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Articles from 2020 In February

Windstar President John Delaney steps down, Chris Prelog moves up to COO

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Chris Prelog, left, moves up to COO as John, Delaney, right, leaves Windstar for personal reasons

Parent company Xanterra Leisure Holding said Delaney will be leaving to focus on personal priorities but will provide advice to Windstar during the transition through March. Andrew Todd, president and CEO of Xanterra Leisure Holding, continues as CEO of Windstar.

Eventful presidency

During an eventful time at the Windstar helm, Delaney has worked to invigorate the brand by telling its small-ship story. He assembled a new team and has overseen numerous product and itinerary changes, most significantly, the $250m Star Plus Initiative to lengthen and modernize three ships.

Expanded role for Chrstopher Prelog

VP Fleet Operations Prelog is promoted to chief operating officer. Before joining Windstar in 2016, he spent 18 years at Seabourn, where his ultimate role was VP hotel operations and VP entertainment.

Expertise from Betsy O'Rourke

And Betsy O’Rourke, chief marketing officer for Xanterra, will lend her expertise to the Windstar brand during this period of growth with the Star Plus initiative. The first of the lengthened vessels, Star Breeze, is due to resume service in May.

O’Rourke is a former SVP marketing at Royal Caribbean International. She left that job in May 2012 and has since been with Xanterra.

Delaney came to Windstar from Seabourn, where he spent five years, ultimately as SVP global marketing and sales. 

Before that he held a number of positions at Holland America Line, including VP revenue marketing, director of special projects at corporate audit services and manager of management advisory services. Earlier, he had six years at The Walt Disney Co.

ITB Berlin cancellation a blow to German cruise trade

ITB Berlin is the world's largest travel trade fair, with 160,000 attendees expected this year

Dates were March 4-8

The event was scheduled to take place March 4-8, with about 10,000 exhibitors from 181 countries booked to attend. The organizer, Messe Berlin GmbH, was also expecting some 160,000 visitors, including 113,500 travel industry delegates.

Messe Berlin announced the cancellation Friday evening.

Public health requirements increased

This directly followed the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf Health Authority raising requirements for attendees who would have had to prove they were not traveling from a defined COVID-19 risk area. According to ITB Berlin, it would have been impossible to fulfil these standards.

Wolf-Dieter Wolf, chairman Messe Berlin’s supervisory board, said the event had never been in a similar situation during its 54-year history.

Hallmark event for Germany's cruise business

The cancellation is a blow for Germany's cruise business since ITB Berlin is an important gathering for cruise lines, travel advisors and destinations. Apart from the ocean business, ITB Berlin is also significant for the river cruise sector.

Traditionally, it is where CLIA Germany and IG RiverCruise announce market statistics from the prior year.

The next ITB Berlin is scheduled for March 2021.

Trinity Inlet channel deepening allows Queen Elizabeth to berth at Cairns

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Queen Elizabeth docks in the heart of Cairns

This was possible thanks to work done by the Australian Hydrographic Office in conjunction with the deepening of the Trinity Inlet channel.

Ship simulations

Carnival Australia has been involved in ship simulations that helped set the scene for larger ships to navigate the channel to berth alongside in the heart of the city.

Pivotal role

‘The Australian Hydrographic Office played a pivotal role in using high technology that confirmed that the safe operating area within the now deepened channel was greater than previously thought,’ Carnival Australia’s marine operations director Mike Drake said. 

‘The production of bathymetric electronic navigation charts by the Australian Hydrographic Office has made a significant contribution to enabling larger ships to safely enter Cairns,’ Drake said.

Ports around Australia

‘The Australian Hydrographic Office is leading the way in producing these navigation aids in a number of ports around Australia.

‘The focus on developing and using specialised charts is important as it allows full navigable waters to be shown to assist navigating teams and port pilots.’

Net cruise bookings around zero now, Wells Fargo estimates

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Cancellations are concentrated in second-quarter sailings, triggered by full payment due 90 days prior to sailing, with approximately 50% of cancellations immediately rebooked for sailngs three to four months out, or later, according to the brokerage’s assessment.

Q2 pricing pressure

Most pricing pressure is on Q2, with bundling incentives, rather than discounts, prevalent beyond then.

