New Cruise Line Formed

August 13, 2009

A new cruise line has formed to serve the ever crowded British Market. Cruise & Maritime Voyages will sail exclusive for British guests along the style of Fred.Olsen, Saga, and Voyages of Discovery. These lines cater to a more mature market, think Holland America. Cruise & Maritime Services International is the group starting the venture. Their approach to operations is by chartering two vessels.

One is the Marco Polo of Transocean Tours. You may remember her from the recent H1N1 outbreak. The Marco Polo is currently chartered by Transocean Tours from Marco Polo Chartering Company. The director of Cruise & Maritime Voyages stated that they have the ship for 5 years after the Transocean Tours charter runs out.

The other ship is the Ocean Countess (EX. Cunard Countess, Awani Dream II, Olympic Countess, Ruby). Cruise & Maritime Voyages chartered the ship for 2 years from Majestic International Cruises Group in Greece. Departures for both ships are said to be from Hull, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Greenock, Liverpool and Plymouth, England. The destinations are the normal Europe (North/British Isles/ Mediterranean) and the Canary Islands. No word on a North American voyages.

The voyages are to commence summer 2010.

Well this is another interesting development in the Cruise lines v. “that damn flu.”  Royal Caribbeans Voyager of the Seas pulled into Villefranche-sur-Mer, France today, along with 60 sick crew members and 2 passengers.  French officials according to this Reuters report, say the sick crew tested positive for swine flu. The report also goes on to say that there are 70 other crew members with symptoms that are being quarantined.

Now things get interesting, Gene Sloan over at Cruise Log scored an interview with RCI about this:

Cynthia Martinez tells USA TODAY that 62 crew members and two passenger on board the Voyager of the Seas are experiencing cold and flu-like symptoms…  the sick passengers and crew have tested negative for influenza A. H1N1 is a type of Influenza A…Martinez notes the line can’t test for H1N1 on board ships as that can only be done in a lab.

Now the question is who to beleive: RCI, who have had a massive stock drop and don’t what ANY publicity over even a false alarm. Or the French officials,  who don’t want a repeat of the Scotland incident.

  • Richard Fain referred to h1n1 as “that damn flu.”
  • Europe has been a pleasant surprise in terms of demand
  • loss of $0.16 per share
  • Costs are down and fuel costs are down
  • Pricing and discounting are lower (meaning better for the cruiser!)
  • RCI management has a pessimistic look for 2010
  • Spanish market uncertainty has hurt RCI
  • $0.05 per share lost due to h1n1 (CCL lost $0.03))
  • Adam Goldstein onboard revenue down but that was predictable.
  • Alaska net yield the worst its been. Bookings are the same but its just not profitable.
  • Oasis is 90% complete
  • RCCL is using local HQ’s in panama and their new markets to help increase demand from those markets.
  • Dan Hanrahan (Celebrity) notes that more cruisers are booking closer to sailing dates. He did not want to comment on Europe or other destinations.

Q&A time!

  • More passengers, they predict, will be from Europe.
  • RCI is increasing capacity from UK.
  • Dan Hanrahan is pleasant with the performance of the Europe market.
  • Regarding h1ni. Richard Fain states they have a “robust on board program” to control any happenings of it.  “It came; people panic at first and then they came to accept it.” People are expecting to see a surge in it. They monitor passengers that come on. They are in contact with local authorities to monitor. They, along with other lines and a close coordination on how to deal with put breaks.
  • RCI sees yield improvement in Q1. More capacity on new vessels.
  • Revenue management system is improving. Richard Fain: “I don’t know of another company that can predict their revenue as accurately as we do.”
  • On newbuilds. They don’t see the industry as market share, so it doesn’t matter what carnival does or doesn’t do. Fain:”I believe that RCI is a bigger brand than Carnival.”
  • Shorter Caribbean is down because it has the least exposure.
  • End of the year they plan to make an announcement on Allure of the Seas financing.
  • RCI wont switch over to low-sulfur fuels
  • Regarding a worse flu season this fall: the previous flu scare has put them in a better position to deal with future recurrences.
  • Last question
  • RCI prepares internally under worst case scenarios. So they see a bright future. They have alluded to big years in ’10 ’11.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

