Seatrade Cruise News is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Terminal V — Virgin pizzazz and a prime PortMiami address

CRUISE_Tom_McAlpin_Terminal_V.jpg
Tom McAlpin surveys the 'bones' for what he promised will be a beautiful terminal, exclusive to Virgin Voyages

It will have a 'really cool' palm grove theme, Virgin pizzazz and the best location with beautiful views of Miami and from Miami — a 'billboard' for Virgin Voyages, President and CEO McAlpin said.

Eyeful of the Lady Ships

He recently toured the five-acre site at the western edge of Dodge Island, making it the cruise berth nearest — and the only one parallel to — the mainland. So downtown Miami will have an eyeful of the Lady Ships, and vice versa.

Scarlet Lady will sail four- and five-night itineraries joined, during the winter season, by Valiant Lady on six- and eight-night cruises.

Nearly 200,000 square feet

Terminal V entails a new bulkhead and apron, a new 199,751-square-foot terminal complex and provision, staging, loading and intermodal areas with a substantial completion date of Oct. 15, 2021. Suffolk Construction Co. is the contractor.

McAlpin said the foundations and footings are in, with the vertical work starting, and the sheet piles are being driven for the seawall.

'We're excited,' he said. 'It's one of the most unique and beautiful parts of PortMiami' and the first terminal seen from MacArthur Causeway.

'It has great, beautiful views of Miami, and Miami will have great, beautiful views of Scarlet and Valiant when they're in port but when they're not, great views of our terminal, which is great advertisement for us — a big "billboard" that says Virgin Voyages.'

Palm grove concept

Virgin's Dee Cooper, SVP design and customer experience, led the process that selected Miami's Arquitectonica for the design. The firm came up with a palm grove concept, recalling the genesis of Miami Beach before tourism. 

'It's cool. It's fun. It's simple but the concept fits Miami really well,' McAlpin said. And when travelers flee the snow for their tropical getaway and glimpse that first palm tree, 'You know you're on vacation,' he added.

The design resembles a canopy and the columns that support the structure look like palm tree trunks. Palms will be planted all around.

The building is white 'with the right amount of red pop, some fun lettering and some fun livery,' according to McAlpin. 'We'll make sure people know it's a Virgin Voyages terminal.' Spectacular lighting after dark is another feature.

Tech efficiency

Though Virgin plans a beautiful terminal, it's also got to be efficient because what sailors (passengers) want to get on the ship.

Technology will simplify and speed the check-in process. At home, using smartphone apps, sailors can complete registration in 10 minutes, including providing a credit card and snapping a security photo.

Greeted by 'angels'

At the terminal, instead of queuing for check-in desks, sailors will be met by 'angels' with tablets. (And VIPs — including those booking RockStar Suites, will have a VIP entrance, of course.)

The angels' tablets will identify travelers via The Band, Virgin's wearable. Besides serving as identification, The Band opens cabin doors, is used for making purchases and for the personalized muster drill. The angels will ensure everything's in order, conduct a wellness screening and take a temperature check.

Then sailors pass through security. Facial recognition technology will be used at embarkation and disembarkation, in conjunction with US Customs and Border Protection.

Crew facilities

Terminal V will also house crew offices, a lounge with private breakout areas for meetings and private catchups and calls. According to Cooper, 'This will build on our amazing office space, bringing the Virgin Voyages crew the support and infrastructure they need to do their job whether ship or shore crew.'

AtmosAir

Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady have the AtmosAir solution, a bipolar ionization process that kills germs and viruses. Talks are under way about potentially using the system in the terminal.

And Terminal V's design is targeting LEED Gold Certification for environmental efficiency.

McAlpin summed up: 'It's about a beautiful terminal. It's about a great process to get you on board. And it's a beautiful, iconic element to showcase our brand when the ship's not there. It's right there, front and center, reminding everyone that Virgin Voyages is in the cruise industry.'

