Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Hotels

Ritz-Carlton Ultra-Luxury Cruise Brand Seeks up to $400 Million to Add Ships: Report

8 months ago

The Marriott-controlled ultra-luxury superyacht brand The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection would like to raise as much as $400 million to add two superyachts to its current three, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday.

The operator is backed by investors such as Oaktree Capital Management. Its first ship, the 298-guest Evrima, set sail in October 2022, with the Ilma debuting this year and a third vessel, Luminara, in the works for 2025.

Fares start around $3,100 per person per night for sailings starting at four-night itineraries in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Central America, and elsewhere. Onboard dining venues include Michelin-starred chefs. (See Bloomberg’s review of the Evrima for more.)

Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection Targets $400 Million Fundraise

Cruises

Lindblad’s Founder to Become CEO Again

11 months ago

Lindblad Expeditions founder and Co-chair of Board of Directors Sven-Olof Lindblad will become CEO, effective June 30, the cruise company announced Wednesday. He will be replacing Dolf Berle, the current CEO, who is pursuing a non-competitive opportunity in Dallas.

Lindblad founded the company in 1979 and served as CEO until 2021. He then became a co-chair of the company’s board of directors. He will continue to hold that position.

Berle oversaw the company’s ships and tour operations return to service. Lindblad also welcomed three new ships to its fleet and acquired luxury tour company Classic Journeys under his leadship.

Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line Reports $509 Million Net Loss for Second Quarter

2 years ago

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd reported a net loss of $509.3 million for the second quarter of this year, as the company benefits from relaxed Covid protocols and navigates through inflation and higher fuel costs. The company reported a reported a net loss of $1 billion in the last quarter.

Revenue was $1.2 billion, up from $4.4 million in the second quarter of 2021. Onboard revenue has risen over 30 percent from the same quarter in 2019. Load factor was 65 percent, up from 48 percent from in the last quarter.

Total cruise operating expenses rose year over year. Inflation and continued Covid-19-related costs including testing were major contributors. Fuel prices per metric ton rose to $836, up from the second quarter of $673 in 2021. The impact of the labor shortage has been limited to Norwegian Cruise’s U.S. operations, according to Norwegian Cruise President & CEO Frank Del Rio.

Looking ahead, Norwegian’s advance ticket sales balance rose $0.3 billion in the quarter to $2.5 billion, an all-time record high for the company. Sales for 2023 tickets are 40 percent higher than they were in 2018 for 2019 tickets, according to Del Rio.

Recent events are boosting the cruise line’s recovery in the months ahead. Del Rio cited President Joe Biden lifting the testing requirement for incoming travelers, the Center for Disease Control retiring its Covid outbreak tracking program for cruise ships and Norwegian Cruise’s recent protocol relaxation around vaccination and testing requirements. “Each one had a positive impact on booking,” he said. “Each of those events triggered an improvement in bookings.” 

The company expects a net loss for the next quarter due to the effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and current macroeconomic conditions.

Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Will Drop Covid Test Requirement

2 years ago

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd will no longer require vaccinated travelers to take a Covid test before sailing on its cruises, effective September 3. Unvaccinated travelers will have to provide proof of a negative Antigen or PCR test no more than 72 hours prior to boarding.

“The relaxation of protocols coupled with continued easing of travel restrictions and the reopening to cruise in more ports around the globe are meaningfully positive for our business as it reduces friction, expands the addressable cruise market, brings variety to itineraries and provides additional catalysts on the road to recovery,” said Norwegian Cruise Lines President and CEO Frank Del Rio in the announcement.

Norwegian will become the latest major cruise line to drop the Covid testing requirement. Royal Caribbean and Carnival dropped theirs in August. The requirement removals follow the CDC’s announcement last month to stop tracking Covid outbreaks on cruise ships. 


Cruises

CDC No Longer Tracks Cruise Ship Covid Outbreaks

2 years ago

The Center for Disease Control has retired its Covid-19 Program for Cruise Ships, effective Monday. Under the program, the CDC monitored Covid outbreaks on cruise ships. Under the program’s color-coding system, cruise ships were coded with colors indicating the number of positive Covid-19 tests among the crew who boarded within a 14-day span. 

“While cruising poses some risk of COVID-19 transmission, CDC will continue to publish guidance to help cruise ships continue to provide a safer and healthier environment for crew, passengers, and communities going forward,” the agency said on its website.

Travelers can contact the cruise line directly about outbreaks occurring aboard their ship.

Earlier this year, the CDC removed its Covid-19 notice against cruise travel.

Cruises

A&K Travel Group Acquires Crystal Cruises Ships

2 years ago

The A&K Travel Group — the company owned by Geoffrey Kent, CEO of tour operator Abercrombie and Kent, and industrial holding corporation Heritagehas acquired cruise ships Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony in addition to the Crystal Cruises brand.

Both Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony were acquired at an auction with the former ship going for $25 million while the latter was sold for $103 million. A&K said the two ships will resume service next year after undergoing extensive refurbishment and will operate under the Crystal Cruises brand. Crystal Cruises had ceased operations in January this year following the collapse of parent company Genting.

Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity ships were both seized in the Bahamas by U.S. marshals the following month after a federal judge issued an arrest warrant for Crystal Symphony. A lawsuit alleged Crystal Cruises had more than $4 million of unpaid fuel bills.

A Crystal Symphony ship (Wikimedia Commons)