Tuesday, 29 April 2008

RCL plan a European Expantion

Royal Caribbean International will be further expanding in Europe as cruising becomes an increasingly popular holiday choice.
Richard Fain, the company’s chairman, speaking before the UK naming of the line’s biggest ship, Independence of the Seas on Wednesday, said he believed cruising was starting to reach “a critical mass” in Europe as more and more people recommend newcomers to the advantages of cruise holidays.
He denied that the US economic decline was influencing their decisions to send more vessels to Europe. He said: “The business decisions had to be made for the long term aspect of the company regardless of the financial climate.
He also said that interest in Europe would continue to grow due to the increase in cruise passengers from the region.
The company expect over 60,000 passengers to sail on the 3,600-passenger cruise liner Independence of the Seas in the first summer, the ship will depart from Southampton to the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and Ireland.
The port of Southampton is more than capable of handling over 900,000 passengers based on 280 cruise ships calling this year as total UK cruise numbers are predicted to hit 1.55 million.
Royal Caribbean is offering a range of fly-cruises within Europe across its brands this summer and is waiting to unveil further details of its joint voyage in Germany with TUI AG to reach German-speaking passengers.

31 % more Families Book a Cruise

The largest independent travel company in the UK, The Co-operative Travel have claimed a 31% increase in families booking cruises this year. According to the agency group, families now represent one in ten of all cruise passengers.
As Royal Caribbean International’s largest ship, Independence of the Seas is due to arrive in Southampton for its naming next Wednesday, the figure emerged which followed last week’s launch of P&O cruises largest family-friendly cruise liner Ventura.
According to Co-operative Travel the growing trend by UK families imitate the habits of American holidaymakers.
The International Association of Cruise Lines represents around 97% of US cruise ships, they have reported that they carry approximately one million children every year and the demand has pushed cruise operators to cater for the family market.
Trevor Davis of Co-operative Travel said: “Cruising is one of the travel industry’s biggest success stories, cruise holidays have always been multi-generational which makes it even more appealing for families who want to see what is on offer.”
“Major cruise operators have convinced parents who are looking for a stress-free break to choose a cruising holiday, these cater for families as the ships are fitted with increasingly bigger and better attractions and also making the kids club and entertainment more enjoyable. There is also an increase in ships departing from the UK.”
“A cruising holiday is also very appealing to families as it gives them the flexibility to eat what and when they want and also can allow older children to roam the ship and try out some of the entertainment such as on-board surfing and climbing walls all in a safe environment.”
“Combining a cruise holiday with departures from the UK and you can cut out stress plus the expense of flying with children. It’s an attractive offer.”
He added: "The launch of The Independence of the Seas will further boost the family cruising market.”
"The increased publicity and capacity will show more parents what cruising has to offer them and their children."

Two New Star ships For Louise Cruise Lines

Louis Cruise Lines have made an agreement with Star Cruises to purchase two of their cruise ships. The parent company, Louis plc plan to buy the Norwegian Dream and the Norwegian Majesty for the total of $380 million (240 million euros).
As part of their agreement, the Norwegian Dream will be leased back to Star Cruises until November 2008 and the Norwegian Majesty until December 2009.
The funding has been undertaken by DVB Bank, who is a specialist transportation finance bank.
Louis Cruise Lines have said the move would strengthen its position in the Eastern Mediterranean cruise market.
They added: “The expansion of the company’s cruising operations is expected to lead to a considerably higher profitability for 2009 onwards and will also create new prospects for Louis plc internationally.”
Costakis Loizou, executive chairman for Louis Plc also stated: “This announcement is working with our strategy for the renewal of our ships and also the continuous upgrading of the service that we provide.”
“This isn’t only a major step forward for Louis but also for the Mediterranean cruise market, where the company have been active over a couple of decades now.”
“With the current trends of the cruise market our decision is consistent, since cruising is the fastest growing tourism sector internationally.”

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Oil prices bite as Royal Caribbean increases fuel supplement

The ever increasing price of oil has forced Royal Caribbean Cruises to increase the fuel supplement for all bookings made on or after the 1st May 2008.

An additional $8 (£4 approximately) per person, per day, will be applied for first and second passengers in a stateroom.

They have however restricted this to a maximum of $112 (£55 approximately) per person, per cruise.

The charge will be restricted to $3 (£1.50 approximately) a day, with a limit of $42 (£20 approximately) for any additional passengers sharing a state room.

This additional charge will apply to the Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises brands.

