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The Cruise Ship Industry is set to boom again in 2016

The Cruise Ship Industry slowed a little in 2015 by its own massive expansion standards with only 7 ships entering into service as follows:
  1. Britannia: P&O Cruises, March 2015
  2. Anthem of the Seas: Royal Caribbean, April 2015
  3. Le Lyrial: Ponant, April 2015
  4. Viking Star: Viking Ocean Cruises, April 2015
  5. Mein Schiff 4: TUI Cruises, June 2015
  6. AIDAprima: AIDA Cruises, October 2015 (delayed)
  7. Escape: NCL, October 2015

Total capacity in 2015 entering into service: 18,867 passengers
This may sound a lot, however cruise enthusiasts were getting accustomed to at least 10 new ships each year (sometimes more), which reflects that the industry was growing around 7% for the last 2 or more decades.

However it’s back to mega business next year, as 2016 promises to be a boom year for Cruise Ships with 10 new mega and luxury vessels entering into service as follows:
  1. Carnival Vista, Carnival Cruises: GT: 135,000 Pax: 4,000 Launch: Spring 2016
  2. Unnamed ship, AIDA Cruises: GT: 125,000 Pax: 3,250 Launch: March 2016
  3. Mein Schiff 5, TUI Cruises: GT: 97,000 Pax: 2,500 Launch: April 2016
  4. Koningsdam, Holland America Line: GT: 99,000 Pax: 2,660 Launch: April 2016
  5. Ovation of the Seas, Royal Caribbean: GT: 167,800 Pax: 4,180 Launch: April 2016
  6. Harmony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean: GT: 225,282 Pax: 5,400 Launch: April 2016
  7. Viking Sea, Viking Ocean Cruises: GT: 48,000 Pax: 928 Launch: June 2016
  8. Regent Seven Seas Explorer: GT: 54,000 Pax: 738 Launch: July 2016
  9. Encore, Seabourn: GT: 40,350 Pax: 604 Launch: September 2016
  10. Genting World, Star Cruises: GT: 150,000 Pax: 3,360 Launch: November 2016

Total capacity in 2016 entering into service: 27,556 passengers +46% on 2015. Some 23 million people are expected to Cruise in 2016 and roughly half of his will be North American.

Clearly these figures demonstrate that the Cruise Industry is sailing ahead, regardless of worldwide financial jitters and potential global instability. To make these expansion possible Cruise Lines need to entertain new source markets, such as the Chinese and Asians in general, but all markets are being tapped from Russian and Turkish, to Indian, Arab and African.

There is a long way to go before penetration rates even in Europe are anywhere near the limit, so the Cruise Industry remains to be the good news success story of Tourism, as so many jobs are generated and cultures engaged.

1. Carnival Vista, Carnival Cruises (launched)
GT: 135,000 Capacity: 4,000 Launch date: Spring 2016
This new edition to the comprehensive Carnival Cruises fleet (25th "Fun Ship.") will be the line's first since 2012, which was the Carnival Breeze.

The Carnival Vista will be constructed at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy and will feature all of 2.0 enhancements, as well as a number of innovative features. This is the first ship in the Vista Class, which will include a second unnamed ship set to debut in spring 2018.

2. Unnamed ship, AIDA Cruises
GT: 125,000 Capacity: 3,250 Launch date: March 2016
This mega state-of-the-art ship is second ship to be built for the German market leader at Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Yard.

The AIDAprima was the first in this mega class, which are significantly larger than any other vessels within the fleet.

Interestingly, AIDA Cruises is considered to be the most profitable brand within the carnival Corporation group which dominates the Cruise Ship Industry with a market share of nearly 50% with its 9 brands.

3. Mein Schiff 5, TUI Cruises (Launched)
GT: 97,000 Capacity: 2,500 Launch date: April 2016
Mein Schiff 5 is the 3rd Mein Schiff class cruise ship built at Turku Shipyard and will become the 5th member of their well-being “Premium All Inclusive” fleet.

TUI Cruises is targeting couples and families that desire freedom, space, quality and personal service. The Mein Schiff (meaning “My Ship”) vessels feature numerous service restaurants, the spa and sport zone, a personal Nespresso machine in every cabin, spacious balconies as well as relax islands on the deck ensure that a cruise holiday with TUI Cruises is ideal for the body and soul. The start of production for Mein Schiff 6 is already under way.

