Port Everglades Welcomes Royal Princess

Port Everglades and public officials welcomed Princess Cruises’ new Royal Princess to the South Florida cruise port today and presented Captain Tony Draper with traditional plaques and keys to Broward County and the Cities of Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood.

“We are honored that Princess Cruises has once again selected Port Everglades to homeport the line’s newest and most sophisticated cruise ship, Royal Princess,” Port Everglades Chief Executive & Port Director Steven Cernak told Captain Draper; Anthony Kaufman, Princess Cruises Senior Vice President of Commercial Affairs; and Steve Nielsen, Princess Cruises Vice President of Caribbean & Atlantic Shore Operations. “Princess has a long, successful history at Port Everglades and we look forward to welcoming Royal Princess in grand style.”

The new 141,000-ton, 3,600-passenger Royal Princess, the first of two new-generation ships for Princess built by Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard, made her U.S. debut this week at Port Everglades. Royal Princess will sail to the Eastern Caribbean every Sunday from Port Everglades through the end of April 2014.

Broward County Vice Mayor Barbara Sharief and Broward County Commissioners Chip LaMarca and Stacy Ritter presented Captain Draper with a key to Broward County along with City of Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler and City of Hollywood Vice Mayor Richard Blattner who presented keys to their cities. In addition, Port Everglades Deputy Director Glenn Wiltshire presented the captain with the Port’s “challenge coin,” a customized medallion bearing emblems that represent the Port’s three main business lines – cruise, cargo and petroleum – and the Port’s landmark Harbormaster Tower.

“As we are all aware, the cruise industry is a major contributor to the economic health of our tourism-based community. Not only do cruise lines such as Princess bring jobs and revenue to our area, but they also bring guests who visit our hotels and resorts, and support the small businesses and attractions that are the lifeblood of our economy,” said Vice Mayor Sharief.

Read morePort Everglades Welcomes Royal Princess

Elderly Passenger Disappears from Cruise Ship

Update, October 39, 2013: Authorities found CCTV footage showing that the man jumped overboard.

(12:28 p.m.) — An elderly man disappeared from Sun Princess yesterday while it sailed up the Kimberley Coast in Western Australia on its way to Darwin. Extensive searches onboard and at sea have found no trace of the man.

Sun Princess’ crew conducted an extensive search for the man onboard after his wife reported him missing, Princess Cruises told Cruise Critic.

“Public address announcements were made onboard but there was no response. A missing person’s procedure was initiated and Sun Princess turned around to retrace the ship’s course. Search and rescue at the Australian Maritime Safety Authority were also informed,” Princess’ Lorraine Sadowski said.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the ship twice retraced its route and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority conducted an aerial search, but called it off after medical authorities determined the man could not have survived falling off the ship.

The missing man, a 73-year-old Australian, may have been suffering from dementia the Daily Telegraph reported. Princess would not confirm this saying as policy it does not release details about passengers.

Princess also said there is no CCTV footage of the man falling overboard, adding the line is cooperating with local authorities in Darwin with their investigation.

–by Dori Saltzman, News Editor

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Rostock Closes Record Year

The port of Rostock has just about closed a record year in Warnemünde. Three calls remain, including the Marco Polo, Black Watch and Boudicca, which calls in the German port on a Christmas cruise.

The year ended with some 198 calls by 41 different ships, making it Germany’s most popular port, according to Ulrich Bauermeister, port managing director.

The calls accounted for 365,000 passengers from 28 different cruise lines.

Of the total of 365,000 cruise travellers the majority were Germans (120,000 passengers), followed by 74,000 Americans, 47,0000 British, 21,000 Spaniards, 19,000 Canadians, 12,000 Italians, 9,000 Australians and 63,0000 tourists from 142 other nations.

The ships also carried just under 140,000 crew members from 126 countries, more than one third of whom also went on shore leave.

“Fourteen percent of all cruise guests in Warnemünde, that is around 50,000, went on a day trip to Berlin by train or coach this season,” said Ulrich Bauermeister. “About 197,000 passengers set out to discover Warnemünde, Rostock or Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and 118,000 started or ended their cruise in the passenger port at the mouth of river Warnow.”

Based on a study of the spending behaviour of passengers and crew members made by Rostock University in 2010 one may assume that the cruise travellers and crew members spent at least Euro 14 million especially in local and regional shops, hotels and restaurants, on public transport, taxi rides and car parking in Warnemünde, Rostock and their environs.