Normally this would be just a regular cruise ship in a regularly scheduled port, but not this time. The swine flu, H1N1, or whatever they are calling it now, scared shipowners into dropping all port-of-calls in Mexico. This led to some unique itineraries ships were sailing on in order to comply with the PVSA. The vessels on the west coast could no longer sail south and had to sail north. The Carnival Splendor was one of those ships. She included a stop in Astoria, Oregon as part of the new Itinerary. Astoria was never really a big player in terms of seasonal cruise traffic, mostly relying on the occasional repositioning cruise. Good article here. Also found a georgous shot of the Splendor in Astoria:

splendorastoria

Breaking: A female crewmember has contracted the H1N1 Virus (swineflu). This from the UK paper the Daily Mail:

The female cruise employee on Serenade of the Seas tested positive for the H1N1 virus when examined by doctors in Washington State last week and has been kept in isolation since, say Alaska state health officials

This would probably explain why RCI’s shares are down right now.

Update 2:17 pm: There was one other case but it is said that he has recovered since. There are no cases reported in passengers as of yet.

Royal Caribbean’s are set in stone. Carnival will announce the overhauled itinerary for the Splendor later today. Here are some other itinerary changes:

  • Holland America. HAL may announce alternate ports later today.
    • Ryndam – San Diego, Los Angeles, Catalina Island, CA and  Victoria, BC, Canada, will replace the Mexican ports.
    • Statendam – Days at sea will replace the Mexican ports.
    • Westerdam – Days at sea will replace the Mexican ports.
    • Zuiderdam – Days at sea will replace the Mexican ports.
    • Veendam – Days at sea will replace the Mexican ports.
  • Disney
    • Disney Magic – Cozumel is replaced with Nassau.
  • Princess. More info will be available later today.
    • Sapphire Princess – Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas are replaced with San Diego and Catalina.
  • NCL
    • Norwegian Pearl – will remain at sea instead of calling on Acapulco and Cabo.

UPDATE 6:22: According to several sources, the new route for Sapphire Princess is

May 3 – Santa Barbara

May 4 – San Diego

May 5 – Ensenada (service call only for PVSA)

May 7 – San Francisco

RCI announced today that they will cancel all sailings to Mexico "for the immediate future." This will affect 6 ships.

Affected ships:

Enchantment of the Seas Freedom of the Seas Liberty of the Seas
Mariner of the Seas Radiance of the Seas Serenade of the Seas

UPDATE 10:00pm: Mariner of the Seas will sail 7-Night voyages to Seattle, San Francisco, and Victoria, Canada.

UPDATE 10:40pm: Enchantment of the Seas: Cozumel is replaced by Key West on 5 Night, Monday Sailings. Cozumel is replaced with Nassau on the 4 night. On the other 5 night Cozumel is replaced with Ocho Rios Jamaica.

Freedom of the Seas:Cozumel is replaced with a day at sea and longer time in Grand Cayman.

Liberty of the Seas: Cozumel is replaced with Coco Cay, Bahamas. RCI’s private Island.

Mariner of the Seas is the same as  I posted earlier.

Serenade of the Seas: Cabo San Lucas is replaced with San Diego

Radiance of the Seas: Huatulco, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, are replaced with San Diego, California, and additional time at sea.

Only on departures until May 4th. For those interested, tomorrow they will post revised itineraries, and I’ll post them here.

They say it’ll affect 16 ships, but I don’t know about the Triumph.

Carnival Conquest Carnival Destiny Carnival Ecstasy Carnival Elation
Carnival Fantasy Carnival Freedom Carnival Glory Carnival Imagination
Carnival Inspiration Carnival Legend Carnival Liberty Carnival Paradise
Carnival Splendor Carnival Triumph* Carnival Valor Holiday

UPDATE 10:54pm:

From Carnival.com

  Original Itinerary Arrival New Itinerary Arrival
Carnival Ecstasy Progresso April 29 Fun Day at Sea April 29
  Cozumel April 30 Fun Day at Sea April 30
Carnival Fantasy Progresso April 29 Key West 29-Apr
  Cozumel April 30 Fun Day at Sea 30-Apr
Carnival Legend Cozumel April 29 Fun Day at Sea 29-Apr
Carnival Conquest Cozumel May 1 Fun Day at Sea May 1
Carnival Valor Cozumel May 1 Key West May 2
Carnival Paradise Ensenada April 29 Fun Day at Sea April 29
Carnival Imagination Cozumel April 29 Nassau April 30
Carnival Splendor Cabo San Lucas April 28 San Francisco 1-May