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Articles from 2020 In June


Seatrade Cruise Med and Asia 2020 events postponed, Seatrade Cruise Virtual to debut in October

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We thank all our customers, partners and associations, including our host cities of Málaga and the Baoshan district of Shanghai, and cruise line representatives for their insights, open discussions and encouragement.

We continue to be humbled by your support to create a forum for our community and are proud to announce we will be hosting a virtual experience for the worldwide cruise industry this fall.

Seatrade Cruise Virtual, taking place 5 - 8 October 2020, will provide a digital forum for suppliers, cruise lines and members of the cruise community to find partners, network with peers both new and known, and hear insights from top industry players.

•           Sourcing Solutions & Finding Partners: Research suppliers’ newest products and services at the virtual tradeshow. 

•           Networking & Matchmaking: Connect with members of the cruise community through the custom matchmaking platform or at one of the digital receptions.

•           Education & Conference Sessions: Hear top leaders’ thoughts about the future of cruise across multiple regions and demographics over the four-day lineup.

•           Innovation & Trend Forecasting: Join the live stream of the Seatrade Cruise Awards 2020 programme or one of the product showcases.

Registration for the virtual event will be live in September.

As we continue to share updates about Seatrade Cruise Virtual, we also wanted to make sure you marked your calendars for these live events:

•           Seatrade Cruise Global (Miami, FL, USA) 12-15 April 2021

•           NEW! Seatrade Cruise Forum Latin America (Puerto Varas, Chile) 26-27 May 2021

•           Seatrade Europe (Hamburg, Germany) 8-10 September 2021

•           Seatrade Cruise Asia Pacific More information coming soon!

•           Seatrade Cruise Med (Málaga, Spain) September 2022

As we continue to develop the programs for our upcoming events, we invite you to stay in touch with industry and event happenings on Seatrade Cruise News, and through our new series Seatrade Cruise Talks, as well as across social platforms.

 

Vow's Scanship wins contract for two cruise newbuilds in Italy

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Two mega-ships for 2026/2027 delivery

The Scanship systems will be installed on two mega-sized cruise ships scheduled to enter service in 2026 and 2027, part of an ongoing six-ship newbuild program in Italy for one of the larger Miami-based shipowners. Scanship previously entered into contracts for the other ships in the series.

'We feel humbled by how the major shipowners and yards are moving forward with a commitment in these disruptive times, and proud to once again be selected as their partner, delivering technologies for environmental compliance and cleaner oceans,' Vow CEO Henrik Badin said.

June 30 updates: Further AQSC delay, Celestyal drops 2020 season, to resume March 2021

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Celestyal Olympia is pictured off Santorini

Keep checking back. This is being continuously updated.

Further AQSC delay

American Queen Steamboat Co. delayed plans to resume sailings on American Empress in the Pacific Northwest through Aug. 2 and on American Duchess along the Mississippi through Aug. 16.

American Duchess is now planned to start service with the Aug. 17-23 Lower Mississippi voyage from New Orleans to Memphis.

'We have continued to monitor the climate surrounding COVID-19 and feel that extending our relaunch date is the most responsible way to uphold our commitment to the safety of each individual who steps on board one of our paddlewheelers and to the communities we visit,' said John Waggoner, CEO and founder, AQSC.

A 125% future cruise credit will be provided, valid for use through 2022.

As previously announced, American Countess and American Queen service is suspended through Aug. 8.

Celestyal drops 2020 season on continued uncertainty

Celestyal Cruises further suspended sailings until the 2021 season, commencing March 6.  

Leslie Peden, chief commercial officer, said that since Celestyal's core season runs from spring through autumn, the company was optimistic it would be able to resume operations later this summer. 'However, given the prevailing uncertainty regarding travel restrictions through the balance of our operating season from our largest international source markets, coupled with the continuing discussions at the European Union level regarding the enhanced health protocols that will apply to EU cruise operations, we made the difficult but prudent decision to postpone resuming cruise operations until the scheduled start of our normal spring season next year.'

