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Articles from 2006 In January


Costaapos;s debut in Asia a success

Costaapos;s debut in Asia a success

Utilising one of the oldest and smallest ships in its fleet, Costa Allegra, the line is offering two 13-day cruises between Hong Kong and Mumbai. Departure of the first cruise from Hong Kong is scheduled at the end of May, with the 28,430gt vessel built in 1992 calling in Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Andaman Islands, Sri Lanka, Goa and finishing in Mumbai. The vessel will sail a return leg on June 13.

Asked by Seatrade Insider if this will lead to more or bigger tonnage being deployed in Asia in the future, Foschi said he could not say.

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Mystic Dubai full of promise for Costa

Mystic Dubai full of promise for Costa

'We are continually looking for new exciting itineraries, particularly in the winter, and the demand for Dubai as a winter holiday destination is increasing throughout Europe,' he said. Whilst Foschi pointed out the climate is comparable to the Caribbean, 'the flying times from mainland Europe to Dubai are much shorter - just three hours versus six to the Caribbean, therefore eliminating any jet lag,' he added.

Foschi referred to the cruise product from Dubai as 'more mystical than beach-type', and admitted a challenge 'is people's perceptions related to safety in the area which is easily overcome once you have travelled there.'

The decision to also place an AIDA ship in Dubai for seven cruises in winter 2006/07 followed a successful foray last year, said Foschi, when the line offered one cruise into the Gulf and another back to the Med. Whilst the latter product will be targeted at the German speaking market, Costa Classica's Middle East itineraries will be sold predominately in Italy, Spain, France and the UK. 'It may also appeal to North Americans, but we will not be selling it to that market for the first year of operation,' he revealed.

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Diamondapos;s sell-out season Down Under

Diamondapos;s sell-out season Down Under


Smith, who spoke to Seatrade Insider at a media lunch aboard the ship when it returned to Sydney today after the first of eight trans-Tasman cruises, said around three-quarters of the passengers are from North America on fly/float packages.


'The balance are domestic Australian passengers who are enjoying a close-to-home, point-to-point big ship experience, as against buying a portion of a world cruise,' Smith said.

Forward bookings are already strong for the return of Sapphire Princess in December which will undertake Princess Cruises' fourth megaship programme Down Under through to April 2007.

'We are really capacity-constrained,' Smith said. 'We have so many American passengers looking for completely new and exotic destinations like Australia and New Zealand and, with a lead-in price of around A$205 a night, the product is selling 12 months out in the Australian domestc market.'

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Bathrooms: time to test the water says SMCapos;s Collier

Bathrooms: time to test the water says SMCapos;s Collier

SMC's head designer, with over 21 years' experience in the marine leisure market, said bathrooms are the most 'neglected and undervalued areas on ship'. The build and fitting of such modular cabins - constructed off-site and then connected at the yard - has resulted in 'a utilitarian and production process' due to the vast numbers involved (average 1,000 on a megaship).

Collier said modular bathroom units, developed in the 1970s, 'are caught in a time zone' but with land-based industry now catching onto the method, 'they are driving the market forward and whilst the cruise ship market is smaller, suppliers need to expand their horizons in this area,' he added.

In a move to make standard bathrooms bigger Collier boldy suggested creating space from the balcony but qualifies that it would take a brave owner to kick against 'what has become an industry convention' on newbuilds.

'Balconies are prime real estate that are not being utilized,' claimed Collier. 'They can be cold, wet and windy even on a sunny day at sea and they are certainly not private.' His solution is to gain the space back from the balcony for the cabin bathroom and instead insert French windows, so passengers can have fresh air if desired.

According to Collier a whole host of other design features could be added to bathrooms to enhance passenger comfort such as LED lighting, body jets and aerated shower systems, LCD TV screens and even windows. 'Many of these features are creeping into suites and penthouse accommodation but in future we would like to see it happen in standard bathrooms.'

Collier calls on owners and yards to look at bathrooms and their design as a through-cost rather than a one-off installation cost at newbuilding stage. 'It should be a passenger perception driven aspect of the ship rather than a cost driven one.'

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New logistics center for HMS Hanseatic

New logistics center for HMS Hanseatic

Facilities at the center, which will be staffed by 124 employees, include a deep-freeze and cold store of 2,000 square meters with 1,700 pallet slots, a new dry store and distribution centre of 8,500 square meters and 7,100 pallet slots, and a box floor shelve system with more than 100 boxes built on an area of 29,000 square meters. Goods can be stored up to 10 months in the new warehouse. An office building was also constructed at the new location.

