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Articles from 2017 In November

Carnival resumes San Juan calls post-hurricane

(Photo: Carnival Cruise Line)
Carnival Conquest arrives at San Juan harbor Thursday morning

The 110,000gt Carnival Conquest arrived San Juan early Thursday. This marks the first of dozens of transit calls to the island by Carnival ships in the coming weeks.

The line will resume sailing from San Juan as an embarkation port when Carnival Fascination begins its year-round seven-day southern Caribbean schedule Feb. 18. That ship is currently on charter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to house relief workers in St. Croix.

During Carnival Conquest's call today, the ship’s 3,200 passengers could take a range of shore excursions and explore Old San Juan.

Royal Caribbean deploys second ship to Cuba, adds ports

Majesty of the Seas will sail four- and five-night cruises to Havana, pictured, while Empress of the Seas will offer varied cruises including the new ports of Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos on the southeast coast join the lineup. Together with Havana, they'll be among the destinations on an array of four- to eight-night cruises operated by Empress of the Seas that open for sale today.

Offered year-round from Miami, Empress itineraries include seven-night 'Best of Cuba' programs to Cienfuegos, Havana and Nassau, Bahamas; five-night sailings visiting Key West and spending the night in Havana; and an immersive eight-night journey to Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, Grand Cayman and Labadee, Haiti.

Majesty of the Seas will continue the four- and five-night offerings to Havana that include day and overnight stays, departing from Tampa from April to October 2018, and Port Everglades from November 2018 to March 2019. (Last summer Royal Caribbean had said Majesty would sail one cruise to Cuba from Port Canaveral in March 2019.)

All the Cuba sailings offer shore excursions designed to comply with the people-to-people educational exchange activities requirement set forth in US regulations.

'Cruising remains the easiest way to visit Cuba, and with both Empress and Majesty sailing there in 2018 and 2019, we hope to make it that much easier for adventure seekers to experience the legendary island,' RCI president and CEO Michael Bayley said.

The news immediately follows meetings this week in Havana between leaders of US-based cruise companies that have agreements to sail to Cuba and government officials.

Scanship nails two-year service agreement with NCLH

(Photo: Robert Klemm Photography)
From left, NCLH's Paolo Mele, Scanship Americas' Bettina Nowak; Keisha Rodriguez, product manager, Scanship Americas; NCLH's Olivier Buton; Smiljana Barac, manager, strategic alliances, supply chain management, NCLH, and Giovanni Canu, VP technical operations, Norwegian Cruise Line

'We are very pleased to reinforce the technical cooperation with Scanship as a testament to our longstanding partnership and our commitment to the environment,' said Paolo Mele, SVP technical operations, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

The fleet-wide service agreement includes preventive maintenance service visits, system tuning and remote monitoring for the most cost-efficient operations, according to Olivier Buton, VP marine & technical supply chain management, NCLH.

Bettina Nowak, managing director, Scanship Americas, said her company will work with NCLH to secure efficient and compliant operations by providing service, parts and consumables.

Since 2002 Scanship has retrofitted 11 Norwegian ships with advanced wastewater treatment systems. From 2004, six newbuilds have been equipped with Scanship’s Total Clean Ship Systems including garbage handling, food waste processing and bio residue treatment. All these ships are in full compliance with the strict Alaska discharge requirements introduced in 2003.

From 2010, newbuilds in the Breakaway and Breakaway Plus classes have been deployed with Scanship wastewater purification systems in compliance with the new IMO MARPOL standard for special areas removing phosphorus and nitrogen. The most recent advanced wastewater purification retrofit was for Oceania Cruises' Sirena in 2016, meeting the same standard to be enforced in the Baltic Sea from 2019.

In total, 17 ships NCLH vessels are using Scanship systems: 15 at Norwegian Cruise Line and one each at Oceania and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Next Love Boat, Sky Princess, to debut in the Mediterranean

Sky Princess - some innovations will be revealed in the coming months

The 143,700gt, 3,660-berth ship is scheduled to enter service in October 2019 with a series of Mediterranean voyages.

Princess promised some innovations to the guest experience that will be revealed in coming months. The line did not disclose any changes today beyond saying Sky Princess will have updated décor and design throughout.