He continued: 'We have already put our travel partners and guests through enough date changes on when cruising could return safely. By voluntarily pausing operations until our scheduled departures of next year, Celestyal will be better positioned to offer more clarity and certainty to our valued partners and guests, as well as peace of mind.'

Pent-up demand

The line is seeing 'encouraging signs of pent-up demand,' Peden added.

For all named and paid individual customers impacted by the suspension, Celestyal is offering a 120% future cruise credit. This can be applied through 2021 to any itinerary through 2022. Those who don't redeem their FCC by the end of 2021 will automatically receive a full refund. Vouchers will be sent directly to customers or their travel advisor so there is no need to contact the company.

'Escape To The Future' campaign

Celestyal recently launched a 2021 and 2022 digital brochure supported by the early booking 'Escape To The Future' promotional campaign and a 'Peace of Mind' policy that allows newly booked travelers to cancel any cruise that sails through 2021 at least 30 days before sailing date, without penalty. This will result in a 100% FCC that can be applied to any cruise through 2022.

The line, which operates Celestyal Olympia and Celestyal Crystal, was one of the first to immediately halt operations and reported no COVID-19 cases. Celestyal was able to repatriate passengers and crew before air travel and borders shut down globally.

Saga's Spirit of Adventure to debut in November with Med sailing

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A November 2020 debut planned with ex-UK cruise to the Mediterranean

Currently being constructed by Meyer Werft and originally scheduled to arrive in August, the ship is now expected for delivery in early autumn.

Health protocols

Nigel Blanks, managing director of Saga Cruises, said: ‘My team is in the process of calling all passengers booked on the inaugural cruise to update them with this latest development and we look forward to welcoming them on board. We have been working with the industry and government to put in place state-of-the-art appropriate health protocols, putting guest safety first to ensure a return to service in the autumn.’

The 972-passenger ship was due to be named in Portsmouth on August 19. Saga confirmed to Seatrade Cruise News that it is working on finalising tthe details around milestones such as the naming ceremony and will provide updates soon.
 

In Focus: Covid-19 Solutions

WWSG offers turnkey solution for cruise ports' COVID-19 screening

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Worldwide Sourcing Group proposes to make cruise terminal health screening an add-on service to American Guard's security screening

'This is a turnkey process, all in,' said Carlos Torres de Navarra, a former longtime Carnival Cruise Line/Carnival Corp. port operations senior executive. He's working with Rob Lasky of American Guard Services, a subsidiary of WWSG, and Luis Ajamil of Bermello, Ajamil & Partners (B&A) on a process that melds terminal assessment/configuration, technology, equipment and operations to help cruise lines, ports and the destinations they serve.

American Guard Services is a longtime provider of security to the cruise industry, while B&A are experts in port and terminal planning and design.

Elevated and visible protocols

Torres de Navarra said the aim is for an 'industry-leading standard in this new sailing environment.' To restore the public's confidence in cruising and reassure the communities that ports serve, health screening protocols will need to be elevated and visible, he said, similar to post-9/11 security screening.

Currently, most ports are waiting to take their cue from the cruise lines, or the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Cruise Lines International Association. If that's the case, 'We won't be cruising until 2025,' Luis Ajamil said during a recent Seatrade Cruise webinar.

'[Ports] have to make a determination of what is going to be provided, not based on what CDC says, not based on the cruise lines. The disembark is based on what the community is looking for and that will go such a long way in helping the cruise industry return to that city,' Ajamil continued. 'If a port takes a leadership position, saying "These are the steps we're taking to protect the city," that is going to be so big.'

To help ports do this, WWSG will expand its security services to include health screening and branch out from the homeport to the port of call environment, too. It will engage B&A to assess cruise terminal flow and design social distancing plans.

Social distancing will dramatically impact terminal processing times

Social distancing will have a dramatic impact on terminal processing times and densities. As Ajamil said during the Seatrade Cruise webinar, B&A's simulation analysis of one of the latest and greatest cruise terminals found that introducing a six-foot distance between people would have a huge impact, doubling the time needed to disembark and embark a ship.

