Saturday, 31 January 2015

Royal Caribbean Release Update On Third Oasis Class Ship

Royal Caribbean Release Update On Third Oasis Class Ship

Original report from Cruise Hive~

Third Oasis Class

Royal Caribbean have released new photos from the French shipyard where the third oasis class vessel is being constructed.
The unnamed cruise ship is currently being constructed at the STX shipyard in St. Nazaire, France. It will be the same class as Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas but at a slightly larger 227,700 gross tons. take a look at the photos below released by the cruise line:
Not much information has been released yet but we do know that the ship will make its debut in April 2016 so expect more details to be released by Royal Caribbean over the coming months. The ship will feature seven distinct themed areas just like her sister ships. Also we’re pretty sure Royal Caribbean will offer something innovative and new to the cruise industry. Cruise Hive will keep readers informed as new details are released but until then feel free to post in the comments below about what you would like to see featured on the Third oasis class ship.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Seabourn ships to be called Encore and Ovation

Seabourn ships to be called Encore and Ovation

Seabourn has picked names for two ships that are due to be delivered in 2016 and 2018.
The earlier arrival of the two will be called Seabourn Encore, and the later arrival will be Seabourn Ovation. The two ships will join Seabourn Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest in the luxury line’s current fleet.
The new ships will have an extra deck and expanded public rooms, enabling them to carry 604 passengers at double occupancy, rather than 450.
Seabourn Square 1

Cruise lines modernize photo operations

Cruise lines modernize photo operations

When Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas made its November debut, almost lost in the crush of technology firsts was the ship's photo gallery, the first all-digital display space at sea.

Quantum guests don't stroll past walls of glossy prints, peering to see which ones might include them. Instead, they check digital monitors, which shorten the hunt for relevant photos.

On the Quantum, images are developed and printed only when guests see a photo they want to keep. 

The system is a leap forward, said Brynley Davies, managing director of the Image Group, the concessionaire for photography on Royal Caribbean's global fleet of 22 ships.

"It sounds very easy to say, 'Do print on request,'" Davies said. "But what you see in the photo gallery and the systems that are running it aren't evolutions of what we've done before. We started a complete rebuild three years ago, so this is a completely different architecture."

In fact, he said, it is built on "a very, very sophisticated set of computer systems, programs and hardware that are all aligned and integrated with Royal Caribbean systems to make it work effectively."

Across the industry, cruise lines are dashing to keep up with digitization of photography, which has brought sweeping changes to the way people take and store images.
A customer on Royal Caribbean International's Quantum of the Seas chooses photos with the Image Group's Li Jing. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
A customer on Royal Caribbean International's Quantum of the Seas chooses photos with the Image Group's Li Jing. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
On land, it spelled the end of everything from Kodachrome film to Polaroid cameras and one-hour photo shops. At sea, it promises to slash the amount of wasted paper and chemicals used in cruise photo operations and do away with the ubiquitous floor-to-ceiling photo display wall.

The transition to digital is happening as fast as cruise lines can figure out how to do it properly. 

Old gives way to new

Every major cruise line has a mix of advanced and legacy photo systems, ranging from the all-digital vanguard on the Quantum to the traditional print-everything model on many older ships.

But digital will eventually rule because it offers benefits to every cruise photo operation, and consumers are comfortable with it.

"What we see is a fundamental shift," Davies said. "We've been [doing trials of] these new technologies on another ship. What we saw there was a shift away from print toward buying digital images. We see that trend continuing."

If for no other reason, cruise lines would embrace digital because of the growing size of new ships.

Photo managers say it has become increasingly difficult to display on a wall all of the images on ships that are carrying between 3,000 and 5,000 passengers each week. Some cruise lines had begun to adopt a folder system to cut down on the need for display space.

Going digital simplifies the photo search process and frees a wall's square footage for other uses. The photo gallery on the Quantum is 50% smaller than a traditional one on a ship of comparable size, Davies said.

A second benefit of going digital can be found in the print savings, both economic and environmental.

