one or two ships and it also hopes to re-enter the river cruise business. It operated the 30,277 gross ton Minerva II until recently, but Carnival decided to transfer the ship to Princess cruises and sell the business. Micky Arison, chairman, has said that Carnival does not want to operate one ship brands.

Bidder rumoured to offer Ä180 million for Birka Paradise
An unknown bidder is reported to have offered Ä180 million for Birka Lineís 34,758 gross ton cruise liner Birka Paradise that entered service in 2004. Rederi AB Eckero, Birkaís biggest shareholder, has made a takeover bid to acquire the entire company that also has seven freight roro vessels, but the Birka board has rejected the Ä130 million offer as too low. However, the Talouselama business weekly reports on its website that another bidder has emerged with an intention to acquire the freight fleet, while a separate company has made an offer for Birka Paradise. The Louis group, which bought Birka Princess from the Finnish company in 2006 has been mooted as a potential buyer as the ship, renamed Sea Diamond, was lost after it ran aground in the Mediterranean earlier this month.

Southampton eyes 1 million passengers in 2008
The number of cruise passengers in the port of Southampton in the UK is poised to break the 1 million barrier next year, boosted by the arrival of four new ships, an article in the Southern Daily Echo newspaper says. For this year, the port forecasts 830,000 passengers, itself an all time record. P&O Cruises will introduce the 115,000 gross ton Ventura in April, while Royal Caribbean International will bring in the 158,000 gross ton Independence of the Seas to the British port in the same month as a replacement of the 137,000 gross ton Navigator of the Seas that has just commenced its UK season. Cunard Lineís 90,000 gross ton Queen Victoria will enter service in December this year, while Norwegian Cruise Line will start in the spring 2008 its first ever programme targeting the British market, using the Norwegian Jade that is currently trading as Pride of Hawaii. In a single week in April, the port handled 77,600 passengers that is equal to 40% of its annual passenger volume a decade ago.

Tallink expects to double EBITDA in current year
Tallink Grpp, the rapidly expanding Estonian ferry company, expects to double its EBITDA to 180 million euro in the current financial year from 94 million euro it achieved in the 2006/06 financial year, while earnings per share should amount to 0.135 euro. The company said in a presentation tat it has a 44% share of the Finland-Estonia trade, while its Silja Line subsidiary controls 55% of the market between Finland and Sweden. Tallink considers to grow its business that is expected to generate revenue of 750 million euro in the current year, up from 405 million euro in the previous period with help from the acquisition of Silja, by seeking to expand into other ferry services in Northern Europe by purusuing travel-related products such as hotels. It also intends to continue to grow its fleet that now comprises 20 ships and to strenghten its existing businesses.

Star Cruises goes online with Amadeus after initial project
Star Cruises, the worldís third largest cruise shipping group, has signed a distribution agreement with Amadeus, a global leader in technology and distribution systems for the travel and tourism industry.  The development follows Star Cruises investing in its first ever UK brochure, and first ever dedicated UK and Ireland reservations team to handle bookings for travel partners. Following an initial pilot with five UK cruise specialists, the Star Cruises booking mechanism on Amadeus Cruise is now available for all travel partners using Amadeusí solutions for selling cruise holidays. Mick Dupont, Sales and Marketing Director, Europe, Star Cruises, explains: ìThere are high growth targets for the European market, specifically the UK and Ireland, for Star Cruises and so improving the distribution is key to this expansion strategy. With three different ships operating cruises varying from two to 21-nights, allowing live availability and complete flexibility is important. Plus, Amadeus Cruise distribution will enable agents to dynamically package cruises, a key growth channel in a changing market, ìhe said in a statement.

Silja integration costs overshadow Tallinkís stronger operational performance
One off costs linked  to the acquisition of the Finnish cruise ferry group Tallink hit the bottom line of Tallink Group, the Estonian ferries and hotels group,  but the company staged an improvement in EBITDA, reflecting stronger operational performance. In six months to 28 February, net profit fell to Ä0.2M from Ä3.5M in the same period a year earlier. The company blamed Ä5M integration costs of Silja and dry dockings of ships for the decline, but noted that EBITDA margin actually increased by one percentage point to 14.5%.  ìWe are pleased that  the weakest  season which is typical to our business is over and  that  the company  has  retained  the profitability in  the  first  half  of  the financial  year.  The Silja integration has been successful, giving us confidence in meeting our targets on the coming high season,î ceo Enn Pant said in a statement.

Carnival returns to the Northern Europe
Carnival Cruise Lines' new 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor ñ representing an developed Conquest-class ñ will debut in July 2008 operating the line's second Northern European cruise program. These 12-night Northern Europe voyages, which will operate July 13 - Aug. 30, 2008, will offer guests a diversity of shoreside experiences with visits to cities in Denmark, Germany, Finland, Russia, Estonia, and The Netherlands. Following the Northern European voyages, Carnival Splendor will
operate a 12-night London-to-Rome cruise Sept. 11, 2008, then sail on a series of 12-night Mediterranean voyages Sept. 23 - Oct. 17, 2008. Carnival Splendor will be the second Carnival ship deployed in Europe next year, joining the Carnival Freedom which will operate a program of 12-night Mediterranean cruises May-October 2008. ”Consumers are discovering that cruising is the best way to see Europe as it provides the opportunity to experience and explore multiple destinations while enjoying the comfort and convenience of a modern 'floating resort,'” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival President and CEO. Also included in Carnival Splendor's 2008 inaugural season will be a 16-night transatlantic voyage departing Rome Oct. 29, as well as a series of 7-night Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale commencing Nov. 22, 2008. A special one-time 4-night eastern Caribbean cruise will depart from Fort Lauderdale Nov. 17, 2008.

