CRUISE INDUSTRY NEWS
Daily updates on the most relevant news in the industry...
A Look at the New Expedition Cruise Fleet
With countless new expedition cruise ships on the orderbook, the expedition cruise market will more than double in capacity between 2020 and 2027, according to the 2020 Expedition Market Report by Cruise Industry News.
Royal Caribbean Makes More Finance Moves; Q1 Filing to Come
Royal Caribbean Cruises has amended its $1.55 billion unsecured revolving credit facility due 2022 with Nordea Bank ABP, New York Branch, as administrative agent, its $1.925 billion unsecured revolving credit facility due 2024 with The Bank of Nova Scotia, as administrative agent and its $1.0 billion unsecured three-year term loan agreement with Bank of America, N.A., as administrative agent.
These amendments waive the quarterly-tested fixed charge coverage and net debt to capitalization covenants in each Credit Facility through and including the first quarter of 2021 and impose a new monthly-tested liquidity covenant for the duration of the waiver period.
When the Major Cruise Lines Plan to Restart Service
The major cruise lines are planning to start operations again this summer.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line, in an update, said it intends to start cruising again with some ships in North America starting on August 1, while other itineraries and ships are projected to start service again later this year. Carnival plans to have eight ships in service from Miami, Port Canaveral and Galveston on short cruises.
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean announced it had extended its suspension of sailing for its global fleet through June 11, 2020.
The company said it plans to return to service on June 12, 2020, with some previously announced exceptions.
MSC Cruises announced further extension of the halting of all its new cruise departures fleetwide through to July 10.
MSC Cruises USA is offering guests affected by this measure a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) where they have the opportunity to transfer the full amount paid for their cancelled cruise plus an additional 25 percent credit to a future cruise of their choice, on any ship and any itinerary, departing on or before December 31, 2021.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line announced in late April an extension of its pause of service through the end of June. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings recently raised enough capital to keep it going in a zero-revenue situation through early 2021.
Costa ships are out of service through early July at this point.
Princess Cruises, in a recent update, cancelled the remainder of its summer season.
All AIDA sailings through June 30 are currently cancelled.
Royal Caribbean, which owns Celebrity, announced it had extended its suspension of sailing for its global fleet through June 11, 2020.
Holland America Line
Holland America Line has extended its pause of global cruise operations and cancel all Alaska, Europe and Canada/New England cruises for 2020, according to a press release.
In addition, Amsterdam will not operate the 79-day Grand Africa Voyage from Boston, Massachusetts, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that was scheduled to depart on Oct. 3, 2020.
German brand TUI Cruises has hit pause through June 11, in line with Royal Caribbean, which is a partner in TUI Cruises in a joint venture arrangement.
Should it be safe to set sail, Marella Cruises will commence its summer 2020 program in July 2020, with three of its five ships sailing. More details here.
Sailings will resume onboard Grand Celebration on June 13 and onboard Grand Classica on July 10, according to a press release.
Hurtigruten is planning for a gradual restart of operations on the Norwegian coast. The first planned departure will be Finnmarken from Bergen on June 16.
World Tourism Remains at Standstill
COVID-19 has placed the whole world on lockdown, according to UNWTO, the World Tourism Organization, with 100% of global destinations continuing restrictions on travel, and with 72% having completely closed their borders to international tourism.
The United Nations agency for tourism said it has been tracking the pandemic and it latest research shows that while discussions on possible first measures for lifting restrictions are underway,100% of destinations worldwide still have COVID-19 related travel restrictions for international tourists in place.
Out of all 217 destinations worldwide, 156 (72%) have placed a complete stop on international tourism according to the data collected as of April 27, 2020. In 25% of destinations, restrictions have been in place for at least three months, while in 40% of destinations, restrictions were introduced at least two months ago. The research also found that no destination has so far lifted or eased travel restrictions.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said in a prepared statement: “Tourism has been the hardest hit of all the major sectors as countries lock down and people stay at home. UNWTO calls on governments to work together to coordinate the easing and lifting of restrictions in a timely and responsible manner, when it is deemed safe to do so. Tourism is a lifeline to millions, especially in the developing world. Opening the world up to tourism again will save jobs, protect livelihoods and enable our sector to resume its vital role in driving sustainable development.”
Breaking the research down by region, UNWTO found that 83% of destinations in Europe have introduced complete closure of borders for international tourism. In the Americas, this proportion stands at 80%, in Asia and the Pacific it is 70%, in the Middle East it is 62% and in Africa it is 57%.
2020: Six to 12 Million Cruise Passengers Forecast
With international tourism forecasted to drop 60 to 80 percent this year, according to the world tourism organization, UNWTO, to the extent that translates to the cruise industry, this year’s cruise traffic could be in the range of six to 12 million passengers.
Starting 2021, assuming travel restrictions have been lifted, the industry will see its capacity grow to 32 million passengers for the year.
The UNTWO’s forecast is based on different scenarios, whether travel restrictions are being eased in July, September or December.
Meanwhile, cruise lines have announced a start-up of staged phases beginning at various dates this summer. However, the 2020 Alaska season has effectively been cancelled. It was previously forecast to carry a record 1.3 million passengers. Other programs have also been cancelled, including the summer Canada New England season.
CMV Reports Cruise Bookings Are Up
May 12, 2020
Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) said that interest in its no-fly cruise holidays from UK ports in 2021 is picking up with more bookings being made, including their popular Northern Lights itineraries.
Among the options are the option to sail onboard the smaller and classic Marco Polo in March 2021 on a 12 or 15-night cruise in search of the atmospheric Aurora Borealis, fares are available from £849pp.
Mike Hall, Marketing Director at CMV said: “Our experience over the last two to three weeks is that the UK is thinking again about a cruise holiday in 2021. Those itineraries that offer a sense of discovery and exploration are leading in popularity. It looks like we all want something to look forward to after lockdown and when cruise operations resume. Having the chance to see the fantastic natural display of the Northern Lights is high on many wish lists.”
TUI Expects to Restart Cruise Ships With Less Occupancy, More Changes
TUI Group has said it expects to restart cruise service this summer, but with less occupancy.
The company, which oversees the TUI, Hapag-Lloyd and Marella brands, said the changes will start at boarding, with new health questionnaires. screening preboarding and staggered boarding groups.
The company also said it plans to start with less than 1,000 guests on each ship until August 31, 2020, meaning TUI's big ships, with capacity for just under 3,000 guests, would be sailing at approximately one third occupancy, allowing for much more distance in public areas.
Other changes include the elimination of self-service food. Public venues will also be limited to one third of their capacity. Only 10 children will be allowed in the Kids’ Club aboard, the company said.
In addition, the ships will operate at what TUI called OPP-3 (Outbreak Prevention Plan Level 3), meaning constant cleaning of touched services, every 30 minutes or less. The company said it expects to have COVID-19 testing capabilities aboard with additional medical staff.
The cruise line will work closely with ports to develop joint procedures to handle any possible COVID-19 cases, according to a statement.
TUI Announces First Half Results for 2020
TUI Group has announced first half 2020 earnings. The company said January 2020 saw the best bookings month in the company's history, followed by the COVID-19 crisis.
“The impact on our program and operations has been undeniably acute. For the first time ever in the company’s history, our full program was suspended and alongside many other corporates across the sector State Aid was applied for. As a result of our swift action, TUI was the first business in Germany to receive state support in these exceptional times,” the company said, in its earnings statement.
The first five months (5M) underlying EBIT loss of €343m was up €62m versus prior year excluding digital platforms operational investment, Boeing 737 Max and effect of a one-offhedging gain, reflecting the strong operational result and start to the year.
