Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Cruise ship chartered for relief mission in St. Thomas

Cruise ship chartered for relief mission in St. Thomas

Grand Celebration.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line said its ship has been chartered to the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to assist hurricane-recovery efforts in St. Thomas.
The Grand Celebration will head for the storm-stricken destination in the U.S. Virgin Islands with arrival anticipated on Sept. 23. The mission is expected to continue into the later part of December, with Grand Celebration resuming its two-day cruises to Freeport from the Port of Palm Beach on Dec. 23.
St. Thomas was devastated by Hurricane Irma and is in line for more hurricane-force winds from Hurricane Maria. While in St. Thomas, the ship will be used to house National Guard first responders.
Image result for St. Thomas hurricane damage
"We will be reaching out to all of our guests and travel partners this week," said Bahamas Paradise CEO Oneil Khosa. "We feel badly about this 90-day disruption but believe the extensive needs of the St. Thomas people to be of greater importance at this time."
Guests who have already booked cruises during the next few months through travel partners should contact their agents about rebooking or refunds. Those who booked direct can call the customer service department at (800) 374-4363.
The Grand Celebration, originally the Carnival Celebration, has 750 cabins and space for up to 1,900 guests.

Costa hires food-waste consultant

Costa hires food-waste consultant

Image result for costa diademaCosta Diadema.

 Costa Cruises has partnered with Winnow, a London company that reduces food waste for hospitality companies.
The Costa Diadema is already serving as a lab for process improvements that will be implemented on all Costa ships in Europe and Asia. 
On its website, Winnow said the hospitality sector wastes 600,000 tons of food per year compared to the retail sector (including supermarkets), which wastes 400,000 tons. Winnow said that on sites where it has worked for over six months, it has reduced food waste (by value) by an average of 65%, and that savings break even with Winnow's fees in the second month of operations.
"Tackling food waste is a huge opportunity for the sector, and with the right tools can be transformative for the entire cruise line industry," Winnow CEO and co-founder Marc Zornes said.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Norwegian Sky gave Irma victims hope

Norwegian Sky gave Irma victims hope

Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Andy Stuart embraces Hurricane Irma evacuee Bryan Denton. At left is Denton's sister-in-law, Jodi. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
More than 900 people stuck in the U.S. Virgin Islands because of Hurricane Irma, many grateful to be alive, arrived at PortMiami on Friday morning after being rescued in St. Thomas by the Norwegian Sky cruise ship.
The majority were tourists stranded when Irma's 185 mph winds obliterated the Cyril E. King Airport in Charlotte Amalie. "The control tower is gone," said Charlene Woolley, who was on vacation from Atlanta. "[Flying] was not an option."
The Norwegian Sky had sailed empty to Cancun during the storm and motored directly to St. Thomas once the government there sent out an urgent request for transportation off the island.
The 2,004-passenger ship picked up a total of 923 evacuees, including 99 from St. John who had been brought to St. Thomas by a U.S. Coast Guard vessel.
Before the hurricane, Woolley said she was relocated from the beachfront hotel where she had been staying to the Windward Passage. That hotel is built of concrete and mostly stood against the storm's assault, but sustained a lot of damage.
"It was raining in the room," Woolley said. "Some rooms had lost their ceilings. The air conditioner was gone. We were in the bathroom. The whole building was shaking the whole time. Imagine a really big hotel door that was rattling like you think it was going to blow off."
Hurricane Irma evacuee Arlene Graham shares a photo of the storm with Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Andy Stuart at PortMiami. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
Hurricane Irma evacuee Arlene Graham shares a photo of the storm with Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Andy Stuart at PortMiami. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
She said the shatter-proof windows looked like they were "breathing," being sucked in and out by the pressure.
But Woolley said the aftermath was worse.
"Because of where our hotel was, it was kind of a bad part of town. So there was nightly shooting. They were robbing the tourists because they knew they had cash," she said. "There was no power. There was a generator that the manager of the hotel ran only at night for lights, for safety. We actually had the St. Croix police staying in our hotel and there were still people trying to get in. You literally stood outside your room and guarded your supplies, your water, ice, toilet paper."
Woolley found out on the web that the Norwegian Sky was coming to evacuate people. She and her companion got their names on the list.
"You literally saved our lives," Woolley told Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Andy Stuart, who was at the port on Friday to greet evacuees. "I can't say that enough."
For Terry Denton and his family, Norwegian Cruise Line represented hope at the darkest hour.
The Phoenix businessman was on a 10-day vacation with his wife and two relatives. They had planned to fly back before the storm hit, "but that didn't happen," Denton said.
Norwegian Sky by Dave Jones
Instead they were moved from their waterside villa to a condo building, where the walls held but the windows shattered. The room flooded.
Still left with some internet service, Denton heard a rumor that a cruise ship was coming and sent Facebook messages to every line he could.
Only Norwegian replied. "They simply typed back, 'You're not forgotten. Someone will come help you,'" said Denton's wife Jodi.
Until that point, the group, which included Denton's brother and the brother's daughter, had been in the dark literally and figuratively. "We had nothing before that," Jodi Denton said. "It gave us hope."
Another evacuee, Arlene Graham, had been through hurricanes before. As a 20-year-resident of St. Croix and St. Thomas, she had seen some severe storms, including Hurricane Marilyn in 1995, which left 11,000 people on St. Thomas homeless.
"This hurricane was worse," she said.
Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Andy Stuart talks with Charlene Woolley, an Atlanta resident on vacation in St. Thomas when Hurricane Irma hit. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Andy Stuart talks with Charlene Woolley, an Atlanta resident on vacation in St. Thomas when Hurricane Irma hit. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
Although her home held up fairly well, Graham said she left her husband to take care of the property so she could get her 15-year-old son Ahmad reestablished in school in northern Virginia.
"We're not sure how the storm will affect things," said Graham, a financial analyst for the Department of Education.
Graham said there was no looting in her neighborhood, but the island is in dire need of supplies, including tarps for damaged roofs, food, water and ice.
"The main concern is for people to be able to get back on their feet and sustain themselves, and get what is needed to rebuild," she said.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Steel Cut for New Costa Smeralda LNG Ship

