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Articles from 2018 In March

Jo Kling steps down from Landry & Kling

Jo Kling, right, and Joyce Landry blow out the candles at Landry & Kling's 35th anniversary party in 2017

'After our heartwarming 35th anniversary celebration last year, I realized this time was coming,' Kling said. 'After all, even the most memorable cruise eventually comes to an end when it’s time to pay attention to other things in life.'

Kling and partner Joyce Landry have been trailblazers in developing cruising's corporate, incentive, meetings and theme cruise business.

'When they first started, I went to their office in New York and they told me about this crazy idea they had of doing corporate charters and incentives,' said Mark Conroy, managing director, the Americas, for Silversea Cruises, who was with Royal Viking Line at the time.

'Obviously the history has proved them right,' Conroy continued. 'They've done amazing things. They have a great partnership ... They're quite a dynamic team.

'They were pioneers, not only in the corporate and incentive business, but they've really grown the special interest charters.'

Kling said she plans to 'invest more time in my personal life, and direct my energy and curiosity into other worthwhile endeavors including life-long learning, perhaps helping kids at risk find cruise jobs. I loved educating clients about cruise travel, so perhaps I’ll teach a cruise course and, naturally, keep traveling. My list of possibilities is endless.'

Vision, elegance, boundless energy and creativity

'It’s been a remarkable partnership, in so many ways,' Landry & Kling CEO Landry commented. 'I’m extremely grateful to Jo for her vision, elegance, boundless energy and creativity. It was a successful match from the beginning and we accomplished so much together.

'Her spirit is embedded in our corporate culture which will never leave us,' Landry added. 'That foundation continues to fuel growth and innovation, keeping Landry & Kling in the forefront of the cruise industry.'

Going forward, Landry will assume the expanded role of president & CEO at the Miami-based company, which is undergoing a global expansion with new strategic partners and the addition of an outside sales team.

Kling is most proud of her media relations and marketing efforts which put Landry & Kling on the map back in the 1980s before corporate and incentive buyers were on the radar of any cruise lines. And, more recently, the company’s digital marketing, ebooks and educational materials have helped Landry & Kling expand and continue to reinvent itself.

Marketing research is where Kling started her career, shortly before Warren Titus hired her in 1970 to research the budding cruise industry for the new Royal Viking Line brand he led. She was one of its first employees.

Conroy noted that he and Kling share the Royal Viking Line provenance, though not concurrently, and a common mentor in the legendary Titus.

After stints in advertising and industrial design in New York City, Kling was hired at Holland America Line where she met Landry and, together, they went on to develop their 'crazy idea' of setting up a cruise specialist agency focused on the corporate business.

introducing Fortune 500 companies to cruising

Their first big coup was the charter of Cunard's QE2 for DECworld '87 (Digital Equipment Corp.), a dockside convention in Boston. Next they chartered the world's largest cruise ship at the time, Sovereign of the Seas. And business really picked up in the early 1990s when ships were purpose-built for the three-/four-day cruise market, an ideal length for corporate needs, and some even came with dedicated meeting rooms and business facilities.

Over the years, Landry & Kling introduced many Fortune 500 companies to cruising and established a reputation for groundbreaking ideas such as using ships for government summits and international sporting events. They nailed charters for the Olympic Games (from Barcelona in 1992 to Rio de Janeiro in 2016). Their five-ship charter for the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, was probably the largest dockside charter ever done.

In 2009, Landry & Kling were inducted into the Cruise Lines International Association Hall of Fame as 'visionaries who led the way in seagoing corporate meetings and incentive travel.'

Regent outlines design changes to newbuild Seven Seas Splendor

From top left, clockwise, Atrium with the Grand Staircase, a premium suite living area, the top-of-the-line Regent Suite's dining area, new alfresco space adjacent to Coffee Connection

The Grand Staircase will now face the entrance to the largest restaurant, Compass Rose, evoking a sense of arrival. Coffee Connection is moving to the port side of the ship and will expand with a new alfresco seating area. Pan-Asia restaurant Pacific Rim will remain on the port side, now with an unobstructed view of the eatery's central sculpture from the reception area.

