Thursday, 28 February 2013

Boeing and battery maker clash over 787 fix


Boeing and battery maker clash over 787 fix

Boeing and battery maker clash over 787 fix
Boeing and the Japanese company that makes lithium-ion batteries for 787 Dreamliner disagree about what should be included in a package of measures aimed at returning the aircraft to service.
Battery maker GS Yuasa Corporation believes the fix for the battery should include a voltage regulator that could stop electricity from entering the battery, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing government and industry officials.
Boeing proposed its fix to the US Federal Aviation Authority on Friday.
But on Thursday, Yuasa told the agency that its laboratory tests indicated a power surge outside the battery, or other external problem, started the failures on two batteries, according to the newspaper.
The FAA confirmed the meeting with Yuasa, but did not give any details. A Yuasa spokesman declined to comment.
A Boeing spokesman said that the investigation has not showed that overcharging was a factor and that the 787 had quadruple-redundant protection against overcharging in any case.
"Our proposal includes multiple layers of protection covering the known potential probable causes of the events," he said.
He added that Boeing was co-ordinating with key suppliers.

Research finds two thirds of holidaymakers will book online


Research finds two thirds of holidaymakers will book online

Research finds two thirds of holidaymakers will book online
The latest TNS consumer insight for Travel Weekly underlines the popularity of digital channels. Ian Taylor reports
Two thirds of UK adults planning an overseas holiday or break intend to book online this year, according to research for Travel Weekly.
A survey of more than 2,000 adults by TNS in early February suggests up to 20 million could book their travel online, compared with more than eight million with a high street agent or by phone.
Researchers found that 42% of respondents (including those not planning an overseas holiday) said they would book online, 12% on the high street and 5% by phone.
Of course, booking online does not have to mean going direct or buying from someone outside the trade. Few high street retailers fail to sell online; Tui Travel reported 37% of its summer 2013 bookings were made online up to early February and expects this proportion to increase this year.
However, the results confirm consumers are increasingly at ease booking all kinds of holidays – including package holidays – on the internet.
Young adults are clearly most at ease: 55% of 16 to 34-year-olds said they would book a holiday or break online, against 25% of over‑55s. The proportion of student online-travel bookers (60%) was three times higher than those of retired age (20%).
More than half (54%) of adults in better-off households expected to book online, as did a similar proportion (52%) of those with children living at home.
Londoners and those in the southeast showed a similar propensity to book on the internet (54%), while less than one-third did so in Yorkshire, the East Midlands and Scotland and just 36% across the north – suggesting a digital divide.
However, the greatest variation in the survey results was in the proportion planning to take an overseas holiday, rather than how they would book it.
TNS found more than one third (36%) of respondents did not expect to go overseas in 2013 and a further 4% were undecided.
That suggests 60% intend to have a holiday abroad – a healthy market in light of previous research showing less than half the adult population (44%) are likely to go away in any year.
It is important to note people often express an intention to go abroad at this time of year but subsequently fail to do so – the young being especially prone to this.
February’s TNS survey found three-quarters of 16 to 24-year-olds planned an overseas holiday (and 56% intended to book online). Yet previous TNS research which asked 16 to 24-year-olds whether they had a holiday abroad in the past 12 months found 60% had not.
Almost half (48%) of adults over 55 said they were not planning an overseas holiday this year; neither were half the adults in less well-off households (47%).
Most adults with children did plan a holiday (68%), compared with 56% of those with no children. But the former appear more dependent on finding a cheap holiday – 38% of those with children identifying price as an important factor in whether they go away, against 28% of those without children.
TNS group director of travel Tom Costley noted “significant age variations” in online booking habits but said: “The proportion choosing to book via a high street agent does not vary to any significant extent, irrespective of age.”
He added: “It’s evident that being able to access a cheap price allows some to go on a holiday which might otherwise not be available to them.”