Steel Cut for New Costa Smeralda LNG Ship

New Costa Ship Rendering

Construction work began today on the Costa Smeralda, including her steel-cutting ceremony held at the Meyer shipyard in Turku, Finland.
The new Costa Cruises ship will be the brand’s first ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and the world’s first cruise ship to be broadly marketed to consumers from multiple countries throughout Europe, the Italian cruise line said. 
The Costa Smeralda, which will enter service in October 2019, will exceed 180,000 gross tons and offer more than 2,600 passenger cabins, the company said.
A second ship, sister to Costa Smeralda, will be delivered by Meyer Turku in 2021.
Neil Palomba, president, Costa Crociere
“These ships will strengthen the leadership position for the Costa Group, which is already the market leader in all the major continental Europe markets,” said Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Group and Carnival Asia. “The multibillion dollar contract with Meyer, which also includes two new LNG-powered ships to be built for our German brand, AIDA Cruises, reflects our strategy of constantly innovating our vacation offerings and providing our guests with an unmatched cruise experience.”
“The two new Costa Cruises ships are a true global innovation and set new standards for the entire sector,” added Neil Palomba, president of Costa Cruises. “They will be among the first cruise ships powered by LNG, spurring the development of this green technology, especially in the Mediterranean area, and they will be the world’s first LNG-powered ships that will be marketed to consumers from multiple countries, including Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Switzerland. The new ships will also offer unique services and present a state-of-the-art interior design, serving as the perfect expression of our Italy's Finest concept, which is a distinguishing feature of the Costa Cruises brand around the world for providing guests with a truly immersive Italian experience.”
“In the last two years, we have had a very intense design collaboration with our customer and the outcome is a really fresh and new design fused with the latest of technology. We are happy to bring our experience with building LNG powered passenger ships to bear. Today is a very special moment in shipbuilding, when all the ideas, creativity, technology and signature design that is going into Costa’s new ships, are finally starting to become reality," stated Jan Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku.
The Costa Smeralda will be offering cruises in Western Mediterranean, sales open early 2018. 