 

Landmark ruling finds governments in breach of international law on seafarer rights

CRUISE_ILO_logo.jpg

In the first ruling of its kind, the committee of 20 jurists found governments have failed abjectly to protect the minimum standards for the protection of seafarers’ rights, as set out in international law under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006. This includes basic rights such as access to healthcare, repatriation, annual leave and shore leave.

The finding follows submissions made by the International Transport Workers’ Federation and of the International Chamber of Shipping. The full ILO Committee of Experts finding, which is being sent to national governments, can be viewed here.

ITF/ICS joint statement

Responding to the ruling, ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton and ICS Secretary General Guy Platten issued a joint statement:

'Governments have been asked for months to address the crew change crisis. Now they have been told that they must act to help the hundreds of thousands of seafarers still on board ships due to the unlawful actions of member states.

'This ruling clearly sets out that it is both legally and morally wrong for countries to continue to expect seafarers to work indefinitely, supplying the world with food, medicine and vital supplies, while depriving them of their fundamental rights as seafarers, as workers, and as humans. This landmark ruling is a clear vindication of what seafarers’ unions and shipowners have been saying for the past nine months.

Only 46 states classify seafarers as key workers

'This ruling makes clear that all governments have to follow international law and urgently recognise seafarers as key workers with practical effect. This means allowing seafarers to get off in ports for medical attention. It means enabling seafarers get to an airport to fly home when their contracts are finished. And it means letting replacement crews through a country’s border to join those waiting ships without having to battle a mountain of bureaucracy. To date, only 46 countries have classified seafarers as key workers, which is simply not good enough.

'We welcome the intervention from the ILO Committee of Experts in spelling out how governments have failed in their obligations. The Committee is unequivocal in its critique on the lack of required cooperation by governments. It criticises States for allowing the situation to persist for so long.

'But it also explains how together we can fix this. This is one of the most direct and effective Experts’ observations we’ve seen. Once again a roadmap has been laid out for how to resolve this humanitarian crisis and return to a normally functioning crew change system that the world’s supply chains can rely on. It’s up to governments to get on with implementing that roadmap and urgently prioritise seafarers as key workers for COVID-19 vaccines as a clear demonstration of compliance with this finding.'

Crew change crisis

National travel restrictions in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted 400,000 seafarers who have been unable to go home or be replaced. Hundreds of thousands of workers are being forced to overrun their contracts and are currently stuck at sea or are waiting to start their tours of duty.

The current situation risks the safety and mental wellbeing of seafarers. While the continued inability to rotate seafarers on and off ships poses a serious threat to the ability of ships to deliver vital cargo at a time when countries need it most.

ICS and ITF have campaigned for a year to label seafarers as key workers and to ensure that their rights are not breached because of the pandemic.

Cruise industry's monumental effort

Cruise lines, crewing agencies, ships' agents and others went to great lengths in monumental, months-long efforts to repatriate their crew, as documented in a Seatrade Cruise Review cover story.

 

Wm. Blair cuts CCL estimates as 'any resemblance of normal sailing keeps getting pushed out'

CRUISE William Blair logo.jpeg

'However, visibility remains very murky on this timeline, which could translate into further downward pressure on our below-consensus 2021 projections,' analyst Sharon Zackfia said in a note.

Typically Carnival would be reporting Q4 results at around this time or in the next week.

New projection: $4.21 EPS loss in 2021

William Blair now forecasts a 2021 loss of $4.21 per share, compared to the consensus estimate of a $3.91 loss per share. Its revenue forecast is $7.7bn, compared to the consensus estimate of $8.4bn.

The brokerage estimates also reflect the impact of transactions completed after Carnival Corp.'s last earnings release. These include a $1bn at-the-market offering (67.1m shares at an average price of $14.78) completed Oct. 30 and a $1.5bn ATM offering (94.5m shares at an average price of $15.87) completed Nov. 13. Also taken into account are private offerings of $1.45bn of 7.625% senior unsecured notes and €500m of 7.625% senior unsecured notes, both due 2026, completed Nov. 25 and 10.4m shares at $17.59 per share through a registered direct offering that closed Nov. 23.

