Archive for » June 25th, 2013«

Carnival Cruises CEO thrown overboard

Former President Bill Clinton, left, chats with Miami Heat owner Micky Arison. Arison has lost his position as CEO of Carnival Corp after a disasterous year.
Source: AP

MANY remain hesitant about sailing with Carnival Cruises with a year of faulty boats and stranded passengers now costing its longtime CEO his job.

Carnival Corp. recorded a $US41 million ($44 million) second-quarter profit thanks to lower fuel costs and the timing of some administrative expenses.

The Miami-based company announced on Tuesday that Micky Arison, who has been CEO since 1979 and is the son of Carnival co-founder Ted Arison, is being replaced by Arnold W. Donald, who has served on the company’s board for the past 12 years. Mr Arison will continue to serve as chairman of the board.

The profit was nearly triple the $US14 million the world’s largest cruise company earned during same period last year, a quarter which it suffered from steep losses on fuel prices bets known as derivatives.

Earnings totaled of 5 US cents per share this quarter, up from 2 US cents a share last year at this time. Revenue fell 1.7 per cent to $US3.48 billion.

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The financial results fell slightly short of Wall Street’s expectations. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected earnings of 6 US cents per share on revenue of $US3.56 billion.

Mr Arison led the company through an aggressive expansion that included the acquisition of several brands, including Holland America, Costa Cruises, Cunard and Seabourn. In 2003, he oversaw a merger between Carnival Corp. and PO Princess Cruises. Today, Carnival runs cruises under 10 brands.

However, Mr Arison came under fire during Carnival’s bad publicity earlier in the year when a string of its cruise ships suffered through mechanical problems and fires. The most dramatic of them was the Carnival Triumph where passengers were stranded at sea for five days as toilets backed up and air conditioners failed. There were media reports of raw sewage seeping through walls and carpets.

Mr Arison, who also owns the Miami Heat basketball team, took some heat of his own for attending a game while the crisis was ongoing.

Mr Donald founded and led Merisant, a company whose products include sweetener brands Equal and Canderel.

He also held multiple senior management roles at Monsanto over the course of 20-plus years, including president of the company’s consumer and nutrition sector and president of its agricultural sector.

The Triumph nightmare was followed up with problems on three other Carnival ships: The Elation, Dream and Legend – all which made big headlines.

None of that helped restore confidence in vacationers who are still wary after the January 2012 sinking of the Costa Concordia, also owned by Carnival.

In its earnings release on Tuesday, Carnival said that advance bookings for the rest of 2013 are running behind last year’s levels, even at lower prices. Bookings on its namesake Carnival line are particularly weak.

Mr Arison said in a statement that Carnival is working to market the “truly exceptional vacation values” that cruises offer through travel agents and other industry partners.

“We believe these initiatives, combined with slower supply growth, will lead to increased yields,” he said. “In addition, we remain focused on reducing our fuel dependence. By year end, we will achieve a 23 per cent cumulative reduction in fuel consumption since 2005 and expect our research and development efforts in fuel saving technologies to continue to bear fruit.”

Those fuel-savings efforts seem to be paying off. In the quarter that ended May 31, the company saw a 14-per cent drop in its fuel bill.

The company spent $US555 million on fuel, down from $US645 million during the same quarter last year. Cruise companies, airlines and other large consumers of fuel typically make bets, called derivatives, on the price of oil to hedge again any sudden spikes.

Last year, Carnival lost $US145 million in the second quarter on such bets. This year, that loss was narrowed to $US31 million.

During the second quarter, the company took delivery of Princess Cruises’ 3560-passenger Royal Princess, the first of a new class of ships for Princess. Additionally, Carnival Sunshine entered service in May following a $US155 million modernisation.

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Lending Club to Attempt New Transpacific Sailing Record

SAN FRANCISCO, June 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Lending Club ( today announced that it has partnered with Tritium Racing to attempt a new Transpacific Yacht Race record next month on board a 73-foot offshore trimaran, now named “Lending Club.” The Transpacific Yacht Race (Transpac) starts off Point Fermin near Los Angeles and finishes off Diamond Head Lighthouse in Honolulu, a distance of 2,225 nautical miles (2,560 miles; 4,121 kilometers). 