Royal Caribbean takes more relaxed stance on discounts


Royal Caribbean takes more relaxed stance on discounts

Royal Caribbean takes more relaxed stance on discounts
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has told agents it has decided to “relax its approach” to policing discounting after feedback from the trade.
Travel Weekly understands that since the start of the year the operator had been closely monitoring pricing and threatening to act against agents who continued to discount.
Questions have been raised about the legality of this sort of approach, as Travel Weekly reported on January 24.
One cruise agent, who asked not to be named, said: “Royal Caribbean has relaxed the rules and are no longer policing what people do.”
She added: “I’ve not noticed any immediate upturn in discounting levels.”
Another claimed the change came after an agent challenged Royal Caribbean over the legality of its attempt to maintain prices in the market. Royal Caribbean denied this, saying 
the change was part of its “consultative approach” to trade relations after it reduced commission to 
10% in January.
A spokeswoman said: “Based on some agency feedback we have decided to relax this approach.
“We have advised our agency partners and continue to work closely with them on promoting our brands.”
She added: “We encourage agents to continue to sell on value and maximise their earning potential. We are impressed with the results that our marketing campaigns, training and incentives have delivered and the enthusiasm from the trade.
“We will continue to invest significantly in driving consumer demand to agency partners, in addition to incentivising them directly.”
- See more at: http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2013/02/28/43305/royal-caribbean-stops-policing-cruise-discounts.html#sthash.JgoMcVcg.dpuf

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Carnival to use Royal Caribbean island


Carnival to use Royal Caribbean island

By Tom Stieghorst
Carnival Cruise Lines has arranged with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to use its private island at Coco Cay for selected sailings of two Carnival ships this year.
Starting March 14, the Carnival Fascination will call there 19 times this year on its five-day cruise from Jacksonville, while the Carnival Ecstasy will call 11 times on five-day cruises from Port Canaveral.

For each ship, the calls replace a stop in Key West. The switch is being made to expand and diversify Carnival's port of call/destination options, Carnival said.

Guests are currently being notified about the itinerary change.

Carnival brands use two other private islands in the Bahamas, Princess Cay and Half Moon Cay, which was developed for Holland America Line.

Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said that given the short duration of the cruises and the other ports on the itineraries, it would be difficult to reach Half Moon Cay and still maintain the ships' published schedule.

In addition, Princess Cay does not offer tender operations, he said.

Asked about payment, Gulliksen said Carnival entered into a commercial agreement with Royal Caribbean for the use of Coco Cay, also known as Little Stirrup Cay. 

Missing cruise ship found floating near Irish coast


Missing cruise ship found floating near Irish coast

Missing cruise ship found floating near Irish coast
Image credit: Dan Conlin
A cruise ship that went missing in January has been spotted floating toward the coast of Ireland.
Lyubov Orlova was on its way to the scrapyard when it broke away from a Canadian tug in international waters last month, not to be seen again until it was spotted late last week.
It had been drifting across the northern Atlantic and is now reportedly within 1,200 nautical miles of the Irish coast, Gadling reported.
The Russian-built cruise liner was seized in St John's, Newfoundland, in 2010 because its owners were $250,000 in debt and the crew hadn't been paid in over five months.
Last February, the ship was bought by Neptune International Shipping, according to Gadling, and was scheduled to be scrapped in the Dominican Republic.
It was heading to the scrapyard when the ship broke free from the tug pulling it, and when the crew failed to recapture it due to high winds and choppy seas, the vessel was left to drift across the open ocean.
Canadian authorities refused to mount a salvage operation because the vessel was adrift in international waters.
The current owner of the vessel, Reza Shoeybi, is now trying to reclaim the ship, reported Gadling, who said he is working with salvage companies in Ireland to attempt to retrieve the vessel.
- See more at: http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2013/02/26/43281/missing-cruise-ship-found-floating-near-irish-coast.html#sthash.2qj3oFP7.dpuf