H1 Group underlying EBIT loss of €813m was down €512m on prior year as a result of lost contribution in March and costs arising from COVID-19 shutdown, most notably from ineffective hedges, and additionally replacement lease costs relating to the Boeing 737 Max. Total costs in March incurred relating to both COVID-19 measures and Max amounted to €470m.
“The tourism industry has weathered a number of macroeconomic shocks throughout the most recent decades, however the COVID-19 pandemic is unquestionably the greatest crisisthe industry and TUI has ever faced,” the company said.
In March, TUI brought 200,000 customers and 4,000 employees home, and said it had also taken significant crisis measures across the business to reduce cash costs and expenditure to an absolute minimum.
“From capex, to marketing, to rental and leases, all expenditure has been cut or paused. Strict cost discipline, required during these exceptional circumstances, has been a top priority for the business as a whole.
“We have seen a material decline in bookings for Summer 2020 as a result of the travel suspension currently in place,” the company said.
First half cruise earnings €24m were down €82m versus prior year, with TUI Cruises and Marella more notably impacted by lost contribution, compensation costs from cancelled itineraries and rerouting costs throughout March.
Hapag-Lloyd saw less operational disruption due to itinerary type and saw earnings break even in the first half.
Royal Caribbean Announces Proposed Offering Of $3.3 Billion Senior Secured Notes
Royal Caribbean Cruises today announced that it has commenced a private offering of senior secured notes to be issued by the company in separate series of notes due 2023 and 2025, for an aggregate principal amount of $3.3 billion.
The Notes and the related guarantees will be secured by 28 of the company's vessels and material intellectual property of the company. The obligations under the Notes and the related guarantees will be secured by the collateral in an amount not to exceed permitted capacity under the company's existing indebtedness.
The company expects to use the net proceeds from the offering of the Notes to repay its $2.35 billion 364-day senior secured term loan agreement with Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc., as the administrative agent and collateral agent and the other lenders party thereto entered into on March 23, 2020. The company expects to use the remainder net proceeds for general corporate purposes, which may include repayment of additional indebtedness.
Carnival Corporation Confirms Company-Wide Layoffs
Carnival Corporation announced today a number of additional actions it is taking to further strengthen its liquidity position in the event of an extended pause in guest operations due to COVID-19, according to a press release.
To further strengthen liquidity, the company said that its brands are announcing a combination of layoffs, furloughs, reduced work weeks and salary reductions across the company, including senior management. These moves will contribute hundreds of millions of dollars in cash conservation on an annualized basis.
"Taking these extremely difficult employee actions involving our highly dedicated workforce is a very tough thing to do. Unfortunately, it's necessary, given the current low level of guest operations and to further endure this pause," said Carnival Corporation & plc President & CEO Arnold Donald. "We care deeply about all our employees and understanding the impact this is having on so many strengthens our resolve to do everything we can to return to operations when the time is right. We look forward to the day when many of those impacted are returning to work with us and we look forward to the day, when appropriate, that once again our ships and crew are delighting millions of people at sea and we can be there for the many nations and millions of people who depend on the cruise industry for their livelihood."
Added Donald: "We also want to thank our guests for their many thoughtful notes and overall outpouring of support. It is clear there is tremendous anticipation for a return to cruising. It's also encouraging to note that the majority of guests affected by our schedule changes want to sail with us at a later date, with fewer than 38 percent requesting refunds to date. Our booking trends for the first half of 2021, which remain within historical ranges, demonstrate the resilience of our brands and the strength of our loyal recurring customer base, of which 66% are repeat cruisers. In addition, we plan to stagger fleet reentry to optimize demand and operating performance over time."
TUI Announces First Half Results for 2020
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said in a press statement that prior to the suspension of cruise voyages, the company had begun developing a comprehensive and multi-faceted strategy to enhance its already rigorous health and safety protocols to address the unique public health challenges posed by COVID-19, including enhanced screenings, upgraded cleaning and disinfection protocols and plans for social distancing.
Several of these protocols were put in place prior to the voyage suspension.
The company is consulting with Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and an experienced public health and medical policy expert, as an advisor to provide independent public health counsel as the Company develops the next level of health and safety standards to prepare for the resumption of voyages.
The company said will continue to work with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies, public health authorities and national and local governments in areas where it operates to take all necessary measures to ensure the health, safety and security of guests, crew and the communities visited once operations resume.
Royal Caribbean Announces Proposed Offering Of $3.3 Billion Senior Secured Notes
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings today reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020, and provided a business update in response to the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) global pandemic.
“In recent weeks, we have taken decisive action to significantly strengthen our financial position in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, including our highly successful and oversubscribed $2.4 billion gross simultaneous quad-tranche capital raise announced last week. We believe this capital raise, coupled with other ongoing liquidity-enhancing initiatives, makes us well-positioned to weather an unlikely scenario of over 18 months of suspended voyages,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “Our guests continue to demonstrate their desire for cruise vacations, and we continue to experience demand for voyages further in the future across our three brands. As we prepare to resume sailings, we are working around the clock alongside U.S. and global public health agencies and governments to develop and implement the next level of enhanced cruise health and safety standards.”
Norwegian said that 2020 started off strong and was expected to be another record year. All three of the company’s brands entered the year in a record booked position and at higher prices on a comparable basis. For the first two months of the year, ships sailed full at prices that were higher than prior year despite meaningful capacity growth of approximately 7%. As with the broader travel and leisure industry, the company said has experienced rapid and significant impacts related to the COVID-19 global pandemic including significant softness in near-term demand and an elevated rate of cancellations for existing bookings.
"There continues to be demand for cruise vacations particularly beginning in the fourth quarter 2020 accelerating through 2021 with the Company’s overall booked position and pricing for 2021 within historical ranges," the company said.
All three brands have instituted programs for guests on cancelled sailings as a result of the Company’s voyage suspension which include offering value-add future cruise credits typically for 125% of the cruise fare paid in lieu of providing cash refunds. These future cruise credits are valid for any sailing through December 31, 2022. As of May 11, 2020, slightly over half of the guests who have had their voyages cancelled have requested cash refunds. As of March 31, 2020, the Company had $1.8 billion of advanced ticket sales, including the long-term portion.
Dream Cruises Begins Roller Coaster Test Setup
Dream Cruises' roller coaster for the new Global Dream is currently being built for testing in the immediate vicinity of the MV Werften shipyards in Germany.
Last October, Dream and Maurer Rides announced the world's longest roller coaster at sea onboard the Global Dream. The "Spike®-Coaster" type roller coaster, called Space Cruiser by Dream Cruises - will be the highlight of the "Dream Park at the Pier”, the very first theme park at sea.
What was previously only possible with animations and graphics is now becoming reality as one of the most exciting cruise ship attractions to date is already being set up on land in advance for testing purposes.
Marco Hartwig, Project Manager Maurer Rides, said: "Among other things, the test setup will be used to test the installation methodology especially designed for ship assembly. Furthermore, the conductor rail and gear rack along the roller coaster track, which is necessary for the generation and transmission in the electric motor, can be installed on land in advance. This saves valuable time during the ship assembly. The aim is also to collect all the 93 support base points coordinates after the roller coaster has been completed and then forward them to the shipyard for preparation and positioning for the deck foundations. With the help of this elaborate procedure, we can ensure that the support base points on the deck of the ship are in the correct positions later."
After the installation, three Spike vehicles will be put into operation step by step and the system control will be thoroughly tested.
Before the roller coaster leaves the test site in Güstrow, Germany, the system will be dismantled and transported to the shipyard for final assembly.
For guests, the ride starts with an acceleration section followed by two closely spaced inclined 90-degree curves. The following two camelbacks provide a spectacular and breathtaking launch above the railing and the heads of the passengers, with a maximum speed of up to 60km/h.
A 360-degree downward and upward helix form the end of the 303-meter-long track before the vehicles reach the station again.
