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Articles from 2015 In September

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings opens Australia office

From left are Nicole Costantin, Lisa Pile, Harry Sommer (evp international business development for NCLH), Steve Odell, Ben Angell and Liz Krstevski

The office represents Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Industry veteran Steve Odell, formerly with Silversea Cruises, heads the office as svp and managing director Australia & New Zealand for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

His leadership team has broad travel industry experience and includes Lisa Pile, vp sales Australia/New Zealand for Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises; Nicole Costantin, vp sales Australia/New Zealand for Norwegian Cruise Line; Ben Angell, vp marketing, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Australia; and Elizabeth Krstevski, operations/contact centre manager, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Australia.

'Today marks an exciting day in the history of our company as we further expand our global team to serve the greater Australasia region,' Odell said. 'With this new office, we can now better support our travel partners as they serve their guests across the spectrum from contemporary to luxury cruising, offering sales and marketing support and a dedicated Sydney based call centre for our three brands.'

Odell will be responsible for continued growth Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific islands and for differentiating each brand in the market. He has played a key role in establishing the luxury cruise segment in Australasia since 2000.

Pile, most recently executive director of global luxury sales for Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, has strong knowledge of the luxury sector from managing more than 600 high-yield accounts across the globe in her previous role. She will offer sales and marketing support within Australasia for upper premium line Oceania and luxury line Regent, with a focus on the new Regent Seven Seas Explorer, debuting next summer.

For seven years Constantin led sales and marketing efforts for Star Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line. She will focus on agent education and tools to sell Norwegian Cruise Line.

Angell joins NCLH from Virgin Australia with 17 years of experience. He will support the three brands with strategic planning, marketing and engagement campaigns for both trade and consumers.

Krstevski joins from The Cruise Team with previous key positions in product management and operations. She brings more than 10 years of cruise experience and will be responsible for managing the call centre for the three brands and ensuring the highest levels of customer service. 

[See also exclusive interview with Steve Odell and Harry Sommer.]

Celebrity selects new agency for media buys, analytics

Celebrity selects new agency for media buys, analytics

As part of the same agreement, Water Cooler Group’s analytics division, JubaPlus, will deliver and execute advanced data analytics and media mix modeling to the cruise line.

'As Celebrity Cruises continues to grow globally, we are focused on innovative, business-oriented solutions that will deliver an increased return and profitability, and that’s why we are so excited to work with Media Storm,' Celebrity president and ceo Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said.

By offering in-depth analytics and measurement of all Celebrity's media activity, Media Storm will help ensure the cruise line is reaching the traveler who seeks the 'modern luxury' experience Celebrity provides, Lutoff-Perlo added.  

Media Storm and JubaPlus will work on comprehensive hyper-local and national campaigns focusing on analytics and media mix modeling, media buying and planning, and digital marketing.

'We are thrilled to be a part of the team and look forward to helping to drive demand with strategically focused, data-fueled, innovative media campaigns,' said Craig Woerz, co-founder and managing partner at Water Cooler Group.

Pending finalization of the contract, the partnership is to commence in October.

The news follows Celebrity's selection of Venables Bell & Partners as its global creative agency.

Halifax cruise calls to arrive early due to anticipated weather event

Halifax cruise calls to arrive early due to anticipated weather event

As of late Wednesday afternoon, no calls have been dropped. Two cruise ships will arrive early. Crystal Symphony is due to put in shortly after midnight and Queen Mary 2 is now expected to arrive at 7 a.m.

The Halifax Port Authority said it makes every effort to accommodate vessels in need of safe harbour and is working closely with the Atlantic Pilotage Authority, marine tugs and other service providers.

The busiest cruise day for Halifax will take place Oct. 16 when more than 10,000 passengers are expected.

Updated information on cruise arrivals is here.

Galveston marks 15 years of full-calendar cruising

Port director Mike Mierzwa - special thanks to Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean for basing ships in Galveston

Today, the 15th anniversary of the start of its full-calendar cruising, the Port of Galveston tallied 2,643 calls, 18 cruise ships and more than 7m passengers over 15 years.