Disney to Add to Meyer Order, Three LNG Ships

Disney to Add to Meyer Order, Three LNG Ships


Disney Fleet Rendering
Disney fans attending D23 in Anaheim got a huge surprise today. They were the first to hear that Disney Cruise Line is planning not two, but three new ships in the next phase of expansion. By the time these three ships are sailing, we’ll have nearly doubled the size of our fleet! That means more families than ever before will be visiting spectacular destinations around the globe and creating magical memories at sea!
Last year, we told you that two new ships were going to be built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany with scheduled completion dates of 2021 and 2023. This additional ship will be built at the same shipyard and is scheduled to be completed in 2022.
“We decided two ships wouldn’t be enough to hold all of the exciting new experiences we have been dreaming up to take family cruise vacations to a whole new level with immersive Disney storytelling, world-class family entertainment, and imaginative innovations that are fantastically fun and uniquely Disney,” Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said.
All ship names, design plans and itineraries are still in development, with each of the ships expected to have their own unique experiences. The three new ships will be powered by clean-burning liquefied natural gas and be the same size – approximately 135,000 gross tons with about 1,250 guest staterooms planned – which is slightly larger than the newest Disney Cruise Line ships, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.
With a legacy of revolutionary design, Disney Cruise Line’s new ships will usher in the next generation of innovative cruise experiences designed especially for families that will transform the art-of-cruising and take guests on adventures in a way never dreamed of before.

Silversea orders ship, to be called Silver Moon

Silversea orders ship, to be called Silver Moon

Image result for silverseas silvermoon
Silversea Silver Moon

Silversea Cruises signed a contract with Fincantieri to build the Silver Moon, a sister ship to the Silver Muse, for delivery in 2020.
The order for the ship is valued at about $372 million at current exchange rates.
The newbuild, which will expand Silversea's fleet to 10 ships, will displace 40,700 gross tons and carry 596 guests at double occupancy.
The Silver Muse, Silversea's first new ship since 2009, entered service last April.
"Based on the high praise Silver Muse has earned with our guests, we are eager to build on our flagship's success and move forward with a sister ship, which will bring us closer to fulfilling my father's dream of a 12-ship fleet," Silversea chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio said.

Carnival Corp. pledges $10 million for Irma relief

Carnival Corp. pledges $10 million for Irma relief

Image result for carnival cruise hurricane Irma fund
Carnival Corp. and related entities have pledged $10 million toward hurricane relief in the wake of Hurricane Irma, which devastated parts of the Caribbean and Florida, including Miami-Dade County where Carnival has its headquarters.
Carnival Foundation (the philanthropic arm of Carnival Corp.) and the Miami HEAT Charitable Fund are pledging to raise a combined $5 million for relief and recovery efforts. Carnival chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine will match that commitment through their foundation.
Included in the $5 million, the Arisons are making an immediate donation of $2.5 million to Direct Relief, UNICEF and the United Way of Miami-Dade County to support the most timely and urgent relief needs, Carnival said.
"Hurricane Irma's impact strikes close to home both in our home state of Florida and across the Caribbean, where we and our brands have made many friends and partners over many years," Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said. "Our prayers and thoughts go out to all of those who have been impacted."

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Steel Cut for New Costa Smeralda LNG Ship

Steel Cut for New Costa Smeralda LNG Ship

New Costa Ship Rendering

Construction work began today on the Costa Smeralda, including her steel-cutting ceremony held at the Meyer shipyard in Turku, Finland.
The new Costa Cruises ship will be the brand’s first ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and the world’s first cruise ship to be broadly marketed to consumers from multiple countries throughout Europe, the Italian cruise line said. 
The Costa Smeralda, which will enter service in October 2019, will exceed 180,000 gross tons and offer more than 2,600 passenger cabins, the company said.
A second ship, sister to Costa Smeralda, will be delivered by Meyer Turku in 2021.
Neil Palomba, president, Costa Crociere
“These ships will strengthen the leadership position for the Costa Group, which is already the market leader in all the major continental Europe markets,” said Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Group and Carnival Asia. “The multibillion dollar contract with Meyer, which also includes two new LNG-powered ships to be built for our German brand, AIDA Cruises, reflects our strategy of constantly innovating our vacation offerings and providing our guests with an unmatched cruise experience.”
“The two new Costa Cruises ships are a true global innovation and set new standards for the entire sector,” added Neil Palomba, president of Costa Cruises. “They will be among the first cruise ships powered by LNG, spurring the development of this green technology, especially in the Mediterranean area, and they will be the world’s first LNG-powered ships that will be marketed to consumers from multiple countries, including Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Switzerland. The new ships will also offer unique services and present a state-of-the-art interior design, serving as the perfect expression of our Italy's Finest concept, which is a distinguishing feature of the Costa Cruises brand around the world for providing guests with a truly immersive Italian experience.”
“In the last two years, we have had a very intense design collaboration with our customer and the outcome is a really fresh and new design fused with the latest of technology. We are happy to bring our experience with building LNG powered passenger ships to bear. Today is a very special moment in shipbuilding, when all the ideas, creativity, technology and signature design that is going into Costa’s new ships, are finally starting to become reality," stated Jan Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku.
The Costa Smeralda will be offering cruises in Western Mediterranean, sales open early 2018. 