Add to that the time required for health screening, and there could be major issues without careful planning.

Torres de Navarra said WWSG envisions a robust screening process, working with each customer to apply the level of protocols deemed appropriate and adjusting its services accordingly. Currently, the expected protocols involve screening based on visual evaluation, medical history disclosure and temperature checks.

Since it's known the virus may not always be detected by these means, the protocols can be expanded to include testing and the collection of test result data of pre-tested individuals. WWSG also can provide for quarantine and the transfer of people to a health facility for treatment.

Terminal configuration assessment

After screening protocols are agreed, each site plan would be reviewed to develop solutions for flows and the movement of equipment. 'We think there's lots of room for equipment vendors and providers,' Ajamil said. 'We want to be sure we have a platform that can adapt to each situation.'

WWSG's proposed process uses its FaceEx facial recognition technology, though other systems like Sisco's A-PASS 6 could work. It is important to integrate with the shipboard technology platform. Thermal imaging will capture the temperature of each person entering the terminal, providing early identification of those with elevated temperatures. Security personnel at the entrance will use handheld units to screen people as well.

Anyone with an elevated temperature will proceed to a secondary screening in a space that provides seating, allowing the person to 'cool off' in case the outside temperature may have influenced the earlier reading. Then temperature will be re-checked by a hand-held unit.

Should the temperature still be elevated, the traveler and their entire party will be escorted to an independent area manned by an emergency medical technician. The EMT will use additional assessments including respiration rate, blood oxygen level, travel history and underlying medical conditions, to name a few. If markers prove consistent with coronavirus, the EMT will administer a test. In any case, the ship's medical team will be alerted to determine next steps.

WWSG said it has engaged expert medical guidance to validate training and operational protocols.

Unlike homeports, transit ports' designs vary widely, including some that are open to the elements. Again, WWSG is proposing its FaceEx technology when checking temperatures of people exiting and reboarding.

WWSG would deliver these new health screening protocols as an add-on to American Guard's security services.

Potential eligibility as a government fee/tax?

Among potential implementation options, it may be that local health departments will be responsible for enforcing protocols at ports, or perhaps new procedures will be mandated by CDC or other federal agencies and monitored by the US Coast Guard as part of a cruise terminal’s Facility Security Plan. If so, based on its mandatory nature and the fact that the process is being executed by a third party unrelated to the cruise line, costs will be eligible for treatment as a government fee/tax.

WWSG said it would purchase or lease all equipment, with a per-call fee that depends on a minimum number of calls guaranteed including the length of contracted services.

Where needed, WWSG would engage B&A, contractors and others as part of an all-in, turnkey package whose costs can be amortized over the life of the service contract. B&A’s services would be at the direction of the port or cruise line and costs would be agreed before engaging.

Wärtsilä and Pastrovich Studio partner to build luxury catamaran

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Deluxe suites are a feature of the luxury sustainable vessel

The new vessel will feature a fully integrated combination of hybrid propulsion and solar panels for high energy efficiency, resulting in minimal impact on the environment.

X-Expedition

The agreement to develop the hybrid boutique cruise vessel follows the recent news that the two companies have paired to design the 101mtr long X-Expedition cruise ship, which also integrates the energy-saving Wärtsilä Hybrid system.

‘Efficiency and environmental performance are key pillars of Wärtsilä’s Smart Marine approach, which emphasises the need to collaborate with world-class partners’, says Giammario Meloni, senior sales manager, Wärtsilä Italia. ‘We look forward to co-developing with Stefano Pastrovich a totally integrated solution that combines energy efficiency, sustainability and onboard comfort’.

Italian naval architect, Stefano Pastrovich, adds, ‘Bringing together our architectural and marine technology know-how will create a mega-yacht design on the leading edge of innovation. 

‘I’m convinced boutique cruise ships of this calibre could spark a turning point in the charter market, attracting a new customer base of millennials and cruise veterans’. 

