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Articles from 2018 In July

It's a done deal: Silversea joins Royal Caribbean family, Project Invictus announced

Silversea's Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, left, and Royal Caribbean's Richard Fain shook on the deal when it was announced June 14

Project Invictus

In tandem, the companies announced Project Invictus, a multi-year initiative to take Silversea's ultra-luxury offerings to the next level.

RCL's investment unites two leading players in the cruise industry and fills out its portfolio of brands across all key market segments.

'A dynamite combination'

'This is a dynamite combination and we can't wait to work with Manfredi (Lefebvre d'Ovidio, executive chairman), Roberto (Martinoli, CEO) and the entire team as together we take Silversea to the next level,' RCL chairman and CEO Richard Fain said.

Regulators green-lighted Royal Caribbean's purchase of a 66.7% equity stake in Silversea for $1bn and the assumption of about $500m in debt based on an enterprise value of approximately $2bn. Lefebvre will remain executive chairman of Silversea and retain a 33.3% stake. The plan was first announced June 14.

'This partnership enables us to realize our vision of being the uncontested leader in ultra-luxury cruising and expedition [cruising], taking our guests to more than 1,000 destinations aboard some of the world's most luxurious vessels,' Lefebvre said.

Product upgrades and ship revitalizations

Project Invictus enhancements will range from product upgrades to magnified ship revitalization programs. 'Our intent is to solidify our already strong leadership position with an exciting array of upgrades that thrill our guests,' Martinoli said.

The first Invictus enhancements will begin rolling out on Silver Muse Aug. 19 when an upgraded champagne and caviar offering will be initiated. Immediately thereafter, these and other enhancements will be implemented fleetwide, impacting a wide variety of on-board features and strengthening Silversea's reputation for indulgent, luxurious embellishments.

Silver Whisper and Silver Wind up for 'Musification'

In addition, the planned renovation of Silver Whisper in December will be much more comprehensive than initially anticipated and will include a partial refit of all stateroom. Moreover, Silver Wind will also enter into an enhanced dry dock in December. Both vessels will join the overarching plan for a fleetwide 'Musification,' inspired by the design of flagship Silver Muse, which entered service in 2017. The plan will be completed shortly after with an enhanced dry dock for Silver Shadow.

With Silversea joining the RCL lineup alongside Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, TUI Cruises and Pullmantur Cruceros, the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. fleet now numbers 59 ships with an additional 15 on order.

JP Morgan Securities acted as a financial adviser to RCL and served as the lead arranger for the debt financing for the transaction.

Crystal Endeavor's inaugural season routes unveiled

Crystal Endeavor bookings open Aug. 8 for Crystal Society members Aug. 22 to the general public

Sailings begin Aug. 10, 2020, though Crystal Endeavor will sail a series of charters and special event voyages before this.

Voyages of 12 to 22 days are planned, with opportunities for hiking, biking, kayaking, snorkeling, diving, helicopter and Zodiac tours.

Fares start at $12,749

The initial roster of itineraries includes 12 unique voyages with fares starting at $12,749 per person, double occupancy, excluding port taxes and fees. Passengers on the maiden voyage will also receive a complimentary one-night pre-cruise luxury hotel stay and have the opportunity to participate in the yacht’s naming event.

That voyage explores the Russian Far East and Japan, round-trip from Tokyo. Crystal Endeavor will sail along Japan's coast to Hakodate and Rishiri Island, then head to Korsakov, Tyuleniy, Yankicha and Srednego Islands, Paramushir and Atlasova Islands, Russkaya/Thirka Bay, Cape Kekurnyy and Morzovaya Bay, Russia. The cruise continues into the Sea of Okhotsk and Chirpoy Island, Russia, then back to Japan, stopping at Otaru.

Kamchatka Peninsula and the wildlife-rich Kuril Islands

Highlights include the Far Eastern Russia’s dramatic Kamchatka Peninsula and the wildlife-rich Kuril Islands plus Japan’s northern islands of Hokkaido and Rishiri, and optional exploration of the Valley of the Geysers and other Zodiac expeditions and nature hikes.

Another 17-day round-trip from Tokyo follows. The ship will explore Muroran, Hakodate, Sado Island, Kanazawa and Sakaiminato, Japan; Pohang, South Korea; Senzaki, Japan; cruise the Kanmon Strait and the Inland Sea, visit Miyajima/Itsukushima and Hiroshima, Japan, cruise the Inland Sea and call at Takamatsu, Kobe, Toba and Shimizu.

