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Articles from 2007 In February


Southampton prepares for mega ships

Southampton prepares for mega ships

This represents a 12.6% increase compared to last year for the UK's top cruise port although the number of ship turnarounds will be the same as 2006.

'We will once again have 247 ships using our facilities but the jump in passenger headcounts clearly shows the growth in capacity being placed in the UK market,' Port of Southampton's assistant port manager, Ray Facey, tells Seatrade Insider.

To facilitate the continued growth in cruise traffic, Associated British Ports (ABP), owner and operator of the port, is investing £9m in the expansion and enhancement of City Cruise Terminal, supported by a new seven-year agreement with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The expanded terminal will open in April, in time for the inaugural season of RCCL's 3,800-passenger Navigator of the Seas.

'We are doubling the size of the City Terminal, opened in 2003, including an extension of the lounge, the addition of two overhead gangways and more parking spaces,' says Facey. The 370mtr long berth will be able to handle both Voyager- and Freedom-class ships and will be ready to welcome RCI's second Freedom-class ship, Liberty of the Seas, which arrives in Southampton on April 22 for a four-day series of inaugural events before heading to Miami.

Liberty will be a good test for the port as next year Independence of the Seas will spend the summer operating cruises from the City Terminal. Facey notes 'there may be some fine tuning needed to cater for that operation but essentially everything will be ready this year.'

The Queen Elizabeth II Terminal and Mayflower Terminal, the home berths for Cunard and P&O Cruises, respectively, are also gearing up to handle new tonnage with Queen Victoria arriving for her naming this December and P&O Cruises' Ventura debuting in spring 2008.Other homeporting customers include Fred. Olsen and Saga Cruises.

And with the fast-growing UK cruise market predicted to reach 2m passengers by 2010, another dedicated terminal is clearly in ABP Southampton's sights. 'We are not far off the one million passenger a year milestone and customer demand for more capacity is driving us to consider a fourth facility,' remarks Facey, who confirms plans are well advanced.

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New Yorker names to sail with QM2

New Yorker names to sail with QM2

7 voyage. The sailing theme is 'A Most Civilized Literary Adventure.'

The authors are Adam Gopnik, a New Yorker staffer who writes New York Journal; Anthony Lane, film critic; and Andy Borowitz, humorist and Hollywood producer.

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Steiner signs MSC Musica

Steiner signs MSC Musica

The agreement provides for Steiner Transocean Ltd. to be the exclusive provider of spa and massage services, hair dressing, beauty treatments, and fitness programs aboard the ship.

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RCI names godmother finalists

RCI names godmother finalists

Until March 15, the public will have the opportunity to help select the godmother by casting a vote at www.royalcaribbean.com.

The finalists are Marie Brouard of American Express Centurion Travel Services (Miramar, Fla.), Donnalea Madeley of Marlin Travel (Ontario) and Carole Weishaar of Carefree Travel (Scottsdale, Ariz.).

The winner will be announced on March 30 at the Cruise Lines International Association's cruise3sixty conference.

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Silversea sets enrichment lineup

Silversea sets enrichment lineup

Other personalities include Jennet Conant, bestselling author of Tuxedo Park; Rex Pickett, whose novel Sideways became a hit film; Terry Hughes, British TV producer and director; Michael Buerk, BBC news correspondent and anchor; James F. Hoge, Jr., editor of Foreign Affairs magazine; and David Garrard Lowe, cultural historian and author.

Kroft and Conant will team to host a series of presentations aboard Silver Cloud's 10-day 'Landscapes and Legacies' voyage, sailing July 30 from Venice to Nice.

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Seatrade panel to air deployment issues

Seatrade panel to air deployment issues

Participants in 'The Changing Cruise Map' will include Alberto Aleman Zubieta, administrator, The Panama Canal Authority; Au King-Chi, commissioner for tourism, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government; Robert Guy, regional md, Pacific World; and Kong Lingjin, associate vp - inbound, China International Travel Service Head Office.

Further participants in the session, set for March 15, are Dayne Lim, director, sightseeing & cruise, Singapore Tourism Board; John Marden, fleet services director, P&O Cruises; Rodolfo Sabonge, director of marketing & planning, The Panama Canal Authority; and John Tercek, vp, commercial and new business development, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

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Mississippi Queen launch to be delayed

Mississippi Queen launch to be delayed

The company did not give a date for starting Mississippi Queen service but said it is committed to begin operations by the fall foliage season. Approximately 10 sailings will be affected.

Upgrades of American Queen and Empress of the North have met expectations but Mississippi Queen needs more work, said Joe Ueberroth, chairman, president and ceo of Ambassadors International.

'We need to make further renovations. We don't want Bandaids,' Ueberroth told analysts.

The company aims to elevate the overall passenger experience on the ship while also working on specific areas such as the galley. Ueberroth said that complaints about food service last season were partly due to the outdated galley.

Customers booked on the canceled cruises are being offered other sailings.

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Ambassadors outlines Windstar expectations

Ambassadors outlines Windstar expectations

5m and net income of $4.2m or 36 cents per share.

The estimates were given by Ambassadors management during today's earnings call. The company is in the process of acquiring Windstar in a $100m transaction expected to close in April.

Windstar has improved its performance in recent years, turning a $2.9m profit in 2006 after a net loss of $550,000 the year before, Ambassadors management said. The sail-cruise fleet is 90% booked for 2007.

Joe Ueberroth, chairman, president and ceo of Ambassadors, said Windstar can command higher pricing. The daily ticket revenue is slightly lower than that of Majestic America Line, which Ambassadors believes is $100 to $300 a day below other small-ship competitors.

Asked why Windstar assets have been underperforming in the Carnival Corp. portfolio, Ueberroth referred to published remarks by Holland America chief executive Stein Kruse, who indicated that his line had grown so large it needed to focus on its core business post-9/11.

Ueberroth said Windstar and Majestic America will operate as separate brands, both in the luxury sector. The Majestic America vessels are undergoing upgrades. Wind Spirit is set for an extensive drydock refurbishment this spring, followed by Wind Star in the fall. Each $5m job will be carried out in Lisbon. Wind Surf underwent an $11.8m upgrade last year.

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Regent plans iPod walking tours

Regent plans iPod walking tours

The downloadable tours are compatible with iPod or MP3 players and will be available beginning this spring on all Mediterranean voyages, with additional tours under development for select ports worldwide.

The 1.5-hour tours will be available for purchase on board for ports including Venice, Florence, Rome, Pompeii and Barcelona. Each 'iJourney' is produced and narrated by Elyse Weiner, a foreign news producer whose television credits include Tom Brokaw's 'NBC Nightly News' and Peter Jennings' 'ABC World News Tonight.'

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Sixth Star tapped for Genting resort show

Sixth Star tapped for Genting resort show

The production is in association with David Sandy Productions, Inc. and Cannon Creative.

The event's main feature will be a World Invitational Tournament starring top magicians and including strolling close-up artists, magic seminars, competitions and enrichment sessions for children and adults.

The event will take place Nov. 17-25, and Genting plans to feature the tournament on an annual basis for five years.

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