Dover Cruise Port to welcome 96 cruise calls in 2017

Photo Credit; Dave Jones Port of Dover taken from the Carnival Legend.

Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic will return to Dover in both 2017 and 2018 (Image: Port of Dover)

Destination Dover and Dover Cruise Port is set to welcome 96 cruise calls in the 2017 season, which started on 15 March with a call from Saga Cruises’ Saga Pearl II.

This year, several cruise lines will return to the UK port including Holland America Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Phoenix Reisen with Artania and Albatros. Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic will also return on 24 May and then make further turnaround calls on 28 June and 9 July. Disney Magic has also booked four calls for 2018. Another highlight of 2017 will be an inaugural call from Silversea Cruises’ Silver Explorer on 1 June.

“It’s wonderful that the cruise season is underway again here at Dover Cruise Port and fantastic to be able to announce that Destination Dover has secured so many cruise calls for the 2017 season,” said Sonia Limbrick, Port of Dover’s head of Business Development (Cruise). “The history and inspiring regeneration of Dover Western Docks and town has created a buzz of excitement within the industry and placed Dover firmly on the map as a destination of choice for both local and international cruise passengers.”

Princess Cruises announces biggest ever season of ex-UK sailings

Image result for emerald princess

by Natasha Salmon

Princess Cruises has announced 2018 will be its biggest ever season of cruises departing from the UK.

More than 40 itineraries on three Princess ships will be available between April and October out of Southampton and Dover.

In 2016 the operator’s Emerald Princess spent the summer season in Southampton.

Tony Roberts, vice president Princess Cruises UK and Europe, said: “Having seen a significant increase in popularity of Princess cruises from the UK, we are thrilled to announce that our 2018 programme will be our biggest ever season.

“We have a long history with the UK market and after a significant growth, especially with the popularity of our Emerald ex-UK sailings; we decided to grow it further.”

The Sapphire Princess will make its maiden visit to Europe sailing from Southampton to the Mediterranean and northern Europe for the full period between April and October.

Prior to this, from March, it will sail from Singapore on the Indian Ocean & Europe Grand Adventures 38-night cruise to Southampton and then return to Singapore in October.

In May 2018, Royal Princess will return to the UK offering round-Britain cruises, five years after it was launched by the Duchess of Cambridge.

Pacific Princess, the lines smaller ship, will sail a roundtrip from Dover to northern and southern Europe between June and September, including the 12-night European capitals cruise with overnight stay in Amsterdam.

Roberts said the company’s success is reliant on their work with agents.

“The thing which has made 2016 such a success for us is closely working with the trade.

“Agents are critical to the success of our presence in the UK and we will continue to work with them.”

For the first time in three years summer Caribbean cruises will return with 47 itineraries around the Caribbean and Panama Canal ranging from seven to 20-nights.

Princess will offer its largest ever Alaska deployment with seven ships sailing in the region, increasing the number of guests by 15%.

Crown Princess will offer Mediterranean cruises from Rome, Athens and Barcelona while Regal Princess will sail roundtrip from Copenhagen to Scandinavia and the Baltic.

Norwegian-Prestige deal raises prospect of UK deployment

Norwegian-Prestige deal raises prospect of UK deployment

Norwegian Cruise Line’s acquisition of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises will give it the courage to base a ship in Southampton or Dover, according to Norwegian chief executive Kevin Sheehan.

He said it was too much of a risk to commit so much capacity to the UK market when you have only 13 ships, but with 21 in the combined group, it would definitely be a consideration now.

Sheehan said the deal was financially beneficial but also brought other benefits.

“It helps us withstand economic situations like recessions – the type of customers who travel with Oceania and Regent have a lot of money and that top end of the industry weathered the downturn well.”

It also helps it become more resilient to geographical situations and makes it operationally “smarter”.

But he said “synergies” across the three brands would be created “behind the curtain” initially.

“Certainly for a period of time because we don’t want to do anything stupid, we will continue selling and marketing the three brands individually as it’s worked well and we don’t want to mess that up.

“I don’t want to keep changing strategies like Royal Caribbean has, so we will stay as we are for quite a while,” he said.

But he said sales and marketing teams for each of the three brands would start to share knowledge and best practice.

And commenting on Royal Caribbean chief executive Richard Fain’s recent declaration that he wanted his company to be the best, Sheehan added:

“He can say he wants to be the best, but the report card comes out once a quarter and then we will see who’s best.

“We are bringing together two excellent businesses. Norwegian has gone from being a joke in this industry to the best in class in terms of yields, operational profit and onboard spend. It’s very positive and is only going to become more so.”

Sheehan said the deal had been financed by raising cash, selling some equity and raising money from banks including JP Morgan, Barclays and Deutsche Bank adding that every other bank had fallen over themselves trying to be part of it as “they could see how compelling the transaction was”.

Sheehan said bringing Oceania and Regent parent company Prestige Holdings into the fold had always been on his mind, but talks had never got far.

“I brought it up a couple of times but it never really got going. It was always too complicated or things were happening and getting in the way, like launching ships or taking the company public.

“But then Frank del Rio and I started a romance – we went for dinner and got to where we are now. It’s extremely exciting.”

Sheehan said he was not looking for any further acquisitions in the immediate future.

“We’re a conservative group of guys and girls and our hands will be full for a while. Our focus now is to ensure we have a very successful launch of our new Norwegian ship, Escape, next year and of the new Regent ship in 2016.”