Sufficient cash for well over a year with zero revenue

Zackfia said that tollowing the last offering, Carnival had about $10.7bn in cash, sufficient to ensure survival well over a year in a zero-revenue environment.

'Carnival’s stock has increased nearly 50% over the past five weeks as investors anticipate the restart of global sailings in 2021. However, the necessity to raise capital to sustain operations has had a material impact on Carnival’s post-pandemic earnings power, which we estimate at roughly $2 assuming the revenue and operating margin achieved in 2019 — translating into less than half the $4.40 in adjusted EPS Carnival reported in 2019,' Zackfia said,

She added William Blair is encouraged by Carnival’s liquidity and cost containment efforts but reiterated a 'market perform' (hold) rating for the stock with a multiple of roughly 11 times post-pandemic earnings power.

CCL closed at $21.76 on Wednesday. Shares have traded in a range of $7.80 to $51.94 over the last 52 weeks.

Travel the World’s second time 'round with Swan Hellenic

CRUISE_Swan_Hellenic.jpg
SH Minerva is scheduled to enter service in 2021

The 43-year-old company has represented major cruise brands in the local market, including Silversea, Seabourn, Ponant, Holland America Line and Windstar Cruises.

Welcome back

‘We are thrilled to welcome back Swan Hellenic to the Travel the World family as it embarks on an exciting relaunch,’ Andrew Millmore, chairman of Travel the World Group, said.

‘As one of the preferred Australian partners to make bookings with Swan Hellenic on behalf of travel agents, we will provide extensive training and support to help our agent partners promote these (yet to be launched) boutique expedition ships,’ Millmore said.

He said Travel the World will also offer industry-leading commission rates.

Australia’s immense potential

‘We’re truly delighted to have Travel the World Group as one of Swan Hellenic’s preferred partners in Australia, believing strongly in the immense potential of the Australian market,’ Alfredo Spadon, SVP of Swan Hellenic’s global sales and marketing, said.

Expert partner

‘It was essential for us to have a truly capable expert partner based in Australia,’ Spadon said.

‘Thanks to the incredible experience of Travel the World Group, we’ll be able to offer our guests the benefits of full sea-sky integration to carry them from their cities to our ships and back again around the world.’

 

More states join IMO call to designate seafarers as key workers

CRUISE_Kitack_Lim.jpg
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim called on member states that have not yet designated seafarers as key workers to do so as a matter of urgency

In a circular letter issued this week, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim called on member states that have not yet done so to take action as a matter of urgency.  

Critical to resolving crew change crisis

Key worker designation for seafarers is essential to exempt these professionals from specific COVID-related travel restrictions, allowing them to travel between their country of residence and ships, and to be repatriated at the end of their contracts. This is critical to resolve the crew change crisis, which currently leaves hundreds of thousands of seafarers trapped at sea or stuck at home and unable to join ships. 

Could play a role in priority vaccination

It could even play a key role in granting them priority access to vaccination

The plight of stranded seafarers is highlighted in an IMO video featuring seafarers who describe the challenges they have faced due to the pandemic, and the impacts of the ongoing crew change crisis on their physical and mental health. 

Resolutions urging governments to designate seafarers as key workers have been adopted by IMO, the United Nations General Assembly and the International Labour Organization.

States that have signed on

Member states that have designated seafarers as key workers include Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece,  Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Moldova, Montenegro, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Yemen. Associate member Hong Kong (China) has also done so.

 

10 ships in Med, two US homeports in MSC Cruises’ summer 2022 schedule

CRUISE_Bellissima.jpeg
MSC Bellissima (pictured) plus MSC Virtuosa will serve the Asia market

83 different itineraries are available across a total of 477 cruises, calling at 124 ports overall. 

Mediterranean

7-night cruises comprising destinations such as Barcelona, Cannes, Cagliari, Civitavecchia, Genoa, Ibiza, La Goulette, La Spezia, Livorno, Marseille, Messina, Naples, Palermo, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia and Valletta are available. MSC Seaside, MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia will depart from Genoa; MSC Meraviglia will set sail from Barcelona.