History of collaboration

Wärtsilä has worked with Pastrovich in projects that include the 99m X-Vintage in 2011.

Chantiers de l'Atlantique lays keel for LNG-powered MSC World Europa

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MSC World Europa will also employ the first LNG-powered fuel cell on a cruise ship

And first French-built LNG cruise ship 

It also will be the first LNG-powered cruise ship built in France.

The 200,000gt-plus MSC World Europa — previously called MSC Europa — is scheduled to enter service in 2022.

Zoe Africa Vago, daughter of Alexa Aponte-Vago and Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ executive chairman, and Aurore Bezard of the HR department at Chantiers de I’Atlantique placed two coins under the keel for good luck.

'MSC World Europa is further proof of our commitment to environmental stewardship as she is set to reduce carbon emissions even further than many other existing cruise ships powered by LNG, which is currently the most environmentally-friendly fuel for commercial maritime operations,' Vago said. 'With this vessel, we also reconfirm our belief in investing in advanced environmental technology to meet our long-term goal of zero emissions from operations.'

For Laurent Castaing, general manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, 'We are proud to start building a ship which will set the standards for the cruise of the future. This is a major milestone in the history of our 20-year cooperation with MSC Cruises, which has already resulted in some of the most innovative cruise ships ever built.'

Firat LNG-powered fuel cell on a cruise ship

MSC World Europa will feature a 50-kilowatt demonstrator system that incorporates solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology and uses LNG to produce electricity and heat on board, the first time an LNG-powered fuel cell has been used on a cruise ship.

Cuts GHG emissions 30% compared to conventional LNG engine

This SOFC solution fueled by LNG is expected to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by about 30% compared to a conventional LNG engine, with no emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides or fine particles. It also offers the advantage of compatibility with LNG and several low carbon fuels such as types of methanol, ammonia and hydrogen.

Plus, MSC World Europa will feature a next-generation wastewater treatment system that exceeds some of the world’s most stringent regulatory standards, as well other cutting-edge environmental technology.

In addition to MSC World Europa, Chantiers de l'Atlantique is building MSC Virtuosa for delivery next year. The Saint-Nazaire yard also has firm orders for two additional LNG-powered ships, one each for the MSC World and Meraviglia classes.

AECO, Norwegian Coastal Administration get funding for oil spill response project

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Baffin Bay polar bear with an oil drum

Arctic Council funding for Neptune project

The funding was provided through the Arctic Council’s Emergency, Prevention, Preparedness and Response working group. This will contribute to the launch of Neptune, a project to investigate if expedition cruise vessels can be used in Arctic oil spill preparedness and response.

Potential first responders in remote areas

Given the increase of Arctic expedition cruise vessels in recent years, they could represent a resource in the event of an incident at sea or on land. These ships may be the first on site and potentially could act as first responders before larger and professional resources can get there. The majority of the 50- to 60-passenger vessels that operate in the Arctic are AECO members and may be able to serve as a safety net should something go wrong in a remote area.

'We are delighted to have received this grant, as it will help to facilitate a safer future for the fragile Arctic environment in the face of human-related incidences such as oil spills. The network of expedition vessels in an area can become a powerful resource and an important incident management tool,' AECO Executive Director Frigg Jørgensen said.

Project goals

By collaborating with the Norwegian Coastal Administration, the project hopes to forge relations between oil spill authorities and responders, develop exercises for expedition cruise vessels taking part in oil spill preparedness and response, and survey relevant equipment on board vessels, among other actions.

Coordinated by AECO, the Arctic expedition cruise industry has worked with the Arctic search and rescue community for years to enhance preparedness and response.

June 29 updates: Azamara starts 'Home Journeys,' Costa Venezia gets Chinese crew home

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Crew were aboard Costa Venezia for more than 150 days at sea without passengers

Keep checking back. This is being continuously updated.

Costa Venezia takes 310 Chinese crew home

Costa Venezia called at Shekou cruise homeport, Shenzhen, to bring 310 Chinese crew home after more than 150 days at sea.