'With Seven Seas Splendor's upcoming debut, we are focused on perfecting all the details,' Regent Seven Seas Cruises president and CEO Jason Montague said.

Lavish 4,443-square-foot Regent Suite

The ship's 375 suites range from the entry-level, 307-square-foot Veranda Suite to the lavish 4,443-square-foot Regent Suite. Each suite category has a distinctive look, oversized marble bathroom(s) and some of cruising's largest balconies, as well as European king-sized Elite Slumber Beds.

Seven Seas Explorer's Regent Suite has been one of the most attention-getting facets of the ship, and on Seven Seas Splendor it again will be positioned on the top deck, with a 1,417-square foot balcony overlooking the bow. The gold-gilded master bath is equipped with a private spa with steam and sauna, and the suite's price includes in-suite spa treatments plus a car and guide at every port.

The most numerous category, Concierge, with 140 of these suites, has the perk of a pre-cruise luxury hotel overnight package and priority access to book shore excursions and specialty dining.

Other categories include the two-bedroom Master Suite; four of these range from 1,895 square feet to 2,108 square feet and feature a living area, bar for entertaining and spacious balcony. Grand Suites, 1,277 square feet to 1,836 square feet, have emerald design accents, living area and two grand baths. Further suite types, each with their own distinctions, are Splendor, Seven Seas, Penthouse, Superior and Veranda.

Reservations for Seven Seas Splendor's inaugural season open April 11.

Pearl Seas boosts agent pay to 20% for fall Cuba cruises

Pearl Mist's 11-night cruise is one of the few to circumnavigate Cuba

The 11-night 'Cuba Cultural Voyage' is one of the few itineraries to circumnavigate the island. The 210-passenger Pearl Mist sails round-trip from Port Everglades. Destinations include Havana (two days), Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Casilda, El Cobre and Santiago de Cuba.

Added incentives include an early-bird discount, a $200 airfare credit and complimentary pre-cruise package featuring a one-night premium hotel stay in Fort Lauderdale and transfer to the ship.

Voyages are scheduled November through December (with additional sailings in 2019).

Pearl Mist's Cuba program facilitates a 'people-to-people' cultural exchange with the opportunity to meet local musicians, historians and artists, to experience Havana in a classic American car, see a pottery-making demonstration in Trinidad and take a guided excursion in Cojimar, the fishing village that inspired Ernest Hemingway’s 'The Old Man and the Sea.'

With a second ship coming, Scenic expands to Northwest Passage, White Sea

(Rendering: Scenic)
Scenic's new Northwest Passage cruise will embark in Copenhagen and skirt the coast of Greenland before transiting the Canadian Arctic to end at Nome, Alaska

Limited to just 200 passengers and departing Aug. 15, 2020, 'Across the Northwest Passage' is a once-in-a-lifetime journey and a pinnacle of polar exploration. With the highest ice class rating of any luxury ship (Polar Class 6), Scenic Eclipse will make its way from Copenhagen along the coast of Greenland and through the Canadian Arctic until reaching Nome, Alaska.

Travelers will get to visit Inuit communities and learn from the shipboard expert discovery team. There will be opportunities for kayaking amid icebergs, viewing polar bears and Arctic foxes and hiking across the frozen tundra.

Russia’s White Sea is another seldom-visited area Scenic will explore. Departing Tromsø in northern Norway on June 21 oe July 3, passengers will visit the North Cape and Murmansk before focusing on the Russian Arctic with stops at Archangelsk and the Solovetsky Islands, a forbidden region for decades.

Cruises along North America's Eastern Seaboard

Ten- and 20-day sailings along North America’s East Coast are offered, too. The 10-day exploration departs New York City on Sept. 29, 2019, and heads south to Baltimore, Norfolk, Wilmington (North Carolina) and Charleston before ending in the Bahamas. Or, passengers can embark at Halifax on Sept. 20 and add five Canadian destinations including Prince Edward Island and Lunenburg as well as Boston and Martha’s Vineyard in the US.

