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Articles from 2020 In September


Fincantieri's Monfalcone delivers Enchanted Princess

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Delivery festivities for Enchanted Princess included live video messages from Jan Swartz and Arnold Donald, and on-site comments by Capt. Nick Nash, upper right, who was promoted to commodore of the Princess fleet. With him is Monfalcone yard director Roberto Olivari

The shipbuilder put on a multimedia extravaganza that was streamed to a global audience with live messages from Italy Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the leaders of Princess Cruises, Holland America Group and Carnival Corp. & plc.

1990's Crown Princess

Enchanted Princess is also the 18th ship Fincantieri has produced for Princess. This began with 1990's Crown Princess, which launched the Italian company into the modern cruise shipbuilding business.

And it is the first cruise ship Fincantieri has delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Monfalcone was closed nearly six weeks, delaying the handover that was planned for June.

A fairy-tale come true

'This is an Enchanted Princess, a fairy-tale. A fairy-tale that has come true,' Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono said.

Noting that shipbuilding and cruising have been among the hardest hit industries during the pandemic, Bono pointed to the millions of jobs the sector provides around the world, including 7,000 at Monfalcone alone. He also thanked Prime Minister Conte for his 'courage and sensitivity' in allowing cruises to resume from Italy.

In turn, Conte called Fincantieri's resilience a source of great pride and acknowledged Carnival Corp. for 'recognizing Italian excellence.'

€30bn in Fincantieri ships for Carnival since 1990

Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corp. & plc, praised Fincantieri as 'an important engine in getting the economy going again' and noted Carnival has put more than €30bn into building ships there over three decades.

He acknowledged the Fincantieri workers, shipboard staff and crew who faced 'extremely challenging times' to complete Enchanted Princess.

Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Group and Carnival UK, pointed out that new health protocols developed for the sea trials that allowed only critical technical experts proved so efficient that this may become the standard going forward.

He thanked yard director Roberto Olivari; Bo-Erik Blomqvist, SVP Carnival Corporate Shipbuilding; Cyril Tatar, VP newbuild services for Holland America Group; and classification society Lloyd's Register and called Rai Caluouri, who retired from Princess this year, 'instrumental in driving the design of this and our other ships over 35 years.'

Capt. Nick Nash promoted to commodore

Swartz noted more than 6,000 people had a role in bringing Enchanted Princess to life. Among them is Capt. Nick Nash, who she promoted to commodore of the Princess fleet, following the recent retirement of Capt. Giorgio Pomata. Tatar presented Nash with his new commodore's stripes.

And Swartz saluted the ship's relief captain, Gennaro Arma, calling him a gladiator for his service on Diamond Princess in Yokohama early in the pandemic.

Spirit of Adventure joins Saga fleet

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The vessel's inaugural cruise is scheduled for February 5, 2021

The 58,250gt ship will now set sail for the UK, with its first cruise scheduled to depart on February 5 to the Canary Islands.

Design

The vessel comprises 554 all balcony cabins and is capable of accommodating 999 passengers. ‘While she shares some similarities with her sister ship, Spirit of Discovery, Spirit of Adventure is unique in her own right with distinctive design features and characteristics,' said Nigel Banks, MD, Saga Cruises.

It is the cruise line’s second purpose-built boutique cruise ship after Spirit of Discovery, which joined the fleet in July last year. 

Delay caused by travel restrictions 

‘Though the inaugural cruise will take place a little later than we had originally planned due to the ongoing restrictions on travel, we cannot wait to welcome guests on board,' said Banks, adding, ‘Having recently visited the ship in Germany, I can assure you, she is worth the wait.'

He went on: ‘Over the past 18 months, we have been focused on creating a British boutique cruising experience for our guests ... and Spirit of Adventure is an important milestone in this plan.’

Health and hygiene measures 

Reduced capacity, pre-departure testing both at home and before boarding, increased medical staff and facilities, and enhancements to air conditioning are among the measures Saga will have in place when its vessels resume sailing. 