Minimal 2021 impact to date

2021 cruises are ‘minimally impacted to date,’ according to Wells Fargo.

The brokerage hosted small investor group meetings with Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Lindblad Expeditions Holdings on Thursday.

Apart from Lindblad, cancellations are skewing to older travelers, not unexpected given that coronavirus mortality rates are highest in individuals over 60.

Eight-week cycle per market

Citing past outbreaks that impacted travel, Wells Fargo projects an eight-week peak for coronavirus in each market.

This scenario implies manageable profit and loss impact through Q1 2021 and adequate balance sheet liquidity for the major companies in the brokerage’s coverage.

‘We believe visibility on COVID-19 peak global impact could materialize over approximately weeks,’ Wells Fargo analyst Tim Conder said. China appears peaking after eight weeks, with North America and Europe still having eight weeks to cycle through.

‘Stocks will likely bottom before this. We feel cruise names could see a rotational relative bounce, especially if Feb. 29-March 1 weekend new COVID-19 cases moderate, before a final washout over next four weeks,’ Conder said.

Wells Fargo recommended investors begin legging into positions now and consider incorporating derivatives, given option premiums. The brokerage prefers RCL as ‘best in class’ of the cruise stocks, followed by NCLH and then CCL, due to its company-specific issues with the virus.

Cruise shares likely haven't bottomed yet

For the past week, since Feb. 21, cruise stocks have significantly underperformed compared to the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index, with CCL down 23.6%, NCLH off 26% and RCL down 27.3%, versus a 10.8% decline in the SPX. On Thursday, cruise stocks closed 5% to 9% off of lows, while SPX closed at lows.

Wells Fargo expects more downside as coronavirus cases increase in Europe and North America.

Friday in New York, RCL opened at $73.92, CCL at $31.23, NCLH at $33.28 and LIND at $11.98. In the past 52 weeks, RCL has ranged from $70.50 to $135.32, CCL from $30.19 to $58.68, NCLH from $33.17 to $59.78 and LIND from $11.52 to $19.29. 

As reported deaths go to six, all guests off Diamond Princess, shore quarantine starts for remaining crew

There have been at least 705 coronavirus cases from Diamond Princess, and four deaths

For those who are not being repatriated by their respective countries, Princess Cruises finalized plans with the Japan Ministry of Health for a shoreside quarantine facility. 

Aspen Medical to oversee shoreside facility

The line hired Aspen Medical, a World Health Organization-certified company with extensive experience delivering public health services, to look after the crew during their quarantine. Princess said the Australia-based company will deploy as many as 60 professionals including clinically certified doctors, nurses and environmental health officers.

They will provide services at the quarantine facility such as daily health checks, laundry services, meal service, housekeeping and assistance with recreational activities.  

This secondary quarantine is required by the Japan Ministry of Health, and Aspen Medical will be operating under the Ministry's direction. 

705 coronavirus cases and six deaths

Some 705 people have contracted COVID-19 in connection with Diamond Princess and six have died, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, which is tallying global coronavirus cases, deaths and recoveries. The BBC on Friday said one of the six was the first Briton to die of COVID-19.

Of the infected, at least 150 were crew, CNN in Japan reported Thursday. 

Japan acknowledges quarantine was flawed

During a news conference earlier this week, Japanese health officials acknowledged the quarantine was ‘not perfect,’ since they took the decision the crew needed to support the passengers on board. So it wasn’t possible to isolate the crew, they said.

That is likely how additional transmissions continued.

However, Dr. Shigeru Omi, president, Japan Community Healthcare Organization maintained, the bulk of the infections occurred before the ship got to Japan and prior to the official order on Feb. 5 that passengers stay in their rooms.

Diamond Princess was quarantined on its arrival at Yokohama Feb. 3, carrying 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crew from a range of nationalities. About half the passengers were Japanese.

The shipboard quarantine was lifted Feb. 19 although some countries have mandated a further 14-day isolation shoreside.

The United States, for example, said people must wait two weeks without having symptoms or a positive coronavirus test result before they are permitted to board flights to the US.

