Astro Ocean has officially christened its first cruise ship following a stunning ceremony on Sept. 26 in Xiamen, China, as the Piano Land was named by Director of the Xiamen Municipal Committee and the Director of the Free Trade Commission Ni Chao.
The cruise line is a joint venture by CTS (China Travel Services) and COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Group) with V.Ships Leisure managing the ship.
An official press release said it is the first state-owned luxury cruise ship in China.
The ceremonies and naming ceremony were held in the Xinghai Theater, with 700 people presenting including company officials, VIPs and government officials.
In addition, China Tourism Group (parent to CTS), COSCO and the Xiamen Municipal Government signed a strategic cooperation agreement to help develop China’s cruise industry.
The Oasis of the Seas has arrived at the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain to begin her $165 million Royal Amplification drydock. The ship will be transformed over a period of two months in Spain, debuting in Miami in late November.
Additions include the tallest slide at sea – Ultimate Abyss; The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, a reimagined, Caribbean pool deck; and new kids and teens spaces.
Debuting alongside this lineup is the cruise line’s first barbecue concept, Portside BBQ, and dedicated karaoke venue Spotlight Karaoke.
Among more changes will be the reimagined Pool and Sports Zone. The transformed neighbourhood will feature new ways to relax, celebrate and plunge into adventure, joining the popular twin FlowRider surf simulators, nine-deck-high zip line and twin rock-climbing walls, the company said.
Additionally, the new Portside BBQ will offer an authentic, meat-packed menu inspired by the best-in-class barbecue, Royal Caribbean said in a prior press release.
From smoked marbled brisket, pulled pork and chicken, to beef ribs and burnt ends, the casual eatery on the pool deck will tie it all together with classic sides – including mac and cheese, homestyle cornbread, baked beans and coleslaw – and desserts such as the Banana Dream and a brownie cookie mashup.
Across the way, guests can find Mexican grab-and-go fare at El Loco Fresh, serving up made-to-order tacos and burritos, quesadillas, mini salads and salsas galore. Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade will anchor the lineup in the signature Boardwalk neighbourhood. With 80 big-screen TVs, tabletop games, arcade classics, tournaments, an Owner’s Box VIP room, bar fare and ice-cold brews, Playmakers is where everyone in the family wins. Sugar Beach, with more than 220 types of candy and a new walkup ice cream window, is the icing on the already-tasty offering onboard Oasis, which includes Chops Grille, Giovanni’s Table and Izumi.
The Oasis will set sail on Nov. 24, 2019, beginning seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Royal Caribbean’s new, state-of-the-art Terminal A in Miami, the company said.
The ship will then move to New York in May 2020, calling Cape Liberty her homeport and sailing seven nights to the Bahamas.
Carnival Corp. reported higher third quarter-net income, but reduced its outlook for the 2019 fiscal year and said that business in Europe and the U.S. had eroded since it last reported results three months ago.
Reacting to the mix of news, investors pushed Carnival shares down 7% in mid-morning trading on Thursday.
Carnival said net income for the quarter ended Aug. 31 was $1.78 billion, up from $1.71 billion a year earlier, while revenue rose to $6.53 billion from $5.84 billion.
Carnival also reported higher earnings adjusted for nonrecurring factors, but forecast that earnings for the full year would fall in the range of $4.23 to $4.27 a share, compared to a previous range of $4.25 to $4.35 put forth in June and actual results of $4.26 a share in 2018.
Carnival blamed higher anticipated fuel prices for the reduction.
“We achieved additional cost improvements largely driven by leveraging our scale, offsetting the earnings impact due to voyage disruptions from the combined impact of Hurricane Dorian, the tensions in the Arabian Gulf and the delayed delivery of Costa Smeralda,” Carnival CEO Arnold Donald said in a statement.
“A further reduction in guidance for ticket and onboard revenue worth 6 cents per share in part contributed to by the high level of close-in voyage disruptions was also offset. However, due to an 8 cent a share impact from the recent spike in fuel prices caused by geopolitical events, we are reducing our full-year guidance for 2019 by 5 cents a share,” Donald said.
Carnival said it expects it’s North America and Australia segment yields to be up for the year, but slightly less than previous guidance while its Europe and Asia segment is still expected to be down for the year but slightly more than previous guidance.
It also said: “Cumulative advanced bookings for the first half of 2020 are ahead of the prior year at prices that are in line compared to 2019 on a comparable basis. Since June, both booking volumes and prices for the first half of next year have been running lower than the prior year.”
By mid-afternoon Thursday, Carnival shares were trading at $44.14, off 8.2% from Wednesday’s close.