Archive for the ‘Cruise industry news’ Category

Seatrade, the cruise industry body, is having one of its conferences (“Seatrade Europe”) in Hamburg this week. Ahead of the conference (which runs from 6 September to 8 September) Seatrade has released an infographic which shows the 2016 market numbers for the major territories. They are:

  • Germany – 2.02 million passengers;
  • UK & Ireland – 1.9 million passengers;
  • Italy – 751,000 passengers;
  • France – about 500,00 passengers.

Of those, Germany and the UK & Ireland showed significant growth over the previous year – 11.3% for Germany and 5.6% for the UK. In contrast, Italy experienced a fall of 7% in 2016.

The figure for France is derived (by me) from two figures provided in the infographic. First, there’s a figure of 4.45 million for ‘overnight stays’, and secondly an average cruise length of 7.8 nights. Dividing one by t’other gets me to about 500,000 passengers or perhaps a bit more. That’s also a drop over the previous year, apparently – the number of ‘overnight stays’ in 2015 was 4.825 million.

Finally, there are reports of growth in both the Spanish and Belgian markets – 4% in both cases – but no gross figures.

The gloss that’s being put on these figures is that the markets in France, Italy and Spain show significant ‘growth prospects’. Quite how that would fit, if achieved, with the reduction of access by the ports themselves (see yesterday’s post about Dubrovnik’s intention to limit daily cruise passenger numbers) isn’t at all clear.

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We plan to shake up the cruise industry….. (Sir Richard Branson)

Sir Richard Branson has announced his next venture – a cruise line. It’s been rumoured for quite a while that this was on his agenda, I gather, so it’s probably not a great shock. Today’s announcement also included the information that the line will be run by Tom McAlpin, who has previously worked at Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruises (as President) and The World (as CEO), thus bringing a wealth of experience to it.

The new line will be based in Miami and will therefore offer cruises in the Caribbean.

After that factual stuff it all starts to go a bit wobbly. Sir Richard is quoted as saying “We plan to shake up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love“; and Tom McAlpin said “Cruise guests deserve something better and different to what is being offered today, and Virgin Cruises is committed to creating breathtaking experiences for them and a new generation of guests“. Given the array of lines competing in the Caribbean, from bargain-basement lines using old ships to the latest mega-liners via luxury operators running high-quality operations where personal service is the watchword, the Caribbean is where the competition is toughest and the range of offerings is already the widest. It will be interesting to see how Virgin Cruises intend to make a mark in that environment.

And we’ll have to wait a while before we see the answer. The announcement goes on to say that Virgin Cruises will design and build two ships. That process will take some time; I can’t see them being ready until mid-2016 at the earliest, and that would be with small ships. If they’re going to go down the big-ship route it will take even longer.

The announcement is covered on a number of news sites, but here’s a link to one of them.

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We have some information as to how the engine room fire started on the Carnival Triumph. According to a US Coast Guard investigation, fuel from a damaged ‘fuel oil return line’ – a fuel hose, I think that means – sprayed onto a hot surface and ignited. Here’s a link to a story about it on a news site.

As the story suggests, this is just the first (and possibly the easiest) thing to establish. Discovering how a comparatively small fire knocked out the power for the whole ship will be much more significant, but we may not find that out for some time, possibly months.

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I haven’t mentioned the engine room fire on the Carnival Triumph up until now – it happened a long way away, and Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) aren’t a company that I’m likely to cruise with anytime soon. But it seems likely that the incident will have repercussions so here goes.

Just to recap the broad details: there was a small engine-room fire on the Carnival Triumph last Sunday, I think (10 February). No one was injured in the fire, but it did mean that all electrical power generated by the main engines was lost. In systems terms, you have to think of a cruise ship as a floating power station; rotational output from the diesel engines goes straight into electricity generators, and the resulting electricity powers everything on the ship. This not only includes propulsion but also lighting, air-condition/heating, cooking, sanitation systems – it’s all electrically powered, so when the generators aren’t working you’re in trouble. (more…)

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On 26 July Royal Caribbean reported a US$3m loss for the second quarter of this financial year, compared with a US$93m profit for the same quarter last year.

I don’t usually report financial results here, but this one is interesting because it casts a light on how the cruise industry is finding the current financial climate. Richard Fain, RCCL’s chairman and CEO made this comment:

“The steady drumbeat of negative news emanating out of Europe is certainly having an impact. As a result, we are seeing pluses and minuses in the different geographical markets – North America is holding up reasonably well; Asia is a big plus; but Europe is a pretty consistent minus.”

The reports also says: “Business demand remains solid in the Caribbean and Asia, but larger than anticipated discounting has been required in Europe.(more…)

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