Ecofriendly bonus

Although he didn't quantify the amount, Davies said the fully on the Quantum will use much less photographic paper. Many of the prints in a traditional photo concession aren't even viewed if the guest has no desire to buy photos. Henceforth, none of those images will be printed.
Guests of the Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas can use their WOWbands in the Focus Photo Gallery to digitally access and print on demand their professionally taken photographs, significantly reducing preprinted photo waste.
Guests of the Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas can use their WOWbands in the Focus Photo Gallery to digitally access and print on demand their professionally taken photographs, significantly reducing preprinted photo waste.
The classic print process also requires photo chemicals that produce "a waste stream that has to be removed from the ship and disposed of in an environmentally safe manner," Davies said.

On the Quantum, instead of wet-processing, Image Group uses a dry-process inkjet printer, an industrial-grade version of the printer technology that many consumers have in their home or office.

"It produces absolutely no photo waste at all," Davies said. "There's a much-reduced environmental impact."

The Quantum's photo space, with 35 touch screens, 15 tablet-size devices and eight digital photo finders (that help find hard-to-track items) represent the state of the art in photo galleries.

Most of Royal's ships are more retro. The relatively new Oasis and Allure of the Seas have 22 digital kiosks where guests can view, manipulate and purchase photos. But Image Group also prints all the photos taken on the Oasis and Allure, although it puts them in folders organized by cabin, rather than displaying them on a wall.

The print-and-display galleries will remain on many older Royal ships for some time, Davies said. 

"It will take time to transition to this new business model," he said. "This is the first time we've done this in terms of print on request. It will take a little time to settle into it and get it absolutely right."

A shift to digital packaging

At Carnival Cruise Line, a transition is also underway. It will be testing digital packages that work with its current print model on one ship this winter to gauge consumer response and demand. 

Guests will have the choice of one of three packages, enabling them to buy either a set number of images or all the images taken on an entire cruise, delivered on a USB thumb drive.
Photo displays aboard Princess Cruises' Regal Princess. Like other lines, Princess Cruises has carved out space for a high-end custom portrait business. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
Photo displays aboard Princess Cruises' Regal Princess. Like other lines, Princess Cruises has carved out space for a high-end custom portrait business. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
Carnival said the digital images will be a better value on a per-file basis than the current pricing offered by prints. 

Like many other cruise lines, Carnival also offers a DVD of each cruise that includes brief glimpses of many guests, along with footage of the cruise, its destinations and live events.

Many cruise lines have found that guests are asking for fewer photos than in the past, when cruise ship photographers could count on a steady stream of orders each voyage.

"It was a very captive market," said Michael Miller, director of the Ship's Photographer, which handles photos for Cunard Line and P&O Cruises. "We had it all to ourselves."

Today, with almost every guest equipped with a digital camera or a camera-capable smartphone that takes quality pictures, many guests are opting to snap their own photos, driving down demand for the professional variety.

"There's been [everything] from a free fall in photographic revenue onboard to diminished returns year after year," Miller said. "We're still talking about a significant business both for the cruise lines and in general, but the industry has been challenged by the advent of digital and what it's meant to the average consumer."

One response has been to change the type of photo that onboard photographers shoot.

While they still do embarkation, gangplank and dinner photos, there's less emphasis on those because they're the type of images that consumers can take themselves.

Instead, Miller said, the Ship's Photographer is taking more studio-quality photos with professional lighting for a customized album that tells the story of a passenger's cruise.

The album blends photos of the passengers with stock shots of the ship and port destinations, tied together with a narrative written by professional copywriters. 

If a special enrichment speaker or performer is on the ship, it might include a page about them.

In one example, passengers who have paid $125 for five prints can, for an extra $50, embed them in a 24-page book. "It becomes a very good value for money," Miller said. "It's a hardback book, a beautiful glossy book you'd love to have and cherish."

Making room for cameras

There's been an upswing at many lines in the use of spaces around ships during the evening to do more personalized photography. 

"Usually there are four to seven studio locations throughout the ship and more than 34 backdrops we are using," said Laszlo Keresztes, operations and development manager for MSC Cruises, in Geneva.
Aboard the MSC Divina, a couple chooses photos to buy. Usually there are four to seven studio locations on an MSC ship.
Aboard the MSC Divina, a couple chooses photos to buy. Usually there are four to seven studio locations on an MSC ship.
And many lines have also carved out space for a high-end custom portrait business. Carnival has Dream Studios, Princess Cruises has Platinum and on Norwegian Cruise Line, it's called Perspectives.