Japan’s most treasured temples, gardens and heritage sites

Among the highlights are immersive exploration of some of Japan’s most treasured temples, gardens and heritage sites including Kenroku-en Garden, Matsue Castle, South Korea’s Gyeongju Historic Site, Mikimoto Pearl Island and Mount Fuji.

On Sept. 13, Crystal Endeavor embarks in Tokyo on a 16-day voyage to Keelung (Tapei), Taiwan. The ship will visit Shingu, Osaka, Himeji, Tamano, Uwajima, Kagoshima, Anbo, Yakushima Island, Amami, Yoronjima, Motobu, and Naha, Okinawa, Kerama-Shoto Islands, Miyako Jima and Iriomote Island.

Highlights include cultural and natural marvels such as Kumano Hayatama Taisha Grand Shrine, Doro-kyo Gorge, Kyoto and Nara, Himeji Castle, Mount Sakurajima, Yakusugi Land and Waterfall, Zamami-Jima, Tsuki-ga-hama and Urauchi River.

Philippines, Borneo and Indonesia

On Sept. 29, Crystal Endeavor will begin a 16-day exploration of the Philippines, Borneo and Indonesia, on a cruise from Taipei to Bali. Ports include Hualien, Taiwan; Calayan Island, Hundred Islands National Park, Corregidor, Manila and El Nido, Palawan, Philippines; cruising the Celebes Sea; Sandakan, Borneo, Malaysia; Derawan Islands, Borneo, Indonesia; cruising the Makassar Strait; Palopo, South Sulawesi, Taka Bonerate National Park and Komodo Island.

The Oct. 15 voyage, also 16 days, will explore Indonesia in-depth and the Great Barrier Reef on a sailing from Bali to Cairns. Australia's offshore islands and the Great Barrier Reef feature in the Oct. 31 cruise from Cairns to Sydney, 14 days.

Tasmania and New Zealand's Fjords are highlighted on the Nov. 14 cruise from Sydney to Christchurch, including six full days exploring Tasmania's natural landscapes.A New Zealand immersion voyage on Nov. 28 spends 12 days in the country, and sails from Lyttleton (Christchurch) to Auckland. On Dec. 10, Crystal Endeavor sails back to Lyttleton, visiting a number of different ports. The Dec. 22 holiday expedition to New Zealand and Australia, 15 days, sails from Lyttleton to Hobart, Tasmania, with New Year's Eve in Sydney Harbour.

Antarctica and the Ross Sea

Antarctica adventures begin in 2021, with a 22-day journey featuring the Ross Sea, that sails Jan. 6 from Hobart and returns to Lyttleton. Another 22-day Antarctica and Ross Sea expedition follows on Jan. 28.

Crystal Endeavor journeys will open for booking by Crystal Society members on Aug. 8 and to the general public on Aug. 22. Expedition and excursion details will be announced at a later date.

Regent's 2021 world cruise gives access to 56 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Around the world, from Miami to Barcelona

Overnight stays at 11 ports

The route takes in South America, French Polynesia, Australia, Asia and the Mediterranean. Overnight stays are included at 11 ports—Lima, Peru; Hanga Roa, Easter Island; Auckland, New Zealand; Brisbane, Australia; Bali, Indonesia; Singapore; Mumbai, India; Dubai, UAE; Safaga, Egypt; Haifa, Israel; and Istanbul, Turkey.

The voyage departs Jan. 5, 2021, and covers 33,500 nautical miles.

Highlights include lost empires like South America's UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Chan Chan and Machu Picchu in Peru, Chile's Nazca Lines and Easter Island's giant moai. Beautiful islands and marine life are found in French Polynesia, New Zealand's Bay of Islands and Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Making its way from Indonesia to Oman, Seven Seas Mariner will visit Fujairah, the only one of the UAE’s seven emirates not located on the Arabian Gulf, and Aqaba, Jordan, for access to the ancient city of Petra. In the Mediterranean, the ship will call at destinations in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey.

Regent is including three exclusive land programs, a mystical moai experience on Easter Island, a flashback to Australia’s penal history while in Brisbane and a royal Bedouin evening at Wadi Rum.

Fares start at $61,999

Fares start at $61,999, including business class air, a choice of up to 324 shore excursions, door-to-door luggage service, a visa package, laundry, on-board medical service, pre-paid gratuities, unlimited Wi-Fi and more.

Itinerary details are here.