“Dream Cruises is extremely excited to be working with Maurer Rides to create this spectacular new attraction at sea on board Global Dream. We are thrilled with the progress of the construction of the roller coaster and are excited to unveil this ride to our guests when our ship launches,” said Michael Goh, President of Dream Cruises.
DIV Shipbuilding to Build New Residence Cruise Ship
DIV Shipbuilding will build the new residence ship, the Njord, according to a press release.
DIV owns Kleven Verft shipyard in Norway and Brodosplit shipyard in Croatia, as both yards will work on the 290-meter-long residence ship for Ocean Residences, with a delivery date estimated in 2024.
Ocean Residences is offering 118 apartments aboard with various configurations, from two to six bedrooms.
"My company is truly honored to be involved in the construction of this magnificent private yacht, initiated by Ocean Residences Development Ltd. All employees of DIV Shipbuilding at both our shipyards Brodosplit and Kleven are proud to partner of and work on this generational project,” said Tomislav Debeljak, Chairman and CEO, DIV Group. “In these changing times I am pleased to confirm that we have the full support of the governments of both Croatia and Norway who share our enthusiasm for this important project as it is expected to generate employment for thousands of highly skilled people in the years to come, from welders to engineers and many other disciplines in between.”
Kristian Stensby, chairman and CEO of Ocean Residences Development, added: “I am delighted to confirm the signing of an agreement between our company and the DIV Shipbuilding. The DIV Shipbuilding has been appointed as the official shipyard to carry out the construction of the Njord, an iconic residential yacht, comprising 118 exquisitely appointed residences which will create one of the most philanthropic communities in the world.”
“Almost the entire industry and community surrounding both shipyards, rely on the maritime sector. The work on the design and construction of the Njord will benefit thousands of local families by creating more than five million working hours. In addition, it will strongly contribute to the further improvement of research and innovation of maritime activities in Croatia and Norway, as well as improving the scientific and technological potential in schools and colleges. Furthermore, Ocean Residences Development have established, as central to their vision, the desire to construct one of the most technically advanced vessels in the industry that will push the outer limits in terms of sustainability, technical innovation and emissions standards. A vision that is perfectly suited to the talent we have in both Norway and in Croatia.” added Zoran Kunkera, the DIV's chief business officer.
Royal Caribbean Miami Layoffs Total 521 Jobs
Royal Caribbean Cruises has made adjustments to its Miami staff that amounts to layoffs of 521 employees, according to a document filed with the state of Florida citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
The layoffs had previously been announced but had not been detailed officially.
Layoffs began on April 24 and will be completed by July 1, according to Royal Caribbean.
Among the cuts are 22 assistant project managers, 15 buyers for technical projects, four associate vice presidents, 15 secretaries and four vice president titles.
MSC Cruises USA Furloughs 128 Staff
According to a filing with the state of Florida, MSC Cruises USA has furloughed 128 employees, citing the COVID-19 crisis.
The furloughs include 55 cruise consultants, 10 home-based cruise consultants, five contact center supervisors, eight group advocates and various other titles.
The company has its U.S. headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and said it hopes the furloughs are temporary.
MSC has four ships based in the United States with aspirations to grow. The Seaside, Armonia, Divina and Meraviglia serve the U.S. market.
One Ocean Expeditions Details Challenges in Court Filing
Andrew Prossin, managing director of One Ocean Expeditions (OOE), has detailed the company’s challenges in a recent affidavit filing for the company’s bankruptcy with the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
- Each year, prior to the company’s difficulties it ran about 70 voyages.
- “We were considered one of the largest private Canadian vessel companies and had anticipated gross revenues in 2020 to exceed $75 million,” Prossin said.Prior to the company’s financial difficulties, OOE had 30 to 40 full-time land based employees, 15 to 20 land based contractors, 300 full-time field contractors and 200 full-time independent crew contractors.
- Difficulties started in August 2018, according to the filing, with the grounding of the Akademik loffee (Al), which was on a charter deal with PP Shirshov Institute of Oceanology and its related company Terragelida Ship Management Limited.
- The PP Shirshov Charter was originally entered into in 2012 and granted One Ocean the option to renew each year indefinitely. The PP Shirshov Charter had been renewed most recently on June 1, 2018.
- One Ocean paid a flat rate for the vessels for a minimum of 195 revenue days per year.
- The grounding of the Akademik loffee led to nine cancelled voyages that were mostly sold out, according to the filing.
- One Ocean suffered costs and liabilities associated with the grounding of the ship, repairs, and subsequent delay in excess ofS$6.5 million, which primarily represents lost revenue from canceled trips, but includes other costs associated with last minute cancelations and handling of passengers, the company said.
- Following the running aground, from September 2018 to April 2019, One Ocean entered into negotiations with PP Shirshov to settle its claim for losses due to the grounding. Under the PP Shirshov Charter, according to One Ocean, the PP Shirshov was liable for the losses associated with the nine voyage cancelations and the repairs of Al. However, PP Shirshov contested its liability, Prossin said.
- In April 2019, after eight months of discussions, the PP Shirshov withdrew from all negotiations regarding the foregoing claim, and purported to terminate the PP Shirshov Charter, according to the filing.
- In May 2019, PP Shirshov repossessed both ships and sailed them back to Russia. The repossession was said to have happened suddenly and without notice to One Ocean.
- At the time of the repossession, there was approximately $400,000 in prepaid charter hire on one vessel and $200,000 in prepaid charter hire on the other, in addition to other One Ocean assets aboard the vessels such as food and drink inventory.
- One Ocean was forced to cancel all remaining scheduled voyages on the Russian ships, which resulted in costs and liabilities of approximately $12.5 million, which primarily represents lost revenue from canceled trips, but also includes other costs associated with last minute cancellations and handling of passengers.
- That, in turn, put enormous financial strain on One Ocean, according to the affadavit. One Ocean's sales revenues dropped from excess of $1million a week to less than $100,000 a week.
- In the summer of 2019, recognizing the financial difficulties resulting from these events, One Ocean sought operation financing from various sources, and by September 2019 had been negotiating long- term financing commitment to cover short term capital costs associated with replacing the lost vessels, as well as to provide long-term financial stability.
- The financing deal fell through, and the company was forced to halt operations on the Resolute.
- One Ocean was not able to make the scheduled charter payments owing to Bunnys Adventure, the shipowner, due October 1,2019, and November 1, 2019, and as a result, on or about November 9, 2019, Bunnys Adventure terminated the Bunnys Charter and repossessed the Resolute.
- The company had chartered the Resolute in 2018 on a bareboat charter deal for three years with an option to renew for 10 more years.
- One Ocean has also initiated arbitration proceedings against PP Shirshov, looking for damages of $6.5 million from the results of the grounding, and an additional $12.5 million for wrongful termination of the charter. The company also is asking for the charter deal to be reinstated.
- The company said it still has goods aboard the Resolute with a book value of $1.5 million; and goods aboard the Russian vessels with a book value of $1.5 million.
Disney Magic Makes Technical Call in the Azores
The 1998-built Disney Magic is on her way to Europe to repatriate crew and has made a technical call in Ponta Delgada in the Azores.
No crew were able to leave the ship during the call, with the vessel bunkering and taking on various provisions.
Disney Cruise Line has suspended all-new departures through Monday, July 27, 2020.
Guests currently booked on affected sailings will be offered the choice of a cruise credit to be used for a future sailing within 15 months of their original sail date, or a full refund. These Guests and travel agents will receive an email from Disney Cruise Line outlining details and next steps.
Norway Extends Border Closure; Not Ideal for Arctic Cruise Season
Norwegian officials have extended their border closure through August 20, effectively ending most of the Arctic expedition cruise season by putting Svalbard off limits to international guests.
