5 SEPTEMBER 2022
© 2022 Business Travel News Ltd.
We start with some negative news that Fred Olsen has withdrawn Bolette from service until a Norway Christmas cruise due to a lack of demand for the vessel’s winter voyages.
On a positive front, MSC has jumped in with an all-year-round programme with the 2021 built Virtuosa. She replaces MSC Preziosa’s itineraries this winter offering the newly introduced Northern Pearls itinerary.
Antonio Paradiso, Managing Director UK and Ireland, MSC Cruises, said that since Virtuosa first came to the UK in May, the feedback from the company’s guests has been "incredible" and the ship has been a "huge hit".
"The increased appetite for stress-free no-fly cruises out of the UK combined with the benefits of the new state-of-the-art Southampton Horizon Terminal has resulted in huge demand", he added.
NCL has a limited ex-Southampton programme for 2023 departures, the brand new Prima with only a single visit 15 June outbound to Reykjavik. Carnival Group is the busiest operator at the port.
Cruise Week dates
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has confirmed this year’s Cruise Week will now take place from Friday 23 September Sunday 2 October. The annual event will see a host of trade-friendly cruise initiatives and updates made available for agents.
CLIA is calling on agents to ‘Get Onboard’, by giving a keen focus on cruising during the week, so they can benefit from the wider PR activity being undertaken. The ‘Get Onboard’ theme also extends to holidaymakers, with the week showcasing the many reasons people choose to take a cruise holiday.
Specific trade activity includes:
Andy Harmer, Managing Director for UK & Ireland, CLIA, said: “We’re very excited this year’s Cruise Week is on the horizon, and are eagerly counting down to the raft of trade initiatives we’ll be putting in place. We’re encouraging all agents to stay tuned via social media and our other communications platforms.
“There is so much positivity and enthusiasm in the industry, and Cruise Week is timed perfectly to help generate even more customer interest, engagement and enquiries”.
Wi-fi and Royal Caribbean
Cruise operator Royal Caribbean is bringing Elton Musk’s SpaceX's satellite-based internet service to its cruise ships in what it is billing as "the biggest public deployment of Starlink's high-speed internet in the travel industry so far".
The rollout will begin immediately across all three brands the company operates: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises, with the installation expected to be finished by early 2023, according to a press release. Royal Caribbean said that the decision comes after it ran a pilot on one of its ships, "Freedom of the Seas," and "received tremendous positive feedback from guests and crew".
Editor-in-Chief Malcolm Ginsberg is at present taking his first trip on Ambassador Ambience, the new British cruise line, which will be featured in a future ON TOUR. He says the wi-fi on the virtually full (1,400 passengers) ship is very good although the weather yesterday (Sunday 4 September) was wet and breezy as she prepared to leave Invergordon and round Caithness on her way to Portree, Isle of Sky, her next port of call.
Phil Gardner, Chief Commercial Officer at Ambassador says that the return of cruising is in full swing and Ambassador has experienced a buoyant summer season.
“The level of demand has exceeded expectations and shows a clear demand for no-fly cruising among British holidaymakers, especially with travel chaos at airports up and down the country. This level of interest shows a pent-up demand post-pandemic for premium value cruising”.
He remarked that with the cost-of-living crisis on the horizon, the winter sun and Mediterranean voyages are proving very popular. “With high energy costs this winter people are looking to get away and know they are getting a premium value product that includes full board, excellent cuisine, and amazing entertainment for exceptional value.
“Ambassador’s inaugural world cruise (January 2024) is also proving very popular showing there is definitely demand for iconic long voyages in 2024”.
Whilst the cruise line was launched to cater for the over 50’s market the two August 2022 Multigenerational cruises were both sold out.
“Guests commented that there was a good atmosphere and energy on board. Upon request of the guests, Ambassador showed the Lioness final on the top deck super screen, with all seats full to watch the game”.
The kids go for £1 offer was extremely popular and so Ambassador has launched kids for £99 next year.
Well done Invergordon & Cork
The Editor-in-Chief with the debut Ambassador Ambience trip in mind, looked up Invergordon on the ship visit schedule finding a most useful port visit ship directory, a very useful listing not only for ship operators but also tour hosts and locals http://www.visitinvergordon.com/schedule.html Cork does something similar www.portofcork.ie/index.cfm/page/cruiseschedule2010. BTN would be happy to publish lists from other UK ports.
European river cruises are now operating normally but are affected by Danube and Rhine water levels. See BTN 22 August Rhine cruise problems
European river cruise specialist, VIVA Cruises, has made a move to attract more UK business by unveiling exciting news for 2023 – including the launch of its second ship, VIVA TWO.
VIVA Cruises was launched in 2018. It is part of Scylla AG, based near Zurich, itself established in 1974, the owner of 29 river cruise ships all operating under the Swiss flag.
Following the launch of VIVA ONE earlier this year, VIVA TWO will be VIVA Cruises’ second new-build ship. It will feature 95 stylish and comfortable cabins (including eight suites) which will reflect the casual lifestyle of VIVA Cruises.
VIVA TWO will have three restaurants: VIVA’s Bistro, offering a casual atmosphere and a wide selection of snacks and smaller dishes available from early morning until late at night – as well as a privilege view from the back of the ship; Riverside, the main restaurant featuring a wide selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner menus; and MOMENTS, the place to go for top-class specialty food, accompanied with light entertainment. All dining options will be included in the cruise package part of the VIVA All-Inclusive product.
VIVA TWO’s 7-night Maiden Voyage will sail from Frankfurt on 1 April 2023, heading upstream along the Main River. Passing through cities including Bamberg, Nuremberg and Regensburg, the maiden voyage will take her along the Danube to the three-river city of Passau, the end destination.
Andrea Kruse, COO of VIVA Cruises, said: “After the launch of VIVA ONE this year, the building of VIVA TWO, our second ship, forms another highlight in the history of VIVA Cruises. We are truly delighted to be walking the next important milestone in the company and look forward to welcoming more Brits aboard our nine ships available in 2023”.
In addition to their second new-build ship, two other members of the VIVA Cruises’ fleet, VIVA VOYAGE and VIVA GLORIA, will be having a fresh new look for 2023 and featuring a new design and bar concept. They will be expanded to include the brand-new VIVA’s Vino wine bar, which will allow guests to enjoy and discover a wide variety of wines on their cruise journeys.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
malcolm ginsberg, Edgware, North London
The words are Fred Olsen's not ours. A commercial decision, more's the pity as we wished to join her to Malta. Perhaps in the new year.
Peter North, , Tenterden
I think the comment about Fred Olsen withdrawing the Bolette from service needs clarification.Passengers due to travel on her this month and next may have been unduly concerned by the statement as it stands.