4. Koningsdam, Holland America Line (Launched)
GT: 99,000 Capacity: 2,660 Launch date: April 2016
The Koningsdam is a mega ship which offers a plethora of groundbreaking features for Holland America Line. To start it’s the biggest ship in the HAL fleet. It will be the first since the launch of the Nieuw Amsterdam and forms part of the new Pinnacle Class. New highlights for HAL include:
  • Solo and family cabins
  • New dining venues: Sel de Mer (French), the Lido Market (twist on fleet-wide Lido Restaurant), Grand Dutch Cafe and Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center.
The Koningsdam’s maiden season will include itineraries in the Mediterranean, Baltic, British Isles and Northern Europe.

5. Ovation of the Seas, Royal Caribbean (Launched)
GT: 167,800 Capacity: 4,180 Launch date: April 2016
This vessel is Royal Caribbean's 3rd in their Quantum Class and is set to sail in 2016. Keeping with the same attributes of its famous sister ships the “Quantum of the Seas” and “Anthem of the Seas”- this new edition will feature new-to-the-seas activities such as:
  • Onboard bumper cars
  • Skydiving simulator
  • North Star, a pod that extends up and over the ship for 360-degree views.

Inside cabins boast "virtual balconies" which is in essence floor-to-ceiling LCD TV screens linked to a camera mounted on the outside of the ship. It will also be home to a wildly innovative entertainment space “Two70” which integrates HD-digital technology with singing, dancing and acrobatics. Ovation of the Seas is expected to be positioned in China year-round and is being built to lure Chinese cruisers. This further demonstrates the commitment Royal Caribbean has to the Chinese market. 

6. Harmony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean (Launched)
GT: 225,282 Capacity: 5,400 Launch date: April 2016
You guessed it, yet another mega ship from Royal Caribbean, which belongs to the Oasis Class and becomes the 3rd ship within this category. This class of ship is still the world’s biggest and significantly larger than the nearest class by arund 1000 people.

The new edition to the every expanding Royal Caribbean fleet, which is the largest of any Cruise Lines, will be built and ready to sail by April 2016. A fourth-in-class ship, still unnamed, will also launch mid-2018, meaning there is no stopping this relentless drive for expansion at Royal Caribbean International.

7. Viking Sea, Viking Ocean Cruises
GT: 48,000 Capacity: 928 Launch date: June 2016
The Viking Sea will become the 3rd of 4 ships to debut for the Viking Ocean Cruises brand, which only commenced operations as from May 2015.

The ship will include several of the company's successful riverboat tried and tested features, including
  • The Aquavit Terrace
  • An alfresco dining venue
  • Plenty of outdoor space on the sundeck and beyond.
The vessel also will treat Guests to a promenade that fully encompases the ship.

8. Regent Seven Seas Explorer
GT: 54,000 Capacity: 738 Launch date: July 2016
The Explorer will become the largest ship within Regent Seven Seas Cruises' fleet and thereby expanding its passenger capacity by a notable 40%.

The 5 star luxury vessel will feature:
  • 369 suites ranging from 300 square feet to 1,500 square feet,
  • 6 open-seating gourmet restaurants
  • a 9-deck atrium and a 2-story theater

9. Encore, Seabourn
GT: 40,350 Capacity: 604 Launch date: September 2016
Seabourn will build 2 new all-suite ships that will be the largest in their fleet.

All 302 suites will boast private balconies and both vessels will be constructed at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.

10. Genting World, Star Cruises
GT: 150,000 Capacity: 3,360 Launch date: November 2016
The Genting World will become the 7th ship in the Star Cruises fleet, which is set to expand in the coming years with the first of 2 ships that will be delivered in fall 2016 and fall 2017 respectively, and to be homeported in Asia.

Star Cruises, the leading cruise line in Asia-Pacific, officially launched the start of the production of next generation of mega-ships, which will be built at the Meyer Werft yard in Germany.

A Norovirus Vaccine will Definitely Benefit Cruise Ships

Scientific studies on a vaccine against norovirus, the top source of gastroenteritis in the U.S., are set to come to an end this year. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., the most efficient immunization candidate, has developed a vaccine against norovirus.

The shots will keep people protected reducing possibilities of an individual to be infected by this germ down to 5%.

This is very good news as a norovirus vaccine would be a boon to cruise ships, schools and nursing homes struggling to deal with a highly contagious diseases.

A vaccine would be more vital for individuals with a high risk of exposure or weakened immune defenses.

Norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting bug, can be caught from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces, according to the CDC. It causes the stomach and intestines to become inflamed, resulting in pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
It is more common in the US from November to April.

If approved, Takeda’s norovirus vaccine would be the first to protect people against the germ.