First raced in 1906, Transpac is one of yachting’s premier offshore races and attracts entrants from all over the world. The current race record was set by 86-foot catamaran Commodore Explorer in five days, nine hours, 18 minutes and 26 seconds. More than 60 boats will compete in the 2013 race starting July 8.

“We are very excited to compete in an event as prestigious as the Transpacific Yacht Race,” said Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche. “Transpac has an incredible history, and I’m honored to become a part of it, and especially with such a world-class crew. In 1906, the winner took 12 days to complete the course, and better technology has enabled new records every few years, to the point that this year we hope to complete the race in less than five and a half days.”

Lending Club and Tritium Racing have assembled a team of highly accomplished sailors including America’s Cup winners John Sangmeister and Gino Morrelli, four-time 505 World Champion Howard Hamlin and New York – San Francisco World Speed Record holder Ryan Breymaier.

The Lending Club trimaran is a former ORMA 60 lengthened to 73 feet and enhanced with a new foil system designed to make the boat faster and more stable at high speed.  

About the Transpacific Yacht Race
With 44 races starting in 1906, the Transpacific Race is the longer of the two oldest ocean races in the world. The race was inspired by King Kalakaua who believed that such an event would strengthen the islands’ economic and cultural ties to the mainland. Clarence MacFarlane, a Honolulu racing sailor, invited several contemporaries in San Francisco and Los Angeles to race to the Hawaiian Islands. The race was scheduled to start from San Francisco in the early summer of 1906, but when MacFarlane sailed into San Francisco Bay he found the city lying in ruins following the great earthquake 27 days earlier. MacFarlane donated supplies to the city and changed the starting point to Los Angeles, and except for one nostalgic return to San Francisco for the start in 1939, the race has started from LA ever since. The starting line is now off the bluffs of Point Fermin in San Pedro and the finish is off the Diamond Head lighthouse just east of Honolulu, establishing a distance of 2,225 nautical miles.

About Lending Club
Lending Club utilizes technology and innovation to reduce the cost of traditional banking and offer borrowers better rates and investors better returns. Over $1.9 billion in personal loans have been issued through the Lending Club platform, which has more than doubled annual loan volume each year since launching in 2007.  The Company has been prominently recognized as a leader for its growth and innovation, including being named one of Forbes’ America’s Most Promising Companies in 2011 and 2012, a 2012 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, and one of The World’s 10 Most Innovative Companies in Finance by Fast Company in 2013. Lending Club is based in San Francisco, California. More information is available at: Currently only residents of the following states may invest in Lending Club notes: CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, KY (accredited investors), LA, ME, MN, MO, MS, MT, NH, NV, NY, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, WA, WI, WV, or WY.

About Tritium Racing
Tritium Racing acquired an ORMA 73 as a platform to set several Pacific Ocean race records. The boat is a modified ORMA (Offshore Racing Multi-hull Association) 60 now lengthened to 73′. The team will set sight on the Transpac elapsed time record in July 2013 with an exceptional crew including Ryan Breymaier, Howard Hamlin, Renaud Laplanche, Gino Morrelli, Will Oxley, John Sangmeister, Peter Stoneberg, Jay Steinbeck and Jacques Vincent.

Some of the statements in this above are “forward-looking statements.” The words “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “will,” “would” and similar expressions may identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. The Company may not actually achieve the plans, intentions or expectations disclosed in forward-looking statements, and you should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Actual results or events could differ materially from the plans, intentions and expectations disclosed in forward-looking statements. The Company does not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Information in this press release is not an offer to sell securities or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of such jurisdiction.

Additional information about Lending Club is available in the prospectus for Lending Club’s notes, which can be obtained on Lending Club’s website at

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How get on board a celebrity’s yacht

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Introducing Asfar, the 30-meter superyacht used by pop princess Beyonce during a holiday in Dubai. For around $100,000 a week, you could sailing the Gulf in the very same boat.

Many wealthy superyacht owners use their luxury vessels just a few times a year. And if you’ve got cash to splash, you could hire the same elegant boats used by the world’s A-list celebrities, such as this one used by Beyonce.

If you’ve ever wanted to be treated like a princess on holiday, this is the superyacht for you. The iconic M/Y Grace was the vessel of choice for Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco during their honeymoon in 1956.

Today, the luxurious boat has been refitted with nine staterooms and a top-deck hot tub. Guests can enjoy fine dining as the yacht winds its way around the exotic Galapagos Islands.

