This Week in Cruise: Costa Victoria Returns to Service Nov. 11

Costa Cruises' Costa Victoria is returning to service Nov. 11 following an $18-million dry-dock upgrade completed in Singapore. 

"Our investment in Costa Victoria means she is going to offer our valued Asian passengers the absolute finest and most enjoyable cruising holiday, which speaks to our long-term commitment to the Asia market," said Buhdy Bok, SVP Pacific, Asia and China for Costa Crociere S.p.A. "As the first international cruise company to enter the China market in 2006, Costa Cruises is proud of how we've developed alongside China and have been able to satisfy the rapidly growing demand for cruise holidays with innovative and high-quality cruising options."

As part of the upgrade, Costa Victoria has several new dining experiences, including a buffet terrace where passengers can dine al fresco to the Pizza and Noodle area and a midnight buffet. Nearly the entire interior of the ship will be restyled with a contemporary European flair. The multimillion-dollar revamp project is being performed at Sembawang Shipyard in Singapore. 

Cruise Planners-American Express Travel kicked off its annual convention at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Fla., with an opening session that unveiled exclusive new technology and industry announcements. Cruise Planners released sales statistics revealing record growth and giving agents a positive outlook for 2014. Cruise Planners has seen a 29 percent increase in cruise purchases during the past three years and experienced absolute growth in every cruise destination since this time last year.

Cruise Planners improved its online reservations booking and management tool, which is now fully integrated with all major cruise lines, and plans to introduce “live theme” video backgrounds for websites. Cruise Planners also updated the Value Tracker tool, which automatically tracks bookings and lets agents know when there is an opportunity for a value-add such as upgrades, added amenities or savings to pass along to clients. Since it launched in May, is has provided more than $1.2 million in added value for agents.

“We have reached critical mass, which means we can leverage our power and partnerships even more for our agents,” said Cruise Planners CEO and co-founder Michelle Fee. “This has been a fantastic year with the launch of some amazing technologies such as our mobile app and CP Social, as well as new programs including the Sea of Love LGBT Commitment Ceremony Cruise. All of these keep us at the forefront of the industry.”  

Another major industry announcement came last week, when Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' Europa 2 became the first cruise ship in the world to be awarded independent EEDI certification by Germanischer Lloyd as part of an official handover. The EEDI is calculated using a set formula and indicates a vessel's CO2 emissions. It was developed by the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) to establish a uniform global benchmark for the energy efficiency and environmental friendliness of ships.

"The Europa 2's independent certification shows that the CO2 emissions produced by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' new ship are substantially lower than the average for the industry’s global fleet currently in service,” said Dr. Jörg Lampe from Systems Engineering and Risk Management at Germanischer Lloyd. “In fact, it emits 31 per cent less CO2 than other cruise ships of a similar size.”


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