Daily updates on the most relevant news in the Cruise Industry

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Variety Cruises Will Start Cruising in July

Variety Cruises said it will resume operations on July 24, 2020, with the 49-guest Galileo on an eight-day itinerary.

Newly appointed CEO Filippos Venetopoulos - grandson to the founder Diogenis Venetopoulos and son to the company’s Chairman Lakis Venetopoulos - is now at the helm for the company's resumption of service.

He takes the reins with the promise that the guests’ safety and an even more sustainability-driven small ship cruise product remains paramount, according to the company. 

“This is not the time to strive to reinvent what we had or who we were. It is a time to look forward and build a better world by learning from our history and providing strong travel experiences that enrich the soul," said Venetopoulos

"Sustainability, diversity, safety, and fun are the common threads that drive us in terms of both our guests and the communities we visit. I would like to personally invite you to join us on our maiden voyage of July 24, or on any of our upcoming cruises in Greece or in the Seychelles, as we continue to announce our old and new destinations. We believe that travel is more than just a luxury, but a way of life; a public function necessary for our growth and evolution, and at times like these… for inner healing.

"Now is not the time to focus on bookings and numbers by placing our sustainability goals aside, but in fact the time to make those our number one priority. Diversity, sustainability, equality, and above all connecting with one another."

The company's July itinerary will be the "Greece the Jewels of the Cyclades" sailings, featuring smaller Greek ports. Jewels of the Cyclades departures start from $2,590 per person, sailing from the yacht cruise marina in Athens on Fridays.

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Fred. Olsen Guests Select 'Four Ladies in Lisbon' For Next Fleet Meeting

Guests have named Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ third fleet get-together Four Ladies in Lisbon in a social media poll, ahead of the event in October 2021, according to a press release.

Last week, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines gave guests the chance to vote for their favourite name for the upcoming event. There were three names to choose from – Four Fred.s in Lisbon, Four Ladies in Lisbon, and Four B’s in Lisbon – as well as the opportunity for voters to suggest their own

Other options that were put forward included Fred.s Portuguese Parade, Fred.s Lisbon Liaison and Liners in Lisbon.

The vote closed on Sunday evening with Four Ladies in Lisbon the winner, attracting a total of 63% of all votes.

Ben Williams, Head of Digital at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:

“It was great to get our guests involved in the naming of this event. So many have been enjoying our virtual cruising programme online, and this was the perfect way to say thank you for all their support.

“We had some fun looking over the entries as they came in, with some of the more entertaining options including ‘Four Lucky Ladies in Lisbon’, ‘Four Legends in Lisbon’ and ‘Four Portuguese Tarts’, but we had a clear winner."

 Fred. Olsen’s four ships – Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch – will come together in Lisbon on Oct. 22, 2021 The new fleet get-together was launched in April, following the cancellation of the planned Four Fred.s in Funchal event, which was due to take place on April 4, 2020.

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British Authorities Detain CMV Ships

The British Maritime and Coast Guard Agency has detained a number of Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) ships that are currently laid up in London Tilbury and Bristol Avonmouth following an inspection earlier in the week.

CMV said in a statement it has been operating for more than a decade without any detentions and has fully cooperated with the inspections.

The Astoria, Astor, Columbus, Vasco da Gama and Marco Polo cruise ships were detained by the MCA following the inspections due to issues relating to expired crew contracts and crew that had been aboard in some cases for over a year. The Magellan was also inspected and given 14 days to resolve a number of issues. 

Other reports said there were temporary delays in the payment of wages, which CMV said it had corrected. 

Christian Verhounig, CEO, commented: “CMV has in the past and is continuing to work hard to cooperate fully with the Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and to rectify the crew contract issues which have largely contributed to the detention of five CMV ships. We hope this issue has raised awareness of the plight of our crew with the various embassies and that they will now assist CMV with the repatriation of crew members, remaining countries have fully engaged in supporting CMV over the past two days. We are confident that with the sudden increase in support and help we will be able to repatriate the remaining crew ideally before the end of the month. CMV apologizes for any inconvenience or disruption that these issues may have caused for their highly valued crew.”