Musician P. Diddy knows how to holiday in style, chartering opulent superyacht Solemates. The high-tech vessel features an iPad controller, aromatherapy shower and an award-winning on board chef.

The spectacular boat is not for the faint hearted, costing $686,00 per week in July and August. Then there are expenses, estimated at around $137,000.

If only the Honey Fitz could talk, the stories this presidential yacht could tell. Built over 80 years ago, the pretty wooden boat has served five U.S. presidents and after a recent makeover is now available for hire by the public.

The Honey Fitz’s most famous owner was John F. Kennedy, who would spend Easter and Christmas holidays on the yacht in Palm Springs, Florida.

Business magnate Richard Branson’s elegant 32-meter catamaran includes four luxury suites, a roof-top diving board and scuba equipment.

The state-of-the-art vessel also includes three-person mini sub, “Necker Nymph,” for underwater exploration.











Editor’s note: MainSail is CNN’s monthly sailing show, exploring the sport of sailing, luxury travel and the latest in design and technology.

(CNN) — Nothing drives home the luxury lifestyles of the rich and famous quite like images of them lounging on a sun-drenched superyacht.

But even wealthy yacht owners — who often use their magnificent boats for just a few weeks a year –are not averse to making some extra cash by renting them out.

And if you’re willing to splash out, you could be cruising the waves in the very same vessels used by A-list pop stars, royalty, and world leaders.

From Beyonce to Grace Kelly, CNN takes a look at the most beautiful celebrity yachts available for hire.

Read: Ghostly underwater gallery unveiled

Beyonce on board

When Beyonce performed at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2009, the soulful songstress was left high and dry without a luxury vessel — until she chartered 30-meter superyacht Asfar.

At $109,000 per week, the sleek boat features three elegant suites, with room for 11 guests. Four crew members — including a chef, a captain and deck hands — were also on board to cater to their elite guest’s every whim.

“Beyonce had a great time, sailing around the beautiful west coast of Abu Dhabi,” said the CEO of an Abu Dhabi charter company which hired out the plush yacht. “She just wished she could have stayed longer.”

Old school Grace

From modern day divas to past princesses, you could be sunning yourself aboard Grace Kelly’s iconic honeymoon yacht M/Y Grace — as it tours the Galapagos Islands.

The charming wooden yacht was given to Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco as a wedding present from shipping mogul Aristotle Onassis in the 1950s, with the royal couple spending their honeymoon sailing it along the stunning Italian coast.

Today the iconic boat has been refitted with nine luxury staterooms and a top deck hot tub. Guests can enjoy fine dining as they meander past Ecuador’s remarkable islands teeming with unusual wildlife such as giant tortoises and marine iguanas. A week in the master suite will set you back $6,600.

Read: Museum features Henry VIII’s Mary Rose warship

P. Diddy’s iPad superyacht

When rapper tycoon P. Diddy goes on holiday, he doesn’t do things by halves. The Grammy Award-winning musician relaxes on one of the most luxurious and high-tech superyachts in the world — Solemates — which even boasts an iPad-controller.

From the luxury of their top deck jacuzzi, guests can control practically everything but the captain’s steering wheel — all with a leisurely brush of their ipad.

The 60-meter yacht also features an aromatherapy shower, James Bond-style underwater hovercraft, and a gym which converts into a disco. The price is similarly spectacular — around $685,000 per week during the height of summer.

All the presidents’ yacht

When former American President John F. Kennedy wanted a few hours rest from the White House, he would supposedly slip away on the Potomac River for a leisurely cruise on his yacht, Honey Fitz.

Built in 1931, the pretty wooden vessel has served five American presidents, including Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and of course JFK — whose wife Jackie installed the boat’s very first color TV in the 1960s.

The recently renovated 70-passenger yacht is now completing a charity fundraising tour around the U.S., but is still available for private hire, costing around $5,000 for four hours.

Read: Space-age underwater hotel planned

Richard Branson’s Belle

If anyone knows spectacular modes of transport, it’s Virgin business mogul Richard Branson. The British billionaire’s 32-meter catamaran — Necker Belle — includes four luxury suites, each with its own ensuite and flat screen TV.

Thrill seekers can also enjoy the sleek vessel’s roof-top diving board, scuba diving equipment and three-person mini submarine, dubbed “Necker Nymph.”

Guests can cruise the Caribbean in the grand yacht for a cool $110,000 per week.

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