Oceania and Apollo Management seal strategic deal announced in February
Oceania Cruises and Apollo Management, L.P.have completed strategic transaction, announced on 26 February, that valued the company at $850 million, including the assumption of debt, in which Apollo purchased an unspecified majority stake of the capital stock of Oceania Cruises. Concurrent with the closing of the transaction, Oceania Cruisesrefinanced its existing $375 million bank arrangements. ”We are extremely pleased to have closed the transaction with Apollo. The new bank agreements will allow the company to reduce its overall financing and carrying costs associated with the vessels, which should have a positive effect on earnings going forward,” stated Frank J. Del Rio,Chairman and CEO of Oceania Cruises.  The company remains a wholly independent brand, operating with the support of Apollo's most recent private equity fund. Oceania Cruises' founding management team, including Frank J. Del Rio, along with theline's founding investors, remain stakeholders in Oceania Cruises. Oceania Cruises recently entered into a memorandum of agreement with Italy's Fincantieri Shipyard for two new 1256-guest ships to be delivered in 2010 and 2011 with an option for a third vessel to be delivered in 2012. The value of the agreement, including the option, isin excess of $1.5 billion.

Pullmantur, weaker than expected Caribbean demolish RCCL interims
Weaker than expected demand, ”especially in the Caribbean” and impact of the acquisition of Pullmantur, the Spanish cruise operator, sent net income of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) to nose dive to $8.8 million compared with $119.5 million in the same period last year. ìFirst quarter 2007 Net Yields on a comparable basis (i.e. excluding Pullmantur) decreased 4.2%, which was below guidance of down 2% to 3%,î the company said in a statement.. Commenting on the revenue environment, Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer said, ”After a strong Fall performance, close-in bookings in the first quarter required more aggressive price promotions than we experienced throughout the last year.” Fain continued, ”On the other hand, cost performance was better than our prior guidance due to cost control initiatives.” Net Cruise Costs per APCD, on a comparable basis and excluding fuel, increased 2.5% for the quarter versus previous guidance of an increase around 4%. Including fuel, these costs increased 1.5%. Previous guidance was for an increase of 2% to 3%. Fuel costs per APCD decreased 2.8% year-over-year, with ”at-the-pump” fuel prices averaging $372 per metric ton for the first quarter 2007, compared to the previously assumed figure of $361 per metric ton and $417 per metric ton in the first quarter 2006. Pullmantur's business is highly seasonal with very strong summer months but very weak winter months. In addition, the company is including Pullmantur results on a two month lag. Together, these changes significantly diminished the company's reported earnings in the first quarter, and are expected to do so again in the second quarter, but are expected to commensurately improve earnings in the third and fourth quarters.

RCCL forecasts further Caribbean gloom in second quarter
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL), the worldís second largest cruise shipping group, forecast gloom to continue in the Caribbean in the spring, but expects the picture to brighten for the rest of the year. ìThe softer Caribbean pricing environment continues through the spring, and is of a somewhat greater magnitude than forecasted back in February. However, the revenue picture for the balance of the year appears more encouraging. Although it is too early to provide specific predictions for the upcoming Fall/Winter season, load factors and pricing are both ahead of same time last year for the fourth quarter and into the first quarter of 2008, RCCL said in a statement. ìFortunately, the company's cost control efforts have been more successful than forecasted, offsetting the revenue deterioration through reductions in operating and other expenses,î it continued. The company forecasts flat net yields in the second quarter, including Pullmantur, and a rise of 2% for the full year.

RCCL interims below forecasts but fundamentals remain strong - analyst
The first quarter interim result of Royal Caribberan Cruises Ltd (RCCL) was well below Wall Street consensus forecast, but the fundamentals for the business remain solid despite the disappointing figures, a cruise industry analyst told Cruise Business. The worldís second largest cruise shipping company posted first quarter earnings per share (EPS) of $0.04 against analystsí average forecast of $0.06. ìWe have concerns that expectations for the third quarter may be too optimistic, but we believe the long term prospects remain bright,î said Jake Balzer, analyst at Guzman & Co in Florida. Weaker than forecast demand in the Caribbean combined with a 14% rise in bunker prices since February and high seasonality of its recently acquired Pullmantur business in Spain had hurt RCCL in the first quarter, but the management repeated its EPS forecast of $0.58 to $0.63 for the second quarter and $3.05 to $3.20 for the full year. Balzer said in a research note that he does not expect Caribbean bookings to pick up in the same way as last year as economic concerns rather than fears of hurricanes lie behind the weakness this time. ìDespite rough waters near term, we continue to view the cruise industry as having attractive long term fundamentals.î Balzer cut the 12 month target price for the RCCL stock by $2.00 to $54.00 but expects it to outperform the S&P500 index. The shares currently trade at around $42.00

