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Articles from 2020 In August


Chesapeake Shipbuilding delivers American Jazz riverboat

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American Jazz is third in a series of modern-style riverboats for American Cruise Lines

The 190-passenger American Jazz is the latest in a planned series of five modern-style riverboats and is scheduled to debut on the Mississippi. It follows 2019's American Harmony and 2018's American Song.

American said its building plans have continued at full strength, underscoring the line’s confidence in US small-ship cruising and its commitment to introducing new vessels each year.

'Tremendous' outlook for 2021

'The outlook for 2021 is tremendous and we look forward to American Jazz’s first full season on the Mississippi, as well as the introduction of American Melody, the next new ship to follow in our modern riverboat series,' President & CEO Charles B. Robertson said.

Since 2017, American has debuted five new ships, expanding its overall fleet to 12 in 2020, with more newbuilds coming in 2021 and 2022.

Last week, with US Coast Guard officials aboard, American Jazz successfully underwent speed trials, an endurance run and tests in all areas of safety and maneuverability.

Expanses of glass, new wellness/yoga studio

Rising six decks, American Jazz employs vast expanses of glass, allowing for views throughout the ship. Other hallmarks of the modern series include a patented opening bow and retractable gangway and a multistory glass atrium in the center of the ship. Public rooms include several lounges, a grand dining room, fitness center and a new wellness/yoga studio.

Providing space for social distancing, American Jazz and all American’s new ships are designed with numerous outdoor lounges, including casual outdoor cafés and expansive top sun decks. All accommodations and interior spaces have independent HVAC systems, with no shared duct work.

Accommodations include roomy standard staterooms of 300 square feet to 350 square feet, all with sliding glass doors and private furnished balconies. The new ship also offers suites up to 650 square feet and single staterooms at 250 square feet (available without a single supplement).

Artwork by New Orleans' Greg Creason

The vessel will showcase a collection of artwork by New Orleans-based Greg Creason, including original oil paintings and sculptures commissioned by American.

Seabourn delays three ship restarts, newbuild Venture coming later

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Seabourn Venture had been scheduled to debut in the Arctic, followed by a season in Antarctica. Instead, it will undertake a new Norwegian winter program starting in Deember 2021

Seabourn Ovation is paused through Jan. 3, Seabourn Encore through Jan. 6 and Seabourn Quest through May 10.

The line's first expedition newbuild, Seabourn Venture, is now scheduled for delivery Dec. 1, 2021, instead of June, due to coronavirus-related shipyard closures earlier this year impacting T. Mariotti. Venture had been planned to debut in the Arctic, followed by a season in Antarctica.

Quest to assume Antarctica/Venture to Norway in winter

Instead, Seabourn Quest will now operate the 2021/22 Antarctica program, while Seabourn Venture will sail Norway in winter, giving the opportunity to see the northern lights.

Details about Seabourn Venture's revised inaugural season are being finalized and will be announced in October. Meanwhile, Seabourn opened a wait-list for travelers interested in the voyages from December 2021 to April 2022.

Those currently booked on Seabourn Venture's inaugural voyage will be offered the opportunity to sail on the new inaugural itinerary on a priority basis before it opens for sale to the general public. Additional details on rebooking for other affected Seabourn Venture voyages will be shared with booked guests and travel advisors in mid-October.

With Seabourn Quest going to Antarctica, the ship's Panama Canal voyages scheduled for Nov. 7 to Dec. 19, 2021, are canceled.

Seabourn Odyssey's Caribbean timing

Seabourn is continuing to assess the timing to resume operations on Seabourn Odyssey in the Caribbean. As a courtesy to travelers booked on December sailings aboard the ship, final payment will now be due 60 days prior to departure.

Seabourn had previously announced a pause in its global operations from March 14 through May 2021, depending on the ship, effectively canceling all voyages for those ships scheduled to operate during that timeframe. It called the decision to cancel additional voyages a proactive action.

'We recognize the long lead time for planning an ultra-luxury Seabourn experience and with that in mind, we proactively announce the cancellation of these additional voyages,' Seabourn President Josh Leibowitz said.

The line will be communicating changes for voyages scheduled to depart in the extension timeframe with all booked guests and their travel advisors.

Seabourn Quest travelers automatically moved to future season

Travelers booked on one of the affected voyages in Seabourn Quest’s Antarctica, Amazon, Panama Canal, South America and trans-Atlantic cruises scheduled between Nov. 7, 2020, and April 25, 2021, will automatically be re-accommodated in the same suite on the same voyage during the ship's 2021-2022 season, at rate paid, within 30 days. They'll also receive a shipboard credit based on voyage length. The credit is $300 per suite for voyages up to 20 days and $500 per suite for voyages of 21 days or more.

