Carnival looks to expand China presence with CSSC deal

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Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company, has announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the China State Shipbuilding Corporation to explore the possibility of a joint venture aimed at accelerating the development and growth of the Chinese cruise industry.

The Chinese sector is expected to be one of the largest cruise markets in the world, with 4.5 million passengers by 2020, according to the Chinese Ministry of Transport.

Becoming official at a signing ceremony today at the Ninth China Cruise Shipping and International Cruise Expo in Tianjin, the deal outlines the framework for exploration of a partnership between Carnival Corporation and the CSSC that includes the possibility of forming a shipbuilding joint venture.

In turn, that venture that could become a three-way arrangement involving Fincantieri of Italy, the world’s largest cruise ship building company, in support of the Chinese government’s plans to grow the cruising industry in China and meet escalating demand for cruises from Chinese travellers.

As part of the possible shipbuilding joint venture, Carnival Corporation would work closely with CSSC and Fincantieri to help define the first-ever, world-class cruise ship built in China.

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Under the joint venture concept, Carnival Corporation would provide its ship design and shipbuilding expertise to create the vision, definition and overall specifications for the China-built cruise ship.

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Norwegian Cruise Line defends World Travel Awards titles

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Norwegian Cruise Line has once again been named Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line by the World Travel Awards.

The 21st annual awards were voted on by travel professionals and consumers from around the globe and honour the world’s top travel companies for outstanding products and services.

Norwegian, which has been voted Europe’s Leading Cruise Line for seven consecutive years as well as the World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line, has ten spectacular Freestyle Cruising vessels sailing the Caribbean this winter.

The ships sail from five convenient departure ports, including Norwegian Getaway, the line’s newest ship and the largest ship to sail to the Caribbean year-round from Miami, and Norwegian Jewel, sailing from Houston for the first time since 2007.

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Royal Caribbean seeks to wow crowds in Southampton with Quantum of the Seas launch

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Quantum of the Seas arrives in Southampton

Royal Caribbean International has welcomed the arrival of Quantum of the Seas in Southampton, the first-ever smartship and most technologically advanced cruise ship in the world.

Quantum takes the guest experience to a whole new level with never seen before technology offering super-speedy bandwidth to keep guests connected wherever the ship is sailing. 

New boarding process technology means that guests will go from checking in to chilling out in ten minutes and a series of other world firsts, like robotic bartenders and digital shows on Roboscreens, will keep guests on the edge of their seats.

Designed with audiences who’ve never cruised before in mind, Quantum of the Seas will also have a stellar entertainment programme that takes guests on a visual and experiential journey of music, sound and performance

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Dropping the pilot: Cahill steps down at Carnival Cruise Lines

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Gerry Cahill, president and chief executive of Carnival Cruise Lines, has announced that he is retiring, effective November 30th, after 20 years of service.

Cahill, 63, has been chief executive of Carnival Corporation’s largest cruise brand since 2007, growing the cruise line to 24 ships

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DFDS Seaways commits to Newhaven-Dieppe ferry service

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DFDS Seaways and the Syndicat Mixte de Promotion de L’Activité Transmanche, which is responsible for the promotion of cross Channel activities for the Seine-Maritime region, have reached an agreement in principle to extend DFDS Seaways’ operation and marketing of the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry service for an additional year.

The agreement was reached between Nicolas Rouly, chairman of the General Council of Seine-Maritime and the SMPAT and Peder Gellert Pedersen, chairman of DFDS Seaways France and underlines the importance of the cross Channel ferry service to the tourism industry in the Seine-Maritime region of Normandy.

The agreement stipulates that the Seven Sisters and the Cote d’Albâtre ships, which are owned by SMPAT, will continue to be operated by DFDS Seaways on the Newhaven-Dieppe service during 2015.

New sailing schedules will be introduced during peak periods in response to growing tourism and economic demands recorded in recent years.

Other key elements include plans to adapt the ships to meet the requirements of MARPOL VI directive, using cleaner fuels, as well as safeguarding the jobs of the crew and shore-side staff who currently work on the route for the additional year.

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Carsten Jensen, senior vice president and head of DFDS Seaways in the UK added: 

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Carnival Corporation to welcome four new ships to fleet

{focus_keyword}Regal Princess will be welcomed to the Princess Cruises fleet

Carnival Corporation has announced it will increase fleet capacity by nearly ten percent from 2014 through 2016, fuelled largely by the addition of four new ships across four brands in less than 18 months.

This week, Carnival Corporation is christening two new ships in the span of three days as its Princess and Costa brands host official naming ceremonies for Regal Princess and Costa Diadema, the latest new vessels to join the company’s industry-leading fleet of more than 100 ships across nine cruise brands.

Additionally, in 2015, the company’s P&O Cruises UK and AIDA brands will each debut a new ship, giving Carnival Corporation a total of four new ship additions by October of next year.

All told, the company has refreshed its global fleet

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Interpol warns cruise industry over jihadist fighters

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Cruise ships could be unwittingly transporting jihadist fighters to the Middle East, Interpol has warned. 

The international crime prevention organisation said fighters may turning to the seas to reach conflict zones as security on airlines continues to tighten.

Interpol warned checks on cruise passengers should be tightened, with ports in Turkey singled out as a cause for particular concern.

However, industry body CLIA insisted that cruise lines also have stringent security processes in place to confirm the identities of passengers.

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Sewol ferry captain jailed for gross negligence

{focus_keyword}Nearly 500 people were on board the ferry when it sank on April 16th

Lee Joon-seok, the captain of the Sewol ferry which sank of South Korea in April, has been jailed for gross negligence.

He was handed a sentence of 36 years in prison following the disaster, which claimed more than 300 lives.

The ferry had been carrying 476 people when it went down.

Lee Joon-seok was among 15 crew members on trial over the sinking, with prosecutors having charged him with homicide and called for the death penalty.

However, judges said he was not clearly the only person responsible for the tragedy.

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The also agreed his negligence did not amount to an intent to kill.

In his late 60s, the captain is expected to spend the rest of his life in jail.

Thirteen other crew members were given jail sentences of up to 20 years.

They were tried on charges including abandonment and violating maritime law.

Crew members did not secure cargo which moved when the vessel took a tight corner, toppling the ferry, and Lee was filmed leaving the sinking ship while many passengers remained inside.

A total of 295 bodies have been retrieved by teams of divers but nine people remain unaccounted for.

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MSC Armonia re-launched as MSC begins fleet revamp

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MSC Armonia, the first of four MSC cruise ships to be enlarged and enhanced under the Renaissance Programme, was re-launched in Genoa today before a ten-day inaugural cruise to the Canary Islands.

Hundreds of journalists and travel industry representatives boarded MSC Armonia as MSC Cruises chief executive Gianni Onorato unveiled the ship’s range of sensational new options and features.

Onorato told a press conference in the ship’s Business Centre:

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Norwegian completes Prestige Cruises deal

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Norwegian Cruise Line has completed its previously-announced acquisition of Prestige Cruises International, the market leader in the upscale cruise segment and parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

The deal came in for a total of $3.025 billion in cash and stock, including the assumption of debt.

With this acquisition, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings operates a portfolio of brands that span all market segments in the cruise industry, from contemporary to upper-premium to luxury. 

Each brand offers differentiated experiences in their respective segments. 

The Norwegian Cruise Line brand provides the freedom and flexibility of a resort-style vacation on board some of the most innovative ships in the industry with its unique Freestyle Cruising proposition. 

Commenting on the closing of the acquisition, Kevin Sheehan, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said:

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