Genting Hong Kong looks to narrow first half loss


This would be down from the company's $205.4m loss in the first half of 2017.

Both the projection and last year's figure exclude the results of Travellers International Hotel Group.

Improved cruise segment results offset by shipyards

The improved performance is mainly due to better results in the cruise segment, partially offset by a lower cost capitalization for the shipyards. The keel-laying for luxury expedition yacht Crystal Endeavor and the first 204,000gt Global-class ship for Dream Cruises will take place in August and September respectively; this will increase the rate of production and cost capitalization.

Genting Hong Kong is still in the process of finalizing consolidated results for the first half, and its share from the results of Travellers is not yet known since that company is publicly listed overseas and its results have not been announced.

Genting Hong Kong expects to release first half earnings in August.

Lerwick’s population doubles for a day with MSC Meraviglia and Europa 2 calls

MSC Meraviglia arriving in Lerwick on Tuesday morning

On board MSC Meraviglia are 5,092 passengers and over 1,500 crew. The passengers were transferred ashore by tenders to enjoy the island's many attractions.

Adding to numbers is Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2 which, following a first visit in 2017, berthed at Mair’s Pier East, with 512 passengers and more than 370 crew.

In a double coincidence, both ships are registered in Malta and are en route to Reykjavik on round-trips from Hamburg, Meraviglia as part of an 11-night cruise and Europa 2 on a 19-night voyage.

Busiest cruise day yet for Lerwick

Victor Sandison, Lerwick Port Authority’s senior commercial executive, said: ‘We have had more ships on a single day, but with almost 7,500 passengers and crew, it will be the busiest cruise day yet for Lerwick – population around 7,500.

‘Our involvement with the cruise sector just keeps getting bigger and better, with larger vessels and higher numbers. This season, we expect to welcome 93 ships and approaching 93,000 passengers in an all-round record year, with 119 vessels, bringing an anticipated 110,000 passengers, already booked for 2019.’


$200m re-do will transform Carnival Triumph into Carnival Sunrise

Behold the 'new' Carnival Sunrise, to debut April 29, 2019, in Norfolk

Just as Carnival transformed cruising's first ship larger than 100,000gt, the 1996-built Carnival Destiny, into Carnival Sunshine in 2013 (for $155m), this project will touch all areas, including accommodations.

Carnival Cruise Line's first dry dock at Cadiz

The work will take place in Cadiz, Spain, starting March 1, 2019. After a renaming ceremony, Carnival Sunrise will begin sailing from Norfolk, Virginia, April 29. Cruises from New York and Fort Lauderdale follow.

'For a number of years, we've been investing heavily to upgrade and enhance our ships,' Carnival's chief operating officer Gus Antorcha said. 'We're adding new amenities and features our guests love.'

This will be the Carnival brand's first docking in Cadiz; the ship will spend 38 days in the dock and be out of service 59 days.

All staterooms will be updated with island-inspired decor in bright colors and soothing pastels. Two luxurious Captain's Suites will be added above the bridge.

Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Cue Smokehouse

Food additions include Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Cue Smokehouse, Bonsai Express, Cucina del Capitano, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, a Lido Marketplace with a Seafood Shack, Pizzeria del Capitano and Deli, a glass-enclosed Chef's Table in the forward dining room, and expanded JavaBlue Café and Cherry on Top candy shop.

New lounges/bars include a multipurpose Liquid Lounge housing Punchliner Comedy Club, Playlist Productions revues and Hasbro, The Game Show. An amped-up Piano Bar 88 will have new decor. A RedFrog Pub will be installed.

Outside, Carnival Sunrise will have a SportsSquare with a suspended ropes course, basketball court, miniature golf and other recreational activities. The new WaterWorks will offer a long AquaTunnel slide, a Twister slide, PowerDrencher dumping bucket and kiddie area. An adults-only Serenity area will be added, too.

The Cloud 9 spa will be expanded, and a new Camp Ocean for kids and new Circle 'C' and Club O2 areas for teens are in the plans. Retail will be enlarged, as well, into a mall-like shopping area.

Captain's Suites

Antorcha said 'a handful' of cabins will be added, including the two Captain's Suites above the bridge wings, with 'incredible views from floor-to-ceiling windows, the same views as the captain has.'

Following Carnival Destiny, Carnival Triumph is the line's oldest Destiny-class ship. Now, like the former Destiny, it will bcome part of the Sunshine class.

