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Articles from 2015 In July


Caribbean, China yields boost Royal Caribbean's Q2

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Analysts had expected EPS of 75 cents, compared to 66 cents a year ago, or 62 cents per share on a GAAP basis. Revenues were $2.05bn, up from $1.98bn.

Royal Caribbean raised its EPS range for the full year to $4.65 to $4.75, up from $4.45 to $4.65, on beneficial currency and fuel rates. Q3 EPS is expected to be approximately $2.70 per share. Analysts had been projecting $2.78.

While currency and fuel were the biggest drivers of the Q2 earnings increase, net yields were up 4.2% on a constant-currency basis (down 0.2% on an as-reported basis)—modestly better than expected, mostly driven by strength in the Caribbean and China itineraries.  

Net cruise costs excluding fuel were up 3.4% on a constant-currency basis (down 0.1% as-reported), better than guidance mainly due to the timing of shipboard projects.

For the full year, net yields are expected to increase in the range of 2.9% to 3.9%, versus previous guidance of 2.5% to 4%, on a constant-currency basis (down 1.1% to 0.1% as-reported). Net cruise costs excluding fuel are forecast to be better than flat in constant currency (down 2.5% as reported), including some higher marketing spending.

Royal Caribbean said the better than expected performance in the Caribbean and China in Q2 and a modest increase in costs are essentially offsetting each other and are neutral to earnings. The cost increase in the second half is for some additional marketing activities focused on 2016.

Bookings since the April earnings call have been healthy and the company continues to be booked ahead of last year in both load factor and average per diems. A solid Caribbean environment is more than offsetting softness on Latin American sailings associated with the Pullmantur brand.

'Momentum in the Caribbean continues at a solid pace, and our strong booked position in the third and fourth quarters gives us confidence as we move through the second half of 2015,' cfo Jason Liberty said. 'The trajectory of our brands is firmly on course for another record year of earnings, with healthy trends extending into the first quarter of 2016.'

So far Q1 bookings are running well ahead of last year at higher prices, with improvements in the Caribbean continuing at a robust pace.

Costa Group hires chief digital officer with BBC pedigree

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Rahul Chakkara - tasked with putting digital communications at the heart of customer engagement, operations and service

Chakkara is a top leader with international experience who will drive Costa's growth by putting digital communications at the heart of customer engagement, operations and service, and employee experience, according to Thamm.

Chakkara was at TalkTalk PLC, a telecom company in the UK, where he led the digital transformation in the consumer division. Previously he was gm, future media at the BBC and played a leading role in the development of BBC iPlayer and Youview.

The Costa Group Digital Unit was founded in the spring to support Costa Cruises, Costa Asia and AIDA Cruises by using digital innovation, products and technologies to improve customer engagement and satisfaction. The unit also is intended to support environmental, safety and security processes within the Costa Group.

Wells Fargo eyes RCL headwind from fuel, foreign exchange

Wells Fargo eyes RCL headwind from fuel, foreign exchange

However, the brokerage cautioned fuel and foreign exchange volatility likely mean management will reiterate—not raise—this guidance when reporting second quarter earnings on Thursday, perhaps disappointing investors and producing short-term viability or, a 'buying opportunity.'

Wells Fargo's pricing analysis for North American-sourced passengers indicates strength in Caribbean itineraries for both the Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises brands. Asia-Pacific follows for the RCI brand, particularly in the second half of the year driven by Quantum of the Seas' deployment from China. Meanwhile, Europe appears the most relatively challenged region, Wells Fargo analyst Tim Conder said in a note, with RCI outperforming Celebrity in the second half.

Currency exchange trends, net of fuel, likely helped Royal Caribbean's second quarter, relative to the company's late April guidance, Wells Fargo said. But this has since reversed, according to the brokerage, creating a headwind net of fuel for the second half, when the cruise operator has the largest exposure.

Royal Caribbean has its largest transactional and translational foreign exchange exposure, 45%, in the third quarter, followed by Q4.

Wells Fargo adjusted its earnings per share estimates, shaving 11 cents and 31 cents from its 2015/2016 estimates, respectively for fuel and foreign exchange. The 2015 estimate goes to $4.77 and 2016 to $5.94. Additionally, the brokerage shifted 7 cents to 8 cents of costs from Q4 to Q3.

Wells Fargo reiterated its 'outperform' (buy) rating for RCL with a valuation range of $94 to $98 based on a 15.8 to 16.5 P/E multiple to its 2016 EPS estimate of $5.94.

Royal Caribbean shares closed at $82.74, down $1.17 on Thursday.

Quantum of the Seas debuts Kung Fu Panda-themed restaurant

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New restaurant offers dim sum, noodle bowls and traditional Chinese desserts

The menu includes four-piece dim sum, noodle bowls such as Taiwanese spicy beef noodles and desserts including sesame balls and custard tart. Diners also can strike a pose with Po and the Furious Five for a keepsake picture.

Menu items are priced a la carte, ranging from $2 to $5.

'We're very excited to continue building on our relationship with DreamWorks Animation and offer our guests new dining experiences on board Quantum of the Seas as she debuts in her new home in China," said John Suley, vp food and beverage, Royal Caribbean International.

Quantum of the Seas will sail year-round from Shanghai.

Crystal brings ETRO Spa products to rooms

Crystal brings ETRO Spa products to rooms

Three new procedures will be available, including target wrinkle treatments, dermal filler and Thermage CPT, a skin tightening therapy using radio frequency.

Plus, Crystal will unveil a Quartz Crystal treatment bed this month, becoming the only ship to offer this.