Despite prices that can run past $1,000 for some packages, Ross Henderson, vice president of onboard revenue and shore excursions at Norwegian, said demand is there and growing. 

"I think it's a product for which guests are willing to splurge, in a similar vein to weddings and other events that are priceless," Henderson said. "When they're on a cruise, they're in a perfect environment with everyone together, with the time on their hands to go through the process of getting those pictures taken, which will last a lifetime."

To further differentiate its photo offerings from those taken on smartphones, Perspectives takes photos that work together in a cluster or mosaic of images on a wall. So, for example, the "Verve" collection groups 11 mounted images in a larger wall ensemble that works as a unified grouping, for $1,399. Photos are shot on the cruise, and Norwegian works with an outside vendor to have them printed, mounted and shipped to the passenger at home, Henderson said.

At the other end of the spectrum, some consumers are opting to purchase only digital images. On some ships, this enables passengers to buy a set number of photos for a fixed price, take them all home on a disc, then choose the ones they like best in a more relaxed environment.

Software included on the CD enables guests to unlock the images at home for print or other uses. They can also buy additional images post-cruise using a feature on the CD.

Davies described this method as one way to mitigate another common problem: the crush on the last night as everyone tries to sort through and pay for the photos that have been taken over the course of the cruise.

"The last day is not an easy day, so we turn that around in our thinking and say rather than making people come to the photo gallery to choose what images they want, give them a CD," Davies said. "All the images are locked. They take them home, put them into their computer and put an application on their machine, and then they can choose at their leisure."

At Carnival, guests are offered a discount if they purchase photos during the first two days of the cruise.

Enabling technologies

Several recent advances go hand in hand with digital images to improve the photo-buying experience. One is facial recognition, or image-matching software, which makes photo searches quicker and easier.
Packages from Norwegian Cruise Line’s high-end portrait business, Perspectives, can run past $1,000.
Packages from Norwegian Cruise Line’s high-end portrait business, Perspectives, can run past $1,000.
Cruise lines are cautiously testing the software, which currently matches some but not all faces with photos, requiring a backup mechanism. 

"We've got a combination of Google search-type criteria for recognition of people looking at photographs," said Andrew Burt, general manager of the Ship's Photographer. "If you can put in a couple of words to describe the particular restaurant, or maybe the port, they can sort of drill down and limit the number of photos they're finding that way."

Another digital technology that promises to improve the photo selection process is software to electronically link each photo taken to the cabin of the subject. Norwegian introduced such software on the Norwegian Breakaway last year and is rolling it out to other ships, including the Norwegian Star and Gem this year.

The system enables passengers to swipe their key card on a device linked to the photographer's camera, tagging the photo to the cabin. That makes finding the photos in an electronic kiosk much easier.

"We really believe it is the wave of the future," Henderson said. "We need to get away from the concept of not being able to link photos to guests and just putting them on a wall and have the guests find them, especially with the size of all these new vessels coming out."

That system, in turn, paves the way for another innovation: being able to choose and buy pictures from a passenger's cellphone or other portable device. 

"As you look at how photography is becoming more digital and the technology really does exist to do this kind of thing, it just made sense to create a different system," Henderson said. "Down the road, the way we see it, we'd like that kiosk to become something transportable via people's devices. 

"So in other words, your device can be your kiosk; you don't have to go to the gallery to look at your photos. You can sit in your cabin and look at your photos and choose which ones to buy there. And that can result in freeing up a lot of space that you don't have to dedicate to a large gallery."