 

Are You Asking These Key Crewing Questions?

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To get better answers, you have to ask better questions. Most importantly, ask them of a diverse set of experts determined to navigate a world of uncertainty. (Spoiler: we’ll be doing just that at Seatrade Cruise Virtual October 5-8). When it comes to crewing, the usual logistical and personnel challenges have been exacerbated. Increased stress and anxiety over physical wellbeing, travel and bureaucratic boondoggles, and dramatic changes in the talent pool and deployments have created a crewing minefield. To make it through, we must raise better questions.

Mental and Physical Wellbeing:

  1. How can we care for crewmembers’ mental health either onboard or in specific ports? Mental health resources? Pastoral resources? Crew welfare committees/resources?
  2. How should pre-employment training programs change as a result of COVID? Which companies have already kicked off these new programs?
  3. What are health protocols and/or changes being developed for crew onboard and ashore?
  4. How can we communicate with crew who have yet to return to work—or can’t due to Visa or other issues—and what message should we send to keep them engaged?

The Talent Pool:

  1. Given the decrease in deployment, are we seeing an overall increase in the talent pool? Or is it offset by fear and the need to find other work before a return to service?
  2. What communications technology can share meaningful and engaging information efficiently?
  3. Is there an increase in talent with specific skill sets? How can they best be utilized?

Operational and Political Challenges:

  1. After the significant challenges posed in repatriating thousands of crew members, what does crewing up look like, and will crew even feel safe to return? What are you hearing from your crew at home?
  2. Did any regulatory bodies provide support/guidance in efforts to repatriate crew? ITF? MLC? ILO? Who has found success, and how can others replicate it?
  3. What health protocols or changes are being developed for crew, and who oversees them?

On Tuesday, 6 October, at 20:00 GMT, these questions and more will be addressed during Crewing Challenges in a Changing World. Led by Linda Vasquez, VP Account Development, Access Cruise Inc., the virtual session will coalesce executives eager to address the challenges from their unique vantage point. Linda’s 23 years of industry experience includes managing Norwegian’s global crew travel function. She’ll be joined by Nico Corbijn, owner of Revéles Solutions, LLC, a former Captain, and shipboard HR executive for cruise giants like Windstar, Holland America, NCL, and MSC, and Per Bjornsen, Director of Marine Operations for VShips in Monaco. 

If you’re involved in crewing in any way, or even shoreside operations, only one question remains: How can you afford to miss this session? We hope to see you there, and be sure to check out the full Seatrade Cruise Virtual schedule here!

Sea Cloud Cruises cancels winter Caribbean, plans spring Europe start-up

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Sea Cloud plans to focus on restarting in the Mediterranean and Canary Islands in the spring with its three-ship fleet, including the new Sea Cloud Spirit

'In view of the current development of the COVID-19 pandemic, this necessary step is the only way to give our guests and all our sales partners the peace of mind when planning for future travel,' Managing Director Daniel Schäfer said.

Limited port availability

Besides all Caribbean cruises, itineraries with Central America and the two trans-Atlantic crossings are canceled.

Sea Cloud noted the past months have shown that immigration regulations can change bilaterally on very short notice due to changes in infection rates. 'Since infection rates are continuing to rise worldwide, almost all the islands in the Caribbean still do not allow ships to enter their territory,' Schäfer said.

Flight uncertainties

Uncertainties also remain about flight options to the Caribbean, as well as the classification of most of the islands in the region as risk areas by Germany's Robert Koch Institute. The United States has still not given cruising the green light.

Bookings transferrable

Passengers may transfer their deposits to voyages in the coming year or in 2022 and will get an on-board beverage credit. Or they may request a refund.

Sea Cloud Cruises is now concentrating on the Mediterranean and Canary Islands itineraries that are scheduled in the current 2021 brochure, starting in the spring. In case the situation hasn't changed then, the Hamburg-based company is also preparing an alternative timetable that will take into account the current EU requirements for ocean voyages, for example, with departures and arrivals in the same port.