Making its debut on Crystal Serenity, the MLX Quartz bed comprises a base made of alpha-quartz sand that can be heated to varying temperatures. Warm crystals mold and shape around the body, helping to release muscle tension, detoxify and promote relaxation.

With the new Quartz Crystal bed, Crystal will also add two new specialty massages: a hot mineral body massage and a poultice-powered muscle release massage, both using the bed’s technology.

Among the new ETRO products available in accommodations will be bathrobes, slippers, shower cap, shoe mittens and sewing kits. Shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, bath salts and other toiletries will be added, available in varying unisex fragrances.

The ETRO luxury amenities will be available beginning on Crystal Symphony’s Aug. 16 Baltic sailing and Crystal Serenity’s Aug. 20 Mediterranean and Western Europe voyage.

Carnival Foundation gift helps support ocean conservation

Carnival Foundation gift helps support ocean conservation

The $2.5m support is via a Carnival Foundation gift over a five-year period starting in 2014.

Another project involved installing new pilot reef enhancement structures to provide greater habitat for fish and a potential area for future coral growth in Grenada's Grenville Bay.

'The Nature Conservancy truly appreciates Carnival Foundation's support for our global and Caribbean-specific oceans conservation work,' said Maria Damanaki, global managing director for The Nature Conservancy's Ocean Program. She added that the gift has a major impact on The Nature Conservancy's efforts.

Damanaki said that by supporting the Caribbean Challenge Initiative, Carnival Foundation will help nearly triple the protection of the region's waters and coasts by helping conserve 21m acres of these important areas.

Carnival Corp.'s Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer, said his company has a deep commitment to protecting and sustaining the environment since it carries nearly 11m people a year on its global brands.

Hamburg Cruise Center names new md as (Palatz) Maraschi moves to MSC

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New HCC md Matthis Rieger - previously md of the Hamburg Convention Bureau

Hamburg Cruise Center chairman Stefan Behn announced the news to HCC members and other invited guests during a mid-season party Wednesday night.

Behn described Rieger—who most recently served as md of the Hamburg Convention Bureau after a lengthy spell as head of the CCH Congress organization—as a 'proven expert' with a vast tourism background and a long record in marketing.

The mid-season party in Hamburg Cruise Terminal 1, the HafenCity terminal, was attended by 125 guests representing tourism, politics, administration and all segments of Hamburg Port. It also served as a farewell party for Maraschi, a driving force behind HCC for the past eight years. She was known to the industry as Nadine Palatz until her recent marriage to Sartori & Berger gm and cruise specialist, Simone Tommaso Maraschi.

Nadine Maraschi's career with HCC started as an assistant in January 2007. She quickly advanced to general secretary of the Atlantic Alliance and, at the end of last year, to md of HCC.

In her new job as liaison manager-northern Germany for MSC Cruises, Maraschi will represent MSC's interests at the German ports and be in charge of public relations and marketing throughout northern Germany. She will report to Michael Zengerle, md of MSC Kreuzfahrten.

Behn expressed regret at Maraschi's departure and thanked her for her commitment to developing Hamburg as one of Europe's most important cruise ports.

Looking back over her years with HCC, the public-private cruise marketing association for Hamburg, Maraschi said that a project designed for two to three years with 20 members has evolved into a 'center of competency with more than 120 members, which today symbolizes Hamburg's success in the world of cruising.'

At mid-season it was also disclosed Hamburg has set records for cruise traffic during the first half of 2015. During May, for example, 15.5% more passengers visited than the year before. Some 120,257 passengers were tallied from 37 calls.

 

Michelin-star chef helps Costa spice up menus with more Italian regional fare

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On the menu in Savona - Genoese burrida soup with cuttlefish and fine peas

They include a fillet of spatola (silver scabbardfish) with bread and raisins, served with Sicilian caponata and sweet and sour red onion, from the Sicliian region. From the Lazio region comes Gricia-style rigatoni pasta with jowl bacon and Roman pecorino cheese cream. Another example is fried breaded pork cordon bleu with potato croquettes and grilled tomato, from the Friuli region.

Filippo Bertuzzi, corporate director, food and beverage operations, said Costa chose recpies that represent Italian history and culture, based on the itinerary of each ship. In addition, Costa selected a new team of corporate chefs who traveled on all the ships to implement the new menus.

On cruises that call at Italian ports, passengers will find even more Italian-style options. When Costa Diadema calls at Savona, for example, the menu will include Genoese burrida soup with cuttlefish and fine peas or a Neapolitan-style pasta and potato soup timed to a call at Naples.

Giuseppe Carino, Costa's vp guest experience and on-board revenue, noted most ingredients used for these regional recipes are obtained from local suppliers.

The new menus are part of Costa's 'Italy's Finest' campaign, an effort to bring a stronger Italian flavor to its ships around the world by partnering with the country's popular food and beverage brands. Examples include Barilla pasta, illy coffee and Ferrari wines.

 

Double-day record for cruiser count in Cannes

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Trio of cruise ships anchor off Cannes

On July 10, Norwegian Epic, Sovereign and Emerald Princess visited, while on July 17, Norwegian Epic, Sovereign and Azura were in.

On each day, 48 buses left for excursions.

Steiner Leisure lifts second quarter profit

Steiner Leisure lifts second quarter profit

Revenues rose 3.9%, to $217.4m, up from $209.3m.

Average number of ships served during the period 145, the same as in Q2 2014.

Revenue per staff per day rose to $409 from $401.