Verhounig said the company's number one priority was to care and repatriate crew members.

"CMV has been in high level talks with the Indian High Commission to obtain special landing permits and other international governments, to help facilitate and expediate our crew’s safe return back home to their families," he said. "Our crew have endured a pro-longed period quarantined on board our ships during lockdown and are understandably anxious and distressed as a result. We fully sympathise with and understand our crew’s frustration and upset at being held under quarantine conditions onboard our ships due to the local restrictions imposed.”

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Virgin Voyages Unveils New Health Protocols

Virgin Voyages has released its comprehensive ‘Voyage Well’ plan. 

With the Scarlet Lady to launch into operation in October 2020, Virgin said it has worked with leading experts to elevate its "existing standard of excellence by creating an environment built to tackle today’s global health crisis."

The Voyage Well plan was created in partnership with expert advisors consisting of scientists, doctors and clinicians. Referred to as the Voyage Well Expert Advisory Group, this team is composed of partners at AtmosAir Solutions, EcoLab, Dr. Heymann with Vikand, Global Public Health Services, and close collaboration with the CDC as well as frequent reviews of WHO best practices and guidelines.

“The health and wellbeing of our Sailors is our number one priority, so we rolled up our sleeves with leading experts to further innovate and create an even healthier way to travel and still have an incredible vacation,” said Tom McAlpin, CEO of Virgin Voyages. “We appreciate some people will be apprehensive about traveling, so we are committed to being led by science and creating ways to give people confidence to explore the world while feeling safer, more relaxed and free to enjoy themselves.”

On top of a uniquely designed HVAC system that pumps fresh air through the new ship's public spaces and cabins to effectively remove recirculated air, Virgin said it will be among the first in the industry to invest in the installation of a 100% fresh air purification system.

The Scarlet Lady and her sister ships will be equipped with an air purification system that also disinfects air onboard by leveraging bi-polar ionization technology that has been shown to kill 99.9% of viruses. 

"Delivering effective health and safety measures is going to be essential for ensuring consumer trust in the cruise industry," says Steve Levine, President and CEO, AtmosAir Solutions. "We're proud to partner with Virgin Voyages and believe our bi-polar ionization technology will be crucial to creating a safe, clean and sanitized indoor environment throughout the entirety of the Scarlet Lady."

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Carnival Corp. Names Josh Weinstein as Chief Operations Officer

Carnival Corporation today announced that Josh Weinstein has been named chief operations officer, effective immediately.

Reporting to Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald, Weinstein's responsibilities will include oversight of major operational functions, including global maritime, global ports and destinations, global sourcing, global IT and global auditing, according to a press release.

In addition, Weinstein will retain oversight of Carnival UK, the operating company for P&O Cruises and Cunard, which he managed directly for the past three years.

Simon Palethorpe, currently president of Cunard, will assume added responsibilities in the role of president of Carnival UK.

"Josh is a highly talented executive with extensive industry experience and institutional knowledge who will add important strength to our senior leadership team," said Donald. "We are leveraging our pause in cruising to make a number of strategic changes within our business, including this important role, which is designed to strengthen our global operations and position the company and our brands for the future."

Weinstein's tenure with Carnival Corporation has included 10 years as the company's treasurer, as well as five years as an attorney in the corporate legal department.

"I am grateful for this opportunity and looking forward to taking on this important role at a critical time for our company," Weinstein said. "I certainly realize that many opportunities and challenges lie ahead as we look to restart our cruise operations around the globe. As we navigate this unprecedented time, we are fortunate to have world-class brands and extraordinary team members across the global organization with a proven track record of success to build on as we look toward returning to what we do best, which is providing our guests with the world's best vacation experience."

Prior to joining Carnival Corporation, Weinstein served as a corporate attorney. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the New York University School of Law.

A native of New York, Weinstein and his wife have three children.

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Marella Cruises Extends Cancellations

Marella Cruises today confirmed that due to the on-going travel restrictions it is extending its cancellations of all cruises until August 27, 2020. 

The cruise line also confirms that Marella Discovery will no longer sail the summer season with all her itineraries from Palma cancelled up to October 31, 2020.