Travelers booked on impacted Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation cruises will receive future cruise credits or may request a full refund. Those who've paid in full will get a 125% FCC. Those who've made deposits will receive a 125% FCC based on the deposit amount paid, up to the base cruise fare paid.

The FCCs are valid for 12 months from the date of issue and may be used to book sailings departing through Dec. 31, 2022. The amount of non-cruise fare purchases may be transferred to a new booking.

A-Rosa has a promising restart but E-motion newbuild set back to 2022

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The hybrid E-motion-type vessel is tailored to approach destinations emissions-free on battery power,

A-Rosa recently recorded a large number of close-in bookings and new customers. In particular, ocean cruisers are giving the rivers a try.

A-Rosa CEO Jörg Eichler said it's important for travelers to see strong health protocols implemented and this has contributed to the increased demand from ocean cruisers.

E-motion debut set back

Despite A-Rosa's successful restart and growing bookings, the company is delaying the inauguration of its new flagship, the so far nameless E-motion-type vessel, by a year, until spring 2022.

The delivery delay results from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 135-meter vessel is under construction at the Severnav shipyard in Romania and will be towed to Concordia Damen in the Netherlands for outfitting. Originally the hybrid vessel, tailored to approach destinations emissions-free on battery power, was scheduled to start operating in May 2021.

According to the revised schedule, the vessel will instead make its first cruises along the northern part of the Rhine in April 2022. Impacted customers will be contacted individually with incentives for other travel options.

New brochure coming soon

A-Rosa's revised 2021 brochure is going to be published Sept. 14, initially in a pdf version with the printed publication following later. 

 

Azamara doubles down with 'Double Upgrade + Double Points'

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The new offer builds on Azamara's 'Double Upgrade' promotion by doubling loyalty points for bookings made Sept. 1-18

Azamara Circle

Azamara Circle provides returning travelers perks such as suite/loyalty combinability, free Internet for Discoverer Platinum members and an incentivizing referral program, among others. 

'Double Upgrade' is an Azamara staple that, together with the new 'Double Points' promotion gives the opportunity to receive double loyalty points when booking early.

The offer applies to voyages sailing March 20, 2021, to April 11, 2022, with some exclusions.

Available Sept. 1 - Nov. 8.

For bookings by Nov. 8, the longer-lasting 'Double Upgrade' offer gives travelers a veranda stateroom at an interior stateroom price, a veranda-plus stateroom (a balcony stateroom with select amenities included) at an ocean-view stateroom price or a Club Continent Suite at a veranda stateroom price.

Available Sept. 1-18

As an enhancement to the 'Double Upgrade' option, 'Double Upgrade + Double Points' adds double loyalty points for booking select sailings. This offer is available to both Azamara Circle members and new customers who book by Sept. 18.

Carnival Imagination reported heading to Aliaga, Turkey

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1995-built Carnival Imagination heading to the breakers?

Aliaga ETA Sept. 13/14

Carnival Imagination departed Willemstad, Curaçao, Aug. 26, and its reported destination is Aliaga, with estimated time of arrival Sept. 13/14, according to various AIS tracking sites.

Carnival Cruise Line had no comment on whether the 1995-built ship is heading to the breakers, but that seems inevitable.

With Carnival Fascination, in 'long-term lay-up'

Carnival said in late July that Carnival Imagination and the 1994-built Carnival Fascination were moving into long-term lay-up status, with no specific timeline identified for a return to service.

At that time, the company said only that Carnival Fantasy (1990) and Carnival Inspiration (1996) had been sold. Days later, both were at the breakers.

Carnival Fascination, according to AIS data, has been in Cádiz, Spain, for the past month.

Atlas Ocean Voyages bulks up sales team

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From top left, clockwise, Rolf Logan, Cathy Kusuma, Eric Baon, Lisette Martinez Rusian, Anthony Cooper, Michelle Rodriguez-Suarez

They are Cathy Kusuma (formerly of Holland America Line/Seabourn), regional sales director, eastern US; Rolf Logan (previously Hurtigruten), regional sales director, central US; Anthony Cooper (HAL/Seabourn), regional sales director, western US; and Eric Bacon (Hurtigruten), regional sales director, Canada.

Alyssa Logan (previously sales manager, North America for Atlas) assumed the role of director, charter and incentive sales; Lisette Martinez Rusian (formerly with Norwegian Cruise Line), director of sales and marketing operations; and Michelle Rodriguez-Suarez (previously Atlas commercial sales manager), virtual sales manager.