Carnival Corp. in preliminary deal with Chinese group

Carnival Corp. in preliminary deal with Chinese group

Carnival Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding with China Merchants Group (CMG) to pursue a possible domestic Chinese cruise line and to develop cruise ports.
Carnival said it formalized a strategic partnership with CMG at a signing event at the Hilton Shenzhen Shekou.
CMG is already developing a flagship port called Prince Bay Cruise Terminal in Shekou. Carnival said the partners would work to have cruise ships sail from this flagship port, while also developing other cruise destinations across China and northern Asia.
In addition, Carnival and CMG will explore a joint venture that would own and operate its own cruise ships as part of the first domestic Chinese cruise line targeted to the Chinese market. The joint venture would explore the possibility of sourcing new ships that are designed and built in China, along with the possibility of acquiring existing cruise ships.
Carnival last year signed a separate memo with China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC). to design and build a cruise ship in China in partnership with Fincantieri. That memo also contemplated the exploration of other possible joint venture opportunities with CSSC, including the potential to form a domestic cruise company, port development, talent development and training as well as supply chain and logistics.
It isn’t clear how that agreement would be affected by the one announced with CMG.
“The MOU we signed today signifies a great opportunity to take the next step in the future of Chinese cruising, while addressing some key needs for both the cruise industry and its passengers in China,” said Alan Buckelew, COO of Carnival Corp.
CMG, China’s oldest state enterprise founded in 1872, focuses on transportation, infrastructure, financial services and real estate development.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

VIDEO: Holland America Line ship rescues pilot who ditched plane

VIDEO: Holland America Line ship rescues pilot who ditched plane

From left: 2nd Officer Jan-Willem Slofstra, Staff Captain Anton Rijekeboer, 2nd Officer Pieter Zandhuis, rescued pilot Louis Morton, Captain Eric van der Wal, Asst. Boatswain Wardy Azzaury, Sailor AB Mohamed Margajaya, 1st Officer Keith Falconer, 3rd Officer Simon Butters, Medical Officer Mike Turner.

Azamara Cruises' new ads emphasize port stays

Azamara Cruises' new ads emphasize port stays

Azamara Club Cruises will launch a marketing campaign that for the first time will include television advertising. 
The multi-channel campaign is built around the theme “The Voyage for Those Who Love Travel.”
It continues to highlight Azamara’s competitive positioning as a destination-focused cruise line that features longer stays, more overnights and evening tours. In addition to television, the campaign will have print, social media, online, direct mail, e-marketing, website and brochure components, Azamara said.

Azamara TV advert below.
Azamara Cruise Video

Carnival Vista the product of healthy competition

Carnival Vista the product of healthy competition

Business competition isn't always what it's cracked up to be. It led to ruinous price wars in the late 19th century in many industries.

But it's also a great goad to improvement. That seems to be what's happening in the cruise industry, especially in the contemporary market, where a remarkable series of interesting ships have been coming out of Europe's shipyards.

Judging by the renderings released last week, the latest to join the fray is the Carnival Vista, coming in 2016.

While still bearing the imprint of Funship 2.0, the Vista will have a number of novel elements not shared by other Carnival Cruise Line ships.

Guests on the SkyRide cycle 150 feet above the sea.

SkyRider, a recumbent cycle that runs a circuit around and above the sports deck, may be the most noticeable of the bunch. But there's also an IMAX theater, part of a Multiplex area; a new kaleidoscopic water slide; a casual seafood restaurant; an area of suites with hammocks; and a new approach to family staterooms. With the Vista, Carnival will become the first cruise line to brew its own beer at sea.

The cluster of new features is reminiscent of two other ships introduced in 2014: Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Getaway and Royal Caribbean International's Quantum of the Seas. The new deck of indoor/outdoor restaurant space on the Vista’s Deck 5 looks remarkably like the Waterfront on Norwegian's Breakaway/Getaway ships.

The Vista's resort-style pool deck.

Norwegian, Royal and Carnival have been rivals for more than 40 years, but their competition in ship design is as vital as it has ever been. Each is pushing the other to develop better and more exciting new features, and the benefits are accruing to cruise passengers who have a fantastic array of fun things to do on a ship.

And of course, there's a lot for travel agents to talk about and sell on these new ships. So here's a salute to healthy competition. Long may it reign.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Overboard sensors not required on cruise ships?

Overboard sensors not required on cruise ships?