Not only is it a key expedition destination, Svalbard in most cases serves as a homeport for a number of expedition brands, which offer high-yielding Arctic programs in June, July and August.
Svalbard is set to reopen for tourism on June 1, but without international arrivals permitted, business will be limited to domestic travel.
Quark's New Ultramarine Launched at Brodosplit
Quark's new Ultramarine expedition ship hit the water for the first time in Croatia at Brodosplit.
The 200-guest ship was launched into the water flawlessly from its slipway on Saturday.
With the keel laying last summer, Brodosplit completed the superstructure and key fit out items in just under a year.
The Ultramarine will feature 102 suites across nine categories, and features the largest entry-level suites of its class, the company said, generous balconies in over 60 percent of the suites, and six solo suites with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Guests can also look forward to two dining areas, four bars, a panorama lounge, lecture theater, library, polar boutique, spa and fitness center, sauna and more. The zodiac hanger will have four embarkation points for quick unloading and loading of guests for expeditions.
Lindblad Forced to Make Job Furloughs, Trim Salaries
Lindblad Expeditions announced on Friday it was forced to make a number of furlough arrangements and salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company said it had chosen to implement certain additional cost saving measures to help support its financial position during this extended time of uncertainty.
As a part of these cost saving measures, on May 15, 2020, approximately 130 employees of the company were furloughed and 55 employees received a reduction in workload of at least 50 percent.
'Furloughed employees will continue to be provided with health care benefits through at least September 30, 2020, with the company paying 100% of the premiums applicable to such employees," the company said, in a statement.
"Because these furloughs and workload reductions are related to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, we anticipate furloughed and reduced workload employees to be eligible for unemployment compensation, subject to applicable federal and state laws. Additionally, all remaining employees received a salary reduction of 15-20%. Chief Executive Officer Sven Lindblad will forego 100% of his salary during the COVID-19 crisis."
BVI Working on Product Improvements
The British Virgin Islands has refined its cruise product in recent years, expanding offerings on Wickams Cay and elsewhere cruise tourists might venture. It’s a worthwhile investment as visiting ships spend more than the traditional daylight.
The territory saw 354 cruise calls in 2019, but those ships stayed a total of 475 days. The collection of 45 or so islands, cays, and rocks has long attracted divers, sailors and beach lovers. New programs are meant to further entice.
The shallow-water wreck of the Rhone has been joined by an underwater sculpture called Sharkplaneo, meant to appear part shark, part airplane, as well as the wreck of the Willie T – the sad end to one of the Caribbean’s great floating bars, a 72-foot steel schooner lost in the 2017 hurricane season.
Also post-hurricane, the Seeds of Love Initiative allows visitors interested in voluntourism to replant trees. Taxi training is underway as is construction of permanent restroom facilities at Beef Island’s popular Long Bay beach. New directional signage is being installed as is the BVI NOW app, listing more than 500 points of tourism interest. Two new museums will open in 2020 as well as lookout telescopes on the traditionally populated four islands, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada.
An RFP for WiFi at the cruise pier was issued earlier this year and improved access for tenders elsewhere in the territory is being studied.
The BVI estimated an increase to 423 cruise calls in 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Puerto Vallarta to Start Reopening on May 18
The city of Puerto Vallarta will start its reopening process on May 18 as the State of Jalisco enters Phase 0 of its COVID-19 recovery plan, according to a press release.
Phase 0 will last at least 15 days and allow for the gradual return of some economic activities. It is the first step in preparing protocols for the next phases of the plan. During this time, social distancing, and the use of face masks outside the home will remain mandatory.
Stores, public roads, and businesses previously deemed non-essential that are linked to supply chains are allowed to operate at 50 percent of capacity.
Select businesses that do not generate crowds and adhere to social distancing guidelines will also be permitted to open.
Beaches, public spaces, shopping malls, bars, and nightclubs will remain closed. Restaurants and cafes that commit to applying established sanitation and safety protocols may operate at 50 percent of their capacity.
Hotel services such as access to swimming pools, bars, gyms, beach clubs, and private beaches remain suspended at this time. Cleaning, sanitizing, and disease prevention measures are in place at Puerto Vallarta International Airport, the cruise port, on public transportation, in supermarkets, and in government offices which are providing limited services.
“Tourism is a very important industry in our state, and we are looking forward to welcoming back international visitors when the time is right,” said German Ralis, Minister of Tourism of the State of Jalisco. “However, we remain very cautious with our plans for re-opening Jalisco, including popular tourism destinations like Puerto Vallarta, to ensure that the safest and cleanest conditions await guests upon their return.”
Atlas Ocean Announces 2021 Caribbean and South America Voyages
Atlas Ocean Voyages today announced that the company is adding four exciting Transatlantic, Caribbean and South America itineraries in October and November 2021.
The World Navigator, Atlas Ocean Voyages’ first ship, will cruise the Atlantic Ocean from Portugal to the Southern Caribbean islands before bringing guests along South America’s east coast to Tierra del Fuego, according to a statement.
“Beginning July 2021, Atlas Ocean Voyages’ distinct, excitement-driven Luxe-Adventure journeys will offer new world explorers an unmatched travel experience aboard our new, safe, small, clean and green ship, World Navigator,” said Alberto Aliberti, President of Atlas Ocean Voyages. “We’ve adjusted our inaugural-year deployment to bring World Navigator to the Caribbean so U.S. and Canadian travelers can embark on an adventure closer to home. And, the new Transatlantic, Caribbean and South America itineraries provide our valued travel advisor partners more options when discussing future 2021 travel with their clients and to take advantage of our 'Get Paid Now' offer.”
Guests can save up to $2,000 per suite and stateroom, and receive free air travel and more, on bookings made by June 30, 2020:• $1,000 savings plus free business-class air travel per suite guest• $500 savings plus free economy-class air per Horizon- or Veranda-stateroom guest• Reduced, 50-percent deposit• Free changes to any itinerary, departing before March 31, 2022.
“We’re expanding our 'Get Paid Now' offer, the industry’s most generous and immediate incentive program, to include our new Caribbean and South American Luxe-Adventure journeys to recognize Travel Advisors for their hard work,” said Brandon Townsley, Vice President of Sales and Trade Partnerships. “In addition to their 15 percent commission, we will reward them with a $500 or $750 gift card now. Their clients also have confidence that they can change – for free – their Luxe-Adventure journey of a lifetime to any other itinerary through March 2022.”
Travel Advisors can take advantage of Atlas Ocean Voyages' 'Get Paid Now' offer for all deposited World Navigator 2021/22 bookings and receive:• A $750 gift card per suite NOW• A $500 gift card per Horizon and Veranda stateroom NOW• 15% commission
The World Navigator will depart October 4, 2021, on a 13-night voyage, from Lisbon, Portugal. Guests will follow the winds of colonial explorers and call at some of the Atlantic’s most beautiful islands, including Madeira, Tenerife, St. Lucia and Barbados.
From Barbados, a 10-night itinerary, departing October 19, will bring guests on an epic equatorial crossing, via the north coast of South America, to Recife, Brazil.
Next up is a 13-night journey, departing October 29 from Recife, to Montevideo, Uruguay. Guest visit laid-back Brazilian ports of Buzios, and Paraty; explore the steep, cobblestone streets of one of South America’s oldest colonial cities, Salvador de Bahia; and revel in Uruguay’s resort city of Punta del Este. World Navigator guests also enjoy overnights in Rio de Janiero and in Itajai.
Windstar Plans to Start Cruising Again in September
Windstar Cruises announced today the 148-guest Wind Spirit will be its first ship in its fleet to resume sailing after suspending operations.
The Wind Spirit will resume sailing in Tahiti with its first cruise departing on September 3, 2020.
