Yao Ming and Ye Li to Name Majestic Princess

Majestic Princess in Singapore
Majestic Princess in Singapore

Carnival Corporation and Princess Cruises announced today that Yao Ming and his wife, Ye Li, will serve as “Inaugural Cruise Ambassadors” for Princess Cruises in China and officially name the new Majestic Princess during a ceremony in July.

The inaugural festivities will take place aboard Majestic Princess in Shanghai on July 9, as the culmination of weeks of celebrations, upholding maritime traditions, as well as featuring traditional Chinese, contemporary Chinese, and western-inspired cultural performances taking place between Rome and Xiamen, according to a statement from Princess

“It is a great honor that Yao Ming and Ye Li have graciously accepted our invitation to officially name Majestic Princess and serve as the Inaugural Cruise Ambassadors at our celebration welcoming our newest ship to China,” said Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises. “Yao Ming is globally recognized for his success in China and the United States, truly embodying the ‘East meets West’ spirit of our international cruise line.”

Image result for ye li

Yao Ming and his wife, Ye Li, were both born in Shanghai and were both team members of China’s national basketball teams.

“We are honored to serve as the Inaugural Cruise Ambassadors for Princess Cruises and officially name the new Majestic Princess,” said Ming. “I’m inspired that Princess Cruises also cares so deeply about youth development in China and appreciate their support of our foundation. We look forward to enjoying a future vacation aboard Majestic Princess, China’s newest cruise ship.”

Norwegian Joy Welcomed to New Shanghai Home Port

Norwegian Joy Welcomed to New Shanghai Home Port
PHOTO: Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Norwegian Joy docked in Bremerhaven, Germany. (photo by Jason Leppert)
 

Following maiden calls in Singapore, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Norwegian Joy, was welcomed to its new home port of Shanghai, China.

The Norwegian Joy was engineered in Germany and designed specifically for the Chinese market.

During a preview voyage that departed from Shanghai June 10, the new ship welcomed more than 1,700 VIP members and guests of the Alibaba Group for a four-day preview cruise.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s preview voyage aboard the Norwegian Joy called on the Japanese port of Kochi before returning to Shanghai, and the ship’s christening ceremony will take place on June 27 with its Godfather, ‘King of Chinese Pop,’ Wang Leehom.

Year-round voyages on Norwegian Joy from Shanghai begin June 28, with sailings from Tianjin from August 26 to September 15. The vessel was designed with several major attractions, including the first race track at sea, virtual reality experiences, plus 28 local and international dining options.

“Norwegian Cruise Line is extremely proud to welcome the newest addition to our fleet, Norwegian Joy, to her home port of Shanghai, China,” NCLH China president David Herrera said in a statement.

“Norwegian Joy’s arrival demonstrates our commitment to the Chinese cruise market.  She was custom-built with Chinese cruise guests in mind.”

The Norwegian Joy will cater to the modern Chinese family, with amenities that include staterooms designed for multi-generational families, Las Vegas-style performances and a variety of luxury shopping options.

The new features, services and amenities found on the Norwegian Joy will help Norwegian Cruise Line make a massive impact in the Chinese market.

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.