Note; Handrails around the ship and on balconies are a minimum of 4 inch's (100mm) higher than land based/home stairs. Housing standards state; Handrail height, measured above the stair tread nosing, shall be uniform, not less than 34 inches and not more than 38 inches and the cruise states; The Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act (CVSSA) of 2010 proposed measures aimed at improving cruise ship safety, such as increasing the guardrail height to 54 inches.
 Just been sent this from a Major Shipbuilder, with the industry standard on railings and balconies; 

‘‘§ 3507. Passenger vessel security and safety requirements 
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—Each vessel to which this subsection
applies shall comply with the following design and construction
‘‘(A) The vessel shall be equipped with ship rails that
are located not less than 42 inches above the cabin deck. 
‘‘(D) The vessel shall integrate technology that can
be used for capturing images of passengers or detecting
passengers who have fallen overboard, to the extent that
such technology is available. 

The Coast Guard said it expects cruise lines to rely on video monitors rather than automatic detection and alarm systems to meet a safety requirement regarding passengers falling or jumping off ships.
The agency’s newly proposed rule, implementing a 2010 safety law, would allow cruise lines to use recording technology to address the problem of passengers going overboard while at sea.

So-called man overboard (MOB) technology has been tested by various cruise lines, and its backers say it could save lives and reduce search-and-rescue costs. But the Coast Guard noted that CLIA believes the detection systems “are not yet reliable under marine conditions.”
“The technology to reliably detect persons as they are in the process of going overboard does not presently exist,” CLIA asserted.

The Coast Guard went on to say that “we expect that owners and operators will select the image-capture option provided by Congress until such time that fall-detection technology is believed to be sufficiently reliable.”

The issue of how to curb the number of overboard incidents has been raised by groups such as the International Cruise Victims, which was formed in 2006, in part to raise awareness of cruise ship disappearances. According to the Coast Guard, about 2.2 deaths or missing persons a year result from overboard incidents on cruise ships around the world. A database kept by University of Newfoundland professor Ross Klein, which tracks ferries as well as cruise ships globally, includes 243 overboard reports since 2000.

One of the latest occurred Jan. 8 off Cozumel, Mexico, when a 22-year-old male passenger fell or jumped from Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, only to be rescued several hours later by the passing Disney Cruise Line ship Disney Magic.

Marine surveillance companies have been working for a decade to perfect an alarm system that would sound when it detects a person tumbling off a ship.

The system uses thermal cameras mounted on the hull and other parts of a ship to detect body heat. The images are fed through computers that use algorithms to quickly assess what the camera is seeing.

The alarm can be sounded on the bridge or at other centralized security stations.
Supplier companies say cruise lines are actively interested in the idea, but CLIA listed nearly a dozen obstacles to reliability.

Some have to do with the special factors of a marine environment, such as salt corrosion or encrustation on camera lenses.  Surface glare from the water, the pitch and yaw of a ship, extreme weather, vessel vibration and a continually changing horizon are all listed as constraints.

“CLIA recognizes that many systems exist and are suitable in a static land-based environment,” the white paper stated. “However, the cruise industry has evaluated and demonstrated numerous MOB detection systems, and most have been determined to be unworthy of further consideration.”
Companies that have been testing systems on cruise ships as far back as 2006 include Seafaring Security Services of Virginia Beach, Va., and PureTech Systems of Phoenix.

Larry Bowe, president of PureTech, said he believes his company’s system can meet the reliability requirements of the cruise lines.

“Given our extensive testing to date, we do feel the technology is readily available and can be deployed in the near future,” he said.
Bowe said the problem of an unstable horizon can be addressed with the proper computer analytics and that maintenance in a marine environment likewise is manageable.
“Cameras have been on ships for a long time, so I have to believe those issues can be addressed,” he said.

The proposed Coast Guard rule gives cruise lines the choice of either using detection systems or capturing images that can later be used in a search-and-rescue operation, or a combination of both.
Bowe said it would be vastly more effective to have the capability of instant alert.

“If you have cameras onboard and you’re capturing imagery, why not add detection?” he asked. “These events can take as little as half a second. What’s the likelihood that someone is going to be watching that imagery in a half a second time during a seven-day cruise to happen to catch them?”
Under the Coast Guard proposal, the recordings of captured images would have to be time-stamped and archived for 14 days. They would be used to narrow a search for any missing persons.