Aker Yards draws attention to quality issues as business expands but results tread water
A sharp increase in activity measured by revenues at Aker Yards, the worldís second biggest builder of cruise liners, was not mirrored in net results as rapid increase in costs eroded margins in the first quarter. The company made a net profit of NOK201 million, slightly weaker than NOK223 million in the first three months of 2006. However, operating revenues rose by 55% to NOK8.37 billion. ”The pressure on subcontractors is high, and demands a careful follow up in order to reduce the risk of delays on projects. The trend is that deliveries of parts and supplies are mostly on time, but an increasing number of deliveries are suffering from unacceptable quality,” the company said in a statement. The business area Cruise & Ferries contributed the major part of the order intake. A second Genesis-class vessel was ordered at a price of approximately Ä900 million, and the order with MSC Cruises represented approximately Ä410 million. The order backlog at the close of the first quarter was NOK86.1 billion, compared with NOK47.9 billion at the end of the first quarter 2006. The demand for post-Panamax, Panamax and smaller cruise liners remains strong, but the ferry sector has fewer projects than a year earlier. In Finland, the sub-contractor network is ”stretched” due to heavy workload, Aker Yards pointed out.

Celebrity Cruises launches new, deluxe cruise line: Azamara Cruises
Today, Celebrity not only marked the launch of a 710-guest ship which sets sail tomorrow, but also introduced an entirely new, deluxe cruise brand: Azamara Cruises. Designed to offer exotic destination-driven travel experiences, Azamara Cruises ñ consisting of Azamara Journey, which sets sail May 5, and sister ship, Azamara Quest, which enters service in October ñ will present a more intimate onboard experience, while allowing access to the less-traveled ports of call experienced travelers want to visit. ”We created Azamara Cruises to target an area of the market that we believe is underserved, and an area this product is ideally suited to fill,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, parent company of Azamara Cruises. ”This new line falls into what we consider the deluxe category ñ a category between premium and luxury.” According to Azamara Cruises President Dan Hanrahan, who also is President of Celebrity Cruises, ”Azamara Cruises is expressly designed for travel enthusiasts who appreciate what a cruise vacation has to offer, but are looking for something a little different, and a little more special. And what's special about Azamara Cruises is its distinctive combination of impeccable service, exceptional cuisine and off-the-beaten-path destinations, with truly immersive excursions.” Complementing the exotic Caribbean and Europe itineraries for Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, previously announced under the former Celebrity Expeditions banner, Hanrahan today announced that Azamara Cruises' itineraries will not only take travelers to some of the most desirable locations in the Caribbean, but will immerse them in Asia, and even transport them around the world. Itinerary details for Azamara Cruises' Asia and world cruises are yet to be announced, but once finalized, the line expects to visit more than 200 ports ñ most of them new to cruise travelers ñ in over 70 countries.

Azamara re-launches former Pullmantur, Renaissance ship with luxury touches
While delving deep into the history and culture of remote destinations larger ships can't reach, guests sailing with Azamara Cruises also will enjoy a more exclusive guest experience. The 30,200 gross ton Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest (to be launched in fall) offer butler service in every stateroom and suite, as well as concierge-style amenities, including fresh-cut flowers, fresh fruit, Elemis toiletries, complimentary use of Frette cotton robes, two complimentary pairs of slippers, plasma TVs and plush European bedding. Despite the ships' smaller size, each offers two specialty restaurants: On Azamara Journey, the Mediterranean-influenced Aqualina and the stylish steak and seafood restaurant, Prime C. Guests staying in suites will receive two nights of complimentary dining in one of the two specialty restaurants, while guests in staterooms will receive one. The ships will not require formal attire for dining, and will feature open seating in the main dining room. Azamara Cruises also presents a wine bar with a spectacular wine cellar offering wine and champagne tastings, seminars, and mini-pairings of food and wine, in addition to its standard menu of fine wines by the glass or bottle. Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest offer an enhanced emphasis on spa and relaxation, with treatments many cruise travelers have never experienced. Guests in suites can enjoy certain spa services in the privacy of their room. Both ships also will offer an outdoor spa relaxation lounge and an aesthetics suite offering acupuncture, laser hairremoval and microdermabrasion. An onboard excursion expert will not only help guests select shore excursions based on their personal interests, but also will serve as a destination guide, offering information about the culture and history ofeach port of call. The Azamara retail experience onboard also will be enticing to most experienced travelers, with its focus on fine art, sculpture, photography, jewelry, and upscale resort wear. Just prior to setting sail on its maiden voyage May 6, Azamara Journey completed a four-week, approximately $19-million makeover, highlighted by the conversion of 48 staterooms into 32 suites, a complete refurbishment of the dining areas to create the two new specialty restaurants, an expansion of the spa area to include an aesthetics suite, a new Sunset Bar on the aft deck, a new art collection, Cova CafÈ, entirely new carpets and flooring throughout, new exterior decking, new paint schemes, new walls, and entirely new soft goods, ranging from plush European bedding to cushions, drapes and table linens. The maiden voyage, however, was delayed by one day as the ship was not ready to sail on May 5.