All the crew on board were tested negative for COVID-19, and Costs Cruises designated a shoreside quarantine location for those who disembarked.

Earlier, Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas and Spectrum of the Seas berthed at Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal to repatriate Chinese crew.

Azamara starts 'Home Journeys' series

Azamara became the latest brand to introduce a program to stay connected with travelers during the shutdown. 'Azamara Home Journeys' is a series of virtual, interactive activities.

The Sanctum Series, named after Sanctum Spa, delves into various wellness methods, techniques and exercises from around the world that viewers can perform at home. A Sanctum Guru Guide suggests activities including exercise regimens, meditation sessions, healthy meal prep suggestions and self-care practices.

The Home Explorations series showcases specialty crafts and nuances, all influenced by the Azamara crew. Examples include recipe tutorials from the executive chefs and performances from the cruise directors. Officers and crew share their most cherished memory throughout their career with Azamara, highlighting the special connections made on board.

And Azamara's Stories & Spirits Club focuses on different movies or books inspired by a destination. Viewers can expect, for instance, a lesson in how to make a mojito when daydreaming through books and movies about the Caribbean.

Dream Cruises to resume sailing with short Taiwan jaunts

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Explorer Dream crew will undergo a 14-day quarantine on land before testing for COVID-19 and then a further seven-day isolation period on board before service resumes

For Taiwanese travelers

The cruises, for Taiwanese travelers, will depart from Keelung and call at Penghu, Matzu and Kinmen islands.

'After months of detailed planning with the authorities to ensure the safety and health of guests and crew, we appreciate the approval of Explorer Dream resuming cruise operations in Taiwan,' said Tan Sri KT Lim, chairman and CEO of Genting Hong Kong.

This follows the resumption of coastal cruises in Norway by Hurtigruten and Norway-Denmark cruises by SeaDream Yacht Club this month. River cruises have also resumed in Europe, and in July ocean cruises are expected to start from France and French Polynesia, as well as on the US rivers.

Experience from serving as worker housing in Singapore

Genting's new standard operating procedures to ensure passenger safety draw on the company's first-hand experience from the charter of two of its ships in Singapore to house foreign workers and work with classification society DNV GL to receive a Certification in Infection Prevention for the Marine industry.

Genting considers Taiwan the ideal destination to resume Dream Cruises’ operations given the company’s 25 years of history with the island as both a destination and a homeport. Taiwan’s low numbers of COVID-19 cases compared to global figures have also been lauded by experts as one of the most effective response scenarios in the world.

Thanks to this success, the local authorities are now working to reinvigorate their economy and open tourism. To support this, Dream Cruise will offer these island-hopping cruises for Taiwanese travelers.

'We thank Taiwan for their initiatives to re-start their economy and the tourism industry and the trust they have placed in Dream Cruises,' said Kent Zhu, president of Genting Cruise Line.

Announced first protocols in early April

During the past few months, Genting Cruise Lines said it completely re-examined and enhanced all of its health, hygiene and operating protocols to ensure a safe environment for everyone on board, including social distancing in dining, entertainment and public areas, 100% fresh air ventilation in staterooms and operations throughout the ship. In early April, Genting became the first cruise operator to detail its planned procedures.

Explorer Dream also became the first ship to receive DNV GL's Certification in Infection Prevention for the Marine industry, which verifies the procedures and systems in place for the proper prevention, control and mitigation of infection.

Ship sanitization and crew quarantine

In accordance with Taiwan’s regulations prior to resuming sailing, Explorer Dream has undergone a thorough deep cleaning and observed strict quarantine procedures for crew. The majority of crew will be from other Genting ships that have been quarantined for the last three months and all will undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine on land after the ship arrives in Keelung June 30.

Upon negative nucleic acid test results, they will undergo an additional seven-day isolation period aboard Explorer Dream for a total of 21 days of preventive procedures before operations begin July 26.

Meanwhile, Genting's SuperStar Aquarius and SuperStar Gemini of its Star Cruises' brand remain in Singapore as temporary accommodations for foreign workers.