The ship will sport signature features of the class like a soaring central Piazza-style atrium, Princess Live! entertainment venue, adults-only Sanctuary and Camp Discovery youth and teen centers. Dining venues will include the Salty Dog Grill, Alfredo’s Pizzeria, Vines Wine Bar, Chef’s Table Lumiere and World Fresh Marketplace.

Sky Princess also will feature the outdoor 'Movies Under the Stars' theater, and 80% of all staterooms will have balconies.

Jan Swartz, group president of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia, noted the name recalls a previous ship.

'When Princess merged with Sitmar Cruises in 1988, Sky Princess joined our fleet and sailed with us for 12 years. Now, more than 30 years later, a new Sky Princess will join the fleet featuring our modern design platform and contemporary innovations offered to exceed our guests’ expectations,' she said.

The inaugural Mediterranean deployment offers 10 departures of eight itineraries. First up is a seven-day Mediterranean and Adriatic cruise from Piraeus to Barcelona on Oct. 20, 2019. This voyage can be combined with a seven-day Barcelona to Civitavecchia (Rome) voyage.

In addition, Sky Princess will sail on a new seven-day Mediterranean round-trip Rome voyage that can be paired with a seven-day Barcelona to Rome cruise.

The culmination of Sky Princess’ inaugural Mediterranean season will be a 14-day 'Spanish Passage' from Barcelona to Florida's Port Everglades, combinable with the seven-day Mediterranean and/or the seven-day Mediterranean round-trip Rome voyages for a 21-day or 28-day crossing.

Bookings open Dec. 14. A reduced deposit of 10% is available for bookings made by Aug. 31, 2018.

The fifth Royal-class vessel is also currently under construction at Fincantieri and will debut in 2020.

Astor en route to Fremantle for fifth season in Australia

(Photo: Helen Hutcheon)
Dean Brazier and Ann Hope at the Sydney function for travel industry partners

The 600-passenger ship was on the final leg of a 54-night repositioning voyage from Tilbury via the West Indies, Panama Canal and the South Pacific and arrives in Fremantle on December 8.

Dean Brazier, who took up his appointment as md CMV Australia in August, took the opportunity to co-host a lunch on board for travel industry partners with Ann Hope, national accounts manager.

Brazier, who hails from Hertfordshire, sold his company, Driveline Europe, to the UK’s Automobile Association before moving to Adelaide with his family where he worked for Phil Hoffmann Travel for nine years.

Next week Brazier will move CMV’s Sydney office to Adelaide, where he lives. CMV’s head of customer services in the UK, Bob McGowan, has come to Australia to train nine new staff members.

Brazier said Astor’s 2018/19 programme for Australia was recently released and he is currently planning the 2019/2020 itineraries.

He told Seatrade Cruise News he would like to include a few round cruises from Sydney when Astor comes through on her way to homeport in Fremantle.

Meantime, the company’s flagship, Columbus, is making a 121-night world voyage from Tilbury on January 5, 2018.

The 1,400-passenger adults-only ship, which was named Star Princess by Audrey Hepburn in 1989 and was most recently P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Pearl, will call at Auckland on February 17 and Sydney on February 23 where she will overnight. She returns to Tilbury on May 6 via Asia and the Suez Canal.

Pizzeria, gelaterias, digital signage among Costa upgrades in Marseille dockings

Costa Magica in the Forme 10 dock of Chantier Naval de Marseille

Aboard Costa Magica the galley of the Vicenza Club Restaurant (for Costa Club Diamond Pearl members) was upgraded and the layout improved. The Buffet Bellagio Restaurant was redesigned to provide better space allocation.

The ship's spa was updated with a new sauna, thalassotherapy and relaxation area.

Costa Magica also added a Gelateria Amarillo featuring Agrimontana ice cream flavors.

The ship emerged from the dock on Nov. 25.

Costa Pacifica, which entered the dock on Nov. 26 and is due for completion Dec. 7, will also emerge with a Gelateria Amarillo. Plus, it will gain a Pizzeria Pummid’Oro, serving authentic Italian pizza with dough made from 100% natural yeast, select flours, mozzarella produced on board and San Marzano DOP tomatoes.