In addition, should COVID-19 still give cause for concern in 2021, new or rebooked voyages can be canceled up to six weeks prior to departure for a full refund, minus a small processing fee (for US customers, for example, $25 per person).

BioHiTech confirms cruising's first Altapure AP-4 system to SeaDream

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For SeaDream's Caribbean restart

As earlier reported here, SeaDream Yacht Club plans to employ the system as part of its health protocols for SeaDream I when it restarts Caribbean cruises in early November.

The Altapure technology will be used in conjunction with other sanitization equipment on a daily basis. SeaDream will also conduct pre-boarding COVID testing and daily temperature checks.

'The cruise industry faces unique challenges as each line seeks to relaunch operations in this difficult new environment,' BioHiTech CEO Frank Celli said. His company has worked with the SeaDream team to create protocols using the AP-4 for regular disinfection of guest and crew cabins as well as dining areas, health facilities and other commonly used areas.

'When combined with other safety protocols, the Altapure AP-4 will help SeaDream put passenger and crew safety first to create the safest possible yachting experience,' Celli said. 'We look forward to helping SeaDream and other like-minded cruise lines that are dedicated to achieving the highest possible standards of disinfection for their customers and employees.' 

Enhanced, automated and touchless high-level disinfection

The Altapure AP-4 is an enhanced, automated and touchless high-level disinfection sub-micron aerosol system launched in 2017 that provides a safe process and rapid elimination of spores, viruses and vegetative bacteria such as COVID-19, Acinetobacter baumanii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, VRE, MRSA, Bacillus atrophaeus, Geobacillus stearothermophilus, Polio virus, C. auris and Clostridium difficile (C. difficile), among others.

Extensive research and development alongside Harris Corp., formerly ITT Exelis, a global aerospace, defense and information solutions company, resulted in the creation of this patented aerosol generation technology that, when coupled with the liquid agent Altacare, a reagent grade peracetic acid solution, yields rapid results for high level disinfection.

Altapure products are engineered, manufactured and assembled in the US.

 

Intercruises’ Martin Bidgood a casualty of global downsizing

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Martin Bidgood, second from left, is pictured at an Australian Cruise Association meeting in 2019

Bidgood, who was born in London and gained a degree in International Hospitality Management from Bournemouth University, was working for the UK’s Aragon Tours when it was acquired by Intercruises in 2009.

Relocated to Sydney in 2011

He became regional director UK & Ireland before relocating to Sydney in 2011 to run the Australian operation. 

In 2018 Intercruises was taken over by the TUI Group.

Praise from ACA CEO

‘Martin is one of the most experienced shoreside operators I have had the pleasure to work with,’ Australian Cruise Association CEO Jill Abel said.

‘He has not only successfully grown the ground touring operations, but has also worked with industry to support the development of new ports,’ Abel said. 

‘He has shown incredible commitment to ACA where he has served on the management committee for the last five years — two of them as deputy chair. 

Spearheaded education programme

‘He has spearheaded our education programme and helped tourism operators develop their businesses to become cruise ready.’

Abel said she will miss Bidgood’s ‘strategic thinking and warm sense of humour’ and she looks forward to welcoming him back into the industry.

Seatrade Cruise News understands Bidgood intends to remain in Australia.

Swan Hellenic focuses on Asia presence with Tam Wing Kun Holdings partnership

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(L-R) Andrea Zito, ceo, Swan Hellenic and Dr Tam Wing Kun, founder of Tam Wing Kun Holdings

The partnership means that Swan Hellenic will have a direct presence in Asia and be able to ‘offer guests the benefits of full sea-sky integration to carry them from their cities to our ships and back again around the globe’, says Andrea Zito, ceo, Swan Hellenic.