Carnival to re-brand its Fantasy-class ships
In conjunction with its recently announced $250 million ”Evolutions of Fun” ship refurbishment program, Carnival will re-brand its eight Fantasy-class ships by introducing an updated version of each ship's name as it appears on the vessel's hull, as well as in various marketing and collateral materials. As each ship goes into drydock for refurbishment, the name 'Carnival' and the company's logo will be combined with the vessel's name to provide an updated look and feel.  ”The names of the majority of Carnival's ships which entered service starting in the latter 1990's begin with 'Carnival,' and those ships have become synonymous with expansive, high quality amenities and features,” said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. ”As each of our Fantasy-class ships undergoes transformation to incorporate the wide-ranging enhancements under the 'Evolutions of Fun' initiative, it is only fitting that those vessels be re-branded to better align them with our other ships.” All marketing materials going forward will feature the new ship names Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Paradise and Carnival Elation. As each ship goes into drydock to receive the ”Evolutions of Fun” upgrades, signage on the ships' bow, stern and upper deck areas will be modified. Among the planned ”Evolutions of Fun” enhancements are expansive children's water parks, a new design style and features for the pool areas, and the creation of the Serenity adults-only deck area. Also being phased in and already in place on some ships are fully remodeled staterooms and suites, including new bathrooms, along with flat-screen televisions in staterooms and select public areas, atrium lobby bars, updated sound and lighting systems in various lounges and clubs, coffee bars, nine-hole miniature golf courses, new art and photo galleries, New York-style delis in the Lido restaurants, and purpose-built conference facilities. By 2009, upgrades to the entire Fantasy-class will be completed.

Louis acquires much travelled former Silja Opera
Louis Hellenic Cruises, which is part of the Cyprus based Louis PLC group, has reoportedly acquired the 1980 built Opera, which has last traded under the name of Silja Opera, for just under $49 million. The ship is acquired as replacement for the 1986 built 22,000 gross ton Sea Diamond that was lost in a grouding accident off Santorini in April. Opera is of just under 26,000 gross tons and it was originally built in 1980 as Viking Saga for the cruise ferry service between Helsinki and Stockholm. Refitted for short cruise service at the end of the decade, the ship was gutted by fire in 1990 that necessitated rebuilding all areas above the vehicle deck. The ship was reintroduced as Sally Albtatross in 1992, but only two years later it had to be beached after grouding off the Finnish coast. Following extensive repairs, it was chartered out to Norwegian Cruise Line and Star Cruises before a spell of short cruises in the Baltic as Silja Opera. The ship has been laid up for a long time following the collapse of Sea Containers, Silja's former parent, that is now in Chapter XI. Tallink Group acquired Silja from Sea Containers last year, but the ship, now renamed Opera, was not part of the deal.

Emerald Princess christened on Mother' Day
This morning Princess Cruises officially christened its newest ship, Emerald Princess. In celebration of Mother's Day, Princess united some of television's most famous mothers and daughters to serve as the christeners and chose Greece, the birthplace of Mother's Day, as the site for the naming festivities. The ship's godmothers are Florence Henderson, best known as ”Carol Brady” on The Brady Bunch, and her TV daughter, Susan Olsen, aka ”Cindy Brady,” as well as Marion Ross, the beloved ”Marion Cunningham” from the international hit, Happy Days, and her TV daughter, Erin Moran, aka ”Joanie Cunningham.” The christeners were joined by Gavin MacLeod, former captain of The Love Boat and Princess spokesperson, who emceed the naming ceremony, as well as Princess Cruises and Greek officials. Traditional Greek dancers performed as part of the festivities. ”What better way to celebrate Mother's Day and the launch of our beautiful new ship than to have this pair of iconic television mothers and daughters as christeners,” said Alan Buckelew, president of Princess Cruises. ”We're thrilled to have them as godmothers. It's also quite fitting to be hosting the naming ceremony in Athens, the birthplace of Mother's Day.”

Ambassadors' first quarter loss deepens to $8.6 million
Ambassadors International, Inc, the US base company that recently acquired Windtsr from Holland America Line, reported revenue of $32.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2007, up from $8.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2006. In addition, the Company reported a net loss of $8.6 million, or $0.77 per share, for the three months ended March 31, 2007, compared to net loss of $1.7 million, or $0.16 per share year-on. ”Our revenues increased $24.6 million in the first quarter of 2007 compared to 2006. For the quarter ended March 31, 2007, the increase in revenue was primarily related to the increase in our marine revenue of $23.3 million related to the acquired operations of Bellingham Marine in July 2006 and our shipyard operations which commenced in April 2006. Our cruise-related revenue also increased $3.8 million due to operations acquired in 2006. These increases were partially offset by decreased revenue in our travel, incentive and event related revenue, as well as lower net insurance premiums earned,” the company said in a statement. ”Our costs and operating expenses increased $35.0 million in the first quarter of 2007 compared to 2006. This increase was primarily due to $19.4 million in cost of marine revenue related to revenues generated from our new construction and shipyard operations which commenced during 2006. In addition, cruise operating expenses and other selling, general and administration and depreciation expenses associated with our new cruise segment increased $12.7 million.”

