This Week in Cruise: New Cruise Ships and Trade Moves

Snazzy new ships are grabbing headlines this week. Oceania Cruises' new 1,200 passenger Vista, the line’s first Allura-class ship, is now sailing in the Mediterranean, and will be christened today in Malta. See  sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor, for a story today providing on-site "intel" from six travel advisors and trade executives now sailing on Vista, plus perspective from Nikki Upshaw, senior vice president, global sales. 

In addition, Silversea Cruises’ newest ship, Silver Nova, has floated out from a European shipyard

Cruise Planners is among the cruise selling agency groups seeing robust growth in 2023 and beyond, while cruise companies are posting improved financial numbers. In its first quarter 2023 financial report, Royal Caribbean Group, parent of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises, reported a significantly lower loss per share than the company's earlier guidance, citing strong close-in bookings at higher prices, continued strength of onboard guest spending and favorable timing of operating costs. A record-breaking and extended Wave Season is driving higher load factors and higher prices, so Royal Caribbean Group has significantly increased its full-year expectations for ticket and onboard revenue, as well as earnings

Sustainability-wise, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) said it's charted a path toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissionsMSC Cruises, in addition, has opened its first ever winter season in Japan. Carnival Cruise Line announced that two new experiences have debuted on Carnival Jubilee. Explora Journeys announced a partnership with Chef Mauro Uliassi

Good to know: Royal Caribbean International has informed passengers on some upcoming Alaska cruises on Quantum of the Seas that it will be substituting a port call at Icy Strait Point for the scheduled call in Skagway. In a letter to guests, the line attributed the shift to pier damage related to a continuing rock slide issue in Skagway. That also impacted some voyages in 2022. 

Executive Appointments, Trade News 

In the latest new cruise line executive leadership development, Cunard Line appointed Katie McAlister as president. She a 20-year veteran of TUI

Beyond, that three major trade moves have been recently covered by Travel Agent on the personnel front:

  • Scenic Group, parent of Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises, promoted Robert Castro to VP of marketing. In addition, Scenic tapped Elizabeth Fettes as the new VP of sales and Kayla Corbett as director of key and strategic accounts. (Tip: Sister publication Luxury Travel Advisor interviewed Castro as well as Ken Muskat, general manager, Scenic USA, this past week.)
  • Celestyal Cruises named Tobias Klitsch as vice president of global market development, and Beth Hulett as global market development manager.
  • At Swan Hellenic Cruises, Joe Maloney is the new vice president of sales, North America.

MSC's Seaside's CDC Inspection

During an April 27, 2023 inspection by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MSC Cruises’ MSC Seaside received a quite low failing score of 67 out of 100. The CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program considers any score below 85 as a failing grade. Only three other cruise ships have scored below 85 since 2015, all with scores of 77 or higher. 

Here is the response we received from an MSC Cruises' spokesperson: “MSC Cruises rigorously adheres to health protocols, and the results of this inspection do not reflect the brand’s high standards. We launched an internal investigation based on the inspector’s concerns and took immediate corrective actions. MSC Cruises is dedicated to ensuring that MSC Seaside provides the experience our guests have come to expect, which has been marked by high scores on this type of inspection for the past 20 years across our fleet.”

The CDC website shows that MSC Meraviglia received a 98 positive rating for a February 26, 2023 inspection, while MSC Seascape, inspected on February 5, 2023, received a perfect inspection score of 100.

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