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  #1  
Old January 10th, 2011, 09:14 AM
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eroller eroller is offline
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Arrow INSIGNIA to be long-term chartered to Hapag-Lloyd

Apparently Hapag-Lloyd has just announced they will build a new luxury vessel, to be called EUROPA 2 at STX France for a 2013 delivery.

Also part of this announcement was that Oceania's INSIGNIA will be long-term chartered to Hapag-Lloyd for at least two years starting in April 2012. She will be renamed COLUMBUS 2.

Very interesting news, especially the piece about INSIGNIA. I really thought Oceania was in a position of desperately needing capacity, even having to turn away "guests" in many situations. I guess even Oceania is not immune to this economy, and a two year charter is a sure thing.

So now it looks like we will have almost as many operators of the original 8 R-class ships, as ships themselves! It would be interesting to sail on all five cruise lines and see how the experience really differs on these nearly identical ships.

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  #2  
Old January 10th, 2011, 10:02 AM
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I would not be so quick to ascribe this to a lack of passengers wanting to book.

As has been described in other threads, Oceania has been having trouble keeping up with the staffiing needs of all four ships.

Remember, they've needed to recruit a crew of 800 from a pool of 1200 seagoing employees.

Perhaps this is a way of getting through a rough patch, with minimum impact to customers.

It may be easier to get the ship back after a charter than to get passengers who feel that they were not well served to give Oceania a second chance.

Last edited by StanandJim; January 10th, 2011 at 10:20 AM. Reason: editing content
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  #3  
Old January 10th, 2011, 10:24 AM
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I am open minded and expect only the best from Oceania -- but I am getting troubled about this talk about Insignia. We have cruised twice on Nautica and it was impeccable. Now we are preparing for our first Insignia voyage next month.

First I read the long thread started by Caroldoll which made the sailing on Insignia sound catastrophic. I know it could not have been as bad as all that -- but it *was* troubling. It especially derided the staff and their performance. Strike one.

Others in that thread seemed to indicate that the best staff are all getting transferred (kicked upstairs?) to Marina. Leaving --- who???? Strike two.

Then I read this, that Insignia is going to be leased to another line. In 2012, mind you. So what happens to those of us on 2011 cruises? Are they "lame duck" cruises with the crew marking time until they can either move to another ship or find another job???

Is this strike three?

Of course, I will only be able to tell after we actually take the cruise, and my hopes are still high -- but then I tend towards optimism. But is anyone else feeling any uneasiness at all????

Just my thoughts ----


Donna
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Last edited by Toranut97; January 10th, 2011 at 10:27 AM.
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  #4  
Old January 10th, 2011, 10:35 AM
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We must remember O has the 1260 passenger Marina coming on line next week (YEAH! I can't wait! We're on the Maiden Voyage.), and the 1260 passenger Riviera coming on line in April, 2012. At that point O will have more than doubled it's passenger capacity. As S&J state, this lease may just be a way to work through the transition, as more and more people learn about O's quality and book cruises.

I wouldn't worry about the "lame duck" effect. There will be a place for all the employees on Insignia, plus more, on Riviera when it comes on line. If anything, it should improve the service level, as O will be demanding it's employees be ready to serve on the "newest and best" ship in their stable.

Cheers, Kay
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  #5  
Old January 10th, 2011, 10:39 AM
tropicalkerry2002 tropicalkerry2002 is offline
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Default Yup, Toranut, I can relate....

We're not on Insignia till the Nov transatlantic, and I too, am a bit concerned.

We've been on Regatta and Nautica, and could find no fault. This TA will be our longest cruise yet, with several consecutive sea days, when passengers really count on a great cruise ship/staff experience.

I was surprised to read of O leasing a ship to another line, and rather surprised Stan and Jim, to read that you think it may be due to inability to recruit new staff. I may have mistakenly assumed that there were lots of people who would relish the thought of working on a cruise ship. I wish I'd thought of it 30 years ago!

I DO like to think it will still be a much better cruise experience than what I hear about other lines...but O is the only line I have ever been on, and I am spoiled!

Marian
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  #6  
Old January 10th, 2011, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eroller View Post
Apparently Hapag-Lloyd has just announced they will build a new luxury vessel, to be called EUROPA 2 at STX France for a 2013 delivery.
...
Ernie,
Hapag-Lloyd will not build this ship but charter it from a so far unknown owner!
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  #7  
Old January 10th, 2011, 11:36 AM
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  #8  
Old January 10th, 2011, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kruizefan View Post
Ernie,
Hapag-Lloyd will not build this ship but charter it from a so far unknown owner!

Yes this is true. I suppose with a 12 year charter it's likely they will end up owning the ship. This arrangement is interesting, and I'm rather certain it all has to do with the financing for the new vessel.

Ernie
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  #9  
Old January 10th, 2011, 11:55 AM
sldispatcher sldispatcher is offline
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Default smart move

I think it is smart move. The natural attraction will be to the newer ships....but Nautica and Regatta will have die hard fans...and rightfully so.

I'm a big fan of the R/S class ships on Holland...far better than the Vista behemoths. Of course, in that instance, the rooms / bathrooms on HAL are BIGGER on the smaller ships.

Keep capacity controlled..raise funds..keep people happy.

Cruise on, Oceania!
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  #10  
Old January 10th, 2011, 12:14 PM
Jancruz Jancruz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eroller View Post
Yes this is true. I suppose with a 12 year charter it's likely they will end up owning the ship. This arrangement is interesting, and I'm rather certain it all has to do with the financing for the new vessel.