Crystal introduces refillable, natural Caudalie amenities

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The refillable bottles will first appear on Crystal River Cruises vessels this spring

Antioxidant-rich grape seed extracts

The noted French-made skincare products are natural and luxurious. Originating in Bordeaux, the brand uses grape seed extracts to create its proprietary formulas made with antioxidant benefits. They are free of parabens, phenoxyethanol, mineral oils, sodium laureth sulfate, synthetic coloring agents and animal-based ingredients (except honey and beeswax).

‘The quality of the products is in line with what is found in the world’s finest spas and hotels, all created with the health of people and the planet in mind,’ said Toni Neumeister, Crystal’s SVP hotel operations.

Refillable bottles

Beginning this spring aboard the sister ships of Crystal River Cruises, refillable bottles of Caudalie shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion will be placed in every suite, followed in the summer aboard Crystal Esprit and in the fall on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. The amenties will be aboard expedition ship Crystal Endeavor at its launch.

‘We are extremely excited for the Caudalie brand to be part of the Crystal family. Both brands are synonymous with quality, excellence and guest satisfaction,’ said Bertrand Thomas, who founded the Caudalie brand with his wife Mathilde.

Caudalie’s eco-friendly packaging is made with plant-based plastics and/or recycled paper whenever possible. The brand is a member of the ‘1% for the Planet’ social movement and donates 1% of its global turnover to ecological and environmental protection and reforestation projects.

Crystal will continue to supply ETRO bathrobes and slippers.

Additional sustainable amenities

In addition to the new bathroom shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion, Crystal has reimagined other amenities with consideration for sustainability. Disposable shower caps made with biodegradable corn will be placed in bathrooms, while non-plastic cotton swabs are currently being sourced.

Shoe cloths in stateroom closets are made of responsibly farmed cotton and accompany the reusable fabric laundry and dry-cleaning bags Crystal introduced years ago. Single-use plastic sewing kits will be replaced with fully stocked sewing baskets crafted from wood upon request.

New Windstar policy allows close-in cancellation without penalty

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A Windstar ship in Alaska

Travel Assurance Booking Policy

The new Travel Assurance Booking Policy addresses concerns about booking in advance due to coronavirus uncertainty.

For cruises departing on or after June 1, passengers can cancel up to 15 days before sailing without incurring a fee.

Automatically applies to departures from June 1

The policy automatically applies to new and existing cruises departing on or after June 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2021.

Travelers who cancel up to 15 days prior to departure will receive a 100% future cruise credit to be used on another cruise within one year of the issue date of the credit. The offer is good for the cruise fare only.

Coronavirus precautions

Like other lines, Windstar has implemented an enhanced health screening questionnaire for passengers and crew. Also, crew travel through mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea has been suspended. No one will be allowed to board if they’ve been in or traveled from or through  China, Hong Kong, Macau or South Korea, or had close contact with anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19 30 days prior to sailing.

All passengers and crew are being administered a no-touch thermal scan to screen for fever, and will be denied boarding with a temperature of 38 C°/100.4 F°.

New routes and ports in Oceania Cruises’ Tropics & Exotics 2021-2022

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Riviera and Sirena spend a season sailing the 'uncommon Caribbean.' Here, Riviera off St. Lucia

The collection includes 105 itineraries. Cruises go to the southernmost reaches of South America and explore Patagonia with the opportunity to witness Antarctic locations such as Deception Island and Paradise Bay. Closer to home, travelers will find Oceania Cruises’ ‘uncommon Caribbean,’ featuring boutique ports such as Roseau, Dominica; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Kingstown, St. Vincent; and Îles des Saintes, Guadeloupe.

New ports

Besides Îles des Saintes, maiden calls include Amami Oshima (Naze), Ishinomaki, Moji, Onahama and Otaru (Sapporo), Japan; Mystery Island, Vanuatu; Panama City, Panama; Port Arthur (Tasmania), Australia; and Whittier, Alaska.

South America

Itineraries include Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro with the beaches of Porto Belo, cultural treasures such as the beautifully preserved colonial center of Parati and the exploding culinary scenes of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Other highlights are Amazon voyages that combine rain forest explorations with less-frequented Caribbean destinations.

For example, Marina will operate an 18-day ‘Transit of the Americas’ cruise through the Panama Canal with overnights in Panama City and Lima plus calls at Ecuador and in the western Caribbean.

The ship’s 20-day ‘Polar & Patagonian Quest’ combines scenic cruising in Antarctica and the Chilean Fjords with the Falkland Islands.