To avoid this charge book with CruiseDirect before the 1st May 2008

Friday, 18 April 2008

Holland America anounce 2009 "Grand Voyages"

Four grand voyages will be available from Holland America Line in 2009, with sailings ranging between 50 to 117 days.

Rotterdam’s Grand World Voyage will begin a 117-day journey on the 19th January from Los Angeles and the Grand South America Voyage leaves on the 2nd January for 68 days sailing.
50-days sailing aboard the Prinsendam for the Grand Mediterranean Voyage which will leave on the 11th March from Fort Lauderdale has also been announced.

If a 67-day Grand Australia and New Zealand cruise is for you then its available departing from Seattle on the 26th September.

To take advantage of the early booking offers bookings with cruisedirect must be made by 20th May.

Discounts depend upon which cruise and cabin category is chosen and may include "onboard credit", "pre-paid gratuities", or an excursion of some kind, or a bottle of Champagne.

2009 Cruises 30% cheaper than last year.

CruiseDirect is reporting that cruises companies are reducing 2009 cruise prices by up to 30% for off peak sailings,iIn an attempt to lure price conscious cruisers to book early.

P&O Cruises will launch their 2009 Preview brochure on 21 April, unlike last year when each ship’s program was launched on a different day, will this year release stock in blocks of departures, over a six day period.

Nigel Esdale, Managing Director of P&O Cruises, said that the line had experimented this year, by cutting prices for departures which are traditionally slow to sell and this pricing policy would be extended. For some cruises the daily cost has been reduced to £70 instead of the usual £100.

Sharon Munro, Managing Director of Barrhead Travel says, ‘These are great deals as while cruise lines are cutting prices to lure the early booker, the prices at peak times have actually risen by 2-3% because there is a lull in cruising capacity in 2009. Ex UK, overall capacity increased by 40% this year but no major rise is planned for next year by the leading cruise lines in the UK market’

Friday, 11 April 2008

MSC Cruises Launch Summer 09 Programme

MSC Cruises will feature two new ships in an expanded program sailing from Dover in 2009.

12-Day cruises will be available on the MSC Lirica which will fulfill all of the northern European sailing from the UK including calls in Amsterdam, Bremerhaven, Gothenburg, Talinn, St Petersburg and Copenhagen on 9th May, 14th July and 5th August next year.

St Petersburg is featured with a 2 day stopover in many of the itineraries.
Starting at only £700, from CruiseDirect and Barrhead Travel
the prices for the Dover sailings are very reasonable indeed.

MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida, 2 new ships are also introduced for next year, as well as the MSC Poesia which has only recently been launched.

MSC Fantasia’s maiden voyage will be a Xmas cruise departing from Genoa in December this year, Again prices start at £905 or £2,600 in the ship’s ‘six-star’ MSC Yacht Club suites with butler service. The christening of the ship will take place in Naples.

MSC Splendida, the sister ship of the MSC Fantasia sails out of Barcelona on 7 June calling at Genoa, Civitavecchia / Rome, Messina / Taormina, La Goulette / Tunis, Genoa and Marseilles. This will be its inaugural cruise.

Venice will see visits from MSC Poesia, MSC Musica and MSC Armonia in 2009 – MSC – each featuring differing eight-day itineraries.

Sail to Dover from Fort Lauderdale in Florida on the MSC Orchestra which departs on 2nd May and visits New York City for two days en-route.

Queen to pay farewell visit to the QE2

It has been announced that the Queen will visit the QE 2 for the final time, in Southampton next month.

A spokesman for Cunard have said that the full details will be announced very soon.
QE2, was launched by the Queen at the Clydebank shipyard in Glasgow, in September 1967. The QE2 has been the flagship of the Cunard fleet for 35 years and has sailed for over 5.6 million nautical miles, whilst carrying over 2.5 million passengers. She has completed 25 world cruises; and has clocked up 802 transatlantic crossings.

This will be the third time that the Queen has been on-board the QE2having previously visited in 1969, immediately prior its maiden voyage, and again in 1990 for the 150th anniversary of the Cunard Line.

In November the vessel will head off to Dubai where she will feature as a major tourist attraction. Carol Marlow, the President and managing director of Cunard said: “We are delighted and honored that The Queen has chosen to visit QE2 to wish her farewell.

“Her Majesty has taken a close interest in the ship over the last 40 years, and I am certain this will be a memorable occasion for all involved”

Monday, 7 April 2008

P & O’s Superliner Ventura arrives in Southampton in a Snow Storm

The superliner “Ventura” sailed into its home port, Southampton for the first time on Sunday, April 6th, arriving on time in a snowstorm, P&O’s £300 million ship arrived on schedule from the Italian ship yard where she was built.
She will be formally named by Dame Helen Mirren at a ceremony in Southampton on April 16.

