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MSC: Change of plan in USA
Tuesday, 17 June 2014 00:00

MSC Divina returns to Europe in 2015. William MayesMSC Divina returns to Europe in 2015. William MayesHaving previously announced that MSC Divina (2012/139,926gt) would operate year-round from Miami on alternate Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, MSC have changed the plan and now have the ship returning to Europe in April 2015 in a move said by the company to ‘strengthen its commitment to serving the North American market’.

It seems that the enhancements made to the ship to suit American tastes have paid off, and the ship will continue to offer these when she sails in the Mediterranean next year.

She will be largely marketed to American passengers on her seven-night itineraries, and will be home-ported in Civitavecchia, cruising to La Spezia, Cannes, Palma, Barcelona and Naples. Barcelona will be an additional embarkation and disembarkation port. MSC Divina will be dry-docked in October, before returning to Florida for a third winter season.

Quantum to China
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 00:00

Quantum of the Seas will move to China in 2015. Royal CaribbeanQuantum of the Seas will move to China in 2015. Royal CaribbeanFurther redeployments of ships for 2015 include the surprise move of the 4,180-lower berth Quantum of the Seas from her New York base in May 2015 to Shanghai, where she will be employed on cruises of up to eight nights to Japan and Korea. She was originally to have been based permanently in New York, but will be replaced by the slightly smaller Liberty of the Seas (3,600 lower berths) from 6 May 2015. She, in turn, will be replaced by Anthem of the Seas, Quantum’s sistership, in November, following that ship’s summer season sailing from Southampton.

Royal Caribbean has the strongest presence of any cruise line in the rapidly growing Chinese market, with Voyager of the Seas being based there since 2012 and Mariner of the Seas seasonally in 2013. The Chinese market is seen as one which generates high onboard spending, particularly in the casino, and on luxury goods in the shops. It has been speculated that, once the third of the Oasis of the Seas class is delivered, one of that trio may also find her way to China.

Aida Cruises: Aidaprima running late
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 00:00

Aidaprima’s arrival in Europe will be almost one year late. Aida CruisesAidaprima’s arrival in Europe will be almost one year late. Aida CruisesFollowing the announcement by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries that it would take a massive loss on the construction of two 122,000gt ships for Aida Cruises came the admission that the first ship, Aidaprima, would be delivered approximately six months later than scheduled.

Clearly this will be a major setback for Mitsubishi’s plan to re-enter the cruise ship construction market. In the company’s own words, it underestimated the amount of design work needed on the project. As a result, the previously scheduled 86-night maiden voyage from Japan to Hamburg in the spring of 2015 has been cancelled, as has the ship’s entire Northern European season.

Instead, she will sail from Japan in the autumn and spend the winter based in Dubai before heading to Hamburg for the first time, where, from late April 2016, she will be based permanently for seven-night English Channel and Norwegian Fjord cruises.

Princess Cruises: Expansion down under
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 00:00

Golden Princess moves to Australia in 2015. Rick FrendtGolden Princess moves to Australia in 2015. Rick FrendtIn what will be its biggest ever deployment in Australia, Princess Cruises will base five ships there during 2015-16, with the 108,865gt Golden Princess joining the growing fleet for the first time. She will use Melbourne as her home port. Dawn Princess and Sea Princess, already providing year-round cruises, will be joined by Sun Princess (all three 77,000gt) when she remains in Australia for the winter of 2016.

The fifth ship is the larger Diamond Princess, with a gross tonnage of 115,875. Golden Princess will start her season in Sydney in October 2015 before moving to Melbourne for five months, while Diamond Princess will be based in Sydney for the full summer season. Sun Princess will operate 11 cruises from Fremantle, while Brisbane will be her home between August and November 2015.

She will be replaced in Brisbane by Sea Princess, with both ships operating cruises taking in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Queensland. In all, the five ships will offer more than 80 different cruises, firmly positioning Australia as Princess Cruises’ second largest market after North America.

Germany: Cruise market growing
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 00:00

Aida Cruises’ ships have made a significant contribution to the growth of the German cruise market. William MayesAida Cruises’ ships have made a significant contribution to the growth of the German cruise market. William Mayes

The German cruise market is the fastest growing in Europe and one of the fastest growing in the world, according to recently-released information. The Hamburg Cruise Centre expects the number of German ocean cruise passengers to exceed two million in 2015 and 2.5 million by 2020.

In anticipation of the arrival of AIDAprima next spring, a third terminal will be built on the south bank of the river Elbe, incorporating separate terminal buildings for incoming and outgoing passengers, parking for 1,500 cars and a dedicated ferry berth for the local ferries to connect with the city centre.

Aidaprima will be based in Hamburg year-round and will operate from the city every week on various Norwegian and English Channel itineraries. Aida Cruises is by far the largest player in the German market, with ten ships at present, carrying an estimated 764,000 passengers in 2013, an increase of 20 per cent on 2012.


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