Monday, 11 September 2017

Carnival Ships to Land Supplies in St. Kitts and Grand Turk

Carnival Ships to Land Supplies in St. Kitts and Grand Turk


Carnival Fascination
Carnival Cruise Line is stepping up efforts to aid in the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma. 
The Miami-based cruise line, the world’s largest by passenger capacity, will deliver supplies to St. Kitts later this week during a call from the Carnival Fascination.
In addition, the cruise line will also land supplies in Grand Turk, and according to a statement, is working with a number of Caribbean islands to bring in supplies on a long-term basis.
This follows announcements from Royal Caribbean, which is deploying ships to aid in relief efforts, and Norwegian Cruise Line, which is sending the Sky to St. Thomas to help evacuees. 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Cruise lines to help evacuate Irma-ravaged St. Thomas

Cruise lines to help evacuate Irma-ravaged St. Thomas

A picture shows a wrecked car in the streets of Marigot,
Damage caused by Hurricane Irma

Two cruise lines on Saturday said they were diverting ships to the hurricane-ravaged island of St. Thomas to drop relief supplies and evacuate stranded travelers. 
Norwegian Cruise Line said it was sending the 2,004-passenger Norwegian Sky to the island with the goal of retrieving as many as 2,000 vacationers who were unable to leave before Hurricane Irma hit on Wednesday. The ship currently is off the coast of Mexico and should arrive in St. Thomas by late Monday.
Royal Caribbean said it was redirecting its 2,350-passenger Majesty of the Seas to the island to similarly evacuate several thousand travelers and also to drop water, food, ice and other provisions that are needed. The ship is off the west coast of Cuba and expected to arrive in St. Thomas on Tuesday. 
The two ships are based in Miami and Port Canaveral, Fla., respectively, and currently are sailing without passengers. The lines previously had canceled their weekend sailings due to the approach of Irma and sent the ships toward Mexico to seek shelter from the storm.  
Royal Caribbean also plans to redirect its 3,114-passenger Adventure of the Seas to the hard-hit island of St. Martin on Sunday for an unscheduled stop to drop relief supplies. The vessel is departing San Juan, Puerto Rico late Saturday on a previously scheduled cruise to the Southern Caribbean and is loading on provisions that are needed for a mounting relief effort.  

Royal Caribbean uses ship as hurricane safe haven for employees

Royal Caribbean uses ship as hurricane safe haven for employees

The Enchantment of the Seas holds 2,252 at double occupancy.
Royal Caribbean International will use one of its ship as a vehicle to keep employees and their families safe from Hurricane Irma, which is expected to strike the Miami area this weekend.
The Enchantment of the Seas' Sept. 8 cruise was canceled because of the hurricane, so Royal Caribbean opened the ship to its workforce. The ship will depart around noon on Friday and sail out to sea away from the projected path of the storm. The plan is to return to Miami once the storm passes and the port reopens.
The-20 year-old Enchantment holds 2,252 people at double occupancy and typically offers three- and four-day cruises to the Bahamas.
"We decided to offer the ship to our employees and their families so they could evacuate," said spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez. "[We] felt that it was the right thing to do."

Thursday, 7 September 2017

AIDAnova Keel Laid

AIDAnova Keel Laid

Image result for aidanova cruise ship
AIDANova has had her Keel Laid at Meyer Werft Germany.