MSC Seaview will also traverse the Western Med. 

MSC Musica, MSC Armonia, MSC Lirica and MSC Sinfonia will embark on 7-night cruises from Venice calling at a combination of ports in the Easten Med, such as Ancona, Bari, Brindisi, Chania, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Mykonos, Piraeus, Santorini, Sarande and Split. 

MSC Opera will travel to Bari, Corfu, Kotor, Dubrovnik and Split. 

The Caribbean 

Flagship vessel MSC Seashore will homeport in Miami and offer two alternative itineraries to the Eastern or Western Caribbean every other week, always with calls at Ocean Cay - MSC’s private marine reserve. 

MSC Divina will homeport in Port Canaveral and sail to Ocean Cay, Nassau with 2, 3- or 4-night cruises and Ocean Cay and Mexico with 7-night cruises. The vessel will also offer a 12-night cruise at the start of the summer season, embarking in Miami, visiting Jamaica, Aruba, Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Ocean Cay before returning to Port Canaveral.

Northern Europe

MSC Grandiosa will spend its first season in Northern Europe offering two alternative itineraries every other week from Kiel and Copenhagen - 7 nights to the Baltic capitals and 7 nights to the Norwegian fjords. 

MSC Poesia will homeport in Warnemuende and offer cruises from 7 to 21 nights, visiting the Baltic capitals, Norwegian fjords and Greenland, while MSC Orchestra will offer mixed cruises from 10 to 14 nights from Hamburg to Iceland, Ireland, North Cape and Spitzbergen. 

MSC Preziosa will serve two alternative itineraries from Kiel to the Baltic capitals or Norwegian fjords; MSC Magnifica will be based in Southampton offering 2 to 14-night cruises to a range of destinations including the Baltic capitals, Norwegian fjords as well as the Mediterranean Sea and Canary Islands.

Asia

MSC Cruises’ MSC Virtuosa and sister ship MSC Bellissima will serve the Asia market for the first time, with itineraries yet to be released. 

Autumn 2022 

MSC Splendida will offer 9-nights from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, calling Genoa, Malaga, Casablanca, Lisbon, Barcelona and Marseille. calling at Casablanca and Lisbon.

MSC Poesia will venture on 11-nights from Genoa to the Canary Islands, Madeira and Casablanca, with MSC Orchestra offering the same duration itinerary from Genoa to Greece and Turkey, returning to Istanbul with an extended stay in port.

Four 11-night cruises from Genoa are available from MSC Lirica, calling Civitavecchia, Limassol, Haifa, Crete and Katakolon.

MSC Cruises' winter 2021/22 lineup has already been revealed.

Bolster Investment Partners takes 25% stake in Oceanwide Expeditions

CRUISE_expedition.jpeg
The investment by Bolster will support Oceanwide in trying to accelerate growth

Michel van Gessel, ceo, Oceanwide Expeditions, commented, ‘Expedition cruises are a segment of the travel industry that keeps growing... Especially in times like these, owning our own fleet of vessels offers us flexibility and allows us to control our costs. 

‘With our strong market position, solid financial balance sheet, and the support of Bolster as a committed shareholder who shares our vision, nothing stands in the way to continue our success.’ 

Mark van Rijn, partner, Bolster Investment Partners said the cruise line operates ‘in a niche in which we like to invest,’ adding, ‘We have been in contact with Oceanwide for years and have a lot of admiration for how the company is managed.’


 

Atlas Ocean Voyages unveils premier brochure

CRUISE_Atlas_premier_brochure.jpg

The 76-page brochure is the comprehensive reference for travel advisors to sell the new brand and for travelers to plan a trip to the Holy Land, Black Sea, Mediterranean, Caribbean, South America and Antarctica.

World Navigator is scheduled to debut in July.

The brochure is in the mail and expected to arrive to travelers and travel advisors throughout the US and Canada starting mid-December. Copies may be requested at www.AtlasOceanVoyages.com/brochures

A digital edition is available now.