In addition, the 90s v 00s Electric Sunsets cruise on Marella Explorer 2 sailing from Newcastle on September 5, 2020, will also no longer go ahead.

All customers whose bookings are impacted by the above changes will receive a refund credit and up to 10 percent incentive of the total value of their booking, or they can request a cash refund via an online form on the TUI website. 

The cruise line is also extending its free amends policy so customers sailing in September and October on Marella Explorer or Marella Explorer 2 have the opportunity to amend their cruise for free before July 31.

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Carnival Reports Q2 2020 Earnings and Loss of $4.4 Billion

Carnival Corporation has disclosed summary preliminary financial information for the quarter ended May 31, 2020.

Second Quarter

  • U.S. GAAP net loss of $(4.4) billion, or $(6.07) diluted EPS, for the second quarter of 2020, which includes $2.0 billion of non-cash impairment charges.
  • Second quarter 2020 adjusted net loss of $(2.4) billion, or $(3.30) adjusted EPS.
  • Total revenues for the second quarter of 2020 were $0.7 billion, lower than $4.8 billion in the prior year.
  • The company's guest cruise operations have been in a pause for a majority of the second quarter. In addition, the company is unable to definitively predict when it will return to normal operations. As a result, the company is currently unable to provide an earnings forecast. The pause in guest operations is continuing to have material negative impacts on all aspects of the company's business. The longer the pause in guest operations continues the greater the impact on the company's liquidity and financial position. The company expects a net loss on both a U.S. GAAP and adjusted basis for the second half of 2020.
  • Cash burn rate in the second quarter 2020 was generally in line with the previously disclosed expectation.
  • Second quarter 2020 ended with $7.6 billion of available liquidity, and the company expects to further enhance future liquidity, including through refinancing scheduled debt maturities. In addition, the company has $8.8 billion of committed export credit facilities that are available to fund ship deliveries originally planned through 2023.
  • Total customer deposits balance at May 31, 2020 was $2.9 billion, including $475 million related to cruises during the second half of 2020.
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Carnival to Retire At Least Six Ships in Next 90 Days

Carnival Corporation has announced that in connection with its capacity optimization strategy, the company intends to accelerate the removal of ships in fiscal 2020 which were previously expected to be sold over the ensuing years.

The company announced it already has preliminary agreements for the disposal of six ships, but did not name them. Those ships are expected to leave the fleet in the next 90 days, Carnival said, adding that it is currently working toward additional

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American Queen Announces Promotion with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

American Queen Steamboat Company has announced its offer of special promotional pricing to Uniworld Boutique River Cruises travelers impacted by the river cruise line’s suspended summer cruises.

AQSC, which resumes operations on July 20, will offer impacted Uniworld guests a special offer on summer 2020 AQSC cruises. Uniworld will reciprocate with a special offer for AQSC guests to cruise in Europe, Russia, China, Vietnam and Cambodia, India, Egypt or Peru in 2021, according to a press release.

“While we sail in different regions, this alliance makes perfect sense as both AQSC and Uniworld guests have come to expect the best in onboard and shoreside experiences, and we can offer that high level of service to guests who want to sail this July and August,” said John Waggoner, founder and CEO of American Queen Steamboat Company. “We are excited to offer Uniworld guests exclusive promotional pricing and welcome them onboard as we resume operations this summer.”

The American Duchess will be the first of AQSC’s fleet to set sail on July 20-27, 2020 from St. Louis (Alton) to Minneapolis (Red Wing) with the Mark Twain’s Mississippi cruise, which includes a pre-cruise hotel stay on July 19 in St. Louis. The American Empress, American Countess and American Queen will follow later this summer.

“While we wish we could welcome guests back onboard Uniworld cruises at this time, we hope this special offer from American Queen Steamboat Company will allow our guests to still enjoy all of the things they love about river cruising while exploring America’s rivers and riverside communities,” added Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld. “We trust AQSC to take excellent care of our guests while we prepare to resume operations in the near future and look forward to sharing a special opportunity for guests of AQSC to expand their love of river cruising abroad in 2021.”