“We have taken extraordinary measures to operate our yachts safely,” said Xanterra and Windstar Cruises CEO Andrew Todd. “While we look forward to welcoming guests aboard again, we believe this further suspension of operations is the responsible action to take. We have laid plans for a resumption of small ship cruising beginning in September.”
Wind Spirit: Resumes sailing September 3, 2020 in Tahiti on previously scheduled itineraries.
Wind Surf: Returns November 29, 2020 sailing in the Caribbean on previously scheduled itineraries before heading to the Mediterranean in April 2021.
Wind Star: Resumes sailing January 16, 2021 with Costa Rica and Panama Canal sailings and then heads to the Mediterranean in April 2021.
Star Breeze: Due to a shipyard delay in Italy, sailings in Asia, New Zealand and Australia are canceled. Star Breeze will begin sailing October 27, 2020 in the Mediterranean before moving to the Caribbean in December 2020 to pick up sailings from Star Legend and Star Pride. Then the Star Breeze will offer a few new Caribbean itineraries until June when it heads to Alaska. A new 10-day Alaskan Splendors sailing was added on June 3, 2021 after which it resumes its previously scheduled Alaska itineraries.
Star Legend: Due to a shipyard delay in Italy, some sailings are canceled and others will be picked up by the Star Breeze. Star Legend begins sailing March 1, 2021 in the Mediterranean and will pick up some sailings previously scheduled for Star Pride.
Star Pride: Due to a shipyard delay in Italy, some sailings are cancelled and others will be picked up by Star Breeze. The Star Pride will begin sailing July 5, 2021 in Northern Europe.
Guests on cancelled cruises will receive a Future Cruise Credit valued at 125% of all monies paid on the booking to Windstar.
Guests who prefer a refund can request their FCC be converted to a refund equal to the amount paid on the Windstar booking once they receive their FCC. Guests will have 24 months to book and embark on any available Windstar cruise using their Future Cruise Credit. Windstar will protect Travel Advisor commissions on the affected bookings following the normal policy for cancelled bookings.
Royal Caribbean Likely to Raise More Cash
Royal Caribbean Cruises still needs cash, according to Wells Fargo Analyst Tim Conder, in a recent note to investors.
"We believe (Royal Caribbean Cruises) still needs to raise an additional $2.5B-$3B to weather a 'no sail' scenario through the end of 2021," Conder wrote. "We expect the raise will likely occur over the next two to three weeks and lean toward convertible debt and equity."
Up to $3 billion would go along with a recent note offering from the company that raised $3.3 billion that was used to repay a secured loan term.
The company currently has roughly $2.3 billion of cash on hand, giving it 10 months of liquidity with suspended operations, according to Conder.
Ships in cold lay up are estimate to run a cost of $3 million per month, per vessel; while warm lay ups could cost upwards of $5 million per month, per ship.
Mission to Seafarers Assisting Filipino Seafarers in Manila
The Mission to Seafarers has announced that it is supporting the government of the Philippines with the transfer of seafarers, who have completed their quarantine, back home to their local communities, during the Manila lockdown.
With the city of Manila adhering to curfews, checkpoints and 14-day mandatory quarantine, seafarers are left in isolation, without transport options to their local villages and paying for rented dormitories. Additionally, many seafarers are unable to disembark vessels, with 18 cruise ships and 7,000 seafarers said to be waiting to disembark in Manila bay.
The Mission to Seafarers, working closely in partnership with local partners including ISWAN and several local government ministries (OWWA and MARINA), said it has launched a Covid-19 Transport Response Project (CTRP) to provide transport to vulnerable seafarers and their families in Manila and local municipalities most affected by the Covid-19 lockdown, as well as providing essential supplies including food and water to seafarers and families stranded in greater Manila.
The project involves using a minibus and transport staff to transfer seafarers after their mandatory quarantine from the city of Manila to transport hubs outside the city, from where they can then reach their home towns and villages. The minibus has been modified to Covid-19 safety guidelines with plastic sheeting and screens, and goes through a strict cleaning process during each rotation of transportation.
Reverend Andrew Wright, secretary general for The Mission to Seafarers, commented in a prepared statement: “Many seafarers have been stranded for about two months now, locked down and without sources of income, which is not only impacting them, but also their families. While lockdown continues, seafarers are unable to return home to their local villages and are often renting communal accommodation, increasing the risk of contracting Covid-19.
“We are working with the government of the Philippines so that our dedicated staff can move freely through checkpoints and transport these essential workers home to their loved ones.
“Since April 1, we have provided food and water to 395 people and delivered essential items to three quarantine centers, two family homes and fifteen seafarer dormitories. As the lockdown continues, and unemployment is expected to rise, we anticipate this food insecurity to increase and will continue to do as much as we can to support the seafarers and their families.”
Silversea Responds Swiftly to Pandemic; Provides Updates on New Ships
Barbara Muckermann, chief marketing officer, outlined Silversea’s quick response of the COVID-19 pandemic in a media briefing on Tuesday.
The company relaxed cancellation policies, she said, added its Double Bonus Promotion with reduced deposits and shipboard credits, and has rolled out a generous refund policy. Commission for travel agents are now fully protected even if guests cancel bookings.
She said the company went from 10 to 20 cancellations a day to thousands. However, now, she noted, a number of guests that are getting a refund are still coming back to book new cruises.
Of note, Muckermann said expedition bookings were still following normal trajectories.
For ship deliveries, Muckermann confirmed the company’s upcoming five newbuilds, but said an exact date for the Silver Moon has not been confirmed, meaning the company has been forced to cancel August and September sailings for the new 596-guest newbuild from Fincantieri.
Dominica Expects More than 300,000 Cruise Guests for 2020-2021
The Nature Island is hoping for a robust 2020-2021 cruise season – hosting 306,000 passengers. After 176 calls in a storm-recovery 2018-2019 season, Dominica dropped to 257,647 passengers on 158 calls in 2019-2020. The 19 percent increase for 2020-2021 is most welcome, government officials said as the island enters the final stages of tourism development projects.
A long-awaited cruise village market has been in an advanced stage of planning, and the idea of cruise terminal has been floated.
Famed for its rivers, forests, volcanic lakes, and stunning flora and fauna, Dominica has long sought to balance accessing and preserving its natural wealth. The island has traditionally spurned large hotel and port projects for fear of damaging its pristine environment. Unfortunately, this has led to a fragile island infrastructure. It's something the government is looking to upgrade as it looks to increase its cruise calls.
Local officials say they continue to “negotiate with Mother Nature” – a reference to the brutal 2017 hurricane season – and to put passenger safety above all else, which meant cancelling four cruise calls during last fall’s election season’s civil unrest. The protests were far from where cruise passengers generally travel, but the calls were canceled out on an abundance of caution, officials said.
Royal Caribbean Cancels Cruises Through July; Targeting August 1 Return
Citing ongoing global public health circumstances, Royal Caribbean Cruises issued a statement saying that it has decided to extend the suspension of most sailings through July 31, 2020, with the exception of sailings from China, which will be suspended through the end of June.
"We are working with our guests and travel partners to address this disruption to their vacations, and we are genuinely sorry for their inconvenience," the company said. "We expect to return to service on August 1."
Virgin Pushes Start Date for Cruises to October 16
Virgin Voyages has extended its delayed launch and will now start revenue service in October, as opposed to August, according to a memo sent to travel partners.
"We’ve been working hard to find a way to set sail by August, but that hasn’t turned out to be possible," the company said.
"We appreciate how many of your Sailors were excited to sail with us, so we understand how disappointing this news is. But we trust you and your Sailors will understand our decision given the evolving global health challenge we’re all up against.