Technical problem forces cancellation of Sea Princess cruise
Princess Cruises has cancelled a sailing of Sea Princess from the UK port of Southampton, with more than 2,000 cruise passengers affected. The 77,400 gross ton ship was due to leave Southampton on Sunday but holidaymakers awoke to find the ship had not moved and the cruise had been cancelled, the BBC reports. Princess Cruises said the cancellation was caused by ”a technical problem which became apparent on the final day of the last sailing”.  A spokeswoman from Princess Cruises said: ”All passengers will receive a full refund and a 25% discount on any future cruise. The 1998 built ship will return to service on 26 May, the report said.

Three French celebrities star at Costa Serena naming ceremony
Costa Serena, the latest newcomer in the fleet of Costa Crociereís will be named on 19 May in Marseilles. The shipís godmother will be the actress Marion Cotillard, while the task of master of ceremonies is trusted tol Gerard Holtz, one of Franceís most famous television journalists. The young chef Pascal Barbot, with three Michelin stars, in a joint effort with Italian chef Ettore Bocchia, will whip up ”magical delicacies during the gala dinner for about 1,200 guests,” the company said in a statement. The 114,000 gross ton vessel is sister of Costa Concordia that was introduced last year.

UTC buys Marioff
Shareholders of Marioff Corporation Oy, the Finland based global provider of water mist fire suppression systems for land and marine applications, have accepted an offer by  UTC Fire & Security, the US base technology firm,  offer to acquire the company. Marioff share holders are the founder of the Company Gˆran Sundholm with 47,8%, Nordic Capital Fund IV with 47,8% and Companyís Senior Management with 4,4%. The transaction is expected to close before the end of June, subject to regulatory approvals. Marioffís Chairman of the Board of Directors  Gˆran Sundholm says: ìAs a founder of the Company and an innovator of the HI-FOG technology I am pleased about the acquisition and I believe that UTC Fire & Security is the right new owner for Marioff. By allowing the company to maintain its identity and the HI-FOG brand, which has gained wide recognition within the industry, it is evident the milestones we have achieved within the field of water mist fire protection are respected and will be enhanced with the new ownership.î  Marioff expects 2007 revenues of more than Ä100 million and operating margins in the mid-teens.

Empress of the North evacuated after grounding
Empress of the North, a small cruise vessel belonging to Majestic America Line, was evacuated after it had developed a list after grounding while carrying 281 passengers and crew at the southern end of Icy Strait, about 15 miles southwest of Juneau, CNN news reports. Dan Miller, a spokesman for Majestic America, told CNN that about half the passengers had been removed from the ship by 6 a.m. and that they were being taken to Juneau. He the ship had been stabilized. It had been on Day 2 of a seven-day trip, he said. Majestic America is part of the Ambassadors International group. The ship has 112 cabins that can accommodate a total of 223 passengers.

Royal Caribbean names first female Captain of a major cruise ship
Royal Caribbean International has named Swedish mariner, Karin Stahre-Janson, captain of Monarch of the Seas, making her the first female captain in the line's 21-ship fleet and the first woman in the industry to command a major cruise ship. As the Captain of Monarch of the Seas, Captain Stahre-Janson is responsible for the safe navigation of a ship that is 880 feet long, 106 feet wide, has 14 guest decks and routinely carries 2,400 guests and 850 crew members. Captain Stahre-Janson recently completed her first tour of duty as Captain of the Los Angeles-based ship, which sails 3- and 4-night cruises to San Diego, Catalina and Ensenada, Mexico. She resumes her command in August. Prior to joining Royal Caribbean, Captain Stahre-Janson worked for nine years in cargo shipping, primarily on petroleum and chemical tankers, where, ultimately, she served as Chief Officer.

SuperStar Gemini to be based in Australia for 3 months
Star Cruises will base SuperStar Gemini from Singapore to cruise the Australian waters, where it will be based for three months before returning to Singapore on February 17. ìAustralian cruise passengers will once again experience the warm Asian hospitality for which Star Cruises is renowned. The 800-passenger ship is an established favourite in Australia, appreciated for her charm and intimacy as well as her multi award-winning freestyle cruise service.,î star said in a statement.  SuperStar Gemini will offer a variety of itineraries in both duration and style with a combination of international and domestic destinations. Stopovers will include cities such as Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Cairns as well as popular tropical destinations such as the Whitsunday Islands of north Queensland and Broome in north-western Australia, the company says. The Australian source market grew by 18% to more than 200,000 passengers last year, the second year in row when it has achieved the same rate of volume growth..