Some of the same companies that make MOB systems also provide security cameras for ships. The new Coast Guard proposals also set rules for such surveillance, as required by the 2010 Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act. The agency has been writing rules to implement provisions of the act.

The surveillance rule would require coverage of any area on a ship where passengers and crew both have access. CLIA had warned a rule that was too detailed and proscriptive wouldn’t fit every ship. 
One passenger group had asked for active monitoring of cameras as well as recording, but the Coast Guard did not adopt that approach.

The surveillance requirement won’t change much for most cruise lines, which  already extensively monitor their ships. According to one surveillance supplier, some ships carry as many as 1,400 security cameras.

The Coast Guard is proposing that video from the cameras be kept for 14 days, rather than for the 90 days advocated by passenger groups.

Other provisions of the proposed rule, which was published in the Federal Register Jan. 16, would require a printed guide to security in every stateroom and establish more procedures for training ship personnel on crime investigation practices. It would also codify a 42-inch height standard for exterior guard rails and bulwarks.

The Coast Guard said its rules would apply to 147 ships that either board or disembark passengers in U.S. territory but not to ships that merely visit for a port call.

It estimated the 10-year cost of the rules to the cruise lines and the U.S. government at nearly $80 million, including about $30 million for image-capturing systems.

Once the rules are finalized, it would complete the Coast Guard’s implementation of the cruise safety act, most of which is already in force.

Bowe said the MOB technology has continued to advance since the Coast Guard first sought comment in 2011 and that cameras, processing power and algorithms have substantially improved.

Serenade of the Seas Departs After Being Delayed From Water Pipe Bursting

Serenade of the Seas Departs After Being Delayed From Water Pipe Bursting

A broken water pipe shorting out an electric switchboard is being blamed for a partial power loss on Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas.
Max Power, a passenger who is currently doing back to back to back cruises on the Serenade of the Seas, first reported of the incident on the Facebook group “Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society”.  Heavy rain was first blamed for the switchboard being shorted out but it is now being blamed on a broken water pipe above the theater according to Max.
The front of the ship was without power early on Saturday morning.  Due to the damage from the broken water pipe, 400 passengers who were scheduled to board the ship in New Orleans today will not be able to board.
At least 175 passenger cabins are currently out of service.  Passengers who had their cruise canceled will receive a full refund and a 100% credit towards a future cruise.
Royal Caribbean sent out the following text message to passengers who were to board the Serenade of the Seas today:
Urgent Notification: Serenade of the Seas Check-In Update
Hello, this is Royal Caribbean International.  We would like to provide you and update regarding your sailing today onboard Serenade of the Seas out of New Orleans. The U.S. Coast Guard is currently onboard inspecting the ship.  We are waiting for authorization from the Coast Guard to begin boarding.  Because the cruise terminal in New Orleans is very limited in space, we ask that guest explore the local area until we can being boarding. We will contact you again once we have received permission to being the boarding process.  We appreciate your patience and understanding, ad we look forward to welcoming you aboard.
An hour later, another text message was sent by Royal Caribbean letting passengers know that the U.S. Coast Guard had given them permission to begin the boarding process.
The Serenade of the Seas will now spend the night in New Orleans while crew members repair the damage.  The ship was scheduled to leave this afternoon on a 7 night cruise to the Bahamas and Key West, Florida.
Update: The Serenade of the Seas left New Orleans early Sunday afternoon and will sail a shortened six night cruise to the Bahamas.  Passengers who had their cruise canceled will receive a full refund and a future cruise certificate equal to their cruise fare.