Each Scenic ship will accommodate 228 passengers in 114 veranda suites that range from 345 square feet to 2,659 square feet. Each ship has 10 dining options, from Asian fusion to French fine dining to a chef’s table to a poolside buffet. A large spa with a well-equipped gym and separate yoga and Pilates studio and indoor and outdoor plunge pools are other features.

A 240-seat theater will house entertainment and lectures. Two six-person helicopters and one six-person submarine will expand exploration opportunities.

Scenic Eclipse is scheduled to enter service in August this year,

SkySea Cruise Line sets final voyage for late August

On every SkySea Golden Era voyage from May 27, past passengers will get a 10% discount if they book via the cruise line’s call center or website

On every voyage from May 27 SkySea Cruise Line will treat passengers to a ‘Golden Memories’ champagne reception, special farewell dessert made by the ship’s executive chef, a commemorative gift and a coupon book with offers for on-board purchases. Past passengers will get a 10% discount on the cruise ticket if they book via the line’s call center or website.

As earlier reported, SkySea's parent companies, Ctrip and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., are ending their joint venture. SkySea Golden Era is being sold to TUI AG for its Marella Cruises brand.

By the final cruise, the ship will have carried nearly 500,000 passengers on close to 300 sailings from the homeports of Shanghai, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Qingdao and Zhoushan to more than 30 destinations in Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Currently based at Shanghai, SkySea Golden Era operates four- and five-night cruises to Japan. The ship is scheduled to reposition to Xiamen from April 19 through May 23 for four- and five-night sailings to Japan and the Philippines.

Final season festivities will begin when Golden Era repositions back to Shanghai to resume four- and five-night Japan getaways from May 27 through the final voyage.

SkySea has lined up themes and entertainment including the very popular third annual SkySea Voice competition, and every cruise will feature interactive performances of [email protected]. Forums covering health and wellness, acting, sports and wine tasting will be offered, as well as performances by the most popular entertainers who have taken the stage on board for the past three years.

The SkySea Voice finale will be held on the Aug. 25 cruise when all the winners from 2018 sailings will gather to perform and Golden Era's captain will crown this year’s SkySea Voice champion and present a cash prize.

'We will have a legacy of being remembered as a major contributor to the increased awareness and growing consumer demand for cruising in the China market as well as helping evolve the way cruises are marketed and sold,' said Ken Muskat, CEO of SkySea Cruise Line. The brand is known for its dining, theme cruises and its leading role in the MICE business.

'We have introduced cruising to hundreds of thousands of consumers who have never cruised before and they walked away with incredible satisfaction which is now helping build repeat business,' Muskat said. 'We look forward to continuing to provide the service and experience that makes SkySea special for the balance of our sailings and encourage those who haven’t sailed with SkySea to take advantage of this opportunity.'

Dream touted as 'Asia's Global Cruise Line,' but new ships in the works for Star, too

Genting Dream, left, and SuperStar Aquarius

Earlier this month, Genting HK revealed the 204,000gt Global-class newbuilds at MV Werften will sail for Dream—not for Star Cruises, as originally announced.

Moreover, at the steel-cutting Genting HK chairman and CEO Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay said the Global-class ships would spend summers cruising from China's Shanghai and Tianjin but venture far afield the rest of the year, to the ASEAN region, Australia/New Zealand and California.

Dream Cruises’ mission is to become 'Asia’s Global Cruise Line.'

'About a billion people in Asia will reach middle-class status by 2030 and they have the disposable income to travel and cruise. In addition to boarding from nearby homeports, Asians who are traveling to other regions such as Australia/New Zealand, Europe and the Americas will increasingly consider cruising as the more comfortable and convenient alternative to a land vacation,' Genting HK said in reporting 2017 results.

The company characterized the brand as 'very well received in the Asian market,' pointing to bevy of awards like 'Best New Cruise Ship' for Genting Dream at last week's TTG China Travel Awards 2018 Gala Ceremony in Shanghai. Further, Dream Cruises is 'performing well' with improving occupancies and net yields in both the Hong Kong/Guangzhou and Singapore markets.