Exclusive first look at Norwegian Breakaway float out


Exclusive first look at Norwegian Breakaway float out

Exclusive first look at Norwegian Breakaway float out
Travel Weekly has been given an exclusive first look at Norwegian Breakaway’s float out from its dock in Germany this morning.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s vessel, the largest ship built in Germany, was floated out of Meyer Werft’s covered building dock earlier today in Papenburg, where the 146,600-tonne ship has been under construction since September 2011.
Norwegian Breakaway
The 4,000-passenger ship, with her signature hull artwork designed by pop icon Peter Max, departed the building dock as the first ship to depart bow-first.
Norwegian Breakaway has an overall length of 324 metres, and is 39.70 metres wide.
The ship’s float out represents a major milestone in the vessel’s construction as it denotes that the ship has now moved into the final phase of construction with delivery taking place in just 58 days.
Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer, said: “Norwegian Breakaway represents a significant achievement both for Meyer Werft and Norwegian Cruise Line in terms of innovation and design.
“Celebrating her float out today brings us closer to her much-anticipated delivery on April 25 when she will make her debut in Europe before arriving in her homeport of New York City on May 7. We can’t wait.”
Norwegian Breakaway
Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft, said: “This new vessel is a further milestone for us. Its construction complies with the latest safety standards, and the ship meets all valid environmental regulations.
"Beyond that Norwegian Breakaway includes a lot of unique design elements and technical innovations.”
Following the float out, tests were carried out in the harbour and the ship was berthed alongside the yard's outfitting pier. On March 4, the first crew members will move into their staterooms on board, and begin to familiarise themselves with the ship, readying her for guests.
Norwegian Breakaway's conveyance down the river Ems towards the North Sea, where she will prove her seaworthiness, is scheduled for March 10, weather permitting.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Prosecutors request manslaughter charge against Concordia captain


Prosecutors request manslaughter charge against Concordia captain

Prosecutors request manslaughter charge against Concordia captain
Italian prosecutors have formally requested a manslaughter indictment against Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino following last year’s disaster in which 32 people died.
Prosecutors in Grosseto, Tuscany, are also seeking the trial of Schettino on charges of causing a shipwreck and abandoning the vessel during the frantic and confused evacuation of passengers and crew.
The prosecutors said Costa Concordia was conducting a publicity stunt off the coast of the island of Giglio on the night of January 13 when the ship ran into a jagged reef, which left a 70-metre-long gash in the hull.
The vessel quickly took on water and capsized, ending up on its side near the island's port.
Prosecutors also requested the indictment of five other crew members, including two officers who were on the bridge that night.
The proposed charges against them vary, but all are accused of manslaughter, according to theAssociated Press.
Chief prosecutor Francesco Verusio said that after a sophisticated scientific and technological investigation, "the determining cause of the events of the shipwreck, deaths and injuries, is, unfortunately, dramatically due to the human factor".
Prosecutors said ship owner Costa Crociere has asked for a plea bargain agreement. If accepted, this could see the Italian line pay a €1 million (£877,000) fine. The company has blamed Schettino for the incident.
Schettino has repeatedly claimed it was his clever steering after the collision that allowed the ship to move closer to the port and help save lives. He has also said the reef was not marked on the ship's navigational charts.

British tourists 'among dead' in Egypt balloon accident


British tourists 'among dead' in Egypt balloon accident

British tourists 'among dead' in Egypt balloon accident
British nationals are reported to be among the 18 foreign tourists killed in a hot air balloon crash in Egypt this morning. 
Egyptian police said the victims include nine from Hong Kong, four from Japan, two from the United Kingdom, two from France and two from Egypt, according to the BBC.
A total of 21 tourists and a pilot were onboard the hot air balloon during a sunrise flight when it caught fire and exploded, plunging into fields west of the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor today, state-run Nile TV reported.
At least two people, including the balloon's pilot, reportedly survived, apparently by jumping out of the balloon before it crashed, after it caught fire when it was at 1,000 ft (300m).
Sky News reported that two Britons onboard have been taken to hospital in a critical condition.
Dr Hany Sabry, from Luxor International Hospital, told Sky News that one of the injured passengers suffered multiple fractures and internal bleeding, while the second injured passenger remains under observation in the intensive care unit.
An employee at the company operating the balloon, Sky Cruise, said two people in the balloon survived by jumping from the basket before it hit the ground. The balloon's pilot is also believed to have survived the crash.
Luxor is one of the most popular destinations for travellers to Egypt and a starting point for many Nile cruises.
Ahmed Aboud, a spokesman for companies that operate balloon flights in the area, told Reuters that one tourist and the balloon pilot had survived the accident, which happened after a gas explosion at 1,000 feet.
"There were 20 passengers aboard," said Aboud. "An explosion happened and 19 passengers died. One tourist and the pilot survived."
Aboud is the representative of eight companies that operate balloons in Luxor.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "We are aware of reports of a balloon crash in Luxor and are making urgent enquiries."
DoSomethingDifferent.com confirmed it had taken Luxor balloon flights off-sale and was refunding all customers with future bookings. The tickets specialist said it did not believe any of its customers were involved in the accident.

