Princess Cruises reveals first details of future Royal class ships

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Princess Cruises has revealed further details of its next three Royal class ships, which are set to be built by 2022.

Tony Roberts, the line’s vice-president, UK & Ireland, announced the fourth Royal class ship will make four weeks of sailings in the Mediterranean from October 2019.

Speaking at a media and trade event, he added that it was a “great opportunity to get on to the newest ship” when itineraries go on sale in a “few weeks’ time”.

The ship’s name will be announced later this week.

Roberts also chose not to reveal the name of the fifth ship in the class, launching in summer 2020.

However, he did hint that the vessel would operate not far from the Italian shipyard where it was built.

“I am not going to place any bets on where she is but she has been built in Italy so there is a pretty good chance that she will be around [in Europe] for part of summer 2020,” Roberts added.

Princess will also launch another Royal class ship in 2022.

He added: “It is really exciting that Princess continues to grow and that favourite class of ship continues to be built.”

Roberts told the audience that TV presenter Jane McDonald had recently filmed on one of Princess’ ships as part of her cruising programme.

“We started to get very excited about it when we had [Channel 5] on,” he said. “I cannot tell you what the ship was but [McDonald] had a great time on board.”

Earlier, Princess Cruises announced 2019 would be its longest ever season sailing out of the UK.

More than one million cruise nights will be available from Southampton and Dover.

The 2,670-guest Sapphire Princess will spend 198 days sailing from her home port of Southampton – the longest recorded time for a UK-based Princess ship.

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Steel Cut for New Costa Smeralda LNG Ship

New Costa Ship Rendering

Construction work began today on the Costa Smeralda, including her steel-cutting ceremony held at the Meyer shipyard in Turku, Finland.

The new Costa Cruises ship will be the brand’s first ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and the world’s first cruise ship to be broadly marketed to consumers from multiple countries throughout Europe, the Italian cruise line said.

The Costa Smeralda, which will enter service in October 2019, will exceed 180,000 gross tons and offer more than 2,600 passenger cabins, the company said.

A second ship, sister to Costa Smeralda, will be delivered by Meyer Turku in 2021.

Neil Palomba, president, Costa Crociere

“These ships will strengthen the leadership position for the Costa Group, which is already the market leader in all the major continental Europe markets,” said Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Group and Carnival Asia. “The multibillion dollar contract with Meyer, which also includes two new LNG-powered ships to be built for our German brand, AIDA Cruises, reflects our strategy of constantly innovating our vacation offerings and providing our guests with an unmatched cruise experience.”

“The two new Costa Cruises ships are a true global innovation and set new standards for the entire sector,” added Neil Palomba, president of Costa Cruises. “They will be among the first cruise ships powered by LNG, spurring the development of this green technology, especially in the Mediterranean area, and they will be the world’s first LNG-powered ships that will be marketed to consumers from multiple countries, including Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Switzerland. The new ships will also offer unique services and present a state-of-the-art interior design, serving as the perfect expression of our Italy’s Finest concept, which is a distinguishing feature of the Costa Cruises brand around the world for providing guests with a truly immersive Italian experience.”

“In the last two years, we have had a very intense design collaboration with our customer and the outcome is a really fresh and new design fused with the latest of technology. We are happy to bring our experience with building LNG powered passenger ships to bear. Today is a very special moment in shipbuilding, when all the ideas, creativity, technology and signature design that is going into Costa’s new ships, are finally starting to become reality,” stated Jan Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku.

The Costa Smeralda will be offering cruises in Western Mediterranean, sales open early 2018.

The Freedom of Cruise Ship Redeployment

The Freedom of Cruise Ship Redeployment
PHOTO: The wake behind Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Vista. (photo by Mark Leppert)

When it was uncertain that Cuba would remain open to roundtrip cruises from the United States, it was never a worry that the ships on the route would be incapable of redeployment.

Executives like Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., repeat that in troubled times, cruise ships can go anywhere.

It’s true. A ship originally slated for the Caribbean can easily end up in Alaska or Europe seasonally, but often that’s the plan all along.

What may not be anticipated are geopolitical tensions or fears of terrorism that warrant ships go elsewhere. The latter has been the reason cruise lines have shied away from Turkey in the Mediterranean, for example.

More recently, cruise itineraries from China have stayed clear of South Korea due to heated relations between the two countries.

It was looking for awhile like the Trump administration would cease permissions for cruises to Cuba, but thankfully Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International were allowed to continue and Carnival Cruise Line has since been able to make its inaugural run as well.

If not, the Norwegian Sky, Empress of the Seas and Carnival Paradise, respectively, would just have had to cruise to lands beyond, likely still in the Caribbean.


Photo Credit Dave Jones~Norwegian Sky leaving Miami

In the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, there are plenty of alternative ports to go to when some become off limits, but such is not always the case. For the Chinese cruise market, the loss of South Korea as a destination has limited where local ships can head, particularly on itineraries with short durations.

In those cases, Japan is an option, but port capacity saturation is then a concern.

Once a booming market, cruise lines may have to rethink their long-term Chinese potential. Princess Cruises’ Majestic Princess—partially for this reason, as well as consideration of other growth markets—has opted to no longer dedicate itself to China year-round as originally planned. It also now has intentions for Australia-based cruising in 2018 and 2019.

When a cruise ship is built generically for any market, it is easy to deploy anywhere in the world, but when it is purpose-built like the Majestic, it is more challenging to take away.

Whether or not the ship will see any sort of redesign prior to its Australian deployment is still to be determined.

Still, the vast majority of cruise ships are geared towards the American market and can go pretty much anywhere in the world, catering to our sensibilities just fine.

As ships have aged out of their original brands, they have often gone on to later service international clients for different companies. However, now foreign markets are demanding new-builds as much as the American one, leaving older ships somewhat in limbo.

It’s easiest for the most popular fleets to deploy wherever they need to and still have a following, but mature vessels have a harder time of either competing in high-traffic regions or being handed down to other markets.

That’s why it’s always crucial for the cruise industry to be developing new port and destination options for the wide variety of international vessels to service. As long as they exist, there are plenty of places to go around for them all.

Having movable assets is a freedom that most shoreside industries don’t have. Even with its occasional challenges, including tracking complex global conditions, the international cruise fleet has it good compared to, say, a fixed retail shop with poor sales in a failing regional neighborhood.