Carnival Corporation marked the official start of construction for a total of seven cruise ships that will be fully powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) with today's keel laying of the AIDAnova at Meyer Werft in Germany.
The ship will be delivered to AIDA in late 2018. 
n the presence of AIDA President Felix Eichhorn, Bernard Meyer, CEO of Meyer Werft, and Tim Meyer, CEO of Meyer Werft, two trainees named Louisa Tröbner (AIDA Cruises) and Martin de Boer (Meyer Werft) placed the traditional lucky coin under the first of a total of 90 blocks.
AIDA President Felix Eichhorn said: “One of the main tasks AIDA Cruises sets itself is to make cruises sustainable. With AIDAnova and its sister ship, we are sticking to this course with our pioneering work. Thanks to our trailblazing green cruising design, the use of only LNG in the cruise industry will become a reality in 2018.”
Keel Laying
“We thank Carnival Corporation and AIDA Cruises very much for their trust and their pioneering decision to implement LNG technology on board. The corresponding infrastructure is now being developed at numerous ports. Carnival has made a decision benefiting the environment that is highly important for the cruise industry,” added Bernard Meyer, CEO of Meyer Werft.
Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation, together with Bernard Meyer, CEO Meyer Werft, Michael Thamm, CEO Costa Group and Carnival Asia, David Dingle, Chairman Carnival UK (P&O Cruises UK), Neil Palomba, President of Costa Cruises, and Felix Eichhorn, President of AIDA Cruises, – gave the official “full steam ahead” signal, ringing in a new era of the commercial use of low-emission LNG in cruise travel. The seven LNG ships for cruise brands Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Carnival UK, and AIDA Cruises will be built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg (Germany) and Turku (Finland) and commissioned between 2018 and 2022.
In AIDAnova’s launch season, the ship will offer trips around the Canary islands.
starting in December 2018. Its twin ship with over 180,000 GT and 2,600 staterooms is set to be commissioned in the spring of 2021. Using LNG prevents almost completely

The Evolving Norwegian Yacht Voyages Brand

The Evolving Norwegian Yacht Voyages Brand

Image result for Norwegian Yacht Voyages


First, it was Norwegian Cruise Company. Then it was Nordic Cruise Company. And now it's Norwegian Yacht Voyages. The expedition line has not even launched yet, and it has already gone by three different names.
At first glance, this sort of schizophrenic approach does not bode well for the fledgling operation’s initial reputation. If the company cannot settle on a name, how can potential guests be expected to identify it?
As it turns out, the brand name is not the only thing that has changed since the company’s introduction. Original concept drawings of the fleet’s ships have also dramatically shifted. The schematic once outlined a traditional ice explorer vessel, but the latest drawings call for a far edgier modern design.
One thing that has remained consistent from the start? The company’s logo.
The asymmetrical red gradient banner is still plowed by an abstract rendering of a forward ship’s bow, and the typeface is mostly unchanged. Only the first letters of each word in Norwegian Cruise Company were uppercased before, but now Norwegian Yacht Voyages is universally uppercased, making an even bolder statement.
While it’s certainly understandable for such a changing company to be perceived as flighty, one could also argue that all these things are a sign of a very transparent brand.
It’s surprising but refreshing to see it invite the public into the earliest design stages, especially to those of us who relish any behind-the-scenes nuggets.
For those still left wondering what prompted all the name changes, the brand is even open to discussing the reason. When asked about it on its Facebook page, it responded with, “First [had] issues with NCL and now we have realized more and more that the words ‘cruise’ and ‘cruise line’ have horrible connotations in certain of our demographic target markets. AND, [it’s] better to do this now, before our real marketing efforts [kick] in.”
In a press release, the company further explained: “As our project of building four Expedition Mega Yachts is moving forward we saw the need to update our branding and profile to better identify and reflect on the products and services we intend to provide.”
In other words, the brand first wanted to differentiate from Norwegian Cruise Line and later from cruising altogether.
In fact, Norwegian Yacht Voyages currently carries the secondary tagline “World Wide Mega Yacht Expeditions.” So, by the time the first of its planned ships launch in May 2020, the company will be prepared to set sail internationally.
That the word “cruise” is perhaps passé goes to show that there is an increasing preference for “voyage” instead. This mimics Virgin Voyages decision to change its name from Virgin Cruises, also before launching. Thus, Norwegian is not entirely alone.
Until which time the design is officially locked in and the product is finally realized, the line invites everyone to follow along on social media via FacebookTwitter and Instagram. What’s more, the company is very engaging, so you might as well ask questions and share your thoughts too.
It has even recently responded to destination suggestions such as West Point Island in the Falkland Islands.
You never know what kind of impact you may have on a company open to such ideas. Caroline, for example, is set to be the named for the first vessel, but do you have any potential names for two, three and four?
In the meantime, it’s fun to follow along to see the company post graphics like “The Future of ‘Going Green’” that illustrates how its LNG-powered ships fit into the environmentally-friendly landscape.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Norwegian and Royal Caribbean Cancel Sailings Ahead of Irma