'Get Paid Now'

All report to Brandon Townsley, VP sales and trade partnerships. He said his team sunderstands the needs of hardworking travel advisors. They will promote Atlas’ 'luxe-adventure' expeditions and share how travel advisors can earn a $750 or $500 gift card immediately for each deposited booking through the line's 'Get Paid Now' incentive program. In addition, advisors earn 15% commission.

Atlas now fields 40-strong team

President Alberto Aliberti said about the brand: 'Ten years in planning, Atlas Ocean Voyages is the realized vision of Mystic Invest [Atlas Ocean Voyages’ parent company] Chairman and Portuguese entrepreneur Mário Ferreira. When we opened Atlas in late 2018 in the US, it was three of us table-hopping in cafés and conference rooms. We have now grown into a proud team of nearly 40 and are the only [ocean] cruise company in 2020 to order new ships — not one, but four — to join World Navigator before 2023.'

Besides HAL/Seabourn, Hurtigruten and NCL, the sales executives bring experience from brands including American Express Travel, Azamara, Celebrity Cruises, Cruise Planners, Delta Airline Vacations, Delta Queen Steamboat Co., Oceania Cruises, PPI Group, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, Royal Caribbean International and Travel Impressions.

Most crew from insolvent CMV have been repatriated

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The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency received the report of a potential suicide on Vasco da Gama in May

'We are very pleased with how it's going. The vessels are now down to minimum safe manning levels and the majority of crew have returned home,' said Katy Ware, UK permanent representative to the International Maritime Organization and director of maritime safety and standards at the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

Ware spoke during a webinar on seafarer repatriation and international cooperation during the COVID-19 pandemic, sponsored by the Indonesian Embassy in the UK.

Most cruise lines have 'worked tirelessly' to repatriate crew

Noting the UK was one of the first to recognize seafarers as 'essential workers,' facilitating their transit across borders during the pandemic, Ware cited the large number of cruise ships off the UK coast at this time. The majority of cruise lines have 'worked tirelessly to repatriate tens of thousands of their crew,' she said, adding that the UK government has repatriated just over 7,000 seafarers.

When the UK went into lockdown, the MCA stopped service inspections to protect its staff and seafarers.

In May, the agency became aware of a potential suicide on Cruise & Maritime Voyages' Vasco da Gama. Because the ship was COVID-free, the agency decided not to attend the vessel though it flagged the issues on board. Over time, MCA heard more and more from Tilbury and Bristol, where the ships were berthed, about what was happening. This culminated in the IMO calling a meeting.

The vessels were then attended, and, as reported, five of the six were detained on Maritime Labor Convention grounds including expired seafarers' employment agreements, failure of payment and, Ware said, 'our biggest concern ... the real lack of any efforts to be made to repatriate crew.'

Involvement of Admiralty Marshal and P&I clubs

MCA is still working with those vessels. Three were detained by the Admiralty Marshal, which means the Admiralty Marshal is responsible for the welfare of those crews. In parallel, with the other three ships, MCA worked closely with the Indonesian Embassy, the ships' flag states and the protection and indemnity clubs because when CMV parent Global Cruise Lines went into bankruptcy, the P&I cover for repatriation kicked in, with the clubs ultimately left to organize crew repatriation.

Ware recognized Indonesia's 'due diligence' and 'very active approach' in respect to repatriating their seafarers.

She also acknowledged some criticism over MCA's decision to detain ships that were tied up alongside and not going anywhere. 'Bottom line: As result of the detention, the company had to act and as a result of the detention, the repatriation kicked in,' Ware said.

Seafarers/MLC 'nonnegotiable'

'We were criticized, but we were also praised. We don't doubt what we did ... We didn't set out to make a statement. We set out to do what is right. As far as the UK is concerned, seafarers are nonnegotiable and the MLC is nonnegotiable.'

Spirit of Adventure completes Ems River conveyance

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Fewer crowds than usual watched the spectacle, which had not been promoted for public health reasons

Departing Meyer Werft's Papenburg yard on Sunday afternoon, Spirit of Adventure moved backwards, a proven safer method to control maneuverability, with the assistance of two tugs.

Coronavirus precautions

The number of people on board was significantly reduced due to coronavirus precaution, and fewer crowds than usual lined the riverbanks to watch the spectacle, which had not been heavily  promoted for public health reasons.

Delivery in the next few weeks

From Emden, the Saga Cruises ship will undertake technical and nautical trials, and delivery to Saga Cruises is planned in the next few weeks.