New digital signage on Costa Pacifica will include high-resolution monitors and interactive screens featuring various functions. These will help passengers find their way around the ship, inform them of events and activities, advertise promotions of products and services and share educational campaigns.

These changes, along with routine maintenance for both ships, are being carried out in the Forme 10 dock of Chantier Naval de Marseille.

Once the upgrades have been completed Costa Magica and Costa Pacifica will head to the Caribbean for the winter cruise season.

Dream Cruises president susses out new private island in Myanmar

(Photos: Jacintha Stephens)
Thatcher Brown inspected MacLeod Island after arriving on Genting Dream, shown anchored offshore Wednesday

As earlier reported, Dream Cruises' parent company Genting Cruise Lines is jointly developing facilities at MacLeod Island with local partners to create a new private island-style destination. MacLeod Island is a located in the Myeik Archipelago in southern Myanmar.

Brown inspected the emerging infrastructure to recommend enhancements for Genting Dream's shore experience on the remote and pristine island.

The ship's call was preceded by Star Cruises' SuperStar Libra, which has visited twice.

Genting Dream recently began its extended deployment from Singapore.

Carnival brings back the baked Alaska in wide-ranging menus revamp

(Photo: Carnival Cruise Line)
That traditional cruise favorite—Baked Alaska—is once again being paraded through the dining room

The menus for Carnival’s steak houses, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurants and delis, as well as main dining room breakfast offerings, have changed to reflect lighter ingredients, updated preparation techniques and new presentations.

Baked Alaska is also being reintroduced after several years with waiters parading the ice cream, cake and meringue confection through the dining room before serving.

The updated steak house menus, currently available on three ships, offer appetizers like iced and smoked fresh oysters with apple mignonette; tuna tartare with yuzu sphere and avocado 'Leche de Tiger'; risotto with crab, mushroom and brown butter, and heritage Berkshire pork belly with apple walnut preserve.

These complement a selection of USDA prime steaks, including new items such as an A-5 Wagyu steak and lighter fare like farmhouse chicken with roasted honey vinegar and Dover sole pan-seared with lemon potato-mousseline and shallot emulsion.

Four additional ships are expected to get the new menus by early next year.

The new menu for Cucina del Capitano reflects the diversity of Italy’s culinary regions, with dishes like branzino al forno in crosta dorata with tomatoes, stewed chickpeas, salmoriglio and mushroom bark; risotto Milanese with saffron and Parmesan cheesel; grande braciola di maiale, a tomahawk pork chop with fennel pollen, shallots and crispy sage; and costina di manzo con porcini with salsa verde and young tomato bruschetta.

House-made burrata has been added to menus as well, with classic Italian favorites like chicken Parmesan, meatballs and fried calamari also available. The new Cucina del Capitano menus are currently on three ships—Carnival Magic, Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze—with Carnival Sunshine expected to updated next month.

Breakfast menus in the main dining rooms are varied with new options like avocado toast; a breakfast bowl featuring kale, spinach, faro wheat berries, sesame seeds, feta cheese, raspberries and a sunny side up egg; and fresh-baked broccoli and cheddar egg frittata. There’s also a broken egg sandwich served panini-style with fried eggs, bacon, cheddar, greens and hash browns, and a breakfast board with a soft boiled egg, house-made yogurt, seasonal jam, baby lettuce salad, pastrami and grilled sour dough bread.

For those on the go, a new 'breakfast express' is available on port days featuring orange juice, eggs, hickory-smoked bacon or sausage and pastries, all 'in and out' within 25 minutes. An assortment of traditional breakfast favorites such as French toast, pancakes and cereals is also offered

To date, 12 ships feature the new breakfast items, with the balance of the fleet expected to receive the new menus by mid-2018.

The line’s delis have undergone a dramatic change, as well, with an updated design and new choices, including seven sandwiches such as meatball, buffalo chicken and The Cubano with roasted pork, ham, pickles, mustard and Swiss cheese, along with Southwest chicken, falafel and turkey wraps. Salted chocolate chip cookies are baked fresh every morning.