Where does this leave Star Cruises?

Occupanies and yields at Genting HK's original brand have been under pressure due to the arrival of competitors' new and larger ships, causing smaller, older vessels to reposition to ports where Star operates, the company said.

Yet Genting HK sees the situation improving with this year's projected 18% capacity decrease in China. It's unclear whether that includes SkySea Golden Era, which will be leaving the market in late August as Ctrip and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. end their joint venture.

Star Cruises is positioned as 'The Most Popular Cruise Line in Asia.'

SuperStar Virgo is scheduled to sail mainly from Shanghai and Manila, with shorter deployments in Taiwan, Dalian, Tianjin and Qindao. SuperStar Aquarius will continue operating from Keelung, while SuperStar Gemini will sail mostly from Xiamen, and from Keelung during the winter.

Genting Hong Kong narrows 2017 loss to US$244.3m


These were offset by start-up losses for Dream Cruises' World Deam in Hong Kong and the repositioning of Genting Dream to Singapore in November, Crystal Cruises' brand extension in the river segment and the launch of AirCruises.

Total revenue rose to $1.19bn, up from $1.02bn. Genting HK has three business sectors: primarily cruise operations, but also shipyards and non-cruise activities.

Revenue from cruise-related activities increased 11.9%, to $1bn, up from $908m in 2016. Capacity days rose 33.7%, mainly due to the full year operation of Genting Dream and Crystal Mozart, along with the introductions of World Dream, Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler during 2017.

Net yield fell to $164.40 from $192.80, and occupancy was lower, 77.2% compared to 81.7%.

The company said Dream Cruises, launched slightly more than a year ago, is performing well with improving occupancies and net yields in both the Hong Kong/Guangzhou and Singapore markets. However, Genting HK blamed pressures on occupanies and yields at Star Cruises due to the arrival of competitors' new and larger ships, causing smaller, older vessels to reposition to ports where Star operates. The company said the situation should improve as competitors plan to reduce capacity approximately 18% by year's end.

Crystal, too, faced significant competition in 2017 as new ships introduced by competitors led to about a 16% increase in luxury berths. The renovation of Crystal Symphony late last year and of Crystal Serenity late this year are decreasing the brand's capacity, adding suites and facilitating open-seating dining, which Genting HK called 'an essential feature' for Crystal to compete more effectively.

Meanwhile, shipyard cluster MV Werften recorded a full year of start-up losses in 2017, compared to eight months of losses in 2016. The steel-cutting for expedition yacht Crystal Endeavor in January and for Dream's first Global-class ship earlier this month are expected to capitalize the shipbuilding cost as part of the newbuilds.

Revenue from shipyard operations and non-cruise activities from external customers rose 60.6% to $174.4m, up from $108.6m, primarily due to shipyard activities and sales of residential property units in China.

Total operating expenses, excluding depreciation and amortization, increased to $1.07bn from 2016's $848.8m, related to the full year operation of Genting Dream and Crystal Mozart as well as the launch of World Dream, Crystal Bach, Crystal Mahler and AirCruises during 2017, and full year start-up and newbuild activities at the German shipyards to gear up for starting production on Crystal's Endeavor-class and Dream's Global-class ships in 2017.

Sales, general and administrative expenses, excluding depreciation and amortization, rose 10.2% to $285.2m from $258.9m, mainly due to the full year operation of Genting Dream and higher marketing costs for Crystal Cruises.

Net cruise cost per capacity day decreased 10.2% thanks to better cost control in the Star Cruises and Dream Cruises fleets, partially offset by higher fuel expenses of $401 per metric ton compared to 2016's $318.

Depreciation and amortization expenses ballooned 44.1% to $190.5m due to additional depreciation of new Dream and Crystal vessels and the full year depreciation of the German shipyards acquired in April 2016.