MSC Cruises returns to the United Arab Emirates


MSC Cruises returns to the United Arab Emirates


Dubai and Abu Dhabi to host MSC Lirica in 2013/2014


MSC Cruises is delighted to announce that MSC Lirica will return to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the 2013/2014 winter season, taking travellers on an unparalleled journey of discovery through the region’s rich traditions, vibrant modernity and dramatic landscapes. 

On 5 November 2013, MSC Lirica will set off on a 19-day/18-night grand voyage from Genoa, Italy, arriving in Dubai, UAE, on 22 November 2013 after calls in Civitavecchia, Italy, La Valletta, Malta, Piraeus, Greece, Port Said, Egypt, Safaga, Egypt, Salalah and Muscat, Oman.

From 23 November 2013 until 29 March 2014, MSC Lirica will offer 18 eight-day/seven-night cruises from Dubai, calling in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Khor al Fakkan, UAE, and Muscat and Khasab, Oman, with an overnight stay in Dubai allowing travellers to enjoy the unique nightlife of this glittering oasis of the desert.

“MSC Cruises’ return to the Emirates reaffirms our strong belief in the region’s potential as an innovative and highly desirable destination for cruise travellers,” said MSC Cruises CEO Pierfrancesco Vago. “As part of a broad commitment to encouraging future growth, the UAE government’s recent decision to allow multiple entry visas for cruise ship passengers has dramatically simplified visa procedures, making the region even more attractive to cruise lines and ensuring that many more travellers can discover this truly unique destination with ease.”

During MSC’s Emirates adventures, travellers can enjoy a shore excursion programme designed to reveal the magic and mystery of this enigmatic world of spectacular contrasts.


Enjoy unspoiled beaches and rugged mountains views 

Khor al Fakkan is the perfect gateway from which to discover desert dunes, typical wadis and spectacular oases, as well as the rugged Masafi and Hajar Mountains and the stunning beaches and warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Visitors can also enjoy trips to the oldest mosque in the UAE, Fossil Rock, famed for fossils dating back some 80 million years and Camel Rock, a spectacular, eponymously shaped outcrop in the middle of the desert.

Explore mystical Muscat 

Travellers in Muscat have a whole host of mystical landmarks to behold, from the Al Alam Palace, flanked by the breath-taking Al Jalali and Al Mirani forts, to the captivating Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque with its five impressive minarets. Popular sites include the old town’s bustling souk, the Bait Al Zubair archaeological museum and the exclusive Amouage perfumery with its timeless natural fragrances.

Cruise crystalline fjords in a traditional dhow 

A relaxing cruise on a traditional Arabian dhow is the perfect way to discover Khasab - also known as the “Norway of Arabia” thanks to its sinuous coastline - and its fjord-like waters, pretty fishing villages and limestone cliffs. Travellers can enjoy a refreshing dip by historical Telegraph Island and, if they’re lucky, a friendly dolphin may even stop by to say hello.

Discover the wonders of Dubai 

An ultramodern city steeped in tradition and flanking both the coast and the Arabian Desert, Dubai and its eclectic mix of natural and man-made wonders is impossible to define. For the glitz and glamour of modern Dubai, travellers can head to the sumptuous Burj Al Arab Hotel, the only 7-star hotel in the world; the magnificent Palm Jumeirah, the largest man-made archipelago of islands in the shape of a palm tree; or one of Dubai’s swanky neighbourhoods. The city’s incredible shopping, amazing skyscrapers, beautiful modern marina, perfect weather and unparalleled nightlife make it a true haven for hedonists.

Behold awe-inspiring architecture and magnificent mosques in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is home to some awe-inspiring architecture, futuristic skyscrapers and magnificent mosques, including the hauntingly beautiful Sheikh Zayed Mosque, a masterpiece of neo-Islamic architecture and one of the largest mosques in the world. Heritage Village, Emirates Palace, Al Ain archaeological site and Manarat Al Saadyat, a centre recounting the development of the richest city in the world, are all fascinating insights into this modern metropolis. Travellers can also experience the thrill of an unparalleled shopping experience, or of riding the world’s fastest roller coaster at the Ferrari World Theme Park.

Are you tempted by one of these cruises?
Click image for larger version. 

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Nisha At Sea 

Man arrested for cruise ship murder seven years after the fact


Man arrested for cruise ship murder seven years after the fact

A man has been arrested for strangling his ex-wife onboard a Mediterranean cruise after seven years.

A man from California has been arrested in Florida for the murder of his ex-wife, whom he allegedly threw overboard during an Italian cruise seven years ago.