"As of right now, our first sailing is planned for October 16th, 2020, and we’ve rescheduled the Richard’s Birthday Bash sailing for July 14th, 2021. This sailing will still be a once in a lifetime experience for us to have fun, while also continuing our tradition of doing business for good."
Carnival Corp. Details Over 500 Florida Layoffs
Carnival said that the layoffs and furloughs would commence on June 1. Layoffs include over 420 jobs in Miramar, along with four furloughs.
In addition are layoffs for 82 individuals and 28 furloughs for workers that Carnival said work from home throughout Florida and in other states, but take direction from and operate within business units located in Miramar.
Carnival added that it anticipated the furloughs to be temporary and layoffs to be permanent, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the positions on the cut list:
134 Personal Vacation Planners
37 Cruise Vacation Specialists
42 Teleagents, Cruise Vacation Specialist
60 Agents, Groups
28 Agents, Online Support
24 Agents, Resolutions
57 Agents, Service
Director, Strategic Projects
Director, Trade Sales
Princess Cruises Inks Distribution Deal with CVC
Princess Cruises will be the first U.S. Carnival Corporation brand to integrate with CVC Corp, the largest travel group in Latin America.
This development was designed by Discover Cruises, which is part of Discover the World, which provides sales and marketing support for Princess Cruises in Brazil, Argentina, Hungary, Paraguay, South Africa, Uruguay and West Balkans.
This new agreement allows agents and customers in the entire Latin American region access to all of Princess inventory. It includes 18 ships with more than 170 itineraries around the world and pricing in Brazilian Reais, and an installment program. Agents and customers will have 24/7 access to CVC Corp.
"We are so excited about the new partnership with CVC Corp, which allows travel agents and our customers to see the rich, real time content we will be able to share with them," said Trey Hickey, Senior Vice President International of Princess Cruises. "With over 5,000 unique point of sale locations, this end-to-end connection will represent the single largest integrated network of travel agents anywhere in the non-English speaking world for Princess Cruises. The CVC Corp integration is the first of many more steps planned to improve our share, not just in Brazil, but across the entire LATAM region. We truly believe LATAM will become Princess Cruises largest fly cruise source market in the world."
Headquartered in Brazil, CVC Corp is comprised of seven different companies: CVC (the leader in the vacation and leisure travel segment), Sumarino Viagens (online leisure and business travel agency), Rextur Advance (corporate travel in the B2B segment), Trend (corporate and leisure travel distributed through independent agencies), Experimento Intercambio Cultural (courses and cultural exchange programs abroad) Esferatur (corporate travel in the B2B segment) and Visual Turismo (leisure travel focusing on ecotourism, honeymoon travel, resorts and charming and luxury accommodations. In 2009 CVC Corp acquired two of the most important travel companies in Argentina, the BIBAM Group and Ola Turismo. Last year, they acquire another company in Argentina, the Almundo Group.
Fred. Olsen Virtual Cruising Program Drives Bookings
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ inaugural virtual cruising program has been hailed a success, according to the company, with traffic to its website from its social media accounts up by more than 250% since the ‘sailings’ began.
Fred. Olsen set sail on its first virtual cruise on April 9, taking in the highlights of Norway, with destinations since then featuring the Canary Islands, Macronesia, Iceland and Greenland, the UK and the Mediterranean.
Since the start or the virtual cruising program, the number of visits from Facebook to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ consumer website have increased by 252% on the same period last year, with more than 31,800 unique views to The Bridge, the dedicated section of the website hosting virtual cruising content, while bookings for 2021 are up by 11% year on year.
Ben Williams, Head of Digital at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:
“When we started our virtual cruising program, it was to engage with our guests and to give them the opportunity to enjoy all the joys of cruising at a time when we are unable to travel.
“It has been so rewarding to see guests share their memories from the various ports we have called into, tell us their tales from aboard our ships and
“What it has also done is demonstrate that there is still an appetite for cruise, and that so many, like us, can’t wait to get cruising again as soon as the world is ready.”
Each week, Fred. Olsen’s virtual cruise takes in a different destination via a series of videos, images, blog posts, whilst also celebrating the onboard experience by offering ‘onboard lectures’, videos from entertainment acts, tutorials and live quizzes.
Fred. Olsen’s virtual program will continue next week with a focus on the Baltic, with a full itinerary to be posted across its social media channels at the start of the week.
American Cruise Lines Targets End of June Start
American Cruise Lines is poised to have two ships back in service at the end of June at 75 percent capacity, according to a spokesperson.
The American Song is set to resume cruise operations on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. The ship's capacity will be trimmed from 184 guests to to 138.
The American Harmony will begin cruising on the Mississippi, with capacity down from a maximum of 190 guests to 142.
The next phase of the company’s return to service could see Alaska cruises resume this summer.
In addition, the American Jazz is still on schedule to debut as the company’s third modern riverboat come September, while two sister ships in the modern riverboat series are still on schedule for 2021 launches from Chesapeake Shipbuilding.
The company has released a comprehensive COVID-19 operating protocol plan.
Ships returning to service at 75 percent occupancy will offer 450 square feet per guest and are equipped with independent HVAC systems in every stateroom and lounge with no shared ducting.
The company has responded quickly and implemented a touchless boarding and check-in process.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be available at all times for guests and crew. PPE includes face shields, gloves, and face masks. PPE may be required during certain events as situations dictate, according to the company, which also said it is allowing for increased downtime between cruises to allow for vessel sanitation.
During operations sanitation rounds will be conducted hourly, including cleaning of all touchpoints, including railings, doorknobs, elevator buttons, and gangways.
Public bathrooms will be closed. Guests will be asked to use the restrooms in their stateroom.
Carnival Corp. Details More Job Cuts in Doral Headquarters
Carnival Corporation has detailed more cuts to its teams at its Doral, Florida, headquarters in a filing with the state of Florida.
The news follows over 500 cuts detailed in a filing earlier this week.
In Doral, the company said as part of its Carnival Cruise Line division, 181 individuals will be laid off and 379 will be furloughed.
Among The Lay Off Position Titles (181 In Total)
- 5 Administrative Assistants
- 5 Executive Administrative Assistants
- 10 Senior Analysts
- Over 20 Manager Titles
- 19 Director Titles
- 14 Vice President titles
- Senior Vice President, Nautical and Port Operations
On a corporate level, the company said it will layoff 96 workers and furlough 56 starting on June 1, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the titles are nine senior analysts, various administrators, three senior directors, eight directors, three senior managers, 14 managers, the senior vice president of retail, and six vice president positions.
Bahamas Paradise Back to Cruising in July; 60 Percent Capacity
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line today announced that sailings will resume onboard the Grand Celebration July 25 and onboard the Grand Classica October 2.
The cruise company plans to resume its two-night product at 60 percent capacity, according to a statement, with a host of sweeping onboard changes for health and safety.
The cruise line's Cruise & Stay Program, which lets guests extend their stay in the Bahamas for up to four nights at one of the company’s resort partners, will also be available for bookings beginning October 2.
“As things begin to return to normal after months of quarantine, we can all use a quick getaway. When we return, our onboard experience may look a little different to our guests,” said Oneil Khosa, CEO of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. “The wellness of our passengers and crew members remains our top priority, and as such, passengers can expect enhanced sanitization procedures from embarkation to disembarkation so that they can enjoy a relaxing, safe, stress-free getaway. We look forward to welcoming everyone onboard soon!”
The cruise line said it will close two passenger decks to reduce capacity by 40 percent.
These protocols will encourage social distancing and provide one of the highest guests to space ratios in the industry, according to the cruise company.