Carnival is also rebranding its 24-hour pizzerias to Pizzeria del Capitano offering five kinds of hand-tossed, thin-crusted pies—from Margherita and pepperoni to artisan-style quattro formaggio, mushroom and prosciutto. The rebranded delis and pizzerias will be incorporated into additional vessels during scheduled dry docks.

With the popularity of Seafood Shack, which debuted on Carnival Vista last year and offers lobster rolls, fried clams, chowder and other New England-inspired fare, the concept has been expanded to nine additional ships.

Valletta Cruise Port celebrates 700,000 cruise passenger movements

Valletta welcomes the lucky 700,000th passenger to visit Malta in 2017

A lucky recipient, who arrived in the Port of Valletta aboard MSC Meraviglia, was selected as the 700,000th passenger and given the opportunity to return to Malta in the near future with a 3-day break inclusive of flights for two persons, courtesy of the Malta Tourism Authority.

The Minister for Tourism, the Hon. Dr Konrad Mizzi said, ‘So far this year 700,000 cruise passengers have experienced entering the Grand Harbour and visited Malta. Government is committed to continue to work with the Valletta Cruise Port to ensure our offering is competitive and that our product continuously improves.’

Stephen Xuereb, ceo of Valletta Cruise Port and coo of Global Ports Holding, said, ‘this marks a momentous milestone for Valletta Cruise Port, currently celebrating its 15th anniversary, and Malta.’

Carlo Micallef, chief marketing officer of the Malta Tourism Authority, commented: ‘beyond the injection of income that each cruise ship visit generates, there is also the positive contribution of showcasing some of the highlights of our Islands to day trippers and often also to their social media network. Apart from the resultant promotion of our Islands, surveys have shown that many cruise passengers are intrigued to return to Malta and Gozo for a longer holiday soon after.’

Valletta is anticipating closing the year 2017 with record passenger movements of approximately 780,000, aboard 340 cruise calls, with 2018 expected to be on the same levels. The cruise industry contributed over €94m to the local economy in 2016.

P&O Cruises and TUI Cruises use Valletta for homeporting, the latter for seven consecutive seasons.

Valletta Cruise Port is hosting MedCruise’s General Assembly in May 2018, in a year that Valletta will be bestowed the title of European Capital of Culture.


Fincantieri in the spotlight with MSC orders

(Photo: Fincantieri)
Italy President Sergio Mattarella, left, with Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono today at MSC Seaside's delivery

'This ambitious shipbuilding plan will mark the beginning of a constant growth to give our guests increasingly modern ships and attractive itineraries,' MSC Cruises founder Gianluigi Aponte said.

'We are proud to have accomplished such an important project—a ship for a new customer, the largest one ever built in Italy,' Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono said. 'This demonstrates not only our ability to satisfy the needs of the shipowners, but also the extraordinary operational level which Fincantieri has achieved.'

With 20 shipyards in four continents and 19,400 employees including 8,200 in Italy, Fincantieri has developed a solid financial and economic structure with €4.5bn revenues and a €25bn backlog which is aimed to go to €30bn by the end of 2017, Bono added.

'Without such achievement, we couldn’t have launched an agreement on a large scale with France for the establishment of a European group leader in the civil and naval shipbuilding, destined to become one of the major players at a worldwide level,' the Fincantieri chief continued.

Bono said a new industrial reality will emerge from Fincantieri's integration with France's Naval Group and STX France. This will have a presence in more than 20 countries, around 35,000 employees and allied activities in Europe involving a projected 120,000 people and capable of generating annual revenues topping €10bn and an order backlog of over €50bn.

For MSC Seaside, a €700m investment by MSC Cruises, some 2,000 workers were involved, peaking to 3,300 just prior to delivery. More than 7,000 workers have been engaged at the Monfalcone yard with both Seaside ships, including 2018's MSC Seaview.

Executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago noted how MSC Cruises otherwise benefits Italy's economy. In 2018, the line will transport 3m passengers through 14 ports with each passenger spending an average of more than €100 per destination.

He added that the cruise sector boosts national employment and MSC's newbuilding program in future years could require 30,000 workers. If labor laws are modified, that could mean jobs for many young Italians.