'A great feature about the digital edition is that travel advisors can select and easily download any page, which they can email to market Atlas to their clients,' said Brandon Townsley, VP sales and trade partnerships.

He called the brochure a 'powerful tool for travel advisors to help their clients plan for an unforgettable luxe-adventure expedition in the new year. Luxe-adventure expeditions are fresh and unique, and travel advisors can make their clients’ return-to-cruise experience a chance to come back to something new.'

 

Viking Neptune to operate 138-day 2022-23 world cruise

CRUISE_Viking_logo.jpg

Travelers will sail on Viking's newest 930-passenger ship, Viking Neptune, set to join the fleet in late 2022. The journey begins Dec. 22 from Fort Lauderdale and ends in London (Greenwich).

Sailing westward, the cruise heads to Central America before transiting the Panama Canal and sailing up the West Coast of North America. A shorter, 121-day itinerary is also available, embarking at Los Angeles and crossing the Pacific Ocean to call at Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, before exploring ports in Asia and the Middle East. Finally, Viking Neptune will sail through the Mediterranean.

'Our 2021-22 world cruise has already sold out more than a year in advance, which speaks to the enthusiasm of our guests as they look forward to the return of international travel,' Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen said.

Overnights and double overnights

The 2022-23 voyage visits dozens of the world’s most iconic cities, alongside lesser-known destinations. Overnight stays are planned in 11 ports such as Sydney, Haifa and Istanbul, and double overnights in Auckland, Bali, Ho Chi Minh, Yangon and Mumbai.

The Resident Historian program provides a high-level historical and cultural education specific to the journey. Shoreside, Viking offers Privileged Access visits to cultural institutions.

The day-to-day itinerary is here.

Fares start at $49,995/$46,995

Fares start at $49,995 per person, double occupancy, while the 121-day itinerary is priced starting at $46,995 per person. Both itineraries offer up to $50,000 per couple in 'Viking Value,' including business class international air, transfers to and from the ship, all shipboard gratuities and service fees, visa services, the Silver Spirits Beverage Package and free luggage shipping services for embarkation.

Travelers who book by Feb. 28, 2021, will receive an additional $2,000 per person in shore excursion credit for any optional land programs and $1,000 per person in shipboard credit which can be used toward optional tours, spa services, on-board shops and beverages. Viking Explorer Society members who book either cruise by Feb. 28, 2021, will receive an additional $1,000 in shipboard credit per person.

Virgin Voyages launches e-learning for first mates

CRUISE John Diorio.jpg
In a survey, '96% of first mates told us an e-learning platform would be a valuable addition,' John Diorio said

As an extension of its 'Brilliant to do Business With' approach, the online platform, dubbed Seacademy, will serve as a one-stop shop and resource tool. This news follows Virgin Voyages’ move to 16% commission and its longstanding no noncommissionable fees policy.

First mates can learn at their own pace

The Seacademy platform will allow first mates to learn at their own pace while gaining product knowledge and access to perks.

'We already have an extensive first mates learning program, including face-to-face, Facebook Lives, webinars and more,' said John Diorio, AVP North American sales. 'The development of our e-learning platform is in direct response to requests from our first mate partners, offering them a meaningful format to learn at their own pace with clear, bitesize modules. We conducted a survey and 96% of first mates told us an e-learning platform would be a valuable addition.'

Four levels, violet to gold

Seacademy features four learning levels, ranging from violet to gold, designed to build first mates' confidence in different areas of the brand. Topics span from destinations and shore things to on-board events and gigs. Each level comes with its own reward.

Benefits include access to upcoming pre-inaugural events, bonus commission vouchers, first mate rates and even Sailor Loot (on-board credit) to spend on their own future voyage.

First mates who complete each tier will also receive access to social media assets as a means to express their knowledge to their network and attract more interest from potential sailors (passengers).

Sail aboard Scarlet Lady or Valiant Lady

Violet tier is available now on FirstMates.com. For completing the violet tier on or before Jan. 31, first mates will receive an invitation to sail aboard Scarlet Lady or Valiant Lady in 2021.