The ABC Guide on How to Retire on a  Cruise Ship

The ABC Guide on How to Retire on a 

Cruise Ship

For most people, a cruise ship is a place to relax for a week or two out of the year but for 86-year-old Lee Wachtstetter, the Crystal Serenity cruise ship has been her permanent home for the past seven years – amounting to an annual payout of $164,000 (£108,215).
After the death of her husband, the Florida widow took her daughter’s advice and sold her ten-acre, five bedroom home in Fort Lauderdale, replacing it with a 1,070-passenger vessel.
Speaking to Asbury Park Press, Ms Wachtstetter said it was her husband Mason who sparked her passion for cruising.
“During our 50-year marriage we did 89 cruises. I’ve done nearly a hundred more and 15 world cruises. The day before my husband died of cancer in 1997, he told me, ‘Don’t stop cruising.’ So here I am today living a stress-free, fairy-tale life,” she recalled.
Known aboard the 11-year-old Crystal Serenity ship as Mama Lee, Ms Wachtstetter has been living on the luxury vessel for longer than its 655 crew members.
After visiting more than 100 countries in her lifetime, it’s rare that Lee goes ashore and prefers to have the quiet ship to herself while passengers leave to explore the visiting destination.
The only time she makes an exception is when the vessel stops at Istanbul. “I can’t resist the Grand Bazaar. You can find gorgeously regal or glitzy outfits there, perfect for formal or casual wear and not terribly expensive. I have to restrain myself every time because of my limited cabin space,” Ms Wachtstetter admitted.
Living on a cruise ship means that Lee often misses her family. Her daughter has since passed away but she keeps in touch with her three sons and seven grandchildren via her laptop computer.
But despite being away from her loved ones, Ms Wachtstetter is far from lonely and frequently makes friends with passengers.
She spends lots of her time onboard in Crystal Serenity’s Palm Court lounge doing needlepoint work – a favourite pastime for the last 50 years.
There are three other women who also live on the vessel, but none have been residing for as long as Lee.
Hubert Buelacher, Serenity’s hotel director, described her as “an amazing woman, one of a kind”.
Would you ever live on a cruise ship, if so Which One?

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Cruise ship Boudicca hit by engine room fire

Cruise ship Boudicca hit by engine room fire

BoudiccaThe Fred Olsen cruise ship Boudicca is carrying 784 passengers and 356 crew
A cruise ship carrying more than 1,000 people was left without power off Morocco after an engine room fire.
Holidaymakers on board the Boudicca were told to don life jackets and gather at emergency muster stations, according to the son of one passenger.
The fire at 04:00 BST left the ship "listing" and "in pitch black", said Dave Tonkin, whose father is onboard.
Fred Olsen, the company which owns the ship, said it was now fully stable and had five engines running again.
Spokeswoman Rachael Jackson said Boudicca listed for "a short period" but was now stable and travelling again, although more slowly than normal.
"The fire was in the engine room, but has now been extinguished, and no guests or crew have been injured," she said.
She said two main engines and three auxiliary engines were running, while two other engines were still being mended.
The ship will aim to arrive in Lanzarote, Spain, on Monday as planned, she added.
It currently has 784 passengers and 356 crew on board.
The Boudicca is one of four cruise liners owned by the UK-based, Norwegian-owned company Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.
The ship's online locator currently shows it off the coast of Casablanca, Morocco. It left Cadiz, Spain, on Saturday.
It is not the first time the Boudicca has been in the news. Last year Fred Olsen paid £280,000 in compensation to 130 holidaymakers who suffered gastric illnesses on board between October 2009 and May 2010.
The ship was also hit in 2013 when 98 passengers contracted a vomiting bug.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Carnival Cruise Line to return to Europe

Carnival Cruise Line to return to Europe

Carnival Cruise Line will make a return to Europe in 2016 when it launches new ship Carnival Vista.
The news comes after the line announced in May 2013 that it would have no ships sailing in Europe during 2014 and 2015, citing increasing airfares as the reason behind the decision.
New itineraries for summer 2016 on Carnival Vista include Athens, Barcelona, Dubrovnik, Izmir, Corfu, Livorno, Marseille, Messina (Sicily), Naples, Rome, Trieste and Valetta.
The ship will have its first European sailing on May 1 and will then have 18 sailings in Europe before moving on to New York in October. The ship's official homeport has yet to be revealed.
The ship will have the first IMAX cinema at sea, as well as new dining options, more alfresco dining and the biggest Waterworks of any Carnival ship. The ship will also have a new Havana pool at the back of the ship, with Havana cabana staterooms available to book.
Mark Tamis, senior vice president of guest operations, said: “I really feel and we do [at Carnival] that this is the greatest ship to date and certainly the best ship to come from Carnival Cruise Line.
“This is about building on past success. This is built of the success of Carnival Breeze and what is rolling out across the whole Carnival fleet.
“We set out to make this our most innovative ship to date. This is about creating connects and a connection to the sea. This ship, like no other ship, brings that all together.“
When the line announced it was pulling away from Europe in last year, the company said it didn’t believe Americans, who make up the vast majority of its passengers, would pay increased airfares to cross the Atlantic.
In May last year, agents were praised for switch-selling customers to book a Caribbean cruise with Carnival rather than a European one.
During a VIP agent trip on Carnival Breeze last year, Lynn Torrent, executive vice-president os sales and guest services, said the line’s bosses were watching the moves being made by other international brands. She said Carnival was sitting back and seeing what other lines were doing in the UK market before making a decision.