Embarkation and disembarkation:
All guests required to practice social distancing from valet parking to terminal check-in
All terminal staff members will be monitored and required to wear masks and remain behind safety plexiglass for minimal contact
Passenger luggage will be disinfected prior to onboard delivery
Mandatory touch-free temperature checks and pre-boarding health declarations for all guests
Extensive sanitization and disinfection processes at entry of port terminal, ships, and passenger walkway areas
Online check-in for guests, who will receive designated arrival times at cruise terminal to streamline embarkation and minimize crowds in port
Sanitization of all cabins with hospital-grade disinfectants
Fogging of vacant cabins and twice-daily wipe down of hallways
Disinfection of guest bathrooms with heavy-duty alkaline cleaner
Timely housekeeping cabin turnover with sheets and linens cleaned and disinfected at sterilizing temperatures
All onboard public areas will undergo a two-tier sanitization process, which includes cleansing and fogging using hospital-grade disinfectant. Frequency includes elevators every two hours and public areas and facilities up to ten times per day
Frequently touched areas, including handrails, table-tops, and door handles will be sterilized every hour
All floors will be disinfected with a heavy-duty neutral PH floor cleaning solution
All onboard areas will include fully stocked self-service hand sanitizer stations
All restaurants and bar areas will be cleaned and sanitized three times a day
Self-service buffet stations have been suspended; all food and beverage will be served by crew members wearing face masks, hats, aprons, and gloves
Tables and seating areas will keep guests six feet apart to facilitate social distancing
Stringent procurement guidelines will be enforced, and products from certain regions will be prohibited
Entertainment and recreation:
Theatres will be thoroughly sanitized before and after each show
Kids’ Club facilities will be cleaned twice per day
Spa and gym areas will be sanitized before and after each use, including common areas within these facilities twice daily
Tour buses for excursions will be reduced to 50 percent capacity, sanitized frequently, and tour operators will be trained using guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO)
Casino players per table will be restricted to ensure social distancing and slot machines will be positioned to separate players
Practices and standards for crew members:
Twice daily temperature checks
All frontline crew are required to wear face masks, and all food service crew serving guests in the buffet are required to wear disposable hats, aprons, masks, and gloves
Housekeeping and food and beverage crew are required to wear both disposable gloves and masks. The disposal of all gloves and masks will align with the CDC’s guidelines
All crew will be required to use antibacterial hand soap for at least 20 seconds to sanitize hands
All crew members are required to practice social distancing, and each crew member will be allocated their own cabin onboard the ships
Isolated wards available in the medical center for ill guests or those who are concerned that they have been exposed to COVID-19
Contaminated items and medical waste will be properly sealed and disposed of according to the CDC’s guidelines
Used face masks and protective equipment will be disposed of at designated central collection points
Medical equipment and waste bins will be thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, and washed twice daily with hospital-grade disinfectants
Fresh air ventilation system:
Implemented a fresh air ventilation system to ensure healthy air quality in all onboard cabins and common areas
All air filters and cooling coils will be thoroughly checked, cleaned and replaced as needed
Hawaii Predicts No Cruise Passengers Until Second Half of 2021
In a report issued by Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, officials predict the state will not see cruise traffic until the second half of 2021..
"No cruise visitors until second half of 2021," said the report. "It will take 6 years for visitor arrivals to recover to the 2019 level. This is based on the 2009 great recession pace."
Norwegian Cruise Line will be hit the hardest among cruise operators, with a dedicated year-round ship in the Pride of America. In 2017, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings President and CEO Frank Del Rio called the vessel the highest yielding in the company's fleet.
The 2005-built ship is unique in the fact it carries a U.S. flag, meaning it can conduct cruises without visiting a foreign port. If the ship were to redeploy, new itineraries could include Alaska without Canada, or the U.S. East Coast, which would give Norwegian access to high yielding markets with very unique itineraries.
Hawaii will welcome 3.4 million visitors in 2020, according to the report, a decrease of 67.5 percent from 2019 level.
Visitor arrivals will increase to 6.2 million in 2021, 8.3 million in 2022, and 9.4 million in 2023. Visitor arrivals will not reach the 2019 level until 2025 based on the assumptions. Visitor spending will decrease more during the next few years due to the decrease in daily spending.
Chinese Cruise Line Begins to Staff Up Again
Astro Ocean Cruises may be planning to restart operations soon as the cruise company and its recruitment partner have started an aggressive recruitment drive in China for both marine and hotel jobs aboard the Piano Land, which is the former P&O Oriana.
While the one-ship brand offering a variety of technical and nautical jobs, it is also recruiting a full entertainment staff including stage production crew and singers and dancers, signaling it plans to have paying guests aboard in the near future.
The company also said it is looking for 32 galley workers and a number of cabin stewards, which would be needed for a ship in revenue service.
With China the first country to shut down due to COVID-19, the Chinese cruise fleet was laid up in late January. It could also be the first to come back, as first reported by Cruise Industry News.
Astro Ocean Cruises spent most of April using the downtime to refurbish the Piano Land, making upgrades prior to a planned resumption of service.
The Piano Land drydocked in Zhoushan and the company added a new class of suites to the ship that will also offer their own dining area, similar to other "ship within a ship" concepts in the market.
Suite guests will also get priority embarkation and disembarkation, as well as private VIP shopping experiences, a special amenities kit, free WiFi and discounted spa treatments.
Other staterooms will get a third berth, encouraging family travel, the company said.
The ship also got a new HVAC system that allows 100 percent fresh air circulation. The company said specific staterooms will be set up for any medical situations, and that they may also re-enter service without any interior staterooms available for guests, which would trim occupancy on the ship.
The Piano Land’s duty-free shopping area, which has already been expanded, has now tripled in size and welcomes 100 new international brands, spanning decks 6 and 7.
Costa Cancels July Sailings
Costa Cruises has announced a further pause for its cruises until July 31, 2020.
"The decision is linked to the uncertainty of a gradual reopening of ports to cruise ships and the restrictions that may still be in place for the movements of the people due to the COVID-19 global pandemic," the company said in a statement.
Costa is taking steps to inform both travel agents and guests affected by the changes.
Silversea Launches Virtual Visits for Travel Partners
Silversea is rolling out Virtual Visits, a new weekly video series designed for travel partners.
"Nurturing the cruise line’s strong relationships with the travel agent community, representatives from Silversea's global sales and marketing teams are hosting short video presentations of 15 minutes or less that travel advisors can view at their convenience to keep up to date with the company’s latest news," the company said, in a prepared statement.
Delivered through a dedicated new platform, sales team members address key areas of interest, from product developments and destination insights to new offers and initiatives, including the recently launched Cruise with Confidence program and the Double Bonus promotion, which enabled guests to book a cruise with Silversea from just USD $1,000 per suite, which will be converted into a $1,000 Onboard Spending Credit.
"We have launched this Virtual Visits program to support our valued travel partners throughout this challenging period," says Barbara Muckermann, Silversea’s Chief Marketing Officer. "We understand how difficult it can be for travel advisors to keep up with scheduled webinars, so we have created these convenient online videos, hosted by a familiar Silversea face, as a way to stay connected and to update our partners at their leisure. Silversea is offering guests unprecedented flexibility to book their voyages when they feel ready and these Virtual Visits ensure that travel advisors are there to support their guests every step of the way."
Silversea’s Virtual Visits are delivered by email, via the popular Explore newsletter, to the cruise line's established travel partners. Travel advisors requiring additional information may contact the Silversea sales support team by calling 1-800-722-9955.
AIDA Cruises Extends Pause in Operations Through July
AIDA Cruises today extended its cruise cancellations through July 31, 2020, according to a statement.
The company said it was in close coordination with the different national and international authorities and health organizations in terms of restarting service in the near future.