The ship currently sails from New Orleans but, as previously announced, changes in Carnival's Gulf of Mexico deployment will see it replaced by sister ship Carnival Valor. Triumph's new routes were also outlined earlier

Norfolk, New York and Port Everglades

Antorcha said it hasn't been decided where Carnival Sunrise will be renamed, though that will take place stateside. The inaugural seven-day cruise from Norfolk on April 29 will be followed by several five- and six-day sailings.

Carnival Sunrise will then reposition to New York for a series of four- to 14-day voyages beginning May 23. The schedule includes four- to eight-day Bermuda cruises, seven-day Canada/New England fall foliage cruises and two different eight-day Caribbean itineraries. Several longer voyages, including a 14-day 'Carnival Journeys' Panama Canal cruise, are also in store.

The ship's next home will be Port Everglades, for four- and five-day cruises beginning Oct. 28, 2019. The five-day itinerary includes Cuba.

More refurbishments to come

Antorcha said further ship refurbishments are in the cards for 2019 and 2020.

'Our strategy is adding amazing features that guests love to all our ships—every homeport, every ship, every itinerary.'

Outside magazine partners with Blue World Voyages

Blue Water Voyages' seawater lap pool

The ship is planned to launch in May 2019 to initial destinations including the Mediterranean, British Isles and the Baltic.

Shared mission of inspiring people to live an active and healthy life

'We are always looking for innovative ways to engage the Outside community and reach others who may not be a part of it yet,' said Lawrence Burke, chairman and editor-in-chief, Mariah Media Network. 'From the design of the vessel, to the on-board programs and dining options, Blue World Voyages prioritizes wellness and shares Outside’s mission of inspiring people to live an active and healthy life.'

Full deck dedicated to sports and fitness

Blue World Voyages’ 350-passenger luxury vessel will devote an entire deck to sports and fitness. Activities/facilities are to include yoga, spinning, TRX studios, a leading functional training and strength conditioning facility, and a nationally-recognized sports medicine clinic. A video rendering of the seawater lap pool is here. Shore excursions will range from hiking and cycling to kite-surfing and mountain biking, as well as golf.

'Our on-board and onshore activities and amenities are designed specifically for the millions of people who live active, healthy lifestyles,' said Gene Meehan, founder and chairman, Blue World Voyages. 'Everything we do makes it easy for people who are already energized and healthy to stay on their regimen while having the time of their lives. We look forward to working with Outside, as our goals and values align seamlessly.'

Nieuw Statendam design is 'artfully inspired'

Nieuw Statendam showcases the work of more than 150 emerging artists

Tal Danai, founder and CEO of ArtLink, said the company spent a year traveling the world, looking for the best emerging artists. More than 150 of them have creations aboard Nieuw Statendam.

'I believe one piece of art can change a person,' gilder Sandra Spannan said.

Tihany and Storbraaten team up again

Nieuw Statendam's interiors—like those of Koningsdam—are the work of acclaimed hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and leading cruise ship architect Bjørn Storbraaten.

Tihany's work focuses on fluid curves and graceful lines, light-filled spaces and the natural flow of public areas. The three-deck-high central atrium holds an airy, stainless-steel sculpture that is meant to emulate the feeling of being surrounded by a musical instrument. Like music, the experience changes as viewers move around and through it, so no two perspectives are the same.

The atrium is capped by a skylight that serves as a backdrop for subtly changing, high-definition projections such as wispy cirrus clouds floating in an azure sky or soothing images of light on water. By evening, the atrium lighting takes on dramatic hues or reflects the constellations of the night sky.

The dining room has a modern, global design with strong, curved pillars that accentuate the soaring ceiling. Chic furnishings and modern glass lighting are being specially fabricated for the ship. The room's centerpiece is a curved copper sheath surrounding a two-story wine tower.

Reimagined Rudi's Sel De Mer

Rudi’s Sel De Mer, Holland America's intimate French brasserie, is reimagined on Nieuw Statendam with expanded seating for 54 diners. The restaurant retains its original curving shape and polished walnut wood, accordion-inspired column structure, while richly colored décor creates a sense of sophistication and elegance. The back wall is adorned with a collection of porcelain plates decorated with chef Rudi Sodamin’s Food Faces culinary pop art, produced by the famed French brand Bernardaud.

Storbraaten’s hand is clearly present in the design of the central pool area with its double-height magrodome creating a vast glass-enclosed space. The lower level will feature traditional poolside elements, while the mezzanine will provide seating, a giant screen for poolside movies and New York Deli and Pizza.