Land of 'Frozen' coming to Disney Cruise Line

Land of 'Frozen' coming to Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line will offer experiences inspired by the animated hit 'Frozen' beginning in summer 2015. They include a deck party, a three-song stage show production number, opportunities to meet characters and storybook adventures ashore. A new addition is planned for Castaway Cay, too.
The experiences will debut on select Disney Magic and Disney Wonder sailings to Europe and Alaska.
One one day the ship will transform into a winter wonderland, culminating with an extravagant celebration with friends from the Kingdom of Arendelle. Passengers will awake to discover a magical freeze has overtaken the atrium lobby with sparkling icicles adorning the grand staircase, resembling the mountaintop ice palace of Queen Elsa.
Activities for the entire family throughout the day include new character meetings and themed experiences such as moments with
Anna, Elsa and, 'for the first time in forever,'. There will be an 'Anna’s Chase for the Chocolate' scavenger hunt for with a surprise for finishing the game and a 'Do You Want to Build a Snowman' activity where kids take on Elsa’s magical powers to make snow and ice.
'The Maypole Swirl and Twirl' gives families the chance to learn a traditional Scandinavian dance, spinning and braiding giant ribbons.
A 'Frozen'-themed dining experience includes a menu inspired by traditional Nordic fare and dishes inspired by the film.
The evening fun kicks off with 'Freezing the Night Away with Anna, Elsa and Friends,' a family-friendly interactive deck party featuring the royal sisters of Arendelle and their Nordic companions. By now, the freeze has spread to the upper decks of the ship, with giant snowflakes, icicles and snow-covered rocks.
The celebration begins with a line dance set to the movie’s ice cutting scene, featuring the arrival of Kristoff, twirling his ice picks, and Princess Anna.
The evening concludes with more family dancing on the pool deck, followed by fun just for adults in the nightclub featuring dance performances and frozen specialty drinks.
This summer, friends from 'Frozen' will make their stage show debut at sea in the Walt Disney Theatre aboard Disney Magic. In the original production, 'Disney Dreams ... An Enchanted Classic,' Anna, Elsa and Olaf join the line up of Disney characters who together teach a young girl the power of her dreams.
New scenes featuring 'Frozen' characters include renditions of 'Let it Go,' 'For the First Time in Forever' and 'In Summer.' Special effects include a snowfall throughout the theatre and the transformation of the young girl’s room into her own ice palace.
Children and families will have the opportunity to meet and take photographs with their favorite 'Frozen' friends on Disney Fantasy, Disney Dream, Disney Wonder and Disney Magic.
Passengers on Disney Magic in Norway, the land that inspired Arendelle from 'Frozen,' will have the opportunity to join new excursions that bring this fairytale setting to life. One signature adventure ashore in Å̊lesund, created exclusively for Disney Cruise Line, will immerse participants in a storybook village with the help of Elsa and Anna.
Other shore excursions highlight natural wonders, architecture and the Scandinavian culture depicted in the film.
Seven and nine-night voyages begin June 6, sailing through Norwegian fjords and calling on ports including Stavanger, Ålesund, Geiranger, Molde, Olden and Bergen.
Meanwhile, in the Bahamas, Disney will cool down Castaway Cay with the addition of Olaf’s Summertime Freeze bar, serving non-alcoholic specialty frozen drinks in souvenir cups. The bar opens summer 2015 near the Pelican Point tram stop by Castaway Cay Family Beach.