Port director Mike Mierzwa extended a special thank you to Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean for choosing Galveston as a base for their new, innovative ships, in order to give travelers the opportunity to visit destinations in the Caribbean and Bahamas.

Mierzwa also acknowledged the cruise lines’ shore staff, the International Longshoremen’s Association, federal agencies such as Customs and Border Protection and the US Coast Guard and the 'tremendous support' from the local community throughout the years.

In 2014, the Port of Galveston embarked approximately 640,000 passengers thanks to the cruise industry's record commitment to Texas. These deployments are expected to carry more than 824,000 passengers in 2015, a 28% increase.

According to the port, cruise-related direct spending in Texas totals more than $1.2bn and creates almost 20,000 jobs paying nearly $1.1bn in total income. Texas accounts for 6.3% of the cruise industry’s direct expenditures, and 5.6% of the industry' overall spending nationwide.

'Today we celebrate the positive impact the cruise industry has had on our community. It is important that we recognize that not only is this business great for Galveston, but also for the entire state of Texas,' Mierzwa said. He added the port is dedicated to continuing to make improvements that will keep Galveston a top-notch cruise destination and keep the cruise business thriving for another successful 15 years.

The port has invested more than $85m into cruise facilities since 2000, and Galveston is looking at what improvements will be needed to accommodate three cruise ships sailing from the port on the same day.

In 2016, Carnival Breeze will replace Carnival Magic and Carnival Liberty will take over for Carnival Triumph, joining Carnival Freedom which arrived in Galveston last February.

Disney Cruise Line will return to Galveston for the 2015 holiday season. Starting Nov. 6 and through January, Disney Wonder will offer a seven-night itinerary with stops at Key West, Nassau and Castaway Cay.

Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas will replace Navigator of the Seas on Nov. 13. At 1,112 feet, Liberty of the Seas will become the port's largest cruise ship. It will operate seven-night western Caribbean itineraries with destinations including Roatán, Belize City, Cozumel, Falmouth, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay and Costa Maya.

Azamara unveils new room décor, plans spa suites, bath re-do

Club Continental Suite - a top to bottom refresh

Additionally, the bathrooms will be overhauled to make more efficient use of space.

Plus, new spa suites will be built adjacent to the Sanctum Spa. Azamara said they'll feature an elegant look with organic and muted colors. The bathroom shower and tub will have sea views. Travelers in these suites will get exclusive access to special spa amenities that are included in the fare.

The Club World Ocean and Owner’s Suites will undergo major revitalizations. Coffee tables, consoles and dining tables will be replaced with modern furnishings featuring an updated style. New sound and lighting systems are intended to make the overall mood much more inviting and relaxing. The bathrooms willl be enlarged and redesigned for more efficient use of space.

The Club Continent Suites will have a top to bottom refresh that includes new drapes, fabrics and furnishings.

All other staterooms will gain new blackout curtains, bed linens, furniture, carpeting, lighting and modernized bathrooms.

Azamara Journey is scheduled to enter drydock at Grand Bahama Shipyard in January while Azamara Quest is booked for a Singapore refurbishment in April.

Minor cruise changes as Joaquin becomes a Bahamas-bound hurricane

Hurricane conditions are expected to reach portions of the central Bahamas by Thursday morning

Carnival Pride is on a week-long cruise from Baltimore that sailed Sunday, while Carnival Valor is on a seven-day cruise that departed Port Canaveral on Saturday. Norwegian Getaway sailed Saturday from Miami.

Joaquin's maximum sustained winds are 80 mph (130 km/h), with higher gusts, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Hurricane conditions are expected to reach portions of the central Bahamas by Thursday morning.

A hurricane warning is in effect for the central Bahamas, while a hurricane watch is in effect for the northwestern Bahamas including Grand Bahama Island.

New highs in prospect at Lerwick in 2016

New highs in prospect at Lerwick in 2016

The harbour will be visited by P&O Cruises’ 115,055gt Azura on June 30; followed by Celebrity Cruises’ 122,210gt Celebrity Silhouette in mid-August.