Related Article: Crucial Cruise Ship HACCP Sanitation Internationally Certificated Course required for Crew

Retiring on board a Cruise ship will be one reality of the future

Retiring on a cruise ship sounds like a fantastic idea once you reach a certain age. Who wouldn't want to travel and have a new balcony view each day? 

It seems like everyone is cruising these days, and when most people return to their normal lives, they are thinking about their next getaway. Some people love to be on a cruise ship so much that they try to get a weekend getaway on Carnival, Norwegian, or Royal Caribbean.

When that's not enough, people start thinking way ahead in the future. The question: "Can I retire on a cruise ship?"

Cruise ships are fun and provide excellent vacation destinations, but they're not equipped to be a nursing home unless some cruise line decides to offer one for retirees. While it is so tempting to sell everything and take your retirement to sea, there are few things you may want to consider.

The cost to retire on a cruise at sea is high, and you would never receive the level of care required should you need full-time care or a nursing home. It could also cost you $100,000 to travel the world, which makes this more of a rich man's hobby, and not everything is picture perfect.

On most cruise lines, you will pay extra for alcoholic beverages and sodas. And you'll certainly pay hundreds of dollars for Internet service at sea. You have to add the extra expense for making phone calls either from the ship or roaming from your cell phone.

Who will do your laundry? Some ships do offer laundry service for a price. Princess Cruises offers a cost of $3.25 per washer load and $3.25 per dryer load. That can add up, and those machines are very tiny. Oh, and you'll need to keep your outfit clean for the formal nights.

Do you plan to go on land? Guided tours at ports are becoming more expensive.

You might get tired of visiting ports and bored with the same daily routines. The ship food might become a nuisance, or you might gain weight from all the desserts. Watching the same entertainment and shows every night will become stale and old.

We don't want to discourage anyone from living their dreams by retiring on a cruise ship. It's a fun idea if you have the money and can live in small quarters.

You must also be healthy. Don't rely on medical care on cruise ships because it's very expensive and designed to treat minor illnesses and injuries. On-going care isn't available from the health facility.

Sure, there's a doctor on the ship, but they're not ready to deal with full-time patients. If you are very ill or injured, you will be hospitalized at the next port or will require a helicopter evacuation. It's just not feasible, and your health insurance provider might find a way not to pay your medical bills since you're away so much.

Why not just cruise part of the year? Many of the cruise lines offer world cruises that keep you sailing for three to six months. If you're thinking about traveling full-time, try a cruise at least three months and then decide.

Off Radar Comment
What this article does not consider, is that moving forward custom made solutions will be found for active pensioners who truly retire on board. Moreover, there are a great number of wealthy pensioners and many already take a year out on board. 

The slow death of cruise etiquette and tradition

I was recently asked to indirectly write an article for Conde Nast on "Cruise Etiquette".

My mind quickly turned to images of Gala Night, the Captains Cocktail and the Sail-away Party. However, as I pondered on these time honored events, upon recalling my most recent experiences, I soon came to the conclusion that both cruise etiquette and tradition was dying a slow death and perhaps for good reason.

The Cruise Industry was once seemingly the exclusive right of the elite, who sailed the seven seas on board ocean liners, whereby the ticket price was exceptionally high and 0.001% of the world's population could realistically afford a cruise. The pomp and pageantry of maritime tradition was in full flow during this period and one only needs to watch the Titanic film to get a sense of how life used to be on board.

Then in the 1970's came the "Love Boat" Soap Opera which attracted the longing attention of the masses "my mother is still in love with the Captain". Cruise etiquette was suddenly on show for the masses. Sadly however, the old Princess Cruises ship that featured in the series was recently scrapped with barely a protest, which is a clear sign of the times.

With around 10 new mega ships coming into service each year to cater for around 22 million passengers, the volume of first time cruisers curious about "Cruise Etiquette" is becoming less and less. Many of the emerging markets entering the cruise world have their own take on cruising and never even saw an episode of the "Love Boat" series.

Apart from the die hard traditionalists, which tend to favor smaller classic vessels, the etiquette and tradition of cruising is pretty much doomed when looking forward.

In fact, when one considers the unnecessary hassle, over commercialization and somewhat fake ambience generated by some of the events linked to etiquette and tradition, it's no wonder that such practices are on the decline.

Here are some classic examples of traditions that take place on Gala night:

The dress code is traditionally formal, preferably with a dinner suit, bow tie, cummerbund and trimmings to match for the men and a stunning cocktail dress for the ladies. It's of course nice to see people dress up and make the effort. However, when you are suited and booted and forced to share a Restaurant with the casual crowd in Jeans or even sometimes shorts, it's a real atmosphere killer!