Adding to this is the turnover realised through cruise shipping by coach operators, railway companies, travel agents for shore excursions, utilities, supply and disposal companies, shipping agents, pilots and port operators.

First time callers into Rostock for 2013 included the AIDAstella, which was christened in the port in March, the AIDAmar, the Voyager, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, Costa Pacific, Azamara Quest and Norwegian Star.

Eighteen of 41 ships discharged grey water at the port during 114 port calls, adding some 30,000 cubic meters of waste water to the public sewer system.

“We again expect a large number of port calls by cruise liners next year even if, in all probability, we will not manage to notch up another record for port calls”, Ulrich Bauermeister added, satisfied with the high international acceptance that Warnemünde cruise port has achieved for a number of years now.

100 Cruise Ship Passengers’ Cars Damaged in ‘St. Jude’ Storm

(10:30 a.m. EDT) — Scores of cars owned by cruise passengers onboard two Fred. Olsen ships were damaged by high winds and water in a parking facility at the port of Dover during yesterday’s (28 Oct.) storm.

The so-called “St. Jude’s Day” storm — which caused deaths, widespread damage and travel disruption across the UK — wreaked havoc on cars in Dover’s Western Dock car park when hurricane-force winds caused heavy seas to breach protective breakwaters during the night.

Damage to the vehicles included “flooding, smashed windscreens and significant dents,” according to a statement from Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and the Port of Dover authority.

The cars belonged to passengers onboard both Fred. Olsen’s Braemar and Black Watch cruise ships, and the line said all guests were informed of the damage as soon as it was discovered.

“For those who had their cars parked at the Port, we provided them with a free phone call to allow them the chance to contact their insurance companies and/or family and friends,” said Mike Rodwell, Managing Director at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

Representatives from both Fred. Olsen and the Port of Dover said they would assist customers with making onward transport arrangements and making insurance claims upon their return.

Braemar is due back in to Dover on Tuesday, 5 November, and Black Watch will return Saturday, 16 November. Braemar is currently on a 22-night cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Watch is on a 28-night round-Mediterranean cruise.

After being closed for a brief period, the Port of Dover reopened on Monday and resumed ferry services from the Eastern Docks with the port’s tugboats providing assistance. According to a statement from the port, further work is necessary to assess the full extent of the damage to the Western Docks. Cruise Critic has contacted the port to determine whether future cruise sailings will be affected.

The storm also affected the itineraries of a handful of cruise ships, with Princess Cruises delaying Crown Princess’ departure out of Southampton by two nights, forcing the ship to cancel port calls in Le Havre, Vigo and Ponta Delgada. Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas also made minor adjustments to scheduled sailings, though the line did not disclose details of the changed itineraries.

–by Jamey Bergman, U.K. Production Editor

Read more100 Cruise Ship Passengers’ Cars Damaged in ‘St. Jude’ Storm

Norwegian Reports Q3, Net Revenue Increases 20 Percent

Norwegian Cruise Line today reported results for the quarter ended September 30, 2013, and provided guidance for the fourth quarter and full year 2013.

Quarter Highlights

    – Adjusted Net Income growth of 42.1% to $182.2 million with Adjusted EPS of $0.86

    – Adjusted EBITDA increase of 21.2% to $271.0 million

    – Net Yield increase of 4.1% (3.9% on a Constant Currency basis)

Third Quarter 2013 Results

“While the environment this year has become more challenging than anticipated, we demonstrated once again our ability to execute and post solid earnings. Our results for the quarter are the product of a summer season which was bolstered by the premium pricing from Norwegian Breakaway in her first full quarter of operation,” said Kevin Sheehan, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Improved ticket pricing and onboard spend, along with better than expected results from business improvement initiatives drove incremental EPS in the quarter.”

The Company reported Adjusted Net Income for the third quarter of 2013 of $182.2 million and Adjusted EPS of $0.86 compared to $128.2 million and $0.72 in 2012, respectively.

On a GAAP basis, net income and diluted earnings per share were $170.9 million and $0.82, respectively for the third quarter of 2013.

A 14.9% increase in Capacity Days from the addition of Norwegian Breakaway to the fleet, coupled with a 4.1% increase in Net Yield, (or 3.9% on a Constant Currency basis) resulted in a 19.6% improvement in Net Revenue for the period. The improvement in Net Yield was a result of higher pricing and onboard revenue in the period.