New highs are in prospect for an estimated 50,925 passengers and 70 ship calls.

The prospects for next year are revealed by Lerwick Port Authority following the end of the 2015 season during which cancellations reduced bookings by eight. Victor Sandison, the Port Authority’s senior commercial executive, said: 'Bad weather at sea reduced arrivals, with a number of last-minute call-offs, including large vessels, which hit passenger numbers.'

The season was extended at 48-hours’ notice last Sunday with the arrival of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' Hanseatic while en route from Akureyri, Iceland, to Kirkwall, Orkney, following a voyage to Greenland.  The visit brought the season totals at Lerwick to 41 vessels, carrying 30,430 passengers – all below previous records.

Sandison added: 'In a highly competitive market, cruise operators are spoiled for choice and appear to be juggling different destinations in different years to refresh itineraries. It's definitely our turn next season - and 2017 is also already looking good, with 28 advance bookings so far, at 1,387,724 gross tonnes and an estimated 31,000-plus passengers.”

The 2016 season is due to run from April 24 to October 6, with June and July the busiest months, with 16 and 21 calls respectively. It will include ten maiden calls, including Viking Ocean Cruises’ Viking Sea and Viking Star.

Saga plans its first newbuild with a 1+1 Meyer Werft order

Alfresco dining - a feature of the new Saga ship

No price was disclosed.

Though the design is still being finalized, each ship would carry fewer than 1,000 passengers in about 540 suites and cabins, all with balconies. Some 15% of the accommodations would be for solo travelers. 

There will be single-sitting dining throughout a range of restaurants as well as a variety of bars, speciality restaurants and alfresco dining options. Also planned are outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a spa, saunas, treatment rooms and beauty salon.

'This is an important milestone in the future of Saga Cruises. We are happy to develop this vessel, tailored to our individual needs, and we’re delighted to be working with Meyer Werft, a recognised leader in cruise ship construction,’ said Robin Shaw, chief executive of Saga Cruises.

Meyer Werft said it had been talking with Saga for many years and the newbuild agreement followed intense negotiations and the decision to employ building dock 1.

That facility, currently used for block construction, will be reactivated. That means in 2019 the Papenburg builder will deliver three cruise ships instead of two.

'We are very happy and proud to deliver the first newbuild for this British cruise line,' Meyer Werft managing partner Bernard Meyer said.

The vessel will stretch approximately 234 meters, with a beam of 30.8 meters.

Saga said research it commissioned into the UK’s over 50s' spending on travel and tourism found that spending on cruising is expected to increase by 43% to £2.2bn by 2020. This compares to £1.65bn in 2014 out of a total over 50s spend of £41bn on travel and tourism. Nearly a third (32%) of those over 50 who are still working said they plan to increase their spending on cruises after retirement.

CMV in new tie up with Adagio for river cruise walking holidays

CMV in new tie up with Adagio for river cruise walking holidays

Tricia Regan, CMV’s sales manager said, 'Our Signature River Cruises programme has been a great success since the brand was launched only three years ago. Working with Adagio promises to be an exciting addition to our trade partnerships.'

Adagio will use the Bellejour and Belvedere vessels on a number of selected cruises featuring the Rhine, Moselle and Danube.

China's Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding holds training course on cruise ship construction

China's Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding holds training course on cruise ship construction

The training course, attended by some 80 people, was focused on giving participants a broad understanding of the global cruise market, the design and construction phases of a cruise ship, as well as the risks and safety aspect.

SWS said the training course has allowed the company to deepen its understanding of the various aspects of building a cruise ship, the importance of design and safety, and to acquire the necessary knowledge to operate the vessel.

Zhang Shengkun, professor at Shanghai Society of Naval Architects & Ocean Engineers (SSNAOE), told Seatrade Cruise News earlier that Chinese shipyards would need to put in more effort in terms of the design and finishings for the cruise ship.