– Avalon Myanmar – Myanmar River Cruise – April 2017
*Azamara Club Cruises – Azamara Journey – Singapore to Dubai (April 8, 2018)
* Azamara Quest – Southeast Asia and Japan (February 2015)
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Part I
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part II
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part III
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part IV
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Some Final Observations and Thoughts
– The Prologue to the Travelogue
– The Adventure Begins…With a Bump or Two
– Settling In Made Easy
– Luxury Touches Here, There and OK, Not, Everywhere…But There Are Lots of Them!
– Asian Flair Onboard and On Shore
– Private Tours, Israel and Conflicts in Perceptions and Perspective
Celebrity Equinox 2009 – Egypt…Impressive and Depressing
– Dining With the Captain and the Reidel Wine Seminar
– The Last Dinner (Tuscan Grille) and Disembarkation
– What Happens When A Class Act Meets Highly Discounted Cruise Fare
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part I
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part II
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part III
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part IV (Food & Wine!)
– Princess Cruises Doesn’t Treat You Like Royalty; Celebrity Cruises Does! Which is a Better Value for the Upscale Cruise Guest? Part I
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. -Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part II: The Standard Veranda Staterooms
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part III: Treating You Right From The Start
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part IV: The Wine Lists Speak Volumes (As Do The Beverage Packages)
Regent Seven Seas Voyager – August 2017
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part I
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part II (Getting There, The Stateroom and First Impressions)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part III (“You Can’t Teach Five Star Service” and Bonafacio, Corsica)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part IV (Calvi, Monaco, Portofino, Porto Azzurro…and Stale Bread)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part V (My Last Day…and How The Chef’s Team Makes It Happen)
Crystal Cruises’ parent, Genting Hong Kong has announced what it has been working on for months: The purchase of the controlling interest in Lloyd Werft, the shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany which will be building Crystal Cruises’ new ships. Essentially Genting Hong Kong will own 70% of the operations and 50% of the land; effectively given it control of the yard and protection from the landowner forcing the shipbuilding company off of the real estate (or charging it excessive rent).
Why would Genting do such a thing? The reasons are many…and it starts with the purchase price: A mere 17,500,000 Euros and continues with Genting’s preexisting involvement in the struggling yacht construction industry (from where Crystal Cruises acquired the Crystal Esprit) followed by the ship/yachtbuilding industry being one that requires huge sums of cash to operate, but operates on extremely thin margins…and this Chinese company has lots of cash.
The result is Crystal will theoretically significantly cut the cost of its new ships (ocean and river) since it has little motivation for its bargain-basement priced shipyard to turn a profit while theoretically eliminating much of the gamesmanship of charging for changes, extras and overages.
HOWEVER…and it is a BIG HOWEVER, having been the managing director of a superyacht shipyard in Brisbane, Australia (Australian Yacht Builders, Pty. Ltd.) and having been in the industry for decades I can tell you that there have been many who have purchased shipyards with the same theory and then sorely regretted it.
It also is not so long ago that shipyards were begging for work and were teetering on closing their doors. Naming names is not necessary, but let’s just say if you know anything of cruise ship industry you know who they are…or were.
To me there are many warning signs where, as here, the purchase price is so low and virtually all of the control regarding ship construction is now in the hands of the Owner. It also concerns me that Genting Hong Kong has another, much smaller, yachtbuilding facility and I cannot help but anticipate the melding of these two yards…potentially creating even more areas for conflict.
A quality shipyard requires truly talented workers that are fiercely loyal. They not only assure a high level of quality control, but efficiencies both as to time and materials. If those loyalties are split between the Owner and the Shipyard, those workers can find themselves frustrated and feeling like that are forced to be loyal to two masters. And that is where the breakdown occurs.
Hopefully this will be a success story with the European craftsmen and technicians having secured years of high quality work, a shipyard that is assured of existing into the next decade and Crystal Cruises having its ships delivered on time, under budget and with the highest of quality.