The huge 3,000-plus passenger vessel will then be showcased to the travel trade and consumers over a 10 day proving period.

The “Ventura” will also set sail on April 14th for a two-night party cruise, with an invited passenger list, prior to the naming. The Passenger Shipping Association 50th anniversary dinner will be held on board on April 14 as part of the celebrations.

The “Ventura’s
” maiden cruise will leave Southampton bound for the Mediterranean .April 18. Full details of the ships Itinerary for this cruise and it’s subsequent voyages are available from Barrhead Travel, the cruise specialists, and Cruise Direct

Ventura Facts:


Fincantieri, Italy

Country and port of registry:

Bermuda, Hamilton

Gross tonnage:

116,000 tonnes

Length overall:




Height (from keel):


Height (from waterline):





3,080 regular operating capacity
3,574 maximum operating capacity

Passenger decks:


Passenger cabins:

Total – 1,546
1,101 outside
880 balcony
445 inside

Ventura passenger facilities:

  • 11 places to eat
  • 10 places to drink
  • Five places to shop
  • Three places to dance
  • Six places to enjoy live music
  • Two-tier theatre
  • Five pools
  • Six whirlpool spas
  • Five children’s/teenager’s areas
  • Nightclub
  • Two show lounges
  • Sports court
  • Hi-tech gym
  • Extensive spa
  • Lifestyle suite
  • Photo gallery
  • Art gallery
  • Casino
  • Library / book shop
  • Cyb@study

Friday, 4 April 2008

Cruise Direct Launches Blog

Scared of flying? If so then why do it? Drive to a British Port, leave the car and you trouble at the dock and within a very short time you can be sipping Champagne on the balcony of your cabin as you prepare to sail off into the sunset. That’s not just fantasy it’s a reality for many holiday makers as they flock in ever growing numbers to holidays at sea.

As the world’s biggest Cruise Companies invest more than a billion pounds in this year alone they hope to get rid of the “quoits and cribbage” image that has restricted their market for so long. Sleek, Modern ships with ultra modern and luxurious facilities sailing to the most exciting destinations on Earth are attracting more and more under 45’s each year.

Giant ships such as Royal Caribbean’s “Independence of the Seas” weighing in at 160,000 tonnes will carry 3,600 passengers, serve 100,000 meals in a week and is equal to the length of 5 jumbo jets. The “Independence of the Seas”, which will dock for the first time in Southampton later this month, boast such facilities as an Ice Rink, Climbing Wall, Surf Machine and a decent size shopping mall.

P&O’s “Ventura” which docked in Southampton last week, cost over £300 Million and is already attracting 1/3 of it’s passengers from the under 45’s market although it won’t be just this age group that will be trying out it’s giant Scalextric track.

The “Carnival Splendor” will launch in July, at a cost of a mere £295 million , in Dover whilst NCL who boast a ship with a full scale bowling alley, will position 2 of it’s impressive fleet, The “Norwegian Jade” and the “Norwegian Jewel”, in the UK for this summer.

A fabulous addition to the Cunard fleet is the “Queen Victoria”, launched last December; she is the latest “Queen” to sail under that illustrious flag. Dwarfing her predecessor the 70,000 tone Queen Elizabeth (QE2) she makes the Queen Mary look almost tiny. Both of the old Queens (so to speak) when the QE2 finally retires in November, will continue to grace the holiday, service industry as excellent hotels in Dubai and Long Beach, respectively.

Many travel experts forecast the rise in capacity will force prices down as the competition to attract custom heats up, but the Cruise companies are gambling that the increase in demand will continue to soar as forecasters predict 2,000,000 passengers within 4 years.

The attractions are many, Freestyle cruising has removed the formal, some would say regimented, fixed meal times and replaced them with a choice of restaurants and an open all hours relaxed approach, much more in keeping with the style generally preferred by today’s traveller. Traditional cruising is still readily available and favoured by many but the Growth in the British market is most definitely in less formal cruising.

Already under construction are the next generation of super ships, Royal Caribbean planning to launch two £600 million, 220,000 tonne giants each carrying 5,600 passengers which further demonstrate their confidence in a market that is growing in popularity and offering better value than ever before. Cruise specialists such as Barrhead Travel and CruiseDirect offer discounts and expert, unbiased advice, using the personal experience of their consultants to assist potential cruisers find the holiday that will suit them.