Costa Crociere takes delivery of Costa Serena
Costa Serena, the new flagship of Costa Crociere, the biggest cruise company in Europe, has been delivered today by Fincantieri at its Sestri Ponente shipyard in Genoa. Like her sister ship Costa Concordia, which entered service in July 2006, the Costa Serena is the largest passenger ship flying the Italian flag and the largest European liner in terms of capacity:  114,000 gross tonnage, 292 metres in length and accommodation for up to 3780 Guests in 1500 cabins.  The Ä450 million ship features Samsara Spa, one of the largest wellness centers ever built on a cruise ship (2154 m≤). The number of Samsara cabins, i.e. those with direct access to the Spa, has increased to 99 (there are 67 on the Costa Concordia), including 12 suites (covering a total of 2322 m≤), ìin response to the enormous popularity of this innovation,î Costa said in a statement..  Also included is the exclusive Samsara Restaurant, with its specially conceived wellness menus; 4 swimming pools, 2 of which (one astern and the other amidships) fitted with a sliding glass roof, the central pool area being fitted with a giant 18m≤ movie screen.  This is the largest enclosable pool area on any cruise ship (3500 m≤), enabling use in any weather and ensuring ideal cruise holidays even in mid-winter in the Mediterranean, where the new flagship will be operating until the end of 2008. It also features an authentic Grand Prix driving simulator, the most accurate representation of GP ever, while menus in the Costa Serenaís ìClub Baccoî ‡ la carte restaurant devised by the Italian culinary innovator Ettore Bocchia, executive chef at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio and a Michelin restaurateur, with culinary delights based on the finest Italian gastronomic tradition with the accent on the use of fresh ingredients of the highest quality.  The interiors of the Costa Serena are designed by the ingenious American architect Joe Farcus, their central theme being Greek and Roman mythology. 

Star Cruisesí losses more than double as NCL continues to struggle in Hawaii
Star Cruises group, the worldís third largest cruise shipping company, suffered a net loss of $79.4 million in the first quarter of this year, much deeper than the $35.1 million loss it reported in the same period last year. The company blamed weakness in Hawaii and the Caribbean for the losses that have hit its Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) subsidiary. NCLís capacity rose by 23.4%, while net revenue increased by 16.9% but net yield fell by 5.3%. Occupancy ration fell to 103.9% from 105.5% a year earlier. NCL continues to face ìvery competitive pricing environmentî in Hawaii and the Caribbean, while demand in Alaska is relatively strong although it ìhas begun to show some signs of slowing.î In Europe, prices remain firm.  As a whole, Star Cruisesí capacity rose by 17.5% to 2.8 million passenger days, while net revenue rose 9.8% but net yield fell by 6.8%. NCL has said it will position its largest ships to Europe next year in order to tackle its weak performance.

Sweco in Ä1.5 million euro engineering contract with Aker Yards Finland
Aker Yards Finland has commissioned Sweco to provide engineering services for the first of two Genesis class ship, the largest cruise liner in the world that is being constructed in Turku. The contract is worth Ä1.5 million, Sweco said in a statement, adding that Sweco Marine will  provide finite element analysis of hull structures and engineering of  machinery systems for separator, air conditioning compressor and fresh  water generation spaces. The company will also provide detailed hull engineering of demanding structures beneath the outdoor sports  activity areas. ”We are very pleased with this engineering contract, as it will  expand our involvement in engineering of large cruise vessels, and  further strengthen Sweco's position in Finland,” says Matti Mattila,  Vice President and Head of Marine Technology Division of parent company Sweco Pic.The engineering work has already started and will occupy up to 40  engineers from Sweco Marine and its network in Finland and abroad.

Greek government to sue Louis for Ä1 billion in damages over Sea Diamond
The Greek government will seen up to Ä1 billion in damages from Louis Cruiise Lines, who owned the Sea Diamond cruise ship which sank off Santorini in April, a Greek media report says.  erchant Marine Minister Michalis Kefaloyiannis said that the Greek state will file a civil lawsuit against the Cyprus-owned Louis Hellenic Kathimerini newspaper said on its website, citing government sources. The minister said that he had already contacted nine ministries to asses what damage the sinking of the vessel had caused to the sectors of the economy that fall under their authority. A four-member committee will be set up to compile a report by July 10 that will be forwarded to the Merchant Marine Ministryís legal advisers before they file the lawsuit. Kefaloyiannis said that any damages recovered from the company would be transferred to a special fund set up improve Greeceís protection against sea pollution. Experts are still analyzing information from the shipís data recorder to work out what led to the vesselís sinking. The 22,500 gross ton Sea Diamond was built in 1986 as Birka Princess and Louis bought the ship from its Finnish owners, Birka Cruises for Ä35 million in early 2006.

Celebrity orders fourth Solstice-class ship
Celebrity Cruises confirmed its order for a fourth Solstice-class cruise ship today. The new vessel will enter service in Fall 2011, following sister ships Celebrity Solstice in Fall 2008, Celebrity Equinox in Summer 2009, and Celebrity Eclipse in Summer 2010, bringing Celebrity's total fleet to 11 ships. The contract is contingent on the completion of customary financing. Like its sister ships, Celebrity's fourth Solstice-class liner will have larger standard staterooms, 90% of which will be outside, and 85% of all staterooms will have verandas. The 2,850-guest vessels will have an exceptional range of guest-inspired services and amenities, and will measure 1,033 feet in length and 121 feet in width. German shipbuilder Meyer Werft will build the 122,000-ton ship. ”Ordering a fourth Solstice-class ship is obviously a testament to the demand we've received from travel agent partners and travelers alike for more cruise vacation options with Celebrity,” said Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman & CEO Richard Fain. Celebrity estimates the all-in cost of the ship to be approximately $280,000 per berth, based on current exchange rates.