Adjusted Net Cruise Cost excluding Fuel per Capacity Day increased 4.6% (or 4.3% on a Constant Currency basis) over prior year. Fuel price, net of hedges, increased 2.4% to $695 per metric ton compared to $679 in 2012. The increase was partially offset by fuel consumption efficiencies particularly from the addition of Norwegian Breakaway to the fleet.

Interest expense, net for the quarter decreased significantly to $26.6 million from $47.2 million in the prior year mainly due to lower rates, resulting from the benefits of the redemption of higher rate debt and refinancing transactions completed earlier in the year.

Newbuild Update and Other Highlights

The Company is building on the success of its latest ship, Norwegian Breakaway, with the introduction of her sister ship, Norwegian Getaway, in January 2014. To be positioned year-round in Miami, Norwegian Getaway will bring to sea many of the elements that make Miami one of the world’s top vacation destinations. Along with the previously announced Aqua Park, Illusionarium and the Waterfront, the Company recently announced the addition of South Florida-themed restaurants and lounges The Tropicana Room, Flamingo Bar & Grill along with the Sugarcane Mojito Bar and an Ice Bar. Buddy Valastro, who operates a branch of Carlo’s Bake Shop on Norwegian Breakaway, will introduce the concept on Norwegian Getaway.

The Company also looked to a local Miami institution for the selection of Norwegian Getaway’s godmothers, tapping the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders to christen the ship in a ceremony in February. “Norwegian Getaway’s Miami touches, from dining to lounges, will bring the best of the Magic City to sea,” said Sheehan. “With her sister ship Norwegian Breakaway, which brings the sights and sounds of New York City to sea, we are bringing the cruise industry a one-two punch of vessels inspired by two of the world’s most exciting destinations.”

Following Norwegian Getaway will be the introduction of two of the Company’s Breakaway Plus vessels in 2015 and 2017. A recent naming contest with over 100,000 entries from across the world resulted in the selection of the names Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Bliss, keeping with the Company’s trend of ship names which describe and support its unique proposition of freedom and flexibility. Slightly larger than the two Breakaway-class ships, Norwegian Escape and Bliss will have approximately 4,200 berths, making them the largest in Norwegian’s fleet. The ships will include fuel scrubbers, which reduce emissions to comply with regulations for vessels sailing near coastal areas.

The Company’s year-round, Hawaii-based ship, Pride of America, is in the final phases of installation of its own fuel scrubbers, making her the first of Norwegian’s vessels to utilize this technology. In September the ship opened to guests a new set of suites, inside and studio staterooms, thirty-two in all. The addition of these new staterooms enhances the returns on one of the Company’s highest-yielding ships.

Also in the quarter the Company completed a Secondary Offering of 23 million ordinary shares previously held by the Company’s Sponsors. The Company received no proceeds from the offering.

Holland America Redeploys Noordam to Central and West Med for 2014

Holland America Line’s Noordam will now sail cruises with central and western Mediterranean itineraries in spring and summer 2014.

The new itineraries will allow for longer voyages, including the introduction of three new 11-day itineraries with several departures each and numerous Collectors’ Voyages up to 33 days.

The new Noordam itineraries replace the previously published cruises that included Egypt, which was cancelled due to continued unrest in the area.

From April through October 2014, the ship will sail between Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, and Barcelona, Spain, or Venice, Italy. The 11-day itineraries feature a combination of calls in Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Tunisia, Greece, Croatia, Montenegro and Turkey. Guests who want a longer vacation can combine two or three back-to-back voyages to form a 22- or 33-day Collectors’ Voyage. These extended itineraries offer a more in-depth cruise and allow for extra time ashore to become immersed in the culture and history of the Mediterranean.

“The central and western Mediterranean cruises feature a variety of popular ports in 10 countries so our guests can explore the top highlights of the region,” said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president of sales, marketing and guest programs. “For travelers with more time, the different itineraries can be combined into an ultimate Mediterranean cruise experience with few, if any, repeated ports.”

Departing April 4, May 18, July 1 and Aug. 14, the “Mediterranean Explorer” voyage sails from Barcelona to Civitavecchia (Rome). The cruise begins with an overnight at Barcelona and continues on to Marseille (Provence), France; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Calvi, Corsica; Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy; La Goulette (Tunis), Tunisia, and Palermo and Naples, Italy. The ship sails the reverse itinerary, ending with an overnight at Barcelona, May 7, June 20, Aug. 3 and Oct. 8.

