Majestic Princess Set to Sail from Taiwan in 2018 Deployment Change

The Majestic Princess makes a call to Keelung in June.
Majestic Princess
The new Majestic Princess is poised to move into the Taiwanese market from April to July 2018, after which the 2017-built ship will head to Australia for winter 2018-2019.

According to sources with knowledge of the ship’s deployment, the Majestic will sail three- and four-night voyages from Keelung in all of April and May. A spokesperson for Princess Cruises told Cruise Industry News in a written statement that 2018 itineraries have yet to be confirmed.

Following her Taiwan-based short cruise program, the ship will offer longer cruises to Japan in May, June and July from Keelung. It is not known, however, if they will be mixed in with China-based sailings, or if Princess is continuing to cut capacity in China.

Announced in 2015, the Majestic Princess was built and developed for year-round China operations.

Earlier this year, Princess announced she would re-position seasonally to Australia for 2018-2019.

In addition, the Sapphire Princess, which has been dedicated to the Asia and China markets, will be re-deployed to Europe in 2018.

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Norwegian has no plans to reduce China service, Del Rio says

Norwegian Joy
It’s full speed ahead in China for Norwegian Cruise Line.

Despite recent announcements by other lines that ships once scheduled for year-round service in China would move to Australia for part of the year, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings chairman Frank Del Rio said his company has no plans to follow suit.

“I’m glad to see that the others are leaving,” Del Rio said. “That leaves us perhaps the last man standing, and that’d be great. I’ll take all the demand.”

Del Rio’s comments came during a conference call with analysts to discuss first-quarter financial results.

Cruise selling in China has been disrupted since March by the Chinese government’s move to halt travel to South Korea, a protest of a decision by the South Korean government to install a U.S.-made missile defense system.

“The disruption caused travel agents to be distracted from focusing on contracting charters further out into the year, then trying to book, in some cases rebook, [and] find new customers [for those] who no longer wanted to go on sailings that didn’t include Korea,” Del Rio said. “But it’s also had a bit of a chilling effect on overall demand.”

He added that sales for new cruises had started to pick up in the past two weeks. “The South Korea situation, we believe, is a temporary bump in the road, and time will tell,” he said.

Norwegian Cruise Line is scheduled to start sailing the 3,883-passenger Norwegian Joy, its first ship custom-designed for the Chinese market, from Shanghai in late June.

Princess Cruises recently said that its Majestic Princess, also custom-built for the Chinese market, will be deployed to Australia for six months in 2018-19. The move follows the redeployment of the Sapphire Princess from China to Europe in the latter half of 2018.

Because Norwegian is new to the Chinese source market, Del Rio said he’s being cautious about predicting the impact of the Norwegian Joy on the company’s performance in the second half.

“So in many ways, all the good things that I have to say about how our business is operating on the other 24 ships is being somewhat tempered by the potential that could arise in China,” Del Rio said.

A strong Wave

Del Rio said on the call that this year’s Wave was “the best Wave season that we and likely the industry has experienced in quite some time.” As a result, NCLH brands have fewer cabins to sell for the rest of 2017, and it expects higher prices on those bookings than last year.

NCLH, which also includes Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, posted Q1 net income of $61.9 million, compared with $73.2 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 6.8%, to a record $1.15 billion.

Del Rio attributed the net-income decline to higher-than-expected maintenance and repair costs, particularly for the Norwegian Star, which broke down in Australia for five days in February.

Outside of that, CFO Wendy Beck said the results were driven by “strong close-in demand in the Caribbean, coupled with strength in onboard revenue.” Cuba itineraries are now available on all three brands, and “the performance of that itinerary is just astonishing,” Del Rio said. NCLH is also doing better than it planned in Europe this year, which Del Rio attributed to a combination of less inventory to sell than at the same time last year and positive market conditions. “That is resulting in very, very strong sales in Europe at significantly higher prices than the same time last year,” he said.

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.