Norwegian and Royal Caribbean Cancel Sailings Ahead of Irma

NOAA
With Hurricane Irma potentially heading to South Florida and key destinations in the Caribbean, cruise lines are scrambling to make changes to itineraries and have also cancelled a handful of sailings.
Norwegian Cruise Line has axed the Sept. 8 sailing aboard the Norwegian Sky. Guests get a full refund, plus a 50 percent future cruise credit.
The Norwegian Escape’s week-long Sept. 9 voyage from Miami is also cancelled. Guests get a full refund, plus a 50 percent future cruise credit.
For the Escape’s current Sept. 2 sailing, the ship will be returning to Miami on Thursday.
“Those guests who are residents of South Florida, who drove to PortMiami or who have travel plans already confirmed that will return them safely home by Friday afternoon may disembark the ship on Thursday if they wish to do so. For those guests who did not drive to PortMiami and are unable to secure a flight back home, we strongly encourage them to stay onboard the ship,” said Norwegian in a prepared statement.
Norwegian Escape will set sail from Miami on Thursday evening on a course away from the storm. While we are unable to confirm at this time when and where the ship will return to port, we welcome all guests to remain onboard to stay safe and secure.”
Royal Caribbean has employed similar tactics, and has cancelled the September 8 sailings on the Majesty and Enchantment of the Seas. Guests will receive a full refund and 25 percent future cruise credit.
Royal Caribbean said it will provide an end-of-day update on Tuesday regarding sailings aboard the Allure, Anthem, Empress, Harmony and Oasis.
The cancelled sailings will impact third quarter earnings.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Port of Kiel chalks up 350th call by an MSC cruise ship

Port of Kiel chalks up 350th call by an MSC cruise ship

Port of Kiel chalks up 350th call by an MSC cruise ship
The port’s cruise shipping director Nicole Claus welcomed the ship’s captain Guiseppe Galano

MSC Fantasia arrived at the Port of Kiel’s Ostseekai berth from St Petersburg in Russia on 2 September, marking MSC Cruises’ 350th visit to the German port.

To mark the anniversary, the port’s cruise shipping director Nicole Claus welcomed the ship’s captain Guiseppe Galano. Together, Galano and Claus unveiled a bronze plaque on Kiel’s Cruise Ship Walk of Fame, which honours shipping companies and events that are of special significance for Kiel as a cruise shipping location.

MSC’s cruise ships have been regularly calling at the port of Kiel for twelve years, after the first vessel visited on 4 September 2005. The company began using Kiel as a base port in 2006 and since then, the city has been a constituent part of the company’s northern Europe route planning. To date, nine different MSC cruise ships have visited Kiel, while 1.3 million passengers have embarked or disembarked from an MSC cruise ship in the city.

“With 350 visits to the port under its belt, MSC is the cruise shipping company which has been our most frequent caller to date,” said Claus.

MSC Fantasia has already undertaken 18 cruises from Kiel this season. Three more are to follow up to the season finale on 16 September, when the ship heads for the Mediterranean. These northern Europe cruises take guests to Baltic destinations including Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden; Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; St Petersburg. The ship also sails from Kiel to Copenhagen and the Norwegian fjords in Geiranger, Flåm and Stavanger.

Image result for MSC Fantasia in Kiel
MSC and Mein Schiff in the Port of Kiel.

International cruise ship passengers who board in Copenhagen can enjoy day excursions ashore from the port of Kiel into the surrounding region and to the Hanse city of Lübeck and the north German metropolis of Hamburg.

“Because of its geographical location, Kiel is particularly attractive as the starting point for so-called butterfly cruises,” said Claus. “The combination of Baltic and Norwegian routes is a very interesting option.”

This year, Kiel will host 142 calls from 28 different ships, which will bring around half a million cruise ship passengers to the port. In addition, about 1.6 million ferry passengers will pass through the port.

