Ongoing vessel tonnage restrictions in Venice have capped cruise traffic for now, with a limit of 96,000 tons. In 2017 the classic Italian port is looking at a forecast of 473 calls and just over 1.4 million passengers, which is down from 2016. Next year looks set to be similar to 2017, according to a port spokesperson.
Meanwhile, government officials are still working to lock down an alternative route for larger ships to reach the port facilities.
New callers in 2017 include the AIDAblue, the Artemis, Norwegian Star, Silver Muse, Seabourn Encore, Arethusa, and both the Viking Sky and Sun.
The board of directors for VTP (the port authority) agreed earlier this year not to adjust berth fees in order to help foster growth.
Future growth will need to depend on the identification and availability of a new alternative route for ships to reach port facilities – thus allowing large ships to use Venice again. The port spokesperson also told Cruise Industry News that they want to increase their week-day call portfolio. VTP offers 10 terminal choices.
SINGAPORE — Guests boarding the new Seabourn Encore may notice that its lines and designs are softer and more curvaceous than the other Seabourn ships, said Adam Tihany, lead designer for the new ship.
The Seabourn Encore arrived here on Jan. 5 on a voyage from the shipyard in Italy where it was built. It is scheduled to depart on Jan. 7 on an inaugural cruise to Bali.
Tihany, president of New York-based Tihany Design, said one example is the Seabourn Square gathering spot on Deck 7 that serves as a library/guest services/coffee bar for the ship. “It’s literally not a square anymore,” he said.
On the Encore, the area has been opened up to guests by lowering partitions that once kept service personnel walled off. Now, the area is shaped in more of a circle. It has also been brightened with a lighter color scheme.
Another example is the bar in the Observation Lounge, which has been converted from a square shape to a circle. Tihany’s design also makes the lounge brighter by incorporating a skylight into the ceiling above the bar.
In addition to being more “sexy” and aesthetically pleasing, the reduction in the number of hard angles and sharp edges will reduce the wear and tear on crew members bumping into these obstacles, Tihany said.
“The ship is taking into consideration how passengers move in space,” Tihany said.
The Encore is the first new Seabourn ship since the 2011 delivery of the Seabourn Quest. It has an additional deck, raising the capacity at double occupancy from 450 to 600 guests.
The design of the previous three Seabourn ships, including Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Sojourn, was more “Nordic,” Tihany said. Tthe Encore and its sister ship due in 2018, Seabourn Ovation, will look more like luxury yachts, he said.
Tihany spoke in a news conference on the ship with Seabourn president Rick Meadows. Tihany said his favorite space on the new ship is The Retreat, a relaxation area of 11 cabanas surrounding a whirlpool and covered by an arched canvas dome. Entrance is limited to guests who pay the rental fee for a cabana, which is $349 on sea days and $249 on port days.
On the dais during the Seabourn Encore’s christening were (from left) godmother Sarah Brightman, ship captain Mark Dexter and Seabourn president Rick Meadows.
SINGAPORE — With bright yellow two-person Chinese lion dancers prowling the audience, along with illuminated stilt walkers, a troupe of drummers and a long pink paper dragon carried on poles by a half-dozen bearers, Seabourn christened its newest vessel in this hub of Asian shipping.
The 600-passenger Seabourn Encore becomes Seabourn’s fourth ship, in one swoop returning the line to the capacity it had prior to selling three 200-passenger ships to Windstar Cruises in 2013.
“Encore marks a major step forward in the growth of our company,” Seabourn president Rick Meadows said before introducing godmother Sarah Brightman to the audience, which included 1,050 passengers from the Encore and the Seabourn Sojourn, also docked at the modernistic Marina Bay Cruise Center.
Inside the terminal, they watched projection screens showing the ship’s hull as Brightman pushed a button that sent the traditional champagne bottle careening into the side of the ship.
It smashed, triggering a blizzard of gold and black confetti inside the hall. Brightman, a classical crossover vocalist who has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, did not sing for the event.
The Encore departed later in the evening on its 10-day inaugural cruise that will end in Bali.
On hand for the event were Micky Arison and Arnold Donald, chairman and CEO, respectively, of Carnival Corp., which owns the Seabourn luxury brand.
Donald flew in by private jet fresh off an appearance at the Las Vegas consumer electronics show, where he unveiled Carnival’s new Ocean Medallion technology.
In his remarks, Donald reprised a favorite theme that this is “the golden age of cruising” and that the audience should feel fortunate it is living in an age when beautiful ships like the Encore are built.
Singapore’s minister for trade and industry, S. Iswaran, said that Carnival Corp. ships represent about 20% of the annual cruise calls in Singapore.
He said the island city-state has a “rising appeal to sophisticated travelers” and that it is “the home port of choice in southeast Asia.”
He noted that the World Bank for a decade put Singapore atop its list of easiest places to do business. It fell last year to number two behind New Zealand when the bank revised its ranking formula.
The Encore represents a refinement of Seabourn’s Odyssey-class vessels delivered from 2009-2011. It has an extra deck that provides space for a small sushi restaurant and a larger chop house created by celebrity chef Thomas Keller.
Designer Adam Tihany reimagined the interiors in a softer, more curvaceous mode. He has also designed the second ship in the class, Seabourn Ovation, which is currently under construction and is scheduled to launch in spring 2018.