Then the Gala Night itself is usually a non-event. Sometimes forced queues just to have a picture with the Captain who is bored out of his brain and no wonder with often thousands of people to meet and greet in repetition! More queues are generated to participate in the Captain's Cocktail, which features a free drink, music and the same old speeches, which nearly always leaves one with the feeling of an anti-climax.

Then of course, there is the "Baked Alaska Parade" that used to always appear on Gala Nightin the Restaurant. This features a long line of waiters carrying the "Baked Alaska", with a candle and/or a sparkler on top. This is now somewhat of a rare sight, but with most cruise lines there is nothing to replace it.

Finally after a hearty breakfast with snacks at 11am and a full on lunch followed by afternoon tea, leading up to a 7 course dinner, the Gallery is often forced to produce a Magnifique Buffet at midnight! Of course the culture of some is still unfortunately "I paid for it so I'm having it" hence the practice still lives on board some vessels, although less and less cruise lines are maintaining the Midnight Buffet concept.

What's interesting is that River Cruises on average maintain nearly all of these traditions and forms of etiquette.

Suffice to say that all these traditions and forms of etiquette were fine for their time, however the cruise lines must move on and now find new imaginative and innovative ways to capture the hearts and minds of their Guests.

Crucial Cruise Ship HACCP Sanitation Internationally Certificated Course required for Crew

The need to correctly follow a high level of Sanitation standards and procedures on board a cruise ship is an absolute requirement for all Crew Members, in particular for those that handle food or are involved in food-related operations. This is also true for Crew Members who come into contact with Guests or execute cleaning duties of any nature. Therefore to assure Healthy and Hygienic conditions of all Crew and Guests alike, it is vitally important to that Crew are trained, understand and are aware of the Public Health challenges faced within the unique Shipboard environment.

8 Public Health challenges on board a Cruise Ship

1. Closed Micro Community
Guests and Crew live in a closed environment, meaning the risk of illnesses is higher.

2. Dense Population
Large numbers of Guests and Crew in a relatively small surface area.

3. International Guests and CrewGuests and Crew come from different countries which leads to a greater risk of carrying illnesses.

4. Mobile and Interactive Population
Population onboard is moving around with high levels of interaction.

5. Rapid Turnover
Guests and Crew change (embark/disembark) frequently.

6. Variable Quality and Safety of Provisions
As food provisions arrive in very high volumes, it is nearly impossible to check if all food items are of the best quality all the time.

7. Potential for Explosive Disease Outbreaks
This is due to a closed environment, where the risk for exposure to disease outbreaks may be high.

8. No Standardized Medical Care System
Even though there are Hospitals on board, their capabilities may be not adequate to treat certain diseases and incidents.

The consequences of foodborne illnesses
  • Loss of future passengers and cabin sales
  • Loss of prestige and reputation
  • Lawsuits resulting in Lawyer and Court fees
  • Increased Insurance premiums
  • Low Employee morale
  • Employee absenteeism
  • Need for retraining employees
  • Public and Media embarrassment
Current Status
Until now most Sanitation Training within the Cruise Industry has occurred onboard the ship, while on the job in a pressured environment. Usually the procedures are followed according to the ships standards, however a deep understanding on the topic is rarely mastered and there is always room for improvement. Now Crew and Managers alike can take an Online HACCP Sanitation course designed especially for Ships and obtain international HACCP certification.

New Online HACCP Certificated Course
This Online HACCP course will transmit an in depth understanding of the most important issues concerning Sanitation on board all Cruise ships.

The Training Program includes: 
  • The role of HACCP in reducing food safety risks.
  • How to identify and control hazards.
  • The importance of Prerequisites as a foundation of HACCP 
  • How to initiate a HACCP system and apply the 7 HACCP principles 
  • The process of implementing HACCP in a food facility 
  • How to validate and verify HACCP is working 
  • How to audit and keep HACCP relevant 
The Online HACCP course was created by Progress International and the Certificate is issued by CAST CONSULT, which is certified by the QMS Cert, accreditation body. The Certificate is valid for 3 years from the date issue and recognized worldwide.

Who is the Online HACCP course suitable for?
  • New Hires desiring to enter the Cruise Industry, as it will support your recruitment application. 
  • Recruitment Agencies that desire to recruit certified personnel for Cruise Lines. 
  • Existing Crew and Managers to further validate their experience in the field of Sanitation. 
  • Cruise Lines that desire to certificate their Crew.
How much does the course cost?
  • Individual cost $35 USD.
  • Discounts are offered to Recruitment Agencies and Cruise Lines for bulk processing.
To register for the Online HACCP certificated course visit: HACCP Training Online

For more information contact:
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