THE SEATRADE CRUISE SHIPPING CONVENTION in Miami this year was heavily focused on how the industry would weather the downturn in the economy. Cruise executives told the audience of port agents, shipbuilders and ship suppliers that, historically, the cruise industry has always survived the worst economic woes. The executives said there would be some effect on cruising, but that the industry had survived recession, wars and hurricanes in the past and had continued to grow and build ships throughout. "There is no vacation that offers the same value as a cruise," said Carnival Cruise Lines CEO Gerry Cahill. "We will fare well compared with other discretionary consumer products."
MOSAIC OF THE SEAS was the first of six names chosen by a panel in a contest by Royal Caribbean International and USA Today to name the two 5,400-passenger Genesis class ships slated for delivery in 2009 and 2010. John Wilson, 35, of Shoreview, Minn., submitted the name to the newspaper's "Name That Ship" contest, the first of six contestants whose names will be chosen as finalists over the next six weeks. The two names, one for each Genesis-class ship, will be selected on or before May 31 by a panel of judges, including Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. CEO Richard Fain and ship historian John Maxtone-Graham.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE said its third generation of Freestyle cruise ships will not have main dining rooms, main theaters or Lido deck cafes and will not have traditional cruise ship cabins. The 4,200-passenger vessels, NCL's largest, will have many features that will be "unrecognizable" to cruisers, said Colin Veitch, NCL's president and CEO. The first of the two 150,000-gross-ton ships will be delivered in January 2010. Veitch also said that the Norwegian Jade will be the first NCL ship to get the multimillion-dollar enhancements of the line's Freestyle 2.0 initiative when the vessel, the former Pride of Hawaii, debuts in the Mediterranean on March 30.
SINGAPORE said its new international cruise terminal at Marina South will open in 2010, doubling the port's capacity and allowing it to accommodate the largest cruise ships currently in service or development. The Singapore Tourism Board specifically said that its new terminal would be able to accommodate Royal Caribbean International's Genesis class of ships, at 5,400 passengers, which are scheduled to debut in 2009. Singapore said it hoped to handle 1.6 million embarking and disembarking cruise passengers per year by 2015, a 70% increase over last year's cruise passenger volume.
CDF CROISIERES DE FRANCE will take delivery of its first ship, the Bleu de France, in April, the first for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd's new French cruise brand. The ship is currently sailing for RCCL's Spanish brand Pullmantur Cruises as the Holiday Dream. The ship will undergo a $46 million makeover in Barcelona, to be tailored to French travelers, before entering service in Marseille in May.
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