Overheard in Miami on Tuesday: NCL, Crystal, Panels, Asia

Various rumors and odd “news” as heard by the Cruise Industry News editorial team on Tuesday at the 2015 Cruise Shipping Miami conference.

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NCL: Has Norwegian Cruise Line stolen the show in Miami? It may seem so, although not in the most positive way, as the recent executive revamp of the now Frank Del Rio-led company has the industry grapevine at full speed.

Lindblad: Lindblad Expeditions newbuilds will be in the 100-passenger range, according to the company, not the 300-passenger range as rumored yesterday.

Crystal: Crystal Cruises will get its newbuild in 2018, according to a statement released by the company last week. Meanwhile, this morning, STX France released a new small-ship concept. Coincidence? We hear there will be options on the newbuild order for additional vessels. Look for Crystal’s tonnage to eventually be split between the Chinese market and its existing market mainly sourcing from North America and Europe.

Genting: While the Genting buyout of Crystal came as a surprise, the luxury line has been actively for sale since the fall. JPMorgan was reportedly in on the deal, and declined to comment when approached by Cruise Industry News last November.

Quest: For the second straight year show organizers have brought in an outside-the-industry journalist to run the trademark State of the Industry panel. CNN’s Richard Quest hosted the panel this year, appearing to ask top executives real questions, although for those in the know, the conference program remains relatively scripted. Quest, at least, had been on a cruise prior to his panel hosting debut.

Oops: Singapore Cruise Centre may not be poised for growth, despite pushing out a clever public relations spin at the show. The legacy terminal in Singapore has air restrictions due to a bridge. The new Marina Bay facility is garnering all the attention with a nine-figure build budget and the latest big ships calling. Meanwhile, cruise lines eye sourcing Chinese passengers from Chinese ports.

Off Site Events: Over three days, events during trade show hours, seminars and nightlife entertainment have cruise industry professionals busier than ever. But perhaps not so smart are events hosted off-site during the day at Cruise Shipping Miami – taking ports and suppliers off the show floor – and often for hours at never-ending lunches at hotels on Collins Avenue.


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