Riviera and Sirena spend the winter season sailing ‘uncommon Caribbean’ voyages laced with less-visited ports. Several cruises begin and end in Barbados and two Panama Canal voyages feature an overnight in Panama City.

‘Crystalline Caribbean,’ a 10-day itinerary with two departures aboard Sirena, sails round-trip Bridgetown, Barbados, and visits Îles des Saintes as well as Roseau, Kingstown and Port-of-Spain, among other destinations.

Riviera’s ‘Sunny Festivities’ 12-day voyage has stops at ports like Kralendijk, Willemstad and Pointe-à-Pitre.

Free airport transfers

The OLife Choice airfare promotion now includes free round-trip airport-ship transfers available with all the voyages in this collection.

Eco-friendly Fritdjof Nansen kickstarts Lerwick’s season

Lerwick's first cruise ship of 2020 season, Fritdjof Nansen. Credit Dave Donaldson.jpg
First visitor of the new season at Lerwick Harbour, Hurtigruten’s Fritdtjof Nansen

The 21,765gt Fritdtjof Nansen, with capacity for 530 passengers and 150 crew, berthed at Victoria Pier at the Shetland port while en route from Bergen, Norway, to Kirkwall, Scotland.

Hurtigruten’s new expedition vessel has been delivered early and is undertaking pre-inaugural shorter voyages which can be joined in the UK. It is the first hybrid battery-powered cruise ship to visit Lerwick. 

Lerwick Port Authority Cruise Manager, Melanie Henderson, said: ‘It’s always good to have an early start, maintaining the recent trend for seasons to extend at both ends, into February and October.’

Over 100 ships

Lerwick is expecting to handle more than 100 ships this season for the first time, and over 90,000 passengers.

‘As well as repeat visits, three operators - Carnival, Mystic and TUI - will be newcomers to Lerwick for the first time, adding to the significance of the season.’

There are currently 115 vessels booked to call at Lerwick, up 16% on the previous best in 2019 and including 15 maiden calls.

The largest ship this season, MSC Splendida, at 137,936gt and up to 4,363 passengers and 1,370 crew, is due in August.




Carnival CEO Donald's compensation dips to $11m

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Arnold Donald's non-equity compensation of just under $2.3m was down from $4.7m in 2018

Donald's salary stayed steady at $1.5m, and the value of his stock awards was consistent at more than $7m. His non-equity compensation of just under $2.3m was down from $4.7m in 2018. In other compensation of $288,400, the biggest single item was for personal use of the company's aircraft.

Michael Thamm

Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Group and Carnival Asia, was the second best compensated executive, with $5.2m, as in 2018. Paid in euros, Thamm's salary in dollars was 963,480. The value of his stock awards went up to nearly $3.3m from $2.4m, and non-equity incentive compensation was $475,000, down from more than $1.7m. Other compensation was $477,000.

Stein Kruse

For Stein Kruse, group CEO, Holland America Group and Carnival UK, total compensation was $4.1m, down from $5.5m. His salary held at $925,000, while stock awards were worth $2.6m, compared to $2.7m in 2018. Non-equity incentive compensation was $565,200, down from $1.8m, and Kruse received $84,000 in other compensation.

David Bernstein

CFO and chief accounting officer David Bernstein's total package was nearly $3.8m, down from $4.5m. Stock awards were valued at just under $2m. His salary was $750,000. Non-equity incentive compensation $750,000, down from nearly $1.6m. Other compensation was $292,500.

Arnaldo Perez

Total compensation for Arnaldo Perez, general counsel and secretary, was $2m, down from $2.4m, including a $450,00 salary, stock awards valued at $1m, non-equity incentive compensation of $337,500 and other compensation of $266,000..

Annual meeting and directors election

The executive compensation is in a proxy ahead of Carnival Corp. & plc's joint annual shareholders meetings, set for April 6 in Miami Beach.

Besides being asked to approve executive pay in an advisory vote, shareholders will consider the re-election of directors Donald, Micky Arison, Jason Glen Cahilly, Helen Deeble, Sir Jonathon Band, Dick Glasier, Katie Lahey, Sir John Parker, Stuart Subotnick, Laura Weil and Randall Weisenburger.