TripAdvisor acquires Cruise Critic, leading cruise community
TripAdvisor, LLC, the world's largest travel community and an operating company of Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE), today announced it has acquired The Independent Traveler, Inc., publisher of Cruise Critic, the leading cruise community ( and ”Kathleen Tucker and her team have done a phenomenal job building the most popular cruise community in the world,” said Stephen Kaufer, founder and CEO of TripAdvisor. ”This acquisition is a great addition to our portfolio of leading travel communities and content sites and gives us a strong foothold in the $32 billion cruise market.* Kathleen will continue to lead the team and we expect continued growth and excellence from The Independent Traveler sites.” ”TripAdvisor's model of acquiring best-of-breed travel media companies and allowing them to continue to operate independently is ideal for us,” said Kathleen Tucker, founder and president of The Independent Traveler, Inc. ”By joining the TripAdvisor family, we will have more resources to continue to build our business, expand internationally and strengthen our lead in the cruise space.” The Independent Traveler, based in Pennington, New Jersey, generates the majority of its revenue through online advertising and content licensing. Terms of the acquisition are undisclosed but the company operates profitably. There are no near-term plans for extensive integration of the business or the Web domains and no staffing changes are expected.

Oceania Cruises pioneers in Albania
Oceania Cruises recently made its maiden call in Sarande, Albania. Regatta was the first major North American cruise ship to call in Sarande, affording guests a unique cultural opportunity. Albania, which is located at the southwestern end of the Adriatic Sea, has just recently become accessible to western tourists. ”Our guests are experienced travelers who appreciate Albania's fascinating history and diverse cultures. We originally anticipated that our guests' primary interest would be the UNESCO World Heritage site of Butrint, but many chose excursions that provided them with a glimpse into Albanian culture and offered opportunities to immerse themselves in the local color,” stated Bob Binder, President of Oceania Cruises. Oceania Cruises plans two more calls in Sarande during 2007; guests sailing on Insignia's September 3 and October 17 departures of the Path of the Phoenicians will have the opportunity to explore the region, including excursions to the ruins of Butrint, its Amphitheatre, Basilica, and the five-centuries-old settlement which has been excavated over the past fifty years. In 2008, Oceania Cruises plans eight calls in Sarande: Nautica's voyages departing on May 20, July 19, Sept 5 and, 17, Oct 13 and 25, and Insignia's August 20th voyage.

Princess Cruises announces dramatic expansion in Australia
Princess Cruises will base its 77,000 gross ton Sun Princess in Australia full time in a move which will see its capacity in the local market grow by almost 350%. The Sun Princess will be the largest cruise ship ever to be based in Australia when she debuts in Sydney in November 2007, giving Australians their first-ever opportunity to enjoy premium cruising year-round. Carrying 1,950 passengers, Sun Princess will offer cruises from three homeports - Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle - throughout 2008, including the longest ever round-trip voyage from Australia - a 75-night ìGrand Pacific World Cruiseî. Princess Cruisesí Acting Managing Director in Australia, Dean Brown, said Princess Cruisesí decision to base a ship full time in Australia was a first for the US-based cruise line, and followed strong demand from Australians for a premium cruising experience. Sun Princess had originally been scheduled to sail from Australia for a five-month summer season only. Brown said Sun Princess would be joined over the 2008-09 summer by her sister ship, Dawn Princess, which will operate a season of cruises from Sydney, while Sun Princess sails from Melbourne. The two shipsí deployment will see Princess Cruisesí capacity in Australia grow by almost 350% between 2007 and 2008, he said. ìSun Princessí move Down Under is great news for Australian passengers, whoíll now be able to enjoy premium cruising year-round, with more than 30 different cruises on offer. Itís also fantastic news for Perth and Melbourne, with both cities set to welcome Sun Princess as the first superliner ever to be based in their ports,î Mr Brown said.

Costa targets new source markets and expands exotic cruise offerings
Costa Crociere, the biggest cruise brand in Europe, expects to carry a million passengers this year, an increase from about 880,000 in 2006, while it continues to grow its new source markets such as the Far East, Australia and Scandinavia plus Eastern Europe and to include new destinations, senior company officials said on board Costa Serena.  Bookings received so far for this year already confirm that that Costa will carry more passengers this year than in 2006,  said managing director Gianni Onorato, who spoke last week onboard Costa Serena, the 12th ship of the company. Following the delivery of the 112,000 gross ton Costa Serena, the companyís fleet offers 23,251 lower berths but its current newbuilding programme means that this will rise to 30,000 in 2010. In an expansion of its geographical coverage, the company will introduce a series of 14 night cruises from Seychelles on the 25,000 gross ton Costa Marina next year that will include calls at Mauritius, the Comoros, Mombasa in Kenya, Reunion and two ports on Madagascar. Costa Magica, Costa Victoria and Costa Classica will operate in South America, while Costa Europa and Costa Romantica will be based in Dubai. Costa Allegra will operate from China and Costa Marina from Singapore prior to its deployment into the Indian Ocean. In all, the company will have 36 base ports next year, according to Mario Martini, svp for marketing and sales.