Full details of research for the Australian Cruise Association released

Tammy Marshall spoke about the demand and needs for cruising in Australia at the ACA annual conference last year

The key findings of Marshall’s research for ACA are: The cruise market in Australia is set to continue growing;  ocean cruising still comprises most popular form of cruising in Australia;  ocean cruising  is currently still strongest among couples;  the needs of different groups from cruising and the types of cruises they prefer are quite distinct.

Regarding duration, cruises of around seven nights/eight days seem to be the most attractive and cruising is seen as an excellent way to trial a new destination, noted the study.

Popular cruise packages

Marshall also found that packages for stays at either end of a cruise were the most popular of all additional services. Free parking at cruise ports was the second most appealing. Also popular are shopping vouchers for local ports and the option of a private car.

The report also covers a multitude of topics from ‘port preferences’ to ‘barriers to cruising.’

The report is available to download free-of-charge.

Marshall outlined the research on ‘Understanding Future Demand and  Needs for Cruising in Australia’ at ACA’s annual 2017 conference in Mooloolaba last September.

A 25-year veteran of the tourism industry, she joined P&O Cruises Australia as svp in October 2012 after nine years with The Travel Corporation in Australia where she headed up Contiki Holidays, AAT Kings and Inspiring Journeys. She was also responsible for Complete Cruise Solution, now again World’s Leading Cruise Lines, the trade marketing umbrella for Carnival brands.

She left the company in January 2015 in a reshuffle that saw Sture Myrmell (now president of Carnival Australia) take on her role.

At the time Ann Sherry paid tribute to Marshall for repositioning the P&O Cruises Australia brand.

‘Tammy’s time at Carnival Australia has seen the addition of capacity, the development of regional ports, the surge in short-break cruising and the groundbreaking transition from onboard buffets to pantry-style  food court dining,’ Sherry said.


Lindblad refinancing shaves a point of interest, adds flexibility


The new $200m, seven-year, senior secured term loan will bear interest at LIBOR plus 3.5%, with a potential step down to LIBOR plus 3.25% depending on the company's credit rating.

The new $45m, five-year, revolving credit facility will bear interest at LIBOR plus 3%.

The pricing of the new term loan and revolving credit facility reflects a one percentage point rate reduction compared to the prior $175m term loan and $45m revolving credit facility. Additionally, the terms were modified to provide Lindblad Expeditions with additional strategic and operational flexibility.    

The proceeds from the new term loan were used to pay down the company's existing term loan with the remaining additional proceeds to be used for general corporate purposes.

Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase Bank and Citibank acted as joint book-runners, joint lead arrangers and syndication agents for the transaction.

Fincantieri hands over second Vista-class ship, Carnival Horizon

She's ours! Carnival Horizon officers pose with their new 133,500gt baby

On hand were Micky Arison, chairman of Carnival Corp. & plc, and Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, while Fincantieri was represented by chairman Giampiero Massolo and CEO Giuseppe Bono.

This second Vista-class vessel becomes the 26th Fun Ship.

Features distinct to Carnival Horizon include a new Dr. Seuss-themed WaterWorks aqua park, part of the line’s exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises; Bonsai Teppanyaki, the line’s first teppanyaki venue; and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse|Brewhouse serving barbecue favorites created by Food Network star Guy Fieri, as well as four new craft beers brewed on board.

Plus, the ship reprises Carnival Vista's bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre, the Havana-themed section with staterooms, a bar and an infinity pool, and extra-roomy accommodations in the Family Harbor area, with its own lounge.

The 3,954-berth ship will reposition to the Port of Barcelona for its April 2 inaugural voyage, the first of four sailings from there. Carnival Horizon will then operate a trans-Atlantic crossing to New York, arriving May 23 for a pierside overnight gala and naming ceremony led by godmother Queen Latifah, the Grammy award-winning musical artist and actress.

Following a summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean sailings from New York, Carnival Horizon will make its home at PortMiami for year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22.

Fincantieri has built 81 cruise ships since 1990, 58 of those since 2002, and 64 for Carnival Corp. brands. Another 44, including including not yet firmed agreements, are currently being designed or built in the group’s yards. Ten of those are for Carnival brands.