Celebrity Edge Booking At ‘Significant Premiums’

Celebrity Edge

Just weeks ahead of the Celebrity Edge’s delivery, the new Celebrity Cruises vessel continues to drive earnings growth for Royal Caribbean Cruises.

The first new Celebrity ship in six years following the 2012 introduction of the Celebrity Reflection, the Edge represents the first of four in a new class of Celebrity vessels, at 129,500 tons with capacity for 2,900 guests.

“Demand for cruising is booming, and guests are willing to pay for innovation, quality, and design. The timing of (the Celebrity Edge) could not be better,” said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, speaking on the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Thursday, October 25.

“She’s clearly worth the wait. The Edge has been booking at significant premiums for the winter Caribbean season and for our European season next year,” said Jason Liberty, CFO of Royal Caribbean Cruises.

“The demand for our new hardware, especially for Edge, which has really come high on at a premium, has been very strong and encouraging,” Liberty added

The Edge will debut at the state-of-the-art Terminal 25 at Port Everglades later this month. The terminal is just days away from being finished and will be the homeport for the Edge for her inaugural season of seven-day winter Caribbean itineraries from Ft. Lauderdale.

Next summer the ship will transition to the European cruise market, with a crossing to Southampton where she arrives in the middle of May. From there, a repositioning voyage moves the ship to the Mediterranean for the summer season, where the Edge sails out Civitavecchia.


Celebrity Cruises orders pair of 2,900-passenger ships

By Tom Stieghorst

Celebrity Cruises said it has ordered two 2,900-passenger ships from the STX France shipyard in St. Nazaire.

The ships are scheduled for delivery in the fall of 2018 and early 2020.

Celebrity’s most recent ship, the 3,046-passenger Celebrity Reflection, was delivered in the fall of 2012.The line recently agreed to send its oldest ship, Celebrity Century, to a new joint venture in China.

Celebrity’s parent, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., said the ships are being built under the Project Edge name. RCCL said they will deliver small-ship itineraries with large-ship amenities.

“STX France designs and builds some of the most innovative and stylish cruise ships in the world, and Project Edge offers them the opportunity to again set a new standard for modern iconic architecture,” said Michael Bayley, presdient and CEO of Celebrity.

Contract costs for the ship were not disclosed. With the addition of the two new orders, RCCL said company-wide capacity is scheduled to increase by 2.4% this year, 5.5% next year, 6.7% in 2016, 3.8% in 2017 and 4.3% in 2018.

The 117,000-gross-ton ships will be part of a new class of vessels for Celebrity. the line currently operates five Solstice-class vessels, including Celebrity Reflection, and four Millennium-class vessels.

Celebrity competes in the premium segment with Holland America Line, which has a 2,650-passenger ship called Koningsdam under construction for delivery in February 2016.

Fuel efficiency and floating on air

By Tom Stieghorst
*InsightIt’s funny how visions of the future can be both wrong and right.

I had that thought after viewing a museum exhibit of designs by modernist Norman Bel Geddes, including one for a cruise ship.

Bel Geddes’ big idea was streamlining and in the 1930s, he turned out everything from vacuum cleaners to passenger buses with that teardrop profile meant to increase speed. His cruise liner — with room for 2,600 passengers — is a thing of beauty, although it looks as much like a submarine as a surface ship. The exhibit included side views showing how wind eddies swirled around the superstructure of the conventional ships of the time.*TomStieghorst

Today, however, it isn’t wind resistance that is the focus of cruise industry streamlining, but water resistance. And the object is no longer to be the fastest across the Atlantic, but to cut fuel costs.

That accounts for the bulbous projection at the bow of every cruise ship, an innovation that pushes water quietly aside and improves efficiency. Cruise ships in recent years have been slathered in silicon compounds or other coatings to make them shed marine slime and slip through the water more easily.

The newest streamlining idea is set to debut on the Quantum of the Seas, the first full test of an air lubrication system that uses microbubbles to provide a cushion for the ship to ride on.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) has tested the system in a small way on the Celebrity Reflection, but installed a full system on the Quantum as part of the ship’s technology emphasis.

The idea is to form and inject tiny air bubbles below the hull that reduce drag as the ship plows forward. Ironically for Bel Geddes, air is the instrument to provide extra cruise ship streamlining.

Other firms have tried this before, but Royal Caribbean has developed its own method of making the bubbles so that they’re small enough to be effective. It involves first heating the bubbles to shrink them, and then cooling them to prevent them from turning to steam as they hit seawater.

“We’re not only riding on air, we’re riding on air-conditioned air,” quipped RCCL Chairman Richard Fain, on a recent tour of Quantum in Germany.

The system — which only works when a ship is traveling at speed — could knock 7% to 9% off of propulsion costs, even taking into account the energy needed for heating and cooling, Fain said.