Lonnie Kocontes, 55, was remanded into custody by federal marshals and is now being held without bail, on a charge of ‘special circumstance murder for financial gain”, the Associated Press reports.

The cruise industry was rocked in 2006 when his ex-wife Micki Kanesaki fell into the Mediterranean from the Island Escape, which was sailing along the coast of Italy.

She had been sharing a cabin with Kocontes despite the pair divorcing in 2002 and continuing to live together until 2004.

She was last seen alive at approximately 11pm on May 25th, and was not seen again until her body washed up on the shore at Calabria. At the time, Kocontes said he had awoken in the middle of the night to find her missing from the room, prompting a full search of the vessel.

According to prosecutors, Kocontes, a lawyer, strangled Kanesaki to death and then threw her overboard.

FBI investigators launched a new criminal probe in 2008 after new evidence came to light alleging that Kocontes had transferred more than $1 million of his ex-wife’s money into joint accounts held with his new wife.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Titanic II's shipyard prepares for construction


Titanic II's shipyard prepares for construction

Titanic II's shipyard prepares for construction
A life-size replica of the Titanic has moved a step closer to construction after the Chinese shipyard chosen to build the vessel revealed it has begun upgrading its facilities to prepare for the work.
Titanic II is due to be built at CSC Jinling Shipyard Company in Nanjing, China, using the same dimensions as the doomed Belfast-built original vessel, and is being funded by Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer.
The 2,400-passengers vessel will take three years to build, measuring 270 metres long, weighing 40,000 tonnes, and will have 840 cabins, as well as Turkish baths and a swimming pool.
The outside of the vessel will be an exact replica of the original, and passengers will be able to buy first, second and third class tickets, in keeping with the system at the time.
However, not everything will be built to match the original, as engineers will use the latest technology in parts of the ship such as the engine.
Titanic II is expected to make its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in 2016 along the same route that the original ship sailed.
A spokesman for the shipyard, Li Wenbao, told the Sunday Times: “The liner will be equipped with advanced technologies including the latest life-saving and communications systems, to meet the requirements of modern navigation.”

Costa boss donates $1m to Concordia charity


Costa boss donates $1m to Concordia charity

Costa boss donates $1m to Concordia charity
The boss of Costa Concordia owner Costa Crociere is reported to have donated a quarter of his last pay package to charity.
Pier Luigi Foschi gave his $969,000 bonus for 2011-12 to the Costa Foundation, set up following the disaster last January in which 32 people died off the Italian island of Giglio.
He received a total of almost $4 million for the year to November 2012, a 16% drop on the previous year, the Sunday Times reported, quoting regulatory filings by Costa’s parent company Carnival Corporation.

Boeing suggests solution to Dreamliner battery problem



Boeing suggests solution to Dreamliner battery

problem

Boeing suggests solution to Dreamliner battery problem
Boeing has presented measures it hopes will get the Dreamliner back in the air to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The aircraft manufacturer proposed ways to fix the 787’s battery problems which have led to its grounding at a meeting with the FAA on Friday.
Boeing is reported to believe the measures could have the aircraft flying by late March or April.
However, the cause of overheating in a lithium-ion battery on a Japan Airlines 787 has yet to be identified.
The 50 Dreamliners in service around the world have been grounded since January 16 after a battery fire on the Japan Airlines 787 parked at Boston and an emergency landing by an All Nippon Airways aircraft in Japan.
Investigators believe a short circuit in one of the battery cells caused overheating that led to the fire which then spread through the battery.
Boeing has proposed insulating the battery’s lithium-ion cells from one another to prevent fire spreading, encasing the battery in a fire-proof shell and installing sensors.
It also proposes a venting mechanism to remove fumes which led to the emergency landing.
Japanese investigators have identified the likely cause of the fumes which led to the emergency landing, reporting they found faulty wiring on the battery of the All Nippon Airways 787.
The aircraft’s auxiliary power unit was incorrectly connected to the main battery. However, the root cause of the battery fire in Boston has not been found.
Japanese transport minister Akihiro Ohta said: “It’s too early to say we are over the hump.”
Aviation analyst Douglas McNeill told the BBC: “Until it’s crystal clear what went wrong the FAA will be reluctant to let the 787s resume [flying].”
US transport secretary Ray LaHood has warned the 787 will not fly again until the FAA is “1,000% sure” the batteries are safe.
Meanwhile, All Nippon Airways is cancelling all Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights until at least the end of May.
More than 1,700 flights in April and May are affected, a period that includes Japan's Golden Week holiday. This takes the total number of affected ANA Dreamliner flights to 3,600.
An ANA spokeswoman told the BBC: "Unfortunately, it includes Golden Week, but we have decided to inform our customers in advance as the prospect for their resumption is still unseen."
ANA is Boeing's biggest Dreamliner customer, with 17 of the world's 50 operational 787s.all of which have been grounded. International regulators grounded all Dreamliners last month in so that safety checks could be carried out on their lithium ion batteries.