Ernie
First of all it is a 2 year charter and secondly I think it is a brilliant move on Oceanias part with two new ships coming on line, I bet they always intended to do something like this..
IMHO
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  #11  
Old January 10th, 2011, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toranut97 View Post
Then I read this, that Insignia is going to be leased to another line. In 2012, mind you. So what happens to those of us on 2011 cruises? Are they "lame duck" cruises with the crew marking time until they can either move to another ship or find another job???
Is this strike three?
Donna
As others have pointed out - the staff from Insignia will most likely go to the new Riviera. After all, O will need a lot of people and this staff is already trained for Oceania - thus they are not likely to be "unhappy" or "worried about their future."
HL will likely have to hire their own staff for the ship as their passengers are predominantly German speaking and thus will need a staff that speaks German (I don't think too many of current Insignia staff speak German).
The timing of this lease is perfect for the introduction of Riviera. It all make perfect sense to me - smart move for Oceania. They will have 2 R ships and 2 larger ships - should be able to fill these easily.
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  #12  
Old January 10th, 2011, 12:29 PM
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Most cruiselines with newbuilds look for ways to "farm out" the older ships - it certainly isn't unique to O. Look what Celebrity has done with its smaller ships. And even Cunard sold the QE2. It has everything to do with being business savvy as Jancruz points out. And, speaking as one who was onboard Insignia for the 12/21 sailing, I am clueless as to what the creator of that thread was talking about. It was a terrific cruise with the same high quality of service that all of us have come to expect. Yes there were obvious changes in staffing - you cannot bring a ship like Marina online with an entirely new crew. However, we never felt as if this had a palpable negative impact on our recent experience aboard Insignia. I would sail Insignia every week - if I could only win the lotto.
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  #13  
Old January 10th, 2011, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jancruz View Post
First of all it is a 2 year charter and secondly I think it is a brilliant move on Oceanias part with two new ships coming on line, I bet they always intended to do something like this..
IMHO
Jancruz1

My comment was not in reference to the Oceania charter. It was in reference to Hapag-Lloyd's new build, which is also a long term charter from an unspecified owner but for 12 years.

Back to Oceania, I don't think they always intended to charter a ship. They are not in the ship charter business, and I don't think you would find the desire for a charter in their long term business plan. When executives approve such a large capital expenditure such as a new building program, it's usually because demand has stripped capacity. Obviously the demand for Oceania did strip capacity, and I imagine the business plan called for a five ship fleet to meet demand. Of course a lot has changed with the economy since the order was placed for MARINA. Based on those changes I would agree a long term charter is a smart move. It's guaranteed income.

Hopefully Oceania will get back to a point where they can sustain a five ship fleet without the need for a charter.

Ernie

Last edited by eroller; January 10th, 2011 at 12:38 PM.
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  #14  
Old January 10th, 2011, 01:12 PM
Erica@cruisecritic Erica@cruisecritic is offline
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Default Talked to Oceania PR...

Just wanted to jump in here and say that I spoke with Tim Rubacky, PR for Oceania Cruises. He says that there are always parties out there looking to charter ships and that Hapag-Lloyd's offer worked nicely -- both because the charter would start at the end of Insignia's published schedule (so no passengers to displace) and it would coincide with the launch of Riviera. He notes that while the line has always been very disciplined in terms of its growth, the charter does allow them to increase capacity a little more slowly (adding more like 600 berths rather than 1,250 in 2012).

Plus all four Oceania ships will sail Europe in spring 2012, giving everyone the choice of sailing the newer/bigger or older/smaller ships, based on personal preference.
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  #15  
Old January 10th, 2011, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erica@cruisecritic View Post
Plus all four Oceania ships will sail Europe in spring 2012, giving everyone the choice of sailing the newer/bigger or older/smaller ships, based on personal preference.
Erica,
Thank you for that clarification.
I agree with all of that reasoning except why would O need 4 ships in Europe at the same time?
What about Australia, Oceania, Asia for at least one of those ships? It seems to me that one of the reasons to have more ships is so that you could "cover the globe" more completely
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  #16  
Old January 10th, 2011, 02:15 PM
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holy yikes, we are booked on the TA in March 2012. Looks now like it will be Insignia's last trip with Oceania for a couple of years!
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  #17  
Old January 10th, 2011, 03:30 PM
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I agree. Since you are traveling before me, please let the rest of us know if there are service or staff problems on your trip. I hope it's fabulous!
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  #18  
Old January 10th, 2011, 03:58 PM
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I am also sailing on the 3/12 TA with Fluffies. Has anyone ever been on a "last sailing"?? What was it like?
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  #19  
Old January 10th, 2011, 04:03 PM
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Just wondering if O will keep Regatta on the West Coast for the 2012 summer season. DW & I were looking forward to Alaska again, assuming O will continue up there. Probably depends on how well the 2011 itineraries are received.

If no more WC sailings, then it's audios O. Will not ever put up with what the TSA does to travelers. DW has to use a wheelchair when we travel, which means a sexual grope. She has said that will never happen to her.
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  #20  
Old January 10th, 2011, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erica@cruisecritic View Post
.... He notes that while the line has always been very disciplined in terms of its growth, the charter does allow them to increase capacity a little more slowly (adding more like 600 berths rather than 1,250 in 2012).
I think this move makes sense for Oceania. By chartering Insignia, they give themselves time & flexibility to absorb the potential impacts of marketing & operating Marina and Riviera. The charter should ameliorate any short-term staffing problems they face, but I think the benefit may be wider-ranging. Oceania would be in a better position to focus on maintaining product integrity across its entire fleet, rather than potentially discounting fares & cutting costs to get heads in beds. That strategy has been employed by other cruise lines, with mixed results.
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