New outdoor dining area for Tamarind

In addition to other areas, Storbraaten is designing the exotic look of Tamarind, the line’s pan-Asian restaurant that emphasizes the basic elements of water, wood, fire and earth. On Nieuw Statendam, the Tamarind experience expands with the addition of a new outdoor dining area.

NCLH the latest to kiss plastic straws goodbye


More than 50m plastic straws a year

The parent of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises anticipates this will amount to more than 50m million plastic straws each year across its fleet.

This is one step in the company's transition away from single-use plastics.

Trash Free Seas Alliance

As a member of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Alliance, NCLH is working toward solutions that keep plastic waste from entering the oceans.

'Plastic straws are just a fraction of the plastic in the ocean, but they are always among the top 10 items collected during Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup and can be deadly to ocean wildlife, which is why we have long urged our supporters to skip the straw when they can,' said Janis Searles Jones, CEO of Ocean Conservancy.

Founded in 2012, the Trash Free Seas Alliance brings together thought leaders from industry, conservation and academia to create a forum for pragmatic, real-world collaboration focused on the measurable reduction of ocean trash.

Arctic expedition cruise operators take polar bear safety 'extremely seriously'

PHOTO: © Roy Mangersnes, Svalbard
Polar bear safety includes always keeping a distance

AECO was compelled to comment even though Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is not a member. The German company, which has operated in the Arctic since 1993, was a member up until a few years ago but a Hapag-Lloyd spokesman said it 'decided to leave the organization for the time being due to some differences of opinion.'

Polar bear attacks extremely rare

AECO noted that Svalbard, and the high Arctic in general, is a region where wildlife habitats and human settlements overlap. As a result, there are encounters between polar bears and humans. Thanks to strict safety protocols and regulations, polar bear attacks are extremely rare. However, such attacks sometimes occur and may have tragic outcomes.

In Saturday's case, the guard sustained moderate injuries and the bear was killed. According to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, the guard—part of a four-person team preparing for a shore trip by passengers from Bremen, was 'unexpectedly attacked by a polar bear that had not been spotted' and when the other guards were unable to deter the bear, it was shot in self-defense. The line expressed its extreme regret for the incident.

More than 100,000 Svalbard tourists a year

Expedition cruising is a growing part of the tourism in Svalbard. Year-round land-based and summer sea-based tourism brings more than 100,000 visitors every year.

'It is very sad when an incident leads to human injuries and the death of a polar bear,' AECO said, adding its objective is to ensure that expedition cruises and tourism in the Arctic are carried out with the utmost consideration for the vulnerable, natural environment, local cultures and cultural remains, as well as the challenging safety hazards at sea and on land.

Keeping passengers safe and ensuring non-disturbance of Arctic wildlife are essential, AECO said.

The association characterized Svalbard as a popular and well-regulated tourism destination, and said incidents involving the cruise industry are rare. Expedition cruise tourism in Svalbard is subject to strict regulations and is closely monitored by the governor of Svalbard.

In accordance with Article 30 of the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act, it is prohibited to lure, pursue or otherwise seek out polar bears in such a way as to disturb them or expose either bears or humans to danger. The governor of Svalbard enforces this law and investigates incidents where polar bears may have been disturbed.

The incident involving Hapag-Lloyd's Bremen is under investigation by the governor's office.

Safety guidelines and standards

AECO said it has several guidelines and standards that go beyond legal requirements to further advance safe and environmentally friendly cruise tourism. Members are subject to a strict non-disturbance principle concerning wildlife, and the association has developed mandatory polar bear guidelines that provide detailed instructions on how to avoid encounters with and disturbance of bears.

These include always keeping a distance, having a plan and being ready to act to avoid encounters by implementing safety measures beforehand. Before undertaking shore excursions, operators are required to check out the terrain, do reconnaissance and look out for polar bears before any passenger comes ashore. It appears that is just what the Bremen guard team was doing at the time of the attack.

AECO members are also required to establish a polar bear watch system and stay in places where there is good visibility of the surrounding area. Guides carrying firearms and other bear deterrents must lead groups.

The polar bear guidelines are here.

AECO said it will continue to advance best practices for polar bear safety through incident reporting, information sharing, member meetings and education, including field staff conferences and field staff online assessment. The association also plans to continue working with regulators, research institutions, local communities and environmental organizations to ensure the highest possible operating standards for Arctic cruise tourism.