Eckero waives 90% acceptance clause in Birka bid
Rederiaktiebolaget Eckero, the Finnish ferry company that has launched a hostile takeover bid to acquire Birka Line, another Finnish shipping firm, has decided to go ahead with the bid despite results show it fell short of 90% acceptance that Eckero had set as a precondition for a deal. However, the Eckero board has decided its right to waive the clause regarding the limit after it had received acceptance from shareholders that represented 50.1% of the votes and 57.9% of the shares in Birka. Eckero operates a ferry service between the self governing Aland Islands and Sweden plus another one between Helsinki and Tallinn, while Birka has the 34,758 gross ton cruise liner Birka Paradise in service between Stockholm and Mariehamn, capital of the Aland Islands. It also has seven freight ferries

Pullmantur buys Pacific Star from P&O Cruises Australia
P&O Cruises Australia, which is part of the Carnival Corp & PLC group, has sold the 1981 built Pacific Star to Spanish cruise operator, Pullmantur Cruises, which is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL). The 1,350 passenger vessel will leave the P&O fleet in March 2008. The sale is part of its rolling programme to renew its fleet while continuing to grow its South Pacific cruise business, P&O Cruises Australia said in a statement, adding that it comes as the company  prepares to welcome the 2,050-passenger Pacific Dawn in November this year, which will substantially increase its overall fleet capacity. The ship is currently trading as Regal Princess for Princess Cruises and the 70,000 gross ton ship was built in 1991. ìFollowing the sale of Pacific Star, P&O Cruisesí fleet capacity will still increase by 20 per cent through the arrival of Australiaís first superliner, Pacific Dawn, later this year,î P&O Cruises President Gavin Smith said. He r said the 47,000gt Pacific Sun would operate the very popular 42-night Cherry Blossom cruise to Japan, originally scheduled for the smaller Pacific Star in March 2008.ìWe apologise for any inconvenience the shipís sale may have caused and will be contacting those passengers booked on Pacific Star sailings scheduled after March 2008 to discuss alternative cruises

Details emerge of new Seabourn ships
The Yachts of Seabourn, the luxury brand in the Carnival Corp & PLC group, has unveiled details of the two 32,000 gross ton newbuildings on order in Italy. In all, more than 8,500 tons of steel will be cut and welded to form the sleek hull and graceful superstructure of the line's $250 million flagship, which is scheduled to enter service in mid-June 2009. The yet-unnamed vessel is being designed by Yran & Storbraaten of Norway and constructed in Italy by T. Mariotti S.p.A., leaders in the construction of mega-yachts and intimate cruising vessels. ìThe ship's designers have mirrored the distinctive silhouette of the existing Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend while adding additional facilities and amenities. Indeed, past guests will appreciate a familiar scheme to the general layout of public rooms and accommodations,î Seabourn said in a statement..”We've been careful to incorporate Seabourn's signature features while designing the next generation of ultra luxury ship to satisfy the desires of a new generation of luxury travelers,” said Pamela C. Conover, the line's president and CEO.In response to feedback from past passengers, the new ship will offer a range of luxury accommodations. Seven of its 11 passenger decks will feature 225 ocean-view suites, measuring from 277 to over 1,300 square feet. Approximately 90 percent of the suites will include private verandas providing from 68 to 344 square feet of outdoor living space. Decks 9 and 10 are home to 22 penthouses with 450-square-foot interiors and verandas measuring nearly 100 square feet. The most expansive guest quarters on board will be five Owners Suites that measure over 700 square feet (including veranda) and four, two-bedroom Grand Suites providing over 1300 square feet of private living space. All suites will feature granite bathrooms, with separate tub and shower, twin sinks and a stunning glass vanity. Guests can enjoy superb cuisine in a choice of four venues: The Restaurant -- the ship's gourmet, open-seating dining room, where guests savor multi- course dinner menus designed by acclaimed celebrity chef Charlie Palmer; Veranda Cafe -- a stylish, yet casual restaurant serving regional specialties, with both indoor and outdoor seating; Restaurant 2 -- an elegant and intimate specialty restaurant featuring innovative tasting menus; and Patio Grill -- where guests can enjoy pizza and grilled items, poolside.. With an open-bar policy that ensures fine wines, champagnes and spirits flow freely, choices will include: Grand Salon -- the main showroom and home to Seabourn's dance band, features a unique living room-like foyer furnished with inviting booths and arm chairs, in addition to tiered banquettes that surround the dance floor.The Club -- with both indoor and outdoor seating, is where a pianist, duo or trio will perform a variety of musical genres throughout the evening. Sky Bar -- this popular icon of the existing Seabourn yachts overlooks the ship's central, outdoor living space: Poolside Patio. Patio Bar -- in the evenings, guests can enjoy live, alfresco entertainment, weather permitting. Coffee Bar -- situated portside at Seabourn Square, traditional Italian espresso, cappuccino and cafÈ latte are complimented by champagne, wine and spirits

CBR 2/2015 contents

CBR 1/2015 contents

CBR 3/2014 contents