The sister of 2019's Spirit of Discovery, the 58,250gt Spirit of Adventure stretches 236 meters/774 feet and measures 31.2 meters/102 feet at the beam. It has capacity for 999 passengers.

Galveston open after Hurricane Laura, joins Louisiana relief effort

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'We have an exceptional emergency response team that worked diligently with the US Coast Guard to assure the safety of the port’s property and its people. We were ready to resume operations immediately following the captain of the port declaring it safe to do so. All port business activities are running normal at this time,' CEO and Port Director Rodger Rees said Friday.

Terminals fully operational

Currently, all terminals are open and fully operational with several ships scheduled to call at the port this weekend including a grain and wind ship. Additionally, four lay ships are scheduled to berth for short-term services, such as supplies and inspections.

The port ceased all operations on Tuesday afternoon due to heavy weather conditions from Hurricane Laura that  were expected to impact the immediate area. The port remained fully closed on Wednesday and reopened partially at noon on Thursday to allow tenants and users to inspect their facilities. Friday morning the port was open for business as usual.

Donations for Lake Charles, Louisiana

Friday morning also brought about an additional operation for the port team — lending a helping hand to neighbors affected by Hurricane Laura. The port joined the Lighthouse Family Church relief effort by collecting donations of items such as water, food, clothing, toiletries and other essential items.

Donations will be loaded onto the Lighthouse Family Church truck beginning Saturday afternoon and transported to Lake Charles, Louisiana, at approximately 2 p.m. Sunday.

Genting HK first half loss widens to $742.6m

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Losses included the refinancing of Genting Dream's debt

Genting HK had earlier warned on a loss of at least $600m, announced plans for a restructuring and held its first creditors' meeting earlier this week.

The group has engaged PJT Partners and Linklaters to work with its financial partners to agree and implement a solvent restructuring solution and an ad hoc group of bankers has been formed to work with PJT Partners.

Adequate working capital/cash flow until June 2021

Genting HK believes that by reining in capital expenditure and cutting other costs, it has adequate working capital and cash flow to meet financial obligations until June 2021. The directors said bookings for cruises starting in 2021 are 'gradually improving' as travel restrictions ease and cruise operations are expected to resume in January.

Interest from investors in one of the cruise brands

Genting HK directors are also in the process of seeking additional equity or debt funding from private investors and have received letters from investors expressing interest to invest in one of the cruise brands. The company owns Star Cruises, Dream Cruises and Crystal Cruises.

Non-cash impairment

The 2020 results included adjustments of $386.6m, primarily consisting of expenses related to non-cash impairment losses on certain intangible assets, property, plant and equipment and other assets, share of associates' results and losses on refinancing Genting Dream debt.

Total revenue decreased to $226.2m from $729.2m due to the fleetwide suspension of voyages since March.

The EBITDA loss of $204.1m compared to EBITDA of $76.9m in the first half of 2019. After depreciation and amortization, the operating loss was $323.2m versus $38.3m in early 2019.

MV Werften to resume work in October?

The shipyard EBITDA loss of $36.2m, down from EBITDA of $4.3m a year ago, was primarily due to the suspension of three shipyards’ operations since March. The group has applied for long-term funding from Germany's Economic Stabilization Fund and expressed confidence the conditions for application can be met by September to support approval for funding starting in October. 

Defers work on Global II, suspends Endeavor II

As earlier reported, the deliveries of Crystal Endeavor and Global Dream from MV Werften have been delayed by 'about a year.' Construction of the second Global-class ship has been deferred and the second Endeavor-class ship suspended, with the directors in the process of deferring the materials supply contracts for Global II and canceling the materials supply contracts for Endeavor II.

Genting HK has implemented various other cost-cutting initiatives to aggressively reduce non-essential operational expenses, including minimizing all non-essential ship/shore costs, enacting pay freezes/reductions and reducing headcount to conserve cash and minimize the monthly cash burn rate.

All but three ships are being laid up

All ships other than Explorer Dream, SuperStar Aquarius and SuperStar Gemini are being laid up. Explorer Dream has been operating domestic cruises from Taiwan since late July, while SuperStar Aquarius and SuperStar Gemini are in Singapore, providing temporary accommodations for foreign workers who have recovered from COVID-19.

Genting HK said Dream Cruises has been welcomed to operate domestic voyages from China's Hainan Island.

All non-essential capital expenditures except for maintenance to safeguard the ships, passengers and employees have been suspended.

The group’s debt maturity profile improved after securing a deferral of up to 12 months for some principal repayments. 

A net loss is expected for full-year 2020.

See also 'Colin Au moves up to deputy CEO, Genting Hong Kong'