TUI: Thomson to Get Mein Schiff 1 and 2

TUI Group reported today interim results for the first six months of its fiscal year, ending March 31 2015, including news regarding the Mein Schiff 1 and 2, which are heading to Thomson Cruises in the near future.

Cruise delivered a “significant increase” in profitability for the company, according to results.

“Hotels and Resorts is performing well and Cruises continues to grow, with the launch of Mein Schiff 4 this June and improved fleet performance by Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten,” said Chief Executives of TUI Group, Friedrich Joussen and Peter Long,

Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten delivered a significant turnaround based on an improved operating performance, said the company, while TUI Cruises continued to deliver growth with an improvement of €15m year on year following the successful launch of Mein Schiff 3.

The report also stated: “In the framework of exercising our purchase option it was agreed that Mein Schiff 1 and Mein Schiff 2 will be moved to Thomson Cruises in the next few years in order to continue the modernisation of the UK cruise operations. These two steps will complete our growth and modernisation roadmap in the cruise segment.”

Thomson is already scheduled to get the Splendour of the Seas next spring, and will retire the Island Escape later this year.

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Viking Sky ship launch postponed until spring 2017

By Hollie-Rae Merrick
Viking Ocean Cruises has announced the launch of its third ocean ship, Viking Sky, will be postponed until spring 2017, but remains adamant the delay will not affect its ambitious expansion plans.The cruise line’s first ocean ship, Viking Star, has completed her maiden voyage and is due to be christened in Bergen on May 17. A further two ships, Viking Sea and Viking Sky, were both due to begin sailing in 2016, with a fourth ship currently under construction.

But speaking onboard Viking Star, company chairman Torstein Hagen (pictured) said delays with the building of Holland America ship Koningsdam at the Italian shipyard Fincantieri had had a knock-on effect on the construction of one of Viking’s new vessels.

The third ship, which was due to launch next summer, will now be delayed until spring 2017, with any passengers who had already booked sailings given the option to transfer over to Viking Sea. Hagen confirmed that all three ships would share a similar design, following the pattern of the 930-passenger ‘Venice class’ ship Viking Star.

UK managing director Wendy Atkin-Smith dismissed worries that this could dampen the line’s plans for expansion. She said: “Hardly any of her sailings were on sale yet, because our 2016 offering is not for the full year yet.

“We will have some passengers booked on to the ship, but they will be transferred over. There’s as much damage limitation as possible.

“As far as I know, the Koningsdam ship that was being built is taking longer than predicted so it’s impacted on us. Everything depends on other factors, but it’s not going to affect the expansion plans at all.”

Hagen previously revealed hopes to grow the line’s fleet substantially to more than 100 Longships and 10 ocean ships – a significant increase from its current fleet of 63 river vessels and one ocean ship – within the next five years.

Carnival Corp. orders 9 ships to be built from 2019 to 2022

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By Johanna Jainchill
Carnival Corp. said Thursday that it would add nine ships to its fleet between 2019 and 2022.

Carnival offered almost no details about the ship order. It did not specify which of its nine brands would get the new vessels or offer any information about their size, design or cost.

In a statement, Carnival said the new ships were expected to serve the North American, European and Chinese cruise markets, would be specifically designed and developed for their particular brands and would be the most efficient ships in Carnival history.

“We’re excited to take this next step in our fleet-enhancement plan with these two new agreements that are consistent with our long-term strategy of measured capacity growth over time,” Carnival Corp. President and CEO Arnold Donald said in a statement.

The order is in line with Donald’s previous statements indicating that the company would restrict its growth to two to three ships per year across its fleet.

Carnival said it had signed memorandums of agreement with Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard to build five of the vessels and with Germany’s Meyer Werft to build four.

Additional information about the ships, such as their design and which brands they will be built for, will be revealed at a later date, Carnival said.

In announcing the new builds, the company indicated that Donald would be offering additional details about the new vessels during Carnival Corp.’s earnings call on Friday.

Carnival Corp. is the parent company of Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, Aida Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (U.K.).

Late last year it ordered one ship each from Fincantieri for Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line for delivery in 2018.

The company has added more than 30 ships to its combined fleets since 2007, and it has another nine scheduled to be delivered between 2015 and 2018, which Donald pointed out in December was about one vessel for each of its brands over the next four years.

This year, Carnival is adding two ships to its global fleet and removing four. The new vessels are P&O’s Britannia, which launched earlier this month, and the Aida Prima, set to debut later this year.