Cruises Return, Donate to Houston's Recovery

Cruises Return, Donate to Houston's Recovery

Image result for port of galveston cruise terminal
Port of Galveston, Huston.
Houston-based online cruise agency, Vacations to Go is donating one million dollars to six local charities, according to a letter sent to customers from CEO Alan Fox on Friday.
Fox reports that the company's headquarters "suffered only minor water damage and never lost power." Phone service was restored on Wednesday and many employees are returning to work.
Of the 800 Vacations to Go employees in the Houston area, 64 sustained serious flood damage to their homes, but all are safe and accounted for, according to Fox's letter. Not all employees have been able to return to their homes to assess the damage, and others are still stranded in their homes surrounded by flood waters. 
Cruise Lines Are Sailing Again
As water continues to rise in some Houston-area neighborhoods due to cresting of rivers and bayous, cruise operations from the Port of Galveston are expected to return to normal this week. Travel writer Cynthia Drake—who reported from Liberty of the Seas earlier this week as it detoured to Miami—reports now that the ship returned to Galveston on Friday, carrying approximately half of its original passengers.
Nearly 2,000 Liberty of the Seas passengers opted to make other travel arrangements from Miami when the ship docked there briefly on Tuesday. Royal Caribbean’s website shows normal operations for the September 3rd sailing.
The site does acknowledge that some passengers may still be having difficulty with transportation to the port. Both Houston airports are open but still at a limited capacity. Some roads and highways in the area are still closed.  The company encourages passengers having difficulty reaching the port or guests who “may not feel comfortable joining Liberty” to contact customer service at 1-800-256-6649 for assistance.  
Carnival's website shows normal operations for Carnival Freedom, Breeze and Valor resuming scheduled departures on September 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. 
Vacations to Go Supporting Neighborhood Charities
The six charities Vacations To Go is supporting include Houston Food BankBakerRipleyStar of Hope MissionSecond Baptist ChurchMemorial Assistance Ministries and the Houston SPCA
According to Fox, able Vacations to Go employees who are "donating and collecting food, clothes, water, toiletries, disposable diapers, blankets and sheets, toys and games at our Houston office (5851 San Felipe Street, Suite 500, Houston, TX 77057) for delivery to one of the shelters in the city."
He added that customers should, “Feel free to ship anything here that you want delivered to a shelter and we'll make sure it gets there.”
Fox concluded by thanking customers for their words of encouragement both to him personally and to Vacations to Go cruise consultants throughout last week's storm.

Time to Celebrate the Most-Traveled Cruise Ship Ever

Time to Celebrate the Most-Traveled Cruise Ship Ever

Time to Celebrate the Most-Traveled Cruise Ship Ever
 Cunard's historic Queen Elizabeth 2. (photo courtesy of Cunard)

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Cunard’s retired Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner, and the company plans to celebrate with a special cruise aboard its newer Queen Elizabeth.
“This mediterranean cruise is perfectly timed to pay tribute to QE2’s launch and naming by HRH Queen Elizabeth II 50 years ago,” said Angus Struthers, Vice President, Cunard, in a press release. “When QE2 came into service in the 1960s, many critics said she wouldn’t last a decade in the age of the jet, but her unique design as a dual-purpose ship meant that she was versatile enough to operate both as a transatlantic liner and a cruise ship.
“Given how famous and loved she was, we felt this was a great opportunity to pay tribute to this Cunarder remarkable life onboard our newest ship, Queen Elizabeth; herself designed to offer a perfect luxury cruise holiday.”
The Queen Elizabeth will sail from Southampton on September 8, 2017, on an extensive 17-night cruise honoring the company’s longest serving ocean liner. The modern vessel will visit Venice, Sicily and Corfu along the way.
Onboard festivities will feature five theme days, each with their own QE2-inspired menus, special guest lectures, daily program facts, former passenger get-togethers and quizzes.
Such days include “Moving in Royal Circles,” focusing on the connection between the QE2 and the Royal Family. “The Falklands” will look at the vessel’s use as a troopship in 1982, and “Triumph of a Great Tradition” will explore its career and Cunard’s firsts. Meanwhile, “World Flagship” will showcase the ship’s 26 world cruises before “QE2 Day” highlights a ball as well as a retrospective in the Royal Court Theatre.
Captain Ian McNaught, QE2’s last Master will be among the special guests scheduled onboard for the Insights Speaker program.
He said, in the press release, “This voyage is a significant and timely tribute to the world’s best-loved ship. QE2 remains the longest serving express liner in history. She carried 2.5 million passengers over 5.6 million miles; that's further than any passenger ship - ever! This remarkable ship sailed alone on the North Atlantic for most of her career. She carried the Cunard tradition from the bygone era of the ocean liner and sustained it into the 21st century. The QE2 carried Royalty, celebrities and served in the Falklands War.”
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British Soldiers on the way to the Falklands in 1982 
He added, “What I remember most as her Master, were the passengers. Everyday people who saved up to experience life onboard the world's best-loved ship. Many came back time and time again. That is a tribute to the countless people who served as QE2's crew, each one making the experience special and memorable. QE2 has been gone for nearly a decade now, however, on her 50th anniversary the memory of her is strong. It is very fitting to be acknowledging the QE2's remarkable career here onboard Queen Elizabeth."
Other guests consist of Commodore R. W. Warwick, QE2 social hostess Maureen Ryan and maritime historian Chris Frame.
Although the QE2, itself laid up in Dubai, is not along the route, there remains some hope that the ship will see a second life in some capacity. It was originally taken out of service in 2008 and acquired for conversion into a hotel, not unlike the line’s other Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. However, nothing has yet become of the vessel as she remains permanently moored for the time being.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Norwegian makes maiden call at the Port of Tyne