The HMS group - consisting of Schaar & Niemeyer GmbH & Co. KG, Wilh. Richers GmbH & Co. KG and Hans Heidorn Shipping Services GmbH & Co. KG - supplies more than 200 cargo and passenger vessels in European ports weekly. With offices in Hamburg and Singapore, the HMS group is led by managing partners Hennig Engels und Jens Heyke.

The address of the new logistics center is: Neuhoefer Brueckenstraße 8, 21107 Hamburg.

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Fincantieri to pay EUR10m dividend

Fincantieri to pay EUR10m dividend

'We'll pay out a EUR10m dividend for the second year in a row, while 2005 profits stand at around EUR50m,' Bono told Seatrade Insider.

The decline in profits compared to 2004, was due to higher steel, energy and insurance costs, he said. As for the company's cruise orderbook, Bono believes this could be enriched soon, stressing that in addition to on-going talks with Carnival Corp - which still has two options pending - it is in discussion with other owners, including Disney Cruise Line.

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Fincantieri close to finalising stake in Lloyd Werft

Fincantieri close to finalising stake in Lloyd Werft

As reported by Seatrade Insider almost one year ago, the deal also includes an option for Fincantieri to increase its shareholding in the German yard up to 51% within three years. This would cost an additional EUR13m.

The German move is the first in Fincantieri's expansion plans to become a global player in the expanding cruise ship repair and refurbishment market. In addition to its Palermo facility in the heart of the Mediterranean it also intends purchasing the majority stake in Grand Bahama Shipyard, although Seatrade Insider understands that final negotiations on this deal are still some way off.

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Savings on A&Kapos;s 06-07 Antarctica

Savings on A&Kapos;s 06-07 Antarctica

The ship will offer four departures of a 14-day 'Classic Antarctica' itinerary and four departures of a 19- or 20-day 'Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands' route.

Savings of $500 per adult are available on bookings made before March 31. Last year most Explorer II departures for the current season were sold out by the end of March, so A&K is advising travel agents to encourage clients to book early, especially if they are interested in suites.

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AGE: Price trends apos;modestly laggingapos;

AGE: Price trends apos;modestly laggingapos;

G. Edwards.

AGE looked at bookings from mid-November through the end of January, comparing prices sequentially versus three months ago and on a year-over-year basis for Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.

'Pricing trends appear to be modestly lagging what we would anticipate three weeks into the wave season -- i.e. we are only seeing modest broad acceleration in sequential pricing trends,' writes analyst Tim Conder. According to AGE's survey, year-over-year prices remain 'solidly down' for the Carnival brand in Alaska and the RCL brands in Europe.

Fuel continues as the primary issue for investors, Conder says, with bunker hitting new pricing highs after retreating during most of the fourth quarter.

Royal Caribbean reports fourth-quarter earnings tomorrow. AGE reiterated its concern that Wall Street expectations for 2006 are too optimistic, as most estimates appear to be incorporating lower than management's stated spot rates for fuel in late October. 'Since that time, RCL's blended (unhedged) fuel cost appears to be up approximately 9%-10%,' Conder writes. The Street earnings consensus is $2.90, versus AGE's estimate of $2.66.

The brokerage reaffirmed its 'Buy' rating on CCL and 'Hold' rating on RCL, adding that AGE's overall near-term mood is 'somewhat more cautious given fuel and modestly lagging wave season-to-date pricing trends.' Conder predicts CCL shares could stay in a $47-$56 range and RCL shares in a $39-$41 range 'until the recent upward move in fuel moderates and more convincing trends on wave-season pricing emerge.'

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Coin ceremony for MSC Orchestra

Coin ceremony for MSC Orchestra

On hand were Rafaela Aponte, the wife of Mediterranean Shipping Company president Gianluigi Aponte; Pierfrancesco Vago, ceo of MSC Cruises; Patrick Boissier, chairman and ceo of Chantiers de l'Atlantique; and other representatives of the shipowner, the yard, classification society Bureau Veritas, travel agencies and journalists.

MSC Orchestra is the sixth ship that Chantiers de l'Atlantique is building for MSC, following MSC Lirica, Opera, Sinfonia, Armonia and Musica. MSC Musica is nearing completion for delivery in June. The construction of MSC Fantasia and Serenata will follow.

The floating out of MSC Orchestra is planned for September, while the sea trials and delivery of the ship are scheduled in first quarter 2007. Like her sister, MSC Musica, MSC Orchestra will offer 1,275 passenger cabins and 497 crew cabins. The 17-deck vessel is 293.8 meters long with a beam of 32.2 meters.

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