Royal Caribbean names Quantum of the Seas godmother


Royal Caribbean names Quantum of the Seas godmother

Royal Caribbean names Quantum of the Seas godmother
Emmy-winning US actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth is to be godmother to Royal Caribbean International's new cruise ship Quantum of the Seas.
The 4,100-passenger vessel is due to enter service in autumn 2014 followed by sister ship Anthem of the Seas in spring 2015.
Chenoweth and host Seth MacFarlane sang the closing number at last night’s Oscars ceremony in Hollywood with the cruise line announcing her involvement in the new ship in adverts on US television during coverage of the awards.
Chenoweth was chosen for her effervescent personality and ability to wow audiences, the cruise line said.
“Her versatile range of roles made her a natural fit, given that Quantum of the Seas, set to debut in fall 2014, is poised to introduce unprecedented experiences and amenities only attainable on Royal Caribbean International,” the company added.
Chief executive Adam Goldstein said: "Our ships have always been designed for WOW and with Quantum of Seas, we are excited to introduce Quantum cruising and the 'at sea' firsts that our guests have come to expect from Royal Caribbean.
"We look forward to working with Kristen and having her officially name our ship when she is delivered in the fall of 2014."
Chenoweth said: "I think the Royal Caribbean brand is the perfect match for me, especially with their history of providing exceptional entertainment experiences to their guests."

Friday, 22 February 2013

Carnival Triumph publicity could deter first-time cruisers



Carnival Triumph publicity could deter first-time cruisers


Carnival Triumph publicity could deter first-time cruisers
Agents fear the Carnival Triumph blaze that left more than 3,000 passengers stranded could make it harder to attract first-time cruisers.
The company confirmed last week’s fire on the ship in the Gulf of Mexico was caused by a fuel leak from a generator. Passengers went without electricity, working toilets and air conditioning for five days.
Agents said the widespread negative publicity generated could make cruises more difficult to sell.
The incident happened on the same day five crew died during a safety drill on board Thomson Majesty and just over a year after the Costa Concordia tragedy.
Andrew Earle, of Andrew Earle’s World of Travel in Hull, had one first-time cruise customer due to go on one of the cancelled Triumph departures next month.
He has now switched the booking to a four-night New Orleans land tour and believes the customer may never consider cruising again.
“Getting more new-to-cruise customers into the market will be that much more difficult. We have had a lot of families telling us the kids don’t fancy it,” he said.
Andy Tomlinson, managing director of Sutton Travel in Sutton Coldfield, said a couple who were considering a cruise had sought his reassurance in the wake of the Thomson tragedy.
He said: “For customers who are faltering a bit and planning their first cruise you have to emphasise how many sailings there are and how many go off without problem; it’s just getting that message out.”
Robert Broad Travel director Oliver Broad said: “It’s a chance for us to show our expertise because clients are asking more questions.”
Miles Morgan, managing director of Miles Morgan Travel, said most customers understood the nature of the Carnival Triumph incident, adding: “This needs to be put into context.”
Meanwhile, UK and Ireland managing director of Carnival Cruise Lines Adolfo Perez has written to agents to thank them for their support and to apologise for the conditions onboard the ship.
“All of us at Carnival deeply regret the hardship our guests had to face during their days on board the ship,” said Perez. “Our number one concern was to ensure the safety and welfare of our guests and crew and to get them home as soon as possible.
“Our shipboard and shore side teams worked tirelessly to take care of them and minimise their discomfort and inconvenience. We also focused on making sure their loved ones had a direct link to our Family Support Centre where they could obtain round the clock information on their family and friends on board.”