Tam Holdings has over 40 years’ experience in the travel sector and represents airlines and logistics companies throughout Asia. It has offices or partners in China (Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Taiwan), Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Zito added that Swan Hellenic believes ‘strongly in the immense potential of the Asian market both now and above all in the future.’

The move is part of the cruise line's strategy to establish its direct presence worldwide.

The keel-laying ceremony for the first of Swan Hellenic’s two new ice-class expedition cruise ships, SH Minerva, took place at Helsinki Shipyard last week.

Fred. Olsen's Borealis sailing world cruise in 2022

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Passengers have the option to depart from Liverpool or Southampton

Sailing January 6, 2022 from Southampton, Borealis will embark on a 100-night cruise that includes transits of both the Suez and Panama Canals, visits to America, Hawaii, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and a three-day stay in Sydney. The itinerary will also be split into shorter fly-cruise sailings, ranging from 17 to 84 nights. Passengers also have the opportunity to board the ship in Liverpool on January 4, 2022.

The sailings start from £9,999 for Southampton departures and £10,449 for Liverpool.

37 port calls

‘This is an itinerary packed with opportunity and is made possible by the faster speeds of Borealis, which allows us to offer 37 ports of call with fewer sea days in between’, says Clare Ward, director of product and customer service, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

She added, ‘Three days in Hawaii will allow ample time to experience the volcanic vistas and to learn more about the historic site of Pearl Harbour, sail the scenic fjords of New Zealand, witness the wonder of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, explore the Lost City of Petra in Jordan and admire the spectacular skylines of the bustling cities of Singapore and Dubai.’ 

Passengers who book by October 31, 2020 can receive up to £600 per person to spend on board and the cost of tips covered.

New addition to the Fred. Olsen fleet

Borealis is one of two new Fred. Olsen ships purchased earlier this year from Holland America Line. It is scheduled to make its maiden voyage in spring next year.

The Fred. Olsen fleet is currently in layup in Rosyth, Scotland.

US no-sail order set to extend through October: Axios

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The news leaked from a White House coronavirus task force briefing on Tuesday, the day before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's current no-sail order was to expire.

According to Axios, the White House overruled CDC Director Robert Redfield, who had pressed for the order to be extended through February.

Matches CLIA's voluntary time frame

The end of October matches Cruise Lines International Association's earlier voluntary suspension of operations to/from the US

Axios said cruise industry leaders would be meeting with the Trump administration on Friday to outline their plans to mitigate risk and ensure public health. 

Last week the scientists and public health experts on the Healthy Sail Panel assembled by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings released 74 best practices to protect the public health and the safety of passengers, crew and the communities where cruise ships call, while CLIA lines subject to the no-sail order committed to 100% testing of passengers and crew for COVID-19, mask-wearing and other practices.  

Rising concern about economic impact

The CDC had just closed its public comment period about cruise ship operations on Sept. 21, receiving more than 4,000 comments. As the possibility of a no-sail extension through year's end loomed, some of the many workers and businesses that depend on the cruise industry for their livelihoods had grown increasingly concerned and outspoken about the loss of income and jobs.

Florida focus

Earlier this month Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida, a key battleground state in the upcoming US presidential election, introduced the Set Sail Safely Act to spark the changes needed, they said, to allow for cruise lines and ports to resume operations.

The bill would establish a Maritime Task Force, in coordination with a Private Sector Advisory Committee, to address the related health, safety, security and logistical issues. The Set Sail Safely Act would require federal agencies, led by the Department of Homeland Security, to work together with input from private sector stakeholders to develop a plan for the safe resumption of cruising.

Federal Maritime Commissioners recently briefed Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf about how COVID-19 was impacting the cruise industry and issued a report detailing the significant effects in Florida specifically.

A worker-led protest at PortMiami took place Monday, with longshoremen and others pleaing 'Let us go to work today,' and over the weekend, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued a statement asking the CDC to not extend the order. The County Commission had earlier passed a resolution urging CDC to expedite and conclude any analysis necessary for the establishment of the public health guidance required to resume cruise travel.