"AIDA very much wants guests to enjoy their long-awaited AIDA holidays at a later date," the company said, in a press release. "To this end, AIDA will reimburse all guests whose cruises have been cancelled for the payments previously made to AIDA in the form of a travel credit. AIDA thanks all guests for their confidence by offering them a bonus of 10% on top of the payment already made. The credit can be used for bookings until December 31, 2021, for the complete range of AIDA trips on offer. The AIDA travel credit is also redeemable for MyAIDA services such as excursions, culinary offers and wellness treatments or onboard credit."
AIDA will reimburse guests who do not wish to use their travel credit including the 10% bonus upon request in the amount of the payment already made.
In order to support travel agencies in these challenging times, AIDA said it will pay out a liquidity advance. This is 10% of the credit value and will be transferred to the sales partner as soon as AIDA has issued the travel credit for the joint customer.
Victory Cruise Lines Suspends 2020 Cruise Season; Looks to 2021
Victory Cruise Lines announced it will cancel all planned itineraries for the remainder of the 2020 season due to prolonged governmental restrictions and uncertainties of future travel through Canadian waters, according to a statement.
Victory said it will continue to focus efforts on the upcoming 2021 season, which includes the debut of the Ocean Victory in Alaska and new itineraries on the Great Lakes, Canadian Maritimes, New England and the Southeastern U.S.
“The decision to suspend service for 2020 was a difficult and disappointing choice but necessary in response to uncertainties of Canadian travel in the coming months. In anticipation of operating, we have taken this time to implement cutting-edge health and safety protocols. We will now focus on our exciting new itineraries planned for 2021, including the Ocean Victory in Alaska,” said John Waggoner, founder and CEO of American Queen Steamboat Company, which owns Victory. “The health, safety and confidence of our guests, crew and partners is our number one priority, and we will return in 2021 stronger and better than ever.”
In 2021, Victory will roll out new itineraries including the 12- and 13-day Discover Beyond Alaska Expedition Cruises on the upcoming Ocean Victory between Vancouver, B.C. and Sitka, Alaska. The Victory I and Victory II will also return with refreshed routes, including a 12-day Southeastern U.S. cruise that sails roundtrip to Amelia Island, Fla. (Fernandina Beach).
Victory said it will also be announcing plans for new winter itineraries for both the Victory I and Victory II.
For guests who are booked to sail on the Victory I or Victory II in 2020, no action is necessary at this time. The VCL customer service team will reach out directly to guests and travel agents in the coming days to answer any questions and advise on available options, which include the opportunity to rebook on a later date, a 125 percent cruise credit or a full refund.
American Queen to Restart Cruises in July
American Queen Steamboat Company has announced a new timeline for the suspension and resumption of operations across all vessels, according to a press release.
The company said the new timeline was prepared in response to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and following the continued wide-spread governmental restrictions across ports, cities and public institutions. The company also recently announced new health protocols.
“We are excited to get back on the rivers and deliver the high-quality experience we are known for. As we look to our new relaunch dates, the wellbeing of our guests, crew and partners remains our top concern,” shares John Waggoner, founder and CEO of American Queen Steamboat Company. “Our recent partnership with Ochsner Health in addition to our enhanced health and safety protocols and easy access to U.S. healthcare facilities, allows us to responsibly and safely resume operations in our two key markets, the Pacific Northwest and the Lower and Upper Mississippi River.”
American EmpressThe American Empress, which sails the Columbia and Snake rivers, will extend its suspension through July 5, 2020 and intends to resume operating the July 6-13 Pacific Northwest Splendors sailing from Portland (Vancouver, WA) to Spokane (Clarkston, WA).
American DuchessThe American Duchess, which sails on the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers, will extend its suspension through July 19, 2020 and intends to resume its operations with the July 20-27 Mark Twain’s Mississippi sailing from St. Louis, MO (Alton) to Minneapolis, MN (Red Wing).
American Countess and American QueenThe American Countess, the latest paddlewheeler to join the fleet on the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers, and the American Queen will extend its suspension through July 15, 2020. The company said it is reviewing specific restart dates and will announce both vessels’ debut itineraries in the coming weeks.
Celebrity Cruises Marks 30 Years with Video
Celebrity Cruises is marking its 30th birthday by reflecting on its journey with a new video (below).
Established in 1990 by the Greece-based Chandris Group, the line became part of Royal Caribbean Cruises seven years later in 1997.
“Having recently celebrated my 35th Anniversary with the company, my time at RCL predates the acquisition of Celebrity Cruises, giving me a unique perspective in watching Celebrity grow from day one. I was a District Sales Manager in New England, at the time, and Celebrity was a formidable competitor that really started to change the complexion of premium cruising,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises. “For me, Celebrity’s legacy will be setting modern luxury cruising standards that are Celebrity’s to own, and then resetting and raising the bar, again and again.
"It is that spirit of pioneering that continues to take the brand and our guest experiences to new heights – and I’m not just talking about the view from the Magic Carpet. As we look ahead to the post-pandemic world we will sail in, there is more progress to be made in our industry. I am confident Celebrity – and the entire RCL family – will continue to lead every step of the way. Our next 30 years will be even more incredible thanks to the ongoing support of our travel partners, our loyal guests, our Captains and crew, and our shoreside team members,” she added.
Crystal Unveils Serenity's 2023 Voyages
Crystal Cruises has announced the complete 2023 deployment for the Crystal Serenity which includes 32 sailings ranging in length from seven to 23 nights – including the 140-night Wild Kingdoms & Exotic Discoveries World Cruise that was announced in April.
Crystal Serenity’s 2023 voyages will be available for booking on June 3, 2020, with Crystal’s new Easy Book program offering reduced deposits and waived admin fees for all new bookings made through June 30, 2020.
“Many travelers are anticipating their next great journeys now more than ever, and we know that offering our guests an abundance of choices and time to plan only adds to the inspiration,” said Carmen Roig, Crystal’s senior vice president of marketing and sales. “The 2023 sailings aboard Crystal Serenity are a collection of the world’s most coveted destinations, featuring the places travelers love most, whether they’re just daydreaming of returning again after many cherished visits, or the place has always topped their must-see lists. Combined with the onboard experience of a ship that is a beloved destination unto itself, every itinerary is an enriching opportunity for travelers.”
Wild Kingdoms & Exotic Discoveries World Cruise – 140 nights in total from Miami, with alternative disembarkation options in Venice and Athens for 128- and 119-night itineraries, respectively. The voyage visits 73 destinations in all, including five maiden ports and 19 overnights across 40 countries on six continents – with a focus on the world’s greatest wonders and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Destinations range from the South Pacific and Papua New Guinea to Myanmar, the Seychelles, African safaris and Egypt’s ancient wonders.
A connoisseur’s collection of the Black Sea, Mediterranean and Western Europe – Guests explore Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal, plus sojourns through the Black Sea calling in Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia and Turkey; along the Dalmatian Coast to Croatia and Montenegro; the romantic ports of Iberia. Offered June through August.
Guests seeking extended journeys throughout the year, outside the full World Cruise, can combine multiple voyages for up to 100 days of luxury exploration without repeating a port. Crystal Symphony’s 2023 deployment will be announced in July, the company said.
New P&O Iona to Drydock Before Delivery
New P&O Iona to Drydock Before Delivery
The P&O Iona will drydock at a Damen facility in Rotterdam for inspection work prior to her handover to P&O Cruises from Meyer Werft, according to a statement.
The ship is currently in Bremerhaven awaiting final equipment and provisions before moving to Rotterdam early next week.
The transit to Rotterdam will also be used as another set of sea trials, with the ship set to depart from Germany late this week.
Meyer Werft said the 50th cruise ship it has built is soon to be completed, with some work interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the yard, along with local officials and the port of Bremerhaven were able to come together to continue to work on the ship under various protective measures.
A delivery date was not named but the cruise line is expected to take delivery in mid June.