The “Adriatic Dream” itinerary departs April 15, May 29, July 12 and Aug. 25 from Civitavecchia (Rome) and sails to Venice, where guests enjoy an overnight before disembarking. Along the route the ship calls at Messina, Sicily, Italy, after scenic cruising along the Strait of Messina; Valletta, Malta; Argostolion and Kerkira (Corfu), Greece; Kotor, Montenegro, and Dubrovnik, Korcula and Split, Croatia.

The “Mediterranean Dream” cruise departs April 26, June 9, July 23 and Sept. 5 from Venice and sails to Civitavecchia (Rome). This itinerary features six calls throughout the beautiful Greek Isles, including Katakolon (Olympia), Navplion, Piraeus (Athens), Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini. The ship also calls at Kusadasi, Turkey, home to Ephesus, and Naples, Italy.

The Sept. 16 “Venetian Adventure” voyage sails round-trip Civitavecchia (Rome) with an overnight at Venice mid-voyage. The ship also calls at Messina after scenic cruising along the Strait of Messina, Valletta, Kotor, Split, Dubrovnik and Kerkira (Corfu).

A round-trip Civitavecchia (Rome) “Mediterranean Dream” cruise departs Sept. 27 and calls at Katakolon (Olympia), Navplion, Piraeus (Athens), Mykonos, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Santorini and Naples.

Travelers looking to explore more of the Mediterranean can book a longer Collectors’ Voyage that combines two or three of the 11-day cruises. For example, the 33-day “Best of the Mediterranean” cruise departs April 4 and combines the April 4, 15 and 26 departures. The 22-day “Mediterranean and Adriatic Explorer” combines the May 18, 29 and June 9 sailings. Each month through September will offer a combination that features 22- to 33-day Collectors’ Voyage options.

Celebrity: President’s Cruise with CEO Michael Bayley

Celebrity Cruises President & CEO Michael Bayley will personally host a seven-night sailing on Celebrity Equinox departing from Rome (Civitavecchia) July 26, 2014, with a series of events designed exclusively for members of Celebrity’s Captain’s Club loyalty program (“Classic” level membership or higher).

In addition to the exceptional evening in the medieval village of Bolgheri, considered the ultimate destination for Super Tuscan wine enthusiasts, Celebrity’s President’s Cruise will allow Captain’s Club members and other guests to book dining experiences offered exclusively on this sailing, each representing Celebrity’s culinary excellence:

• A Taste of Nice: This four-course Mediterranean dinner will feature locally-caught seafood, farm-to-table vegetables, artisanal olive oils, local wine pairings and dessert, all created by Celebrity Chefs Thomas Szymanski and Thierry Houlbert, and served in Celebrity’s elegant Murano restaurant. The prix fixe menu is $95 per person.

• Molecular Cocktail dinner: Captain’s Club members on this sailing can join Celebrity’s James Beard-featured Chef John Suley and “The Liquid Chef” Junior Merino on a tour de force fusion of cocktails from Celebrity’s Molecular Bar paired with a ‘uniquely unordinary’ menu inspired by Celebrity’s engaging specialty restaurant, Qsine. The prix fixe menu is $95 per person.

• James Beard House dinner: Celebrity was the first cruise line to be invited to prepare dinner at the revered James Beard House in 2012, and the menu for this evening will replicate it exactly, with globally influenced classic and contemporary creations. The intimate, four-course dinner complete with an international array of award-winning wines and desserts will be served in the private Murano restaurant wine cellar and will be co-hosted by Master Sommelier Andrea Immer Robinson. The prix fixe menu is $195 per person, and includes a copy of Celebrity’s hardbound “Excite the Senses” culinary and lifestyle book.

• New York Pop-Up evening: Celebrity was the first cruise line to introduce a pop-up restaurant on land in 2012, and this dining experience will recreate it on Celebrity Equinox for Captain’s Club members who reserve a space. The modern seasonal creations on the four-course menu designed by Chef Suley feature dishes prepared exclusively with sustainable and organic products. Co-hosted by Master Sommelier Andrea Immer Robinson, the dinner includes wines and dessert, along with a copy of Celebrity’s hardbound “Excite the Senses” culinary and lifestyle book. The prix fixe menu is $95 per person.

• A Taste of Spain: Captain’s Club members who book this experience will enjoy traditional tapas, such as Iberico ham and samplings of olive oils direct from Andalusia. Celebrity Chefs Rufino Rengifo and Thierry Houlbert will host the evening together with Master Sommelier Andrea Immer Robinson, and will pair Spanish delicacies with fine wines including Riojas, Priorats and Sherry. The prix fixe menu is $95 per person.