Norwegian makes maiden call at the Port of Tyne

Norwegian makes maiden call at the Port of Tyne
Norwegian Jade is the first of Norwegian Cruise Line's ships to call at the Port of Tyne (Image: Michel Verdure for Norwegian Cruise Line)

Port of Tyne kicked off September 2017 by hosting a maiden call from Norwegian Jade, the first-ever Norwegian Cruise Line vessel to visit the UK port.

Berthing on 1 September, Norwegian Jade brought 2,400 passengers and more than 1,000 crew to explore North East England. They were able to visit attractions such as the city of Newcastle, UNESCO World Heritage sites of Hadrian’s Wall and Durham Cathedral and Castle, as well as Beamish museum, Alnwick Castle and Gardens and the Durham Dales.

Norwegian Jade will make three calls at the Port of Tyne in 2018.

“The combined effect of the Port of Tyne cruise and ferry business adds some £51 million to the regional economy supporting 1,700 tourism related jobs – making a significant impact,” said Steven Harrison, Port of Tyne’s COO. “The port has worked hard to expand our cruise operations to accommodate these large cruise ships and we are proud to welcome Norwegian Cruise Line for the first time – we hope that Norwegian Jade’s passengers and crew enjoy their visit and return again soon.”

The Port of Tyne will welcome a record 52 cruise calls in 2017, and has already provisionally booked the same number for 2018. This will bring around 50,000 cruise guests to the port each year, in addition to the 600,000 ferry passengers who also pass through on an annual basis.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

When Your Cruise Ship Rattles and Creaks

When Your Cruise Ship Rattles and Creaks

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Creaks and groans are eliminated at the construction stage.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that cruise ships move like a hotel tower sways and flexes.
Unlike a stationary building, however, a vessel will periodically exhibit creaks and rattles as a result. These can either be annoying or embraced as part of the sailing experience.
To be sure, modern cruise ships are quite stable and typically do not pitch, roll or yaw too uncomfortably. However, even the slightest motion can cause the structure to make some noise. To many, this is part of the ship’s unique personality and is cherished.
It’s also indicative of how the ship was constructed and what finish hardware was installed.
The steel superstructure is engineered to flex to a degree, but the paneling and fixtures that infill might be a bit stiffer and prone to friction and vibration sounds. If a steel frame contorts any, the wall material in between must give way too, but the material it’s composed of will produce any number of different noises. Plastics, for instance, do not respond to pressure the same way metals do.
Thus, you may find yourself lying in bed trying to fall asleep only to hear wall panels snap, crackle and pop. The best ship builds will take this into account and provide more gaps for expansion and contraction at seams and miters.
When Your Cruise Ship Rattles and Creaks
Such sounds are rare enough. More common are rattles from loose hardware. Even a slight ship vibration or shutter might cause sliding closet doors to rattle or an entry door to creak at its latch.
As a side note, cabin location is something also to consider for what noises may occur nearby: A stateroom just below the pool deck or above the show lounge, for example, is likely to hear more from the activities therein.
Any of this is more likely to be a problem for light sleepers, though they can become annoying even to a heavy sleeper like me from time to time.
The solution in many cases is to call up maintenance and ask for a quick tightening of any screws or bolts. However, sometimes the hardware is just poorly designed to begin with and there is nothing to be fixed.
Then, towels are your friend. Believe it or not, simply placing a small face or hand towel between sliding doors or in the jam of an entry door can be just enough to put pressure against the rattling offender and silence it. It’s a homegrown trick I’ve used on many a cruise.
As for any moans coming from paneling, there’s little that can be done, though sometimes applying outward pressure with your own hands massages the creaks out.
Generally, there really is nothing to be concerned about. Ships do make some noise, but newer ones tend to be better than older ones. Just like an older car might make itself heard more than one fresh off the lot, ships can be the same.
These sounds give vessels character. It reminds you that they are alive riding the waves. Of course, there is also comfort in knowing there are some means to quiet them down if you wish as well. And if all else fails, there are always earplugs or noise-canceling headphones.
I say: Embrace the ship sounds—for a time at least and then employ a towel.