Norwegian Spirit to Eastern Med for 2020 in Place of Asia

Norwegian Spirit
Norwegian Spirit with her new hull design.

In place of Asia, Norwegian Cruise Line announced the Spirit will now offer a season of seven-day voyages to the Greek Isles, Turkey, and Israel through Nov. 8, 2020.

Open for sale on Feb. 15, 2020, the new destination-rich itineraries, many which boast extended port times, will explore seven or eight ports in seven days, calling to destinations including Rhodes, Mykonos; Santorini and Corfu, Greece; Kusadasi and Istanbul, Turkey; Ashdod and Haifa, Israel; Limassol, Cyprus as well as two new ports of call for the brand, Patmos and Volos, Greece.

The ship is fresh from a $100 million month-plus long drydock.

“It is truly exciting to celebrate Norwegian Spirit’s sail out of drydock to incredible destinations following her significant renovation,” said Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.

“Europe is the number one destination for international arrivals, and we are very proud to position Norwegian Spirit for her first post-drydock season in this high-demand region. Our brand has been recognized 12 times in a row by the World Travel Awards as ‘Europe’s Leading Cruise Line’ and we are thrilled to offer our guests even more great itineraries in the region, allowing them to explore multiple destinations while unpacking only once.”

£2.4bn poured into Britain’s coffers last year

Cruise news

: £2.4bn poured into Britain’s coffers last year with more than 1m passengers getting on boardIndustry’s

contribution to country’s economy highlighted at Barcelona convention

Ship shape: the port at Southampton welcomes a cruise liner

The cruise industry contributed £2.4billion to Britain’s economy last year, with passengers spending an average of £80 a day each during visits to UK ports such as Southampton and Dover

Latest figures compiled by CruiseBritain show that in 2013 there was a 10% year-on-year increase in cruise embarkations, to 1.04 million, and a 20% increase in day visits, to 866,000. The spend includes crew expenditure, cruise line purchases, ship repair, and employee salaries.

“Cruise tourism is a valuable source of income to ports and destinations across Britain and is increasingly being factored into local and regional tourism,” said Daren Taylor, chair of CruiseBritain, speaking at the Seatrade Med convention in Barcelona.

In the Mediterranean, while other tourism sectors have seen no increase in performance, cruising has grown in volume by 43% since the global recession struck in 2008.

Across the region, there were 27 million passenger movements: 19 million in the Western Med, five million in the Adriatic, and – reduced by concerns over violence in the Middle East – three million in the Eastern Med.

Referring to the fact that most cruise calls to ports in Ukraine have been cancelled this summer, David Dingle, chairman of Carnival UK, said political conflict in the Black Sea area dates back centuries. “They are a fact if life we just live with,” he said.

A proposal to provide an alternative to dredging a new channel for cruise ships visiting Venice was submitted to the Italian government this week.

Lagoon show: a cruise ship sails past St Mark’s Square in Venice

A £101million floating jetty, capable of handling up to five ships at a time, would be set up in the sea near Bocca di Lido, and passengers would be transported into the city’s cruise terminal by a large, environmentally-friendly catamaran.

Carnival’s David Dingle still believes the deep channel proposal to be the preferred option, and told Seatrade Med: “What we want is certainty, but we want to do the right thing by all the stakeholders in this debate.”

HAL pulls Noordam from Eastern Med in 2014

HAL pulls Noordam from Eastern Med in 2014

By Tom Stieghorst
Holland America Line said it has made the decision to redeploy the Noordam away from its Eastern Mediterranean itineraries for all of 2014.

HAL had already canceled port calls in Egypt for 2014 due to the unrest there. It said those cancellations created further operational and port implications that led to the redeployment.

Noordam will now do central and western Med itineraries next spring and summer. The cruise line is in the process of notifying guests and travel agents.

Guests booked on the previous itineraries can choose any 11- to 14-day cruise in Europe as a substitute, and receive the same stateroom category for the original cruise fare paid, plus a shipboard credit based on the stateroom category previously booked, HAL said.