Guests on this sailing also can purchase select shore excursions, including a scenic tour and tasting at the Tenute Nozzole winery, or Celebrity ExclusivesSM, such as a hot air balloon ride over the Tuscan countryside, a tour via Ferrari of the Côte d’Azur, and a specially designed helicopter flight prior to an intimate lunch at renowned Chef Alain Ducasse’s Provencal Inn. Space is extremely limited within the collection of Celebrity Exclusives, and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

After departing from Rome (Civitavecchia), guests on Celebrity Cruises’ 7-night President’s Cruise in 2014 will visit some of the finest destinations in the Mediterranean, including Florence, Italy; Nice (Villefranche), France; Ajaccio, Corsica; Porto Torres (Sardinia), Italy; and Palma de Mallorca, Spain, concluding in Barcelona, Spain.

Reservation System Enhancements for Royal Caribbean Brands

Travelers and travel agents can now enjoy a faster, easier and more flexible cruise fare search experience with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s newly enhanced global reservation system, according to a statement from the line 

The system will provide more targeted, visible and relevant cruise options to travelers and travel agents, and instantly deliver and automatically apply promotions for which they qualify. With the new technology, vacationers planning a cruise with one of the company’s cruise lines – Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises, and CDF Croisières de France – will now receive the best cruise rates that apply, based on travelers’ age, loyalty program status, residency, current promotions, and a host of additional personal qualifiers.

“Our newly enhanced global reservation system is going to significantly elevate the cruise planning experience for our valued travel agent partners,” said Vicki Freed, senior vice president of Sales, Trade Support and Services, Royal Caribbean International. “Travel agents will be able to quickly serve up the best available fares to help them better sell Royal Caribbean to their clients and grow their business.”

Royal Caribbean has already engaged its travel agent partners around the world in training, in order to help them take advantage of the newly enhanced reservation system and deliver the best cruise value for vacationers immediately. Travel agents can find out more details about Royal Caribbean’s newly enhanced reservation system at www.CruisingPower.com/BookSmarter.      

 “Travel agents selling Celebrity Cruises are going to instantly notice how fast this will help them make a booking and close a sale,” said Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior vice president of Sales for Celebrity Cruises. “The newly enhanced reservation system is part of our ongoing strategy to ensure greater transparency and flexibility as cruise vacations continue to offer more options and grow in sophistication.”

 Royal Caribbean’s newly enhanced reservation system streamlines the cruise fare search process into four simple steps. First, travel agents will select the applicable qualifiers for their clients through their respective booking channel. The reservation system then returns the best available rate, which includes only applicable offers for their clients. The travel agent will then consult with their clients on which offer would deliver the greatest vacation value and arrive at the best eligible offer to select, at which time, the reservation can be finalized.       

“We have leveraged the latest technology and delivered that power to our partners,” said Bill Martin, vice president and Chief Information Officer for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “This has been a sizable undertaking, but we are confident that this will help our partners realize greater efficiencies and returns with this system.”

New Princess Cruises Ship Receives Royal Welcome to Ft. Lauderdale

 “Love Boat” Captain Gavin MacLeod is joined by a court of young “princesses” who welcomed Royal Princess to Ft. Lauderdale for the first time.Royal Princess arrived at Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale today, marking her North American debut and launching her inaugural season of Caribbean cruises. Princess Cruises ambassador Gavin MacLeod was on hand to welcome the ship as it arrived at the Florida port, where he was joined by a court of young girls who he proclaimed “royal princesses for the day.”

The actor, best known as Captain Stubing from the iconic “Love Boat” TV show, will join the ship for a two-day preview cruise for travel agents where he will participate in a special presentation and book signing for his just-released autobiography, “This is Your Captain Speaking.”

The ship’s North American season starts with a five-day maiden Caribbean cruise on October 29, followed by a program of seven-day Eastern Caribbean sailings to Princess Cays, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.

Royal Princess debuted this past June with a christening ceremony watched around the world as The Duchess of Cambridge officially named the ship in her last public appearance before giving birth to her first child. The ship has been sailing in the Mediterranean throughout the summer.

“We’re delighted that Royal Princess has been so enthusiastically received by passengers during her first Mediterranean season,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “And now Caribbean cruisers will be able to experience this stunning new vessel too.”

Royal Princess will sail from Ft. Lauderdale through April 20, 2014. The ship then will cross the Atlantic to offer a summer season of Scandinavia and Russia cruises.