Perez continued: “Now that all the guests are safely home, our efforts are firmly focused on the ongoing investigation into the root cause of the fire and what measures we can take to ensure this does not happen again.
“These efforts are taking place in collaboration with the US Coast Guard and other independent parties. We know, however, that preliminary investigations indicate the cause of the fire was the result of a leak in the fuel return line for the number six diesel generator.”
He reassured agents that “all our ships are safe and secure”, and that all of them meet, and in many areas exceed, all regulatory standards.
“I promise we will continue to investigate in order to understand what took place and to learn what steps we can take to improve going forward,” said Perez.
“We know that holidaymakers can choose from a vast variety of options, and that they – and you – expect a fantastic cruise holiday from us. We are very sorry that this time we did not deliver."
He added: “I really value your support for Carnival Cruise Lines, and in encouraging British holidaymakers to select a cruise on our ships. We hope you will continue to do so in the future, and we will endeavour to do everything we can to make our experiences as memorable and fun as possible for your customers.”

Thursday, 21 February 2013

A cheat sheet for christening season


A cheat sheet for christening season

By Michelle Baran
InsightSpring is upon us, which means that flowers will soon start blooming, young birds will begin chirping and river cruise lines will start unveiling their newest ships in what will be another densely packed season of christening ceremonies from Amsterdam to Chongqing, China.

Here, a cheat sheet of some of the season’s launches:

March 19: Century Cruises’ inaugural sailing of its 398-passenger Century Paragon begins in Chongqing, China.

March 20: Viking River Cruises launches an unprecedented 10 Viking Longships in a simultaneous christening ceremony in Amsterdam.
MichelleBaran

March 28: The 118-passenger Queen Isabel, a newbuild that Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is leasing from the Portuguese company Douro Azul, sets sail on the Douro River in Portugal.

April: Avalon Waterways christens its 128-passenger Avalon Artistry II.

April 2: Ama Waterways’ newly built Portugal vessel, the 108-passenger Amavida, sets sail on the Douro River (also being leased from Douro Azul).

April 7: Uniworld begins offering cruises on Italy’s Po River on its 134-passenger River Countess, a ship built in 2003 and refurbished in 2012.

April 12: Scenic Cruises’ 169-passenger Scenic Jewel makes its inaugural sailing from Mainz, Germany, to Amsterdam.

May 6: "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" author Patricia Schultz will christen Avalon Waterways’ new 166-passenger Avalon Expression in Cochem, Germany.

And a bit further afield …

Aug. 6: Valerie Ann Wilson, founder and CEO of Valerie Wilson Travel in New York, will serve as godmother at the christening of Ama Waterways’ 164-passenger AmaPrima in Vilshofen, Germany.

A Letter from Adolfo Perez - MD, Carnival Cruise Lines UK & Ireland



21 February 2013


Dear Valued Travel Partner,

We realise many of you have been following last week's events on the Carnival Triumph and I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with some information.

Let me begin by saying that all of us at Carnival deeply regret the hardship our guests had to face during their days on board the ship. Our number one concern was to ensure the safety and welfare of our guests and crew and to get them home as soon as possible. Our shipboard and shore side teams worked tirelessly to take care of them and minimise their discomfort and inconvenience. We also focused on making sure their loved ones had a direct link to our Family Support Centre where they could obtain round the clock information on their family and friends on board.

Now that all the guests are safely home, our efforts are firmly focused on the on-going investigation into the root cause of the fire and what measures we can take to ensure this does not happen again. These efforts are taking place in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard and other independent parties. We know, however, that preliminary investigations indicate the cause of the fire was the result of a leak in the fuel return line for the number 6 diesel generator.

The safety and security of our guests remains of the utmost importance to all of us here at Carnival. All our ships are safe and secure. All of them meet, and in many areas exceed, all regulatory standards. I promise we will continue to investigate in order to understand what took place and to learn what steps we can take to improve going forward.

We know that holidaymakers can choose from a vast variety of options, and that they – and you – expect a fantastic cruise holiday from us. We are very sorry that this time we did not deliver.

I really value your support for Carnival Cruise Lines, and in encouraging British holidaymakers to select a cruise on our ships. We hope you will continue to do so in the future, and we will endeavour to do everything we can to make our experiences as memorable and fun as possible for your customers.

Thank you again for your support.

Yours sincerely,

Adolfo M. PĂ©rez
Managing Director, UK and Ireland
Carnival Cruise Lines


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